Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for January 2003

Mon, 27 Jan 2003 08:39:03 GMT

As we all know just because something is easier it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s better. For example. It’s certainly easier to watch a football game on TV, it’s cheaper, the toilets are close-by, you have the benefit of expert opinion and have the best views of the action. But you know it’s still far superior to experience the atmosphere youself, to be in the stadium.

The same can be said of e-mail. It has many positive attributes. It’s fast, easy to use and can provide a rich source of information with links, attachments etc. It also can help us be more productive.

However on the flip side it also has many negative attributes. We are overwhelmed with the volume of information we get on e-mail, it promotes laziness where people manage by e-mail rather than talking with others and in many cases people use e-mail in place of good working practices.

But for Public Relations practitioners one of the major problems with e-mail is that is can be shared around the globe in seconds.

Organizations honed good human resources techniques for many years, are we ready to throw them all out in favor of e-mail?

The answer should be no.

There are of course circumstances when you must communicate over e-mail. However you should always write it with the assumption that it will be distributed outside your firm.

The advent of sites such as Internal mean any electronic communication must be carefully crafted and must take into account how it communicates to people outside the initial distribution list.

This was prompted by a story found by Richard Bailey in last Saturday’s UK Guardian.

The story tells how Julie Meyer, a prominent figure in the UK’s dotbomb period and a founder of the UK’s First Tuesday club for Internet entrepreneurs is facing issues around leaked e-mails about the ill-health of her latest venture.

The memo’s purport to represent communications between Ms. Meyer and her staff, though she adamantly denies their authenticity.

This raises serious PR issues. It’s one thing to have an internal memo leaked, but what about a faked memo?

Written by Tom Murphy

January 27, 2003 at 9:39 am

Posted in General

Fri, 24 Jan 2003 08:50:52 GMT

The Internet has spawned the largest content creation boom in the history of personkind.

This explosion of news and views among professional journalists and consumers has serious implications for practitioners whose job it is to monitor public opinion as well as monitoring what’s being written and debated in the public domain.

Given that search engines only index around 40% of Internet content and there’s only so many pages of links you can trawl through in a day, what are the alternatives?

There are aggregated search applications such as Copernic which help, but still face the same issues as what they’re aggregating. Then there are monitoring applications such as WebClipping or EWatch which trawl the web looking for mentions of your company or client – but anyone who uses them knows these have severe limitations.

Today, you are probably using a combination of these approaches. However there is an additional helper application for PR pros trying to stay on top of the news. RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication – depending on who to talk to!).

RSS provides immediate news feeds which can be aggregated inside an RSS news reader. Why are these useful?

Well in an ‘e-mail type’ application you can subscribe to feeds from most of the major newspapers, magazines and blogs and the headlines are all automatically downloaded, making it far easier to monitor news stories as they happen.

RSS won’t replace web browsing or our other monitoring applications, but they can definetely lighten the work load of keeping on top of all the latest news. It’s also much much faster, no waiting for loading web pages, no pop-up ads etc.

Big tech firms like IBM and SAP are now publishing their press releases as RSS feeds – a growing trend.

Why not take a look. Some of the most popular RSS readers are FeedReader (PC), NetNewsWire (Mac) and Headline Viewer (PC). I’m currently using Syndirella.

And of course PR Opinions now provides an RSS feed as well, just add into your RSS reader for the latest news as it happens!

The American Press Institute and JD Lasica at the Online Journalism Review both have recent stories on the impact of RSS on journalists and publications alike.

Written by Tom Murphy

January 24, 2003 at 9:50 am

Posted in General

Thu, 23 Jan 2003 16:36:33 GMT

In a survey of over 850 “opinion leaders” in the United States and Europe, Edelman found that there are significant differences in corporate trust between the continents.

The survey found that while trust in corporations had fallen in Europe, it had risen in the United States. This seems a very strange finding to me 🙂 Trust in the US government is slipping however and remains very low in Europe.

In terms of corporate trust, Americans trust producers of consumer durables and consumer packaged goods most. In Europe, it’s healthcare and airlines.

The biggest difference between the United States and Europe is in the most trusted brands.

In the US the most trusted brands are Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Ford. In Europe its Amnesty International, World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and Oxfam.

If you ever needed to convince your boss that PR is different in Europe, here’s your proof!!

The Edelman presentation is online here.

Written by Tom Murphy

January 23, 2003 at 5:36 pm

Posted in General

Wed, 22 Jan 2003 19:35:14 GMT

THE FOUNDATION FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS has conducted a study of 115 major US companies and found that ninety eight percent of CEOs took part in some political activity in the last year. A particularly alarming finding was that over twenty five percent of the companies surveyed had no crisis management team in place! Read more here.

IN OTHER NEWS, OVER NINETEEN Public Relations organizations (yep that’s nineteen) have come together to urge corporate America to take steps to restore the much damaged element of trust.

The nineteen organizations are: Arthur W. Page Society, Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, Corporate Communication Institute at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Council of Communication Management, Council of Public Relations Firms, Global Public Affairs Institute, Institute for Public Relations, IPR’s Commission on Measurement & Evaluation, International Association of Business Communicators, IABC Research Foundation, International Public Relations Association, National Investor Relations Institute, National School Public Relations Association, Public Affairs Council, Public Relations Society of America, PRSA Counselors Academy, PRSA Foundation, Women Executives in Public Relations, Foundation of WEPR.

The press release is here. You can find the URL’s yourself! 🙂

Written by Tom Murphy

January 22, 2003 at 8:35 pm

Posted in General

Wed, 22 Jan 2003 19:17:27 GMT

There’s a story on the UK-based HR Gateway website about how PR can’t hide poor HR practice.

The story is in advance of a free e-book being offered by Nicola Hunt on “Communications & HR” which is being released on February 3rd.

Written by Tom Murphy

January 22, 2003 at 8:17 pm

Posted in General

Wed, 22 Jan 2003 19:11:19 GMT

Following on from the story I posted about PR men slipping money to politicians in return for favors, a “PR” consultant (the BBC’s description not mine) has been found guilty of insider trading in the UK. The consultant, Tim Blackstone, has enjoyed a number of “customer service” positions during his career as a former journalist with the UK Sunday Times and a porn actor.

According to the BBC story, Mr Blackstone was fined �1,000, ordered to pay �16,000 prosecution costs and told to hand over the �3,000 profit he had made on the shares.

Written by Tom Murphy

January 22, 2003 at 8:11 pm

Posted in General

Wed, 22 Jan 2003 07:20:48 GMT

Last year the Hurwitz Group closed it’s doors, the highest profile casualty in the technology research business.

Today news reaches us that Forrester Research has purchased Giga Group. More detail at Computerworld.

Written by Tom Murphy

January 22, 2003 at 8:20 am

Posted in General

Mon, 20 Jan 2003 12:30:02 GMT

Reed Bolton Byrum has been appointed as the 2003 President and CEO of the PRSA. Byrum is an “independent strategic communications consultant” for Trilogy and other technology companies. PRSA’s publication PR Tactics has an interview with Byrum……

A debate between PR people and the media in Dubai got a little heated last week.

Young and Rubicam has closed it’s PR subsidiary in Australia with the loss of 14 jobs. The agency had billings of around AUS$2 million.

A survey of Canadia CEO’s by Hill & Knowlton found that they believe print and broadcast criticism is a bigger threat to their organization’s corporate reputation than the ethical behaviour of their firms.

In more sobering news, three PR staffers at HSR Business to Business, Cincinnati, were killed in a car accident last Thursday on their way to a client meeting. The victims were Barbara M. Conry-Dressman, Patrick J. Cunningham and Kevin J. Pfirrman. Details of the arrangements are on the HSR website.

Written by Tom Murphy

January 20, 2003 at 1:30 pm

Posted in General

Mon, 20 Jan 2003 09:58:50 GMT

I just received the latest installment of Ketchum’s “Perspectives” newsletter.

Some interesting opinions in there. A roundtable on what’s coming up for communications came up with the following areas:
– On the legal front, the worldwide ripple effect of corporate scandals and the election of Republican majorities in both houses of Congress explain the fresh interest in litigation and proposed legislation affecting it.
– Market research climbs in value as a persistently weak economy forces companies to demand a return on their investment in communications.
– Interest in multicultural marketing is propelled by the population strides that Hispanics, Asians and other minority groups have made in many countries, especially the U.S.
– The outlook for the media remains of paramount interest to all public relations practitioners, across all specialties.

Written by Tom Murphy

January 20, 2003 at 10:58 am

Posted in General

Mon, 20 Jan 2003 09:48:02 GMT

Anne Holland who looks after the SherpaBlog has released “Marketing Inspiration for 2003” which includes insight from over 600 marketing professionals on the lessons they learned during 2002. It includes a section on PR and more general marketing areas.

Written by Tom Murphy

January 20, 2003 at 10:48 am

Posted in General