Next slide… next slide… next slide…

There is truly nothing worse than death by PowerPoint. When you are on a press or analyst tour with multiple meetings every day, the pain of going through the same slides, with the same quips over and over again is probably the most ingenious form of torture known to mankind.

It doesn’t help that people seem to put more preparation into their slides than their content.  We’ve all been in the presentations where the speaker simply reads each slide word for word. It’s bad communication and worse, the speaker provides no additional information. It would probably be better to just let the slides run automatically without the sound track.

Edward Tufte has an essay on the subject called “The cognitive style of PowerPoint”. It’s available for $7. Anything that helps is to be welcomed! Thanks to my colleague Darren Barefoot for the link!


The dog ate my e-mail….

When e-mail started to become popular in the early to mid-nineteen nineties it was common to hear excuses such as “I never got that e-mail” and in some cases – as there were still glitches in e-mail – it was true.  However, as e-mail has become ubiquitous it’s not really an acceptable excuse anymore.

Over the past couple of months a new e-mail related excuse has begun to become popular.  “Your e-mail was stuck in my spam software”. If you’re working in PR, your e-mail address is probably on websites, on posted press releases etc. and as a result you are probably getting hundred of spam messages every day.  Most of us have turned to anti-spam software to solve the problem, but as anyone who uses these products knows, they are far from the finished article.  Indeed they only seem to catch fifty percent of the spam and fifty percent of the e-mail they do catch isn’t spam.

So remember when someone tells you that they never got your e-mail, but they subsequently did find it in their spam folder, you heard it here first!

Of course technical glitches like those experienced by Trend Micro’s anti-spam product (where any e-mail containing the letter ‘P’ is categorized as spam) doesn’t help matters very much. Thanks to Phil Gomes for the link! 

Balance in the media…

Business 2.0 has published a piece on how traditional media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal are adopting some of the practices pioneered by many of the failed dot-com online publishers.

While many of those pioneers are now gone the way of’s sock puppet, some have survived and begun to thrive, most notably Salon and Slate.

There are however some casualties of the downturn that I personally miss.  In particular; Red Herring and the Industry Standard. I am also sad enough to admit I still regularly trawl through the Industry Standard’s online archives reminiscing of a time when we were all upbeat and positive! Now that’s a long time ago.

It's a crazy mixed up world….

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my professional life is recognizing your limits.  We often percieve lack of knowledge for weakness when in fact the ability to recognize when you need external assistance is a strength – and a profitable strength at that.

In that spirit I can honestly say that many walks of the PR profession are a mystery to me.  And none more so that Hollywood.  Celebrity PR’s roles are fundamentally different to anything I have done over the past decade and I can honestly say it holds no interest for me.

Many of you will have read my barrage against an ill-conceived anti-PR article written in the Toronto Star, but today I came across a story by Catherine Seipp for United Press International on her dealings with celebrity PR people.

It’s interesting but as the Smiths once sang “it says nothing to me about my life”!

Some other celebrity PR reading:

PS.. Catherine also has an interesting article on blogging in the American Journalism Review from last June.

E-mail credibility..

If you are a freelance consultant do you use a personal e-mail such as

Well you can now get a more PR-centric address free of change.  Log on to PRMailBox and you can get an address like

The e-mail service is provided by the UK website

Correction: Tracey Hopkin was in touch to kindly let me know that the service is actually provided by the PR Press Network.  You can find them at:

B2B Direct E-mail and PR is delivering results…

A survey carried out with over 700 Business-to-Business marketers by MarketingSherpa found that E-mail marketing to an in-house list (45%), Public Relations (36%) and Postal mail to an in-house list (28%) were the most successful marketing tactics in their current programs.

Respondents were also asked where they would be increasing spend in the second half of 2003 with E-mail (37%), Search Engine Marketing (28%) and PR (27%) the top gainers.

The dreaded educated consumer…

The Internet has created an environment where information flows freely and anyone can quickly and easily research most topics.  That has inherent risks for organizations.  Your ability to control information has been significantly reduced.

We are also seeing new phenomena such as the Educated Consumer. Your customers are now able to research your product or service from every angle.  They know what you’re saying, what the media are saying and even what your competitiors and customers are saying.

We are reaching a point where consumers may even know your product better than you.  That’s a huge challenge for any organization.

However, there is an upside.  Research has never been easier or more cost-effective.  You can reach customers and partners online and conduct detailed desk research in a fraction of the time. Harnessing the tools of the trade is a step in the right direction and iMedia has an article by Underscore Marketing on the Future of Online Research.

Meeting online…

The promise of videoconferencing in the 90’s and online conferences since then has fallen well short of expectations.

The simple fact is that face-to-face communication is the single most effective means of communicating. A former client of mine had a situation a couple of years ago where they had two phone briefings with a prominent analyst.  The calls went extremely well but when they met with him face-to-face a month later, he wanted to know what they did!

Where online events do hold the upper hand is in cost-effectively reaching a larger number of people and of course reaching people unable to make a physical event.

Of course online events require a lot of preparation and a lot of promotion.  Channel Seven have an excellent article looking at online events and what makes them successful.


Search Engines, Pop-up ads, Advertising and newspapers underpressure…

MarketingProfs has an article on adapting weblogs for corporate e-newsletters.  It’s an interesting take and has some good links to more blog-related articles. They also have a piece on “Everything you need to know about Search Engine Optimization”.  Have a read of it.  I believe SEO will become an important service for PR companies to offer to their clients.  If search engines are the window to the web, then getting high rankings is key to reputation management. [Thanks to MarketingFix for the link]

Know thine enemy, Ben Edeleman a Ph.D student at Harvard has written a paper investigating The Gator Corporation.  You know them, they are the company that proliferate many of those horrendously annoying pop-up ads that crowd our online experience. Urrggg. Have a read.

Our advertising brethren have their own issues from the online world. The terrible twins of accountability and ROI.

Finally, CNET reports that newspapers are increasingly posting recruitment listings online in an effort to stave off online competition, now if only they’d put their archives online. “..newspapers have watched their listings businesses decline over the past few years also because of online competition and economic factors.”

In other news….

Dot Journalism has a story on the rosy future for online journalism.

eMarketer has an interview with the doyen of technology marketing – Regis McKenna.

Dan Gillmor has discovered which is aiming to provide a forum where eye-witnesses can tell their own personal account of events. In their own words: “No one can tell a story better than the people who participated in events. Whether you witnessed a crime, suffered a catastrophe or sat through a performance, you’ve got something to say about that experience.

In other news, the Guardian tackles the subject of blogs clogging up Google.

The Daily Yomiuri explains why Japan’s top executives must recognize the role of PR.

AdAge reports (as mentioned previously) that the Financial Dynamics MBO from Cordiant is expected to close in the next few days for $41 million.

An interesting color piece on how PR impacts the working lives of US racing drivers.

Inc. has an article on how blogging can be used by smaller firms for marketing purposes.