Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for April 2004

Forget the doom and gloom and get on with it..

It’s interesting to see the reaction to the Ad Week finding on a “slump” in PR spending last year. 

There’s a saying that “one Swallow doens’t make a Summer”, and similarly one negative report on PR spending doesn’t mean the industry’s fall from grace is continuing.

PR has been through a hard and harrowing time since 2000, mirroring the harsh economic realities faced by practically every industry and profession.  Agencies that grew and expanded were hit hard and many didn’t survive the shake up.

One upshot of this decline has been the incredible rise of independent PR practitioners who are here to stay and add a new dimension to the business.

The other trend created by any downturn is the need for marketing and PR owners to justify expenditure and focus on activities that can be readily measured and demonstrated.

However, I firmly believe 2004 is the beginning of the upswing.  Economic indicators are positive and recent conversations I’ve had with a large number of agency people reinforces the feeling that things are getting a little easier.

Lou Hoffman has written an op-ed for Technology Marketing on the re-emergence of a growing number of new technology start-ups. According to his article, Venture Capital firms closed 400 funding deals in the first quarter of 2004 – worth $4.6 billion… that’s better than it’s been for quite some time.

It’s human nature that people continue to be cautious in spending and expansion, but optimism is returning. I think we need to look on the bright side.  If you compare the economic environment for Public Relations now with how it was in 2001 I’ll take today’s situation!

So chin up. Focus on how you can help your clients be successful.  Focus on delivering value and well defined services. We’re not out of the woods yet but there is a clearing in sight.

“The good news for PR professionals is that today’s entrepreneurs are taking a more sane approach to building their empires.”

Written by Tom Murphy

April 30, 2004 at 12:37 pm

Posted in General

Microsoft blog maven on blogs and PR

Steve Rubel over at the Micro Persuasion blog has published an interview with Robert Scoble concerning the impact of blogging on PR and journalism.

“The trick for the mainstream media is to figure out how to work with bloggers. Already some of them are doing just that. Many journalists are reading blogs to gather news. Many others are keeping blogs themselves and building ties to the community.”

Written by Tom Murphy

April 30, 2004 at 8:20 am

Posted in General

New Environmental PR blog..

The Green Media Toolshed is a new-ish blog tackling “successful commuications campaigns for the environmental movement”.

Thanks for Marc Snyder for the link.

Written by Tom Murphy

April 30, 2004 at 8:18 am

Posted in General

For the gadget freak in your house..

This post is off-topic and definetely for the gadget freak. 

The new OQO handheld computer (on sale this Fall) is simply to die for.  Full PC (1GHz processor, 256 MB RAM and 20 GB hard drive) – all in the palm of your hand.

Remains to be seen how fast, useful it will be, but it looks extremely promising.  Pricing TBA.

Written by Tom Murphy

April 30, 2004 at 8:13 am

Posted in General

Dilbert on what we'd like to happen to people who buy from spam..

Written by Tom Murphy

April 29, 2004 at 9:16 am

Posted in General

Open Source Public Relations..

Ryan May has found an article on NewsForge, a site dedicated to Linux and Open Source, on “Getting Good PR for your Open Source Project”.

It’s a good simple overview of the basics of good media relations. I don’t think it’ll shake the fundamentals of the PR business, but it’s always useful to refresh best practice and the article does a good job of it.

It also links to my favorite media relations guide, the Care and Feeding of the Press by Esther Schindler – which is always worth another read. 

Written by Tom Murphy

April 29, 2004 at 9:00 am

Posted in General

The world of PR blogs continues to expand..

Two new PR-related weblogs to report.

Steve Rubel has kicked off a new PR blog called Micro Persuasion which looks at “how blogs and participatory journalism are impacing the practice of public relations”.

Media Culpa is concerned with “incoherent opinions about media and public relations” – author at this point unknown 🙂

Written by Tom Murphy

April 29, 2004 at 8:23 am

Posted in General

The great PR round-up

There’s has been loads of fantastic PR content posted while I was away, here I present a selection as much for my own reference as anything else!

 Constantin Basturea has a very interesting interview with Billy McCormac of JKL blog on corporate blogging. JKL are a Nordic strategic marketing firm with a multi-lingual blog

“PR professionals should help clients build a solid foundation for the blogging effort. First and foremost they should help craft the weblog policy. Second, they should educate potential bloggers in the dos and don’ts of blogging, and introduce them to blog-style writing.”

 Greg Brooks writes about Google’s “restrictive” PR activities whic walk the tightrope between promoting the company and protecting competitive information.

 Jim Horton has uncovered an interesting speech from David Weinberger on how the Internet takes the control of information away from marketers. I personally think this is one of the immediate impacts the Internet has had on Public Relations, where historically we liked to think we “controlled” the flow and release of information.  Not anymore I’m afraid.  It’s the reason the Internet has created such a productive environment for crises.

 Trevor Cook covers the recent Yanelovich study which found that 60% of consumers have a more negative opinion of marketing than they did a couple of years ago and 64% are worried about the motives of marketers and advertisers.  I don’t think those findings are a shock, though I’m amazed people are concerned about the motives of marketers and advertisers.  I think the motives are crystal clear… shifting product.

 Colin McKay ponders the Google IPO and has a great link to a Hill & Knowlton presentation (PPT required) on how PR works in the IPO process from 2001

 Elizabeth Albrycht has had an article on blogging (PDF) published in PR Tactics.

“The purpose of a corporate blog is to spark informal conversations about the organization and its products and/or services among current and potential customers, partners, resellers, media, industry influencers etc.”

 Robb Hecht points to a story from Advertising Week on the slump in PR billings in the US – down 5.5% in 2003 (as against a rise in Ad billings of 6.1%). Interestingly the survey found clients were hiring firms more for “arms and legs” than strategic counselling. This sounds like the typical corporate response to a downturn where marketing investment must be tied to specific metrics or results. Other surveys contradict the findings in this survey, but what is clear is that we’re not out of the woods yet.

 Jeremy Pepper links to a story in the Washington Post (free registration required) on using the Internet for Guerilla Marketing.

“All this is a reaction to the fact that traditional media marketing is crumbling, just crumbling,” says Jeff Hicks, president of the Miami-based advertising firm Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

Interestingly Ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky  (Flash Warning) are getting a lot of airtime at the moment, there’s a big profile of them in the current issue of  Business 2.0.

 Stuart Bruce highlights two recent UK stories on PR. The Guardian on the (ahem) acceptable face of PR and the Observer covers the changing face of financial PR.

 Meanwhile Phil Gomes shares his desktop!

Written by Tom Murphy

April 28, 2004 at 8:16 am

Posted in General

PR Opinions back online…

Good morning. Well after an enjoyable absence I’m back. Looks like things were very busy in my absence…

Written by Tom Murphy

April 28, 2004 at 7:45 am

Posted in General

PR Opinions… extended break

As I reported last week, postings will be sparse (read non-existent!) on the PR Opinions blog until next Monday. 

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch, I’ll try and respond to your e-mails early next week.


Written by Tom Murphy

April 21, 2004 at 11:51 am

Posted in General