Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for July 2005

PR Miscellany – July 27, 2005

OK, take a deep breath, I’ve had a lot of catching up to do.

  • Michael O’Connor Clarke has unveiled part five of his “Seven Deadly Agency Types”: If it moves, bill it.
  • Andy Lark takes the whingeing bloggers to task. Om Malik also chimes in.
  • Shel Holtz pleads with PR people to address the recent spate of online attacks against the profession by using some common sense in our daily working lives. Hear Hear! I wouldn’t hold my breath however… John Wagner adds some interesting insight to the discussion.
  • The fifty third installment of Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz‘s PR podcast, For Immediate Release, is now online.
  • Duncan Chapple has some thoughts on UK Analyst firm Bloor Research‘s new business plan.
  • Meanwhile, Adam Zand over at Topaz Partners asks if the analysts relations market is broken.
  • Dan Gillmor explains that the only difference between the recent US Military press release snafu and traditional press releases is that the military were silly enough to let the fabricated quote in a second time. [Thanks to Alice Marshall for the link].
  • On a related subject, Kevin Dugan has come up with twelve excellent alternatives to the traditional news release. I love his suggestion of a PR Haiku – now that would solve the quote problem.
  • Stephen Baker over at Business Week compares the editorial process of blogging versus a magazine. Very interesting post. [Thanks to Chris Thilk for the link].
  • Jeneane Sessum has published an excellent, no-nonsense guide {PDF] to blogging and more importantly should you be interested in blogging.. or not.
  • Mike Manuel shares some comments from a recent panel his firm, Voce Communications hosted on Corporate blogging.
  • Matt Galloway looks at the emergence of influential bloggers.
  • Business Week and Interbrand have released [PDF] its annual list of the world’s leading brands. [Thanks to Richard Bailey for the link]:
    1. Coca Cola
    2. Microsoft
    3. IBM
    4. GE
    5. Intel
    6. Nokia
    7. Disney
    8. McDonalds
    9. Toyota
    10. Marlboro

Written by Tom Murphy

July 27, 2005 at 11:30 am

Posted in General

If you have two apples in this hand….

The subject of measurement is something marketers face on a regular basis. How do you specifically justify your spend and how does specific tactical spend contribute to the bottom line?

I say marketers, because although this is an acute problem for PR practitioners, it’s also something of a black art in most marketing disciplines.

According to the New York Times, a recent Forrester survey found that :
“73 percent of respondents were not confident that they understood the effects that an advertising or marketing campaign could have on sales.”

However, whereas you can measure the contribution of some marketing activities in terms of the number of prospects it delivers, PR has been grappling with this issue for as long as I can remember. Without finding an answer, we have cobbled together various nebulous quantative or qualitative metrics without actually addressing the question. In fact I often think we don’t know or even understand the question!

That’s not to say there isn’t work underway on looking at how to address PR measurement. People like KD Paine have a long track record of helping companies to try and map PR spend/activity to the bottom line. I also know many agencies (including my alma mater Text 100) have developed reasonably sophisticated measurement tools. But are these different approaches causing more confusion? Do we need to agree a framework or frameworks for measurement that can be used across the business?

Todd Defren outlines SHIFT Communications measurement model which is focused on how PR impacts lead generation. Andy Lark believes a commoditized approach to media measurement is required.

My personal view is that while it’s great that agencies (and in-house folks) are building more sophisticated measurement tools, if one of the objectives of these “services” is competitive differentiation, then they have failed. What’s required is a relatively standard means of measurement that can enable clients and employers to get a clearer understanding on the success of their PR spend – whether it be media, internal etc. If clients cannot understand the differences between how agencies measure success then confusion will set in. And remember the first thing that gets cut from the marketing budget is the line item with no tangible link to the bottom line…

Written by Tom Murphy

July 27, 2005 at 9:10 am

Posted in General

New and Notable….

Some more new PR-related blogs for your perusal:

  • Jorge Camara has a blog called PR Inquisitor.
  • Rohit Bhargava, a VP of Interactive Marketing at Ogilvy PR has a blog called Influential Interactive Marketing.
  • Deb Owen has a new blog called Voce.
  • Brian Oberkirch of Lightbox 5 has a blog called: Like it Matters.
  • John Bell, Creative Director at Ogilvy PR has blog entitled The Digital Influence Mapping Project.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 27, 2005 at 7:29 am

Posted in General

Some advice to PR agencies

Over the weekend two e-mails arrived in my inbox from two different PR agencies. Each had a different purpose. The first one was a new business pitch and the second was a pitch for the blog.

For those involved in new business development for PR agencies here is some advice you can ignore or use. First and foremost a two page rambling e-mail is probably not the best means of piquing interest, second of all, attaching a 9 MB, PDF sales brochure, particularly when I’m collecting e-mail on a remote phone line, doesn’t endear you to the prospect. Use a hyperlink.

For those pitching blogs, the last time I looked, I dealt with general PR issues. That means that items of interest would include anything PR news, in fact anything PR related, tools for PR people (specific to PR as well as general software/hardware/online/whatever tools that might be applicable), marketing related issues – I think you get the idea. One subject that probably wouldn’t come in under that wide umbrella would be Branding Bank ATMs. Even if you tell me that it would be of interest to my audience. It probably isn’t. Certainly not to me.


Written by Tom Murphy

July 25, 2005 at 11:34 am

Posted in General

Urgent Appeal for Critically Ill PR Executive

Shari Kurzrok, a 31-year-old VP at Ogilvy PR Worldwide is critically ill and will die within days without a liver transplant.

Shari’s colleagues have put together a web site with more information.

Shari Kurzrok is two months away from her wedding. The 31-year-old PR executive recently spearheaded the American Red Cross’ largest-ever blood donor campaign. Today, she is fighting for her life. Her doctors say she will not live if she doesn’t receive a complete liver transplant within days, and her colleagues in the PR industry are urgently mobilizing to help her.

Shari’s sudden illness has taken her family, friends and doctors by surprise. She was admitted to New York University Medical Center last weekend, and within 24 hours she was told she needed a liver transplant to save her life. Her illness is still unexplained.

Shari led the 345-city Save-a-Life-Tour, which featured two convoys that traveled across the country to raise awareness about the importance of regular blood donation and to attract new donors including a younger and more ethnically diverse demographic. The campaign collected more than 3.2 million pints of blood and registered more than 38,000 new potential donors.

Now Shari’s family and friends hope that just one person can help save Shari’s life. Shari is a native of Great Neck, Long Island, and the daughter of Gloria and Mort Kurzrok.

Anyone who can help is asked to call: (877) 223-3386

This appeal is urgent. Our thoughts and prayers are with Shari, her fiance, her family, friends and colleagues.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 21, 2005 at 7:57 am

Posted in General

PR Miscellany – July 20, 2005

  • In response to growing levels of PR spam, Yahoo blogger, Jeremy Zawodny is proposing to possibly create an add-in spam filter to blacklist PR agency domains…
  • Robb Hecht takes an entertaining look at how the new film Charlie & the Chocolate Factory can teach us some lessons around the brave new world of communications!
  • If you are in Santa Clara on July 27th you could attend the Northern California Business Marketing Association event on “The Role of PR in the Electronic Era” with speakers from Maestro Marketing & PR, Agilent Technologies Semiconductor, Electronic Engineering Times, Hayes Marketing and Hoffman Agency. It starts as 11:30am and you can register online or call 650-631-4262. It’s $48 for non-members.
  • Congratulations to Christopher Graves, President of Ogilvy PR, Asia Pacific who has published a very well written and researched ‘Executive Blogger’s Guide to Building a Nest of Blogs, Wikis & RSS’. It’s a great introduction. You can download it here (PDF 2.8MB). [Thanks to Niall Cook for the link]
  • John Wagner explains why the role of Public Relations is about more than writing press releases.
  • David Parmet offers some advice for effective PR at trade shows.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 20, 2005 at 10:49 am

Posted in General

Really Simple Statistics

At this point, all PR people should, at the very least, be evaluating RSS feeds. For PR people working in technology organizations (or their agencies) RSS is fast becoming a core component of that standard communications mechanism.

It’s interesting that RSS, without much of the fanfare afforded to other online communications tools, is continuing to proliferate. According to the New York Times visits to their website via RSS feeds jumped from 500,000 a month in 2003, to 7.3 million in April 2005.

As communicators it’s part of our job to provide information to our audiences where and when they want it and RSS is increasingly part of that mix.

If you don’t know much about RSS, I’ve included some links below. There’s also some interesting new content on RSS such as:

If RSS is nothing more than another TLA (three letter acronym) to you, here’s some useful links that will hopefully explain it’s potential

Written by Tom Murphy

July 20, 2005 at 9:13 am

Posted in General

New and Notable…

Written by Tom Murphy

July 20, 2005 at 8:30 am

Posted in General

How can IT firms reach Small and Medium Sized US Businesses?

Forrester Research has released an interesting report looking at how small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) in the US find out about technology and what factors influence their purchase decision. It makes for interesting reading.

Forrester categorizes firms with six to ninety nine employees as small and firms with one hundred to nine hundred and ninety nine employees as medium sized businesses.

The number one source of information for small and medium sized companies on technology decisions is trade publication articles (47%). That is followed by consultants (44%), conferences (41%), vendors salespeople, online search engines, research firms and traditional media (TV, Radio and Newspapers) respectively.

When comparing and selecting IT vendors the top three sources for small and medium businesses are word of mouth (54%), consultants (41%) and trade publications articles (38%).

It’s an interesting report. Trade publications remain a vitally important element in communication – which must come as a shock to many of the gloom and doom brigade. Also the importance of independent consultants continues to be key in the SMB sales cycle for organizations that have limited technical expertise.

You can find out more at the Forrester website.

Report: How to Reach SMBs, Meredith Morris, © Forrester Research June 2005

Written by Tom Murphy

July 20, 2005 at 7:49 am

Posted in General

PR Miscellany – July 19, 2005

  • According to AdWeek, Burson Marsteller‘s CEO Thomas Nides is leaving the agency to join Morgan Stanley.
  • Julian Tanner has published a book aimed at helping organizations conduct effective PR in Europe and the Middle East titled “Views on International Public Relations”. As the Inquirer points out, if you want an open source version you could read Intel‘s guide to the European Media…
  • You always dread when the press release becomes the news story.
  • Belated congratulations to Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson on their 50th PR podcast. In fact my best wishes are so late, the 51st PR podcast is now live, it covers a number of PR stories on the automotive industry and the LA Times’ new ethics guidelines.
  • I’m a big fan of closure, so we should note that the San Francisco 49’ers have a new head of PR.
  • For those thinking about tipping their toe into blogging, Susannah Gardner at the Online Journalism Review has a great overview of the various blogging tools. [Thanks to John Cass for the link]
  • Jeremy Pepper continues his interview series with Kethcum‘s Adam Brown.
  • You see even PR bloggers get bad blog relations pitches.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 19, 2005 at 9:31 am

Posted in General