Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas and see you in 2008!

Morgan PR has thrived in 2007 and regular readers will have kept pace with of successes over the past 12 months.

It has been terrific fun and clicking back through the many posts on this blog it is clear that it has been a great way to capture the wins and will of course live on an populate Google with its goodness!

However, the holiday season beckons, so please accept our apologies in advance for this will be the last post until that New Year arrives with all its promise and inspiration.

We're off to put the champagne on ice and will see you in 2008!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Goodwill to all Networkers!

Spirits were high this morning at the last Newbury Business Group meeting before Christmas this morning and at least some of the members had visited the recently introduced news pages on the group's website... in particular photos of the Christmas party last week.

One minute presentations were brimming with joy and goodwill (and the prerequisite smattering of friendly sarcasm) and it was thoroughly heart warming to hear the repeated tributes towards the group, for the success they had enjoyed during 2007.

Group chairman, Mark Arrowsmith from Snappy Snaps also gave an insight to his retail business, not least how well positioned it is to move forward with the all important customer service while the likes of Boots are switching to self service booths.

Our next meeting will no be on the 4th January, so do get in touch if you would like to start 2008 focused on the successful future that awaits members of this dynamic group, you would be welcome as our guest.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Patience Pays off for Architect's Press Release

When Morgan PR is advising companies on public relations we always preach patience as a virtue; if something is so time specific then it may be that advertising is the best route. However, a good news story that catches an editor's eye may wait several publication cycles before it is finally published.

Take for instance Inspiration Architect's brilliant performance in the International Property Awards held last month in Las Vegas. Morgan PR was quick to help them with a press release and photograph, not least as we had already successfully promoted the company reaching the final earlier in the year. This would also prove an incentive for the media to follow the story up.

However, it has taken three weeks before the above article has been published in the Newbury Property News. Yet clearly when you see the article as it has appeared - in the top right corner of a page - then it was obviously worth waiting for.

Inspiration Architects have been patient, but I have known others who will nag and cajole the newspaper to know when 'their story' will be published. Now how often do you think that backfires?

In the distant days when I was a reporter I can recall making the choice on what story would go forward from several of equal merit to fill a single space. Do you think any journalist feels disposed toward the company that nags?

So be patient. If a well written release does not appear then it merely gives you more credability next time as it could be perceived as 'your turn'.

Of course, if it was a badly written or poorly timed release... it didn't deserve to be published!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Always Check your Facts - Journalist Will!

Well, they might! But the point is if you are issuing anything into the public domain, from a mere blog post to a press release or business report, always check it. Double check it and ask someone who has not written it to check it too.

At the risk of heaving an enourmous boulder through the greenhouse of irony I am tackling this subject after a story from msnbc was feed into my eclectic collection of RSS feeds in Outlook. They do a 'weird news' column which largely focuses on the foibles of Americans.

The finance group Standard & Poor's (not exactly an inspirational for a financial services company!) analysed data for US News & World's inaugural report on America's Top 100 Schools... and erroneously placed a Vermont High School as the fifth best public high school in America. It was actually somewhere in the top 500 and it took the school itself to point out the error after publication of the report.

So red faces all around for the schoolboy maths error that has surely damaged Standard & Poor's reputation. However, a quick look at their website finds nothing by way of explanation or apology.

What lessons are there here? Obviously check your work lest you want to wear the eggs of shame - but also, if you do get it wrong, be open, honest and forward in correcting it and making every effort to resolve the problem. The quicker you do this, the less likely the public mistake is to become a press story.

Of course, sometimes mistakes are the perfect way to get publicity... but that is another story entirely!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Reach for the stars...

What would you think if you walked into a meeting room and found six adults, brandishing scissors, cutting out photos from magazines and enthusiastically sticking them down onto pieces of paper? That was the sight that greeted one of the guests attending the ActionCoach training seminar on Vision, Values and Purpose.

It had followed on from the regular fortnightly meeting and the exercise neatly tied in with working on creating our goals for 2008, helped along by some inspirational images. The theory is that if you can see who you want to be, what you need to do and what you want to have, you are far more likely to achieve it.

After Las Vegas our language has made our own ambitious goals for Morgan PR and beyond almost alarmingly real and our guru-like coach Sally Rainbow-Ockwell points out that the language we use has real impact on what we will achieve. Even just saying it can make it happen!

Sally had asked us to bring in our favourite magazines and laughed when Nigel brought in a copy of The Economist. Naturally she had hoped for a magazine brimming with aspirational images... Nigel finished his poster almost completely from The Economist, needing to venture into another only to secure a photo of an Aston Martin.

We all found it great fun and very revealing. Maybe not such child's play after all?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Big Night Out for the Breakfast Group

The great thing about members of Newbury's foremost networking group, as well as knowing how to do business, there certainly know how to party!

Over 40 of us gathered at the Michelin Recommended restaurant, The Square, in Weavers Walk, Newbury last night for the official Christmas Party of the Newbury Business Group and a good time was had by all.

Well, suffice to say that I suspect that some of the people enjoying themselves last night, might not be feeling to chipper this morning. Personally, I was the nominated driver so was sober for the evening and consequently bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning.

Quite fascinating was the emergence late on into the evening of the business equivalent of 'your my best mate you are' which variously revolved around assurances that great collaborative deals would be struck in 2008!

Anyway, I am indebted to fellow member and would be Paparazzi Eimear Noone for these photographs. More can be found on the Newbury Business Group website.

Pictured above left (and below left also) is my wife and Morgan PR Finance Director, Diane Morgan, with Eimear Noone and a rather scary looking Chris Turberville-Tully from Inspiration Ink. Below Diane is pictured with Robin and Judy Winnett from the Win IT Consultancy.

Above is your truly with Emily Turberville-Tully from Inspiration Ink, while pictured below are Mark Arrowsmith from Snappy Snaps and Tony Quinn from Recognition Express.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Food for thought at Breakfast Meeting

While sober may not be an option for many at tonight's Newbury Business Group Christmas Party, this morning's breakfast meeting was certainly sobering as Suzanne Goodland from Intergrating HR flagged up some of the pitfalls that face us business folk as we take on staff.

Suzanne had stepped up to offer the 10 minute presentation this morning and after a reassuring few flip chart pages of employment legislation that seemed familiar, she moved on to the Inland Revenue's penchant for deciding that Associates and freelancers might actually be de facto employees with all of the PAYE and National Insurance issues that brings.

Thankfully Suzanne's company, Intergrating HR, can provide the contracts of employment that will ward of such unwanted attention and it was clear that many of the members would be chatting with her very soon, not least Morgan PR!

However, the accolade for the most impressive performance of the meeting must surely go to Emily Turberville-Tully from Inspiration Ink, who used her one-minute to announce that she is pregnant! Heartfelt congratulations go to her and husband Chris!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Advertising Ellie Dickins

Morgan PR has been working with Ellie Dickins this week to design an advertisement to grace the pages of the Independent On Sunday after Ellie secured a quarter page in its TV magazine.

Out on the 23rd December it will no doubt be avidly read by Indy readers settling down for Christmas TV and hopefully they will be tempted to contact Ellie Dickins for her latest catalogue and news of the January sales.

Recently Morgan PR has been providing this service to more and more clients who have been less than thrilled with publications that take their money with little consideration or support given over designing an advert that would actually sell.

With them not offering so much as a call to action those clients have called us into action.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Las Vegas Reunion Tour

Graham and Karen Chapple, respectively of Garden4you and Irun (the website company formerly known as Web Build Pro) joined us in Hungerford for dinner last night – and their first taste of the ActionCoach game Leverage.

It was only our second game – you’ll recall we wrote about it here – but it was Graham & Karen’s first taste of the game they, like us, had heard Brad Sugars rave about as the ‘fun way to learn business’. It was actually the first time the four of us have been together since we attended the Entrepreneur's MasterClass in the States so it was good to catch up on the meteoric rise of our respective businesses.

Well, it was definitely more straightforward this time round and I do not mean just understanding the rules; there were nuances and probably trademarked blinding flashes of the obvious as principles dawned on us.

Less fun was the disarmingly named ‘Oops’ cards. We never got one of these last time we played and Graham – or ‘Lucky Graham’ as we shall ironically refer to him, picked the first and a few more ‘Oops’ cards. In fact we all did and learned a valuable lesson about those sneaky little problems that can thwart the most careful of business plans, from losing staff to a client going bankrupt and taking your unpaid invoices with them.

It was good fun – not least as I am far from convinced any of us imagine our dashing entrepreneur lifestyles involving Friday night board room sessions!

Friday, November 30, 2007

One to One Coaching with ActionCoach

One of the most valuable benefits of being part of an ActionCoach Profit Club is the one to one sessions with your Business Coach. Morgan PR belong to the Faringdon group, run by Sally Rainbow - Ockwell.

Sally visited us today and we reviewed the progress that we have been making since our return from the Brad Sugar's seminar in Las Vegas. The main task we are now embarking on is to put down on paper on personal and business goals for 2008. Any of the 90 Day goals we set during the year should serve these 12 month goals.

As a guide, if you know exactly how you will get there, they are not stretching enough! They have to be exciting or scary, or both. We look forward to setting these and then building towards them with our 90 day goals next year. It's going to be a fabulous 2008!

Have you set goals for 2008?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mind the Gaffe - Tube Announcer Fired

This photo is of Emma Clarke the until recently largely anonymous face behind the voice of the London Underground; 'mind the gap' and so on.

This photo was taken by the photographer Laurie Fletcher, one of a series of pictures of hithertoo anonymous voices, unveiled at an exhibition in August.

Perhaps Emma Clarke should have taken it as a warning her anonymity would not survive such exposure, for after in a piece in the Mail on Sunday where sher reported vowed not the travel by Tube her bosses fired her.
Being the voice she was ideally positioned to mimic herself too and had already posted spoof example of Tube announcements on her website.

Such gems as:
"Would the passenger in the red shirt pretending to read the paper
but who is actually staring at that woman's chest please stop. You are not fooling anyone, you filthy pervert."

"Would passengers filling in answers on their Sudokus please accept that they are just crosswords for the unimaginative and are not in any way more impressive just because they contain numbers."

"Here we are crammed again into a sweaty Tube carriage. ... If you're female, smile at the bloke next to you and make his day. He's probably not had sex for months."

All very funny and in her distinctive voice all the funnier. You might have to wait to listen to them though, Clarke's website has buckled under the deluge of dowloaders who have swooped to listen to the mp3s in the wake of this story. Although if you take a look at BBC News they are playing it too.

When you drill down into the copy the really interesting part is how the honey-toned Clarke is actually claiming the Mail on Sunday misquoted her. She claims she said words to the effect it would be dreadful to travel by Tube if it meant she kept hearing herself. Very different and probably not worthy of a sacking!

Absolutely she was unwise for speaking to the Mail - or very clever as she will be in greater demand now. So much so when London Underground decide she was wrongly sacked they will more than likely be unable to woo her back.

However, the moral is for London Underground. They have been widely and variously quoted by the world's media and universally seem a bit harsh. It would have been better to have kept comments brief while an investigation was carried out and slowed down this runaway train.

But then that would presume they spoke to a decent PR consultant before jumping on to the live rail.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Refreshing Approach from a Truly Super Market

Asked what kind of shop might qualify as a ‘hidden treasure’ people would be forgiven for not thinking of a 5,000 square foot supermarket in the heart of Wash Common in Newbury; however this independently owned branch of Budgens is not your typical supermarket.

Writing another feature for the 'Hidden Treasures' feature in next month's Newbury Business News brought me to Budgens where I discovered the transformation had begun in July last year when the store was bought by Mike Estlea, a man who understands that the customer comes first and that there is a place for a local supermarket that cares for its community.

He was honest and welcoming and I gained a fascinating insight into the business, although I perhaps remain most impressed by some thoroughly community minded action in the run up to November 5th.

Fireworks are very lucrative for retailers and clearly many look no further than the bottom line, but Mike Estlea took a different view and refused to sell fireworks, lest they be improperly used and upset local residents, his customers.

Better still on Halloween they introduced an ‘Over 18’ rule on the sale of eggs. Incidentally, at least 80% of those eggs come from local suppliers, like a growing range of products in store.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Out & About & Looking Good!

Do you recall earlier this month I wrote about Artifax, well the fruits of that labour were published yesterday in the Out & About magazine, published by the Newbury Weekly News.

The close up of the bronze meerkat statue has worked really well. Anyway, here is the page:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Uniquely Named Fifi & Moose

If you will allow me a sweeping generalisation, I believe that in business there are broadly speaking two kinds of owners: those who get it and those who don't. The former are likely to succeed and the latter may, but it will be in spite of themselves - and they will not have nearly as much fun.

Someone I think 'get's it' is Ali Goodman, the owner of the uniquely named 'Fifi & Moose' boutique in Weavers Walk, Newbury.

A former manager of Monsoon and Waud in Newbury, Ali had some very clear ideas when she launched the shop earlier this year . She explained: “I wanted a distinctly different shopping atmosphere which is friendly and relaxed, where there is no pressure.

“We are spread over two floors and the stock is constantly changing so customers are always surprised. We understand perfectly just how much women like to shop but also offer help to those who find it difficult putting their own look together. Customer service is a real focus for us and our team offer a friendly and warm welcome.

“It is about being on trend rather than high fashion. There is so much throw away fashion out there today but we like to endorse quality, our clothes are an investment.

Fifi & Moose is one of the 'Hidden Treasures' I have been learning so much about over the past week as Morgan PR writes about businesses that rightly or wrongly earn the title. This is a store that deserves to be found - although I know a few husbands who would strongly disagree with me!

And where does that name come from?

“Everyone asks that, but honestly, there is no story. Except everyone names boutiques after themselves and I wanted something different, something a bit more fun that people would comment on and most importantly remember... no-one can forget Fifi & Moose!”

Pork Favourite Christmas Meat: Say Turkeys!

Much of the time I am inclined to applaud and often comment on the wise words of Graham Jones, internet psychologist, however I am still retrieving my eyebrows from the loftier regions of my forehead after this post.

Entitled 'Email Marketing has yet to achieve anything' Graham reveals how a survey has revealed that British consumers would rather receive marketing direct mail than email. So that is junk mail rather than spam.

Leaving aside wondering how many people would rather receive neither, I was tickled to see that the survey that had discovered this preference for direct mail had be carried out for the Insitute of Direct Marketing. Gosh! Really?

I'm sorry, such cynicism. But honestly, can you ever imagine the direct mail industry putting out a release explaining what percentage of people had been irritated by poorly targeted direct mail? Or how many trees it takes to achieve the miniscule percentage conversion rate that makes direct mail pay?

Mandy Rice Davis, she of the 1963 Profumo Affair, is often misquoted as saying: "He would say that wouldn't he." She actually said in reply to a question in court as to why Lord Astor had denied meeting her: "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" But you get my sentiment!

Besides, at Morgan PR we have found that email marketing works very well and is more cost effective than direct mail. Of course, regardless of what method you use, it will always be the quality of your target that dictates return on investment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Wee Dram Room

Possibly the most enticing corner of any store in Newbury is The Dram Room, and indeed if you were a whisky drinking photographer then you might just have gone to heaven!

The Dram Room is one of the 'Hidden Treasures' in the forthcoming Newbury Business News next month and Morgan PR popped in there today and was positively awestruck by the array of around 100 different whiskies.

Situated in Cheap Street, The Dram Room is within T4 Cameras, hence my quip about photographer partial to the odd drop!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Accessory Queen Extends Her Kingdom

The Accessory Queen has celebrated its second birthday with style by expanding its kingdom in Newbury over another floor in its Northbrook Street store and introducing new fashions - and Morgan PR was on hand to turn this anniversary into an opportunity to gain some publicity.

We had visited the store's founder Sarah Burke as the company is advertising in a forthcoming edition Newbury Weekly News. It was during this that Sarah mentioned the birthday and in that way that Morgan PR spots the public relations opportunities and with a little luck she should receive some publicity for the milestone very soon.

Bubbling with enthusiasm she told me: “It is hard to believe two years has gone by already,” said the true Accessory Queen, Sarah Burke. “It has been so much fun and we are delighted with our expansion. We truly are a one stop shop for women now. We have shoes – again many of which you cannot find elsewhere, hats, gloves, scarves, bags and jewellery."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gaining Leverage in Business can be Fun

One of the training aids from Action Coach which I confess to having been somewhat dubious about was the board game ‘Leverage’, which always seemed to be a more complicated version of Monopoly. Well it is, but today I discovered that it is rather a fun way to be reminded of some important business lessons!

Our good friend Nora was visiting and having pioneered ‘Combat Monopoly’ was keen to join us in our inaugural game of ‘Leverage’. So with (Lord Nelson liqueur fittingly in hand - it was presented to us by the founder of the Hebridian Liqueur Company after we met at the Brad Sugars event in Las Vegas) steely determination we unpacked the game and set about playing.

Essentially you make your way around the board trying to build up cashflow through the traditional methods of increasing your prospects, conversion rate, products per customer sold, margin and so on, with a spinning dial determining the percentage increase you had won with, for instance, an advertising campaign.

It was getting rather complicated – and the Lord Nelson liqueur was rather good. So Diane had a brainwave: use Excel on the laptop, so a few minutes of programming later and managing our ‘Leverage’ accounts became a whole lot easier!

You also need to achieve a level of competence in four key areas: Accounting/Testing and Measuring, Systems & Technology, Delivery and Distribution and People & Education. These you have to buy – think ‘invest in’ - to achieve a certain level before you can win, no matter how good your cashflow.

In the event we ran out of time before reaching a natural conclusion; so we opted to score with a combination of cashflow and expertise achieved. I narrowly won, which seemed a vote in favour of building up cashflow before investing in infrastructure! But surely your cashflow increases more rapidly with systems in place?!

I’m not entirely convinced that in trying to explain the fun to be had in playing ‘Leverage’ that I haven’t convinced everyone reading this that it is just complicated Monopoly! But trust me, once you have that spreadsheet running to do the math, it is a breeze!

Friday, November 16, 2007

NRG giving!

Morgan PR went along today to the NRG Business Networks meeting at Wokefield Park as guests of ActionCoach Sally Rainbow-Ockwell. This proved to be a very well organised meeting, starting with delicious coffee and pastries and moving on to a useful Lead Generation seminar. A tasty lunch followed, and conversation with other NRG members.

Sally had described NRG as 'grown-up' networking and we could see what she meant; the more laid back nature of a lunch session allowed for a better opportunity to chat to people and discover more about them and their services than a breakfast normally allows. Then again, which of these meals eats less into the working day?

The members were very welcoming and it was an extremely pleasant way to do business. We will visit the Swindon meeting before making our minds up, as the geography suits us slightly better, but joining up to this innovative and forward thinking group at one or other location will definately be one of Morgan PR's New Year Resolutions.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Source for the News Good for a Gander

The self-styled Internet Psychologist Graham Jones is one of my favourite bloggers and can regularly be found telling us things that it will take the masses a long time to log on to.

Regular readers will know that it was this blogger that convinced Morgan PR to launch this blog in October 2006 - yes, over a year ago - and we have mentioned him numerous and he has done the same for us, both of which have always tickled Google's fancy.

Yesterday he posted an entry: Blogging will get your business more media attention which talks about a study that has found 74% of business journalists now use blogs or will use blogs as a source of information for stories.

This news does not surprise me. Journalists will routinely rely upon Google for finding sources and a good blog will quickly be found - and where are worth their weight is how much more realistic the conversational style of a well written blog is compared with the jargon riddled press releases that companies insist of deluging newspapers with.

A blog is brimming with quotes ready to be cut and pasted into a story. When I wrote about the media furore around the 16-year-old Police Community Support Officers who had joined Thames Valley Police, in my capacity as a former TVP press officer, the Sunday Express picked it up and had a 'former Thames Valley Police spin doctor has slammed...' story courtesy of Google. The story did not appear in the end, but I know how keen they are because they contacted me to clarify details. Such is the power of a blog.

I will urge all my clients to consider blogging and freely advise those who ask about blogging and whether it is worth it, that it truly is. This blog has in itself been a revenue stream with stone cold clients in waiting finding the blog through a combination of Google and blog search engines like Technorati, my own Morgan PR website and recommendation. The blog is a sales script in waiting that can introduce someone to our breadth of service and by the time they contact us many have already decided to use Morgan PR.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tales of the Unexpected

How can you delight your customers and get them recommending you to all their customers, friends and family?

This was the question addressed at the training session following the Faringdon Profit Club this morning, run by ActionCoach Sally Rainbow- Ockwell. Entitled 'Creating Raving Fans', the session covered how we can take a new look at the services we provide our customers and ensure we can provide both consistency and a 'wow' factor to what we do.

Sally also talked about Dr Paddi Lund, a dentist from Brisbane, Australia. Morgan PR heard Paddi speak a couple of months ago and are working on incorporating many of his philosophies into our business. His books are well worth a look for any business owner; they concentrate on the aspects of the business that often get overlooked, but can make such a difference when they are there.

Happy Birthday, Profit Club!

The Profit Club in Faringdon, run by ActionCoach Sally Rainbow-Ockwell, was one year old today. This was suitably celebrated with a buffet lunch and champagne, shared by Profit Club members and invited guests.

Sally took the opportunity to present her first annual awards after the lunch. Nick Evans of Safewell was the first to receive a prize for just how far he has developed his business, having had the foresite to joining the Profit Club just weeks after setting up his company.

It was with surprise and delight that Nigel had to hand over the camera to our guest Karen Chapple of irun WebBuild Pro, as he received his prize for the Profit Club member who has given most to other members over the past year. As many of you will know, Nigel is very generous with his time and advice and it was very kind of Sally to recognise this.

The top award went to Julie Farmer of myPA for the amazing changes that she has made both in her business and personally over the past year. I saw this change in Julie during her 60 second presentation earlier that morning; wow, she was so confident and relaxed, something I'm sure comes from being focussed and sure of where she is going.

Oh yes, and that picture of Morgan PR's award winning Managing Director with Sally Rainbow-Ockwell:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Blue Orchid and the Critical Non-Essentials

What a fabulous name that would be for a band? Thankfully it is also a suitably intriguing title for today’s blog post.

To clarify, The Blue Orchid is a Thai restaurant in Marlborough, Wiltshire, which we visited on Saturday evening with our good friends and talented entrepreneurs, Robin and Judy Winnett, and the Critical Non-Essentials (Or CNEs) are those little touches that while not essential to a business, can ultimately dictate its success or failure.

I wrote about Paddi Lund the guy who coined the concept of CNEs in a blog entry after a group of us went to see the Brisbane dentist live in Birmingham. Throw in the Brad Sugars event in Las Vegas which talked about the ‘common sense mistakes’ and it is little wonder that ever since it has been easy for Morgan PR to spot where businesses fall short on their CNEs.

Leaving aside the food, which was pretty good if rather small portions – not as good as the Siam Orchid in Andover but better than The Old Thai House in Newbury, which is still finding its feet. So it comes down to the supporting acts.

Disappointing was the intermittent topping up of wine. Now don’t think I’m not afraid to top up my own wine, I just feel that if someone starts then they should carry on; here it was done if someone thought to do it.

Poor to the point of complaint (if we were not frightfully British!) was the response when we asked for them to call us a taxi. It turns out they do not do that. It is ‘too difficult’. However, we were free to use their phone if we wanted to try! (In the event we walked out and picked up a taxi without any problem!).

Excellent was the way the same waiter who could not help with the taxi order positively shone with a unique flourish I’ve not seen before. Rather than pop the piping hot towelettes on the tables for us to pluck and juggle, he neatly tore each one open and presented them in turn. So we did not have to fiddle with those wrappers. How excellent was that?

Rather nice was the helping on with jackets as we left – imagine the impact of this quality departure if it had followed an entirely positive experience?

The restaurant has been ‘under new management since 12 July’, as a notice informed us, so maybe it too is finding its feet.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Putting a Framer in the Frame

Morgan PR has a fun photographic job today – we seem to have done rather well this week for such projects, because Capital Corporate Finance was more fun than I am sure is technically allowed; this morning I was at Artifax, the picture framing shop that is also brimming with unique and original artwork and gifts.

Owner Jean Ince had made me very welcome earlier in the week when we met to discuss a feature we had been commissioned to write for her advertisement in the forthcoming edition in the Newbury Weekly News leisure magazine Out & About.

This is a business that puts the customer at the fore and I’ve no doubt the warmth expressed to me is something that every visitor to the store enjoys.

Power Breakfast at Newbury Business Group

For a few weeks now yours truly has opted for the fruit when I attend the Newbury Business Group on a Friday morning.

All very noble you might think and indeed, the average nature of the ‘full English’ should make switching to fruit an easy choice; however, the fruit arrives diced. Imagine the individual sized pieces that a youthful tortoise might require and you are in the right area.It also seems to take an age to arrive.

So much so people joke about the fruit being freshly imported – once it has been ordered. The problem has gotten worse with the town’s foremost networking group’s burgeoning popularity.

When members and guests are growing in number week on week, the food (not least the rabbit food) is taking longer and longer to arrive.So when it got to my one minute this morning and most people were pushing their plates aside, I was still waiting for one to arrive.

So I launched into a remarkably good natured account of how Morgan PR was working on a story about how long it would take for me to get my breakfast...And as if by magic the waitress appeared with my plate of severely chopped fruit.
“That,” I said. “Is the power of PR!”
Of course, don’t let a slow breakfast service put you off what is a cracking group, not just from the referrals that members bring one another, but the collaborative work that goes on among members too.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Far from Frosty Reception for Property Press Release

Content aside, public relations is as much about timing as target; get the timing wrong and the most carefully crafted press release can end up in the bin – and in our email age the recycle bin and worst still with a junk mail rule if it’s inconvenient arrival irks a news editor.

With websites the timing matters much less than with print or broadcast media, but ensuring the release is actually still a news story remains paramount.

A press release for Morgan PR client, lettings agent County Property Management about how Michelle Monahan is warning her tenants about the dangers of freezing temperatures that will soon grip West Berkshire was sent out in ample time for next week’s Newbury Weekly News’ Property News.

It was also sent to the paper’s online property website Living in West Berkshire. We will see next week if the newspaper publishes the story, but Living in West Berkshire published the story online within a matter of minutes of receiving the press release.

The lesson here is to recognise that websites, by their dynamic and immediate nature, often welcome press releases; but always remember they need to be not only well written, but also a story.

Have You Got a Minute?

Those networkers amongst you could well start spotting some dynamic, all new and improved one minute presentations at your various meetings very soon.

Business people from across West Berkshire and the Thames Valley attended the FSB One Minute Masterclass, organised by Michelle Lucas of GreenFields life and executive coaching and run by ActionCoach Sally Rainbow- Ockwell earlier today at the very swish, indeed Michelin recommended lsq2 brasserie at GreenPark in Reading.

It was cappuchinos and lattes all round as a curious crowd gathered to find out how to improve their pitch when standing jelly-legged in front of other entrepeneurs.
With some killer tips dished out by Sally it was left to Lucy Venables of Red Prosper and my fellow director and husband, Nigel went first to show us how it should be done.

Working in couples and groups, confidence soon grew and by the end, the nerve wracking ordeal that is public speaking seemed slightly less daunting.

So look out for the polished pitches coming to a meeting near you soon!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fun Photography Can Mean Business

How's this for a happy corporate picture? Morgan PR captured the cheerful trio from Capital Corporate Finance earlier today.

We had written about the finance company previously for a business publication as well as on this blog and also taken a photograph of Helen Mackenzie (pictured above centre) and that led to a request to take photographs of the three directors for a variety of different publications and media.

Helen, Ross Smith and Carole Roe were good fun to work and keen to have their pictures taken. Honestly it made this a much easier job than those were staff are told I'm taking their photo!

And just to show you that it wasn't all laughter in every photograph, another shot below.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Hat Will Do Nicely

After shoes at the top end of Hungerford High Street, Morgan PR switched to hats at the other end of town when we spent some time with Jane Corbett today, to offer advice about PR and marketing.

Jane runs a beautiful shop in Hungerford, Jane Corbett Millinery, packed with beautiful, hand made hats and headdresses. The shop is a real treat for the eyes, as each place you look you see more of her gorgeous, unique pieces. The walls are decorated with hand painted designs and it has the feel of a decedent boudoir; the rush and traffic of the high street outside seems to fade away.

Delightfully, Jane herself takes pride in offering a bespoke service to each client. She explores their needs and can dye silks, straw and feathers to exactly match outfits and meet requirements. A visit to her would make any lady feel truly pampered.

Jane has plans to develop her business, which are under wraps until spring next year (you'll notice we avoided the 'keeping it under our hats' pun!). Suffice to say that there will be even more reasons to visit!

Public Relations in Hungerford

Morgan PR offers public relations throughout West Berkshire and the Thames Valley, still, it is always nice to serve clients much closer to home - and this morning we were with Hungerford shoe magnate Ellie Dickins.

We have written about Ellie many times in the past and taken photographs too, so it was nice to be taking it to the next level and we will be working with her across her two shops and three brands: Ellie Dickins, Dickins for Men and Diddy Dickins and using the range of services we can provide; from public relations and marketing through to web marketing and search engine optimisation and graphic design.

Ellie already enjoys a strong market presence and a reputation that goes far beyond the market town where she is based.

We will be working with her to capitalise on this to improve brand awareness and ultimately increase sales; sometimes public relations is done for its own sake, but mostly it will always be about increasing sales and that is something that Morgan PR fully understands.

So look forward to hearing more about the work we are doing with Ellie Dickins very soon.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Best Christmas Shop in Newbury

The Christmas lights have been twinkling in shops for far too many weeks already, however, it was a trip to Tiger Tiger in Bartholomew Street Newbury, that has gotten Morgan PR into the festive frame of mind – although we were actually putting Tiger Tiger into the frame with some festive photography!

There is a wonderful vintage feel to Tiger Tiger this Christmas; vintage gold and silver baubles sparkle and Newbury’s premier independent lifestyle shop seems to sparkle like a precious jewel as it welcomes shoppers tempted by the myriad of delights inside.
It is the delightfully eclectic mixture of gifts and concepts that has won Tiger Tiger legions of near evangelical enthusiasts and draws in new converts every single day. Chosen by owner Allison Brook and buyer Tracey Avery, the diverse range of products has something to appeal to everyone.
Morgan PR has been writing and photographing Allison and Tiger Tiger for some four years now and it is fantastic to see someone realise so much in the competitive retail market.

And I mean it about Christmas at Tiger Tiger; seriously, this is the most Christmassy place this side of Santa’s Grotto – and obviously I mean the real one!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

'Are You A Photographer?'

'Are you a photographer?'

So began an somewhat curious conversation in Marlborough town centre earlier today. It was a fairly astute question from one of a pair of teenage girls who were stood near to my car as I wrestled with what was obviously a camera bag.
'Yes, amongst other things' I replied.
Somewhat warily as there was a distinct challenge in the girl's question. I had visions of becoming a news story when I was robbed at knifepoint by two teenage girls in rather affluent Marlborough!

'You should be ashamed' she practically spat before they stormed off.
Actually more of an angry flounce really.

Somewhat taken aback and looking around for the punchline I was reminded of a party I was at the day after Princess Diana died in Paris, and had to leave early after suffering the wrath of alcohol fuelled party people who had made the clumsy leap from 'Police Press Officer' as I was then, and 'Murdering Paparazzi Scum'. Actually it possibly had more to do with me pointing out that if people had not devoured publications who bought such photos there would not be an market for them.

Anyway, back to bewildered in Marlborough... it took a comment from a client I was visiting to bring everything into sharp focus and neatly explained my exposure to teenage wrath. It turns out that tabloid villain/darling and abundantly misunderstood drug addict/musician Pete Doherty is staying in the town and gigging at the local pub as he 'gets clean'.
I had a camera bag and was obviously therefore trying to pap Pete. I hasten to add I know lots of photographers and none of them would ever go to work suited and booted like I was!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What Bill & Hillary Clinton Can Teach Us...

Channel surfing late last night I found myself flicking between the US Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton chatting to Ellen DeGeneres and her husband and former US President Bill Clinton chatting with David Letterman. (Which always sounds like: “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyvid Letterman” in my head after watching too many episodes in my youth).

American politics has fascinated me since I studied it many moons ago and this was only encouraged when called upon to explainer the finer constitutional points of The West Wing to bewildered friends. And few things are quite so entertaining as an election campaign the other side of the Atlantic. Okay, quite a few things are probably more entertaining, but bear with me.

The most fascinating thing about the Bill and Hillary Show was how ‘on message’ they were – but not in the clumsy way our politicians all parrot the same key phrases. It was much more subtle and so polished; using different words they told the same stories, answered questions with common answers and gave such a slick performance to almost be convincing. Okay, they are two very talented operators, but it was still impressive.

It made me think about how many companies fall down on the concept of being ‘on message’? Every day Morgan PR visits organisations and we often learn all about how they wish to be seen in order to carry out public relations projects; however, it is not uncommon to also meet staff who is unaware or indifferent to the messages we will be pushing out.

Makes you wonder if we actually can learn something from politicians!

Friday, October 26, 2007

New VIP Phone Service from Verbatim

Verbatim is well known in West Berkshire and beyond as The Phone Answering Service; it handles thousands of calls every day for companies large and small (including Morgan PR) so that no caller is faced with an engaged tone, endless ringing or hated answer phone.

Praised by customers for its professionalism, Verbatim is rolling out the red carpet with a new VIP service that adds a personal touch that has enhanced the service yet further.

I found out more when Morgan PR met with Joint MD at Verbatim, Graham Hill for a feature in the November edition of the Newbury Business News.

Essentially clients who provide Verbatim with the telephone numbers and other details of the clients, suppliers and even family and friends will benefit from a VIP service that recognises these callers and gives them the personal service you hope your own team would. Probably they'll do it better!

It would natural to assume such personal service comes at a price, but this is not the case, as Graham told me with a smile: “We were asked by some clients whether we would be charging a premium for this new service. However, we are most certainly not because we believe we should do our best for all of our clients no matter what they spend with us.”

For Morgan PR Verbatim has been one of our most powerful tools. Soon after we signed up we were contacted by a company in Andover looking for PR support; it turned out they had turned to Google to look for local public relations services, and Morgan PR was among the top three in Basingstoke, Andover and Newbury and the company called all three. Morgan PR was the only one who answered – or rather Verbatim handled the call for us. That one answered call led to initial business worth £2,000 and a lifetime value which will far exceed that. I know that without Verbatim that business would have been unwittingly lost.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why Comment on Blogs?

With everything I have written about Action Coach recently it seems rather fortuitous that I stumbled across a request for information about them on an American Real Estate Network called Active Rain and more specifically the blog of Jason Romrell, an attorney in Boise, Idaho in America.

So it was good to be able to post a comment to answer his question and hopefully answer the same question for other people too! It is one of the best parts of the blogging community.

One disappointing aspect of the comments allowed on this blog is how they do not trackback, so had I not written my web address within the text – although that does not appear as a hyperlink – no-one reading my comment could had contacted me to find out more information. Nor does it especially add to the search engine optimisation of either blog. This entry on the other hand...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Police Weapon - the Blunder Bus

No fewer than 17 people have rushed to email Morgan PR the above photo that must surely be causing some red faces at Hampshire Police? Is it an Advertising blunder?

That exhaust pipe! Did nobody sign off on this job? Or, is it acutally a very cunning bit of viral marketing, after all, who has looked at this and not noted the fact is shows a police officer with a police community support officer (I've not actually seen them together in real life). Or the force's website address?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Learn to Create Raving Fans at Profit Club

Learn to Create Raving Fans at Profit Club

We are still fizzing with entrepreneurial energy after Vegas (at least we are when the jet lag isn’t try to tempt us with a goose down escape strategy) and today’s trip to the fortnightly Profit Club provided ample evidence.

For those not familiar with Action Coach’s Profit Clubs I can best describe them as a fortnightly networking meeting – with generous levels of business coaching included. It is even more than that because so much more than simply selling to the people your fellow attendees know, you swap advice and experiences and grow together. Because let’s not forget, as good as we are at delivering Morgan PR’s core offerings of public relations, photography, web design and mystery shopping, we are still learning the mechanics of running a successful business. Anyone who says they are not is quite possibly in denial!

The Profit Club, run in Faringdon by award winning Action Coach Sally Rainbow-Ockwell, has always been exceptional value and leaving aside the invaluable business coaching, the referred business has been fabulous.

However, today everything seemed to have even more resonance than normal; clearly motivated by the Entrepreneur’s MasterClass in Las Vegas we are redoubling our efforts and making the most of this investment.

We meet fortnightly on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 8am to 9.30am and you would certainly be welcome to join me as a guest, however more specifically I thought your curiosity might be piqued by this month’s training session: ‘Creating Raving Fans’. The two hour session, from 10am to midday on the 13th November at the Gateway Business Centre in Faringdon (more info on the venue, which is just over the downs!) and will be delivered by Sally. Normally for non Profit Clubbers the charge is £49.50, but this event will be free to celebrate our first birthday.

So, spaces are limited, but if you would like to come along just let me know pronto. Naturally, if anyone wants to come as a guest to the 8am Profit Club immediately before the training session, they are more than welcome.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Leaving Las Vegas

The final blog entry from Vegas, or rather the Virgin Atlantic flight that speeding us back to Blighty; finding ourselves ahead of the game more from prudence than any gambling success we have shouted for an upgrade – or at least succumbed to the canny selling of the exit seats, with their vast legroom, for a mere $110 each.

So with this laptop perched on the ingeniously designed tray that folds out of the armrest, I am brimming with thought on the ‘Bright Light City’ we have left twinkling in the Nevada desert behind us.

I like Vegas. From the gaudy facades to the chiming slot machines, there is actually a rather charming honest dishonesty to the place; it is so off the chart that it creeps back on near the top again.

I had always held Vegas, in all its vulgar glory, as a pinnacle of customer service. When I first visited almost 10 years ago the obsessive pursuit of every spare cent a gambler had – and plenty they didn’t – contributed to making the client king.

From the ever present cocktail waitress who would saunter up with a smile if you so much as slowed near a slot machine or gaming table, through to the universal belief that queues were bad because queuing people don’t spend anything.

However, as surely as the sprawling buffets have been replaced with quality and often gourmet restaurants, customer service has suffered as Vegas has become an entertainment centre as much as it is a gambling Mecca.

What’s more the boasted 98% occupancy rates on the Las Vegas strip and often beyond have further gone to reinforce the arrogance that allow hotels cut corners on customer service safe in the knowledge that starry eyed punters will still keep coming.

Take The Venetian for example; accurately marketed as one of the most luxurious hotels on The Strip, its often shoddy customer service – from the snaking queues to schoolboy errors – we were missing robes for example and asked for some to be brought. The first time we got six new sets of towels and the next we got a new pair of pillows – and each time Priority Room Service would leave a message cheerfully checking we had received the robes! Eventually, a kindly maid sorted it out.

Add to that the day the room was not made up, the surliness of too many staff and it is little wonder that we are confident we will not return to The Venetian.

However, all that said, we would still return to Las Vegas, because for all the diminished fawning over everyone from the lowliest gambler to the record breaching whales, this is still a very entertaining city.

But of course, they clearly know that.

Incidentally, a special mention in dispatches must go to the cheerful air stewardess who sat in the jump seat opposite and kept us entertained throughout the flight: Sophia Moret was a credit to Virgin Atlantic and more chipper than some cabin crew I've encountered. We are particularly indebted to her advice on how to deal with seat stealing bandits who were paying attention to the free $110 seat next to us!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Realty Bites

Our last day with Brad was a monster! Never more evident was it that this three day course must surely be the one that normally lasts for five that he mention in his book ‘Billionaire in Training’.

Not to say it wasn’t good stuff; it was just that there was so much of it and it was a pretty steep curve for someone resting on the lowly, but essential, first rung of the property ladder.
I’m not about to give away the family jewels, or rather the strategies that will have our daughter’s great grandchildren talking about us in reverent tones in he really not so distant future, but make no mistake, just as he did yesterday with businesses, Brad did today with real estate.
Near incredulous figures were amply evidenced and further evidenced by his anecdotes of how he had already done all this. And that is something fundamental about what Brad delivers: this isn’t just theory from someone who went to Business School; he had done it and is still doing it.

Something interesting that emerged during the meal breaks was the relative disparity on the amount that different people had paid. For example the UK price was £4,000 for a pair of tickets with a set of five DVDs included, which were filmed when Brad delivered this course last year in New Zealand.

Australians had pad a similar figure of A$7,500 without receiving any DVDs – what they did reveal was how Brad’s pitch to his various home crowds had whipped the curious up before announcing there were only 20 places – creating a frenzied 10 minutes of signing up. One Aussie thought, although couldn’t be sure, that more than 20 had successfully signed up.

The stunner though was the poor Americans who had apparently paid a whopping US$10,000 each for their tickets to this event. Without any Freebies either!

This isn’t a criticism (although I wonder if my American counterparts would see it this way) and it surely attests to Brad’s undoubted business acumen that he set prices the different markets would sustain.

Action Coach had shouted a free bar to mark the end of the three day course and let’s face it, however close we all might be to our first millions; nobody turns down a free drink! Or three.

We had kinda planned to head out on the town for our last night; however our rather full brains - or perhaps blossoming billionaire wannabe prudence - prompted pizza on Priority Room Service (there is no ordinary room service!) followed by an early night!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Blue Man Group Live in Las Vegas

Not surprisingly day two had left our heads bulging only marginally less than our wallets will no doubt soon be, so it was nice to be heading out for a typical Vegas night (gambling excepted) namely dinner and a show.

Also in true Vegas style we were being ‘comped’ by Action Coach to say a generous sorry for a admin mistake. So we and Karen and Graham Chapple were invited to join Action Coach’s Marketing Director, Jodie Shaw and Brad Sugar’s Personal Assistant, Jane Moharich for the typical Vegas night out – dinner and a show!

Actually, it was a show then dinner. We went to see the fabled Blue Man Group, one of the resident shows at The Venetian, and it was bonkers. Total all enveloping madness that confounded, entertained and astounded in equal measure before the entire audience was swamped in acres of glorified toilet roll, that fed from the back of the theatre and we all played it forward until it ended in a mega heap at the foot of the stage.

Dinner was at Taqueria Canonita, the Mexican restaurant among The Venetian’s 20 or so eating venues. Good food and generously measured margaritas combined with some entertaining conversation.

It was fascinating to be given an insight into this globally successful company by two people so close to its founder. It was also interesting how much of the learning from the first two days of MasterClass filtered through into the conversation – Jane mentioned about a company offering holidays and multi-million dollar resorts around the globe – individual properties worth millions – that were available through membership of some illustrious club with an equally expensive buy in.

Well, with our newly installed ‘millionaire mindset’ (Cheers Brad!) we were working out how we could afford the actual properties, not membership of a club where you share them!

The Action Coach Secrets Are Revealed

After the inspirational brain dump of yesterday, day two of the Entrepreneur’s MasterClass began on more familiar ground as Brad Sugars imparted many familiar strategies and a few new ones that he and his team of Action Coach business gurus teach clients the world over.

Or as Brad put it: 'You can't have a business that works without you as the owner until you first have a business that works, and prior to that, it's got to be both commercial and profitable'.

So it was a crash course in the ‘six steps’ that I already know from Profit Club and Action Coach’s 90 Day Planning Seminar. These are the stages that any truly successful business must achieve.

Those six steps are:

  1. Mastery

  2. Niche

  3. Leverage

  4. Team

  5. Synergy

  6. Results

Now whilst I have learned this points before there was something truly exceptional about hearing them explained by their author; it breathed a powerful energy into the concept that once again had ideas sparking in my head so fast it hurt!

Brad quickly assumed we would all soon have sparkling examples of such businesses – in fact it was clear some disciples in the room were already there! This allowed him to move on to the dizzy heights of buying, building and selling other businesses – how about that for a paradigm shift? It is not just about building our existing business; it is about taking it to the next level.

Much of the afternoon was spent exploring the franchise model; after all if you can build one successful business model, what would happen if that could be duplicated elsewhere. Think of the passive income that would come from other companies following your lead?

I’m not about to reveal Brad’s secrets here in this blog – you can buy his books and DVDs or even shout for the next Entrepreneur’s MasterClass if you want to know what I know now! Anyway, to reveal it here would be akin to revealing a recipe for homemade explosives. It would be wrong and although you might be curious you would wisely not try it. If you did you would probably end up hurting yourselves and possibly others!

You could always join the local Profit Club! I cannot wait to get back to the Profit Club I attend in Faringdon with my own Action Coach guru Sally Rainbow-Ockwell to start putting this stuff into reality – I already feel like I am practising much of it – this time it will be for real!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Entrepreneurs of the World Unite

It Begins! Somewhere over 300 people from the UK, America, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa gathered together today in Las Vegas to hear Billionaire Brad Sugars deliver his Entrepreneur MasterClass.

Much of today was about instilling in us the mindset we need to have to become the successful entrepreneurs we all long to be. Delivered with near evangelical fervour at times it was powerful and motivating stuff.

Brad has that easy going charm that comes with being Australian – and no doubt being a billionaire helps too! But seriously, what he is proving very adept at is illustrating each point he makes with evidence from his own rise to riches – and not in an unhelpful ‘look at me’ kind of way that you might expect, he genuinely explains what he means, and checks back to ensure we’ve all understood his point.

The seminar is rattling along at a considerable pace – you get the feeling that a five day course has been squeezed into three days totally unabridged! Actually Brad keeps rounding on the audience as if they are not paying attention when they do not respond to his questions. The truth is we are all still furiously scribbling away trying to capture the point he just made!

There are real strategies here; real ways to develop not only our business but invest in other businesses too and on how to create real wealth. I mean real, inter-generational wealth that will have descendants born long after we’re dead talking about us as the origin of the family fortune.

It was little wonder that plans for a night out were abandoned for an early supper and an early night as we tried to digest the mountain of information we had been given.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Start Spreading the News... It's Graham's Birthday Today

After a day yomping up and down the strip and marvelling at the host of clever marketing ploys that are designed to part a fool and his money in the briefest of time frames, we headed to New York, New York for a celebration...

Graham Chapple, of Garden4You, notched up a birthday here in Las Vegas and with his focus set on a juicy steak we headed for New York, New York where we correctly surmised you could probably find a convincing facsimile of a New York steakhouse - this is the casino with a third size Statue of Liberty outside - alongside the Brooklyn Bridge and Coney Island roller coaster!

However, blissfully there was a wait for a table at Gallagher's Steakhouse (a good sign on a Tuesday in a city as accommodating as Las Vegas!) so we looked for alternative entertainment... and stumbled into perhaps my favourite place in this crazy place: The Bar at Times Square - or more specifically that should be The Piano Bar at Times Square!

For this is the home of the globally renown duelling pianos. I first saw them in 1998 and it was fabulous to see that the pianos were still duelling, the crowd still whooping and a host of crowd pleasing tunes were belted out.

You can nominate tunes with a crisp dollar or five and they will encourage more people to chip in before the chosen tune is played - however if you step up with a $20 they will do pretty much anything - such as help Graham celebrate his birthday.

More specifically they invited him up to sit on the piano while they improvised a smutty ditty to the tune of Itsy Witsy Teeny Weeny Little Polka Dot Bikini! Graham was a good sport, the crowd loved it and a complete stranger bought him a beer. Gotta love this city!

Once at Gallagher's were were positively drooling over the menu and were quite dehydrated by time the food eventually came; and then we were left stunned! I had a sirloin steak that would have fed our family for Sunday lunch! However Graham had a monster hunk of meet that was possibly a fairly mature calf going on size alone. The flavours were fabulous by I was defeated by mine, although the birthday boy did his real justice!

Here we are at the optimistic part of the meal:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bright Light City...

Morgan PR is working the other side of the Atlantic this week; a seminar with Action Coach founder Brad Sugars has tempted us to the neon-lit delights of Las Vegas.

Actually this blog post has begun life somewhere over the mid west United States on a laptop, but could only be posted from the luxury of The Venetian Casino and Hotel, as apparently if my laptop so much as sniffs for a wireless connection at 32,000 feet... well, that height might diminish somewhat sharply!

We had been sat neatly in a row, but discretion being the better part of valour we moved forward mid flight into a pair of empty seats where we are allowed to use the recline function. A rather thick-necked Daily Mail reader behind my original seat made it quite clear he did not want his interaction with news of illegal immigration, single mums and gypsies complicated by my seat reclining. I believe that Lady Luck is related to Karma, so I am sure he will have a fruitful trip to Vegas!

We are flying with Virgin Atlantic and the staff are consistently charming and friendly and the seats – when permitted to recline – are comfortable with good legroom. Actually, it is nicer on board, even for what was 10 hours, than it was for nearly three at Terminal 3 Gatwick.

Seriously, what is it about British airports that makes them so damn depressing? They are cramped and dirty, with a limited range of overpriced goods being sold by charmless staff who are already looking through you to the next captive customer. Compare what we offer air travellers with the likes of Kuala Lumpur’s airport in Malaysia and well, it is embarrassing.

Anyway, that gruesome experience is behind us – and thankfully when you fly home there is not normally any need to hang around in the airport.

Naturally, it is the business insight of a billionaire that will be the highlight of this week in Las Vegas, however, if we break it down into further categories then the gourmet delights of this entertainment capital will surely win our hearts, minds and stomachs!

The British chef Gordon Ramsey has whetted our appetites with the US version of Hell’s Kitchen, which while based in Los Angeles, features Vegas quite heavily as two previous winners have ended up at restaurants there.

Courtesy of Google, I found an interview with Ramsey in the Las Vegas Sun, which has set me salivating sooner.

“Las Vegas is the Monte Carlo of America. I have never been in a city like it that houses so many top international chefs,” Ramsay said. “It’s not a playground with a few casinos. It’s a culinary capital of talent from around the world.”

Ramsay said he would one day like to join that talent.

“It would be an extraordinary opportunity. I would love to get to Vegas.”

Well he might love to get to Vegas, but we are already here!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

Next week the Morgan PR blog will be coming to you live – well live-ish – from Las Vegas, Nevada where we will be attending a seminar with the founder of Action Coach, Brad Sugars.

It was back in July that we attended a seminar at Newbury Racecourse for a two hour dose of the Australian Billionaire’s wisdom and ultimately a sales pitch to bring thrusting business owners to Las Vegas for his ‘Billionaire in Training’ business seminar.

We’d been wavering until Sally Rainbow-Ockwell, whose Action Coach Profit Club I attend, encouraged us to talk to the man one on one and, well, clearly you don’t get to be a billionaire entrepreneur without learning a thing or two about selling! Or it might just be that infectious Aussie charm that makes party invites hard to refuse – even when they involve yours truly making four hour drives across the outback (but that’s another story!).

So dark and early we will be on our way – that is myself and fellow director and wife Diane Morgan. Also on our flight are Graham Chapple from Garden4You and his wife Karen, who is the dynamo behind both Irun (formerly Web Build Pro Newbury) and the invaluable local directory, The Best of Newbury.

With the seminar not starting until Thursday and Graham celebrating his birthday on Tuesday, we have a strong suspicion that this trip might not be all work.

However there will be plenty of work and hopefully some marvellous networking opportunities. Although delegates will be coming from around the world, there were also some 22 people who signed up at the Newbury event for either this seminar or the one in December.

So although more used to promoting our public relations in West Berkshire, who knows what we will achieve once in Nevada!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good Food at The Ibex in Chaddleworth

Regular readers will recall Morgan PR's productive working lunch last month with Lucy Venables from marketing company Red Prosper at The Ibex in Chaddleworth. You can read about that visit to The Ibex here

Well with more business to discuss it seemed foolish to try and pick another mutually convenient pub and risk not being served the delicious dishes that this Downlands venue has a burgeoning reputation for. And that was the right decision and Landlord Andy did us proud once more.

Among the range of business discussed was a rather exciting project for the Federation of Small Businesses. We are going to be offering a 'One Minute Masterclass' next month for networkers wanting to polish that essential 60 second pitch that helps others understand your business and what you can do to

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Discussing the Finer Points of Beauty Treatment

Working with people you like should be a guarantee rather than a bonus in business; wouldn't we all be that much happier? Today I was left in particularly good spirits as work and friendship embraced in a delightful synergy!

Morgan PR was back with Naseby Needles after far too longer absence to discover what acupuncturist Julia Stanbrook has been up to recently.

She has added some new beauty treatments to her repertoire including 'Gua Sha', essentially a non invasive version of her trademark Face Revitalisation Therapy. Both are genuine alternatives to the toxic injections better known as Botox.

For many, acupuncture is better known for its effective treatment of a host of ailments from headaches and migraines to skin conditions such as acne, excema, psoriasis and rosacea; however the approaching autumn and winter months will bring an increasing number of clients to see Julia for ailments peculiar to the season.

Or as Julia eloquently puts it: “There are ailments acupuncture helps throughout the year, but autumn and winter bring their own demands. I help a lot with conditions exacerbated by the cold and of course pain relief following slips and falls in icy conditions.

“Depression is something acupuncture can help with and while I see clients throughout the year, for some the dark winter months do make it worse, but the stresses of the season can also take their toll.

“Equally, your immune system can take a real battering with everyone coughing and sneezing around you as they seem to do the moment the clocks go back; however acupuncture can give your immune system that boost it needs. With your immune system at its best you are much less likely to concede defeat to cold or flu.

“Acupuncture is not just about preventing those unwanted bugs, it can also help those that you’ve picked up over the summer, perhaps after a long flight, and that you just cannot shake off. In the same way that boosting your immune system can fight off infection, it can also combat existing conditions too.”

Monday, October 08, 2007

Supercool Brand in Newbury

Stepping into the newly redesigned store in Newbury is like passing through a portal into the future; yet among the stunning array of equipment on display are iconic designs from the past that any audio visual connoisseur will recognise. This is Bang & Olufsen.

With the new appearance and latest products also comes a new approach at the store, which is opposite Newbury’s historic Clocktower in The Broadway. Visitors are positively encouraged to try out the products to understand first hand their quality, performance and ease of use.

After spending mere moments in this store it is easy to comprehend why Bang & Olufsen was voted within the top five supercool brands in the world, up there with iconic names like Aston Martin.

I am also rather glad that for some odd reason I left my wallet behind today! There is some seriously sexy kit in this store and some serious prices - although the charming owner, Phil McMichael was at pains to explain: “Bang and Olufsen is not expensive when you start looking at it in terms of the design, build, components and the future proof nature of the products,” Phil explained. “They are aspirational products and our customers might buy a home cinema one year and come back the next for a music system and so on."

Morgan PR was visiting this emporium of iconic design to research a series of articles we have been commissioned to write.