Wednesday, May 30, 2007

4Networking Arrives in Newbury

I was at the launch of a brand new networking event this morning and I have to say 4Networking truly is something very different indeed!

Okay, yes it was a breakfast meeting and we did each spend some 60 seconds talking about our business to the group, but that was where the similarity ends! 4Networking has taken everything most other networking groups consider sacred... and dumped them in the waste bin of moribund business practices!

It was such a breath of fresh delightful air to hear how there are no restrictions on who can become a member - so if other public relations companies in Newbury wanted to join they would be welcome to sit alongside me! How odd is that in the world of networking? People from the same sectors in the same group? Heresy some would cry, before yelling 'Objection' and trying to ringfence their precious referrals.

Actually that is another difference - no referrals! The belief is you will naturally give referrals if you have them, but there is no complusion to do so.

What is most likely to lead to referrals is 4Networking's USP - the meeting concludes with a series of one to one sessions, time when you can really get to know someone and their business offering. How quickly will you discover if this is someone you want to refer business to? Exactly!

Hope to see you there soon!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Web Ink Now Says: Hire a Journalist!

I am constantly adding blogs to my newsfeeder through referral and discovery, but there is one that has been keeping me entertained and teaching a certain seasoned canine new magic and that is Web Ink Now

However it took a posting I read today to spur me into action and urge my readers to visit this wise web source.

Clearly knowledgeable, its author, David Meerman Scott, has made a very reasoned argument: Attention Marketers: Hire a Journalist! Not least when he writes:

"A journalist skillfully creates interesting stories about how an organization solves customer problems and then delivers those stories in the form of ebooks, white papers, content rich web pages, podcasts, and video. And consumers love it. How refreshing to read, listen to, and watch these products of journalistic expertise instead of the usual product come-ons that typical corporations produce."

Okay, the more observant of you will have spotted the transatlantic way of spelling organisation and realised we are talking about an American blog here, but nevertheless he does make a very good argument for why you should hire me here in the Thames Valley or more precisely Newbury.

Those already enjoying the limelight that comes from residing in the Morgan PR stable will know that Web Ink Now speaks wisely, for a journalistically trained PR will outperform a classroom mollycoddled marketeer, or media studies zombie when it comes to producing sparkling copy that will seduce the most grizzled news editors.

And it not just me saying that!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Catching the Stagecoach

I try not to work on Saturdays but sometimes it is nice to make an exception – I was at Stagecoach Newbury, held at The Clere School in Burghclere earlier today; the local theatre school franchise that is more about building self esteem in young people as it is the performing arts.

Freyja Westall and her team are good fun and without doubt one of the best providers of activities for children that I have written about, so much so that this is where I hope my daughter will go when she turns six next year.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Web Build Pro offers web design solution

New visitors to this thrilling blog may not know that Morgan PR also excels in providing web solutions – naturally web content is easy when you journalistic skills can make our delightful language sit up and beg for attention, but we also can provide web design too.

When we receive a web enquiry we will ensure that we match our best web people with your requirements, whether you seek a simple site to establish that essential virtual presence for a business, through to e-commerce. And of course whatever your website requirements, we have the know how to ensure that web optimisation will lead people to your site.

Today we have been working with two businesses that both need cost effective web solutions and both will initially be an online presence of two very real and impressive companies.

By a fortunate coincidence of scheduling both Sew Write Embroidery and FC Cummins and Sons are within a few metres of one another at Rookery Farm, Curridge, and we met with them in successive and successful meetings today and very soon both will have brand new websites.

I say we, I should elaborate – I was teamed up with Karen Chapple of The Best of Newbury fame, and increasingly well know for Web Build Pro, an extremely cost effective template based solution for web design solutions. It is straightforward enough for most people inclined to build their own site to do so and many do; however, even more choose to have us complete their site using the system.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Greenfields Consultancy Blossoms

I met Michelle Lucas today, she’s establishing Greenfields Consultancy, a life and career coaching business in Newbury and was seeking some public relations advice on the best way forward and naturally had come to Morgan PR.

It was one of those occasions when it is so much more than PR that we have to offer – it is our knowledge of the local business community and the networking opportunities that exist for a fledgling business.

Michelle is both charming and clearly knows her stuff – the challenge is helping local business professionals realise just how much they could gain from working with her.

Unlike counselling or therapy, coaching is more about dealing with ‘positive problems’ and focuses very much on the future rather than the past. It is also not training or advice because Michelle does not tell people what they should do – she asks the right questions so people can discover their own solutions.

Typically those most likely to benefit from Michelle’s expertise are:

  • people who have been made redundant and want to re-evaluate what they do
  • people who recognize the career they are in was ‘chosen’ for them by parents or teachers etc, and now want to find a career that is right for them
  • people who have achieved their career goals early and need a fresh challenge for the remainder of their career

Essentially in our busy world we rarely take time out to think about our lives or the future. A coaching programme offers dedicated time with a confidential sounding board to work things through.

With a little luck and a following wind there should be a nice story about Michelle in the forthcoming edition of the Newbury Business News.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Personal Productivity

How does the tired old joke go? The one about being too busy to attend a course on time management?

Actually, once upon a time when I was a spin doctor for Thames Valley Police I seem to recall I missed one such course because I was too busy - admittedly with some manner of murder and mayhem, but genuinely too busy!

No such argument when it came to attending Mike Jones' excellent Personal Productivity Programme for the foundation module which was held in Cirencester yesterday.

The training programme had come highly recommended by my Action Coach business guru Sally Rainbow-Ockwell and Carl Ullyatt of The Firepit Company (soon-to-be Carl Ullyatt of the Firepit Company fame). Sally has been using the techniques taught by Mike Jones for some 15 years and Carl did his course a couple of months ago and is positively evangelical about how it has transformed his life.

The headlines from the course would surely be about learning how much we over estimate the time we have available and consequently over schedule. Equally, most of us simply do not comprehend how much time is wasted through interruptions and how this of course impacts on what we achieve.

Once these key points are grasped and the Personal Productivity System becomes your diary, it is easy to see how much time you have available and you should no longer over schedule and take into account the likely interruptions - therefore actually giving yourself enough time to get things done!

There was also plenty of solid advice on how best to handle the ubiquitous deluge of email we all endure, through to the basics of filing the paper that still seems to be generated in this virtual age.

However, one of the most appealing parts of this course is the way that Mike - using his and our own Personal Productivity System - schedules a visit to see me at my office in one month - to see how I am getting on with utilising what I have learned. Then there will be another visit two months after that. How fabulous is that as an incentive not to add the various files and folders we have been given to the sedimentary layers on the rarely touched Training Manual Shelf.

His USP has more to it still though - after completing this course you are invited to take the foundation module again, at anytime in the future, for a nominal fee covering lunch. Sally has been doing this every year since she first encountered the system and calls it her 'spring clean' and I hope I do that too!

So I am committed to using this system and will give it my very best shot. My one hesitation is how much of a slave I am to Outlook that I do have concerns about just how well a paper-based system can replace the Calendar aspect of the programme nor do I want to find myself wasting time duplicating items - then again, if the techniques I learned yesterday deliver on their promise then I will have that time to waste!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Smoking Ban to Impact on Pets? Honestly!

Can you believe how the media lapped up a survey by the insurance company More Than on the impact the smoking ban will have on pets?

Sunday's broadcast media and Monday's print media were full of the 'startling' news that the smoking ban will lead to pets inhaling second hand smoke as smokers shun the pubs after the ban comes into place on July 1st and smoke at home instead.

Obviously these are all people where their local has yet to invest in a firepit from The Firepit Company (see Saturday's post below) but why is it buried in ever report that there are fears that children too could be exposed!

Surely the story is that children are at risk from the ban if irresponsible parents smoke around them instead of heading down the pub is the story? Or parents abandoning their children to go down the pub?

Sadly if you examine the similarity of the written reports it loudly smacks of lazy journalism reproducing press releases and not bothering to analyse if the right story is being written. Sometimes it is - Morgan PR delivers press releases that are already in the right format with the most important angle clearly represented.

From the Dark Side of PR a cynic might say those who might lobby against the ban would benefit from a story like this - or maybe the way is being paved for pet insurance to cover smoking related illnesses... or more likely exclude cover if a pet owner admits to smoking around the animal!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Firepit Company has Smoking Ban Licked

Surely everyone is aware that the impending smoking ban in public places is looming ever closer with it becoming illegal to light up after July 1st this year.

As pubs and other venues scramble to find a solution to the ban - and try to interpret the new laws which seem to rule out anything immediately adjacent to the pub building - there is a local company here in the Thames Valley which has the answer.

I have written about The Firepit Company and its entreprenurial founder Carl Ullyat on other occasions but as that deadline draws ever closer things are really (brace yourself for intended pun...) hotting up for the business.

Originally the product, dubbed 'The Best Room in the House' was destined for the Great British garden, however the quality and appeal of the product is so much wider.

I spent this afternoon at one of The Firepit Company installations capturing images that will help illustrate the product to the hungry market. The easiest way to do this was for Carl to throw a barbecue and invite lots of friends who were happy to be snapped enjoying the delights of the the firepit.

Here are some of the images:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Giving Something Back to the Community

I know many business people who are all too prepared to contribute something back to their community and indeed it is something that I like to do too. The same skills that make us successful in our chosen enterprises can be invaluable to any number of organisations and charities.

For example, I am a community governor at the John O’Gaunt Community Technology College in Hungerford and have been for some four years now. Essentially you perform the role of critical friend and act much like a board of non executive directors would in a business.

I chair the Curriculum and Assessment Committee, responsible for amongst other things, the setting of targets for attainment as required by Government. I am also the Link Governor for English.

This week is Link Visit Week and earlier today I met with the Acting Head of English, a very capable teacher, Mike Cowdry, to explore how the department is perfoming and what the future holds. Fascinating stuff and an honour to be able to contribute to that future.

My late father, Taffy Morgan, was a governor at the school in the 1980s - when I also put in a considerable number of hours there - as a pupil.

The BBC has an excellent guide to becoming a governor which has some good advice on what to do and where to go - of course if you want to be a governor at John O'Gaunt, email me via my website and I would be delighted to help!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Garden4You quote for Morgan PR

The ever charming Graham Chapple of blossoming gardening firm Garden4You paid a visit today to measure up and quote for some expansive fencing here at the homestead.

There seems to be many metres of fencing, but Graham carried out a detailed survey, took photographs and discussed access and likely lead in times. Honestly, I was impressed and suspect that the Yellow Pages would have attracted a plethora of teeth sucking amateurs who would have cocked their head to one side and plucked a figure out of the air.

Admittedly I have not seen the quote yet! But I am confident that it will represent the same professionalism and value for money that Garden4You’s customers positively rave about.