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!