Sunday, March 30, 2008

What a load of rubbish

Morgan PR showed how corporate responsibility can start locally and at a very young age, when the whole Morgan family joined in a litter pick around Hungerford today.

Armed with bin bags and litter grabbers, we went in search of the veritable mountain of waste that people drop and throw out of car windows, and we did not have to look far.

Several hours and full bin bags later, Hungerford was tidied up and a better environment for everyone.

What was perhaps sadder than the litter was the poor turnout for the heavily advertised Town Council event. Clearly more people are content to drop litter than feel motivated enough to do anything about it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Budget PR pays dividend for country pub

One Morgan PR client whose business might suffer in the wake of the budget will certainly benefit from widespread publicity they achieved after following the advice given in the Budget PR blog entry early this week.

The Ibex in Chaddleworth fired off press releases within minutes of the Chancellor of the Exchequer announcing the inevitably inflation busting increases in duty on alcohol and virtually minutes later it was on the Newbury Today website and landlord Andy Jones was invited to comment on BBC Radio Berkshire's popular Drive Time programme yesterday evening.

In the press release Andy Jones made the point: “We try very hard to be all things within our community in Chaddleworth and many of the neighbouring villages; we are the Post Office, the village shop; their local newsagent and offer meeting rooms for businesses and much, much more, but we are foremost a pub and we are constantly being squeezed, these tax increases make that more of a challenge.

“The chancellor also announced inflation busting increases on alcohol for the coming years too. It might be fine for trying to keep drunken yobs off the streets, but it doesn’t help us tempt responsible drinkers into The Ibex either.

“We’re also experiencing additional price increases from the brewery too which has further squeezed our margin. Of course, the supermarkets will still sell cheap booze while we continue to suffer.

“It costs £2.90 a pint now compared with £2.20 when we first took over The Ibex four years ago and that makes a difference. If it were not for the other services we offer, like the food and events, we could not survive simply as a pub."

I am waiting to hear how many people who heard the radio broadcast or read the story online make the effort to visit the pub, but I'd wager a few pints that they'll be there - even with the price increase!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Budget boost for women entrepeneurs

In the budget today a £12.5m capital fund was confirmed to encourage women entrepeneurs.

Regular readers will know my involvement with the networking group, Women in Newbury, and this can only be good news for increasing our membership! Previous blogs on Women in Newbury can be found here and here.

An in depth article on the funds available can be found on the Real Business website.

Kazakhstan trip inspires blogging

The photographs published yesterday showing the breakfast exploits of the Newbury Business Group have prompted a flurry of comments and emails and I was thrilled to discover that Paul Cowie from Rock IT has entered into the blogging fray too.

Today he is heading off to the wild oil fields of Kazakhstan and the trip has inspired him to start his very own blog to chart his adventure and provide some photographic evidence of his exploits.

I wonder if he will be blogging on one of the ultra lightweight Toshiba Portege laptops? If indeed he has managed to secure one. Paul managed to track one down for Morgan PR to take to Las Vegas last October and has been trying in vain to secure one for himself ever since.

And when I say lightweight, think of the Mac Air Book but with functionality like a DVD-R drive and capacious hard disk, just without the marketing savvy of Apple!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Newbury Business Group Photo Extravaganza

At a recent Newbury Business Group meeting our fellow member Giles Penfound was kind enough to take photographs that should feature in 'The Circuit' column in the April edition of Newbury Business Today.

At last week's meeting Morgan PR played a slide show of his fantastic photographs to the oohs and ahhs from the members and guests who were suitably impressed at the quality of images Giles had captured with little obvious intrusion.

As requested I am now delighted to publish those photographs here on the blog and soon they will also be published on the Newbury Business Group website too.

So here below, courtesy of Giles Penfound are a selection of his photographs from Newbury's foremost networking group: The Newbury Business Group.

Budget PR

There are opportunities throughout the year to piggyback on national calendared events for which the local media will be keen to interpret for their readership and audiences.

Tomorrow's budget is an excellent example. How does it impact on your business or on your customers?

You need to have a legitimate line on something within the budget, preferably a measure already grabbing headlines. Once you identify the angle it is time to prepare a release. It need not be anything too elaborate because space will be tight and besides, if you capture the target media's attention, they will most likely be chasing you for more information or an interview.

And remember, altruism will win you coverage faster than selfish reasons, so even if it really does impact on your bottom line, talk about the threat to jobs, the pressure it puts on your customers' wallets and so forth.

The aim is to simply raise awareness for your business in the shadow cast by the Budget and enjoy the impression this gives readers about your awareness of the market and how national events impact at the local level.

It is also a neat foundation for 2009. Weeks ahead of next year's budget make the same assessments and then contact the media who reported on you this year and invite them to engage again. Particularly with broadcast this could allow you to react live to the announcements in the House of Commons.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Cracking Pub Food at The Ibex

We were back in the downland village of Chaddleworth again today, having a rather splendid lunch at The Ibex, who Morgan PR are currently advising on PR.

While this might have been business for Andy & Julia Jones who run this traditional village pub, it was strictly pleasure for us as we tucked into generous plates of mouthwatering food during a lazy Saturday lunchtime.

Actually, I'm not sure how 'traditional' The Ibex actually is - absolutely it has the solid feel of a pub that has been serving pints since the early 19th Century, but at the same time, how many pubs are also the village Post Office, newsagents, village shop, business centre and capable of delivering fine food to its many tables? It is clearly more than your traditional 'traditional' pub!

Too many people ask 'Where's Chaddleworth' believing it to be in the 'middle of nowhere' when in actual fact it is in the 'middle of everywhere' and has suited Morgan PR in the past for pulling together people from various locations for a meeting (and lunch!). If you are unsure how to find this fabulous venue, then their comprehensive website includes directions.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Getting in on the ACT!

It was great to see so many of the first time guests from last week's Newbury Business Group meeting back again this week - although they perhaps witnessed the boisterous camaraderie that had been missing last week when we were all on our best behaviour!

We always have really good education slots at NBG, rarely going over the 10 minute mark and always boosting the business savvy of the assembled group; today was no exception when Anthony Hewitt from Cameno stepped up to demystify CRM for the group.

CRM - or Customer Relationship Management - is pretty fundamental to any organisation who wants to maximise not only their interaction with customers, but also upsell, cross-sell and generally be far more profitable and successful than you could possibly be leaving CRM to chance!

Anthony was treated to a veritable ocean of gentle nodding heads as he chatted about the typical problems company's face with keeping track of customer communications, latest files and not least opportunities.

Anthony's company, Cameno, was recently appointed an ACT! Certified Consultant by Sage and is growing rapidly, already having become the fifth largest ACT! Business Partner in the UK.

Having seen Cameno in action helping Morgan PR optimise its CRM it is easy to see why: with technical savvy and a flair for understanding the tweaks, nips and tucks that will make ACT! really work for us.

Morgan PR was also able to keep the group entertained courtesy of a slideshow of all the excellent photographs that Giles Penfound took last week and that is where this photo of Anthony Hewitt comes from, with a artfully soft focused Carl Wheatley from The Bridge in the foreground.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

So we WiN again...

The networking group for Women in Newbury (WiN) met again on the first Tuesday of the month, this time in the Pig and Paper. This newly opened business on Northbrook street will now be our regular meeting spot, and very comfortable it is there, too.

We were very pleased to welcome along some new members;Julie Tooby, Director of Essentially You Wedding Planner, Caroline Billington of A-count-a-bility Financial Manager and Project Accountant and Sarah Hutt-Berrington of Verbatim Call Centres joined us. The main business of the night was planning for our quiz night (4th April 2008 at Greenacre Health and Fitness Club), which will celebrate our launch and raise funds for the Rainbow Rooms at Newbury Hospital.

We are busy working on our logo and flyer, so watch this space to see it revealed here soon!

Prizewinning Press Release...

...that is to say a press release about a prizewinner!

Morgan PR was back at Hungerford Garden Machinery today. We've written about them before and at the weekend they had an open day. Part of that event was a prize draw to win a lawnmower; today we went down to the depot on Charnham Park to a photo and capture the details for a press release.

Sometimes serendipity smiles on such activity and it turned out the winner of the prize draw had attended the event to check them out with a view of asking them to fix his broken Flymo! This provided a neat twist in the tale that makes it a lovely story and increases the likelihood it will be published.

There is a nice moral here: You don't have to make stuff up to get published! In fact get caught doing it and you burn your brand for future press releases however genuine. Look closely enough and most companies will discover they already do plenty worthy of PR.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

'Signwriting' for Katielee Catering

It was a dilemma! Katielee Catering has just had the first of two purpose built Jiffy vans delivered to its operation centre at Newbury Racecourse - but it was not going to be sign written before the deadline for the forthcoming edition of Newbury Business Today!

Sisters Denise Matthews and Bev Frame founded the company 19-years-ago and are acknowledged as one of the foremost providers of both corporate and social buffets, together with sandwich rounds - something the new vans will help them deliver with even more efficiency and choice.

So what to do with a blank van and a punishing deadline? Well a little Photoshop alchemy came into play... The combination of a photo of one of the company's other sign written vehicles and the magic of Photoshop and what do you know...

Is it any wonder no says 'the camera never lies' anymore? Let alone play the Bucks Fizz song of the same name!