Thursday, May 15, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

Morgan PR was up bright and early today and out networking at the Ladies Day run by BNI Kennet Chapter . Who knew there was so much activity happening before 7am!

The meeting was bright and high energy, with several lady guests attending. Ann Merrick of Infineo IT support particularly entertained in her one minute, with props which included a cuddly pink teddy bear!

Many thanks to Roger Hick of RhD Office Design for the invitation, it was certainly worth driving over to town to the accompaniment of the dawn chorus!.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Playing to Your Strengths

Morgan PR went along to the FSB networking lunch at The Angel in Woolhampton today.

Sue Stockdale of Mission Possible spoke to us about making sure we are utilising our strengths in our work, after first identifying what those strengths are. She gave an interesting and lively talk and left us all with much to think about.

Another of the attendees today was Sally Furnell, fitness consultant. Unlike the majority of fitness consultants, Sally focusses in on rehabilitation for those who have had a stroke or heart attack. This area of work is obviously one which Sally is passionate about and she is a real example of someone using her strengths and being guided by what matters to her in her life.

Sue defines strengths as Talents+ Knowledge + Skills. These can be identified by taking a "bird's eye view" of yourself and spotting what you do well. If you think about yourself in your business, how well are you playing to your strengths and what gaps could be filled to help you spend more time on what you do best?

The Hampstead Norreys Business Group

It is tempting to think that only bustling towns can support a thriving business group, or indeed many such groups as there are in Newbury, however Morgan PR was invited to the Hampstead Norreys Business Group last night to deliver our 'How to Write a Killer Press Release' presentation.

While the unseasonably splendid barbecue weather might have kept one or two professionals from attending, there was still an encouraging turnout and the presentation prompted some thoughtful questions which continued during the networking afterwards.

For instance it was a delight to meet Sunny from Going the Whole Way, a passionate nutritionist who does not preach and offers a free week's trial for anyone interested in seeking her help to improve your life.

It was great to meet so many business professionals from a village community that we might not have met but for the invite to the group and we would have been poorer for it.

The group is always seeking new members and draws in business people from across the villages north of Newbury.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

MOT while you wait?

Multi tasking has never been so much fun, as Morgan PR had a hair cut and car MOT at the same time yesterday, due to the unique charms of Pebbles Hair Salon and One Stop Service Centre.

Owned by Steve Fish and right next door to each other, both businesses offer the same high standard of customer service and value for money. As a money saving tip, anyone getting a hair cut at Pebbles can also get a half price MOT at One Stop!

Pebbles offers hair cuts and treatments for all the family, from a cutting bar to their fabulous hot stone massages. Next time you need you car serviced or MOT'ed, instead of sitting in a hot, stuffy waiting room with some out of date magazines, why not think about spending the time more pleasurably instead?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Maypole madness at networking event

Morgan PR attended a networking event with a difference bright and early this morning: the FBBC, or Faringdon Business Breakfast Club, was been relaunched with a new look and a maypole - yes, a maypole.

It isn't every morning you experience flashbacks to your previous life as a savvy eight-year-old all too aware of the social stigma attached to dancing around the maypole - not least in front of my peers at a Hampshire primary school in the 1970s! However, at the FBBC, for one day only I am assured, we speed networked by 'dancing' around the maypole.

It was more mayhem than maypole as we ducked and weaved around one another but we did come close to the ideal of spending two minutes with each of the other members at the group.

There was also the crowning of the FBBC's very own May Queen, which was Chartered Occupational Psychologist Samanthan Scott, of Freshwater Consulting Ltd, who won the popular vote and received a bouquet of flowers from organiser Andy Holt of web designers OSX Ltd, that had been donated by Faringdon florist Thanks a Bunch. Samantha is pictured below:

We are indebted (not least as we appear to have escaped being photographed around the maypole) to Graham Hill from Verbatim for the invite to attend; call handling supremos Verbatim, who are based at New Greenham Park in Newbury, sponsored the event.

The next FBBC meeting will be on Monday 2nd June at the Faringdon Business Centre in Faringdon and will run from 0730 to 0900. It costs just £10, which includes a hot and cold buffet breakfast, and bookings can be made via the website. Perhaps we'll see you there? And certainly not around the maypole!

Pictured below is the maypole mid mayhem - with Morgan PR not pictured! We are grateful to Joy McCarthy of WORD-right Copywriting for these photo... and not photographing us!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Get on down to the Art Shak.

The Women in Newbury networking group were last night treated to a talk by Kym Mason of the Art Shak. Where is the Art Shak, you may well ask!

Far nearer than you think, probably. It's ten minutes outside of Newbury on the B4009 Hermitage Road, hidden away behind a garage. A multimap of the location can be found here.

From the beautiful things that Kym brought to show us, this Aladdin's cave is well worth the short trip. Kym specialises in finding unique and unusual gifts, all at a very reasonable price. She stocks artists such as :

  • Nan Pas, who makes gorgeous silver jewellery;
  • Jangles, supplier of 'witchy balls', crystal balls reputed to scare away witches (or mother in laws?!) when hung at the window;
  • Lotus Feet, who make lovely coconut shell jewellery;
  • White wood, with their fabulous dichroic cufflinks and jewellery;
  • Rocky Point, who make covetable unique handbags.
It is probably best to call Kym to check current opening times before setting out; her number is 077525 06334. Once you get there, you are sure to find many gifts that will certainly impress the lucky recipients (and maybe a few things for yourself, too!)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Don't cut ad spend when business slows

Handling public relations in Newbury and throughout the Thames Valley we have started to see in the last few weeks companies who have slashed their advertising spend and have turned to us to maintain their presence in the media.

Absolutely when it comes to creating reputations - our specialty - PR will have a far more convincing and persuasive impact than most advertising could ever hope for. Indeed, a well written, carefully targeted and impeccably timed press release will lead to a news story that people will give a credibility that advertising will never achieve.

However there will always be a place for both and simply stopping one in favour of the other because times are tough is foolish. Ideally your marketing strategy will strike a balance and use each method when most appropriate.

I have been involved in journalism for almost 25 years now and was a cub reporter in the late 1980s and saw the boom bust cycle from a ringside seat. Something that was clear though, was the firms who kept advertising kept doing business while those who cut their spending simply didn't.

Today I read on the Guardian website that this Bank Holiday weekend has seen a plethora of companies targeting the retail market spending many millions of pounds in the hope of motivating the public to spend this weekend. They probably will and most likely on those businesses that advertise. Spot the pattern?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Paparazzi at Newbury Business Group

Those early birds at the Newbury Business Group this morning were treated to a thoroughly educational 10 minutes on the dreaded VAT courtesy of Fiona Colledge from local accountants James Cowper.

While the very nature of the talk made it less fun than some of the sessions we enjoy amid the networking, people were kept in rapt attention as she explained the pitfalls and perks of VAT.

Morgan PR was outside afterwards photographing a client for a forthcoming press release - more on that later, naturally!

However it also provided ample opportunity to 'pap' a couple of the members as they left Donnington Valley Golf Club. Pictured above right, frozen by the fast shutter in that 'remonstration' pose is Rob Winnett from the soon to be renamed Win IT and to the left is Trudy Rogers from Newbury solicitors Horsey Lightly.

Well, it was all a bit of fun eh?