Friday, August 29, 2008

Action Coach, now with added Gitomer!

Our business coach, Sally Rainbow- Ockwell, has just returned from the Global Conference in San Fransisco with renewed vigour and loads of great ideas!

There were three great speakers at the conference; Jack Canfield, Jeffrey Gitomer and Keith Cunningham. Sally felt that advice from 'Rich Dad' Keith Cunningham may take a little while to digest and will be the subject of a finance session later in the year, but this Tuesday Profit Club got straight down to a fantastic training session based on the sales techiques of Jeffery Gitomer and the "Success Principles" of Jack Canfield.

Profit Club will be working their way through the 63 principles in the book over the next few months, and I'm sure that most of the advice will be working it's way into how Morgan PR do business.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chris & Nige's Big Wine Free Adventure

It is not everyday you get to travel in what is without doubt the world's most filmed Jaguar XJS; however today was such a day! The XJS pictured above was truly the one driven by James May and Oz Clarke in Oz and James Big Wine Adventure where they toured France with wine expert Oz teaching the beer loving Top Gear presenter James how to love the grape.

Well the car used in the television programme was sourced, restored and prepared for the TV series by Classic Jaguar specialists, Knowles-Wilkins Engineering Ltd – at its Greenham Common base near Newbury.

Chris Knowles from KWE explained: “This is the most filmed Jaguar XJS in the world. Featuring in six episodes, James and Oz drove over 1000 miles through France’s finest wine regions. James selected this V12 convertible car as the best way of travelling long distances in comfort.

“He visited KWE several times to mastermind the building of his car, and had his carpenter fit two custom-made wine racks in the boot! At the time, James was a confirmed ale drinker but the BBC tour has lured him now into the arms of the vineyard.

“The car is featured prominently throughout the popular series, which is currently showing again on satellite channel ‘Dave’, and is pictured on the back of the book (pictured right) published about the programme. We even have one of the plastic bottles of wine which was pictured stood on the boot – although to be honest it isn’t particularly nice!

“We bought the car back after filming and thoroughly rebuilt it for its current owner, Garth Cooper, an engineering firm’s Managing Director. He is now emigrating to New Zealand and KWE are offering the car for sale on his behalf via our website.”

Well Morgan PR met Chris, his lovely wife Theresa and the famous XJS last month when we wrote about KWE for Newbury Business Today and we recognised that there was a news story there too and a swift press release later we had the story appearing locally. So began another beautiful pairing of a successful company with the leading public relations agency in the Thames Valley.

We were back meeting with KWE today and Chris offered take me for a spin in the James May Jaguar, bringing me from Greenham Common to Hungerford in breathtakingly quick time... ah the perks of PR!

The car is up for sale on the KWE website if anyone is interested in owning a piece of TV memorabilia that offers more than a little fun! Speaking of fun here are the erstwhile occupants of the said same XJS pictured sat on the bonnet somewhere in France!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I think I'm being followed by the Government...

Actually... I know the Government are following me! More specifically I know that the Office of the Prime Minister is paying particular attention to me!

How do I know and how can I be sure that this is not merely paranoia sneaking up upon me? Well, yesterday I blogged about joining twitter, the micro-blogging website and I have been watching the numbers following me gently grow and at the same time added those twitterers whom I may be curious to follow too.

That is how I stumbled upon Number 10 Downing Street's very own twitter feed. Worth a look, I have subscribed and within mere moments discover that my interest in Number 10 has been reciprocated and now they are following me! Admittedly they are following more than 4,000 people on twitter, but still...

See, so it is true and justifies the deliciously melodramatic headline to this blog post and is an entertaining prelude to my discovery via twitter that a local company, Puffbox, is behind some of the e-Government wizardry, including the new look Number 10 website.

What a small world wide web eh?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Morgan PR all of a twitter

I have little doubt that some of my regular readers will be labelling me simply a twit for embarking on a relationship with micro-blogging site twitter, but to be fair it has taken me since Christmas Eve last year to move any further than simply joining the fray.

That is to say I've just 'twittered' for the first time, mentioning a post that went online earlier on this blog - so in that sense if it drives traffic to this blog then that is a good thing so hold fire on the withering criticisim - unless you can do it in 160 characters or less, which is the text message friendly limit for posts on twitter.

Honestly, the jury is still in the canteen wondering whether to sneak fruit back into the courtroom on this one. I am not sure quite what value twitter can add to Morgan PR and our quest to deliver public relations throughout the Thames Valley, but there are enough people whom I respect out there doing it that it seems to be worth a try. But please do take me out back and shoot me if I start twittering about what I had for lunch. That seems to be quite common on twitter and that scares me. Not least as I skipped lunch.

Olympic 'cheer squads': Building atmosphere or Chinese propaganda? Or good public relations?

There is an interesting article in The Times Online today saying that China has admitted using so called 'cheer squads' to fill empty seats and create atmosphere at less than popular events at the Olympics.

There is a certain about of disdain being heaped upon China for such perceived skulduggery and it is seen as being just a hair's breadth from the undoubted abuse of human rights that does cast a shadow over the games.

Honestly though! It isn't the same thing and they have been quite open about it with the bussed in crowds dressed the same and chanting in unison. Very different to the silence meeting questions about the lengthy spells in 're-education camps' for ticket touts (which may indeed be fair punishment but that is another question!).

So as a public relations company Morgan PR feels this should be examined from a PR point of view - the result of using the 'cheer squads' is that the stadiums are full - not just for the world's cameras, but also for the competitors who are surely spurred on the greater achievements by a roaring and chanting crowd rather than the lost smattering of polite applause that might otherwise echo around the stadium.

Besides, look at the Oscars. They have specially hired stooges to scoot into the empty seat of a celebrity who nips off to powder their nose lest the sweeping camera capture an gap in the audience - and that is seen as good public relations.

So bang the human rights drum loudly, but let's not pick a fight over good PR!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Helping a photographer to focus on PR and marketing

At Morgan PR we are lucky to be surrounded by talented associates who add terrific value to what we deliver and the photographer Giles Penfound is foremost among those; indeed his photography has been instrumental in helping us to exceed our clients expectations time and again.

So it is particularly satisfying to also count Giles as a client too, which means can help to create the reputation he deserves and indeed we have already had a wonderful example of his work published in the media and also on this blog.

Of course, while good PR can flourish from a chance conversation or exploited opportunity, the truth is that it can often come from a well honed strategy and as such we have been working with Giles for a little while to help position his business ahead of a concerted combination of both PR and marketing.

Actually it has been a good example of the collaborative work that comes out of the Newbury Business Group with Carl Wheatley from The Bridge, Chris Turberville-Tully from Inspiration Ink together with Morgan PR all contributing.

The latest part of that ongoing project involved Carl and myself meeting with Giles earlier today and it is truly exciting to see what is developing.

Morgan PR has long benefited from business coaching from Sally Rainbow-Ockwell of ActionCoach and it is always interesting to see how many of the lessons we have learned make it into this kind of consultation and clearly add value beyond our own public relations company.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Your 'e-footprint' and future employers

Most of the time I am more than content to secure my diverse news content here online; from our national and local newspapers through to local rags in distant lands that might feature friends I've made trotting the globe. However, being an newspaperman at heart I like to actually hold some newsprint and The Guardian is the media of choice on a Saturday.

At the forefront of web content I have yet to find something in the paper that is not online, and as you would expect the website offers even more than the printed version. So the second I read the 'Work' section this morning I knew I would be blogging.

Essentially it is a well written assessment of what impact your cyber size nines will have on your future when employers turn to Google before your referees. Now this is last season's headgear, but the article does raise the interesting prospect of no e-footprint as a sign the prospective employee does not contribute. This being the result of privacy settings being employed to save your blushes at interview.

Of course, sometime it is not even your facebook page that lets you down, it can be someone elses, or a news story or some other content that will prove a humiliating search return. We have associates who are adept at combating inappropriate content on Google and other search engines and assuming you cannot get the offending content removed, then get more interesting content about you posted with sufficient SEO to ensure the search engines return this data on page one and your exploits with a donkey in Malaga disappear into the lonely expanse of page two and beyond. Clever eh?

I've saved to last the most exciting part of the article - leading the field of experts commenting on this whole issue was none other than Internet Psychologist and the man who single-handedly inspired us to start blogging - Graham Jones. Incidentally his has been one of only a handful of RSS feeds that I have maintained in Outlook, whereas others come and go.

Read what Graham Jones said in The Guardian or visit the Internet Psychologist's blog.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Newbury Business Today published today!

When it comes to that delicate blend of B2B and B2C business marketing in West Berkshire there are few publications better positioned than Newbury Business Today, which is published free today with the Newbury Weekly News.

The Newbury Weekly is one of Morgan PR's clients and we produce many of the advertising features that appear in today's edition and also online at the Newbury Business Today website.

Over the previous weeks we have previewed many of the businesses due to appear and already have begun work on the September edition of this publication - 'Getting ready for Christmas' no less! A couple of years ago I was sunburnt sat outside a pub discussing Christmas for just such a feature!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Speaking Russian at Newbury's French Bistro

Newbury’s popular French bistro, Le Petit Square was buzzing with children chattering in Russian when it threw its Market Place doors open to a visiting contingent from the blighted Chernobyl region of Belarus.

Ten youngsters aged nine and 10 are spending four weeks in the UK on holiday and it is the fourth year that such a trip has been organised by the Newbury branch of the national charity Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline.

All the children are staying with local host families and have been taking part in different activities and trips – including visits to the optician and dentist – so the chance to cook up some fun and food at Le Petit Square was a popular diversion when they spent this morning there.

Owner of the Michelin Recommend restaurant, Suzanne Hemchaoui said: “It was great fun! Our chef, John Cowan, and his team prepared some pizza dough for them and then they joined in adding the toppings of their choice. I guess pizza might not be French, but it was a fun food for them to make – we did have jambon et fromage pizza! Of course we cooked them then and everyone ate in the restaurant. It was great to hear them chattering in Russian when we are used to hearing French.

“This is actually the fourth year we have been involved with the charity and have entertained the children both here and also at our sister restaurant The Square in previous years.

“When I first heard about what they were doing it sounded such a lovely thing to do and they always seem to have so much fun here. It is something easy for us to do and gives everyone that warm gooey feeling in their tummy to have helped these children.”

As the leading public relations in West Berkshire Morgan PR was there to record the event and no doubt you will see it publicised soon.

Pictured below are the children from the Chernobyl region of Belarus, with their hosts and staff from Le Petit Square in Newbury outside the French bistro.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Little Jogs Fun Day pulls in the crowds

Little Jogs Day Nursery in Hungerford held a Fun Day on Sunday and while showers drove the crowds and the attractions inside, there was still plenty of enjoyment to be had, not least the lucky dip that captured this girl's attention.

A host of attractions from a lucky dip through to face painting and a variety of competitions kept children and parents entertained, while the Phoenix Brass Band played throughout the event. A police car from neighbouring Wiltshire was also in attendance with children naturally delighting in setting off the sirens.

Speaking at the event Nursery Manager, Elena Allen said: “We have had a terrific turnout with many of our existing children coming along with their parents and families. It has been great also to see how grown up some of the youngsters are who used to come here and of course it was marvellous to have prospective parents looking around too and asking about sending their children here.

“The event has been really well supported by traders in the town with many giving prizes for the raffle and some even came along together with others who took the opportunity to see what a great nursery we have here.”

Friday, August 01, 2008

New look for Thatcham Kitchen Designs

Morgan PR was in Thatcham this morning to meet with Caroline and Kevin Ware the owners of Thatcham Kitchen Designs in The Broadway and take a look at their swish new look store.

The shop regularly undergoes a refit to reflect evolving trends in kitchen design and to offer customers the chance to see the latest gadgets on display, however the most recent was more of a major refurbishment and saw them take out several internal walls which has made the shop seem truly huge.

We have been working on a number of projects with the store that will be coming to fruition over the next few months, so do watch this space! And visit theirs!