Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is the Recession behind bumper audiences at business seminars?

There was a record turnout for our revealing of 'The Secrets of Great Public Relations' at the monthly meeting of the local CIPD last night and the lively crowd were bursting with questions.

The enthusiasm of the audience was such that we stayed late chatting to them and are now busy designing some training courses on 'How to write a press release' and 'How to launch your own blog'.

As we explained yesterday, Morgan PR enjoys sharing our expertise through offering talks like this one and they are certainly growing in popularity. However, we would never be naive enough to believe our own reputation precedes us!

Perhaps that is a little harsh! Many of the people coming along to events like the CIPD one last night are responding to referrals, or have become regular readers of our monthly newsletter (you can subscribe on this website).

But why are the numbers of business owners attending our seminars growing in number? Why are more people attending the networking events that we frequent?

Talking to people - after all, that is what we do - the common factor is the all prevalent R word - The Recession. The economic climate is spurring savvy business owners to seek out the reputable speakers who can truly add value to their efforts to flourish during these challenging times.

Rest assured we will be posting the details of future events on our blog and within our newsletter so subscribe if you want to be kept up to date.

If you would like Morgan PR to speak to your group then please do get in touch.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Morgan PR to reveal the 'Secrets of Great Public Relations' at the CIPD

Morgan PR believes in abundance! Absolutely, we support the principle that by being out there in the world, being generous, we will achieve so much more than those who opt for a greedy and selfish approach. It is about making the cake bigger, not just our slice - and if the cake gets bigger... guess what happens to our slice?!

The seminars and presentations we give are one of the ways we can share our expertise in an abundant fashion and Morgan PR has presented to all sorts of networking and business groups and tonight we will be revealing 'The Secrets of Great Public Relations' to the CIPD Special Interest Group, that meets monthly in Theale.

The talk covers everything from how to write and submit a press release, handling broadcast journalists and the importance of permission marketing.

Experience has taught me that the majority of businesses are unwittingly missing cracking opportunities to secure great public relations. So this presentation is all about helping people spot those opportunities and how to exploit them to improve the profile of their company and ultimately sales and the bottom line.

There is skill involved in the timing and delivery of good PR, but more than half the battle is recognising the opportunities in the first place.

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet CIPD members in the past and have always been impressed at their professionalism. I am sure that such a high calibre of professionals will be able to make the most of what we have to offer and will find it a terrific way to kick start 2009.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MP becomes Shadow Minister just days after visit to Newbury Business Group - mere coincidence?

No sooner does the Newbury MP Richard Benyon come to West Berkshire's foremost networking organisation, the Newbury Business Group, than he is promoted to the Shadow Front Bench.

On Friday he was a mere Whip, keeping the Opposition in shape - and then Monday he is promoted to the important role of Environment Minister!

Richard Benyon told the Newbury Weekly News' website, Newbury Today:

“I am delighted to have been given this challenging role and I look forward to doing what I can to support fishing, farming and other aspects of the rural economy.

“I have really enjoyed my time in the Whip’s office, I learned a lot about how Parliament works but it’s good to move to a shadow ministerial role to see how policies affect people and taking through important pieces of legislature.”

Now, he didn't mention his visit to Newbury Business Group in his comments, but surely it cannot have been far from his mind?! Could his visit to the high profile group of business owners and entrepreneurs have influenced the Leader of the Opposition in his reshuffle?

With my Newbury Business Group chairman's tongue firmly in cheek, I have to conclude we may never know...

Friday, January 16, 2009

MP hears despair... and hope at Newbury Business Group breakfast

The pain of the recession was heard loud and clear when the MP for Newbury, Richard Benyon, met with members and guests at the Newbury Business Group on Friday morning; he also saw the passion and drive that illustrates why these business owners and entrepreneurs will survive.

There was a record turnout at the Newbury Business Group on Friday as members and guests gathered over breakfast at Donnington Valley Golf Club to hear from the local MP, who made it clear he understood the impact of the slowdown, but also sought to put it into perspective.

He railed against the tick box culture of credit qualification and lamented the loss of local business bank managers who understood the local economy and the needs of local business. He also took the opportunity to explain how much more comprehensive the stimulus package supported by the Conservatives was, in contrast to that being pushed through by the Government.

Soon the tables were turned and topics raised with the MP ranged from the stifled cashflow within the credit market, and the knock on that is having for businesses, through to angry recriminations against the Government – at one point the MP had to point out he was a member of the Opposition!

There were suggestions too – Carol Brown, a mortgage broker from Your First Mortgage Co. suggested that as the Government was making so little money from house sales, couldn’t stamp duty be stopped or at least reduced to stimulate the property market. It was something My Benyon concurred with and said a stamp duty holiday could be a good idea.

There was frustration about the small reduction in VAT, which the MP said had wasted £50 billion that could have been better used.

Managing Director of business software developers Kaizen, Robin Winnett said education needed to be addressed so vocational qualifications had the same merits as academic subjects, called for more collaboration in business and in Parliament, while photographer Giles Penfound despaired at the lack of leadership in politics.

Newbury Business Group chairman, Nigel Morgan, of Hungerford-based public relations consultancy Morgan PR, closed the meeting, thanking Richard Benyon and concluded: “This has been a terrific meeting and I honestly believe the members of the Newbury Business Group are the owners and entrepreneurs who show the leadership that will get them through this recession and the collaboration that has long been a hallmark of the group will ensure they flourish. It is why we are the foremost networking group in West Berkshire.”

Speaking after the breakfast, Mr Benyon said: "This was a really useful session which allowed me to show how an alternative approach to business and the recession would work and for me to hear firsthand accounts of the experience for entrepreneurs and risk takers at this worrying time"

The Newbury Business Group meets for breakfast at 7.30am every Friday at the Donnington Valley Golf Club. Guests are welcome, but should book in advance by emailing

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Will you follow the 'The Path to Networking Nirvana'?

Readers of the Morgan PR monthly newsletter 'Creating Reputations' will already know about 'The Path to Networking Nirvana', which we will be revealing at the Faringdon Business Breakfast Club's meeting on February 2nd.

However, the numbers of people who subscribe to the newsletter via this blog (see left hand column!) suggests that plenty of you read this who don't get that! Hence mentioning it on the blog.

It actually expands on a free download we offered through the newsletter entitled 'The 12 Ways to Networking Nirvana' and includes a 'One Minute Masterclass', which is essential if you want to make and impression with your elevator pitch.

We are seeing an interesting trend with networking over recent months. Some of the faces that you sometimes saw and being seen no more. Perhaps they have a different focus - or perhaps it is in response to the recession. On the other hand, we are seeing a more dynamic, determined networker emerge with clear outcomes and a recognition that hiding will not make it go away.

Whether you are a networking novice or a professional seeking to polish, why not expand your network at this event next month? It costs £10, which pays for a buffet breakfast. Visit the FBBC website for directions and to book your place.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

West Berkshire MP to visit Newbury Business Group

West Berkshire MP Richard Benyon will be joining local entrepreneurs and business owners for breakfast next week when he visits the Newbury Business Group.

With the recession really starting to bite it will be provide an opportunity for both members of the networking group and the local Member of Parliament to find out more about the impact of the downturn on local businesses.

As the group chairman I feel that the very nature of the dynamic individuals who belong to Newbury Business Group places them as the forefront of those most capable of dealing with the downturn in the economy, but that does not mean they are not facing real challenges out there.

We know Richard Benyon has been involved in discussions with many local businesses and we wanted to hear his views on the economy and it is really encouraging that he is so keen to listen to the thoughts of our members too. Clearly this is going to be a powerful business breakfast.”

Richard Benyon is excited about coming the the meeting too. He said: “It is really good to be invited to one of West Berkshire’s leading business networking groups.

“I find these events really useful. I will hear at firsthand what is really happening in the local economy. At Westminster everyone has an opinion about the recession but it is only when you talk to people who are facing the credit crisis and the recession in their own businesses on a daily basis that you really understand what is going on.”

While Richard Benyon will be the guest of honour at the event on the 16th January at Donnington Valley Golf Club, there are limited spaces for guests who might be interested in joining the Newbury Business Group – if you would like to come along for breakfast at 7.30am, please contact me promptly via the Morgan PR website.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How could Apple have better managed stories about Steve Jobs illness?

While Morgan PR might be brimming with creativity, we've yet to be seduced by the mighty Apple.

Don't get me wrong, although we have marvelled at its marketing savvy many times - I've given up trying to explain that my Toshiba Portege was created before the Airbook and weighs less - for example! And I am simply not that enamoured with the iPod, not the iPhone while legions of people will corner you to expound their virtues.

With such a grasp of public relations and how to steal the headlines, I have been bemused by the way stories about the health of Apple founder Steve Jobs have been handled. With each scare story, firmly based on his very apparent weight loss, millions of dollars have been wiped from Apple's stock price as investors get panicky about the prospect of a Jobs-less Apple.

Leaving aside that it will almost certainly continue to thrive with its design principles outlasting any individual, the way they have denied or ducked these stories has only sought to fuel the rumours and driven bloggers into a frenzy with anxious sightings of Steve Jobs being reported online.

Yesterday I read about Steve Jobs and how relieved he is to have discovered the weight loss is due to a 'hormone imbalance' and is setting about getting better now he knows what was wrong. Great news - and it will be reported by a fraction of those who went with the scare stories. This is par for the course, but what could have been done differently?

How about 'leaking' the story so that an influencial publication revealed it first, letting everyone else chase it and get excited, before confirming the story. This would have attracted more coverage and the media would have been pleased with itself that it had 'found out' rather than simply been informed.

It may be this is what happened anyway, but the statement issued by Apple seems to indicate they chose to go live with the story.

What is the PR lesson here? Sometimes when you have something to say, it is better to be asked the questions that lead you to your statement, rather than take the traditional press release approach. It is not necessarily underhand either - we often present ideas to the media which they will run with knowing our pedigree for presenting genuine news opportunities - and that is they key regardless of what method you use, if it isn't a story, don't waste your time or the media's.

Monday, January 05, 2009

What exciting news do you have as 2009 unfolds?

Naturally, as public relations experts we watch and read the news, as you would expect us to. So while the cycle of glum rhetoric and evidential stories of economic turmoil seem relentless enough to block out the sun, we can see the light! For such is the depths of despair, even the most curmudgeonly news editors will delightfully grab a positive story about survival in the economy - even if it ends up with a 'trend bucking' headline!

So (and hands down those of you whom I am already seeing this week and next precisely to exploit these approach!) what has been happening to your business that could make a newsdesk team go 'Hmmm...'? What amazing orders have you secured? What did you do to go above and beyond the call and dazzle a client? Are you recruiting? Have you restructured? Have you moved offices (bigger or smaller - it really doesn't matter), a new website? Perhaps you've launched a blog? Or are you offering free seminars? You surely get the idea?

So stop despairing at the stories you read in the newspaper, that tax your ears on the radio and send you grasping for the remote control when they dominate your television. Instead spend a moment thinking about what positive story you could tell - and start by telling Morgan PR all about it!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Morgan PR urges a Happy New Year

It would be most unlike me to accept that the picture says it all, for while it could be argued it does, there are surely some for whom the over indulgence of Christmas has left the glass less than half full - or alternatively you may have read a newspaper and come to the conclusion the end of the world is nigh and household pets should be considered fair game for the menu by February! (That said, seriously, should our corporate chickens stop laying their eggs, they may find themselves 'reassigned'!)

Well, although we stopped for much of the season of goodwill, courtesy of our Blackberries, we saw enquiries keep coming in and start 2009 even busier than we thought we would be. Now although we thought that, we remained confident that the work was out there and (stop me if I wade into cliche territory!) I am sure that mindset has a big impact on what will happen to you and your business in the coming months.

So back to the headline - we're urging you to have a 'Happy New Year', however challenging the economy may be, you should strive to enjoy yourselves!