Pilot Light

Inferno is a PR consultancy. This is not. This is Inferno’s blog.

Archive for March 2009

Email – is there a saturation point?

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Inbox overload

 When email was invented it became a driver for business efficiency. No more memos to hand out, no more documents to print out and pass to a colleague or courier to a client/supplier. Hey presto, everything became instant which meant we could all react to requests or opportunities much more quickly. Over a relatively short period of time – as the technology improved and dial-up became broadband – we could all achieve alot more in the same amount of time. Businesses, particularly service industries, needed this efficiency to fuel demands for growth.

But how efficient has email really become. We cc far more people – unnecessarily in many cases – into email than we ever used to copy into memos, let alone when we used to talk to each other. We send quirky amusing emails around the office and to our friends (btw, I’m not suggesting cutting out fun at work!). We get spam, in some cases quite clever looking spam, that we think might be real so we take a look. All of these require our attention and time even if it’s a fleeting glance. We’ll also interrupt the flow of what we’re doing to look at that email that we see has just popped in to our inbox, read it and deal with it, often forwarding it on or cc’ing more people  into the mix!

So is email intrusive and increasingly becoming a barrier to efficiency? How do we make better use of it? Should there be a better discipline? I don’t have an obvious answer to these questions and I realise that a good amount of email helps us do our jobs well but, if businesses don’t figure out a discipline and email etiquette we could  reach a point where, one day, we come into the office and all we manage to do is read and answer our emails

And that’s before we deal with twittering, facebook, blogs and the like.

Oh – and another thing? What is it with Arsene Wenger? He wins a match, taking his side through to the FA Cup semi-final, gets a dodgy refereeing decision in his favour to boot yet doesn’t smile or have the good grace to shake hands with his opposing manager. Even Fergie and Rafa managed to do that!

Greg B

Written by pilotlight

30/03/2009 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

View from the Street

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Focus...

 Google launched Street View last week and when I saw the article I thought it sounded cool and popped on to the site to have look. First thoughts – they could have taken a better picture of our office. So then like most of the population I decided to look for my house, and there it was for all to see with our living room windows open. It kind of freaked me out a little, which is completely irrational considering people see more of me on Facebook or Twitter.

Street View has caused public outcry and a formal complaint was sent to the ICO and although I think it’s a little dramatic I can see both sides of the coin. Like a massive Photosynth of London you, can check out landmarks, areas you might move to, offices you could be working in, or just be plain nosey. You could even pick a meeting point for a night out with friends and thankfully mine knew that the big Burger King at Piccadilly Circus, outside of which I’d arranged to meet my boyfriend recently, is now actually a bank…

So is Street View a massive intrusion of our privacy? To be honest so long as you haven’t been caught on camera in an embarrassing position, hiding from the law or the Ex, you don’t really have anything to worry about. Enjoy it for what it is, whatever that maybe.

Sherrine

Written by pilotlight

27/03/2009 at 9:54 am

Posted in Tech, Web 2.0

Tagged with , , ,

In matters of grave importance, style is the vital thing

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Smooth....

Ok, so that is somewhat of a bastardasation of a quote from my favourite Oscar Wilde play – The Importance of Being Ernest, but it still rings true. In an age where style dominates substance in almost every industry, PRs need to take advantage of this trend. How many times have you invited press to an event where frankly there was neither the space nor the atmosphere to truly engage with them? Or do you have a default venue for all your events?

Why not mix it up and go for other venues that offer eclectic themes or have a brilliant atmosphere? Inferno managed the launch of Microsoft Surface in the UK at The Haymarket Hotel and it was a massive success (if I do say so myself). Seriously though, we kept it informal and flexible – which I think the press truly appreciated. Plus I’m betting the free flowing booze didn’t hurt. We had the Surfaces in two different rooms and gave the press the opportunity to have real hands on experience with the devices. There was also a big-ass pool in the center of the basement, which was amazing!!

There is always a temptation (especially at the launch of business products/services) to make things formal and adhere to a strict timetable. But remember, journalists are people too. They enjoy the same things you do and I assume that no one wants to go to a boring event with loads of corporate speak. So take a leaf out of our book and keep it low key and interesting.

Elijah

Written by pilotlight

25/03/2009 at 5:59 pm

Posted in PR, Tech

Tagged with , , ,

Surface to Air

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Point away from face

Wednesday we launched Microsoft Surface to the UK media and managed to get it on air with More 4 News, BBC Working Lunch (that’s still to come) and others. OK, now I’ve explained away the marvelous pun-headline of this post, I can go back to blowing Inferno’s trumpet. And so I should; the team did an amazing job. The US and UK clients, and all the partners involved, have been bombarding me with compliments – I love my job when I get this kind of feedback, unsolicited, from clients.

What is great though is the fact that my guys and gals at Inferno get to work on launches like this. Without taking anything away from the team who helped develop everything from the concept for launch, through to the partner liaison and deciding what compelling content needed to be included, the fact is that Microsoft Surface is an awesome piece of innovation. Surface is going to change the way information is displayed to consumers by businesses – In banks, in stores, in airports, on tables, on walls. This is where technology is going and it’s exciting, engaging and pervasive. To be working on such futuristic-type technology here and now is a real thrill. There are few other companies in the world doing anything like this and being able to craft messaging, strategy and events around this kind of pioneering technology is amazing as well as fun.

What makes it even more amazing though is when we are given a rare glimpse into the future – something the guys in Microsoft Business Division over in the US did recently. They put together a video on technology in 2019, which you can view here. While this looks incredibly far-fetched, I’ve worked with Microsoft on some of the developments and I would halve the timeline to this becoming a reality. This stuff will be here, or close to it, in five years not ten and I personally can’t wait.

Grant

Written by pilotlight

20/03/2009 at 11:21 am

Posted in Business, Media, PR, Tech

Tagged with , , ,

Finance ‘n Chips

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No mushy peas to be seen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week one of the most interesting issues to come on the tech radar here at Inferno was in the world of chips. Besides Tyrrells announcing a new flavour of potato chip, the major news came courtesy of the current credit bite.

Early this week we saw news that semiconductor market is continuing its slide. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association January saw an 8.8 per cent slump compared with the same month last year, following a forgettable December during which sales fell by 11.9 per cent on the year. Late this week we have also seen Taiwan announce that they will restructure the country’s struggling D-Ram chip industry by buying key technology from foreign competitors and consolidating the domestic market. All interesting stuff, but what’s next?

As the electronics market, which feeds this industry, continues its dip into the red stuff how will we see these manufacturers react to sure up their brands?

Traditionally in an economic downturn FMCG companies ramp up the marketing to sure up sales but this approach isn’t so easy for companies whose chips the public aren’t conscious they are consuming. We will wait with baited breath here at Inferno and see what the industry has up its sleeve but would be interested to see what everyone else thinks…

Matt L

Written by pilotlight

06/03/2009 at 3:18 pm

Posted in Business, marketing, PR, Tech

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What is news?

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News-sense

There have been discussions for some time now over the shelf life of the daily papers. Now you can access all the news you want online, quicker and for free. It seems that with the advent of blogs and micro blogs such as twitter, even these online sites have lost some of their news value as people are updating on the news in real time, as it happens. The recent plane crashing into the Hudson river being a classic example.

By the time a journalist has written up a story and posted it online, there are likely to have been several tweets about it and a conversation already developed. Likewise, many of us use Google or similar search tools to find the latest information we need, but is this now also ‘old news’? Will real time search be the Google killer, and is news already considered old by the time it has been categorised and listed online? With so much content updated in real time now, Google search cannot hope to find it all. As the weekly and monthly publications continue to disintegrate into nothing, will the national papers follow hot on their heels? Will our news resource become dominated by social media channels where information can be supplied and shared by anyone and everyone, instantaneously? And what does this mean for the future and power of the media? How should we define ‘news’?!!

The fairly new concept of the Sony Reader or Amazon eBook has meant that books can be downloaded and read online via a small computer screen. Perhaps this is also how newspapers will be read in the near future? I am not a particular traditionalist and am always excited by the new and innovative ways of accessing the information around us, but I also find it quite sad to imagine a tube full of people reading the news via a machine, like a carriage of robots. Despite having someone’s elbow shoved in your side, there’s something rather comforting and perhaps quite English about seeing men in suits on their way to the office, opening a broad sheet or that smell of the crisp pages when you start a new book. I admit I haven’t been to a library in at least a year, but watching someone dust off and open a tired old book with the library stamp in the front still makes me smile with slight nostalgia 🙂

Beth

Written by pilotlight

05/03/2009 at 10:29 am

Posted in Media, PR, Web 2.0

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