Pilot Light

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

Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

Just Desserts

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Beer + Bike =....Before Pilot Light is extinguished and the Inferno boiler is lugged over to Beavor Lane, it is only right to remember that our esteemed leader began plying his trade down at Bite Towers in the days when New Labour was, well… new.

After crowing to all and sundry about his charity cycle ride being mentioned on the back page of PR Week this morning, I only feel it appropriate to remind everyone of the last time Grant ‘I’m going to cycle round the hilly bits’ Currie made the Diary pages:

PR Week Diary – Currie hits hot water and then stays on the boil.
24 October 1997

Press trip horror stories are ten a penny these days, but Bite senior account manager Grant Currie manages to stand out.

When Currie arranged a one-to-one briefing for a hi-tech journalist and a senior Oracle executive in Paris things started going wrong right from the start.

Currie arranged to meet the journalist at Victoria. After four unsuccessful circuits of the concourse it dawned on him that Eurostar leaves from Waterloo.

A quick dash across town and Currie found the journalist, only to realise that he had left his own passport at home and had only booked one ticket.

Some fast talking and, according to Bite, a ‘bit of old fashioned bribery’, saw Currie get himself on board without a ticket or passport.

Feeling he was on a roll, Currie completed the meeting before retiring for some liquid refreshment where, after confidently ordering a couple of ‘beers’ in the local lingo, he instead found himself facing two portions of apple crumble.

Apparently he was trying to order a ‘Kronenbourg’ in his best Peterborough-French accent.
You can sponsor Grant’s trek over the Pyrenees here: www.justgiving.com/grantcurrie
Go on, it’s for a good cause and it will keep him out of the office for 2 weeks.

Bezza

Written by pilotlight

24/04/2009 at 8:41 am

Posted in PR, Tech

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Well, that’s that done then

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The sign of the dawn of a new era...That is what I tweeted this morning. A reduction in characters can really crystallise statements and facts it would appear (and that tweet was succinct even by Twitters standards!). So basically at close of business yesterday we announced that Inferno will merge with our sister agency Bite under the Bite name.

Which effectively means that, come May 1st 2009 (our sixth birthday coincidentally), Inferno as a PR brand will cease to exist. It will be no more. It has ceased to be. It has expired and gone to meet ‘is maker… etc etc

Although of course, it hasn’t (ceased to be, that is). Inferno was a name. It was a very good name for a PR agency I like to think (Suzy Sammons came up with it in a pub, as all good names should be created!), but it is just a name. The people, clients and the culture that gathered under that name – ah, well that’s a different story. And it is also a story that will not end with the disappearance of a name I like to think.
Indeed, from my point of view the merger was actually all about preserving what we have all worked so hard over the last six years to build – an incredibly strong and happy group of amazingly talented PR people doing exceptional work for some of the biggest, most exciting (and demanding!) clients in the business.

With this move, we provide our people with new and exciting opportunities, career paths and routes for development that, being perfectly honest, we might have struggled to give them over the next year at least due to these ‘interesting’ times. And tied to that we can now provide our clients with a number of additional, value-add services and access to real specialists and more senior experienced consultancy.

Basically, we all think it’s great news. We will be sad to see the Inferno name disappear, but business is all about change and opportunity and we are creating plenty of that!

Oh, here is the official press release if you are interested…

BITE AND INFERNO TO MERGE
Agencies combine strengths to deliver new communications model to the market

London, 21 April 2009 – Bite Communications Limited (“Bite”) and Inferno Communications Limited (“Inferno”), both wholly-owned companies of Next Fifteen Communications Group PLC, today announced that they intend to merge on 1 May 2009. By bringing together two highly successful agencies under the Bite brand, the merger will accelerate the company’s growth trajectory and further enhance its position in the UK market.

“The merger was conceived as a decisive response to these rapidly changing times. Agencies must be dynamic, agile and prepared to make big decisions. With communications at the heart of every brand’s development, there is a huge opportunity for PR agencies to become centres of strategic consultancy excellence,” commented Clive Armitage, CEO of Bite. “Add to this the developments in social media and the resultant requirement for human and interactive dialogue and it becomes clear that the right PR agency – with the right skills in narrative and storytelling, combined with the multi-channel expertise to take these conversations to market – will be incredibly well positioned now and in the future.”

Bringing together Bite and Inferno will deliver a new engagement model designed to meet the diverse challenges of this ever-shifting landscape. This model will be predicated on distinct areas of specialism that will include content, broadcast, analyst relations, corporate positioning and speaker bureau, underwritten by Bite’s renowned digital expertise that is woven into the fabric of each and every one of its campaigns.
In addition, the merger will bring an injection of senior resource and expertise that will dramatically expand Bite’s capabilities and reach. For Inferno, joining Bite will provide its clients with access to deeper executive resource alongside Bite’s client service teams, as well as access to Bite’s seven offices around the world.
Grant Currie, Inferno’s founder and managing director, will assume a position on the global board of Bite reporting directly to the CEO. He will be responsible for the continued development of Inferno’s tier one clients, as well as providing strategic services to Bite’s global client base. Paul Mackender will take on the role of deputy managing director, Bite EMEA, and will focus on developing the EMEA business supporting Kath Pooley, Bite’s managing director for EMEA.

Kath Pooley, managing director, Bite said: “With this merger Bite has shifted up a gear, exploring powerful new possibilities that will deliver an unbeatable competitive edge in our market. The combined strengths of the two agencies brings to the marketplace an incredibly compelling proposition that will provide existing and new clients the perfect mix of people and skill-sets to address all their communications needs and challenges in this new, complex, world. The new agency that emerges from this process will embrace this evolving landscape, particularly around our shared vision of delivering innovative, audience-centric, channel-neutral communications. In addition, the merger will provide a springboard for Bite’s aggressive growth plans in EMEA and further enhance the career opportunities for Bite and Inferno staff domestically and internationally.”
Grant Currie, managing director, Inferno added: “Inferno is really excited about the merger and joining with Bite. An emphasis on a strong and dynamic culture lies at the heart of both agencies, borne of having been part of the same Next Fifteen family since our formation and having maintained close working links. Over and above this, the new agency brings together all the strengths and depth of skills that clients expect in the modern communications consultancy and positions us incredibly well as a real force in the new world of content and conversations.”

Several clients of both agencies have already expressed excitement in what a combined company would be able to deliver for them. Alison Perkins, head of PR, Microsoft UK commented: “We view the Inferno and Bite merger as a strategic step forward that will help us meet our own ambitious communications objectives. For us, the advantages are clear: we get to keep the strong, core Inferno team that has provided us with stellar service for the last six years, while gaining access to the rich expertise of Bite and its senior consultants. The communications landscape has changed dramatically over the last year and this merger shows smart thinking that will benefit not just Inferno and Bite but their entire client roster. And I look forward to Microsoft being one of the first beneficiaries.”

It is anticipated that the majority of Inferno’s clients will transfer into Bite as part of the merger. At the close of the merger, the expected combined client roster of the two agencies will include AMD, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Sony, Sun Microsystems and Symantec.

Grant

Written by pilotlight

21/04/2009 at 10:03 am

Posted in Business, Media, PR, Tech

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An App a Day

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App developers are searching for the next killer app

App developers are searching for the next killer app

 

 

 

 But this has become almost obsolete now that everyone is writing apps in their spare time – or at least you could be forgiven for thinking they are.  Apps are appearing for the strangest things – apps to turn your mobile into a flute, apps for helping you decide where you eat out on any given night or an app that allows you to search a search engine.  Great.  But in this world of hyper-app-tivity, how many of these applications are “killer apps”, or even just downright useful?  The answer is not many, but they hold a rather more poignant element to them. 

 

 In the younger days of technology people got excited, many companies, Hewlett Packard and Dell for example, were started by young entrepreneurs from their sheds, garages or bedrooms.  Technology was exciting and something to get your teeth into – it held opportunity.  After the rise, came the inevitable fall as the bottom fell out of the dot com world, and the technology industry, especially as a career option, became something to be slightly more wary about.    The opportunities were fewer and the risks ever higher as companies struggled to tap into the latest and greater business or consumer need.

 

 The idea that now we have 16-65 year olds building applications to do something with your mobile, your laptop or your PDA brings back a certain level of creativity and of excitement to the sector.  Bringing spirit and a feeling of adventure back into the IT sector could help make the industry an exciting place to work and encourage everyone and anyone to join in – meaning more chances of finding that next elusive killer app that we’ve been looking for and once more making the industry a desirable place to be. 

 

Once upon a time in the IT world, everyone was hunting for the next  “killer app”.   A killer app would be perceived as something that users suddenly found they couldn’t do without, a browser for example, or a search engine.

Written by pilotlight

14/04/2009 at 1:06 pm

Posted in Tech, Web 2.0

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

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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

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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

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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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