Pilot Light

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

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

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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

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

Tagged with , , ,

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

Tagged with , , , ,

Jukebox Friday 27.02

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This week’s theme – The Weather

Click on “pop-out player”

Written by pilotlight

27/02/2009 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Upwardly Mobile

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Just send me an SMS...

In the wake of Mobile World Congress it’s got me thinking about the idea of this new ‘21st Century’ way of working. Mobile technology is by no means a new innovation but people are claiming that the current need to cut costs has pushed us fully into the next stage of a truly mobile workforce.

Hot stories to come out of MWC last week included the buzz around fourth generation technologies such as LTE – where mobile broadband and downloading speeds are second to none. People are always ‘on’ and available to their clients, there is no dead time wasted whilst on the train or away from the desktop. The latest smartphones, such as the Palm Pre and open OS systems like Android that enable a wider ecosystem of applications available on one platform, mean you have the latest 3G technology in your pocket, with all the applications you need, and linked to all your devices. Work has become truly collaborated, mobile and instant.

I’m currently training for the marathon so welcome the fact that I can always leave the office on time, in order to get back to go for a run before it’s too dark or late. I know I can keep up to date with emails and the team whilst on the bus or can log into the server from home if necessary. Work can fit more easily around my life and commitments. This is all good, in theory. But with the increasing economic pressures and continued blurring between home and work is it not also slightly worrying that people are now expected to be available 24/7 and able to read and reply to queries instantly?

Beth

Written by pilotlight

26/02/2009 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Business, Tech, Web 2.0

Tagged with , ,

Hordes hold (Earls) Court

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It was a tight squeeze at the TFM&A show

It was a tight squeeze at the TFM&A show

The vicious rumour doing the rounds over the past several years, since the sad demise Comdex in Las Vegas and the toning down of CeBit, is that trade shows are dead. People, so the rumour goes, no longer have the time, inclination or willingness to spend the day in what amounts to an aircraft hanger basically being sold to.

But while some tech trade shows may have had their day, it seems people still have appetite for learning. Attending the Technology for Marketing and Advertising show yesterday at Earls Court, the education seminars were not only full, but people were being turned away by bouncers at the entrance – a scene unheard of at most trade show seminars.

The Google seminar centred on website analytics was, as expected, full to the rafters half an hour before the event even begin. It seems even if Google is slipping out of favour with many, the power of its search engine cannot yet be overlooked by those with websites and e-commerce portals.

Other seminars such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing were similarly busy, even if they had slightly smaller presentation theatres. The real eye opener was that even the sponsored seminars, which are, let’s face it, are tantamount to someone selling to a large audience via a PowerPoint presentation, were jam-packed.

But what is the reason for all of this keen-bean enthusiasm? The first is the content. As with all things these days, content is king. And the content of this trade show was right on the ticket – social media, cloud computing, marketing and advertising in a recession, digital marketing.

Added to this that the show was free to enter so the only outlay for most businesses is the time of the attendee, which when weighed up with the possibility of increased web traffic, better customer engagement and more knowledgeable staff, is a no-brainer.

Another reason is that presentations and seminars are trade shows are now a lot better than they used to be. Gone are the hour-long pitches and death by PowerPoint. Instead companies have woken up to the fact that the audience wants something; that they, as presenters have to give value to their audience, whether in terms of knowledge-sharing, research, discounts or just hints and tips, no longer is it about pure selling.

A change in culture also has a part to play too. As we are beseeched by this digital and social world, employees know they need to know more in order for their companies to thrive – although this could also could be selfish reason that they want to increase their own knowledge for career progression or alternative jobs. In the tight economy people look for new ways to invent themselves and with the hype around social and digital media, becoming an advocate cannot do any harm and it enhances their personal brand.

The seminars from the show are available here

Sara Driscoll

Written by pilotlight

25/02/2009 at 3:53 pm