Pilot Light

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

Posts Tagged ‘Blogging

Slice of Crisis Comms to go?

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Fast food contaminations continue....

One thing that has engulfed the blogosphere and web this week was the antics of some people with the IQ of a salami finding pleasure in flatulating on someone’s fast food order. Now this is nothing new. For years urban legends have been around about employees of Mc Dougals spitting in hamburgers or Ken’s Fried Chicken ejaculating into the coleslaw so this was no surprise that bored pizza employees would do this, but two things did surprise me:

The first surprise was the PR buzz that this created on the web. Incidents like this have been around in one form or another from the dawn of time – and well before the internet was ever invented. Imagine the PR office in Rome when they caught wind of the Semon on the Mount? The obvious thing to PR professionals is: it’s not the buzz, but the response, and in a situation like this, the speed of reply. Whether a member of your staff has soiled a burger with body fluid or your drunken employee has just sailed 1.5 million barrels of crude oil onto a reef in Alaska, getting out the message as quickly as you can is the most important thing to limit brand damage. And in situations like this no-one does it better than the airline industry.

In crisis situations I think every PR professional, regardless of industry or vertical sector, should take a leaf out of the airline industry’s book- and I’m surprised Domino’s didn’t. These people are crisis comms veterans. They have bibles of the stuff and every time a plane goes down they roll their communications out with surgical accuracy. More importantly, the airline industry has a knack of moving the focus of the story from the loss of life, which is devastating to any brand, and onto another factor in the story which takes the brunt of the blame. Whether it is debris on the runway or a hero crew member – shift the focus and the story will contain itself. This is where Domino’s missed the boat.

By focusing the story on Twitter, YouTube and social networks bringing the culprits to justice, how this was global netizens working together to weed out injustice and wrong doing, I think the story would have taken a better turn. This would have taken the focus away from the apology and turned a negative into a positive. BA did this brilliantly with the Boeing 777 that came down at the end of the Heathrow runway – focusing on the ‘heroic’ crew to distract from questions about BA’s maintenance record- and I think Domino’s should have done the same.

Their comms may still shift, but speed is now of the essence.

Matt L


Written by pilotlight

17/04/2009 at 10:54 am

Puppets, muppets and blogs

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Buying the Blog

Sometimes it seems like we live in a permanent cycle of crazes. No sooner has Leonardo sheathed his Ninja sword on his turtle shell than Dr Who brandishes his sonic screwdriver. The hypey world of technology and social media is no different. No sooner has Friends Reunited faded than Facebook comes along and so the cycle continues. It can be difficult to work out which is the puppet and which is the muppet.

Twelve months or so ago, blogs were at the “peak of inflated expectations”, to use Gartner’s Hype Cycle metaphor. But blogging was then a mainly consumer activity. With a few pioneering exceptions, businesses weren’t blogging. Simply put, its value as a business tool was not proven. Then some US studies started to examine the case for business blogging, some books on the subject were published and it seemed the business community was waking up to the power of social media.

But, while the US can be a good indicator of future UK behaviour, there are enough differences between the two countries to see the need for a UK-centric view of business blogging. How many UK businesses are involved in blogging? Do they see it as a valuable business tool and if so, in what ways?

At Inferno, we wanted to know the answers to these questions and rather than wait for someone else to do it, we decided to research the matter ourselves. So, we asked Billy Hamilton-Stent at Loudhouse Research to look into the matter for us. The result was a research report called “Buying the Blog” which we launched at the Lords Media Centre last week. It surveyed 300 managers from UK companies of more than 250 employees on their views of blogs and blogging.

To help us launch it were Hugh McLeod, Neville Hobson and for an overview of the research findings, Billy Hamilton-Stent. The audience of senior PR and marketing practitioners were raving afterwards about how valuable and interesting they found the event – so thank you guys!

Reaction to the results themselves varied. I was surprised that as many as 50% of UK companies are now involved in blogging, but others were less surprised. What was clear though, is that a full year or more on from the peak of blogging hype, those UK businesses that took a more cautious attitude to business blogging are now ramping up their involvement in the blogosphere. The survey found that 64% of UK corporate blogs have been launched in the last 6 months. And, perhaps most encouragingly 86% of companies that have a blog credit it with generating more business opportunities for their company.

So, the trend is clear – UK businesses see the value of blogging and are now experimenting with how it can add value to their businesses. As we said at the launch, the risk is that businesses rush headlong into blogging without thinking and start to behave inappropriately. A blog is not the place to sell, it is the place to start genuine relationships that offer indirect value to their businesses. Some will need some help to get the balance right, which is where businesses like Inferno will be needed.

We thought you may like to see some of the presentations that Grant, Billy, Neville and Hugh gave at the event. The video highlights are posted below (if you are using a reader scroll down to see the four separate posts). There are also some great photos which can be viewed on Flickr.

An overview of the research report’s findings can be found on our website. If you would like to see the full report with all the different nuances of data, then drop Grant Currie (Inferno’s MD) a line at grant.currie@infernopr.com and we’d be delighted to take you through it.


Written by pilotlight

21/09/2007 at 5:35 pm

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Inferno’s Buying the Blog research launch 1

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21/09/2007 at 5:32 pm

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Inferno’s Buying the Blog research launch part 2

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21/09/2007 at 5:32 pm

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Inferno’s Buying the Blog research launch part 3

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21/09/2007 at 5:31 pm

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Inferno’s Buying the Blog research launch part 4

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21/09/2007 at 5:31 pm

The Blogging Bermuda Triangle

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His prices are Insane etc

A little while back, Steve Clayton, aka the Geek in Disguise, spotted an article in The Times listing the world’s (alleged) 50 Top Business Bloggers and noticed that the vast majority seem to be based in the States. He got a bit of a discussion going and even had some sage advice for blackmail victim Lord Browne. Steve certainly is correct that that Top 50 cited here are mostly US-centric and this is very depressing. Surely Brits have if anything a disproportionate amount of gripes, thoughts, libel and insight to spew across the net? Or even just satire?

‘Top 10/20/100/whatever’ lists make for great copy but are deeply misleading because they compare apples with oranges and oranges with PlayStations. If you consider the different purposes of what are being ranked it gets complicated. Any major US blog is going to get many more hits (and be easier to find with some, uh, quick Googling) so appear to be much more important. This is also problematic because number of hits is a crude measure of popularity –which is rather different than influence. Chat (Life! Death! Prizes!) outsells Prospect by over 10x but the latter is read by policymakers rather than people who collect Iceland vouchers and smoke counterfeit Lambert and Butler. But all that aside, why did so few Brits turn up on the leader board?

US firms, including many top names, have a much longer history of allowing (and even encouraging) blogging. Success breeds interest and people around the world are naturally curious to hear the opinions of those working in and around the world’s largest firms in the world’s largest economy. That said, there are plenty of large or at least interesting firms here employing people with plenty of experience to share and controversy to provoke.

Still present national tendencies toward deference, polite silence, privacy and an instinctive, tabloid based fear of media misrepresentation combine with time pressure and the sheer size of the Anglophonic Gorilla across the pond to discourage and hide UK business bloggers. As blogs are used more and more as a point of reference as well as conversation, this means that unless the UK speaks up and out debate and perhaps real business activity will be distorted through an American lens. People, get talking!


Written by pilotlight

06/07/2007 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Blogging, Business, Web 2.0

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