Is your PR plan good enough? (Part one)

Stephen Waddington over at Ketchum mapped out the basic ingredients of a PR plan. Go and check his list of ingredients out, I thought I would dig into the subject area  in a bit more depth.

I have swapped around and amalgamated some of the elements that Stephen highlights in article.

When thinking about the process, I also wanted to consider how do you appraise quality of a PR plan?

‘Building a house on granite, rather than sand’

The PR plan should be a collaborative effort between client and agency. Traditionally, the agency has taken a brief, gone away and come back with a plan – rather like Moses coming down from the mountain with the ten commandments carved in stone.

It makes sense to check in with the early stages at least. This check-in process ensures that there is not too much of a gap between client and agency thinking and prevents the plan having to be rewritten in a hurry. Each part of the plan stands on how well the previous section has been written.  A secondary reason of engaging the client is ensuring that they feel ownership and responsibility for plan, which will help on securing internal buy-in and organisation conviction in pursuing it with the right amount of resources.


How would you decide your objectives? Start with agreed business objectives. I find it amazing the degree of differing interpretations of what the business objectives that you can see when sitting down with different people in the same marketing team. It is worthwhile considering a third party to manage the ‘norming’ of business objectives in a workshop with the people who are either responsible, accountable or consulted with regards the implementation and success of the PR programme. People who fall under:

  • Responsible will be doing the work on the PR programme
  • Accountable will be those people who have the final sign-off on the activity
  • Consulted will be subject matter experts (legal team, regulatory team, brand guardianship, product or service experts). If the programme is marketing communications orientated  then third parties such as the agency responsible for  advertising media planning and creative ideas should be involved.

The responsibility assignment matrix is a great way for agencies to understand the client environment for a given project. RACI – responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. Informed people are the recipients of one-way communication when a project step has been completed.  Those being informed shouldn’t be demanding changes on a programme of activity. Understanding this helps focus the planning process and subsequent approvals process for content.

Once you have an agreed set interpretation of business objectives:

  • Define the stakeholders that you want to influence?
  • What is the behavioural change that you would need to see from the stakeholders in order to help achieve the business objectives?

From this should fall the way that you want the PR plan to contribute in the organisation achieving its business objectives.

Appraising the PR objectives:

  • How tightly do they map to the business objectives?
  • How tightly focused are they? I’d recommend three or less objectives to keep any activity focused. If there are more than three, reprioritise and focus the objectives to bring the  list down to three or less
  • Is there a ‘tension’ or ‘mutually exclusive’ element in the objectives? If so, then there needs to be a reprioritisation or complete rethink of objectives

Stand by for part two! In the meantime if you need assistance in developing a communications plan or want an existing plan thinking validated get in touch.

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The Transaction Costs of Tokenizing Everything | Elaine’s Idle Mind – this will give me unpleasant flashbacks from launching Enron’s broadband market internationally

How a Messaging App Challenged Traditional Banks and Captured 45% of the Market – Counterpoint Research – interesting case study. The penetration of KakaoTalk in Korea is almost total

Google’s Learning Software Learns to Write Learning Software | WIRED – software writing other software

In 1973, I invented a ‘girly drink’ called Baileys – I looked down at the paper and there was an article about a golf tournament. The Open was being played at Royal Lytham. The headline mentioned R&A, golf’s governing body, and I instantly blurted “How about two initials? How do you like the sound of R&A Bailey? Think golf and the R&A.” “Great” he said, “I love it.” And that was that and I went back to reading the paper.

Twitter is working on a feature that lets you save tweets for later | Digital Trends – this is kind of the way I used favourites on Twitter

Lee Child, British Crime Thriller Author – Xerox – really nice project by Xerox

Out and about: Chasing the Dragon

October has been amazing month of cinema releases for me. The last I am going to write about is Chasing The Dragon. Hong Kong cinema is considered to be in its death throws. There are small independent films of course, but its far from its hey day with production houses known around the world like Shaw Brothers, Golden Harvest or Media Asia.

Mainland productions have the money and many technical experts and directors now work across the border. Korea has come on in leaps and bounds taking up the overseas arthouse audience.

There aren’t many new stars coming through, even in Chasing the Dragon; character actors and main stars are largely industry veterans since the 1990s. However, Chasing the Dragon gives me some hope for the Hong Kong film. Its an unashamedly Hong Kong film focusing on the economic boom of the 1960s and mid-1970s. It is a technical tour-de-force. Much of the Hong Kong shown in the film from old Wan Chai to the Kowloon walled city only exist in fading photographs. So much of it was green screened in instead.

It is probably too local for a mainland audience to fully appreciate the nuances and historical references. It shows a Hong Kong on the ascendancy, rather than suffering under a century of shame. It also holds up an unflinching view of British colonialism with its rampant individual corruption.

A modern British audience would have very little idea of how serving British police officers at all levels and government officials were central cogs in the corruption. Eventually the stench got to much when chief superintendent Peter Godber was found to have over $600,000 US stashed away.

Andy Lau plays ‘Lee Rock’ a clear analogue of Lui Mo Lok (呂慕樂) a corrupt policeman known as the The Five-Hundred-Million-Dollar Inspector by Hong Kong people. In some respects one can view Chasing The Dragon as a reboot of the 1991 film Lee Rock II where Lau played the same character through the same time period. Chasing the Dragon adds verve, detail and taunt storytelling to the mix.

The film is being shown at the Odeon in Panton Street.


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Millennials are no harder to manage than Generation X, according to the commentary of the 1990s — Quartz at Work – basically youth is youth is youth

Microsoft may soon launch its answer to the Amazon Echo – Business Insider – interesting statistics on relative performance of machine learning platforms

Thinking about working for a Chinese company? First, find out if it’s a ‘Lenovo’ or a ‘Huawei.’ – SupChina  – With Huawei, all business seems to orbit around the company’s central headquarters in Shenzhen, and for the company’s overseas business, it relies on sending employees abroad on a massive scale. It is notoriously untrusting of local staff. “If someone works at Huawei and they are not Chinese, regardless of their title or salary, I guarantee you, they have very little real power or authority, even if they are based in their home country,” said a former Huawei employee. Another former Huawei employee told me, “When we’d work overseas, the Chinese staff would discuss an issue privately, and then agree on how we would communicate that issue to the local staff. Often the message we would give the local staff was very different from the reality of the situation.”

Another industry expert said bluntly about Huawei, “I cannot think of another company in the world that has such a global presence, but pays so little attention to localization and integration.” – This had been doing the social rounds with former colleagues who had worked on the Huawei business, offered here without comment…

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week

The soundtrack to my week was this three hour programme on the music of jazz musician Thelonius Monk

Only Japan could successfully leverage a much loved children’s TV and comic book character to try and reduce syphilis infections. It was interesting to hear that the creator of Sailor Moon was a pharmacist who saw the urgency and need. Quartz alludes to Shinjuku – the entertainment district being the epicentre. It has seen an increase in foreign sex tourism from other Asian markets driven by a larger middle class (cough, cough China).

Great short film by the Wall Street Journal about obsessive Japanese Hi-Fi buffs

A Uniqlo campaign is always something that I look forward to and Uniqlo Danpan is no exception

Interesting effort to move the discussion on around the Volkswagen brand from dieselgate

Out and about: The Villainess (Ak-Nyeo)

This month has been a vintage month for cinema in London. The Villainess is a Korean film built around actress Kim Ok-bin. It is a vengeance film and there will be comparisons to the likes of Oldboy. There are also hints of Nikita and Kill Bill (which in turn raided Asian cinema mercilessly).

The Villainess

It is the most ‘kinetic’ film that I have seen in a long time with visceral action scenes, fast editing and amazing steadicam work. The plot has a number of twists and turns in it.

Get out, watch it (it has been running at the Prince Charles cinema).

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What the Great Scud Hunt Says About War With North Korea | War Is Boring – pretty grime reading

INMA: Pros, cons of EU’s General Data Protection Regulation for publishers  – GDPR could lead to a reduction in programmatic ad spend because advertisers will struggle to measure whether their ads lead to purchases, according to Eric Berry, CEO of TripleLift. There’s uncertainty about how the law will be enforced, but if users have to give consent to individual publishers, demand-side platforms, and attribution vendors, the attribution companies won’t have enough data to make accurate measurements

3D printing a threat to global trade | ING – Research report with hyperbole

Out and about: Blade Runner 2049

*** No plot spoilers*** Where do you start when talking about the most hyped film of the year?

Blade Runner 2049 starts up some 20 years after the original film. It captures the visuals of the original film, moving it onwards.  The plot has a series of recursive sweeps that tightly knit both films together which at times feels a little forced, a bit like the devices used to join Jeremy Renner’s Bourne Legacy to the Matt Damon canon.

Blade Runner 2049

The 1982 film took the neon, rain and high density living of Hong Kong in the late summer and packaged it up for a western audience.  Ever since I first saw  it represented a darker, but more colourful future. I felt inspired, ready to embrace the future warts and all after seeing it for the first time.

The new film is a darker greyer vision largely devoid of hope. You still see the Pan Am and Atari buildings of the first film, now joined with brands like Diageo. The police cars are now made by Peugeot. It also captures the visual language of the book, something that Scott hadn’t done in the original to the same extent. In the book, Dick (and the Dekkard character) obsess on how the depopulated world’s crumbling ephemera is rapidly becoming dust.

Visually the film dials down its influences from Hong Kong, Tokyo or Singapore and instead borrows from the crumbling industrial relics of the west and third world scrap driven scavenging from e-waste in China and Ghana to the ship breaking yards of Bangladesh. The filthy smog and snow is like a lurid tabloid exposé of northern China’s choking pollution during the winter. It paints a vision more in tune with today. Automation and technology have disrupted society, but orphans are still exploited for unskilled labour and vice is rampant.

Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford do very capable performances. And they are supported by a great ensemble of cast members of great character actors at the top of their game. Dave Bautista, Robin Wright, Barkhad Abdi (Eye in The Sky) and David Dastmalchian (MacGyver, Antman, and The Dark Knight). The one let down is Jared Leto – who now seems to play the same character in every film since his career high point of Dallas Buyer’s Club – I suspect that this is as much a problem with casting as performance. I think he needs to be cast against type more.

For a three-hour film it still manages to hold your attention and draw you in to its universe without feeling tired. It’s also a film that forces you to think, so if you are looking for visual wallpaper for the mind a la Marvel’s Avengers series of films it won’t be for you.



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My new chapter: joining Google to better explain search & help bridge the gap – Danny is a great person to fill the hole left by Matt Cutts and more

Supreme Said Close to Deal with Carlyle | Business Of Fashion – was the Louis Vuitton deal just rolling out the carpet for private equity interest?

The Uber app can secretly spy on iPhone screens – BGR – mother fucker…

A Farewell to AIM: AOL Instant Messenger Shutting Down in December – ExtremeTech – wow. The ironic thing is that messenger services could (and should) have been the WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger of today

Screwdriving. Locating and exploiting smart adult toys | Pen Test Partners – one more security issue to worry about

Guess what Chinese travellers are bringing back home? VPNs, lots of them | South China Morning Post – exaggerates the volume of desire for unfettered access – outside the intelligentsia, most won’t care

Why isn’t Apple Pay taking off? | The Drum – and other NFC payment technologies for that matter

Survey: Facebook (FB) is the big tech company that people trust least — Quartz – its only 1,600 Quartz readers

Yahoo says all of its 3bn accounts were affected by 2013 hacking | Technology | The Guardian – how is this only coming out now?

How supermarkets choose where to open … and where to close | Cities | The Guardian – even retailers don’t like chavvy areas

High Sierra’s Disk Utility does not recognize unformatted disks | Tinyapps – a lot of a fuck up there Apple, although its now fixed by a security update. Related – Think twice before encrypting your HFS+ volumes on High Sierra | Carbon Copy Cloner – big issue

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week (a bit later than normal):

Just simply great content. It is deceptively simple. I imagine that it required a lot of raw candid footage that was then skilfully edited down into this two-minute video.

The hyperbole of wrestling commentary with the rhymes of Snoop Dogg, it sounds like a marriage made in heaven right?

I am a sucker for manufacturing and process videos. This video by Richard Seymour (not the Richard Seymour, but a similarly named photographer) on how Leica turns out its M-series cameras

Velcro using humour to make a serious point about their brand IP

This week I have mostly been listening to Greg Wilson. This mix of early house classics surprised me a little because of his programming style (what he chose to play, the order and how he segued between the tracks). Wilson’s style was much more akin to that of the disco era DJs – it was all about the smooth flow, less about taking people on a journey or driving the dance floor in a more kinetic style and it caused me to re-listen to tracks that I have been familiar with for the best part of three decades.

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How to Make Enemies and Lose Influence in the Chip Business – Bloomberg – not only Toshiba but Apple, Dell and SK Hynix – Western Digital will likely have to fall on the good graces of Samsung at a steep price discount

Apple Working on an ARM based MacBook isn’t Surprising because the Competition is Forcing their Hand – Patently Apple – ARM still doesn’t have the computational power of MIPS according to people like the Chinese government…

Luxury Brands Must Act Or Be Digitally Disenfranchised From Savvy Luxury Consumers · Forrester – Forrester’s understanding of luxury brands is behind the curve

China Sees More Luxury Stores Close Than Any Other Country | Jing Daily – multiple reasons for it. British heritage brands Burberry and Dunhill got a kicking. E-tailing has come up fast and better understanding of market sizing once we’d got through the gift culture changes driven by government corruption clamp down

‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!’ The story behind the song sweeping Glastonbury – It all started in Birkenhead on a balmy evening in late May. The Libertines were due to play a gig at Prenton Park, home of Tranmere Rovers FC, when Corbyn took to the stage to say a few words about austerity and the NHS – important stuff, for sure, but not, perhaps, what the crowd had paid to see. “Thank you for giving me a few minutes,” Corbyn shouted. “And remember, this election IS. ABOUT. YOU!” And that’s when it happened, the crowd spontaneously erupted into the chant. Football fans have been using the not wholly complex compositional framework (“Oh + five-syllable name”) for years but this seems to be have been the first time Jeremy Corbyn’s name was used

Apple is really bad at design | The Outline – provocative title, interesting op-ed points. I thought the MacBook Pro touch bar was a better example

Varjo Raises $8.2M Investment to Further Develop “Human Eye-resolution” Headsets | Road To VR – There is a softness to VR that almost reminds me of the ‘fog’ of watching old VCR cassettes on a standard definition CRT Equipped TV set

The FT warns advertisers after discovering high levels of domain spoofing – Digiday – This is crazy

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: AI should be open like PCs, not closed like the App Store | Business Insider – I guess not closed like Windows hidden APIs against Borland, Lotus etc might be a better analogy… Bit of future gazing. A lot of whitewashing the past

China’s Weibo Hires 1000 ‘Supervisors’ to Censor Content | The Diplomat – is this really that different to people Facebook deploy except that there is more of them? Also raises cost of doing business online in China providing a slight ding on market attractiveness

YouTube tightens rules around videos with external links – The Verge – Alphabet aren’t exactly winning friends with this move

Is AI Riding a One-Trick Pony? MIT Technology Review – expect another AI winter sooner rather than later

Does the UK’s ‘government-in-waiting’ really plan a robot tax?  – the current state of infrastructure as described is really bad

WeChat messaging trends

Future of Web Development (according to Samsung)

Interesting presentation that says much about Samsung’s agenda.


The web VR is interesting because of the effect that even a small amount of latency can negatively impact the user experience.

Web Bluetooth reminded me a lot of iPhone / desktop ApplePay integration / authentication of payments.

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Publicis and WPP are takeover targets and Accenture ‘looks a credible buyer’, bank says – interesting hypothesis

Twitter to test longer tweets – but only for European languages – Mumbrella Asia – to be honest it makes sense for languages like German and Finnish

Signal Has a Fix for Apps’ Contact-Leaking Problem | WIRED – I so hope they sort it

​Facebook: news a pagamento entro il 2017, anche in Italia – Rai News – Facebook to trial paywalled content

Douglas Todd: Men do well in science and tech, but lag elsewhere | Montreal Gazette – the real reason more males complete STEM degrees, says Tabarrok, of George Mason University, is that, to put it too bluntly, “the only men who are good enough to get into university are men who are good at STEM. Women are good enough to go into non-STEM and STEM fields.”

The findings of Card, of the University of California, Berkeley, and Payne, of McMaster University, are consistent with wider concerns about the under-representation of men in higher education and in many sectors of the labour market, says Tabarrok.

“If we accept the results (of Card and Payne), the gender-industry gap is focused on the wrong thing. The real gender gap is that men are having trouble competing everywhere except in STEM,” says Tabarrok

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that have made my day this week

This week I have been listening to classic Japanese pop from the 1970s and 1980s – late Shōwa era for the win!

Canada’s tourism board has been running a campaign in Japan. They got the studio behind anime blockbuster ‘Your Name’ to do this 30-second spot

The Isle of Dogs marries anime with Wes Anderson and looks amazing

Porsche have done a great piece of content marketing about conductor Herbert von Karajan’s 1970s vintage Porsche 911 RS

Expect this in every planners tool box soon – German Performance Artists Act Out Amusingly Surreal Skits for Passengers Aboard Passing Trains