媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술 市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 模因 | meme | 밈

The PowerBook

Reading Time: 2 minutes

PR Week (subscription required) published the PowerBook this week, featuring 500 of the most prominent people in PR, it had a selection of questions that painted an interesting portrait of the people listed. BlackBerry’s at the ready, with leisure time facilitated by iPods and TiVo-equipped home entertainment systems, they are used to dining in London’s best restaurants – there wasn’t too many surprises amongst the preferences of the 500.

It also struck me that the same questions could paint an interesting picture of the digital marketing blogosphere. What would my own responses look like?

Name: Ged Carroll

Job: Lead consultant (EMEA), Digital Strategies Group

Address: Waggener Edstrom Worldwide 10 Southampton Street London WC2E 7HA

Telephone: +44 20 7632 3800

Born: 19XX

Home town: That’s a complex question. The place I felt most at home is Hong Kong. I grew up in the north west of England and the ancestral family farm in the west of Ireland. For better or worse, London is where currently where I call home.

Lives: London

Family: No

Best career move: Getting made redundant from my blue-collar job in the oil industry, which set me on my current career path. Little did I know what that would entail.

Which company / brand do you most admire? Rolex

Which business / organisation leader do you most admire? Larry Weber – who was the first agency leader that I worked for. It also reminded me that its disappointing to meet your heroes. He is a lovely, but far from perfect character.

Boss who most inspired you: Cathy Pittham, who was the managing director of the first agency I worked for down in London.

Most essential read: Wired magazine

Most essential viewing / listening: Wall Street Journal Tech News Briefing podcast

Favourite web link:

Favourite gadget: Apple MacBook Pro

Most respected journalist: Robert X. Cringely (aka Mark Stephens)
Most respected politician: A toss up between former president Mary Robinson, Moshe Dayan and Michael Collins (and yes I do know the last two are dead).

What is your favourite place for lunch? Wagamama

Name one thing about yourself that may surprise others: I used to be a shift leader in an oil refinery

Guilty pleasure: too many to mention including vinyl records, streetwear and mechanical watches

Your ideal epitaph: to not have an epitaph, at least not for a good while.

传播媒体 | media | 미디어 消费者行为 | consumer behaviour | 소비자 행동

User generated content is fine, but put a bouncer on the door

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Sites like flickr owe as much to the community management skills as gifted coding. Wired magazine put the latest list of its annual Wired 40 on the web and allowed users to input by rating the decision. However I snapped the following screen picture near the bottom of the list as users have introduced jibberish.

wired pwned.jpg
If Wired is going to harness its readership, it needs to think more carefully about how it manages its constituency and keeps out the riff-raff.

商业 | business | 상업

Why Internet bubble 1.0 isn’t like the current market from a PR perspective

Reading Time: 3 minutes

VC and pundit Andy Kessler apparently said that ‘history doesn’t repeat, it rhymes’ and for most PR agency people this time the current crop of web start-ups are a discordant verse of haiku.

  • There isn’t a belief that the laws of economic gravity have been suspended (though you could argue this one, with sites like Tape It Off The Internet (TIOTI) not coming under the cosh of big media). The bootstrap mentality of most of these organisations
  • There are no longer incubators like Jelly Works and Oxygen throwing out a raft of businesses (most of which were delivered stillborn), instead the cost of implementation is a lot cheaper and the business may not require external funding until it seeks to go international or needs to scale to match success. However, MyBlogLog with its purchase some five months or so after it was launched does have some incubation traits
  • With the exception of some notable examples like Jobster, start ups are looking to get funding well below 10 million USD The role of venture capitalists have changed from being the money man to being super connectors. I even heard one VC say that allowing his firm in on a deal would give ‘companies all the PR they need’ by nature of being involved with their high-profile firm
  • Conversations that I have had with a number of start-ups have indicated that they are unlikely to use PR as part of their marketing mix
  • Sarbanes Oxley means that for most investors an IPO isn’t an exit strategy, so companies only need enough visibility to get on the radar of the corp. dev. teams at Google, Yahoo! or Microsoft
  • You can register with TechCrunch to give them the skinny on your business without using PRs as an intemediary and the self-confidence of entrepreneurs will allow them to believe the awareness will suddenly come from their blog

With the exception of bandwidth and pizza-box servers there isn’t the same financial feeding frenzy that accompanied the last bubble, management consultants are left to sharpen their pencils as these start-ups follow what is effectively a fast-failure model. Players like Sun have had to rearchitect their offering to an even lower price in order to engage with this new breed of internet entrepreneurs and Amazon’s S3 service allow with Yahoo’s UI API library have allowed entrepreneurs to treat infrastructure as a utility. The media that really matters is not a sophisticated business magazine like The Industry Standard or Red Herring, but micro media often ran by individuals like John Battelle or Michael Arrington.

Venture capitalists are still searching for places to throw their funds under management (whether its viable or not) because the demand from the web is not enough, hence the new focus on green energy and the biosciences: both of which are much more capital intensive.

What does all this mean for PRs?

Well, we will make money as we (and our current clientbase) adapt to the new web realities of a super fragmented media and real-time direct customer interaction, there may even be incremental budget increases to somewhat compensate for the frozen budgets and billing rates that haven’t increased in a decade.

However we are likely to be fought every foot fo the way by advertising agencies and marketing agencies eager to claim this ground for themselves. Soon, probably sooner than many people think an evolution in PR will happen, rather like the way PR adapted to the move from sending out press releases by post to fax blasts and on to email.

There will be few opportunities for working with web 2.0 companies in general, though this may change if they require crisis communications.

I personally think that real opportunity for PR over the next decade will be in brand communications. We have marketing money being poured into transactional marketing, this is based on price. The price of Google Adwords and the price of getting pace on shelf or on web page. With transactional marketing comes less perceived differentiation and lower margins.

Online communications, alongside product and packaging design allows customers to build up a rapport with a brand unencumbered by the media and reduces cognitive dissonance by providing consumers to build their own ’support networks’ through a community of like-minded users. I already have access to this, through the support forums that Apple and Nokia host when I go and look for support information on my MacBook Pro, or my Nokia e61. Companies seem to see things that way themselves with IT directors emphasising the role of web 2.0 as a way of interacting with customers and providing automation. It’s going to be an interesting time.