Thursday, December 17, 2009

December Birthdays

Well you would think that with all the Christmas parties at this time of year the @KineticsPR team would have had enough to celebrate...

Thankfully for the gang this is not the case. Yesterday we celebrated three birthdays in one – JodyLennon’s, @KatRoss’s and mine (@KdeR). In true Kinetics style we secretly passed around birthday cards to be signed whilst turning a blind eye to our own and then feasted on raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake. Could December get any better???

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And so the end of 2009 is nigh...

There's just over a week until Christmas to go and the end of 2009 is nigh. December is being its usual crazy self and acting like a strange combination of winding down to the break and frantic mania trying to get everything crossed off the to-do list before the end of year. I imagine it's this strange juxtaposition for many businesses and it is certainly the case for a PR agency like Kinetics. You end up juggle the looming 'Christmas closedown/slowdown' deadlines of all the major publications against client's expectations of getting news out the door and achieving targets for the year. Throw in the mix Christmas parties, 2010 strategic plans, contract renewals, staggered annual leave calendars (both clients' and our own), family interruptions (there's always some this time of year), early invoicing and reporting requirements and you've got a recipe for organised chaos. This year has been no exception. For example at the moment I'm sitting in the office all alone as one colleague is on personal leave, one finding lunch, one on a last minute client Christmas present mission, the other hand delivering presents, one picking up relatives from the airport, one at the last board meeting for the year and some others at a final client meeting. Tis the season eh!

In any case, I thought I'd take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We especially want to thank our clients for their support this year and looks forward to an even better 2010 ahead working together! And to the team, I want to thank you all for your hard work and effort in what has definitely been at times a trying year, you're brilliant and deserve a break this Christmas. Travel safe and have a happy time!





NB: The office will be closed from 1pm on Thursday 24th December to Monday 4th January but if you need us call the office number and it will divert to Kenny's mobile.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Photons

Did we mention that Kinetics is part of the Photon Group? The Photon Group is Australia's largest marketing communications services company and the 12th largest marketing communications services company in the world!! It's made up of over 50 specialised companies in Australia (and the rest of the globe), with companies split up into five divisions:

Specialised Communications - public relations and public affairs consultancies, corporate communications and events management (which is Kinetics' group);
Marketing - provides outsourced sales execution and merchandising services to FMCG, telecommunications and other industries;
Internet & E-Commerce - high growth combination of digital services, innovative product sales and transaction based marketing;
Integrated Communications & Digital - world class advertising agencies, recognised for creative talent; and
Strategic Intelligence - independent communications advisory and consumer research.

Being part of the Photon Group is excellent as we can offer all of these services to our clients via a single contact (or one butt to kick). The other excellent thing about being part of the Photon Group is that they throw very good parties... Last week Kinetics attended the annual Photon conference which was at the Sydney Convention centre and hosted by comedian Wil Anderson, and then in the evening we were shipped off (quite literally) to Cockatoo Island where we were wined and dined, enjoyed the lovely DJ Ruby Rose and the incredible Australian act Empire of the Sun... not bad for a Christmas party really :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A merry Kinetics Christmas















Our friends over at Media Connect wrote this great wrap-up of the Kinetics Christmas Party today:

Technology media celebrated a Mexican Fiesta Christmas party with Kinetics this week, also marking the agency's 13th anniversary.

According to CEO Jody Lennon, journalists from a variety of media outlets including technology, consumer, lifestyle and business attended the festivities, while longtime clients rubbed shoulders with those who signed up a few short weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the winner of the best costume price was Kinetics client Mathew Luu of Lexar, who wore "a very macho, silver-trimmed black sombrero that made him look like a bad hombre".

"Most journos present showed their support of the theme by consuming large quantities of Sol beer, frozen Margaritas and pina coladas... and we figure that’s what inspired Ty Pendlebury’s dance moves to the accompanying mariachi band!' said Lennon.

For more pics check out the @KineticsPR account on Twitter...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thoughts on Google Sidewiki...with thanks to creo

Our fellow “Photon-ites” from across the ditch at creo communications wrote an excellent blog post  this week about a new widget from Google that might just have quite the impact on the PR industry: Sidewiki.

Creo said:

This month Google launched Sidewiki. It is effectively a 'micro-wiki' enabling users to comment and discuss any webpage, while browsing that page. The principal idea is noble...why, then, is it causing a stir in the communications business?

For the same reason that many companies, and the PR people that represent them, still struggle to grasp the basic concept of Social Media.

Surrendering control. Conversations between consumers about organisations and their reputations are taking place on any number of Social Media channels around the clock. The amount of influence PR professionals and their clients have over these conversations is limited. It's a case of power to the people.

The difference, and sticking point, this time though is that, unlike say Twitter or Facebook - where negative commentary is physically (and thus psychologically) separate from the brand being discussed - Google Sidewiki appears directly connected to, even floating on top of, a company's website.

There’s more detail to be had on the Creo site but they definitely make a valid point, and I’ll confess to being initially a little overwhelmed and terrified at the thought of that level of openness online between businesses and individuals. But on the other hand Sidewiki is really just a new way to have those conversations that are already going on, and perhaps a way for businesses to see more clearly and more quickly what the opinions out there are saying. And once again the principles of listening and getting involved will be key to success online. As Creo said, it is well worth watching, and I’ll add worth playing with too!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I really don't know where this year went, I'm sure it was just two days ago that I attended a raft of Christmas parties and worked myself into a right frenzy in order to get a mountain of stuff done that had to be completed in 2008 before the whole of the Australian nation went on hiatus for January 2009. But apparently that was 12 months ago, and now we're shaping up to do it all again! So what's on your to do list between now and the summer holiday break? You know there's only five weeks left don't you? And that a fair chunk of that time will be taken up with social activities - both during work hours and outside them? But never fear, it will all get done! Somehow it always does. The adrenalin and excitement of the season will see you through.

What really kicks off the silly season for me is the Kinetics Christmas Party, it's always a November occasion and often close to first cab off the rank for the tech PR and media communities. Not so this year, but it's still close, with the date all set for five days from now in the evening of Tuesday 24th November. Come join us if you're free for our Mexican fiesta - we'll be the one's in the sombreros! Email me 'polly at kinetics dot com dot au' if you want more details. Hola!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

A little theory we're working on...

Crossing over: The nexus between marketing, technology and business process.

Historically technology existed in back office silos and then it moved to also being a facilitator of company window dressing with the intro of website marketing and static pretty sites. But now we’ve reached the point where the best use of technology can be found at the nexus between business process and marketing.

I know you will have heard the saying that marketing is about “selling the sizzle, not the steak” but in fact now we need the sizzle plus the steak – cook, carved and served to the exact standards the customer requires every time. And to do this there absolutely must be synergy between the technology and people at the forefront of the business and the marketing activities and business processes and technology behind the scene to create customer engagement. 

What do you think?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Technology & the Healthcare Industry

One of the great things about working in the Technology space is the enormous scope of vertical industries that we get to work with as technology becomes so pervasive in almost every aspect of our lives.

Over the last few months conversation around the National Broadband Network has firmly turned the spotlight on e-health. Government stimulus spending is at an all time high and debates around privacy are becoming less heated as the world acclimatises to sharing personal information on the net with Web 2.0 applications and as developments in web security progress.

Recent progress in the health technology arena has seen so many amazing solutions and products come to the fore, products and solutions that will have real, lasting effects on Australians. As an avid technology fan with a past life in the healthcare industry, I have to say this particular set of products really excite me.

I mean sure, iPods are cool, but they mean diddly-squat when stacked up against the da Vinci robotics products, that allow surgeons to operate on patients from anywhere in the world and in the least invasive way possible. How about Cisco’s HealthPresence – TelePresence for the healthcare industry – which means in the future I could go to the shopping centre, pop into the HealthPresence pod and be seen by a Doctor for my checkup- regardless of my Doctor’s location. These pods are being trialed on the other side of the ditch at the moment and elsewhere.

Just last Friday a consortium was announced to manage Chronic Disease Care in Australia – the Chronic Disease Management Network (CDM-Net). According to Karen Dearne at The Australian’s article "CDMS basically uses the web and our intelligent software to automate a number of tasks, such as populating an electronic health record and generating a treatment plan using best-practice guidelines. The doctor shares this information with other team members, such as pharmacists, diabetes educators and podiatrists, and in turn they contribute their observations so there is ongoing collaboration and much more effective care for the individual patient.”

There are also many Australian (and international companies) doing great work into the digitising of our medical records and taking on the massive task of connecting all our disparate health data. Organisations such as NEHTA (National E-Health Transition Authority) are pushing the initiative along, saying; “Across Australia there is a groundswell of support for a better, more connected healthcare system. More than 80 percent of Australians are in favour of electronic health records and are increasingly aware of the safety and quality benefits that e-health can deliver.” Unfortunately it has not been the easiest task, and as Andrew McIntyere’s blog at Medical-Objects notes, “Health IT is hard because the problem that we are trying to solve is huge, changes rapidly and cannot be modelled completely at any one point in time. It also rightly needs to be done with a very high level of security and even low levels of fraud and security breaches are intolerable and cannot be assigned to an “acceptable level of fraud” - which is what happens in the banking industry.”

So yes, I am looking forward to seeing Apple’s next installment of the iPhone, but really, the above marks such an enormous contribution to our society, and one day, it might even save your life.

More on product reviews

Today the largest ever delivery of merchandise arrived at the Kinetics office. So big in fact the courier was courteous enough to call from the basement/car park of our building to enquire whether we had a storage unit down there that he could perhaps leave it in. Alas we do not any such a fabulous storage arrangement and therefore we are left with this for the end of the day: the leaning tower of Logitech Guitar Hero drum kit simulator-thingys! The photo below doesn't really do it justice as there were other piles like these around the place this afternoon, in very convenient locations like the walkway between desks! The "wall" should be gone in a day or two of course, sent out to eager journos (who hopefully have some space to play with them) but it's an interesting fact about being a PR company with consumer tech clients that your office is often a loading dock for all kinds of interesting gear in pristine condition, until it disappears into the lock up cupboard!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cloud

Recently I heard Rodney Haywood, resident subject matter expert at Alphawest talk about the benefits of the next big thing in IT - cloud computing.

There are many, many, different explanations of Cloud Computing and Private Cloud up all over the world wide web. Try this from Wikipedia: Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the "cloud" that supports them.

VMware (virtualisation specialists) says about 'private cloud': Transform your IT infrastructure into a private cloud—a pool of virtualized resources within a datacenter, or internal cloud, federated on-demand to external clouds—delivering IT infrastructure as an easily accessible service.

Cloud computing can be one of the more challenging concepts to wrap your head around (for all of us non-IT people) although when you take it back to its more basic level - applications like gmail, that live on the web - not on your server, the concept of private cloud is just like renting your IT infrastructure or applications like you would your internet. Haywood explained that the hype surrounding cloud is very quickly turning into a reality for three key business reasons: faster, cheaper, better.

In Australia Alphawest have partnered with Cisco and VMware (and their telco owner Optus) to provide a unique cloud offering for customers. Here's some links to some extra information if you're interested:
Cisco's ANZ Data Centre lead Dylan Morison talking about his recent CIO roundtable discussing around cloud

Alphawest's partnership with VMware for the vCloud beta announcement

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Where next for Twitter?

Twitter has become this year's the biggest online phenomenon being talked about offline, which is a strange intersection in itself. So I've seen the talk about Twitter on Sunrise and The Today Show, I've read the Sydney Morning Herald articles, I've seen the 'how to' pieces in business management publications and heck I've even had to interupt (and correct) a close-to-elderly relative mid-lecture to other elderly relatives explaining Twitter.

So I've thought for some time now the end must be near. Much as Twitter is close to my and the teams' hearts it's very fast becoming "like so 2008". Not that we'll be leaving it anytime before 2015, we're in PR after all and we need all the communication channels we can get!

But this week an unprecedented offline commentary on Twitter occurred and I'm pretty sure it's finally 'jumped the shark'. Yesterday's Australian Financial Review ran on its front page the story Why Tweets Have Got Bosses All A-Twitter, which was followed up by a full-page piece on page 60! Oh dear, when Australia's leading business and financial publication has jumped onto the topic you know you've gone mainstream. Better yet when your boss wants to ban it you know you've really made it. I especially liked this quote "Twitter is emerging as the communications tool of choice for a growing number of twentysomethings and hipster web surfers..." Yeah that's it!

So what do you think? Is Twitter on the way up or on the way out?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Twitter for business

A couple of months ago I was asked to provide some comment for a training session on Twitter's value for business. This presentation was given in Melbourne this week - I am famous (from slide 59) :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

MasterChef lessons for the PR world

MasterChef season one has finally come to a close. And what a successful one it was - more than 3.7 million viewers tuned in to see Julie crowned Australia's first ever MasterChef - making it the most watched TV non-sporting event since ratings began. According to an article on SMH "Including sports telecasts, it still comes in third place, beaten only by the Hewitt v Safin Australian Open match in 2005 (4.04 million) and the 2003 Rugby World Cup final (4.01 million)."

So after countless tries by the TV networks in varying reality TV formats and genres, why was MasterChef so incredibly successful?

To hazard a guess I would identify passion as the primary ingredient. The shows contestants (and definitely the shows judges) displayed enormous amounts of passion for their chosen genre, and the contestants in particular were often made to articulate and re-articulate their passion for cooking and food throughout.

What does any of this have to do with PR? Much like a TV show, PR’s aim is to engage with an audience, and if successful a very large audience. The importance of being passionate about your subject is often overlooked. Journalists (or any audience for that matter) become excited, involved and really engaged with people who are passionate about what they do, they are swept up in others enthusiasm – if the enthusiasm is credible. Having a deep understanding and most importantly passion for the industry that you work in cannot be undersold in the PR world – whether it be an organisations spokesperson, or the PR person who works on your behalf.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A case of role reversal

A large part of our jobs as PR professionals is securing media interviews for our clients and briefing the spokespeople on how to best handle these interview situations. Well this week the tables were turned when I was asked to be a media spokesperson for a charity fundraiser I am participating in this month, Dry July www.dryjuly.com

All of a sudden I was the one in the spotlight, having a journalist fire questions at me down the phone line - and I thought the abstinence from alcohol for a whole month was going to be the tough bit.

Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t the AFR, The Australian or even The Daily Telegraph, but it was the Central Coast Express Advocate – the newspaper from where I grew up and lived for 22 years of my life. So sort of a big deal!

No longer a cool and calm PR but a nervous interviewee, I was lucky to have my colleague and co-founder of the charity on hand to give me a thorough brief on the publication and journalist, run through a Q&A document and give me a good pep talk.
So I will now have a much greater sympathy towards those execs that have no choice but to make media interviews part of their job but I must say I think I was smack bang 'on message'...

"Hopefully it will benefit our wallets and our waistline as well as
raising money for a good cause,"Ms Wright said.








Twitter to save journalism?

The social networking platform Twitter (which you must have been hiding under a rock not to have heard of) has been getting a lot of column space over the last few weeks.

Some journalists are quick to dismiss it and yet others are hailing it as the saviour of journalism.

Renai LeMay, the editor at online technology news site ZDNet.com.au wrote this piece last weekand said that "Twitter represents a way for journalists to get back to their grassroots history and connect with readers and audiences in the most personal way." Despite the 'Nights of the roundtable' mythology analogy used throughout his think piece, LeMay makes a good argument about the importance of social media (in this case Twitter) to directly reach his audience and more importantly, to reach his sources of information.

Five days after LeMay's article appeared Sally Jackson from The Australian wrote a similar piece about the media use of Twitter and the publishing houses policies around its use. While the article notes Twitter's shortfalls it also extols the benefits for hacks, clearly tipping the scales in its favour. The same could easily be said for Twitter’s use for the PR community.

Increasingly, we are finding that the traditional mediums from which the public derive their information are becoming less all-powerful as a direct engagement model becomes more popular. On the same day as Jackson’s story, another journo at The Australian, Simon Canning, reported on how organisations are using Twitter to exploit the direct engagement model it offers companies. He also notes the disadvantages associated with not participating at all.

While the medium may be (relatively) new, the idea that a consumer is influenced by multiple channels is not a new one for PRs, who simply need to continue to assess all influencers and engage with the most appropriate. All the noise around Twitter simply adds to its users, increases its influence, and therefore makes it more important that this new channel join others (media, associations, analysts... ) on our targets.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Unwanted followers...

Have you recently dived into social networking applications?

Now that you are an established member of the community are you finding that your are being followed by undesirables?

A came across this image of Pac-Man being followed by the infamous ghosts on an undisclosed social network and - retro as the pic may be - I really felt like I understood what was running through Pac-Man's mind



I have been tweeting for quite some time now but only just recently joined facebook (as I'm a true believer in telephone calls and human contact) and within 24 hours of joining I received over 75 friend requests - half of which I didn't really want to accept.

The visual image of Pac-Man and his ghost followers made me feel somewhat closer to the iconic 80's arcade game figure... And made me ask the question - is it rude to ignore unwanted friend requests and block unwanted followers?

What are there etiquette guidelines for letting people down gently via social media networks?

And more importantly - should I be offended if someone considers me an "unwanted follower"?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Organisation skills and time management

If someone ever asked me what I would rate as the number one basic PR agency skill this is the answer I'd give: impecible organisation skills and time management.

I'm not saying it's absolutely make or break stuff, nor I do believe that it can't be taught - it absolutely can and creating an effective to-do list should be in induction programs the world over. However I do know that TIME is the central part of a PR agency.

Without efficient use of his or her time, the best PR in the world can come unstuck. I think it's partly to do with the business model behind most PR agencies which is billable time - now this model is shifting at the moment (just ask the PRIA for examples) but unfortunately while we're yet to come up with another unanimous way to track what we do time = money in a PR agency. But that's not all, I really do believe that part of the importance of time management in PR comes down to its relationship to journalism. Now there is a time and organisation driven profession - deadlines are called deadlines because if you don't meet them your 'dead'! So PR naturally has to have an understanding of this and a good PR professional doing media relations will absolutely mould their work to fit with the schedules of their target media. And this time-focused importance has only become more important in the last 5 to 10 years with the never ending rise of the digital age.

Now I want to hear from others in the industry - how did you get your head around the organisation and time management required for PR? Personally I remember an absolutely fabulous first mentor who set me up with a To Do List template that I will take to my grave. It wasn't an option, I had to use it and I had to use it well. Now I love it and feel lost and bereaved without it! This is not to say I never come unstuck, far from there are always days when way too much lands on the plate and something's gotta give but having the right list, the right tool, the right guidance makes all the difference. So how do you do the juggle?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Reviews programs

We run a lot of reviews programs for a lot of clients. Sometimes, the days when the courier arrives it looks like we have just moved into our office - boxes fill every corner and surface while the team gets on the phone to the journalists we want to have a play with (and write a review of) the new kit.

This morning the last Logitech wireless guitar controller (the key to all your Guitar Hero fantasies) has left the office for review. Before it went, I wanted to test out what everyone has been saying about it. Its heavy and shiny and feels just like a real guitar.... it made me wanna play some Jimi Hendrix style riffs....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Local news

What is the future of media? Will readers pay for quality journalism? Who has a responsibility to keep the media funded? These and other such highbrow and concerning questions are being asked in every PR agency, media company, freelance home study and, well, media company, around the world. But this post from a blog I like to read gave a whole new angle to the debate.

What about the local news? Anna Pickard (the author of Little Red Boat, and the afforementioned post) is a freelance features writer who recently moved to San Francisco with her 'beloved', Bobbie Johnson, the tech writer at the Guardian. Australian readers of this blog will be familiar with both their writings as they are syndicated in many of the Australian papers.

The purpose of this post is solely to get you to read Anna's post on a couple of local newspaper articles she has found since her arrival in the USA. In case you missed the link above - you can find it here. It is incredibly funny and reminds us of the lighter side of the media.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We are all grown ups here....


An interesting story broke over the weekend, which got me thinking...

Mars (the chocolate bar people, not the planet) has reduced the size of its iconic bar by 11% - from 60g to 53g. They are keeping the price the same.

And why did they say they did it?

To help us fight obesity.

Because removing that last mouthful from your calorie-packed afternoon naughty will make all the difference....

Mars' actions are intiguing to me. They demonstrate either opportunism (I can picture an over excited product manager; "Hey, can we make this a good spin? It's going to go down really well... I have seen loads in the press recently about obesity") or fear (VP marketing; "Since Caburys launched that thing that looks a bit like a Mars bar our ratings are taking a tumbling - our focus group results strongly indicate a risk of consumers feeling ripped off in these economic times. We need to save money but lets make it look like we are doing it for *their* sake." Goodness maybe its even the 21st century incarnation of their old tag line; A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play. Its all about healthy lifestyles afterall.

But is there really anyone that would fall for this? Is it necessary to find a positive angle in everything?

If Mars' motivation was health related it could either have taken 11% of every Mars bar sale after the bar size reduction and donated it to appropriate health charities, or cut the price - because this isn't about money.

Frankly, as a savvy consumer I know its financially motivated and you know what, I don't mind. It's Mars' business and if I want a Mars bar I will buy a Mars bar (hey, we all know Wagon Wheels are smaller than they used to be, and it doesn't stop me!).

It's just rather patronising to see an entire corporate comms team and its PR agency go to all that effort to communicate such nonsense to me. Makes me think that they reckon I am thick. Not a nice brand message.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Months of calm and moments of terror


Most of the time life as a PR agency person is a relatively smooth existance. Yes, you manage an ever changing influx of workload and often everything needs doing for every client at the same time but it balances out of the course of the week, the month and the year - the juggling of which is something I imagine we share with our journo friends who have a more extreme version of this exhilaration and exhaustion around deadline time.


But then, once in a blue moon, something big hits - really big. It might come like a bolt from the blue but immediately your senses snap to attention and PR overdrive kicks in. Anyone who's been in the game longer than a hot minute knows what I'm talking about - it might be a crisis, big financial news, a disaster, a product recall, the death or departure of a company leader - but no matter what it is it's those moments that make being a PR practitioner the best (and worst) job in the world.


Once upon a time I worked with an insurance company and a well flung expression in their organisation was "months of calm with moments of terror". And since then nothing else has summed it up quite the same for me. For them it was 99 percent of the time everything was a ship sailing on smooth seas, then one percent of the time was a mad scramble inspired often by natural disasters around the world to bring the ship back to even keel. And it was the one percent of the time I loved the most! The CEO probably didn't but heck it kept the rest of us on our toes.
So as much as we might whinge temporarily about a little lack of sleep or sudden shift in schedule, I'd like to think that most of us red blooded PR people out there love a good "moment of terror" - just so long as it passes within a week or two :)!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Digital impressions

I keep an eye on the British Psychologial Society's blog most days. Not because I have any sort of knowledge or qualification in the area, but because it is one of the few blogs which daily uploads genuinely interesting and fresh information.

Yesterday's research post really caught my thought-glands, and I wanted to share with you.
First impressions used to be all about the first time two people came face to face. These days, first impressions are as likely to be formed via perusal of a person's website or Facebook page, as they are to be formed from actually meeting them. Now a study has compared first impressions gleaned from face-to-face contact and from Facebook pages, and found a close parallel between the two. People judged to be likeable via one medium were also judged as likeable via the other.
You can see the full post here, including explanation of the experiment.

For me it was good to see some scientific proof of what I find anyway. Being an online addict I am aware I make judgements as to someone's 'likeability' all the time, and that the judgements are made with very little info.

Someone useing an apostophe incorrectly, or writing in "txt spk" can immediately earn my condescension. Someone on Facebook who doesn't have any photos (who the research would deem 'unexpressive' online) is cold and aloof - they aren't getting involved with the fun.

Worth considering that the old adage of 'It's not what you say but how you say it" works equally well online as it does in person.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gossip and bullying - a fine line online

Last week some year nine youngsters were expelled from a presitigious Eastern Suburbs of Sydney all-girls private school for a raft of cyber bullying offences. Now despite my dislike for stories that take delight in tearing down private schools just because they're private - like bullying, cyber or otherwise, only happens to children with money - this article by Paul Sheehan for the Sydney Morning Herald really sums it up.

Bullying has always existed but the power of online communities and social networkings means the shame of the bullied and the mirth of the bullies is multiplied and recorded for almost perpeptual posterity. Paul also blames the gossip culture our little online social bubble has created, pointing the finger at some of my (I must confess) favourite blog sites (namely GoFugYourself and Perez Hilton) who make their money being mean to others.

The relative anonymity of the online sphere also gives rise to bubbles or pockets of negativity that can easily become a swarm. Paul gives the Gretel Killeen at the Logies example where the Twitter backchannel was harsh from the word go. And I know how easy it is to be critical in 140 characters, when I went to a Social Media Club Sydney event a couple of weeks ago we were invited to tweet our comments and questions along with the events Twitter hashtag (#smcsyd). I did so liberally but the urge was always to tweet a criticism, it's the first thing to spring to mind and it's far more exciting than being positive. So I know just how easily the echo chamber becomes filled with negativity, but the problems begin when it spills over into reality.

These school girls are unfortunate to have been caught out doing what our society is doing left, right and centre - everywhere from the websites of major news publications to TV - but I'm glad they were punished for their actions. And we should remember that one day we might be too!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fastbreak

This morning a couple of the team went to Fastbreak, part of Vibewire's e-festival of ideas (which is, in turn, part of the Australian Innovation Festival).

It took the place of the weekly social media coffee on Friday mornings and was a coming together of a range of people discussing 'The biggest challenge to innovation'.

There were five speakers, covering the question from five angles; The four Cs of innovation, - creativity, commercialisation, collaboration and connections - plus a fifth – conversation.

* Creativity - Jye Smith (@jysemith)
* Connection - Scott Drummond (@Scott_Drummond)
* Collaboration - Isadore Biffin (@IsadoreBiffin)
* Commercialisation - Elias Bizannes (@liako)
* Conversation - Matt Moore (@Innotecture)

So... all the details out of the way, how was it?

Really interesting actually. I am not good in the mornings and it was an 8am start in Ultimo so the event for me started with a couple of mint teas while I met some familiar faces from other social media events, and a few new ones too.

Then the 4 minute presentations started.

Jye challenged us to be more creative in everything we do, and to create processes and structures which encourage creativity. He also asked what the difference was between innovation and creativity.

Scott told us to look not to the size of a network, but at the latent potential within that network.

Isadore reminded us to involve others in our projects as they bring experties and ideas we may not have considered.

I won't forget Elias' explanation of the supply/demand theory; a beautiful man can go to the gym all he likes, but if he doesn't know how to create demand for his product he will leave a nightclub alone. (After the presentations were over I spent half an hour in Elias' group, discussing commercialisation challenges - a very interesting discussion).

But the soundbite takeaway for me goes to Mark who gave us a quote from Theodore Zeldin from his book Conversation (and apologies if its a slight paraphrase - I didnt jot it down quickly enough to repeat word for word):
A conversation is an interaction which both parties enter with a willingness to change, and come out slightly different.
I think this is something PR people (and our clients) should always remember when we claim to be having conversations with our audiences/stakeholders/customers. A conversation is not a one way dialogue in which you convince the customer to your way of thinking. A true conversation will change the client as well as the customer.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Palin for President?

I know this old news, but I just can't help having one more stab at Sarah Palin. Today on The Australian's website Tim Reid reported on the Larry King Live interview with Levi Johnston, the now infamous (ex) boyfriend of failed US Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin's teenage daughter Bristol, with whom he had a baby last year. 

And now, like all incredulous sagas, it gets worse. And like every train wreck hurtling out of control people are transfixed.

Levi appeared on LKL most probably for the princely sum he would have received and stated that he was willing to sue the Palin' s for access to his son. To add to the drama, his mother, who is due in court next month on felony drug charges, appeared with him.

All in the Palin camp isn't rosie either. The half-sister of Palin's husband was recently charged with burglary, theft and trespass for three alleged break-ins, escapades on which she also allegedly took her four-year-old daughter. 

One has to wonder how the gun toting, woman in the middle of it all (from the middle of nowhere) who believes in creationism and the death penalty and who is firmly anti-abortion and gay rights ever soared to the pre-election position she found herself in. Did the Republicans really have no one else?

Throughout it all Palin’s ardent supporters insist she will run again, for President this time, in 2012. God help us all.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter with @KineticsPR

With acting MD @EmVicW in charge @KdeR decided it was time for some Easter fun and frivolity to help welcome the extra long weekend!

Over night the team had a visit from the Easter Bunny and this morning arrived to an email alerting them to the fact...


@EmVicW discovered some among her cereal....



Whilst @brides007 boasted on twitter about her success...


And the entire team enjoyed Hot X Buns for breakfast - except @pollyemj who has a strong dislike for sultanas.

The team @KineticsPR would like to wish you all a very happy Easter. We hope you all get spoilt rotten by My Bunny - just like we have!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Telstra the Biggest Loser in NBN?

Despite the bad news for Telstra yesterday its share price jumped 4%. Premature move by investors? Or mature long term outlook decision? Is Telstra really the biggest loser in the Rudd Governments announcement yesterday to build their own National Broadband Network?

The reaction to the announcement and subsequent change in share price was based on the premature notion that none of Telstra’s competitors were going to individually or jointly own the new network, and further the announcement also reopened the door for Telstra to invest and participate anyway, despite being initially booted out of the running. But does it end there?

The first kick to the groin was the exciting development upgrade of fibre to the premise (over the original plan of fibre to the node), which now allows the new NBN to totally bypass Telstra's existing copper network – concurrently rendering it redundant. My guess is that this move would have left many folk over in TV land quaking in their boots as well. They now have 8 years (max) to reposition themselves before D-Day of instant movie streaming becomes available to 90% of the Australian population. Telstra gets a double hit here actually as it owns half of Foxtel *ouch*.

To add insult to NBN injury, the other slap in the face Telstra probably wasn't expecting yesterday was the governments indication that they are taking serious steps towards separating Telstra's retail and wholesale arms and the divestiture of its HFC network, in a move to try and curb its monopoly. Whilst the ACCC and angry consumers everywhere jumped for joy there would one group who would not have been so happy.

 Poor Telstra share holders have had a pretty rough deal in the past few years. The Howard government privatised Telstra, pocketing the profits of the T3 shares, which promptly plummeted just as quickly as phone bills rose. Now the new government is punishing them further.

 So far, so bad. The flip side? As IDC's David Cannon pointed out in this ZDNet story "Telstra is arguably the most advanced player in the country in terms of over-the-top services, and will see the NBN as the reason to keep driving its services play... It will use its large cash reserves to secure exclusive content and to enhance its hosted unified communications offerings for both business and consumer markets." 

 And Cannon is right. In the rapidly maturing age of virtualisation and Unified Computing technologies; the market transition which aids the movement of data towards cloud computing environments, will be big business for players who take advantage of the service models they create. The new system would open the doors for Telstra to become a services model for all sorts of applications in all sorts of industries, possibly expanding its reach around the nation... Telstra may yet have the upper hand. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Foolish fools?

In my whole PR career, working for big and small clients, I have never taken part in an April Fools PR hoax for any of them. This has not been a deliberate strategy, its just never been something that fell in line with the PR objectives of my clients. So this morning, looking over the many April Fools played out yesterday, I got to wondering what PR benefit these companies will have derived from their efforts.

So first up, a selection of the jovality from yesterday:
- Google launched the gball... a football with GPS and other such tracking systems. Talent scouts can track great players online
- The Guardian (UK) announced that it is moving to a completely Twitter-based format
- Consumer forum Whirlpool told us that Stephen Conroy has been fired by the government (touche!)
- Farkin, the mountain bike company pretended it had been caught up in the government's net filtering plans and was being shut down
- GetUp! used the day to tell us that K.Rudd was offering free child care at your local MPs office (a dig at the disappearance of maternity pay from the political agenda in the wake of the GFC)
- The Herald Sun was trying to have us all believe that a Chinese consortium was attempting to have the MCG renamed
- Microsoft announced the launch of Alpine Legend - a yoddling version of Guitar Hero for the XBox 360
- Mumbrella panicked a few people with the news that the government was working on a secret plan to tax Australians per twitter update
- New Zealand's Herald told us that Microsoft had acquired Apple
I am sure there were many more...

So what did these companies get for their efforts?

Well Google always wins with its April Fools hoaxes - it has done them since 2000 and has built an expectation. I even saw online conversations on the 31st March indicating that people were excitedly awaiting this year's. The hoax concept fits very nicely with Google's brand identity as a fun company that doesn't take itself too seriously, and over the years this type of irreverence has probably been partly responsible for the company's continued maverick brand status despite its increasingly grown up behaviour.

The publication driven stories (Guardian, MCG renaming and MS acquiring Apple) have a different objective to those started by vendors. These are intended to sell papers and entertain. The Guardian one I retweeted, which may have gone some way to drive their twitter following, which may have been their plan.

Alpine Yodel I like a lot. It shows that even serious Microsoft can laugh at itself. Farkin got some nice newspaper coverage - well done there, and GetUp used the day to take a clever angle on one of their key political campaigns.

The key hurdle any company has to overcome with an April Fools PR idea is that many others are competing for the same article. Any publication will run one, maybe two hoax stories, but no more. Yours has to be pretty good to compete - especially against those who have established a certain ownership of the day (a la Google).

This year saw a lot of the hoaxes disseminated through social media - Twitter in particular. Perhaps as more companies get to grips with these media we will see more stories, both real and fake, distributed through these channels.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Immediate feedback

Watching Twitter this afternoon it has been hammered home for me just what a useful tool it can be for a PR person.

My TweetDeck is a window onto the conversations, opinions, schedules and preferences of a good proportion of the journalists, analysts and bloggers that my clients target.

They tell me when technology companies are holding events, and who is attending. They even ask each other to put questions to spokespeople if they are not at the event themselves.

Today a lot of the tweeple (twitter speak for people, I know, its naff but fun) are complaining about very dull slideware at an event hosted by a large technology company. I have watched the moans build up as spokesperson after spokesperson comes out and wades through powerpoint presentation after powerpoint presentation.

Someone is sitting too far from the screen to see the small writing. Someone else wonders whether this presentation is identical to the last. A third is mulling over whether the (very nice) lunch was worth such boredom. A forth merely tweeted; 'yawn'.

Today Twitter is a minefield of information for those who organised the event, teaching them what (I expect) many of the media will be too polite to say as they leave.

Only trouble is, one journalist has just pointed out that they don't know of anyone from either the vendor or the PR agency who is on Twitter to see this stuff.

Which is a real missed opportunity for improvement.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Press release translation - Mumbrella style

I could not stop laughing when I read this post today! Mumbrella again hits the nail on the absolute head. Below is a small snippet of his translation of a Starcom media release (in red text) but you really should read it in full to laugh out loud! I can't believe a marketing agency could be so ridiculous in its own own marketing speak.

From Mumbrella:

“With a number of new appointments and promotions we have assembled a world-class team that will be integral to the success of clients across the company.”
“With the downturn we’ve been able to get good people a lot more cheaply than six months ago.”

Consumer anthropologist Seema Patel has joined Genesis to navigate the consumer landscape for clients, providing a differentiated lens to understand consumers as humans first.
And we’re tired of people like Naked having all the wanky job titles like consumer psychologist, so we’ve got a consumer anthropologist. Stick that, Adam Ferrier.

Patel’s focus will be augmenting SMG’s approacch to insight generation, through SMG’s fusion approach - a unique ethnographic approach to understanding consumer drivers that takes the best from the psychological and anthropological worlds.
But we don’t see any irony in talking about understanding people as humans first while using language like this.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Twouble with Twitters... (according to current.com)

Oh dear I think I can see myself in this video...

Found it a nice reminder that while we explore new communication channels it is important not to forget the traditional methods!

Generation gap a myth?

I read with lots of interest Kate Carruther's post last week about the Real Generation Gap. She wrote that she's not entirely convinced by the oft-quoted generation gap differences between Boomers, X, Y and now iGen and I totally agree. While generational differences are a great way to explain some trends you really can't categorise people (and especially their attitudes towards technology) by their year of birth.

Kate says, "In both my work and personal life I am seeing the development of a different kind of generation gap, and it is not one that is age based. Rather it is about the individual’s relationship to technology and their willingness or desire to become and to remain connected." Frankly I couldn't agree more. As a Gen Y-er who's reasonably close to the Gen-X cusp I take pride in my embracing of the internet culture but equally I know several people younger than me (or indeed my own age) who can think of nothing worse than their life being portrayed on facebook or writing a blog that reveals their thoughts to the world. And in the same breath I say that there are heaps upon heaps upon heaps of active bloggers and social media gurus who love this internet connected culture are (dare I say it) well beyond the Gen Y birth year cut off! Kate refers to this phenomenon as the real digital divide and explains it not as a gap but rather a "continuum of connectedness". So where do you think you fit?

(McCrindle Research sets out a diagram of the generations in its report 'Seriously Cool' so for those needing a refresher it's below)


Friday, March 20, 2009

Google Street View

Google Street View has finally launched in the UK and its interesting to watch their reaction to it from our perspective in Australia, having been able to play with it for a few months already.

I was surprised that one of my non-tech friends (an accountant actually) stumbled upon it on day of launch. Her reaction was that it was a bit of fun.

The media over there don't seem put off by the fact that it only covers cities at the moment (my home town is hardly in the sticks, but no joy on pictures of my street to bore people over here). Nor did anyone seem to respond badly to Google's complaints that London was the hardest city to photograph yet; they blamed the weather and the one way streets.

A good 5 (?) months after service launch in Australia though, what do we see? Well it was a lot of effort to photograph mile upon mile of outback road, but is it actually useful? I use it to get a visual idea of where I am going if I am going to a meeting. But otherwise its still just a bit of fun - eclipsed by the media attention around Google Latitude's tracking systems (which, frankly, terrify me!)

Comedian Dave Gorman had an amusing story of his run in with the cameras (and the fact he is recorded for posterity on everyone's search for a particular Bethnal Green street).

But for today, I will share with you a link to the image of the outside of the Hotwire office in a trendy warehouse in Clerkenwell. Hotwire is a fellow Photon tech PR agency (and my former employer before I was lucky enough to be transfered out here to Kinetics and the Land Of The Sun). Twitter was alive yesterday with debates among former colleagues trying to work out who got caught by Google on their sneaky cigarette break.... :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sixth sense technology

This presentation from the recent TED conference is excellent. It was the talk of the show and in it Pattie Maes from the MIT Media Lab's new Fluid Interfaces Group looks at the tools we use to work with information and connect with one another. She demos their prototype "Sixth Sense" device. Its 8 mins long but well worth watching - seems very bizarre to begin but as they explore the opportunities for the technology towards the end it doesn't seem so outlandish!


Those Pauline Hanson photos *vomits into bin*

Yes, whether we liked it or not, most of us have been exposed to those Pauline Hanson photos. 

 Like her or hate her, heads should roll after this weeks latest media smear campaign. 

 The defense for publishing the 'lewd' photographs seems to hang on the opinion that the media has a duty to publish these as she is a public figure (running for a public office) so anything that she does deserves to be scrutinised: there is a public interest.

 But what public interest does anyone have in seeing photos of Pauline Hanson, 30 years ago, in private - long before she ever came into the public eye?

 In defense of her actions, the Sunday Tele used exactly this argument AND astoundingly, also the next:

 If we didn't do it someone else would have.

 I can hear my mothers voice "If so and so jumped off a bridge..."

 There are a myriad of responses to these ridiculous arguments, but bottom line: This is not public interest, it’s News Limited’s commercial interest, but the question I want to ask is, where was the fact checker for this story?

 I don’t personally like Ms. Hanson, but it would be good to see her press the point home by suing.

 For a fantastic wrap up of this story see Monday’s Media Watch http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s2517612.htm  (One of my favourite programs)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Does a financial bust mean a financial boom for PR agencies?

Paul McIntyre in today's SMH online penned a piece Financial crisis spells boom for master of spin about the fact that economic turmoil is proving good news for the PR industry. But I'm quite sure I believe the hype. If you stratch the surface you might think, as I did, that this story is a classic case of PR self-promotion (possibly at the expense of some hard truths). And it's definitely got a touch of the 'the independent Australian-owned business vs the multi-national big guns' about it.

Now in terms of PR firms gaining from the financial crisis I think the truth is in the middle ground (isn't it always) - some practictioners and agencies must be bringing in more work as companies (especially those ASX-listed entities) struggle to maintain a reputation of corporate success but for others it has to hurt (even if only a little bit) as more and more companies hold onto their money waiting for the better times around the corner. Isn't that what consumers and individuals are doing too?

And in any case if you're not hurting, isn't it just a little crass to flaunt your success while so many other businesses and individuals are hurting.

I think the person who said it best was Gabriel McDowell, the partner in local consumer and public affairs firm Res Publica: "That's just rubbish," he says. "The reality is some of those international companies are already being directed by their London or New York head offices to cut costs. It's the boutiques, the locally owned businesses, which have a reputation for delivering at a local level that will see growth. Most sophisticated companies know now that access to the right people, to senior people, is the key. Those [PR firms] who know how to hunt for their own dinner will prosper. It's not going to be the large multinationals."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rudd gets TP

Last Friday I was lucky enough to participate in a world first. Cisco, along with Telstra and the Australian Federal Government, held a press conference across four different states and territories in Australia. How is this possible you ask? The magic of TelePresence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO5sD8Y69nU

Whilst the Finance Minister, the Hon. Lindsay Tanner and Cisco VP Les Williamson sat in Melbourne, Telstra big wig David Thodey joined from Brisbane and journalists made up the numbers in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. Everyone could all see and hear each other as if they were only separated by a table.

Now whilst I’ve participated in TelePresnce sessions in two different places before (i.e. Sydney to Hong Kong) never have we had four different places happening at once!

Coverage from the press briefing appeared everywhere – over 18 publications including The Australian http://tinyurl.com/djvg3g and twice in the AFR. Forrester analyst Tim Sheedy blogged about it http://tinyurl.com/aso3na and a hash tag was used on twitter (#govTP). All in all quite a success!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Aussie bank step backs from web 2.0

The Bank Channel today repeated an IT News story about: Westpac has revealed that changing business conditions and poor adoption forced it to abandon or shelve some of its highest-profile Enterprise 2.0 projects.The bank has abandoned the Second Life presence it used for employee induction, has re-evaluated the use of blogs within the company and has pulled back on desktop video." In a candid presentation at Future Exploration Network's Enterprise 2.0 conference in Sydney, the bank's former chief technology officer and now general manager of application development, David Backley said...
"Failures can become expensive. We do massive systems rollouts and we expect huge paybacks." Westpac was among the earliest Australian big organisations to grant its workers access to social networking. Its internet banking site has three million users logging up to 700,000 sessions a day and 6000 users at a time. And it handles more transactions on the internet than from its branches and call centres combined.But it has seen its share of project failures too, Backley reminded the audience.Such as its early leap into blogs. Bank management at the time was too risk averse and the technology too new, he said."Parts of the organisation were too scared to put comments in because they didn't know what the consequences were," he said.
...Backley told delegates there were some important lessons they could learn from Westpac's experience. "You need to ask yourself, can the organisation support the technology?" he asked. "It is no use if nobody will give up headcount or budget to support it."

Which all made me wonder:
a) has Westpac been burnt by trying to do too much too soon;
b) does web 2.0 really just not fit in with the rigourous procedural requirements of a financial institution;
c) is it just because this guy Blackley has been replaced as CTO by someone anti-web 2.0; or
d) is it GFC (global financial crisis) cut backs by any other name?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Video anyone?

Did you know that You Tube is now the second most utilised search engine (after Google) and the first for people under 25?!

If you were to consider YouTube’s integrated search a regular search engine, you would have to hand Google the top two spots for search engine traffic. In combination, Google has about four times the search traffic of Yahoo and more than ten times the search traffic of Microsoft’s MSN sites.

I came across this startling fact when researching how better to reach purchase decision makers. In this vain I decided we should be making more video content and set out to see how easy, or difficult it was to do ourselves… after much mucking around with Microsoft Movie Maker the below video was born.

Now you may think that blogging a video is just lazy on my behalf… but let me guarantee you that it took me far longer to make the video (specifically getting the photos in time with the music!!) than it would to write a blog post… so without further ado, have a look at the quick video to meet the Kinetics team and see some photos of our more recent outings together.

i-heart-iGoogle



I never thought I would become addicted to a tech application until I got introduced to i-Google. Until recently my home page was always HP which to be honest offered me nothing and I was forever typing in the Google web address so I took the plunge and changed my home page. Now I cant look back. I am definitely the kind of girl who likes everything to be about me so i-Google definitely allows this.

My i-Google is themed "summer ocean'' to fool myself that I am still at the beach when im actually at work. My favourite widget would have to be weather which updates the temperature every time I refresh and lists the weather for the whole week. If it predicts cloud you can only imagine there is a lot of refreshing. My widgets also include g-mail which lets me to see at a glance what’s going on in my personal life whilst not wasting works time as well as YouTube to play the songs I want to listen to when Nova is in talk mode, Google News, Wikipedia and Aussie recipes which I may never make like the mango chutney or the Yabby ravioli with wild lime and shiitake but it is still inspirational.
So if you are not already hooked like I am this is one application I recommend to all!

See the fee

Had an interesting moment at the ATM today when I realised that it is indeed March 3rd and I will indeed be charged god knows how much to take out $20 from the ATM to purchase my lunch (thanks to the ATM fee reform). The reason I say ‘god only knows how much’ is because I was presented with a message that said “This is what we plan to charge you $xx... But your bank might charge you too” – how much? I’m not sure and I was trying not to think about that since it appeared my lunch was costing me at least $4 before I even ordered. Whilst momentarily baffled by the interruption this caused to my ATM autopilot transaction routine, I was impressed to see the ATM does pay you the courtesy of asking whether you accept the charges and want to proceed. I thought briefly (mainly about exactly how far I might have to walk to find a my bank's ATM and whether I was in fact angry enough about being charged extra to roam the streets or whether I was just too lazy to walk and therefore somehow the additional charge seemed warranted) and decided the later option was probably the truth. It was around this point, moments before pressing ‘yes’ to continue that my transaction timed out and it spat out my card as if to say “if you have to think that hard about spending $2, I suggest you remember to bring your lunch."

I guess the point was not that I was spending an extra few dollars - but rather what I was spending it on, who it was going to and why I was being charged in the first place...

Fujitsu buys KAZ

The news came through yesterday that global IT services company Fujitsu has bought KAZ from Telstra. I first saw the news on MIS and took a minute or two to digest. Now this news probably isn't the most exciting thing in the world, or mean very much to lots of people but as a long time B2B/enterprise technology PR gal who has worked with a fairly large number of IT outsourcers, IT service providers and systems integrators over the years this news struck me as significant and therefore worthy of a blog post.

KAZ Group in its heyday was a bona fide Aussie success story; started by entrepreneur Peter Kazacos the company grew as the IT industry expanded, building its reputation for 'on time, on budget' delivery of IT services. Then in 2004, KAZ was purchased for a whooping $333million by Telstra in a time when telecommunications companies were going on an ICT spending spree. And now Telstra has divested itself of KAZ, perhaps in favour of sticking to its core telco offerings or perhaps because the price was right. Many people in Australia have fond memories of KAZ and so we can only hope Fujitsu restores and builds on some of that former glory.


Friday, February 27, 2009

A picture of Australian MySpace users…

I just read the results of a census of Australian MySpace users on mumbrella which labelled users as “Calvin Klein-wearing, Corona-swilling, dope-smoking, teeth-brushing, Coke-guzzling, Lynx-spraying social networking machines”. The conclusion was reached based on a survey by MySpace into the opinions and attitudes of 2,000 of its 2.4m Australian users to build up the picture of their favourite brands.

The mouthful of a sentence conjures up a very interesting mental image and I can’t help but wonder - what would a photo of an Australian MySpace user look like?!?

The stats on Aussie MySpace users were quite interesting (I found the one on Colgate’s popularity – 81%! – to be of most interest, must be the ex dental nurse inside of me), and knowing many MySpace addicts myself I found the profile to be scarily accurate.

It all provokes some still unanswered questions about how brands are engaging with existing fan bases online for their own benefit. I wonder whether this level of brand advocacy is news to Colgate today?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yay we won!

No more internet censorship plan by Australian federal govt - yay we won! For now at least.

I never thought I could be so pleased at someone called Xenophon! But it seems the Federal Govt's plan to introduce mandatory internet censorship has been drop-kicked off the cards - thanks to Greens and Nick Xenophon's joining of ranks with the Opposition.

Thanks to Asher at SMH online for breaking the story (to me at least) and for this handy fact: The Opposition's communications spokesman Nick Minchin has this week obtained independent legal advice saying that if the Government is to pursue a mandatory filtering regime "legislation of some sort will almost certainly be required".

Now watch the blogosphere go crazy people!

Help your customers help you

OK, I confess I am increasingly consuming my online content in the form of images and videos - very unlike me (I don't love TV as much as a good book). Perhaps it is a sign of the affliction known as Information Addiction - it's quick and effective. Anyway, I love this - it is a short video which really helps to explain how your customer is thinking about you, and why they want to interact with you, and why the way they want to partake in that interaction is changing (for your benefit!)


Our Identity in Flux and the Role Brands Can Play from Amanda Mooney on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Seth Godin speaks...

Really interesting minute-long Q&A with Seth Godin, the genius author, entreprenuer... visionary. He answers the question; is social networking important for business....?

What's a nice girl like you...?

I just emailed @brooke__ about a whitepaper one of our clients had shared with us overnight (they are in the UK). My email did little to contain my excitement, and she now thinks I am peculiar.... why? Well, the whitepaper is about MPLS, my all time favourite technology.

I can hear you wondering, if you don't already know, what on earth MPLS might be that could get a respectable girl like me, proud bearer of a non-techy history degree, all excited.

Back in the UK, from whence I was shipped last year, I was a telecoms specialist and MPLS stands for Multi Protocol Label Switching. Essentially MPLS gives a label to every packet of data transmitted over the network so you can prioritise, say, VoIP traffic over email, or whatever.

I know, I know, you still think its boring. Well this technology lead to some of the coolest case studies I have ever seen - radio stations migrating to a single IP network for voice, data AND their broadcasts!! By day they transmitted locally produced content, by night the entire network switched to a single broadcast (probably naff love songs and requests) all transmitted to the local stations over the IP network. If it weren't for MPLS they would never risk it because a single fat email could knock the broadcast off air.

So, dear reader, please don't think we PR folk accidentally fell into technology with our history degrees and wotnot... some of us have become really rather geeky in our old age.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Its not just about them

Today, watching my Twitter stream I was sulking slightly at all the #Kickstart09 tweets - all those lucky journalists and vendors up in sunny Queensland. So I idly tweeted:

EmVicW: Thinking we also need #notatkickstart just to make me feel less alone ;-)

And suddenly I am feeling very proud because in the last hour all the PRs, vendors and journalists who have *not* gone to Queensland for the gathering have crept out and declared themselves. Handily we now all know who is, and who is not at Kickstart. Excellent.

Emboldened by my prowess, I decided to reveal a plan I had been a-planning for a while:

EmVicW: Looking to start a Sydney tech PR informal networking scene. Who would be interested?

I already have four replies from non Kinetics folk, and know a few other people in my Twitter network will be up for it once they are back from their meetings or whatever it was they tweeted was keeping them busy this afternoon.

I am keen for PR folk in Sydney to get to know each other a little better, because we have so much in common. Without threatening anyone's competitive secrets I think we can definitely pally up a little more over a pint of beer, to the benefit of the general standards of PR.

Keep you posted on how we go!