A prefect's musings on digital and social media

Category Archives: Relationship Building

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As the 6 ‘o’ clock news bulletin ran across the TV screen back one rainy day in December with the latest update on the Grillo sisters fraud case, I felt a congratulatory punch in the air was needed in solidarity to #TeamNigella, as the domestic goddess walked head high, well-heeled into court to give evidence.

Now, I hasten to add, that this is not a piece that condones illegal drug taking in any shape or form, and indeed, Nigella is being investigated for her substance usage and I shall leave any necessary punishment up to the legal system and the Metropolitan police; yet for her media handling, I feel Nigella should be applauded.

As the Grillo sisters were being tried for their crime, media focus switched to Nigella’s drug habits, creating an environment as, she would later be quoted, being ‘maliciously vilified without the right to respond’.

Her success remains in the detail, even down to her courtroom makeover as dubbed by the Daily Mail.  Her understated, nude makeup shades, the sombre well-cut suit treaded the line between the domestic-goddess we all know and love and the more recently exposed mistreated wife. The entire image giving her an appropriately serious yet confident manner.

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Even before the trial at the time of the divorce, Nigella’s composure has stood at odds against Saatchi’s own erratic behaviour, which brought an intensely personal period into the public eye.  Although some reported Nigella’s lack of response to Saatchi public accusations as a mere admission of guilt, it also rings true to my mother’s playground mantra – ‘if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all’. Avoiding a public mud slinging match, dwindled the Paul McCartney/Heather Mills effect.

Only recently has Nigella spoken publicly about the trial, after a respectful-yet-not-too distant time period, the celebrity chef spoke to Good Morning America as part of her publicity tour for her new show, the Taste.  Under this gentle grilling, her considered answers demonstrated her own humour, ‘I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate’, whilst recognising the distress caused to her family as well as showcasing a humble sense of self perspective:

‘To be honest, to have not only your private life but distortions of your private life put on display is mortifying but, you know, there are people going through an awful lot worse…to dwell on any of it would be self pity and I don’t like to do that.’

I feel that Nigella’s composed and ‘attention-to-detail’ handling of the media furore surrounding her over the last few months has only added to her strength of character; fans rushed to buy the royal blue Diva frock she wore on the opening show of the taste. As David Cameron was so publicly rebuked for stating, I’m still ‘a massive fan’.


Amy, who interned with us last month, has written a great post about her time here at Twelve (couldn’t have written it better ourselves!) and reflects on what work experience means to fledgling PRs. You can also read her last guest post here – Instagram vs Vine: Battle of the movie clip
Thanks for your help Amy!

My Time at Twelve - amytortoishell.wordpress.com

My Time at Twelve – amytortoishell.wordpress.com

 

AmyTortoishell

My July was spent riding for forty minutes everyday through the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside as I cycled to work at Twelve PR.  Somehow I only fell off once, only hit one pedestrian and got rained on only once.  I reckon those are pretty good odds!

Other statistics include: 19 coffees ordered through the office window, 11 phonecalls with some of Twelve’s amazing beekeepers and 16 Twelve tweets.

Having already spent sometime interning at PR companies I thought I knew what to expect from a month’s internship.  It turned out that at Twelve everything was very different;  I didn’t spend all day and everyday doing tea rounds or sorting the mail.

Instead I wrote press releases, feature articles and drafted newsletters and reports.  The group at Twelve gave me more responsibility as an intern than other agencies give to their actual employees.  From my point of view it worked, and hopefully…

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Brainstorm_by_m4gik

Last week, I re-joined the team at Twelve to help out with a brainstorming session. The idea was to come up with PR opportunities for a client who is opening a new performing arts centre.

What exactly is brainstorming? Well the Business Dictionary defines brainstorming as a “process for generating creative ideas and solutions through an intensive and freewheeling group discussion.” Alex Faickney Osburn, who first popularised the term in his seminal work, ‘Applied Imagination’ claimed that the process was more effective at generating ideas than an individual working alone.

So, why do we brainstorm? What are the benefits?

  • Brainstorming can help develop ideas: If one team member is stuck on an idea, another person’s insight and creative ideas can help develop the idea taking it to the next stage.

  • Breaking out of the rut: Brainstorming encourages you to think about a problem from a different angle and with several people contributing, thinking outside the box is more easily achieved.

  • A safe environment: Brainstorming creates a platform that welcomes all contributions from all members of the team; shyer team members can particularly benefit from the criticism-free zone.

  • Everyone feels involved: Another great thing about brainstorming is that it helps everyone feel that they’ve all contributed to the end solution and it reminds people what great creative ideas others have to offer, too!

  • Embrace the ridiculous: Brainstorming works on the basis that no thought is too silly, or outlandish, and that every idea is a good idea. Give free rein to your creativity and ask yourself questions like, “What if money was no object?” and “What if our timetable was three times as long?” to stimulate your inner impresario!

  • Brainstorming is fun! A brainstorming session is great for team-building and can be done in a whole host of different ways!

What we did

At Twelve, our brainstorming session was split into two distinct stages; Stage 1 involved a short warm up and looked in a bit more detail at our brief whilst stage 2 encouraged deeper thinking using lots of different stimuli to drum up new ideas. Each part essential for getting into every nook and cranny of the problem. The six sections below each provided a different way of thinking.

Stage 1

Welcome & Warm Up was a ‘show and tell’ type exercise where we each talked about an item that best expressed our inner performance artist to get us in the artistic mood.

Nice and Easy Does It: A quick fire round of the classic word association meant that each player cultivated a completely different adjective list of the performing arts industry; the task got us thinking about all the different aspects of performing arts from ballet to burlesque, from the orchestra pit to the upper circle.

In The Brief section, we listed as many ideas as we could think of which would raise publicity for our client. Then, as a group, we discussed the ideas and marked out the ones we felt would work best. This exercise was a brain dump, where any stupid and wild idea would do. This task got the ball rolling for our brainstorming session and really helped us focus on what we were discussing.

Stage 2 – Was all about the sense stimuli!

Sweet Memories involved each of us thinking about our happiest performance-related memory from the age of 12 (mine was being cast as King Rat in my primary school’s production of The Pied Piper!). We then changed this idea into something that would work for the client and then passed our ideas round so other members of the group could add to them. This task provided us all with a new stimulus, one connected with feelings, and so a new way of thinking about our brief in a different dimension.

BS-crazy

Over My Dead Body! Was where our wild and crazy ideas came to the fore! Here, we were each given a famous person, a visual clue, and we had to come up with the most outlandish idea we could think of based on that famous person. Passing our ideas round helped to hone them into workable solutions.

Smartie Pants, like the other activities which used our senses, used smell as a way of generating new ideas; we were each given a tube of Smarties which we unfolded to write our ideas down. We were then each given a different smell which we had to use as our inspiration and we passed our germ of an idea round the group to build them into a fuller picture.

Be Different!

Be Different!

I really enjoyed the brainstorming session – we came up with so many weird and wonderful ideas and the different ways that we came up with all the ideas made it so much more fun and interesting than just sitting alone in a room drawing up a mind map! I had a great morning brainstorming with the guys at Twelve, and it’ll definitely help me to look at ways of coming up with ideas differently from now on!

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Nicky & I coming up with ideas!


Social media is regularly utilised to promote and engage with brands.  But often marketers and PR professionals neglect to promote their own personal brand alongside that of their company. 

I recently attended an extremely useful training session from Sarah Castle at Think Big Training on ‘Selling Brand You’.  It was a sales focused session, but the main premise can be adapted to social media, people buy from people, not companies.  The same is true online

Source: classroom20.com

Why is ‘brand you’ important in social media???

Brand you is important in any environment, not just because people buy from people, but also because people employ people…you might be doing an amazing job of producing your company’s Twitter feed and contributing to the company blog – but your potential clients and potential employers want to see the personality behind the brand as well, and that’s you.  Here are four quick tips to ensure that you are making the most of your social media presence:

  • Even if you manage your company Twitter feed, make sure that you have one of your own.  This can be slightly more informal, to highlight your personality, but should still have some focus on your professional life and not too much detail on your personal!  (Try and keep just one of your social networking sites as entirely personal, there can be some crossover but it is nice to have somewhere that is just for socialising with friends …I use Facebook for this)

 

  • Make sure that you keep the social networking sites that you use for your personal networking exactly that, personal.  Use the privacy settings to ensure that only people you are friends with can see the content – you don’t want potential clients or employers to see you drunk, passed out under a chair with obscenities scrawled all over your face in permanent marker courtesy of your ‘friends’ (not something that has ever happened to me I hasten to add….), it’s not a good look and probably not quite demonstrating the type of passion and commitment that they are looking for.

 

  • If you contribute to your company blog and enjoy doing so, why not set up a blog of your own.  It still needs to have an element of professionalism in it, and it needs to be interesting and engaging.  If you are lucky, your company might let you write a blog for the company, but with you as the figurehead and this can work just as effectively and more efficiently than having two blogs – as long as you are clear where the ownership for that blog lies; with you or with your employer.

 

  • Your LinkedIn profile should include reference to your current company and your work there, but it should primarily be about you as an individual.  It is your online CV, not your companies, that’s what a company website is for.  Make sure your tagline refers to your expertise, not your current position within your company…that is all included in your employment history.  Your past work experience can also include some reference to how your work has developed you as a person, as well as the specific tasks you carried out.  Use the links to promote your own Twitter feed as well as your company’s, and if you have your own online ventures or blogs, include those too.

These pointers are not just important if you are thinking of changing jobs, they are important if you are looking to sell your company as well…a company is only as good as the people it employs, potential leads will want to know more about you before they decide if they want to work with you as well as your company.

Hopefully this post has encouraged some of you to go out into the world wide web and shout about…you!!

 


Being a relatively new blogger myself, and also a PR practitioner, I probably fall on both sides of the fence for this.  DigitalPrefect is by no means established enough to receive unsolicited approaches – but I find myself wondering how I would feel if I did.  To begin with I imagine I would feel flattered that some dashing PRO had considered my blog influential enough to approach with topic suggestions.  Then I imagine how I would feel if it happened every day…ten times a day….and I probably come a bit closer to the mark of the frustration felt by many of today’s most influential bloggers.

On the other hand, as a PR professional, I am always on the look out for interesting, influential and innovative blogs that might be relevant to my clients.  I for one would certainly welcome feedback from the blogging community on how best to make approaches when I do come across them.  We all know the rule about not sending generic releases to blogger, making sure you are familiar with their blog etc. etc. but I suspect what is needed here from both camps are some guidelines and some hints and tips (I am a lover of helpful pointers to start you on your way….).

So I second Cate’s suggestion (or probably tenth or one hundredth it by now I imagine) – bloggers and PRO’s let us unite and start on a happy journey towards successful collaboration…



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