Tuesday, 28 February 2012

One of the UK’s Longest Serving Science and Technology PR Agencies Makes Southampton its New Home

MCC International Moves to the University of Southampton Science Park to Promote Innovative Businesses from the Solent Region

Southampton is the new home for one of the longest serving public relations (PR) and marketing communications agencies in the South. Established in 1988, MCC International, brings to the city more than 24 years’ experience in the promotion of science and technology businesses, from its new home at the University of Southampton Science Park in Chilworth.

Based in Winchester for the past 11 years, the award-winning agency has made the journey down the M3 to join a growing community of science and technology innovators that have chosen Southampton for its heritage and University links, as a place for developing and launching exciting new technology products and services. Each of its ten-strong agency team is a highly-skilled communications professional with specialist expertise in marketing, journalism, social media, web design and of course, PR.

Managing Director at MCC International, Fiona Brewer, comments on the new office: “The city and surrounding area is a hot bed of technology talent, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. The University of Southampton Science Park is the perfect location for MCC International, as we want to help fan the flames and be evangelists for local businesses, telling their stories to the wider world and helping them to grow and succeed in the Solent region.”

MCC International already works with many national and international businesess that are based in the region including Fibercore, NICE Systems and TDSi, to promote their technology and expertise to UK markets. The agency also has a large network of affiliate agencies around the world and has recently run campaigns in France, Italy, Germany, China and North America.

Friday, 24 February 2012

UK Businesses believe PR and Marketing is worth investing in

There is a common belief in some business circles that when the economy gets tough PR and Marketing are the first services to find their budgets cut. Conversely, many business leaders realise that when the market gets tough it is prudent to push your products and services even harder to potential customers who are very likely to be looking more closely than ever at what they buy. We were interested to see a BBC News article this week, referring to a survey by research group Mindmetre that suggests a significant percentage of polled businesses are looking to raise their marketing budgets in 2012. This is juxtaposed by figures in the same survey that suggest a third of UK company directors believe the country may fall back into recession this year, suggesting the belief in PR continues to grow.

We have seen this renewed interest in PR on a personal level this week with two new MCC International clients. Whilst it’s always a pleasure to win new business, we are particularly inspired by working with clients who have a renewed enthusiasm for good PR and recognise that speaking to your potential clients on a number of levels (be it print press, online press or social media) gives the market greater confidence in the ability to deliver on promises.
Finding the right voice for your audience is always a hotly debated subject in PR and Marketing circles, so a story that really caught our eye this week was in the Independent regarding advertising that claims to only display to a female audience. Installed at a bus stop in London’s busy Oxford Street, the advert aims to highlight the plight of the world's poorest girls by showing a video to female pedestrians as they pass by using facial recognition. The jury is out as to whether facial recognition technology can successfully determine a female from a male face, but the publicity it has generated by its novelty factor alone has to be admired as a clever piece of marketing.

Having produced an article looking at the falling popularity of email in our lives (on behalf of a client this week), we were interested to see the results of a survey by Ovum which suggests mobile network operators lost £8.8m in lost SMS revenue last year due to the popularity of social messaging applications. Naturally the younger members of the MCC International team weren’t surprised, at least once we had prised them away from using WhatsApp on their iPhones!

Friday, 17 February 2012

What does your website say about you?

What is the first encounter most of us have with a new business? Chances are the website will be your first impression of any firm you buy products or services from. A website gives your business a public image and substance to what you offer, arguably becoming one of the most important tools for publicising yourself in the busy marketplace (alongside an on-going PR campaign of course!). This is something that is freshly in our minds at MCC International this week as we have launched our brand new website.

Presenting the right brand image, telling potential customers what you can offer and keeping existing customers well informed, is the key to a good website. But the competition wasn’t always so tough, as our Agency Director, Graham Thatcher, reminisced this week. Fondly recalling his university days in the 1990s, Graham pondered on the delights of gaining access to the World Wide Web for the first time and looking to see which companies had managed to buy their domain name and actually put a web page online (and in those days it often was one page with basic details!) Whilst the novelty value of actually having a website is hardly the same in 2012, making sure it is well written, easy to navigate and relevant to your audience are all key considerations – and are as important to your Marketing and PR campaign as any other material that you present to the public.

In the wider world of technology, there continues to be further evidence that mobile apps are becoming one of the most important ways we access the online world. The BBC News website reported on a new app that allows the transfer of money which promises to revolutionise the ways in which we pay for everyday things. Whilst it promises greater freedom for personal banking, it also raises the inevitable question of mobile security – a symbiotic sector which is rapidly growing thanks to pioneering companies such as our client Aptica. Whilst looking towards future trends we were also interested to see that mobile apps sometimes play on our sense of nostalgia, such as the story on the Independent website about a new Hipstamatic iPhone app which recreates the sense of anticipation that used to come from using an old film camera and not really knowing what you had taken until the whole roll had been developed. In a world of photo manipulation and vanity censorship it might be interesting to see some of the dodgy old shots we wished hadn’t been taken!

Friday, 10 February 2012

2012 - a year to to shout about

Two thousand and twelve (or twenty-twelve, depending on your preference for saying 2012) is proving to be a significant year. From claims that the Mayan calendar ends, apparently spelling the end of the world (which may or may not be true depending on which source you believe!), to the Chinese Year of the Dragon, to more tangible events closer to home (such as eagerly anticipated the London Olympics and HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 year anniversary of her accession to the throne), there is no denying this will be a landmark year.

This is also a year of important anniversaries for a number MCC International’s clients. Both access control specialist TDSi and speciality fiber manufacturer Fibercore celebrate their 30 year anniversaries in 2012, whilst leading IT solutions consultancy ramsac turns 20 years old in March. What all three companies demonstrate is that despite the shadow of wider economic difficulties, successful, well managed and well-motivated businesses can continue to thrive and should be shouting about their success to the wider world – which is something we, as PR specialists, are helping them to do.

Further afield, this has been another interesting week in the world of technology. One story that particularly caught our attention was a roundup of statistics on popular web use for the likes of Google, YouTube and Twitter which really brings it home how much of our lives are now conducted online. Equally, a BBC article entitled ‘Mobile, social, cloud changing the way we work’ looks at how technology has changed the way we all work and how it is inspiring people to work more closely together.