Friday, 16 March 2012

Meeting the Press Face-to-Face

What do you imagine when you think of a press briefing? For many business leaders they probably have an uncomfortable image of flashing bulbs, a packed room of gossip-hungry hacks and immense pressure to say the right thing. Images of a tabloid roasting are a common cliché, boosted by celebrity and political scandals and yet the reality can be a completely different, far more agreeable experience if managed properly. At MCC International we take a special kind of pride in setting up beneficial press briefings. If you’re selling an interesting new service or product, or if you have something interesting to comment on your industry sector, a good technology journalist is likely to want to have a friendly and genuinely interested chat about it. Of course you need to be careful, what’s said can’t be un-said – but some of the finest press coverage can come from a good one-to-one meeting with the right journalist (and increasingly through video interviews that many publications are becoming hungry for). Not only does it demonstrate your expertise to your clients (and potential clients) but also shows your competitors that you mean business too. We’ve had a great week of pitching clients to the press, and as the trade show season progresses it becomes an increasingly important weapon in the PR arsenal.

If you want a demonstration of how PR (and digital social networking channels such as Twitter in particular) can have a huge influence on the world of business at all levels, look no further than the case of The Hobbit pub in Southampton, as reported in our local newspaper The Southern Daily Echo. The whole furore over the name of the pub and the corporate licensing ramifications of it went way beyond the city as actors Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellan (who both appear in the upcoming adaptations of The Hobbit – debate in our office wondered how this might affect their situation there!) waded into the mire to defend the establishment against branding scrutiny. It will be interesting to see if the ballooning of this story can bring a peaceful resolution to the situation – if nothing else it has brought the dispute to a much higher level of public awareness and seems to have persuaded the protagonists to engage more directly to find a resolution. It’s amazing the power that 140 characters can unleash through Twitter!

The big technology news this week is the launch of the new Apple iPad – although it seems to be a little coy on its identity. Tech Radar in its review is referring to it as the iPad 3, and yet Apple themselves have avoided this nomenclature simply referring to it as the ‘New iPad’. Since the new model hosts a full 1080p HD screen, some commentators had suggested using the HD moniker – but whatever name you favour, the press reviews, such as Charles Arthur in The Guardian, rate it very highly and consider it a marked, if subtle, improvement on the iPad 2. Realising that even slightly older technology is still popular (look at the sales tiering of the iPhone models for instance), Apple is still selling the iPad 2 at a reduced price, making way for the new model to take on the premium price bracket and appealing to early-adopters. Apple obviously understands that for many businesses the previous model will cater for more modest needs very nicely, especially as its products have burrowed out a very lucrative niche in the business world. Surely this is a key to the success of the product range as a whole - our client, IT Solutions Consultant ramsac has even created an Apple Business Unit to cater for this commercial interest, recognising that the iPad has helped to fuel a big shift in the business IT sector as a whole.

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