Friday, 20 April 2012

It’s all about Reputation

Reputation – what does it mean to you? When you actually think about it reputation is a totally abstract concept – you can’t reliably measure it in the conventional sense and yet you know it exists. Abraham Lincoln had an interesting analogy – “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” In the world of PR and Marketing we can use metrics such as counting clippings, the number of readers reached or the number of hits on a web page, but beneath these is the more subtle realisation that getting the right kinds of positive coverage in the right press generates a deeper level of impact on the reader. Our clients will often tell us of a business lead generated from good press coverage, but equally a good campaign will generate a buzz that will present itself in recognition and notoriety from clients, suppliers, peers and even competitors. Being associated with insight in your industry is a great example. Being able to place well considered, relevant and even sometimes slightly controversial analysis or viewpoints of your sector gets you noticed by your peers and from those that buy or would consider buying from you. Good PR puts a face to a name, shows the personality of your company and highlights your expertise. We all know it is the substance of your business, the products and services, which are the main commodity and yet (as we have mentioned before) people buy from people and demonstrating you know what you’re talking about and can make a real difference is an almost immeasurable yet definitely tangible benefit.

The PR sector doesn’t often get to publically show its mischievous side, so we had a good chuckle at a spoof PR press release featured in The Independent this week which purported to announce a (fake) strike by PR professionals. Perhaps reflecting the recent spate of high-profile strike actions, the press release has its tongue firmly in cheek, with a good dose of hyperbole and self-deprecating mockery of the perceived PR clichés (such as constantly arranging press briefings and drinking too much coffee). Yet amongst the exaggerations there is a hint of the often symbiotic relationship between the PR industry and the press – who now more than ever rely upon good industry stories when restricted budgets dictate they provide the news with fewer resources than ever. Having been a journalist and in PR (I’m still trying to work out if I’m Poacher turned Gamekeeper or vice versa!) I can definitely say that there are many skill sets shared between both groups and a well-managed relationship with the press is a healthy two way street.

Cliff Richard sung about a Living Doll back in 1959 (or 1986 if you mainly know the version with ‘The Young Ones’) and it seems that is a step closer as covered on the Daily Mail website this week. Japanese robot designer Hiroshi Ishiguro has designed ‘Geminoid F’ to talk and sing (well lip-sync anyway judging by the footage of it in action!) and at first glance it looks spookily real. (pictured above). Despite its Britney Spears-esque attempt at miming, you can’t deny it’s an impressive piece of engineering and design that is capturing press coverage around the world.
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