Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Personal Touch

Easter this year has been a good excuse for us at MCC International to embrace the ‘Public’ part of ‘Public Relations’ by organising our own Easter Egg Hunt around our base at Southampton Science Park. Whilst it’s been a fun exercise (we have had a steady stream of genuinely happy people visiting our office all morning to claim their free Easter Egg) there is a very real buzz to be had in engaging with people on a one-to-one basis and it’s a great reminder that good business is built around these relationships. A significant part of the PR campaigns we run for our clients revolve around promoting the expertise of key people in the company, showing the world that behind the corporate front are real people dedicated to providing the products and services on offer. As the old adage goes, ‘People buy from people’ and it’s an area that good PR excels in – showcasing the personality of your business and demonstrating exactly why customers or potential customers should speak to you.

Google has this week revealed more details of its ‘augmented reality eyewear’ project, which promises to offer a new method of using mobile internet services. The BBC News has covered the ‘Project Glass’ story, which includes images that suggest it is a far cry from the more traditional view of bulky virtual reality headsets, opting for a lightweight frame (similar to the frame of a pair of glasses) to make it more practical and comfortable. It also demonstrates Google’s commitment to mobile internet services in the real world, something that would have been unthinkable even a few years ago.

There was more tough PR for beleaguered brand Blackberry this week, in an incident that few people could have predicted. An event sponsored by Blackberry at Bankside Vaults nightclub in Southwark, central London saw a man stabbed and another arrested over the incident. Interestingly, the press not only picked up on the stabbing, but ran the Blackberry sponsorship association in the headlines. Naturally the PR machine was quick to react, with Blackberry taking the right approach and expressing concern for the wellbeing of the stabbed individual in a public statement. The press also picked up on the fact that singer Jessie J (who had performed at the event earlier) had also tweeted her sympathy for the victim – showing the importance of making the right statement at the right time. We recommend that clients have a well-defined Crisis Media Plan for just this kind of unexpected incident – you never quite know what could generate negative headlines. The Blackberry event story shows that any connection with anything in the public arena can potentially open your company to press scrutiny and it’s very sensible to make sure you are well prepared.
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