Back to work today, and the Christmas and New Year break is already fading into memory. Like many people I took the opportunity, amongst the turkey and the tinsel, to look back at 2015, and look ahead to the Year of the Monkey. That brought into focus for me a number of issues facing the communications sector.
I have been asked many times what advice I would give other start-ups and it simply boils down to one thing: don't get ripped off. Not everyone will share your vision or think your idea makes sense. If fact, you might even be ridiculed for your product by some (I still remember abuse about my green trousers being hurled out of a taxi window by a middle aged Bristolian man)! This doesn't matter, provided you stick to your guns and hold onto your cash.
When people ask me what it takes to be a successful PR they are always surprised when I respond stamina. But it just isn't a 9 to 5 world. You need to be able to work in different time zones - those of different continents as well as those of different clients! So my advice to aspiring PR's - hit the gym!
Instead of telling that story, Miliband wants to pretend to be someone else. Someone 'more' normal. Yet he doesn't have the wherewithal to fake it. Crucially - and he hasn't realised this yet - he doesn't have the need to, either. His real persona is a more trustworthy vote-winner than his fake one.
Oborne is right that HSBC's behaviour in helping clients avoid tax was shameful (if not illegal) but he's wrong that the Telegraph's response was just as shameful or immoral. If you're a cynic like me, you might view it as not terribly unusual. And you might wonder how interested the newspaper's readers will be once the story has died down.
From the slick 'Yes' campaign that almost delivered a sensational victory in the Scottish independence referendum to the embarrassing spectacle of Ed Miliband's attempt to eat a bacon sandwich, 2014 has demonstrated the increasing importance of presenting the right image. But who were the biggest PR winners and losers of the year?
'The internet and social media have empowered the PR trade and freed it from subservience to the news media.' This was the provocative starting point for an RSA debate recently, which also asked what this premise meant for the future of journalism and, more importantly, the future of public interest.
I've recently noticed two key trends in communications. Firstly, more agencies seem to be either hiring a specific person responsible for business development or relying more heavily on 'pitch' teams, and secondly, I've seen more companies asking for reassurance in new business meetings, that the team that they see is the one they will be working with...
Earlier this year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) confirmed that 29 firms had applied for authorisation to become banks in the UK. This was a direct result of the regulator relaxing rules last year for new banking entrants so that it would be easier for firms to become banks, and helping to bolster competition in the market place at the same time.
HD Personality is built to help businesses and organisations deliver customer expectations; what should lead to customer experience and ultimately customer retention... almost all the resources allocated to re-branding exercises, crisis management and PR can be saved; if brands practiced honesty and directness in their communications.
Everything's a marketing opportunity. Our existence is only a chance to prove how brilliant we are, and to congratulate our mates for their brilliance too... The fact is, the more we PR our lives online, the more isolated we become. With every 'Ibiza. Done' status update we move further and further away from meaningful relationships with our families, friends and lovers.
Communications is a broad church these days, but media relations will always be part of the mix. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be a battle and, quite frankly, it shouldn't be. Both Peston and Cohen suggest that they see PRs as guard dogs, preventing them access to spokespeople and stories. In my opinion, if we are doing that it's bad media relations.