Thursday, 23 June 2011

Ding Dong the COI is Dead

Francis Maude has announced the COI's demise. Excellent news. I think tonight I shan't be the only one celebrating its demise.

Here's our official response:

"The Government is absolutely right to abolish the COI. Over recent years, it has become an appalling example of waste, inefficiency and blinkeredness. Within our industry, its reputation for arrogance and indifference has become legendary -very, very few people will mourn its passing.

In our formal submission to the Cabinet Office review, we urged the Government either to reform or to abolish the COI. We are delighted that we clearly share the same sentiments.

Those who weep for the COI do so from a position either of ignorance or of self-interest. Francis Maude has taken a bold and correct decision, and should be complimented, not criticised for doing so."

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Keynote at MIPAA

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of delivering the opening address at MIPAA's Masterclass.

For those of you who don't know MIPAA, it's the membership organisation that represents communicators working in the motor industry. It's also a PRCA sectoral group, with a seat on our PR Council. I thoroughly recommend it to you -if you're eligible to join it, then you should.

My comments yesterday were around the challenges PR faces over the coming years. The full transcript can be found here

But if you don't fancy reading the whole speech, there are the four key challenges I identified:

· Start addressing issues of strategic reputation management rather than tactical delivery. We're still magnificent about bemoaning the fact we often don't have a place at the top table -and rubbish at changing that situation. If we want to change it, we have to genuinely become the chief source of counsel to clients and CEOs.

· Embrace and embed robust evaluation standards. Our work with AMEC is vital here, but until clients, colleagues and we ourselves are willing to invest in evaluation, AVEs will linger on.

· Own the digital space. If we don't own it, someone else will. Digital is now an integral part of PR -we need to understand it, demystify it, own it.

· Attract the best talent. We shouldn't beat ourselves up about our industry -we are truly a colour, gender and sexuality blind industry in my experience. But we can usefully examine what those who choose not to work in our industry think of us -and if we genuinely are attracting and retaining the very best of talent.

Oh and I also made some comments on interns. We need to treat the whole intern issue with care. But at a minimum, we do need to observe the law. And the law is pretty clear -long-term internships bring with them the minimum wage.

Since May 1st, 16 MPs have advertised for unpaid jobs. That is hypocritical and outrageous. So.... we will be referring them to the Parliamentary authorities. Because you can't berate private industry for treating interns badly when you yourself advertise for staff whom you don't pay at all....

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The PRCA Training Price Guarantee

This week's PR Week should make interesting reading. It carries a pretty big ad detailing our Training Price Guarantee, which will be a bombshell for some people I imagine.

The Guarantee is very straightforward -we know our training is better than our competitors'. And we know those competitors charge more. So if you find a similar course offered by one of our competitors for less, then we'll not only beat their price, we'll also throw in a second place for free.

Now I know the worry with any such Guarantee is that there's a heap of smallprint that makes the offer meaningless. But that isn't the case here:

1. It doesn't have to be an identical course -just a 'similar' one. Similar topic, similar length, similar format. And we won't be playing semantics here. We'll be generous to you in interpreting the word 'similar'

2. And we list our competitors -and yes, that list includes CIM and CIPR.

So there's nothing tricky in what we 're offering -it's all very simple. All perfectly genuine.

Why are we doing this? Well because we want to attract even more people to our courses. We know they are of outstanding quality in every format -whether online, or face-to-face, or delivered bespoke in an organisation's offices. And they're delivered throughout the UK, in seven city centres.

We also know that much alternative PR training is highly theoretical rather than of practical use. Delivered by people who long since stopped actually doing PR, and decided instead just to talk about it. And we know that much PR training is priced ridiculously high.

Now that ridiculous pricing didn't perhaps matter as much when the boom years were upon us. But organisations are much more careful with their cash right now, and yet still need to train their staff -help them to keep their edge, help them to stay motivated.

This Guarantee ticks all those boxes.

So take a look at the PRCA Training Calendar . And make the right choice. Contact my colleague Jessica at Because what have you got to lose?