Macedonia or Macedonia?

If Visit Scotland thinks it gets a hard time for its unappreciated efforts to attract visitors to these shores, then it should spare a thought for the beleaguered head of tourism in Macedonia. Agency chief, Igor Simjanoski, has one of the toughest PR sells in the European travel business. His problem? How to build a tourism brand for a country whose very name is the centre of an international dispute, a dispute that comes back to the negotiating table again next week. The problem lies ...
Read More

Media as a tool of genocide

Twenty seven years ago today, Genocide visited Rwanda. Nearly one million Tutsi and moderate Hutu peoples were slaughtered in slightly less than 100 days, a rate of killing that even Nazi Germany’s industrial murder machine would be hard pushed to match. Reflecting on the extent of the horror the UN commander in Rwanda at the time Canadian General Romeo Dallaire said: ‘If I was unsure before, I now know that God must exist because I have shaken hands with the devil himself.’ The...
Read More

Creative content or advert? It’s increasingly hard to tell

A new, short film premiered recently by Spanish brewer Estrella Damn is a conundrum. Is it a 15 minute advert for their product, is it a very expensive piece of product placement or is it something else entirely? It is a perfect example of how companies with something to sell need to be creative in new ways to appeal to an audience who no longer have to sit passively through commercial breaks. With more and more on demand viewers avoiding adverts altogether, the ‘this is what we sell and t...
Read More

Is there a place for the Twitter essay?

The Twitter essay, an oxymoron surely. But, it seems apparently not. Although the concept has been around for a while, it’s only since stumbling upon one of the technique’s more enthusiastic proponents that it has appeared on my radar as a social media writing style. The New Republic’s senior editor Jeet Heer is a self-confessed Twitter essayist. For him it is a writing form that 'creates vibrant, democratic conversations.' For his critics, it as an assault on the Twitter community. It ...
Read More

Don’t allow DFID’s St Helena PR debacle to dilute foreign aid

With a £12.2 billion budget to work with the scope for carving out good news stories at the Department for International Development DFID should be like falling off a log. Working with some of the world’s poorest countries, DFID is in the position to demonstrate just how willing Britain is prepared to put its money where its mouth is and drag some of the most disadvantaged people on the planet out of poverty for good. Except it doesn’t. Instead, it is constantly fire fighting bad news with...
Read More

Panama leaks and avoiding a prolonged media storm

Prime Minister David Cameron has been fighting a rearguard action this week in the face mounting criticism for him not coming clean about his financial affairs. News that has father took advantage of tax havens for the family finances as disclosed by the Panama leaks, put him firmly on the back foot. From a damage limitation perspective he and his advisors should have known that by not being completely open, when he had no reason not to be, they were only prolonging the attacks and dee...
Read More

Shock tactics more effective for Third Sector campaigns

The combination of social media and video as communications tools is powerful, but those embarking on attitude changing campaigns should always remember first and foremost, it is the idea that is key. The mechanics of spreading the message is important, but if the message behind the campaign is no good to start with it, it doesn't matter how clever the communication medium is, it is destined to fail. For all the resources that commercial organisations have to persuade consumers to buy thei...
Read More

Biggest PR howler award 2015

This year has seen its fair share of corporate disasters, hindered, rather then helped by incompetent PR handling. The number of high profile cases I've watched through my fingers as they stumble from rescueable situation to total implosion, proves yet again that reputational management has little to do with the size of the budget and everything to do with quality of the judgment of people making decisions. A Euro lotto chunk of cash can be thrown at a communications problem, but if th...
Read More

Queensferry Crossing a mere sticking plaster

The main motorway in Cuba stretches from the tip to the tail of the island, is six lanes wide and the last time I was there had about one vehicle passing in each direction everything 30 seconds or so. Now the planners that built this infrastructure artery back in the 60s didn't build it anticipating private car ownership for every citizen, but for military emergencies. But with and the rules around who can own a car being relaxed, it will soon be see much more traffic but will be able to cope...
Read More

UK’s King Coal abdicates

An industry that in 1925 employed more than 1.2million workers will this week employ precisely none. After decades of decline, the very last working deep mine in the UK will lower its cages to seams two miles underground for the last time. Kellingley Colliery near York will close this week, bringing to an end an industry which for decades of the 20th century was perhaps the most powerful in the country. With the transport and power industries heavily reliant on coal, as well as it being th...
Read More