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Putting The PR in GDPR

Putting The PR in GDPR

With less than a month until the new European legislation, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), comes into force in the UK we look at what this really means for the PR industry, whilst putting some of those rumours and myths to bed.

Find out the basics

You can’t prepare for what you don’t know. So, the first crucial step is to make yourself aware of the key facts surrounding the GDPR. If you haven’t received training at your organisation it is probably worthwhile embarking on some personal research on the dos and don’ts when it comes to data protection. Sites such as the ICO are really detailed and can help you answer some of those burning questions.

Our Legal and Finance Director, Marina Hall says “Don’t panic, GDPR is a good thing and allows you to organise your data and the information you store. The legislation is enforcing best practice and requiring all businesses to have the same standards when it comes to processing and storing personal information.”

What data is included?

The GDPR may sound as exciting as watching paint dry but it’s important to know the details, especially as it will affect every business in the UK. You will need to know what qualifies as ”personal data”as you’ll probably find that you process it a lot more than you realise. The main areas could be:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Mobile number
  • Bank account details
  • Addresses
  • Driver/passport number

The legislation covers indirect identification of personal data, as well as direct. This means marketers will need to think about pseudonymisation, a data management procedure by which personally identifiable information fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers. When these elements are brought together, such as a postcode used with a surname, this could lead to someone being identified.

Do I have to get permission from every journalist?

No; if you are using aggregator sites such as Gorkana, Agility or Response Source you’re covered. These sites require the journalists or organisation to opt-in to have their details shared, meaning you have permission as a subscriber to the site to access that data. In addition, business emails that are published in the public domain such as are exempt from GDPR and you are able to make an approach.

Freelancers can be a murkier ground. There is a grey area within the new legislation around “legitimate interest”. If, for example, you were representing an environmental charity and you wanted to contact a freelance environmental journalist, you can argue legitimate interest as the journalist would more than likely want to hear about your story. However, if you included the same freelance journalist in a big promotional email about something totally irrelevant to them it would be deemed misuse of their data and could lead to other problems.

How does this affect my client work?

Our top tips for most PR professionals would be to focus on the following.

  1. Make sure you know where to find your new updated contracts and how to explain them if your client comes back with any questions.
  2. Ensure you are vetting any third-party suppliers you might be using, such as photographers, copywriters or website developers. It might be worthwhile having a supplier agreement in place.
  3. Password protect your spreadsheets. If you have media lists, client to do lists or simply a data capture from an event, make sure they are securely stored away and password protected. If you’re unsure how to lock your work down seek help from your IT team who will be able to advise you.
  4. Don’t pass on details you don’t have permission to share. If you haven’t got permission, make sure you don’t share data with any third parties. If you do, this could it could lead to larger issues. If you’re unsure, check with the Data Protection Officer within your organisation for the correct process.
  5. The right to be forgottenthe new GDPR rules provide “data subjects” (individuals) with the right to request that their information be erased completely. This is not optional.
  6. Finally, know who your Data Protection Officer is. Most organisations will have an appointed person or team. Make sure you keep them in the loop if you’re unclear about the process or just want to clarify what you’re doing is the correct way.

Finally, we’d just like to add we are not qualified to provide legal advice, so if you have some bigger questions please do contact your legal counsel.

We hope you enjoyed our top tips; if you’re looking for a PR agency to support you or your business please get in touch with our award-winning team today.

What does the gender pay gap mean for women?

Katya Hamilton-Smith, Strategic Communications Intern

At midnight on 4th April, all companies of over 250 employees were required to calculate and publish the average difference between the amount of money paid to men versus the amount paid to women. Companies such as KMPG, Coca Cola and Google all published their figures amongst others to find that, based on median hourly pay, women are paid less than men in 7,795 out of 10,016 companies and public bodies in the UK.

On closer inspection, it was clear to see industries who are the biggest culprits of undervaluing female staff were construction, education and financial services. These are just some of the vast range of findings that the research provided, hopefully shining a much-needed light on the gender inequalities that are rife within the workplace. In research published by The Guardian, it was found that in some companies women were effectively working for free during the final months of the year in comparison with their male counterparts who were receiving a full wage. The presentation of the data in that visual format really exposed the gender discrimination issue that we have.

The figures don’t show discrimination of women in terms of being paid less for doing the same job as men, but the figures do highlight organisational inequalities that we should all be aware of. The publishing of the results has brought to light debates on why women aren’t paid as much as men, uncovering issues such as part-time work, undervalued female staff and favouring men in higher and more powerful positions within a company. With all this research being done, it is imperative that we use it to change the tune.

In the build-up to the results being published, it was widely discussed across many media outlets about why this gap exists and how we can go about closing it. An issue that women often face and will continue to face is that of taking time out of work to have children. Women are more likely to participate in part-time work when looking after a child, therefore restricting the level of promotion available to them. Of course, this isn’t true in every case.

So, what should we do with the results?

It’s all very well publishing the results and seeming shocked when you see them, but if they’re not used to combat the issue, then you have to ask what is the point? It’s important that we use these results to make a change in the future of British business, tackling real problems that have presented the results as they are.

However, it is worth noting that this is not going to happen overnight, and the problems that have been uncovered as we begin to work on this discrepancy will take a long time to solve. It’s not the first time anyone’s heard of gender-based discrimination in the workplace, and in many cases, clearly it still hasn’t been addressed, so I wouldn’t expect the problem to be an easy one to solve. But, now that the figures have been exposed so plainly, companies will have a real incentive to introduce a fairer workplace for all employees regardless of gender.

As a woman myself, I would like to see that things change in the coming years, but to an equal state. By no means should every powerful position in a workforce be held by a woman, but a fair split is the goal to work for.

In terms of moving forward, it appears to me that rather than just paying women more, or promoting them into higher positions within a company, there is a mentality that needs to be addressed.

From a PR perspective how can companies move forward from this?

Transparency is key in situations like this. Now that the figures have been published we can start to move on and address the problems that have been uncovered. Firms will need to adopt an approach to rectifying the problem and do so in a way that appears uncontrived and genuine. Frequently communicating their progress will ensure that a company’s reputation remains intact and people can view the efforts that they’re making to close the gap. But, again, this isn’t going to be an overnight fix. It will take a mentality change before we start to see some genuine progress.

Watch this space.


‘I’m a Celebrity Help My Career!’

There are few things in the TV guide that gets viewers on the edge of their seats as ‘I’m Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ the showbiz program renowned for its stormy feuds, gruesome bushtucker trials & heartwarming jokes provided from the comedy duo that is Ant & Dec.

Photo by Matt Brockie on Unsplash

With season 17 only days away from beginning, the questioning over this year’s lineup has ceased as all ten celebs have been revealed and are preparing for life in the jungle. There’s good news for fans of Ant & Dec too, with it confirmed that both will take their usual spot as hosts of the show. Previously rumours of Holly Willoughby being on emergency standby for Ant McPartlin had been circulating in the build-up to the show.

When the class of 2017 celebrities enter the tropical surroundings of Australia on Sunday to begin their quest to become King or Queen of the Jungle, it will mean that almost 200 celebrities of all shapes and sizes have entered the jungle since the program began in 2002.

It’s time to look back at who’s ‘I’m a Celebrity’ experience served their career and reputation for the better and who came out on the wrong side of Kiosk Keith.

The Happy Campers 

Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash

Gino D’Acampo

The reality chef appeared and subsequently won the 2009 series. Since then things seem to have only gone one way for Gino and that’s up. Shortly after becoming King of the Jungle, he took up the position of the regular chef on ITV’s This Morning. More was to follow, multiple TV series of ‘Let’s do Lunch with Gino & Mel’ was rolled out, an ever-present team captain on Celebrity Juice since 2014, and now has opened his own flagship restaurant in the heart of London.

Scarlett Moffatt

A lot can happen in a year, just ask Scarlett! Only entering the jungle this time last year, you could have been forgiven for wondering who the lady from the north was if you weren’t an avid viewer of Gogglebox. Scarlett went on to become crowned Queen of the Jungle, and with that, a whole new career beckoned. Taking up the role of co-presenter of Saturday Night Takeaway alongside her Teesside counterparts Ant & Dec, it will be interesting to see how she fares as a co-presenter of the jungle’s sister show ‘Extra Camp’ this season.

Peter Andre

With arguably the biggest romance to ever hit the jungle in 2004, Peter became involved in one of the highest profile relationships in the British press for the next 5 years. At the time of entering the jungle, he was being turned down by most American record labels. But by the time he came out of the jungle his ‘Mysterious Girl’ hit single from 1996, had shot back into the charts and everyone in the nation was impatiently waiting for the release of ‘Insania’.

Stacey Solomon

After finishing 3rd in X – Factor the year before, Stacey entered the outback in 2010, 3 weeks later she emerged victoriously and crowned Queen of the Jungle. A host of Television appearances was to follow including being a judge on ‘Top Dog Model’ and Love Island’s ‘After Sun’ show. Several guest appearances on Loose Women in 2016, led to her becoming a full-time panellist on the hit daytime show. To top that off, she’s also been the face of supermarket chain Iceland since 2011.

The Not-so happy Campers

Photo by Blake Lisk on Unsplash


Gillian McKeith 

One of the more unpopular celebrities to enter the jungle across the previous 16 seasons was Gillian McKeith. The viewers continuously kept on voting for her to take part in more Bushtucker Trials and at one point she even ‘fake-fainted’ to get herself out of the challenge involving rats. This led to a fellow team member, Britt Ekland, suggesting that ‘she should win an Oscar for best-supporting actress’.  Gillian went into the jungle working regularly on Channel 4, since her time in Australia she hasn’t been seen quite so much!

John Lydon

Since his appearance on season 3 which aired almost 14 years ago now, it seems one bad story has followed another for Johnny. Infamous on I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here for his foul-mouthed tirade towards viewers on a live broadcast and then storming off and leaving camp. ITV subsequently received 91 complaints about Lydon’s language.

 Nadine Dorries

It was a shock to see Nadine as a contestant for the 12th season of the show, least of all for her own party members! Dorries was suspended from the parliamentary Conservative Party for her choice to appear on the ITV show without informing the Chief Whip. More drama was to follow as Dorries initially refused to disclose how much ITV had paid for her to appear on the show.


Lembit Öpik 

The former liberal democratic MP appeared on the 2010 series, unfortunately, the other camp members didn’t take to his humour. Known since for his relationship with Gabriela Irimina, Lembit hasn’t been involved in politics since his time in the jungle. In recent times, Öpik’s Bulgarian property lawyer girlfriend Sabina Vankova has dumped him publicly on Twitter after he supposedly stayed over at Alex Best’s house!





Jared O’Mara and the unforgiving eternity of the Internet

Just cos he writes about gayness and gay issues, doesn’t mean he drives up the marmite motorway.’

‘I just think that this story is much more poignantly romantic than fudge packing Jake.’

‘A rhythm section that’s tighter than your mother was when I took her virginity all those years ago.’

You could be forgiven for reading the above statements as the deranged blabbering of a sulky, and confused teenager. If only it were so. Instead, they represent the historic online comments of elected Labour MP Jared O’Mara.

O’Mara made headlines in the snap election when he displaced Nick Clegg from his seat of Sheffield Hallam. He was seen as a candidate who was very much carried along on the crest of the Momentum wave.

That was June, this is October, and O’Mara has been suspended from the party following a string of vile revelations broken by Guido Fawkes, a right-wing gossip blog infamous for exposing the worst digressions of Members of Parliament.

O’Mara’s ire was not limited to homosexual people, or other people’s mothers. ‘Fat’ people, women, Spaniards, Danes and teenage girls have all felt the sting of O’Mara’s vitriol over the years. Angela Rayner, a member of the Shadow Cabinet, defended O’Mara by claiming that these comments were made a long time ago, and that his opinions had evolved. This is a pretty weak defence, and weaker still given that we can simply check the dates of his comments in an online forum and ascertain that he was 21-years-old.

Now, I’m 23, and as vulgar and detestable as my colleagues might find me, I would argue that I know that referring to teenage girls as ‘sexy little slags’ is not the social norm, and I would also have known two years ago that it was unacceptable.

While it would be easy to sit here and pull apart O’Mara’s views, and the sub-standard Labour vetting process that allowed him to contest a seat, the best lesson learned for figures of public prominence is the damage that the digital world can wreak on a reputation. O’Mara is 35-years-old now, and is perhaps one generation too late to have truly grown up with the internet.

But given the way he is now being torn to shreds in the media, this raises an interesting question over whether this is something we can expect to see more of, as more public figures who have grown up with online forums, Facebook and Twitter come into the spotlight.

This can at times be a source of amusement. The SNP’s Mhairi Black was just 20 when elected (you may have seen her, in a blinding lack of self-awareness, lamenting ‘career politicians’ recently), and some of her old tweets from her teenage years were dug up after her selection. They were quite funny to the casual observer, and rather embarrassing for Black herself.




Andre Gray, the Premier League footballer, had a more sobering experience when explosive homophobic tweets from his past were pulled up. He faced FA disciplinary action as a result. 

Trial by social media is not a new phenomenon, but as those who have grown up hand-in-glove with the internet move into positions as MPs and figures of public influence, there could be much more scandal yet to come.

Being cautious or vigilant in the here and now is clearly not enough. Do people remember all that they have done and said in the past? Should they continue to be made to atone for it? Is the best course of action to completely erase your digital footprint?

Online is forever, and as Jared O’Mara is finding out, there is no hiding place once all is revealed.

Just how many more skeletons are there in how many more closets? Halloween is on the way, so another fright may be just around the corner.


Does the power of celebrity have a place in politics?

Hollywood loves an underdog story. Rocky, Seabiscuit, Trump? Well, perhaps not quite. The world of celebrity (Clint Eastwood aside, no relation) was eerily quiet at Trump’s ascension to the presidency.

It seemed a script that even the zaniest Hollywood writer could surely not have dreamt up two years ago, and cast all manner of doubt on the impact of celebrity endorsement. With the might of the mainstream media and support from figures from Katy Perry, to Beyoncé, to Lady Gaga, to Chris Evans (no, not that one) behind her, Hillary Clinton still could not hold back the tide and beat a very average candidate.

Fast forward to June 2017, and Jeremy Corbyn achieved success in a way that Clinton simply couldn’t. It is worth quantifying that Corbyn did not ‘win’ the election, he was well short of a majority, but he did harness the potential of social media and celebrity to create a movement, amongst young people in particular, that led to a result that no political commentator had predicted (whatever he says now, The Guardian’s Owen Jones didn’t see it coming).

Nobody expected to see hashtags like #Grime4Corbyn taking off, but that’s exactly what happened. When even Grime MCs are wading into the debate, it is worth taking a step back to explore the role that the celebrity now plays in the political sphere.

First and foremost it is an amazing thing that the power of celebrity can play a role in bringing people otherwise totally disengaged into the discussion. The young, and many other people who felt disenfranchised before the election, were invigorated by the momentum Corbyn’s campaign generated.

Celebrities can also use their position to raise crucial issues, JK Rowling is an example of somebody who uses her platform to regularly do so (see below evisceration of Westboro Baptist Church), and Jamie Oliver is another who has done so to great effect.

But there are also drawbacks. In some ways, politics is now more reductive than at any other time in history. The influence of platforms including Facebook and Twitter has changed the very nature of political discourse.

It feels as though we live in a world of increasingly polarised opinion. Cropping manifestos and political opinions into 140 characters might well make things digestible, but there is less room for nuance than ever before. With Brexit and the General Election, there has been a very dangerous recurrent narrative on both sides of the spectrum of ‘them against us’.

The last 18 months have been characterised by a surge in vitriol and division as tensions reach boiling point. The world isn’t split into good and evil, but too often the content we read online gives the impression that it is.

In this atmosphere of heightened pressure, do celebrities have a greater responsibility to think before they tweet so as not to fuel the fire?

There is an elevated risk in what is a pretty poisonous political climate of appearing crass, condescending or even incendiary. Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins have both built their brands off the back of being controversial firebrands, and by saying what nobody else would (and there’s generally a good reason nobody else would). Milo Yiannopolous did the same until his Twitter ban. All of these ‘provocateurs’ delight in sowing division and taking ‘the left’ to task for all manner of perceived sins.

But fear not, the left is just as happy to fire back. Owen Jones takes great pride in deriding those with differing views, while Lily Allen is another who divides opinion, always ready with a forthright opinion and an unerring ability to upset people.

Even Rowling, the patron saint of millennials, was quick to point the finger at Nigel Farage and the now infamous ‘Breaking Point’ referendum poster in the immediate aftermath of the Finsbury attack. Some may agree with her, but others might contend that such a tweet was insensitive and misrepresentative. Many people disagree with Farage, but to imply that he advocates killing in the streets does nothing to advance the discussion and in the immediate aftermath of an atrocity looks like distasteful pushing of an agenda.

It feels increasingly that battle lines are being drawn. Celebrities have the clout to influence and effect genuine change, the recent election showed that, but with their visibility comes a greater degree of responsibility.

Social media is constantly changing the world around us. The power of celebrity has a place in politics, but exactly how far that power should reach becomes harder to quantify by the day.

In the increasingly factional current political climate, those with the greatest visibility in our society have a duty to think before they speak, pause before they tweet, and to seek to unify rather than divide.

How to manage a crisis in your business

We are pleased to announce that our resident crisis and reputation management specialist, Tim Jotischky is featured on Talk Business, advising reasons on how to weather a media storm and respond effectively when your business finds itself in the throes of a crisis.

From United Airlines to Thomas Cook, Tim takes a look at how CEO’s have handled their own crisis’ and how you can apply this to your own business.

Read the full article here

Could social media save english cricket?

For cricket fans the world over, 2005 evokes every superlative in the cliché book. The Greatest Ashes Series of all time, the series to end all series, theatre on an unparalleled scale in the history of cricket.

What a load of nonsense. The 2005 Ashes is the worst thing that ever happened to cricket. It’s the year that cursed a generation.

Ever since that fateful summer, my relationship with the gentleman’s game has been tumultuous, confused and epitomised by endless frustration. Simply, it was too much too soon. As an 11 year old I watched in awe as everyone I knew (yes, even the year 6 cool kids) experienced a sort of religious cricket awakening. Suddenly everyone was talking about the Ashes, everyone wanted to play cricket all day.

But in a sickening twist of fate, what followed that euphoric summer was a gaping chasm and the haunting realisation that everything would simply never be that perfect again.


A Natwest T20 Blast match between Hampshire and Glamorgan. Image courtesy of Warren Duffy on flickr

Cricket promptly disappeared from terrestrial TV to Sky, depriving the generation that followed mine of the ease of access to the sport that so captured the imagination that summer.

And now here we are, seemingly scratching around from week-to-week in search of a way to save the terribly British game of cricket, right here in Britain.

For those who watched that series, there were so many moments that were unforgettable:

Freddie Flintoff and that incendiary double-wicket over, Kevin Pietersen’s blonde Mohawk, Ian Bell waking drenched in sweat as Shane Warne haunted his nightmares, Simon Jones swinging the ball like it were Mark Ramprakash’s hips, Michael Clarke shouldering arms and having his off stump obliterated, Simon Katich shouldering arms and having his off stump obliterated, the King of Spain, Harmison’s slower ball, Woodworm bats – I’m not sure a single member of my colt team didn’t buy a Woodworm bat in 2005– that summer could not conceivably have been better.

image courtesy of intocricket on flickr

I don’t know what’s better, Freddie Flintoff’s smoulder, or that majestic Woodworm bat. image courtesy of intocricket on flickr

English Cricket has failed to replicate this ever since, and while the move away from Free-to-Air Television has doubtless stifled its exposure, it has been a broader failure to evolve how it speaks to younger audiences that has quickened the sport’s demise.

The Big Bash League has shown the positive impact that television coverage can have on the game – viewing figures and attendances have simultaneously soared in Australia – but there is a tendency to pin all the blame on TV and overlook other shortcomings. This is particularly pertinent with under 16’s in 2017 – they simply don’t consume news and information from the TV screen in the way we did a decade ago.

Cricket doesn’t hold the global appeal of football and doesn’t have a massively popular and engaging console series like FIFA or Football Manager to fall back on, so it needs to find more innovative ways to engage fans.

Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become the nerve centre which drives the news and sporting agenda for young people. If ever there was a time in which TV could be circumnavigated, it is in this age of social media. Other sports dominate these channels – Youtube has even made stars of vloggers who upload videos of them playing FIFA.

It’s incredible to think, but people playing football games in their bedroom pull in hundreds of thousands of viewers every day while many cricket counties struggle to fill out their grounds. Football is omnipresent, people know everything about it, and they are constantly consuming more information about it.


The Indian Premier League and Big Bash in Australia have made cricket modern and accessible. image courtesy of BubbleOnFire on flickr.

Conversely, cricket is conspicuous by its absence. There is a pervasive, largely unchallenged notion that cricket is a dry, boring sport, something that few would have asserted a decade ago. Has the game become more boring? On the contrary, the perfection of the T20 format has created the perfect bite-size entry point for new fans.

But what has changed is the way we talk about cricket. At its best, cricket ebbs and flows, it provides tension, shock and theatre. But large swathes of the British public seem to have forgotten this. We need to communicate with a modern audience in a language they understand to fight these misconceptions.

Social media is awash with influencers who are interested in sport, not just You tubers and Instagrammers, but what about musicians too? Actors? Young people are constantly engaging with content from these figures and are being influenced by what they see.

Greg James is just one example of the kind of ambassador the sport needs. He’s a fantastic advocate for the game and has landed himself a role presenting on BT Sport. More assets of a similar profile could have a tangible impact on exposing the game.

Why not get influencers involved with England’s players, filming themselves in the nets with Jason Roy or Jos Buttler learning the game? Going along to a match with Greg James? People are so disengaged from cricket in this country that there is a unique opportunity to educate people and rebrand the sport in the process. Cricket is tongue-in-cheek and accessible, it’s a game that lends itself to oddities and humour.

Cricket needs more advocates in the media like Greg James, but preferably with sleeves on. image courtesy of Ric Sumner on flickr

Cricket needs more advocates in the media like Greg James, but preferably with sleeves on. image courtesy of Ric Sumner on flickr

The Big Bash and Indian Premier League are proof that cricket holds mass appeal. I genuinely believe that if we get people watching and playing the game, some will not be able to help but fall in love with it.

The raw materials are there to make cricket a resounding success in England. A formidably talented generation of players are coming into their prime, including the fiery Ben Stokes – heir apparent to Flintoff, and the extraordinarily explosive Jos Buttler, renowned for swatting the ball dismissively out of the ground. The Women’s game in the UK is professional, and has made huge leaps in recent years.

The tools are there to catapult cricket back to the levels of 2005. Social media is just one avenue to achieve this, but one that can make a palpable difference if treated seriously and harnessed effectively by the powers running cricket.


A Streetcat Named Bob Premiere

street cat named bob, movie, book

After over 2 years of working with James Bowen and Streetcat Bob, the Media Management department reached the pinnacle and unquestionable highlight of their working relationship with the lovable best-selling author and his ginger tomcat.

street cat named bob, movie, book

Our team have been with James and Bob through every step of the film adaptation’s development. We were there right at the very beginning when the names of shortlisted actors to play the characters were being thrown around the Boardroom, right through to filming, post-production and the ensuing publicity drive ahead of the film’s domestic launch.

street cat named bob, movie, premier, Ruta Gedmintas

The night of the World Premiere at the Curzon Mayfair cinema on Thursday 3rd November was truly magical. Just about getting used to seeing Bob’s furry face all over the London Underground, on giant billboards all over the City and on every Red Bus, it was especially moving to witness James’ exhilarated expression as he walked the Red Carpet with Bob on tow, seeing his life story immortalised on the big screen in front of hundreds of adoring fans and a throng of photographers from all the papers. The night allowed all of Team Bob to get together and share a well-earned toast: the publicists (PHA), the distributors (Sony), the producers (Shooting Scripts), the literary agents (Aitken Alexander), the publishers (Hodder) and of course, James and Bob too. We got to hobnob with all the stars of the movie (Luke, Ruta, Tony Head and Joanne Froggatt) and the real unsung heroes – all the cast and crew who made the movie happen. But the real icing on the cake…the opportunity to see The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, who attended the Premiere in support of her charity, Action On Addiction.

Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, street cat named bob, premier, movie

The festivities spilled into the early hours with a fantastic after-party at Morton’s private members’ club in Mayfair.

street cat named bob, movie

It was an enchanting, surreal, exciting evening and we are truly honoured and privileged to be part of such an important, fun project. Here’s to the sequel!


Clinton v Trump – (and Bob the Builder!)

Mark Lewis from The Brilliant Training Company, looks at whether it’s content or delivery that is the key to great communication.

The recent televised debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton gave a fascinating insight into the art of communication.  People of course have very differing views on Donald Trump.  At times he breaks every rule in the political/communication rule book – but is still very much in the race.

Image courtesy of Michael Vadon,

Image courtesy of Michael Vadon,

So Trump is perhaps a great example of the eternal question ‘Is it content or delivery that is the key to great communication?’.  The people who sign up to his candidacy perhaps don’t ask too many questions about how he plans to deliver on his promises, but what they do seem to love is his robust and very uncompromising delivery style – and perhaps more importantly – the way he makes them feel!

With the Presidential race in mind, it’s worth looking at the current occupant of the White House.  Barrack Obama is seen as many as the ultimate communicator but as with so much communication it’s not what is said, the content, but more how it’s said – and Obama has this skill down to a fine art.

Image courtesy of Bill B,

Image courtesy of Bill B,

While in 2008 Obama ran a very effective campaign it was really his prowess as a communicator that elevated him from a State Senator to the 44th occupant of the White House.  Most of us have witnessed one of Barack Obama’s speeches and have been impressed by his effortless oratory skill (he is generally regarded as one of the world’s great speakers) but here is the question, can we really remember any of the facts, statements, policies or thoughts that he shared with us, apart from perhaps his rallying call of ‘Yes We Can?’ (which I’m sure was borrowed from Bob the Builder!).

The message here is that when Obama speaks it’s often not what he says (the content)  that is so powerful, but more the way it is delivered.  When he speaks, and when his magic works, he creates a connection.

Image courtesy of H.L.I.T.,

Image courtesy of H.L.I.T.,

Communication is of course about informing – but truly great communication, communication that really connects with the listener is about creating an emotional response in the listener.  As the famous quote so rightly states ‘They won’t remember what you said – but they will remember how you made them feel’.  Perhaps this is the secret of the Obama magic.

As for the Donald or Hillary question?  Well all will be decided on November 8th  but one thing is for sure – the person who next sits in the oval office will be the one who ‘persuades’ enough people – and that persuasion will be achieved via communication.

Kim Kardashian and the Danger of Snapchat

At around 3am on Monday morning, reality TV star Kim Kardashian was the victim of a terrifying armed robbery, when 5 masked men stormed into her Paris house and stole around £8.5m of jewellery. Johanna Primevert, chief spokeswoman for the Paris police department, claimed that the men deliberately targeted “possessions that had been seen and noticed via social media”, prompting the question as to how sensible it really is for celebrities to flaunt their expensive goods online?

Kim Kardashian, ring

Kim’s Snapchat Featuring her £3.5 million Engagement Ring

While one cannot blame Kardashian for the incident, it is possible that the attack would not have happened had the robbers, who were wearing items of police uniform, had not been aware of the jewellery’s presence in the city. The star of popular TV series ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ had been in Paris for the French capital’s fashion week and had broadcast pictures of her jewellery to her millions of online followers via such channels as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Just three days before the incident, Kardashian had snapchatted an image of herself wearing the second engagement ring given to her by her fiancé Kanye West, which is reportedly worth around £3.5m on its own. Once in the house, the masked men apparently shouted ‘ring, ring’ in reference to the item and this awareness could well be down to its appearance on social media.

Security Expert Christopher Hogan told People magazine that it looked like an “organised attack based on known information”, suggesting that Kardashian’s online posts, as well as pictures showing that her bodyguard was with sisters Kourtney and Kendall that night, helped the thieves pull off their crime. It is not the first time that social media has enabled robberies targeting famous people, with the infamous ‘Bling Ring’ burglarising the homes of many California-based stars after researching their schedules online. Locations were found using Google Maps and other similar sites, while Facebook and Twitter were scoured to decide on the opportune time to strike.

Kardashian is said to be “badly shaken but physically unharmed”, but things could have been a lot worse for the American, who was tied up and had guns pointed at her forehead. So should celebrities be more careful about what they share with the public online?

The obvious answer is yes, but for some (the Kardashians being a perfect example), fame and fortune have been achieved primarily through the sharing of their private lives. While safety should clearly be the main priority for these individuals, their celebrity status sometimes depends on the detailed contents of their social media posts, meaning that they are unlikely to suddenly cut down their posts.

The Kardashians are immensely popular (the five sisters have nearly 130m Twitter followers combined) and this shows how keen the public are to hear about their daily lives, which just encourages more and more shared information.  It is unlikely that this interest will wane anytime soon, and with financial incentives to maintain it, celebrities will continue to reveal their locations and activities, either by choice or through the exploits of paparazzi.

Especially because Snapchat automatically shares users' locations, meaning that Kylie's whereabouts were instantly identifiable.

If people were less interested in reality shows and the like, then stars like Kim Kardashian would feel less pressure to publicise potentially dangerous information like their location and possession of expensive goods. While posts featuring extravagant lifestyles sometimes flirt close to arrogance, they are perhaps an inevitable result of society’s media tastes.

It’s a hard balance to strike for the modern day celebrity. One could argue that it’s the public’s constant demand for mundane details of their lives pushes them to divulge more and more with no strategy in place should the unexpected or, in this case, disastrous occur. Whilst this situation is extreme, many celebrities have found themselves in the centre of a social storm due to the unpredictable nature of social media.

Social media never stops and is not limited by the same legal issues as traditional print. Whilst these forums aren’t going anywhere it would perhaps be pertinent for prominent figures such as Kim to have a social strategy in place or at least some expert advice to help them understand how to maximise their social presence without putting themselves at risk. After all, the horrific events of this week can be seen as a reminder that nothing is truly private online and that even when sharing to please followers, one should be careful about what they let the world know.

By Jamie Crane