Category Public Relations practice

The myth of cyber security and why computers can never be secure

The BBC has run a wonderful news story about the development of what’s claimed to be the world’s most secure email service.

Created by US security tech entrepreneur Will Donaldson, Nomx makes the bold claim it uses the “world’s most secure communications protocol” to protect email messages.

The Nomx personal email server costs from £155 – £310 and claims that users can help to stop messages being copied and hacked as they travel to their destination across the Internet.

Too good to be true?

BBC News asked ex-hacker and now security researcher Scott Helme and computer security expert Prof Alan Woodward of Surrey University to test whether the product could provide 100% protection against hacking and interception.

The investigation started by taking the device apart to find that it was b...

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Was Abraham Lincoln right about the nature of reputation?

Abraham_Lincoln_November_18In 1861 Abraham Lincoln faced the greatest test of his presidency when he tried to hold together the United States in the face of a highly divisive Civil War that eventually claimed the lives of over 700,000 combatants in the North and South of the country.

However, Lincoln was a lucky man. And he had at his disposal a new weapon. A weapon more powerful than a Smith & Weston.

It was the telegraph.

Before the invention of the telegraph it would take a dispatch rider the best part of a week to reach the battle front on horseback. Now Lincoln could now dispatch orders to his Army Generals by getting an operator to tap them instantly into the machine.

Although the telegram was regarded as revolutionary at the time, the perception of whether Lincoln was winning the war of words often trailed be...

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Failure isn’t fatal. But failure to change might be.

UCLA basketballIn the world of American basketball, John Wooden is a legend. He coached UCLA to win 10 NCAA national championships in just 12 seasons. And he achieved this feat because of his ability to constantly adapt to new players, new rivals and new styles of play.

In our own industry, marketers and PR professionals need to be open to learning from failure.

Business leaders are continually being faced with complex changes: an aging population, the rise of the middle class in emerging economies with a different attitudes and beliefs and constant technological advancement of the web and mobile technologies that disrupt well-established business models, to a name a few.

What we’ve learnt over the past decade is that in a shifting environment consistent business performance isn’t enough to perpetuate it...

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Reputation matters but in whom do we trust?

Smoking posterAsk most people in PR about the reputation of tobacco industry and you’re likely to get a wide variety of answers, most of which will border on the negative.

The tobacco companies have responded to the clampdown on the public sale of cigarettes through giant health warnings on packets and a steep rise in VAT by publicly talking about the need to find the “safer smoke” for its customers. And this has led to tobacco companies making massive investments in e-cigarettes.

But is this motivated by the desire to wean smokers off smoking or simply substitute one nicotine delivery system for another in order to protect market share and massive profits?

The discussions about e-cigarettes on the blogosphere and in vaping chatrooms is currently dominated by impassioned accounts from former smoke...

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Interview about best practice in marketing and public relations

20140717_084007This is a filmed interview I gave last week to the GTC Group, a leading training and coaching organisation that works with senior executives from emerging and developing countries around the world. In this interview I answer questions about global best practice in marketing and PR, the art of effective audience segmentation as well as how communication professionals can improve the outcomes from their marketing and PR activities. Running time: 15 minutes

 

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Nike’s ambush marketing of FIFA World Cup sees increase in sales

Nike ad 2014According to Nike, this year’s spike in sales of its merchandise can be attributed to its World Cup marketing platform ‘Risk Everything’ campaign that’s helped it achieve a 13% increase in sales to £4.34bn in the three months to 31 May.

Nike is not a sponsor of the FIFA World Cup and these rights are held by rival Adidas.

Nike ramped up its marketing spend in the period, spearheaded by ambassadors Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr ahead of the start of the World Cup in Brazil.

The company didn’t strip out marketing spend but said that a 36% increase in ‘demand creation’ expenses was driven by marketing support. Quarterly revenue figures from sales of its football products were not published but the company said revenue for the 12 months to 31 May increased 21% to £1...

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What the PRCA and NLA can learn from Winston Churchill!

Winston ChurchillIt was Winston Churchill, one of the greatest statesmen that ever lived, who said “In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill.”

Given the acrimonious legal battles that the PRCA has been having with the NLA and the subsequent decision at the Court of Justice of the European Union, I think it’s time for both sides to do well in remembering those words.

Let’s face it.

Both sides must build a new bridge – a better, more robust bridge – where the focus is on collaboration rather than conflict. And in my opinion it can be done as there’s a heap of goodwill on the PRCA side for this to happen – and repairing this broken relationship should start now.

The motivation for doing so is obvious.

The power of the media as a channel for connecting with des...

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PRCA achieves landmark ruling over legal right to browse material on the internet

Court-of-Justice-of-the-EC-in-LuxembourgThe Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg has affirmed the legal position that internet users have the right to browse news sites without the threat of infringing copyright law.

The argument, put forward by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) that represents the interests of media owners, was that even temporary electronic copies made on an individual’s computer required a licence and a licence fee to be paid and this could have cost the PR industry many millions in licensing fees had the ruling of CJEU clarified the legal position today.

The CJEU accepted all of the legal arguments of the PRCA, the largest professional body representing the interests of the PR industry in the UK and Meltwater, the news aggregation service.

The CJEU in its 12 page judgment agreed t...

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CIPR revamps disciplinary procedures to strengthen confidence in the PR industry

max-cliffordMembers of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) have watched in horror as high profile showbiz publicist Max Clifford was charged and is now serving a lengthy custodial sentence for a string of highly serious sexual offences against vulnerable young people.

Clifford never applied for membership of the CIPR in his entire career and if he had when I was the CIPR Chairman of Membership, I would’ve rejected his application.

The full extent of Clifford’s deception wasn’t known to many of us who in fact had previous dealings with him but I was aware of how he conducted his business and the way he manipulated clients and the media in order to make himself extraordinarily wealthy and at the same time with scant regard for rights of others...

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What is the business of public relations today?

QuestionThis may appear to be an obvious, even a trite question. But in fact it turns out to be incredibly important for all of us that claim to work in the business of public relations today.

When I was speaking at the World Communication Forum in Davos earlier this year, I got to know Paul Holmes and I felt that he was one person in our industry that wasn’t afraid to express his opinion or even ask difficult questions of agency heads that appear to have answers to any question about the industry at their fingertips.

My view, for what it’s worth, is that we are in the reputation business. I refer to the ability of building, strengthening, transmitting and defending reputation with all audiences, 24/7.

I’ve written extensively about reputation on this website as well as many of my other posts on F...

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