Some of Bluewood’s clients are official sponsors, some of our freelance trainers are going to be back at the BBC helping to get the vast amount of coverage onto our screens and even if you are a Londoner who’s planning on being out of the country this summer, you can’t afford to miss any opportunities for your brand during the Olympics.
The games will be huge for London and the UK, with; 26 sports, 205 competing nations, 10,000 athletes, 1 million tourists and 25,000 accredited media, there’s no denying the impact the event will have. While the 55 sponsors will get the majority of the branding during the games, there are still going to be many chances for businesses and organisations to boost their profile. However, while the potential benefits of getting involved will far outweigh them, being prepared for possible risks is vital; from ensuring your marketing team are fully versed on Rule 40 of the Olympic charter (covering the use of participants in advertising) to having your corporate messages up to scratch on; flexible working, security measures and any extra expenses you will have to budget for.
There’s no doubt that the media will be hungry for relevant stories (although PRs need to be careful to ensure they aren’t just forcing their stories to link into the games) – The Telegraph Group are planning at least 40 pages of Olympic coverage per day during the event – so this is going to be a valuable PR opportunity for organisations.
Of course it isn’t just the sports that journalists will be covering; the media will be looking at a range of other issues like travel and transport, security, money spent on the games as well as the wider economic effects for the UK. So making sure your spokespeople can handle questions on the specific issues you are involved with is vital, but don’t overlook the opportunities there will be for your team to be put forward as commentators on the wider topics too.
We all know that working and commuting in London during the Olympics will be a little more difficult than usual (especially in Canary Wharf!) but this will be a once in a lifetime event and you’ve got to be ready to grasp the opportunities.
Written by Will Edwards – www.bluewoodtraining.co.uk – April 2012
We all know the importance of giving the public good advice in a crisis. If an issue is dealt with calmly then you might avoid a tense situation. Being prepared is half of the battle, with training on how to deal with a crisis you can go about your business knowing that if the worst should happen you have a plan. You’d think this would be a top priority of businesses and the Government alike, especially after last year’s riots spiralled out of control in the media. However, the petrol “shortage” recently hasn’t been helped by the panic created by the mixed messages given by those in charge.
Initially, the news broke as a precaution and the UK was informed that a fuel strike might be on the cards. Predictably this triggered a panic that saw consumers flying to the pumps and topping up unnecessarily. Prime Minister David Cameron advised Britain to “top up” when there was yet to be a strike even confirmed. Instead of acting to stop panic buying, Cabinet Minister Francis Maude told the public that drivers should store petrol “maybe a little bit in the garage as well in a jerry can” just in case.
The seriousness of this ill advice was then highlighted further when a woman from York was taken to hospital with 40% burns after an accident topping up a jerry can in her kitchen. Panic is in the human nature and matters were made worse when the Government missed important opportunities to get the situation under control. It is important to present a clear message and to stick with your point when speaking to an audience.
On a related note, the Oil and Gas industry is often regarded badly by the public possibly due to recent price rises, incidents and strikes. The industry’s trade association recognises the importance of good public relations as they are currently seeking to employ an agency to help them improve their image. The “Oil & Gas UK’s board believes that the industry is ‘widely misunderstood’ and ‘recognises that positive public perception can create “safe space” for politicians to make positive policy choices in relation to the industry’”. The public holds a lot of power and so maintaining a positive reputation can be in your favour. Taking time to train your staff in the basics such as Communications and Social media can transform opinions quickly and painlessly. Remember – people panic but in business you can’t afford to.
Written by Meegan – www.bluewoodtraining.co.uk – April 2012
It’s a good idea to constantly evaluate your business to make sure you’re offering best in class services. Whether this is through retraining staff, improving customer relations or keeping up with the latest technology…
An area that is easily improved, but often avoided or seen as confusing is social media. By using a combination of tools, you can reach a wide audience for relatively little cost. It’s better to be well informed before approaching a new venture so perhaps a social media training course could set you on the right path to success.
A new study into local councils use of social media found that not all local authorities were promoting the use of either Facebook or Twitter to reach their target audiences. Around 61 UK councils do not use it. Richard Stokoe, the London fire brigades Head of Communications said that councils weren’t stepping up to the call to improve online communications after last year’s riots “The interim report by [chair of the Riots Communities and Victims Panel] Darra Singh into the English riots in August specifically singled out local authorities as failing to use or understand social media. It is clear that despite these warnings there are many local authorities that have ignored this message. This isn’t a nice-to-have “add on” anymore. This is a crucial public safety and reassurance tool.”
However, some are using these tools effectively; Coventry City Council has the highest number of followers on Facebook and Twitter with 24,080 people showing an interest in their work. By being able to use this medium to get in contact with people councils are more likely to be aware of issues quicker and can create a more positive public profile for themselves with minimum effort. In cases like the London riots it could be used as a public reassurance tool, and failure to use these methods could put public safety at risk. On the other hand, poor use could also anger the public perhaps if they didn’t get a response to a tweet or post – so it’s important to keep an account up to date if you want it to work in your favour.
It has been suggested that private sector services may be more likely to use social media, Roy Poynter says “private companies are often happy with any new customers, the public sector are sometimes try very hard to reach the ‘right’ new customers. In the context of this difference, the Internet in general, and social media in particular, can be a double-edged sword”. If the public sector attracts the wrong sort of target audience through a social media campaign, time is used up dealing with these rather than those intended. For example the UK advisory service used social networking site Habbo positively in its “Talk to Frank” drug aware campaign, but some health campaigns are less successful as they attract “the ‘worried well’ rather than key ‘at risk’ groups. This means that staff are busy, people are coming through the doors, but the number of ‘at risk’ people seen can drop”.
If you’re unsure if social media is for you and want help developing your skills then get in touch with Bluewood Training.
Written by Megan – www.bluewoodtraining.co.uk – April 2012