Posts Tagged ‘media’

Why the Huffington Post is like a mullet

In Digital, Journalism, Media on February 10, 2011 at 12:26 am

This, below, from The New Yorker,  from 2008. It’s a nice description. I wonder whether AOL will keep the business-up-front-party-behind strategy going now it’s bought HuffPo.


The Huffington Post’s editorial processes are based on what Peretti has named the “mullet strategy.” (“Business up front, party in the back” is how his trend-spotting site BuzzFeed glosses it.) “User-generated content is all the rage, but most of it totally sucks,” Peretti says. The mullet strategy invites users to “argue and vent on the secondary pages, but professional editors keep the front page looking sharp. The mullet strategy is here to stay, because the best way for Web companies to increase traffic is to let users have control, but the best way to sell advertising is a slick, pretty front page where corporate sponsors can admire their brands.”

via Arianna Huffington and the death of newspapers : The New Yorker.


Jimmy does media

In Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Media, Public relations on January 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm

When Jimmy joins a new school and spots the girl of his dreams, he develops a communications strategy to get her. We’ve all been there. Haven’t we?

This is a guest post by my brother, Joe, a digital media planner in Edinburgh (but willing to travel. Tell me if you want to hire him – I’ll make him give me a cut).

Jimmy had just joined a new school, and as he was being shown around on his first day, he saw the most beautiful girl ever across the school grounds. She was also being shown round, and he couldn’t believe his luck; his future girlfriend had joined the same school on the same day.

After his first morning of lessons Jimmy was sitting at lunch when the girl came in and sat down just a few tables away. So infatuated was Jimmy that he decided that she must be his, and proceeded to develop an integrated communications strategy to get her. Read the rest of this entry »

Take a walk on the client side

In Advertising, Communicate, Marketing, Media, Published journalism on November 24, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Communicate casts an eye over Cairo’s advertisers to see who’s spending, what they are spending on, and what’s changing

Originally published in Communicate, June 2010

Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but there’s been a financial crisis in the Gulf. Marketing money has been pouring out through a real estate-sized hole, along with other perforations, and some of that money has been flowing towards Egypt. Clients there have been competing in a much more established market in ways that the free-falling GCC can only envy. Following on from April’s look at Egyptian agencies and media, Communicate takes a look at the country’s advertisers themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Engaging Egypt

In Communicate, Marketing, Media, Published journalism, Television on November 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Newspapers are gaining traction in Egypt, but Communicate finds that television is still number one for both the marketing industry and the audience

Originally covered in Communicate, April 2010

Dubai Press Club’s Middle East Media Outlook report cites Zenith Optimedia/Value Partners data saying that advertising spend in Egypt is focused on print, with 55 percent of the country’s advertising money going to newspapers. But those on the ground beg to differ. Read the rest of this entry »

View from the top

In Advertising, Communicate, Dubai, Marketing, Published journalism, Q&A on November 24, 2010 at 3:49 pm

OMG boss Elie Khouri says there’s a war shaping up in the media world

Originally published in Communicate, November 2009

As regional managing director of planning and buying agency Omnicom Media Group, Elie Khouri has his finger on the pulse of the region’s media industry. He sat down with Communicate recently to tell us how media looks today, and what we can expect to see tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »

Periodical prognosis

In Communicate, Dubai, Interview, Journalism, Published journalism on November 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm

The FIPP’s Don Kummerfeld says magazines in the region can survive the crunch, but only if they expand their online scope

Originally published in Communicate, June 2009

Although advertising spend in the Middle East is notoriously hard to measure, the ad revenue from magazines in Western Europe and the US is in decline, and Don Kummerfeld predicts this region will not be far behind.

Kummerfeld is the president of the International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP), a global organization that represents magazine publishers and organizes training, networking and licensing fairs. He was recently in the UAE, and told Communicate advertising growth in magazines is likely to be on hold for a while in the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »

Rising stars

In Advertising, Communicate, Dubai, Published journalism, Q&A on November 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Changes are afoot at Publicis Groupe Media. Communicate catches up with the top brass to find out why the management team has been given a makeover

Originally published in Communicate, November 2008

Communications group Publicis Groupe Media, the parent company of buying and planning agencies Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia, has recently promoted three of its top men to more senior positions. Communicate sat down with the management to discuss what the changes mean to the group, and to take the pulse of the region’s media industry in general. Read the rest of this entry »

Training day

In Communicate, Dubai, Journalism, Published journalism, Television on November 22, 2010 at 10:57 pm

As the region comes under more scrutiny from the world’s business media, specialists are coaching executives on facing the press

Originally published in Communicate, September 2007

Picture this: You’re the CEO of a large company and disaster strikes. Your business is in flames (perhaps literally), your stock is in freefall and the media is baying for blood – probably your blood.

You need someone who’s good in a crisis, who can single-handedly face the microphone-wielding jackals and save the day. The person you send out there needs to be a superhero of PR, the Jack Bauer of media managers. Alas, in many cases it’s you.

You’ve prepared for this moment. You’ve been trained as a press-pacifying ninja by catastrophe coaches and pandemonium professionals. You have, haven’t you?

Companies in the region are increasingly turning to media trainers to bring their executives up to scratch on how to handle the press both in times of crisis and during “peacetime.” With the eyes of the world on the Middle East – and when it comes to business news, Dubai especially – executives are more anxious about being ready to face the cameras.

Take the case of a March runway accident at Dubai International airport, in which passengers suffered minor injuries. “It made international news immediately,” says Caitlin West, managing consultant at UK-based crisis management specialist Regester Larkin, which recently opened an office in Dubai. Unexpected situations like this are precisely why companies need to be training their spokespeople.

Media trainers come from a variety of different backgrounds. All promise to teach executives to better carry their companies’ key messages through good times and bad, and all agree that increased scrutiny on the region is good for business.

The backdrop for much of this uptick in demand for media training is last year’s Dubai Ports World debacle, according to Eithne Treanor, founder of Etreanor media consultancy. Like Regester Larkin, Etreanor recently set up shop in Dubai. “Some people I have talked to were amazed at the reaction in the US when all that happened, the fact that there were protests. … I think that’s why the people here are demanding media training,” Treanor says.

Although keeping one’s brand in the public eye is important, it’s the need to prepare for worst-case scenarios that drives many companies to seek external coaching.

Regester Larkin specializes in “issues and crisis management,” according to managing director Mike Regester. “If you wanted us to launch a new brand of butter in the Middle East, we wouldn’t do it,” he says. “We don’t do that stuff and other consultancies would be able to offer that. We’re absolutely focused on what we do.”

Chris Kinsville-Heyne, managing director of C3I Strategic Solutions, worked for the media wing of the British military before he went into media training. “I was primarily involved in getting the troops ready to face the media for Bosnia, the first Gulf War, Kosovo, East Timor, and the principle is exactly the same: you look at your key messages, you understand those, you understand how you can bridge from whatever question it is the media asks you to one of your key messages. The principle remains the same.”

This principle centers on anticipating rather than reacting to problems and turning questions to one’s advantage rather than trying to dodge awkward probes.

“I have a principle that is left over from Sandhurst [military academy],” says Kinsville-Heyne. “Train hard, fight easy. I train people for the hardest thing they can do, and in my experience that’s a live business breakfast interview. That’s the hardest thing you’re going to do. If you’re doing a print interview, it’s going to be easy in comparison.”

When the tough questions come, Kinsville-Heyne says “no comment” is not an option. “I’ve always maintained it with all my students,” he says. “If you ever turn round and say, ‘No comment,’ you might as well say, ‘Guess what, I’m ignorant – and stupid, too, because I’m missing an opportunity.’ You miss an opportunity to be able to engage in dialogue.”

Treanor says executives are often reluctant to admit they’ve gone through media training. “Media training in the corporate world is like going to your psychiatrist. You are a bit ashamed to say you have been to see him.”

Not Niall McLoughlin, regional head of corporate affairs at Standard Chartered Bank, who speaks openly about using media training. “Nowadays the potential for making an error, the potential for screwing up, is great,” he says. “If you’re better prepared to manage your reputation through effective communication rather than just shooting from the hip, then when you’re in a listed company it’s your responsibility to do that.” The bank uses Regester Larkin.

“People in this region still go on the defensive when they have no reason to go on the defensive,” says Treanor. “People are now realizing they need to be on the map. There is a bit of humility about people within publicly listed companies. They are beginning to realize that they have to get information to a lot more sources. But it is a big shift for the region.”

It’s important to go into an interview focused, says Standard Chartered’s McLoughlin. “In any one-on-one interview, you try to have your objectives of the interview, and the journalist has their objectives of the interview,” he says. “It’s trying to facilitate getting your messages across, what you want to deliver in the message. So you never go in there and let yourself be led. You try to articulate your messaging.”

The first eight seconds of the interview are crucial, says C3I’s Kinsville-Heyne. “People make up their minds about you very, very quickly. In three seconds people decide whether they like you or not; in five seconds they decide whether they trust you or not; in seven seconds they have decided whether you will lie to them or not. So essentially as a spokesperson you’ve got eight seconds. Being a good bloke and a good CEO doesn’t necessarily give you that skill.”

Choosing a media trainer can be tricky. Most PR companies offer coaching among their services, but Treanor, a former journalist, says those with a press background can do a better job, since they approach the issues from an outsider’s perspective.

Kinsville-Heyne takes the opposite approach. “I’m not a journalist and I always make sure I emphasize that. That’s probably one of my unique selling points. I’ve been a spokesman, I’ve sat in the chair that you’re going to sit in. I’ve done your job and I know exactly what it takes, how difficult it is to keep all those plates spinning.”

Whichever form of guidance you choose, there is one thing interview subjects should bear in mind, says Treanor: Journalists welcome people who are able to communicate well – but not too well. The trick is to be genuine, rather than slick. “There’s a danger that people can come across as too trained,” she says. “But that’s not what anyone in the media training business is trying to do. We’re not trying to show clients how not to deal with things or how to skirt around issues. We’re very much trying to show them how to engage, and by doing that, get their message across.”

So with the cameras aimed at you like snipers’ rifles, you might be calm, collected and ready for anything. You may think you really are the Jack Bauer of reputation management. But if you come across as a spin doctor, all that training could blow up in your face.

TIPS: You don’t say
Media trainers say there are simple rules to follow if you have to face the press. Make sure you don’t blow your 15 seconds of fame.

Prepare. Know the name of the journalist, the style of the program or publication, the interview format and the deadline. Know why the journalist wants the interview, and what angle the story will take.

Know your audience. Choose your words to suit it. Be valuable to the audience by stating your message clearly and with proof points.

Rehearse. Go over your key messages. Be enthusiastic about your company, service or product, but don’t try a blatant sales pitch.

Turn on your radar. Think of difficult questions and come up with responses ahead of time so you’re not caught off guard.

Don’t guess. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so.

Don’t argue. But if the journalist makes factually incorrect statements, correct them.

For TV or radio, speak slowly and clearly. Don’t talk over people. Ignore background noise and distraction. On screen, don’t wear distracting clothes or jewelry, and keep your eyes steady.