Monthly Archives: July 2007

The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies

Indigo Red will be moving offices in the next couple of months.  My husband, who works for a removal firm, came with me to the office on Saturday to work out how much the move is going to cost us (his labour is free, but I’m not sure I could pay his work mates in kind). In a minor panic that he will realise my work life is not quite as organised as my home one, I had a bit of a tidy up of my desk on Friday.  Among the old interview notes and endless business cards I found a copy of The Sunday Times 100 best companies to work for, 2007.  It’s been lurking there since March as I had intended to blog about it, and somehow had slipped between an old pile of payslips and some HR trade mags.

So anyway, only a mere 5 months late and here I am ready to write about it.

I thumbed through it once more and scanned the list for PR companies.  Only 1 PR agency made the top 100, Hill and Knowlton, who scraped in at number 91.  Scanning through the piece on them there are some things which are unsurprising; the male/female ratio is 36:64 – still a considerably better distribution of the sexes than some agencies, and the average age of an H&Ker is 32.  There is considerable attention given to the free scoff and booze you can get there – free breakfast and free food after quarterly meetings, plus an onsite bar.  However, they score some of the lowest scores in the 100 in terms of work life balance, as nearly half the staff said they felt they spent too much time working.

Still, I wonder what the 88% that said they have fun with their colleagues are up to?

On a slightly different tangent, I also looked for recruitment consultancies.  There are a whopping 14 recruitment companies in the top 100, with Hill McGlynn & Associates topping the list at number 12.  Impressive numbers from the recruitment industry.

As these Best Company rankings are voted for by the employees, it begs the question are recruitment companies better at their own employment PR than the PR experts?

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Filed under PR, Recruitment

Are you blogging this?

After last night’s session on consumer techie blogs my head is full of social media again.  Anyway, it seemed a good a time as any to post this.  It made me laugh.

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Filed under Social Media, Vlogging

Fullrun’s Blogger Roundtable

Fullrunlogowhite

I went off to the swish Soho Hotel last night as we sponsored Fullrun’s Consumer Blogger Roundtable.  The boss is  always up for sticking a bit of money behind a bar. 

The event kicked off with a panel of five, Michael Parsons from CNET, Chris Price and Katie Lee of Shiny Media, Mat Toor of Dennis Publishing and James Rivington from Tech.co.uk, and was hosted by Peter Kirwin of Fullrun.

There was a run down on how each of the sites likes to be pitched to (send an email, don’t phone them – especially if it’s just a standard pitch, include quotes and unique pictures, use an interesting subject header), followed by a lively discussion on whether there is a difference between bloggers and journos (some of the panel felt bloggers had more principles than journos…. they shall remain nameless) and how the immediacy of blogging requires a good wireless connection and the press releases to be held off until after a press launch.  Don’t forget to provide some food at a launch either, Michael Parsons is particularly keen to fill his tummy and stop that free champagne from sloshing around his insides.  His poor liver is suffering.  Of course, that’s assuming that you can get a blogger to a launch in the first place – they are self confessed un-socialites. 

"Is blogging dying?" was a question that reared its ugly head once more.  As the panellists work for blog sites, it was unlikely they’d say yes, but there was a general consensus that the blogosphere is platauing (80 million blogs – the vast majority not regularly updated) and as huge amounts of information hit our RSS feeds, as consumers we’ll become more selective about what we’re reading.

There was lots of nodding and muttering among the delegates when the subject of measurement came up.  "Clients aren’t convinced by the audience numbers, or how they’re measured" was the cry from the audience.  On the contrary, said the panel, metrics are now easier to measure than ever.  Unique users and page view stats can be made available to PRs and they can be much more reliable than some of the more measurements used by more traditonal media.  Can they be fiddled?  Probably.  Can traditional media stats be fiddled?  Most definitely. 

So off we trotted to the fabulous Swirl Room for drinks, courtesy of Indigo Red, and some light banter.  I bumped into one of my PR agency clients who is "new to this blogging stuff" and asked me to recommend some PR related blogs to have a look at, so off the top of my head came Drew Benvie, Simon Wakeman, Stephen Davies, The PR Monkey, Strumpette and The World’s Leading.  Those are the blogs that are obviously stuck in the forefront of my consciousness, so sod what Technorati says, they rank highest in my little world and don’t look to be dying any time soon.

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Filed under PR, Social Media

If you snooze, do you lose?

Sleeping_on_job_5

Louise Triance’s post about UK workers wanting a siesta coincided with a report from Reuters yesterday, that Hungary may be undergoing a referendum on whether or not an afternoon nap becomes a legal requirement for the workplace.  I’m not sure that Hungary’s employers should be too worried yet though, since the fall of communism in 1989 there have been plenty of referendums and only two have passed – joining NATO and the European Union.

Still, it highlighted the work/life balance issue once more.  Back in January, This is Money reported that Britons work the longest hours in Europe.  Our continental cousins work far less hours, in France the average is 38.2 per week, in Germany it’s 39.9 and yet in the UK it’s 43.5.  As a nation, we have a culture of unpaid overtime, and being the last to leave the office can be seen as a badge of status – I’m the busiest person here, I can’t possibly leave on time (although you could argue if you worked smarter, and got your job done during the core work hours you wouldn’t need to stay behind).

Some of the more enlightened employers are now actively encouraging their employees to go home on time instead of burning the midnight oil in the office. 

As a recruiter, when I interview candidates and ask what they would like from their next job, work/life balance comes at the top of a lot of lists.  Flexible working, working from home, 3 and 4 day weeks are all regular requests.  Those employers who are keen to get the best talent, and retain the best people, are aware that offering these benefits can be a huge draw and are often more highly valued than a pay rise.

Still, an afternoon kip would be nice.  Wonder if I could nip off to the boardroom and have a cat nap?

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Filed under Recruitment

Q. When is a review not a review? A. When it’s censored

A friend of mine recently had a bad experience in a restaurant.  She and her husband only WENT there because it came highly recommended on a restaurant review site.

So, after complaining at the restaurant and refusing to pay for part of the meal she decided to put her own review on said site.

Today, she received this email:

>Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2007 16:55:35 +0100
>
>Thank you for your recent review of Gurkha Grill
>
>As you may have noticed, it has not yet appeared on Sugarvine’s Reader
>Recommended section.
>
>
>
>The aim of this section of the site is for people to recommend restaurants
>they have enjoyed to other people — we have tried to make this clear both
>in the title (Reader Recommended) and in the FAQs box (Our policy on Reader
>Recommendations). We don’t post negative reviews for two reasons — legally
>we have been advised we are on unsafe ground posting potentially libelous
>comment unless we have actually visited ourselves and also we have no way of
>differentiating between ‘genuine’ poor reviews and malicious reviews from
>jealous competitors, disgruntled staff etc.
>
>We do, however, forward these reviews to the restaurant concerned,
>explaining that whilst we are not going to publish what has been submitted
>to us, this is legitimate customer comment which they might wish to take on
>board.
>
>
>
>I do hope you will continue to write restaurant recommendations for us.
>
>
>
>Yours,
>
>
>
>
>
>Daniel Coffey
>
>Administrator
>
>Sugarvine

Is it just me that doesn’t get it?  You can submit your reviews, but only if they’re good.  In which case – what’s the point of the reviews?  You don’t get a full picture of what all the customers really thought, you just get the few that thought it was fabulous – which is misleading surely?

Imagine if you could only say great things about anything you ever bought.  Imagine if theatre critics could only say good things about the plays they see, or food critics only publish rave reviews for restaurants they’ve finished. 

Criticism is an essential part of building a business.  How do you change those things that people don’t like if you don’t allow them to criticise?  In this age of online reviews and word of mouth marketing, this sort of censorship is not welcomed by anyone I know of.

Come on Sugarvine, there must be a better answer than censorship. 

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