Monday, August 30, 2010

Last Lion Roar

Last Saturday our Lions Club decided to disband. After seven years it  was a  sad occasion as our members gathered for the last time as Lions.

Some people will go on to other Lions Clubs. Others will look elsewhere  for opportunities to volunteer. In the end the busy lives we all lead caught up with us.  As a group we became increasingly unable to  find the time, energy and effort that being a member of one of the world's best known community organisations demands.  Busy careers, growing families and passing through different stages of  our lives overtook our good intentions. Rather than limping on, we collectively decided to call it quits. And that was despite the support from the Lions hierarchy which did everything to help the Club continue.

 In today's fractured  and frenetic community getting the loyalty and attention of a volunteer is impressive  Getting seven years from a volunteer is a real achievement. But there are more traditional souls who see being a member of Lions, Rotary or similar organisations as a lifelong  commitment akin to what used to be expected from Catholics or  Communists.

As we disband I would like to think that all sides in the Canberra volunteer triangle have benefited.  Individual members were able to multiply their personal efforts by drawing on  the support and camaraderie of tens of thousands of brother and sister Lions across the globe.

For nealry a decade the Lions organisation was able to tap into the services of well established career professionals with a wide range of talents.  But most importantly our local community - particularly older Australians from migrant backgrounds, young people entering the workforce and  people in the community sector - hopefully gained
a little something from our Club's efforts.

Friday, August 20, 2010

15 Key Questions Bosses Should Ask About PR

Most bosses intuitively know the power of PR.  However they are so busy running the business they focus on communications only when a crisis hits or when staff present a fresh PR proposal.  Most are willingly to leave the details to their PR professionals.

But by asking pointed questions a boss can quickly determine the value of any communications, PR or marketing proposal they are asked to approve:
  • Does this plan support my business or operational plan?
  • Does what it is being recommended build on our previous good work and avoid our past communications shortcomings?
  • Are my audiences clearly identified by geography, interests, beliefs or other common characteristics?
  • Are the messages we want to share clear, unambiguous and easy to understand? 
  • Could our information be misunderstood or misinterpreted and cause unintended consequences?  
  • Is our information persuasive and backed by evidence such as facts and figures, case studies but above all by stories of ordinary people who benefit from what we do?
  • How, when and where is information going to be delivered to audiences?
  • What opportunities do audiences have to offer their opinion?  
  • Is there a processes to improve communications based on feedback?
  • Are the communications tools proposed the right fit for the audience? 
  • Is there a mix of approaches so if one communications channel fails, others may work?
  • What is the communications timetable? 
  • Will we deliver consistent communications or are we communicating by episodes?
  • How will I know if this proposal is working?  
  • What is the process to monitor, measure, evaluate and adjust what is being proposed?
Bosses can't be expected to know everything particularly about the ins and outs of communications.  But they should able to ask penetrating questions when it comes to approving a new PR or marketing budget.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Radio: The Power of Promotion

I have long been an advocate of the power of radio.

Radio can be particularly powerful it combines advertising, editorial and promotion.

Last Saturday I was part of a regional radio promotion where I witnessed first hand the immediacy of the medium. Listeners to the station's morning program were invited to rush to a local shopping centre to claim a holiday giveaway prize. The first person - a young woman - turned up within minutes of the first announcement followed by others as the promotion continued throughout the day.

Advertising by itself may work. But you increase your chance of cut-through success when you combine it with a competition or incentive for listeners.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Keep Your Eye on Australia

Last month Canberra ad agency Grey Group Australia released its third Eye on Canberra survey.  

The survey comes out of the wider Eye on Australia survey which looks at Australians,  what's going on in their families and households and how they view the issues of the day.  

The Eye on Australia survey has been going 19 years and collects data from 998 people across the country by telephone and through the Internet.  This year's findings reveal some interesting insights:
  • While Australians are generally satisfied with their lives, people in Darwin are the most satisfied and those in Brisbane are the least satisfied of people living in capital cities.
  • Brisbane people are also the most likely to be concerned about the economic outlook for the coming year while residents in Darwin are the least concerned.
  • People aged 25 - 34 are the most concerned age group about the economy, perhaps suggesting those early in their careers, couples with young families and first home buyers feel vulnerable to any economic downturn.
  • 72% of Australians agree their family is becoming more important to them every year and 81% of us will sit down together and eat as a family.
  • Nearly three-quarters of us think there is not enough respect shown to older Australians and advertising does not portray our seniors properly - which is odd given baby boomers are the most cashed up group in our community.
The survey also ranked the major issues for Australians in the next five years.  The five top concerns on our minds in order are -  and probably why these subjects are getting attention in the current Election:
  • Lack of water and water management.
  • Climate change.
  • Unemployment and job security.
  • The cost of living and lower standards of living.
  • The health system and the increasing costs of health care.
When asked to describe our Australian values, being multicultural, easy going, free, living in a land of opportunity and being competitive are things that rate highly.  However we place less importance on being traditional or sophisticated, Australia as a world leader or living in a classless society.