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Moved to a new blog www.PublicRelationsSydney.com.au 22 October 2008

Posted by Catriona Pollard in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Thank you for reading SmallBusinessPR over the last couple of years. I have moved this blog to:


So I would loved to see you over there and please subscribe to the new feed



Twitter and Telstra don’t mix 1 October 2008

Posted by Catriona Pollard in Articles.
Tags: ,

It appears that Telstra has faced a backlash with their Twitter service. They were using Twitter to monitor Twitter feeds for customer issues and then proactively offer support.

Other companies have successfully built customer relations such as Comcast using Twitter, but it seems that Telstra has used it to offer little more than botnet-generated responses directing users to fill out a standard customer service form.

ITnews has reported that a BigPond support staffer, identified as Steven Neville, apologised to the community.

“Upon hearing that we had finally started using Twitter I checked it out and went for an immediate face slap,” Neville wrote.

“Instead of actively engaging customers in a true, helpful dialogue we’ve gone for the ‘Legal’s said this is ok’ bot responses. I can go on, but my disappointment has already been covered by others above.

“I can only hope that we quickly get away from the strict, ‘spun by PR / approved by Legals’ approach and truly embrace social media,” he said.

Getting the best parking spot 29 September 2008

Posted by Catriona Pollard in Articles.

Last week I went to a conference at Sydney Convention Centre and when I walking back to my car I noticed these two car parks.  They were right next to the lift – so were great parking spots.

In doing some research it seems that councils and businesses around Australia have taken the frustration out of finding a park for hybrid owners.  In the US some shopping centres, and public buildings have introduced this – as well as a hybrid only traffic lane.

Good for the environment, and not bad PR for the hybrid car manufacturers.

PRing one’s self 23 September 2008

Posted by Catriona Pollard in PR tips.

Last Sunday I closed my eyes and asked my friend to look at page 37 of Sunday Life to see if I looked half decent. After a “you look great”, I opened them and I saw my image taking up most of the page (Click here catriona to see PDF). Thankfully I looked half decent as I would have been very upset that the 100,000 odd people reading Sunday Life around NSW & Vic wondering why this PR chic was PRing herself.

I received many texts, emails and calls from friends, family about it. One associate emailed commenting about “PRing one’s self” and “Interesting to note you are doing PR on yourself”. I guess when you are in PR you have to do your own PR!

But it got me thinking. Many businesses can afford to use a PR consultancy – and trust me – it really does make a difference and is worth the money. But many businesses don’t have the budget and need to do it themselves.

One such business is my Women in Business mentoree – Gail Rast. Her business, Life’s a Feast is still evolving so she has been “PRing one’s self”. She has written a media release and was featured in her local newspaper with her contact details. She got a call from it.

She was also featured in the Sun Herald which is now proudly featured on her home page. So she is getting double PR from it.

So where do you start with “PRing one’s self”?

Media releases are a great way of distributing relevant and topical information to a group of targeted publications (think about which media outlets your target audience get their information from). The release must be newsworthy and cover the “who, what, where, why and when”.

Case studies provide an ideal platform to leverage business success and tell your story to the media through your customers. Many trade publications publish case studies and you can use them as testimonials when speaking to journalists.

Pitching is where you contact specific media outlets to offer them either an exclusive story or an opportunity that is more specific than a media release topic. You can pitch via email or phone, however before contact develop a clear outline of your story and ensure it is succinct and compelling.

Special features are published in most printed media and cover specific topics relevant to readership. They are an excellent avenue for reaching a specific audience. Contact the feature editor or the journalist in charge to see what angles, topics and issues they wish to cover and then develop a story, case study, or offer comment. Be proactive and contact features editors well in advance of publishing deadlines, as often they are pre-printed.

Write an article that positions you as an industry expert and offers topical, helpful information. Ensure it is written in an objective, informative and entertaining manner.  It should never be a blatant advertisement or advertorial. Determine which publications your potential clients read, and approach editors focusing on what you can do for their readers.  This is an effective way to generate future requests for comments from journalists as it positions you as an industry expert.

Have a drunken photo on your Facebook page? 17 September 2008

Posted by Catriona Pollard in Articles, Uncategorized.

I was speaking to a friend the other day and she mentioned that she is going to start looking for a new job. Sending off a CV and giving a few reference contacts isn’t all that happens now. Recruiters are starting to look online for character references. I know she has heaps of photos on her Facebook page that she would not like a prospective employer to see.

Sites such as MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn provide transparent character references for candidates. Many prospective employees aren’t aware that their profiles will be checked prior to the interview.

Candidates with social networking profiles tend to be transparent about their lifestyle and general character, offering a public insight into their private lives, and an indication of their true character.

A survey by CareerBuilder.com indicated that 26 per cent of US hiring managers use social networking sites to perform background checks on job candidates. A further 12 per cent of those surveyed said that they used social networking sites as a screening tool.

LinkedIn tends to be more about professional achievements, but I would suggest you ensure your MySpace and Facebook are private pages or only have photos that you want the world to see.

Nestle moves to social media 8 September 2008

Posted by Catriona Pollard in Articles.
1 comment so far

An interesting article in The Australian regarding Nestle latest advertising campaign, they are only using social media. No traditional media will be used in the campaign.

This is a really interesting move by Nestle, who are specifically targeting teenage boys.  The campaign includes a multi-player online game, online videos and mockumentaries (mock documentaries), interactive banner ads, a website and a mobile component.

As reported in The Australian:

“John Broome, Nestle’s confectionery head of marketing, said that five years ago the money would have gone to television, radio and outdoor, but the internet and social media were now better for generating word-of-mouth among teens.”

“We know that teenage boys are spending on average 13 hours a week online playing games, so designing a new game for them really gets into their world,” Mr Broome said.

“What we are looking for is to see how much we can get out of our (online) media without necessarily having to pay for it all.”

Sony Vaio and the carry case saga 4 September 2008

Posted by Catriona Pollard in Articles.

Anyone following me on twitter for a while will know I was very excited about getting a new laptop. I ended up buying a Sony Vaio on advice from my IT guy.

The Sony Vaio comes in a number of colours, and frankly I was more excited about the colours than the capabilities of the computer. (I think I have mentioned before that marketing works well on me!). I picked the pretty red one because it matches my logo. And how nice of Sony! There was a bonus carry case worth $85 included. Very good marketing by Sony.

So I bought my Sony Vaio mid June. Today’s date is 4 September. Do you think I have my carry case? Arh NO.

My IT guy initially called about it after a week or so of waiting and they said it will be posted to me in a week. That was in June.

I then received a letter in the post about a month ago that said we need the barcode from the box the laptop came in before we  give you the carry case. I thought how odd that they need the barcode. Shouldn’t they have the barcode? It came from them. Luckily I still had the box. Dutifully I cut out the barcode and posted it to them.

Then I got my carry case. Arh NO. I never heard from them.

I phone Sony on Monday and was told that they can’t send me the carry pouch because they don’t have proof of purchase. Um….
“So I bought it from you, you have proof of delivery, you have the original barcode from the box, but you don’t have proof of purchase. Don’t you have a computer to look this up on?” (Was getting a bit cranky now)
“No we are only contracted by Sony”,
“OK that is your problem not mine, can I just get my carry bag”,
“No you need to fax us your receipt”,
“So was I never going to get the carry case because you can’t get the receipt from the people who contract you”
“No it is your problem. You need to fax us the receipt”.

Dutifully I fax them the receipt that came with the laptop – that I am guessing was produced on their own systems.

Then I got my carry case. Arh NO. Then I got a letter.

“To get your bonus carry case you must post us your receipt. Hurry. You must get it to us by 31 October to be eligible”

Ignoring the fact that I now need to photocopy the receipt that they gave me – from their own systems. I am looking at the date…31 October.

So I have to wait 4 ½ months to get a bonus carry case that was promised the week I bought it.

That is really crap marketing Sony. What ever goodwill was created by offering the bonus carry case has been completely lost.

Small Business September 1 September 2008

Posted by Catriona Pollard in Events.
1 comment so far

Today is the first day of my favourite season – Spring – and also the first day of Small Business September 08 in NSW. There are events running right around NSW and many are free. It is a great opportunity to network with other small business owners as well as learn new skills. Here are some of the major events:

  • Busting Business Myths 02 Sep 2008 4:30 PM – 6:15 PM Location: Sydney Powerhouse Museum
  • thinkBIG business forum 03 Sep 2008 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Location: ANZ Stadium, Homebush, Sydney
  • Starting Out Right 04 Sep 2008 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Location: DSRD Parramatta, Level 2, 470 Church Street, North Parramatta
  • Small Business Solutions 4U 11 Sep 2008 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM Location: NSW Trade and Investment Centre, Level 47, MLC Building, 19 Martin Place, Sydney
  • Exporting Further and Faster – Finance Solutions for Export Growth 16 Sep 2008 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM Location: NSW Trade and Investment Centre, Level 47, MLC Centre
  • Healthy Business, Healthy Returns 16 Sep 2008 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Location: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Level 5, St Andrews House, Kent St, Sydney
  • Market Smorgasbord 30 Sep 2008 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Location: MLC Centre, Level 47, 19 Martin Place, Sydney
  • Small Business BIG Issues 30 Sep 2008 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM Location: Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour

Defining public relations 29 August 2008

Posted by Catriona Pollard in PR tips.
Tags: ,

Over the past couple of weeks I have been in new business meetings and also networking functions where people have asked me my definition of public relations. So I thought I would share it here:

Public Relations is all about effective communication. It helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organisation and its target audience.

Public relations programs enhance the internal and external understanding of a company’s strategies, objectives and achievements. They build positive public image and reputation.

Public relations plays a strategic role in identifying, responding to and even creating trends, crafting appropriate messages and providing sophisticated communication methods.

Every organisation survives ultimately only on public consent, and that consent cannot exist in a communications vacuum. The PR program needs to be based on a long-term view of a business’s relations with the various groups of people that make up its public (clients, potential clients, staff, media etc).

Every business has a story to tell which will interest the media. The PR professional has to be an expert at seeing an organisation through the eyes of the editors and program directors, assembling the facts which the media would use, and giving them material at the right time. Anything from a speech to a new product has greater news potential if expertly handled. And it has absolutely no news value if it isn’t released to the media at all.

Public Relations practitioners are pivotal to the communication process between an organisation and their publics. They must ensure that any form of communication is clear, honest and unambiguous so that the messages are easily understood by the respective target audiences.

The power of PR is harnessed by an expert operator, and is vital to building business, whether it is used it to establish credibility, enhance reputation or sell more products and services.

A PR program isn’t just about media, it involves many activities – all which aim to achieve increase an organisations visibilty with their key target audiences.

Is it time for a package overhaul? 20 August 2008

Posted by Catriona Pollard in PR tips.
Tags: ,

Many years ago I used a few Jurlique products. I distinctly remember the lovely rose hand cream. I also remember the boring blue and white packaging. It looked like a medical product or something an accountant would like!

But like most women I get sick of one beauty product and move to the next brand, so I haven’t been using Jurlique for years.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking through Myer and noticed Jurlique’s new packaging. It stopped me in my tracks. It was gorgeous. It now has beautiful imagery that represents what is in each product ie rose on the rose hand cream. The company’s key message is written on the box, so you immediately know it is organic, biodynamic and has living energy.

In addition to their new packaging they have great sales techniques. They offer free sample products every time you buy something (even if you buy at a chemist). At the city David Jones store if you buy two products you get a free half-hour facial.

Needless to say all of these techniques have worked on me. I have gone from using no Jurlique products a few weeks ago to using virtually every product in the range!

It got me to thinking. How many businesses go to the expense of updating their packaging? How many businesses actually review if their packaging assists or hinders sales?

Packaging plays important marketing roles, from capturing attention and increasing consumption, to ensuring consumer safety or just informing consumers of the ingredients. We rely on the product’s packaging to help us make a buying decision. The challenge facing the package designer is how to grab our attention so we buy it!

It might be time to follow Jurlique’s example and update your packaging!


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