Best UK PR Consultancy to Work For?

The Holmes Report in the UK has just published its ‘Best consultancy to work for’ list. I have to congratulate Rainier PR for winning for the second year running. However, it does raise an interesting question: does this list actually mean anything? I ask this not be rude to the winners or to Paul Holmes but because none of the top twenty are the top agencies in the UK. Now if this list was a predictor of which agencies would become the top agencies then again I can see its value but it doesn’t seem to play that role either. Of course it could be that it shows that if you want to work for a good employer or if you are a client that wants to hire an agency that treats its staff well then this list will act as a good guide. However, again this either shows that not many clients care about how staff are treated (or these agencies would be growing like crazy) OR that staff don’t care how they are treated (or these agencies would have a waiting list for jobs). The one common link in the list would seem to be that the agencies listed are all small or medium sized firms. Either this means these types of firms are better places to work (seems logical) or the bigger firms just didn’t engage. Of course it could be that these winning agencies are good at getting staff to say what great employers they are. Given two of my agencies (August.One and Bite which are both wonderful places to work!!) are in the top 20 I hope you see that I raise these questions out of genuine interest and not because ‘we didn’t win.’

Online news consumption is all about sports…

I hadn’t looked at this in a while but Akamai has been tracking how many people access online news for some time now. It paints an interesting picture of online news consumption. For example the vast majority of the news hits are US driven. So much so that other regions don’t really impact the end results. Sadly the vast majority of news this nation consumes seems to be sports related. Indeed out of the top ten news days they’ve recorded seven were sports related (the world cup being a huge factor it seems). The other three? Two were related to terrorism and the other to Katrina.

If you look a little closer you’ll see that of the roughly 3m news hits today, 2.6m were in the US, 300K were in Europe and the remaining 100K were spread around the rest of the world. That seems amazing to me and perhaps explains why concerns about the death of print media don’t seem to be taken as seriously outside the US. At first glance I wondered if the consumption outside the US were abnormally low today but the Akamai system actually shows whether this a high, normal or low news day and while it is a moderately high day in the US it is at worst normal in all the other regions.

I guess the end could really be in sight for print media at this rate. As long, that is, as they make sure they offer good sports news!


Economist discusses death in the family

I need to thank Drew B for pointing to the Economist article on the death of newspapers. As ever the Economist does a good job of educating its readers on the big issues. I’d like to see this piece followed up on though as it really only serves as an introduction to the topic. Nevertheless it’s worth a quick read.

Client conflict

I hear on rumor mill that the Council of PR is about to come out with a new statement on the thorny issue of handling client conflict. Like me, it seems some at the Council feel PR agencies are judged by inconsistent standards at best. Now it seems some agencies do a better job on conflict than others. Take Edelman who works with both Adobe and Microsoft. Indeed Edelman seems able to manage this level of conflict for a number of big brands. I take my hat off to them for their nerve and their ability to convince clients that these conflicts are OK. Indeed I write this not to be critical of Edelman’s approach. Instead I just wish there were some clear standards on what was deemed an acceptable way of managing conflicting clients. Perhaps this is what the Council needs to work on? I think a strong statement on conflict is an excellent start but I’d also encourage them to develop (if they have not already) some clear guidelines on the ways conflict should be handled. This should extend to the construction of teams; the way information is received and stored and so on.

Of course if you look at the professional advisors used by most large firms such as law firms, accountancy practices, management consultancies etc they nearly all have conflicts. These firms don’t have the same issues it seems. Is this because they are hired by different people in the business? Is it because they have a history of doing it? Is it because they are considered a profession? Whatever the answer it’s clear that these advisors are held to a different standard. While that may be a touch frustrating for PR people, it’s a fact and one we need to accept. However, it is also something we can do something about. As I say I’m pleased the Council of PR has taken up this issue. I only hope that the topic gets significant attention in the PR media and in other circles so that clients can be better educated on how conflict can be managed successfully.

What does the Pew Study really show?

I just read Nick Carr’s blog on the state of Online News following the Pew Study that came out this week. To cut a fine story short he effectively says that while people have moved to getting their news online they are not necessarily:

a) consuming more news – indeed he suggests that the decline in traditional media consumption is being matched to a degree in the online world
b) about to kill off traditional media – his view from the Pew study is that while this media is declining it is more often than not read by those that consume online news. In other words it will only really die off if everyone stops reading news altogether which seems unlikely.

His piece ends by saying that: “The report is not good news for newspapers, but it does show that the reports of their imminent death have been exaggerated. The real division is not between the audience for online news and the audience for traditional news – they are the same audience. The real division is between the people who are interested in the news and the people who couldn’t care less. In fact, it looks very much like online news media are now merging with traditional news media, as the two come together in a symbiotic relationship to serve the same set of customers. They are not competing with each other so much as they are competing together against nonconsumption.”

I would contend, as I pointed out yesterday in my piece about YouTube, that what the world wants is for the Internet to enable a whole new way to get content. What Online news outlets have done so far is simply ‘automate’ the delivery of content. Perhaps this is why after an initial surge in viewing of online news it too is starting to flatten off and potentially decline. My contention is that this is because there is a distinct lack of innovation taking place in online media (what a generalization I know). Maybe this is what the Pew study is really showing…