Category: Our Blog

What it takes to communicate

A journalist commented on our Communicator of the Year award; “You’d expect them to be good communicators because it’s their job.”   That made us smile because it imagines that communication comes easily. It assumes that ‘news’ is made by people whose job it is to make news.   There are thousands of people with Read More …

Taking charge at the Oscars

The Oscars hired PwC to run a process that didn’t lead to errors in awarding gongs. They would have been better hiring a PR company to focus on clarity of leadership and communication.   That’s because when the process went wrong, as process inevitably does, brave communication and leadership is the only thing that could Read More …

Savvy advocate named NZ Communicator of the Year

Former Police Association President and Labour Party election candidate Greg O’Connor has been named winner of the Communicator of the Year Award.   The winner is selected by BlacklandPR and students at Massey University’s School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing, from New Zealanders who have illustrated communication skills at the national level over the previous Read More …

The weakness of media policies

A strict “media policy” on who can speak to journalists only works if those who do speak are good at it, and free to use their skills.   Muffin Break illustrated the weakness recently when media inquiries about “maggots” in a chicken wrap were referred up to its national office by the Upper Hutt outlet. Read More …

Throttling the goose

The death throes of the Wellington Sevens illustrate one of our favourite business maxims: act in the interests of your audience, not your peers.   A few years ago the Sevens reached its crazy hedonistic zenith. Criticism of the audience took hold among Wellington influencers and decision-makers.   Anxious to assuage the critics, the organisers Read More …

Handling criticism: A PR lesson from Trump

Donald Trump has been elected US President despite months of intense, high-profile condemnation from the political and media establishment, and social media shouters.   No previous candidate in living memory, not even Ronald Reagan, has been so vilified. Critics even questioned his right to stand as a candidate – his right to a place in Read More …

Which headlines to ignore

A challenge of our social era is that it is hard to ignore headlines, but more necessary than ever before. The challenge of good PR judgment is knowing what headlines matter, and which don’t.   WeightWatchers copped bad headlines when it sent a lightbulb to female journalists encouraging them to leave the light on when Read More …

The go-with-the-flow crisis strategy

A common factor in the unfolding public relations misfire of Ardent Leisure, owner of Dreamworld, is misjudged actions.   Ardent executives falsely believed that the issue was all about them, and that they needed to be seen to take action.   Organised action is an artificial construct. We mistrust artifice because it requires conscious planning. Read More …

When not to respond

The New Zealand Rugby Union did not need to enter the issue of a Wellington rugby player escaping conviction for street violence.   The appearance of CEO Steve Tew in interviews painted a target on the NZRU, inviting the professionally outraged to demand apologies for a “violent and sexist” rugby culture. Tew was bullied into Read More …

Let the audience fill in the gaps

24 hours after being vilified for firing a disabled worker who stole a colleague’s drink bottle, the chief executive of Bunnings went on Newstalk ZB to explain the sacking. The explanation gave enough hints to suggest that there was more than one side to the story.   “These decisions aren’t taken lightly… it’s just not Read More …