Category: Our Blog

What do you mean?

When people communicate, we often use words we know other people like. But this causes trouble when our meaning of the word is different to theirs.   For example, it’s de rigueur to talk about “vulnerable” people. But what we mean by using this word is extremely variable. Is it poor, aged, adolescent, female…? And Read More …

You can brief the new Minister

A little-known tool organisations can use to influence new Ministers, especially new governments following general elections, is a dedicated briefing paper.   Traditionally, new Ministries and government agencies supply the new Minister with a written briefing paper explaining their portfolio responsibilities, current issues and work-in-progress.   Known as a BIM (Briefing for the Incoming Minister), Read More …

How to deliver public warnings

New research reveals that New Zealand institutions are failing to deliver effective public communication about imminent natural hazards.   Most of us know the story of the boy who cried wolf. In the versions popularized in the 1500s, the tale-telling boy is not believed when a wolf does appear. In some versions of the story Read More …

Telling unchanging stories

For a career that has become a profession, the political class perform surprisingly badly at the job. Here’s two lessons you can learn from their mistakes last month.   1) Tell your story, then stop. Journalists are very good at spotting weaknesses in stories.  Bill English kept telling them his story about Todd Barclay each Read More …

Sky TV caught offside with All Blacks fans

If you insist on making an unpopular decision then at least have the courage to stick by it.   Sky TV broke into its coverage of the All Blacks test to play an advertisement after the haka. Within 24 hours of the resulting viewer criticism they backed down, promising the ads wont air in the Read More …

Using human instinct to your advantage

When public safety is threatened people seek reassurance in the simple answers, even though they may be the wrong ones.  Organisations can use this to their advantage.   In the weeks following the Grenfell fire a particular type of cladding has been singled out as the cause.   Of course, the cause of the fire Read More …

When sponsorship sours

Companies sponsoring stuff would have whistled with relief that they weren’t BNZ when a prominent rugby player taped over their logo on his shirt.   While rugby organisations did their usual stuck-in-headlights routine, the BNZ was left alone to say it was unfazed by the individual’s action and he was free to choose.   It Read More …

PR will save you from stupid marketing

Many self-inflicted publicity wounds are the fault of your marketing department.   We’ve seen some notable examples within a past few weeks. Pepsi was mocked for an absurd “attitude” advert about people dancing and protesting for peace and diversity while drinking the fizzy stuff.   Cadbury was pilloried for removing the word “Easter” from a Read More …

Tiresome platitudes

Some days, especially on LinkedIn, the sheer weight of corporate marketing about “doing good” is depressing.   Heart-sleeves point-scoring is made worse for knowing it has zero impact on sales.   This was demonstrated in a series of revealing studies outlined in The Myth of the Ethical Consumer. They revealed that while consumers profess social Read More …