Category: Public Relations

A fascinating thing about the demise of the house safety meth test is how a social phenomenon of many years ended in one day.   In a stroke, the PM’s Chief Scientist Peter Gluckman tore down an incredible and ephemeral practice that had mutated into a form of hysteria. The meth test policy led to…

In terms of Waikato’s role on the national stage, growth is a double-edged sword. Our city, our institutions and our companies will be scrutinised with the same fervour applied to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.   The scale of our success and operations means there’s either many customers or supporters involved, or a large amount of…

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…

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…

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…

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…

A new analysis of the removal of Sevens Rugby from Wellington has blamed the organisers, including NZ Rugby, and the police for the decline in crowd attendance. The Report, Demise of the Wellington Sevens, by public relations consultancy BlacklandPR, concludes that organisers collaborated in a “moral panic” led by police and the Wellington “establishment” against…

Three brothers were part of a team that invented a portable medical diagnosis device for an innovation competition.   Which of the two photos above is the best one to help tell the story about their technology? The one of the three brothers dressed up as Star Trek figures holding their Dr McCoy version of…

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…

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…