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Transparency key in APPG finances
Thursday, 03 January 2013 15:44

parliament.jpgYesterday, the Times reported on All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), alleging that such groups receive thousands of pounds in corporate sponsorship each year. In response, the PRCA has reaffirmed its support of APPGs on the basis that they subscribe to Parliamentary regulations calling for financial transparency.

A 2012 working group report documented the importance of APPGs to facilitating debate between stakeholders and MPs. While APPGs are not required to publicise their minutes, they must declare the list of clients in attendance and any financial assistance received. The PRCA says that, so long as such support is transparent, APPGs are in accordance with regulations.

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Wayfinding signage builds college brand
Thursday, 03 January 2013 14:28

dudleyAt the nexus of wayfinding and design lies branding. In modern education, as in any other sector, a strong, marketable brand is the key to competing in a crowded market. For Dudley College in the West Midlands, the route to a marketable brand was through the adoption of powerful signage and wayfinding tools.

The college recently launched a vocational training centre, called Evolve. To give the new enterprise and the existing sixth form centre a strong identity, Dudley brought in branding experts Happy Giraffe and signage consultants Signlex. This resulted in the covering of nearly every wall space with supergraphics and interesting wayfinding imagery designed to both engage students and provide information.

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CEOs avoid social media
Thursday, 03 January 2013 13:53

zeno.pngAs has become apparent in the 13 years of the 21st century, social media is here to stay and, more importantly, it has an impact on corporate reputation. Social media is not only one of the key channels for use in corporate communications, its relevance in crisis management situations should not be overlooked.

Despite that, Zeno Group has found that more than one-third of American CEOs do not consider the reputation their company has on social media when making decisions. However, B2C CEOs consider social media more than their B2B counterparts.

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Music rebrand hits high notes
Thursday, 03 January 2013 12:15

MID.jpgFor the musically inclined, music can take on a life of its own. The rebrand of Music in Detention has given the charity’s identity new life.

The novel branding, done by Lydia Thornley Design, includes a stave or set of strings that comes to life along the logo. The fresh website was designed by Float.

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Coffee brand criticised for corporate ties
Thursday, 03 January 2013 11:53

harrishoole.jpgCoffee. Such a simple, yet delicious, caffeine delivery system, yet one that has created so much uproar. This winter has seen more than its fair share of coffee-related corporate woes. Costa fell victim first, as Devon town Totnes successfully prohibited the chain’s expansion into their coffee-shop saturated hamlet. Starbucks was next and when the mighty fall, they fall hard. Taxes turned to boycotts and hatred on Twitter. Now the new year brings a new sort of coffee-related problem, this time for Tesco.

Tesco, long loved and loathed grocery giant, holds a non-controlling share of up and coming coffee chain Harris + Hoole. This comes as news to many who patronised the new, artisanal cafe in one of its 10 locations. Uproar ensued.

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Trademark gives Kit Kat bars a break
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 14:27

kitkat.JPGJust three months after Cadbury won a battle against Nestle allowing the former to trademark its signature colour purple, the two chocolatiers found themselves in the throes of a legislative battle once again.

The judge who allowed Cadbury to trademark its shade of purple said that colours can be linked inherently with a brand. Nestle, as of today, have now proven that shape can as well.

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Lofty goals for art installation, city
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 12:34

liverpoolbiennial.jpgLiverpool has done much to reinvigorate its arts scene and redefine its status as a cultural centre since its year as European Capital of Culture in 2008. Five years on, the cityscape is changing and this year’s Liverpool Biennial festival featured a programme of art, film, speakers and music.

The one stick in the mud for the Biennial is an installation called ‘Column,’ which intended to project a three mile-high cloud into the sky. This lofty project suffered from delays, setbacks and the pesky problem of physics. It is now due to be completed in the coming months, only half a year later than the Cultural Olympiad for which it was intended.

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Hard times for hardware giant
Friday, 28 December 2012 14:50

hp.jpgIt has been a scandalous month for international businesses. But while the coffee-drinking public in the UK has been boycotting Starbucks, Hewlett-Packard has been embroiled in an ongoing spat with a recently acquired software company.

HP’s acquisition of Autonomy caused an internal rift between the companies two CEOs and HP attempting to write off three-quarters of Autonomy’s value due to alleged misrepresentation of the latter’s accounts. Now, the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the matter.

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Rebuilding reputation in the Gulf of Mexico
Monday, 24 December 2012 10:17

bp.jpgBP’s reputation took a dive after Deepwater Horizon. In the years since, it has clawed its way back into the lives of Americans and Brits with an effort culminating in its highly regarded sponsorship of the London Olympics.

On Friday, the U.S. courts approved the settlement BP has offered the Gulf Coast victims of the catastrophic oil spill. For BP, this is promising, as it allows the company to pay its settlement and avoid further litigation, but also avoid further media scrutiny.

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Public sector needs organisational change
Thursday, 20 December 2012 13:20

orgmgmt.jpgBudget cuts have been implemented, a new cabinet has been elected and now, change in organisational management has been called for.

A seminar, held by Reform, an independent think tank, at Chatham House last month saw contributions from the government and from the government's COO, Stephen Kelly, and organisational management experts, AOMi. The 'Managing change in the public sector' conference delegates agreed that fiscal pressure will force the government to change its approach to operations management, and change it for the better.

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Apprenticeship scheme going strong
Thursday, 20 December 2012 12:19

apprenticeships.jpgIn July, the PRCA and Pearson in Practice, alongside 50 employers in the PR industry launched an initiative to begin a PR apprenticeship scheme. The programme places young people interested in the PR industry who are not at university with agencies across the industry.

PRCA apprentices work simultaneously at securing qualifications and at on-the-job training. Three months on from the start of the programme, apprentice Josh Speers gives an update on the progress of the apprentices.

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Rebranding the New Year's resolution
Thursday, 20 December 2012 11:37

lighterlife.jpgChristmas means mince pies, turkey and stuffing and countless other goodies. It also means everyone’s New Year’s resolution will be to ‘get fit’.

LighterLife, a weight loss company, has launched a new visual identity to attract customers while their resolutions are still hot. The So Creative-designed identity injects welcome humour into the LighterLife brand. Fifties-style pin-ups will not be out of place in the diet house’s new marketing push, overseen by Brothers and Sisters.

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Terms, not taxes, enrage consumers this week
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 10:45

instagram.jpgThe public has spoken. Well, the Starbucks-sitting, latte-photo-taking public has spoken. The past few weeks have unleashed a PR maelstrom upon two major consumer-oriented companies. Both have attempted to respond to customer backlash quickly and directly.

Starbucks’ UK MD Kris Engskov distributed an explanatory statement in print and online to explain its resolution to the tax scandal that emerged earlier this month. Yesterday, Instagram’s decision to claim the right to sell users’ content and data has enraged its users. Today, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom released a statement clarifying the new terms and conditions, but avoided changing the company’s newly-adopted policy.

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Corporate and Financial Awards open for entries
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 16:08

CFA_logo_3.pngEngaging with a corporate audience has grown increasingly more complex and increasingly more important to the corporate and financial services industries. To honour the work of corporate communicators, the second-annual Corporate and Financial Awards recognise excellence in City communications.

The Corporate and Financial Awards is now open for entries for its 2013 programme. The awards provide an opportunity for staff, companies, agencies and beneficiaries alike, to see their efforts recognised and to celebrate excellence in all aspects of City communication.

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Customer service is social for brands
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 12:28

brandembassy.jpgLast week, an Oracle survey pointed to customer service as a linchpin for effective customer service and promotion of brand loyalty. Research published today by Brand Embassy shows that social media is identified as the most effective means of doing so.

The customer service apparatuses of 50 British and 50 Czech brands were examined. Facebook, the survey found, sees the best and quickest response by brands, with and 88% response rate – 11% higher than by email or online. Facebook also led to a faster turnover than to enquiries submitted via email or a company’s website.

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Telecom rebrand changes IT up
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 11:36

gci_1.jpgA major UK ICT provider has rebranded its corporate identity to modernise its website and brand presence.

A bright and shiny new website spearheads the GCI rebrand, allowing visitors a more direct route to understanding GCI’s IT offering and services. The new branding was designed to reflect the company’s commitment to innovation and its customer-centric approach.

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Social media rates a new TV metric
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 10:57

tvtweet.jpgBy now, it’s become conventional wisdom that Twitter is the new water cooler. It’s the place that those 'did you see what happened on...?' conversations take place.

In a rare acknowledgement of the changing times in the television industry, Nielsen, the US television rating company, has partnered with Twitter to create a social media analysis and measurement metric. The establishment of Twitter as the online water cooler in addition to the proliferation of second-screen viewing have made the need for a social media audience metric more relevant. The 2013 TV season will be the first to feature the new measurements.

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Generating a different brand of hostel
Thursday, 13 December 2012 15:35

generatorIt’s a big, airy room with a glass ceiling, wood floors, exposed brick and sleek tabletops. No, it’s not the Apple Store in Covent Garden, but the common area of Generator hostels’ Dublin outpost.

But in a landscape of hostels all seeking to be the newest and coolest of the bunch, it is may not be enough to simply paint the walls a funky colour. Generator is a challenger amongst the new crop of trendy, visually compelling hostels by integrating its overarching brand structure with the design of its physical locations.

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Two rebrands for CoE in London
Thursday, 13 December 2012 14:39

diocese_1.jpgIt’s a new world out there. Gay marriage is legal (almost) in the UK, the pope is tweeting and the census says there are fewer religious people in Britain than there were 10 years ago. Standing in the face of all that is a bold redesign for the Diocese of London and the Bishop of London.

The 2011 census results, unveiled yesterday, revealed a 13% drop in people identifying as Christian. Amidst a growing number of British residents who do not have a religion, the Church of England must strengthen it’s appeal to young people. For that reason, in part, Belfast-based branding agency Paperjam has created a new visual identity for the Church of England’s presence in London. Alongside the rebranding, the Diocese and Bishop of London were formally separated into two unique brands.

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Taxing times in corporate reputation
Thursday, 13 December 2012 14:06

starbucks2.jpgFact: Starbucks, Google and Amazon got slammed in the press for paying a nominal amount of corporate tax in Britain. Fact: customers boycotted Starbucks and lobbied the coffee giant to right their perceived wrongs. Fact: Starbucks issued a letter to customers stating it would voluntarily pay more tax. Fact: Google has likened it’s avoidance of corporate tax as just good capitalism and has refused to pay any unmandated taxes.

The facts that don’t add up for three of the world’s most beloved brands are how the ongoing tax scandal has impacted each company’s reputation. Starbucks, which has been all but forced to publicly apologise, has conceded an additional £10 million. Google has faced virtually no opposition in the public and Amazon has skated by under the radar.

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