Archive for April, 2011

By Becci Gould, Account Executive, Petersens PR

Sandwiched between the Easter Bank holiday and the Royal Wedding was this morning’s Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting and a fine turn out it was. Despite the opportunity to take eleven days off for the price of three, 84 keen networkers attended the event at the St David’s Hotel and Spa with guest speaker Rhodri Williams, Director, Ofcom Wales.

With a strong Welsh background, having studied Philosophy at Aberystwyth University and being one of the co-founders of Wales’s largest independent production company, Agenda Television, now known as Tinopolois, Rhodri Williams addressed the club on the topic of the Digital Economy in Wales.

He began by explaining Ofcom’s role in regulating television broadcasting, revealing that they receive a staggering 450 complaints per day from viewers and interestingly, it only takes one complaint rather than 250 for an issue to be put through the complaints procedure. However, as he revealed in the question and answer session at the end of his presentation, Ofcom has no involvement in regulating what goes out to a live audience such as, as one club member pointed out, a name recently revealed on Have I got News for You which had an imposed super-injunction.

Rhodri Williams, Director, Ofcom Wales

Ofcom receives more than 450 complaints per day”

Rhodri then went on to discuss one of the key problems for economic growth in Wales– the lack of both mobile phone reception and access to broadband. To put this into perspective he stated that whilst 71% of the UK has access broadband services, this figure falls to just 64% inWales.

In the age of the digital economy, where does this leave Welsh Businesses?Rhodrisuggested that the divide was due to an urban-rural split rather than a representation of the development of the economy but it does pose some interesting questions about how we can progress if such services are not available. To this, Mr. Williams offered some good news – By 2015 the EU claims that all businesses will have broadband up to 30MB, including those within the farming and agriculture sector.  

In terms of mobile phone reception, Rhodri explained that with people needing to do business on the move 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, the level of mobile phone signal particularly in North Wales, puts a great strain on the Welsh Economy. As a past award-winning Welsh Tourist Board advertisement uses as its slogan, it is indeed ‘an area of exceptionally bad mobile phone reception’. Whilst for some this break from the constant flow of emails and phone calls is welcomed, in terms of encouraging international growth in Wales, it is simply inconvenient.

 An Area of Exceptionally Bad Mobile Phone Reception”

To conclude,Rhodri suggested that the Communications Act of 2003 soon to be reformed by the Government, is our chance to get involved and give Wales a voice. I am sure that the Cardiff Breakfast Club, particularly those members complaining about mobile phone reception, would agree that we hope the new act will bring great results for Wales!

Your Chance to Give Wales a Voice”

The next Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting will be held on Tuesday 24th May with Professor Laura McAllister, Chair of Sport Wales. To Join our mailing list or sign up for the Petersens monthly newsletter, email bec@petersensone.com.

 

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By Becci Gould, Account Executive

Edd Gould (18) 26.2 miles later...

Yesterday, like 20,000 others, my brother completed the London Marathon. Taking to the streets of the big city, after 3 weeks of no practise following an ankle injury, Edd Gould powered through, finishing in 4 hours 28 minutes.

I can’t even imagine the endurance both physically and emotionally that is required to not only run 26 miles but to run with an injury that began to resurface at mile 2! But, I think Edd’s determination had something to do with the great cause he was running for – knowing that if he completed this giant task, he would be raising more than £1000 for Motor Neurone Disease, a cause so close to the hearts of our family.

As explained by the MND Association, Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the upper and lower motor neurones. Degeneration of the motor neurones leads to weakness and wasting of muscles, causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing.

Having witnessed these devastating effects first-hand when our uncle was diagnosed with the disease in 2000, eventually losing his mobility (but amazingly not his spirits) and passing away on New Years Eve soon after his 50th birthday in 2005, I am extremely proud that my brother has completed this mammoth task in his memory.

Needless to say, as the image above suggests… I don’t think he’ll be doing it again!!!!

A big congratulations to Edd from the Petersens team!

For more information on Motor Neurone Disease, visit: http://www.mndassociation.org

By Becci Gould, Account Executive

When beginning my career in public relations and events, as an ex-English Literature student relatively new to the business world, I felt completely out of my depth when thrown into networking situations.

With experience in events management already under my belt, I had no qualms about single-handedly organising the Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting only two weeks into my time at Petersens. However, outside of the comfort zone of the Cardiff Breakfast Club, I felt like a lost puppy, inexperienced and out-of-place. 

As a concept networking is unusual:  a group of people gathering together with the aim of acquiring information from each other, whether it is advice, business or contacts. Although on the surface the upfront selfishness of networking appears strange, is the concept that different to the interaction that takes place in other situations?

Presumably many of the relationships we build and maintain outside of business have benefits to us personally, whether it be friendship, enjoyment, support or advice – we all want or need something from our friendships even if it is to feel better about ourselves by offering our own support or advice. The difference is we are just not that upfront about what we want from the relationship.

In simple terms, networking is just a shortcut – and in the business world this works.

Once you can get your head around the fact that people are talking to you because they need to rather than because they want to, networking can actually be quite an interesting and enjoyable experience. Nevertheless in my opinion, it is certainly an acquired art…and presently one I am yet to get the hang of.

In a quest to conquer the lost puppy feeling that usually overwhelms me in networking situations, yesterday I decided to attend a workshop specifically designed to improve networking skills.

The free workshop presented by Tim Campbell, winner of the first series of the Apprentice, and organised by Cardiff Council and South Wales Chamber of Commerce was aimed at those taking their first steps in business whether it be starting up a business or beginning a new career.

The workshop began with a short game of musical chairs, where we were asked to leave the comfort of those we had dragged along with us and brave the array of unknown faces that filled the room. Once acquainted with our new ‘friends’, we were asked to tell them one thing that we needed in business in order to practice being open and direct.

Although sat by music students, who unfortunately informed me that they could not teach me how to play the tuba in ten minutes, I did discover that networking isn’t just about getting what you want but also about helping others as, in this case, I was able to offer one student career advice and work experience in event management.

Was this successful networking? I think so – even though I didn’t get what I had needed, I had got our name out there and gained comfort in the fact that I wasn’t the only one who was daunted by the prospect of networking!

So how do the professionals do it?

Here are some tips I picked up from the workshop:

Before the event

  1. Prepare your pitch – What is it that your organisation does? What is the idea behind it? What are the benefits? Where’s the proof? What do you want?
  2. Ask the organisers for an attendee list – study the list, determine who may be useful to you and what you want from them.

At the event

  1. Swap your name badge for a business card – this is about you and your company not the organisers
  2. Scan the room, warm your hands (no-one likes a cold hand) , locate the bar (very important), take a glass in one hand and transfer to the other to avoid clammy hands, scan the room
  3. Locate your first potential connection – usually someone standing on their own
  4. Approach with a smile, ask permission to join them, then introduce yourself
  5. In terms of body language – keep an open stance so people can approach you at any point

Moving on

Networking is a dance not a marriage”  – Tim Campbell

  1.  Don’t spend all your time with one person – once you’ve got what you want from them or exhausted the conversations, don’t be afraid to move on
  2. If you haven’t connected with a person– begin looking over their shoulder for your next target, pretend you’re going to the bar (ONLY if his/her drink is still full), then politely move on
  3. If the conversation has been successful or you got on well with the person – offer to introduce him/her to another connection then leave the conversation yourself (sly but not so offensive)

Business Cards

  1. If someone gives you a business card, it is polite to give them one back – keep business cards in your jacket pocket if possible
  2. Keep all useful business cards in one pocket and any you don’t need/want (but were too polite to tell them) in the other pocket

After the event

  1. Redeem your new business cards – check they all make sense in their respective piles – discard of any you really don’t need and store useful contacts in a safe place or transfer details to a database
  2. Follow up any successful connections with a thank you email
  3. Relax

Petersens’ Tips

  1. If you’re on Twitter, why not see if the event has a specific hash tag e.g. #cardiffbreakfastclub so you can join in any debates and interesting topics that may be going on before, during and after the event.
  2. Arrive early – people will then have to approach you rather than the other way around
  3. Ask open-ended questions to avoid short ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to prevent that dreaded awkward silence
  4. Don’t drink too much – pretty hard to go wrong at the Cardiff Breakfast Club with orange and cranberry juice but good to remember
  5. Don’t talk about yourself too much or be too negative (nobody likes a misery guts) – try to remain positive and interested at all times 
  6. 

Seem Simple? Try it yourself by attending a Cardiff Breakfast Club business networking event…just email Becci Gould on bec@petersensone.com for details.

From S.A.D to Fab…

Posted: April 8, 2011 in Opinion
Tags: ,

by Cerys Palmer, Senior Account Manager

Workers enjoying lunch in Soho, London 8th April

After suffering such a harsh winter, I wasn’t surprised to hear many people complain that they are suffering from S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder). A thin-veiled excuse to be miserable maybe? Or a reason to justify post Christmas-blues? For some people perhaps, but it has been scientifically and medically proven that the weather can and does affect our moods and motivation.

I must admit, as much as I love my job, I found it hard to drag myself to the office in the cold and the snow. I also resented going back out in it to go home. I don’t believe I suffered with S.A.D, the weather just made me miserable. My motivation levels dropped as I stared bleakly out of the office windows whilst writing client reports.

I found that I was not alone with my wintery woes, especially when we faced further misery in south Wales with extremely cold snaps and constant rain. It had to end soon, surely… I needed my mojo back.

Alas, what was this bright yellow ball I could see in the sky as I drew the curtains this week? Not only did it pour light, it radiated heat that made me smile and want to get up and do things! Windows were opened, washing hung on the line, and one bemused four year old daughter (who is not used to seeing her mother so sprightly in the morning), was placed in the garden to play.  I had a spring in my step and felt motivated. This week, I have genuinely achieved a lot more at work through sheer motivation. I haven’t won the lottery, so I can only out it down to the change in the weather. It makes me happy!

“Get out – for at least 30 minutes. The positive impact warm, sunny weather can have on mental health and mood are real” University of Michigan research 2004

This research may be dated, but the findings are reflected in today’s society. Other research also suggests that if our mood is upbeat, we are more likely to be productive in the workplace as well as happier in life generally.  For example a study conducted by careers.com found that more people are productive in good weather, than those who aren’t. On the flip side, the findings also showed that some people are less productive in the work environment in sunny weather, because they want to be outside enjoying the day (some people are never happy are they!). 

We can’t change the weather, but we can embrace it and take advantage of the effect that it has on us. We have to go to work – end of. So for those of you sat at your desk being miserable because you want to be outside, stop it! Walk to work, if you can, to catch the morning sun. Sit in the park, or even in the street on your lunch break! Don’t go home straight from work and turn on Hollyoaks, go for a walk in the park or sit in the garden.

In the words of Bob Marley, ‘Sun is Shining, the weather is sweet…’  So let’s enjoy!

It’ll be time to dig out the big coats and wellies again before we know it…

Change of Speaker

Due to diary complications, the speaker for the next Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting, Dame Gillian Morgan, regrets that she can no longer address the meeting. She apologises greatly and assures us that she would like to present to the Cardiff Breakfast Club at a later date.

In Gillian’s absence, we are extremely pleased to be able to welcome Rhodri Williams, Ofcom’s First Director for Wales who will address the club on 28th April 2011. Please see invitation below for details.

For those of you who have already booked, we would be delighted if you would still like to attend the meeting. However, transfers to our next meeting and refunds are available on request.

Invitation

Cardiff Breakfast Club –Thursday 28th April 2011

Special Guest Speaker: Rhodri Williams, Ofcom, First Director for Wales

 

Presentation Topic: The Digital Economy – a look at how Wales is doing in the increasingly important world of digital communications

Rhodri Williams began his career as a journalist in 1980 and joined HTV Wales’s current affairs department in July 1982. In 1989 he was one of the co-founders of Wales’s largest independent production company, Agenda Television, now known as Tinopolis. In 1999 he was appointed Chair of the Welsh Language Board, the body responsible for promoting the use of the Welsh language. In January 2004 he joined Ofcom as its first Director, Wales.

 The next Club Meeting will be held on Thursday 28th April 2011 at The St. David’s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff Bay.  As usual, we will commence at 7.45am and finish by 9.15am.  Breakfast will be served promptly at 8.00am.

We would be delighted if you were able to join us.  If you wish to attend, please contact Becci Gould on bec@petersensone.com or 02920549597

 

Jodie Phillips on a GOWales WorkTaster at Petersens PR

By Jodie Phillips, Third-Year English Literature Student at Cardiff University

Whilst the majority of people would agree that Cardiff is certainly an up-and-coming area, the City still has its problems.

A recent survey carried out by the Cardiff Business School in the Western Mail confirmed that people’s main problem with Cardiff was congestion while commuting.

As a commuter to Cardiff University myself, I can certainly agree with the majority of the survey by stating that travelling from Bridgend, which should take around thirty minutes, can take over an hour if it is during peak times. While this is certainly a problem in most major Cities, I think if Cardiff could find new ways in which they could decrease the amount of congestion, and therefore travelling times, it would definitely increase the appeal of the City.

Like the majority of the survey, I know there are alternatives to driving, yet these alternatives, as many people surveyed pointed out, are not adequate enough. If you want to get to the city centre there are certainly no problems due to the amount of trains and buses running, but for those places which do not have many transport links, it can take up to three different changes on a bus to get you to your destination. This, along with the time it takes to wait for each different bus, causes an inconvenience to your day and means you’ll probably end up feeling exhausted before you even start your day of work!

Another problem people raised was the price of parking. I think everyone can agree that you do expect to pay more for parking in the city than you would in a town, but after sitting in a traffic queue I think the last thing people want to do is to then have to pay for parking. I do feel, however, that the offer that St. David’s  has of £1 after 5pm is definitely a great encouragement for people to use city centre parking. It also certainly encourages late night shopping and eating out in the excellent range of restaurants and bars that Cardiff has to offer. I think the City would definitely benefit from more offers like this.

Despite its transport and congestion problems, Cardiff boasts some excellent facilities, as well as a great architectural heritage. With 95% of employees claiming they want to remain in Cardiff for the immediate future, the City evidently has unique qualities that set it aside from any other City.

By Becci Gould, Account Executive, Petersens PR
  

Yesterday evening I was lucky enough to attend the Cardiff Bloggers meet-up, an event that occurs every month or so at Pica Pica on Westgate Street in Cardiff.

Usually the meetings focus primarily on blogging, with, as expected, the majority of attendees being bloggers themselves. However, yesterday’s event was an exception, with the room being almost dominated by an array of PR people from Cardiff, eagerly

Cardiff Bloggers Meeting April 2011 (Image Hannah Waldram, Guardian)

 awaiting a long-anticipated live debate between key representatives from the PR industry and a number of influential bloggers from the Cardiff area.

After following the recent incident between Cardiff Arcades Blogger (http://cardiffarcades.wordpress.com), Amy Davies and Golley Slater, the PR company behind St. David’s, regarding a inaccuracy in Amy’s blog that caused ‘quite a stir’ to say the least, it was obvious why a live, face-to-face and most importantly, open discussion was needed between bloggers like Amy and those protecting the reputation of leading organisations.

Despite being a journalist used to dealing with PR people on a regular basis, as a blogger, Amy explained that she felt ‘scared’ when approached by Golley Slater. Blogs are personal and without the support of an employer behind you, it is often difficult and indeed daunting to stand your ground when approached by PR people.

However, as Matt Appleby of Golley Slater PR explained, in this particular instance, the situation could have been dealt with differently and more appropriately by his colleagues who admittedly saw Amy within her journalistic capacity, forgetting that this was a personal blog. With all issues now resolved through face-to-face meetings, Matt and Amy both agreed that a simple phone-call to a blogger, is the best method of approach for PRs.

PR V Bloggers Panelists (Image from Hannah Waldrom, Guardian)

Despite one issue being settled, this last comment opened up a new debate – how do bloggers like to be contacted, if at all, by PR people?

Troubled by the thought of receiving constant phone-calls from PRs, Cardiff Blogger Rachael Phillips, quickly jumped in to inform the audience that email was her preferred method of contact. She also added that she likes to receive an entire press release rather than a ‘would you be interested in…’ email.

It was refreshing to hear that some bloggers have thought out the relationship they are willing to have with PRs, rather than, as one blogger implied, worrying that using information from PRs will turn their blog into a generic copy of popular media rather than a personal take on a niche subject.

To this point, Kate Sullivan of Equinox Communications, explained that PR people understand and respect that bloggers have their own niche subjects and personal opinions, but sometimes access to additional information through PR companies can help to support and strengthen one’s opinion…and who knows, as a blogger, you may even need help from PR people in the future!  

Clearly, bloggers’ thoughts on PR people are as individual as their blogs, a difficult challenge for the PR industry but one we should welcome and nurture in order to reach a positive and beneficial relationship built on two-way communication. As panelist and Art’s Marketer for St. David’s Hall, Jen Thornton remarked after the meeting ‘Moral of the Story…PRs and bloggers can all be friends, easy. 

Personally, I found the debate extremely interesting and useful – Beforehand I had always assumed that bloggers wouldn’t want to know us PR people but as the meeting proved, in an age of the social media revolution, the relationship between PRs and bloggers is one that often cannot be avoided and it makes sense that we embrace this relationship and, most importantly, respect what each party is trying to achieve.

Many thanks to all the panelists for some great tips, the hosts Hannah Waldram and Ed Walker and to Warwick Emanuel PR for sponsoring my free glass of wine!

 

By Jodie Phillips, English Literature Student at Cardiff University

Having reached my final year studying English Literature at Cardiff University, I knew I needed more on my CV than just grades and academic achievements, as I am aware employers want more than just grades in this tough and competitive economic climate. I heard about the GO Wales placement and work taster opportunities from a friend and instantly signed up. Being rather fortunate that I had already decided that PR was the career field I wanted to pursue, with the help of GO Wales, I was able to gain the opportunity of assisting in the PR and Marketing of a small company called Mars Venus and You. Whilst I found this experience invaluable, I desired the opportunity to work in an actual PR and communications firm.

Consequently, when the work taster opportunity with Petersens PR arose, I instantly jumped at the chance of gaining the experience I had been searching for. I got straight to work on producing the best possible CV and covering letter to ensure I had the best chance of securing the taster opportunity. Fortunately, I was successful in my application and am now working in Petersens and gaining excellent knowledge and experience in the world of PR.

My first task was to carry out research for a potential newsletter for a client who specialised in fitted kitchens. Having a brief to find items that would be of interest in a ‘light hearted lifestyle section,’ I begun searching for ideas. Along with finding the ‘Top Ten Kitchen Gadgets,’ I was also surprised to discover that there is an increasing demand for a space within the kitchen for computers. This, I felt, was definitely something we could put into an interesting article as it shows how much society has developed. Who would have thought we would want computers in our kitchens twenty years ago?!

Additionally, I was asked to proof read the Petersens newsletter. From this I discovered Petersens work with the non-profitable organisation EcoDysgu, which is based in Bridgend. Being from Bridgend myself, I was shocked to discover that such an organisation existed and I was not aware of it. Bridgend’s reputation for suicides definitely shows a need for organisations such as EcoDysgu, a place where young adults can go to gain help and advice. The great work of EcoDysgu is still relatively unknown to the majority which is why Petersens work in utilising different media resources in order to raise awareness of the organisation is so vital.

The skills and experience I am gaining by working with Petersens are invaluable and I am grateful for all their advice and help. With their extensive knowledge and friendly personalities, it is evidently clear why Petersens was a finalist in the national work experience awards 2011 and I look forward to developing and learning more from their talented team.

Jodie Phillips on a GOWales WorkTaster at Petersens PR