When the zombies came to town….

zombie

It’s unbelievable how quickly things change. One moment you’re in the office, the next you’re caught up in a zombie apocalypse on Church Street. Of course – It’s nothing we couldn’t handle!

The recent surge of multi-million pound film companies in Birmingham and the Black Country has sparked a whirlwind of interest amongst locals, as the stars of the big screen move right onto the doorstep. Celebrities have been using Midland film sets for the likes of BBC show ’24 hours in the past’ and perhaps more breathtaking, the filming of Hollywood movie ‘She Who Brings Gifts’.

Stars doing their thing amongst the streets of Birmingham were the likes of Gemma Atterton and Paddy Considine,  and with such credible reputations it’s a credit to Birmingham City Council and Dudley Council for being so welcoming, rivalling the popular trend setters in Bill de Blasio’s New York City.

The county’s reputation as reputable and trustworthy with beautiful architecture stands up to the mark as the perfect film set, allowing Colm McCarthy and his team to shut down two busy streets during a working day and turn them into a dystopia.

Colm McCarthy is obviously a fan of what Birmingham has to offer, previously filming the BBC smash hit Peaky Blinders with lead actor Laurie Borg talking about, “bringing the of myth Birmingham, back to the people of Birmingham.”[1]

It’s never easy to pick a key Birmingham street, turn it into an overgrown wasteland and then back into a business district again in one day. Onlookers marvelled as the likes of Paddy Considine and Glenn Close fought off groaning zombies to keep their cerebral matter safe and sound.

Not only were the characters in safe hands with Gemma Arteton at the helm, but Birmingham City Council has made sure that the reputation and trustworthiness of the city has been boosted by their endorsement of this apocalyptic thrill ride.

At kinetic HQ, Upon hearing that Church and Berwick Street were turned into a war zone, we grabbed our survival gear (coats) and headed for a look. An insight into the film industry isn’t something you get every day! Our close-up view of all the technical equipment direct from the hills of Hollywood shows how a future splattered by brain-munching zombies starts life as a camera crew, pedestrian barriers and rigging.

This may not sound exciting to an outsider but for us it was almost as fascinating as ogling the celebrity presence. Why I hear you cry? Our clients Eventserv supply key implements to the film and event industry that, as we have witnessed, are vital in the efficiency and quality control of a blockbuster picture along with their blockbuster service.

We’re not zombies, so feel free to pick our brains (hypothetically speaking of course). Leave you comments below!

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TynES3kLLOI

The Kinetic way – a Shorthouse review

Dan Shorthouse joins Kinetic for two weeks worth of experience

Dan Shorthouse joins Kinetic for two weeks experience. 

‘Knowing me, knowing you, there is nothing we can do’ sung four very trim Swedes in 1977.

This was subsequently covered by four, unbelievably happy, beaming women in the Jewellery Quarter on a crisp Monday in June. I’m not quite sure how or why, but this felt like the perfect welcoming to two weeks worth of work experience in an industry, I was completely mystified about.

Having only finished university two weeks prior, PR to me was still suited and booted men drinking whisky in New York City that I’d watched in Mad Men. This broke up three years of Shakespeare, Milton and Blake and sounded like a mystical, if unlikely, prospect.

From the moment the Kinetic door opened to 3 Tenby Street, I was part of the family. Work experience is a concept that many are sceptical about. “Will it give you a true feel for the industry? Won’t you get bored of making cups of tea?” But no. A real warm feel greeted me as I entered the office and continued throughout the two weeks. The first cup of tea I received was wonderful as a point of reference!

PR is all about communication, trust and chemistry. The tight knit team at Kinetic really knows their clients, their aims and their goals inside out and real strive to provide the best possible experience, not only for clients, but for me too – a tall, Black Country Lad from Wolves. Luckily, my accent behaved itself and was kept to a minimum, especially during key sell-ins. Bostin’ wor it!!

Kinetic certainly keep you on your toes. The rigorousness of their procedures ensures a top quality service every single time; it’s almost unbelievable the attention to detail that the team here endure to achieve. Kinetic would endlessly repaint the Sistine Chapel where possible. Bring it on Michaelangelo, where’s your media release? Media list? Project review? Thought not!

Working here is fun. It’s incredibly busy, but brilliantly challenging. It’s almost like a marathon, run very quickly, with analysis of every turn and every street ticking by in your mind. Strategy is vital. Like my heroes Dave Brailsford and Bradley Wiggins at Team Sky, the “belief that if you improved every area by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement”.[1]

The drafting process is much like this. It’s small tweaks that add up to one major improvement and an unbelievably satisfied feeling that rivals completing the Sunday crossword in the allotted time slot.

A company that sticks to its values are vital and wonderful to see, especially following FIFA’s recent incident which has crushed their respectability. Kinetic’s VMV’s are the chocolate that runs through the Madeira cake that is 3 Tenby Street. It runs right through the business and interlocks with everything Kinetic strives towards; rigorousness, challenging, moral, pioneering and most of all, fun!

I was proud to be a part of that and was made part of the family, if only for two weeks.

Diary full of the day’s deeds, I left fully satisfied that I’d seen the true side of the PR industry. A fast-paced, quick-moving workplace which still finds time to conjure creative ways to promote and push client exposure. PR is definitely about communication; internal, external and on the web. Anywhere, everywhere and everything is all about your image, your face to the rest of the world. Every moment is a time to make an impression.

 

[1] http://jamesclear.com/marginal-gains

The Kinetic Experience

Dom.01

Caption: Dominic Walker joins Kinetic for two weeks work experience

When walking into an interview and the interviewer asks me, “what can you bring to our organisation?” I feel like I could say a lot more than just another typical answer. During my time at Kinetic, I’ve recognised the importance of interaction. PR is all about trying to master the art of communication and direct conversation. Working within an agency like Kinetic has been a great experience, with great people and a great atmosphere – I really felt very welcome.

During my first commute to the office I was constantly thinking about how I should come across to the rest of the Kinetic team. Excited. Happy. Nervous. Shy?  When I eventually arrived at the office, I was surprised at how tightly-knit the Kinetic team are. They instantly made me feel at home offering me tea and coffee – of which I’m still yet to accept- but the bran cake was beautiful.

The Kinetic internship has been a wonderful experience. I’m grateful that I wasn’t just flung into the kitchen having to make tea or coffee, which was the case for so many of my friends during their internships. It wasn’t long after I got comfortable at my desk that I was given a list of tasks to complete during my placement.

One of the most memorable moments during my two weeks was when Angela spoke to me about the importance of Kinetic’s VMV. These sum up the backbone of Kinetic. If the team are at a loss of what to do Angela makes it clear – the VMV is Kinetic’s way forward.

Kinetic has a diverse range of clients and one of the reasons it’s so successful is because of its ethos. I’ve learnt to value the importance of direction in PR, having a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve is no doubt one of the biggest lessons I’ve taken from my two weeks here.

My advice to any graduate/undergraduate starting an internship would be to accept any challenge and be eager. You get what you put in and the good thing about PR is that your results mirror the amount of effort you put in. Kinetic is definitely committed to producing reputations you can trust. The people within the team are genuine – they gave me the opportunity to learn and grow.

Hot issues and interesting facts in the PR industry

The typical PR employee: female and in-house. Photo source: guardian.co.uk

Interesting that the recent PRCA survey identified the hot issues for the industry:

•               SEO

•               Online communications

•               Reputation management

•               Communications strategy and development.

 

Two other little interesting facts 40,000 of the 61,000 people who work in PR work in-house.  The Midlands is the largest community outside the South-East with 12%.  The NW and NE and SW each has 6% of the PR population.  PR’s also lost its petticoat profession in that 36% of the profession are now male.

Paul Bennett on working with Kinetic Communications

Paul Bennett, Corporate Services Partner of George Green LLP

“Kinetic is a very different communications and PR company.  As much energy goes into making sure that you have the right message as in communicating that message. A successful strategy is built around key differentiators and a successful business will have not only a successful strategy but ensure that key stakeholders from employees through to customers buy into that strategy.

Communication driven by  the purpose and shared belief of a clear strategy is really powerful, and Ang and the team  bring focus and clarity to strategy and communication in equal measure.  Kinetic’s unique approach delivers high impact communication both internally and externally, as I have discovered to my benefit.”

What to do if someone makes a defamatory comment about you by Rebecca Sloan

Rebecca Sloan of Kinetic Communications

On Tuesday 30th November, I ran a talk on measuring and managing corporate reputation in the 21st century for Birmingham’s Women in Business Association (WiBA).

One topic of particular interest to attendees was how to handle a defamatory comment made online.  In response, I’ve compiled a basic factsheet to help you identify when a comment is ‘fair’ and when it’s crossed the line into defamation. (NB this is only a guide.  Legal advice should be sought before pursuing a claim).

A basic guide to defamation:

A statement about a person is defamatory if it tends to do any one of the following:

1)            exposes him to hatred, ridicule or contempt;
2)            causes him to be shunned or avoided;
3)            lowers him in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally; or
4)            disparages him in his business, trade, office or profession.

The defamed person does NOT have to prove that the statement is false or that he has been damaged in any way.  He needs to show only that the statement tends to discredit him.

What’s the test for defamation?

The test for juries is whether, under the circumstances in which the statement was published, reasonable men and women to whom the publication was made would be likely to understand it in a defamatory sense.

What the claimant must prove

To succeed in an action for defamation, a claimant must prove three things about the statement he is complaining about:

1)            it is defamatory
2)            it may be reasonably understood to refer to him.

The claimant must prove the words of which he complains of identify him as the person defamed. The test of whether the words identified the person suing is whether they would reasonably lead people acquainted with him to believe that he was the person referred to.  It is not necessary that the entire world should understand the libel; it is sufficient if those who know the claimant can make out that he is the person meant.

3)            it has been published to a third person.

NB: every repetition of a libel is a fresh publication and creates a fresh cause of action.

Who can sue?

1)            Individuals
2)            Corporations – if the comment is capable of injuring its trading reputation or if the company has a corporate reputation distinct from that of its members which is capable of being damaged by a defamatory statement.

Exceptions:  associations, such as a club, cannot sue unless it is an incorporated body but words disparaging an association will almost invariably reflect upon the reputations of one or more of the officials who, as individuals, can sue.

Please note, although this guide will equip you with a basic knowledge of defamation, it is by no means an expansive guide.  Always seek legal advice before pursuing a claim.  Alternatively, if you’d like to discuss this in further detail beforehand, then get in touch!

The Martini Era – by Angela Podmore

Angela Podmore, MD, Kinetic Communications - Birmingham PR Consultancy

Angela Podmore

THE MARTINI ERA

Anyone remember the Martini ads?  At their zenith in the 1970s but repeated in the 1990s (I think), they featured the beautiful people having wonderful times in the world’s most glamorous places and promised pleasure anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

What’s it got to do with today?

Whatever brand you need people to believe in – personal or corporate – it’s open to attack anytime, anyplace, anywhere.  I’ve coined it the ‘Martini era’.  Let’s hope they won’t chase me for copyright infringement – they should consider it a favour.

So how do you control brand reputation in these times?

FOCUS

The answer?  Make sure everyone knows what you stand for.  What’s your common purpose as an organisation?  What makes you stand out?  How do you define ‘your way’ of doing things?  Your culture?

The answers to these questions are the essential essence.  They’re what makes your brand tick.  Bottle that essence and it pulls everything into sharp focus.  We all know how powerful that is.  Ever started a fire with the sun’s rays and a simple magnifying glass?

WHO GETS IT

Size doesn’t matter.  Business start-up and multinational alike understand the need for focus.  But it’s equally interesting who doesn’t get it.

ENTREPRENEURS

Positive Pressure gets it.  They’ve been in business for a few years but knew they didn’t have their ‘elevator sell’ sorted – ie that ten second sell that would make them stand out if they were sharing a lift with a stranger.

They knew what they did – they can measure the difference they make in team performance by building individual wellbeing ( massage, reflexology etc).

Our two hour session energised them because “the vision is so exciting and it’s great to have something that feels so right”.  Hopefully, that clarity will help them with every business decision from now on.

GLOBAL LEADERS

For big business, let’s look at Goodrich:  Fortune 500, global aerospace and defence company.  ‘If there’s an aircraft in the sky, we’re on it’.  They know their essence.  They also know the key is to integrate internal and external communications.

Goodrich ECEPS division – 1,000 people spread over five continents – understands how internal communications is key to keep the essence alive.

For all its investment in a successful Farnborough Show, trade advertising and sponsorships, a disgruntled employee could shake the faith in its reputation with what would appear to them an anodyne, online comment.

So when Niki Court, ECEPS marketing co-ordinator, asked us to come into an internal communications session and challenge them, I knew exactly where she was coming from.  She wanted an ‘agent provocateur’.

(I had the good fortune to work at Saatchis in the 1980s where we were taught to seek opposite opinion.  Criticism is more powerful than harmony in testing creative ideas.)

Niki was leading a continuous improvement workshop and wanted an outsider’s perspective.  We served up an A0 sheet filled with pictures of exemplars to inspire the team to raise their game when communicating internally.

All were highly skilled and experienced communicators around the table.

“Kinetic helped spark interesting conversations,” said Niki.  “The session was very interactive from the start and the conversations carried on long after they’d left.  They inspired us in quite a few ways by using new/different methods of communication.

“Their thoughts on exemplars – what others companies are doing – were also reassuring because they told us that we’re doing a lot right already in terms of internal communications and promoting a values-driven culture.  They helped us put all of what we’re already doing in a clearer context and really raised the energy of the group.”

Organisations like Goodrich have all the channels ‘plumbed in’ – website, intranet, media relations, newsletters etc.  It’s the consistency of their messages that glues them all together.

Today’s top brands are congruent.  That means they look, sound and feel the same anytime, anyplace and anywhere you interact with them.

We are a world away from ‘give me six press cuttings in the local papers.’

We left the era of fluff over substance some time ago.  The Martini era is about transparency, trust and integrity.  Now content is king and conversation is the kingdom.