Category Archives: Language

Learn Spanish in Manchester from the professionals – sign up now

learn Spanish in Manchester
Is there any better place to learn Spanish in Manchester than the Instituto Cervantes?

A recent post focussed on languages in PR and how much a PR professional can get out of learning Spanish or German or another tongue for his or her PR career.

It is a point that has featured before as one of the key skills for PR professionals looking to gain a competitive advantage in their careers.

With that in mind I wanted to recommend that those that are interested to learn Spanish in Manchester should consider the Instituto Cervantes.

Instituto Cervantes
Instituto Cervantes Manchester

Fantastic teachers, plenty of cultural activities, an impressive building with concert hall that has Spanish dance classes, library (although my picture does it no justice) and opportunities to mix with Spanish speakers wanting to swap skills: intercambio (conversation swaps).

If you did not enjoy languages at school you will find this a completely different experience, fun, friendly and adult in approach. (If you don’t do your homework then that is your issue).

Classes are from beginners to literature, film and current issues programmes for the more advanced.

All teachers are native speakers from Spain and Latin America and classes tend to avoid English so you learn quicker.

Costs are reasonable.

The reason besides follwing up on earlier posts and wanting to help out the Cervantes is that the more support it receives the more likely it will be here for many years to come.

It is popular.  However, we often don’t appreciate resources until they go and although there is no sign of this with the Instituto Cervantes, I would want those interested to learn Spanish in Manchester and surrounds to use this fantastic organisation and appreciate it now.

New Spanish classes start next week May 14th for all levels and there often new courses starting every month or two, so why not get down to the Insituto Cervantes?

Hasta luego,




Seven years of blogging about PR in Manchester and beyond – the best of 2006-2012

The Artisan blog was the first Manchester PR blog as far as I know.

Certainly I cannot think of another that is still going from 2006.

It has around 650 posts to date and covers a myriad of subjects, especially those relating to Manchester PR agencies, technology and of course PR itself.

It is better written now than it was when I started although I have picked out some of the best from 2006-2012.  (The most interesting 2112-2013 entries can be found here.

Let’s begin:

Sometimes I have found myself explaining or defending PR agencies such as with this thread.

Yes PR agencies can give poor service, but this is not indicative of the industry.  There are bad apples in every profession.

Sometimes I am doing the opposite such as this piece on a Manchester PR agency promoting payment by results.

Many posts are on the industry and the issues raised such as this post that highlights the weaknesses of citizenship journalism at a time when it was being lauded.

Tips pieces feature occasionally and these from myself How to pitch to bloggers and these from specialists are still very useful today: Judi Goodwin’s How to unleash your writing power! and Bill Doherty on negotiation tips.

Good PR case studies such as “Who parked their tank on my lawn?”  also feature occasionally. 

Some are sillier than others such as Dog advertising, which was this blog’s most popular page for ages, that was inspired by Puppy Doms (a Jamie Clouting favourite).

Some brilliant PR stories are global in reach such as this: “Keyboards dirtier than toilets.”  My Israeli cousin in Jerusalem picked up on this!

A few Artisan PR pieces were also featured in the blog such as this piece in The Guardian for a Manchester headhunter

Sometimes human interest stories including this one about Belsen featured.

I hope you have got something out the Artisan blog, feel free to leave comments and keep following.

Banish marketing cliches

banish marketing cliches
Banish marketing cliches – a worthy campaign although I am using this only to illustrate the point

This is quite a clever piece of marketing: a campaign to banish marketing cliches.

IAS, a marketing agency, has set-up a site called 101 cliches that invites readers to submit the worst offenders and vote on those already up.  Connected up through social media channels this could be quite a hit as it asks for participation and is fun.

It is heartfelt for me as I cannot stand stock photography – are so many work forces repulsive enough to buy dull bland images rather than expose them to the public? – I really think it is insulting and poor marketing as you want to see who you are going to be working with: we can all spot stock photography.  I have commented on this before on this site.

(The image is number two of worst offenders at present).

Anyway have fun and thanks to Dr Dave Chaffey – who won’t remember me contacting him in 2000 when he was a marketing lecturer and I worked at Congress, a sales and marketing agency for US Internet businesses looking to get into European markets; I can’t think what my question was about exactly or even inexactly, but Dave was helpful.  Thanks for the tweet.

Digital ghost town

digital ghost town

Mick Greer, a Manchester based advertising copywriter, mentioned a new concept today: digital ghost towns.

Digital ghost towns are big corporate websites that are essentially static and dull and receive far fewer visitors than they should.

Mick referred to the Scamp blog, written by a creative from advertising giants BBH, which gives some light on the subject.  But better still there are two awful examples of companies with powerful budgets producing static unengaging sites that are mentioned: Budweiser and Texaco.

Scamp actually mentions BudTV, but I came across the Budweiser UK site first, which I have linked to above and is duller.  I guess it doesn’t help that I like real ale and view Budweiser, Fosters, Carling, Strongbow as tasteless mass produced piss.  Sorry I put it like that, I should be harsher.

The thing that gets me is that content, whether traditional PR, online PR or digital media or pieces that cross over,  is king.  Of course the distinction is not always clear nor can it be most of the time.

I believe we will see more businesses using their web more constructively, especially if we have to fight harder for business.

But there will still be plenty of digital ghost towns, or should I say villages, populating the web for small enterprises that need to punch above their weight in the harder times we have now.

Office speak – must we suffer in silence?

David Brent would be relieved to hear that office speak is alive and well.

The BBC has a funny, perhaps frightening, top 50 supplied by workers who are suffering such torment and had to speak out.

My favourites are :

“The business-speak that I abhor is pre-prepare and forward planning. Is there any other kind of preparedness or planning?”  Edward Creswick, well done you are on my blog.

“The expression that drives me nuts is 110%, usually said to express passion/commitment/support by people who are not very good at maths. This has created something of a cliche-inflation, where people are now saying 120%, 200%, or if you are really REALLY committed, 500%. I remember once the then-chancellor Gordon Brown saying he was 101% behind Tony Blair, to which people reacted ‘What? Only 101?'”
Ricardo Molina, don’t watch The Apprentice it might be too much.

(By the way one of the “idgits” on the show wanted a simbiotic relationship with Sir Alan, that is a mutually advantageous association).

“We too used to have daily paradigm shifts, now we have stakeholders who must come to the party or be left out, or whatever.”
Barry Hicks

“Until recently I had to suffer working for a manager who used phrases such as the idiotic I’ve got you in my radar in her speech, letters and e-mails. Once, when I mentioned problems with the phone system, she screamed ‘NO! You don’t have problems, you have challenges’. At which point I almost lost the will to live.”
Stephen Gradwick

“Holistic”, “leverage” and “synergy” are my bugbears.

Still, it is not an new problem.  I would strongly recommend this piece by the great pamphleteer George Orwell who records some clumsy and turgid prose and gives suggestions how to express yourself clearly.  Is there any better teacher?