This PR case study on accountancy focuses on work with Simpson Burgess Nash on its launch that led into more communications.
Artisan was initially specifically instructed in getting an article in a magazine for medical professionals, Hospital Doctor, that resulted in a new client for the practice from content placed. (Another two pieces was placed during subsequent work).
Following on from this success – the MBO launch featured prominently in the Manchester Evening News– and Artisan was hired to do some more work.
The work for Simpson Burgess Nash centred around issues such as tax relief for R&D and capital allowance changes that gained significant coverage – 12 magazines published articles (usually 300-600 words) for capital allowance changes alone.
Work resulted from a piece in one of the care homes magazines that published the capital allowance article – Mark Simpson, the practice’s tax specialist was at a social event when a long-standing contact mentioned he had read the piece, hadn’t realised Mark offered such expertise, and could he help with a new care home he was launching.
PR often combines well with networking.
Good timely PR coverage can significantly aid networking and bring to the attention of potential clients services that they often overlook.
(The following link is for another piece that resulted in a new client)
At times it was possible to be creative such as the tax implications of having a business in a virtual world such as Second Life, where transactions take place on property that only exists on the Internet.
This was used in four magazines, one of which is linked to here:
The amount of coverage is estimated from the first 10 days of work to have an advertising value of around £100,000 – a budget that was not available for marketing and PR.
“Rob is a master at getting your business into the media – TV, radio and print. His contacts book must be worth more than a penny black! He is diligent, full of creative ideas and has secured our firm tremendous publicity across a wide range of outlets.”
Mark Simpson tax saving director at accountancy practice Simpson Burgess Nash
Yet, it doesn’t take a lot of business or indeed common sense to see how this backfired in the way it was handled:
The couple discovered their room had been given to someone else only when they called to make an amendment.
In an apology – by e-mail, how personal – they were offered a room at another of the group’s hotels with free spa treatment and half a bottle of Champagne – surely a bottle was too much to offer.
And when contacted by the press, a spokeman (another mistake – how personal and caring) says, “We don’t make any comments on internal matters.”
This is not earth shattering news I grant you. But even if the “business sense ” move prevailed and you wanted to make amends to a couple that has used your hotel on five occassions, surely this situation can be handled better:
Profusely apologise, acknowledge the error and promise to make amends.
State a solution (as such as it can be remedied) that is generous and shows that this situation is of real concern. Give the couple the best room in another hotel at no extra charge or even no charge. Perhaps I am not generous, but a little more than half a bottle of bubbly.
The manager or someone senior should be handling this, from dealing with the couple to the media – show that the situation is important.
When it goes to the press it is rarely “an internal matter,” it is an external one. Do not dodge the issue, face it and answer it frankly: state the problem and how you are setting about solving it.
I am not saying that the above situation can be resolved with complete satisfaction for Matthew and Rachel. However, the way it has been approached has generated some very negative PR that could cost the hotel many more thousands than it made with this move.
Who can operate in business with a poor reputation? This is why PR is important. This is why a PR gaffe such as this needs to be avoided.
I think I am at a meeting at the hotel on Thursday morning – and I will not be shifted.
As part of the PR I used my blog to get the message out. The blogs of friends to link into my blog helped achieve high search engine ranking.
The combined Manchester Evening News and South Manchester Reporter readership is about 400,000. The readership of my blog and I suspect (with respect) the blogs that covered the story would not combined amount to 1% of that figure for one day’s traffic.
Some comments I come across on blogs, portals and other media ask is there any point to blogs when the comparative readership is so low in many instances.
I do not believe a blog is the PR or marketing answer, which some detractors mock it for not having achieved this status. However, not everyone reads newspapers. Moreover, the traffic that came to my blog, in many cases, was coming to view specific content relating to the fire.
In this case the readership of my blog was highly targeted; they wanted exact information and it was delivered.
Blogs are not the major media channel but in an increasingly fragmented media world they cannot be ignored.
I tried from the pictures to identify the buildings affected but it was hard to determine the exact location.
I had been talking to Nick Towle at the South Manchester Reporter on Friday about one of my clients Nick Rhind of CTI, a Manchester based software company. I was speaking to him again on Monday morning trying to sell in CTI.
About half an hour later the mobile went, “Hi it’s Nick.” Strange I thought you sound different, it took a few seconds to click. The next thing Nick of CTI told me that his offices were in one of the buildings on fire. Plans for Monday had changed.
Nick had taken precautions and backed up his office IT systems at his home: there is a dedicated broadband and a back-up server and laptops aplenty. The disaster plan came into play and Nick estimates that by Wednesday CTI will be running at 100%.
In addition to this good news Nick has already had an offer of an office from a client based in the Northern Quarter. Next week CTI could be running a few doors down from the burnt out buildings.
The key thing is to let everyone know that CTI Support Network Limited is still able to supply the service to the same standards as before. Most clients were phoning in to check the situation and Nick was on the mobile to reassure them. I will ask Nick to check if there is any client that has not been in contact – this will include leads and past clients – to make sure anyone planning to ask for a quote does not believe that CTI will be unavailable or distracted. It will also help re-engage with potential clients.
The local media has been contacted and Nick has been interviewed at length by the South Manchester Reporter and the Manchester Evening News on Monday.
To reinforce the above messages a press release will go out today to the broadcast media and will be followed by the business magazines.
The message about backing up key data as a priority action will also feature. Nick stresses that this is crucial and this episode demonstrates that Nick and CTI has put his words into action and have displayed the level of competency and responsibility that his clients expect.
I suppose we now have some a real life PR case study focusing on crisis situations to approach magazines that have forthcoming features on disaster recovery and the importance of back-up plans!
There looks as though there will be no PR crisis whatsoever.
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