Posts Tagged ‘hill and knowlton’

The tragedy of Parenthood

posted by Scott McKenzie

So I’m back… In truth I’ve been back from my Paternity Leave for a few weeks but it has been a fairly hectic schedule involving projectile vomit, screaming fits and sleepless nights… and that was just my wife’s reaction to my business trips to Switzerland and New York…

So it’s not been easy to find the time to update the blog. For the record Niamh Frances McKenzie was born on 26th June. She is thriving well… even if sleeping in the evening is not one of her favourite pastimes.

To be honest it has been a wonderful experience. I’m genuinely enjoying being a new parent for the second time.

But one of the things they don’t tell you before you become a parent is that you become incredibly sensitive to stories which involve the unnecessary death, or injury to children. Following this story about a mother accused of killing her children has been particularly harrowing.

When I look at my two little girls I want to imagine that they are going to live long, happy and fulfilled lives. Obviously Sarah and I will do everything we can to make that happen.

Indeed, I was hugely touched by the simple but desperately sad words Mitch Winehouse used at his daughter’s funeral last week. When he said, “Goodnight, my angel, sleep tight. Mummy and Daddy love you ever so much,” any father in the world could have been uttering those words at bedtime…

The tragic context of the words being spoken at his daughter’s funeral make the words more moving. More powerful.  More raw.

And yet the story which has touched me most in recent week is the unfolding tragedy in Somalia. Children are starving to death on an unprecedented scale.  It is catastrophic.

Yet, this is a story that has struggled to compete for airtime. And while I don’t want to underplay the understandable media attention paid to the loss of a true icon like Amy Winehouse – we all need to pay far more attention to the story unfolding in East Africa.

FYI – You can donate to the charity appeal through this site.

It’s the brand… Stupid

posted by Scott McKenzie

I despair I really do. Today’s news on Bank of Scotland’s handling of complaints is the latest in a long line of self-inflicted injuries by the Banking sector.

I spent 10 years working in Banking and here at H&K we work with a number of Financial Services companies manage their reputation, engage their employees and deal with issues and crises.

And there have been a few. We have witnessed banks stumble from one self-inflicted PR disaster to another. From the nadir of the economic crisis to unjustifiable overdraft charges and the shambles of Payment Protection Insurance.

What is so difficult to understand? The brand really does matter. And frankly it doesn’t matter how fluffy and people-centric your advertsising is (stand up NatWest)… if you treat your customers with such wanton disregard your brand will be in tatters.

Yes balance sheets are important. But so is trust. So is reputation. The Banks really need to up their game on customer service, on handling complaints on having greater transparency on pricing.

The new UK regulatory regime likely to be far more punitive when banks get it wrong. Rightly so. But we all have a role to play.

In his wonderful book “Whoops: Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay…”,  John Lanchester brilliantly explains how banks make their money in a wonderfully simple and clear way. We should demand the same transparency. The banks have a right to make (lots of) money. But they should be doing it the right way. And we all have a duty to hold them to account.

BTW – if you are interested in how employees can help brands really work you should come along to our event on the 15 June. It will be a panel discussion with great speakers from Bacardi, Aviva and British Gas. One you should not miss!