Shocks & Stares » PR http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares H&K\'s Financial & Professional Services Team Blog Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:00:56 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2013/02/friday-fiver-9/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2013/02/friday-fiver-9/#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2013 17:47:21 +0000 Edward Jones http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=741  

Image source: STV

1. FRIDAY FIVER IS BACK!

After a brief winter hiatus, we are delighted to announce that Friday Fiver is back with a vengeance! We’re sorry we went away and we hope you’ll have us back!

2. Blimey… Tax evaders named and shamed by Revenue

This feels like a bold step from HMRC. Will ramp up pressure on the Govt to disclose big business’ tax evasion – as demonstrated by Margaret Hodge’s intervention.

3. Trial by media or trial by jury?

Judging by the number of online mentions of the tragic incident of Reeva Steenkamp’s death, which was close to 1,000,000 on the day of the shooting, it’s hard to detract from the two trials Oscar Pistorius is facing. One in front of the Magistrate’s court and the other in front of the world’s media and the court of public opinion. Nicely summarised in this piece by Daniel Howden and Ian Burrell at The Independent:

“…in many ways his trial began as soon as news of his lover’s death reached the media. The only difference here is that the facts of the case carry a much lower burden of proof. The slow grind of South Africa’s justice system, which barely recognises contempt of court, has been unable to keep pace in the era of social media and rolling TV news. As a consequence, the first disabled global sports superstar has found himself deluged with accusations and insinuations masquerading as facts.”

4. Harry Styles Backs Ed Miliband for PM

This is BIG NEWS! Really big, but begs the question ‘Who do the other members support?’ Perhaps they’re all lefties! Harry is the lead singer afterall. Ok. What about One Direction’s big rivals - The Wanted? They must be true blues. Mumford and Sons? Lib Dems. Definitely. Their love of string instruments, country folk and their urban upbringing must surely indicate a yellow streak.  

5. FPS FATTIES

And a lighter story to end this week’s Friday Fiver, especially for the snack-loving FPS team, and for the myth of the “H+K stone” to be confirmed by a story in the papers this week. Research by The Village Bakery found that office workers are amongst the worst offenders for piling on the pounds – over 6lbs in fact – with cakes and biscuits brought into work by colleagues. This week already, we’ve had homemade cupcakes brought in by the lovely Clare M and the week before, a deliciously moist lemon drizzle cake made lovingly by Liz, Syrian delights and Jersey fudge from the islands. Temptation is just too hard to resist. Pass the biscuit please.

Thanks to @liyywln for contributing to this week’s Friday Fiver

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How do you PR pensions to 8m people? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/07/how-do-you-pr-pensions-to-8m-people/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/07/how-do-you-pr-pensions-to-8m-people/#comments Fri, 27 Jul 2012 13:26:31 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=703 This little conundrum is the question facing the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) over the next few months. On 1st October, a new era of retirement saving will begin as workers are automatically enrolled into company pension plans without fail. You can opt out if you wish, but the hope from the Government is that two thirds of people won’t.

Now let’s get to the crux of the issue shall we? “Pensions”, “Saving” and “Retirement Planning” are all very dull, very unsexy words that most people the young side of 50 have little interest in discussing or thinking about.

The number of reports, press releases and speeches from companies and politicians on the yawning savings gap in the UK is enough to form a paper road to the moon. But it still makes little difference to savings rates, as was highlighted this week.

So, back to the question: how is NEST enticing 8m potential new pension savers to stay in their pension plans and not opt-out as soon as they can? Well, hats off to them. With restricted budget, they’re going hell for leather with an upbeat message, emphasising the joys of a later life spent in relative comfort. This is neatly summed up with the hashtag

#worthsavingfor

What’s pleasing to see is that they’ve avoided the old-school approach of just producing reports, surveys and general doom and gloom. We have the classic PR tactics like these in the mix, but they’re supported by a strong social media programme. Together, for me, it makes quite a package.

Will it work? It’s too early to say and we won’t really know for two or three years when most people will be auto-enrolled. Expect the papers to jump on any data showing high opt-out rates in big companies from December onwards. NEST and the Government are also clearly a little nervous, with rumours of an additional TV advertising campaign in the mix. Still, at this point, fair play to them.

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When is a bailout not a bailout? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/06/when-is-a-bailout-not-a-bailout/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/06/when-is-a-bailout-not-a-bailout/#comments Mon, 11 Jun 2012 16:34:16 +0000 Jonathan Henderson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=663 After several weeks of speculation, the government of Spain this weekend confirmed that money would be accepted to help support the country’s banking system.

Spain’s politicians have been at pains to point out that this is not a bailout of the kind witnessed in countries such as Greece and Ireland where outside officials will effectively be making decisions about the countries’ public finances.

Spanish minsters have clearly been briefed to communicate the distinction as the following quotes from Mr de Guindos, the economy minister, in the initial Financial Times article indicate:

  • “What is being requested is financial assistance. It has nothing to do with a rescue”
  • “The conditions will be applied to the banks, not Spanish society”

I’d argue that Spanish ministers have effectively made their point but in a situation which continues to develop at pace, and where details are easily forgotten, they may well be lumped together with those who have requested funds before as the dust begins to settle on the decision. As a collegue pointed out, it could well be seen as an exercise in putting lipstick on PIGS

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The Life imitating art imitating life conundrum http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/04/the-life-imitating-art-imitating-life-conundrum/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/04/the-life-imitating-art-imitating-life-conundrum/#comments Thu, 19 Apr 2012 16:44:45 +0000 Jonathan Henderson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=645 THIS POST IS FROM MARIE CAIRNEY

Today Programme’s Jim Naughtie stood corrected this week when he credited Ed Miliband with coining the term ‘omni-shambles’ after he used it in PMQs to describe the Tories monthus horribilis. It was of course comedy writer, Armando Iannucci, who came up with the great summation in his painfully funny political satire, The Thick of It. So there is nothing new under the soundbite sun after all it seems but I’m wondering what does this say about art and politics when a piece of satire is hijacked by the brunt (or equivalent ) of the satirist’s joke. Does it make the joke even funnier or the reality even more tragic? Probably a bit of both I suspect. Does Ed have his finger on the pulse of popular culture or is his level of self-awareness so low that he can’t see what Iannucci’s mirror is reflecting. Or perhaps he just has a great self-deprecating sense of humour. Or perhaps, more likely, the sound-bite machine and LHQ racked their brains, had a brainfart and spat it out – oh how they must have giggled at the irony! Almost reminds me of a scene from a TV programme, what’s-it-called… ah yes, The Thick of It.

ps. LOVING Twenty Twelve on BBC2 on Fridays; The Thick of it for those with a more delicate disposition and who are adverse to proper swearing. Brilliant.     

Image from Metro.co.uk

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FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/10/fps-friday-fiver-22/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/10/fps-friday-fiver-22/#comments Fri, 14 Oct 2011 14:48:34 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=354 Hello All, and welcome to a surprisingly sunny Friday in central London. There’s certainly not been a shortage of financial services and politics related stories this week, and we’ve tried to give you a flavour of some of our favourites below. Thanks as ever to Ed Jones and Jonny H for their contributions.

TAXING TIMES…..Barely a week goes by without the EU sparking controversy on our idyllic isle. Among other things it was the EU’s proposed financial transaction tax causing consternation. As noted by the Telegraph this week, John Cridland said: “The likely effect of many of Brussels’ current proposals will be to damage the UK’s prospects for growth. Nowhere is this more acutely the case than for professional and financial services, which are being bombarded with unwarranted regulation.” He went on to describe the proposals as “a Brussels revenue-raising exercise, and one that will hit London disproportionately hard”. He didn’t stop there though, also slamming Brussels’ plans for Solvency II…

Cridland’s point was very clear - this will lead to the demise of London as a financial centre, to be overtaken by the perennial competitors New York, Singapore and Hong Kong. Sad times.

A TOUGH WEEK FOR GOLDMAN…..A lot of people like to have a dig at Goldman Sachs, but the first time in a while investors now have a reason to complain as well. It’s been a grim week for the world’s premier investment bank. Having their name dragged back into the mud following Raj Rajaratnam’s sentencing to 11 years in prison for insider trading didn’t help. Being accused of dodging a large UK tax bill didn’t exactly add to the party mood either.

These are tricky issues for Goldman, but the real concern for them is their bottom line performance. Ahead of their quarterly results next week, some analysts are suggesting the bank may be headed for an (almost) unprecedented loss. To put this into context, the bank has made precisely one quarterly loss in the past 12 years – right in the heart of the financial crisis. To be fair, it’s not just Goldman. Other investment banks are struggling as well. But when the leader of the pack is looking down at their shoes, you know something is definitely up.

IT’S OH SO QUIET…Shhhhh…..It’s not been a great week for Blackberry users. The company avoided the Friday Fiver’s Bad Week slot but owing to a loose wire or something of that ilk, services across the globe went down and messages piled up in the virtual post-room.

As Alice Ross of the FT observed on Twitter, the business community did not know what to do with themselves. People were forced to talk to each other and instead of shuffling head down, thumb scrolling their way on to the tube, take in their surroundings. Email can become fatiguing and we’re sure this week’s enforced rest will not have done anyone any long-term harm.

APPS FOR FINANCE…..The tweet below caught our eye this week from Hargreaves Lansdowne’s Tom McPhail, signalling an interesting development in the way that people manage their investments.

GOOD WEEK/BAD WEEK…..It remains pretty hard to find people or companies enjoying good weeks at the moment, but the FT’s Claer Barrett managed to find two on Friday. As she noted, both Harrod’s and Poundland posted strong trading results this week. Regardless of which end of the retail spectrum you’re at, the message is clear – if you’re a market leader, there is still room for growth. It’s mainly those in the chasing pack that are struggling at present.

As for bad weeks, Goldman above qualifies for one definitely, but we’re plumping for BNP Paribas. It’s tough enough being an investment bank at present anyway. But what you really don’t need to add to your woes is one of Germany’s leading business newspapers losing its rag with you and publishing a quite unique interview, minus any of the words uttered by the bank’s chief executive (you can see the worded version here). PR’s a tough game sometimes….

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