Google + Brands + Customers / 2012

Google+ will become the natural home for brands and their customers in 2012

Habib Amir, head of digital, Clarion Communications, part of the WPP group

Google+ is set to become the fastest growing online medium in 2012. In this think piece, I will make two predictions based on the trends observed in the past few years.

Products before brands

Prediction 1: ‘Search’ will become more specific, more contextual, more social and therefore highly relevant to purchase journeys

When it Comes To Blogs, Mummies are the Word

By Poppy Mason-Watts, account executive, Clarion Communications, part of the WPP Group.

"Blogging about the minutiae of family life to offer a no-holds-barred account of life with children” (Lee & Curcic, 2010) - that’s an ideal description of a mummy blog, although they certainly aren’t restricted to child-related subjects and can include a wide array of topics.

So what is their importance in the PR world?

Comparison Site PR Cut-through - It's a Wrap

By Niall Hughes, Account Manager, Clarion Communications, part of the WPP Group

It’s not that long ago that price comparison sites were the next big thing for anyone keen to shop around online - but fast forward to Winter 2011 and it’s difficult to turn anywhere in the media (traditional or social) without being confronted by opera singers, meerkats or personal finance experts extolling the virtues of comparing domestic prices.

Another Week, Another Award...

By Gary Freemantle, CEO, Clarion Communications,
part of the WPP Group.

Winner of Consumer PR Agency of the Year and Highly Commended Business/Trade Advertising Agency of the Year at the The Grocer Marketing, Advertising & PR Awards.

I'm proud to say Clarion was awarded Consumer PR Agency of the Year at last night's The Grocer Marketing, Advertising & PR Awards which recognises creativity and business excellence in the FMCG industry. We were also awarded Highly Commended as Business/Trade Advertising Agency, which demonstrates our breadth of skills.

The Most Prestigious PR Awards in the UK

Gary Freemantle, CEO, Clarion Communications, A WPP PR Agency

Winner of 'Campaign of the Year' & 'Live PR Event' at PR Week Awards 2011

I am proud to say that Clarion won the top award at last night's PR Week Awards, the PR industry's 'Oscars'. In front of 1,200 of our peers we collected the Campaign Of The Year Award, presented by host Alastair Campbell, former No10 comms director. Commenting on the winning campaign 'Lakeside's Living Christmas Fairy' the chairman of the judges DJ Collins, VP public policy and comms at Google, said "The best ideas are the simplest ones and this was a great example of how an idea reduced down to its core will shine".

How The Content of Newspapers Has Changed - 1986 versus 2011

By Howard Bowden, Head of News, Clarion Communications

In this ever-changing world of online PR strategies and social media campaigns, the humble national newspaper is still of great importance to PROs. Particularly as so many clients still put positive national print coverage above all other campaign objectives. This is why it’s vital for every PR professional to know what makes news in the nationals. But how is the digital age affecting the nationals’ news agenda? And how has it changed over recent years? Clarion Communications compared national newspapers from 2011 with their 1986 equivalents.

Social Media and Big Brands - The Blind Adoption

By Habib Amir, Head of Digital, Clarion Communications, part of the WPP Group. 

There is more to converting audience into loyal consumers then simply being on Twitter and Facebook.

Majority of the brands continue to dictate their messages via Social Media and fail to get them across. Is it time to ask why?

The overnight growth of social media has provided a unique platform with a multitude of options to engage with a local and global audience in real-time – and what this means for the “audience” is that they are now more than just spectators. As social media platforms facilitate a reciprocal conversation, audiences expect to participate, present and shape the world around them. And managing such expectations without a coherent strategy is not easy. So many of the biggest brands in the world choose to either ignore social media completely or adopt it blindly – with a “if it worked for them, it must work for us” mindset.

Staff, Social Media Policies and Managing Risk

Simon Wakeman, Head of Communications and Marketing at Medway Council

Social media policies may not seem the most exciting aspect of driving forward adoption of new technologies as part of the communications and marketing mix.

Mum's the word when it comes to trust

Debbie Jackson, Head of New Business, Clarion Communications
TV programmes, online forums and newspaper editorials are just some of the places mums turn to for recommendations about products or services - but nothing beats a recommendation from a friend. And as a mum of two boys, Lucas and Henry, I know how true that is.

What a buzz

Sandra Tortajada, PR Assistant, Clarion Communications

I've always wanted to be in the papers, and since working at Clarion, it’s become a reality – but I never thought I’d find out while on a crammed Tube on the way to work reading Metro.

Brands should get more sociable on Social Media

Habib Amir, Head of Digital, Clarion Communications

Stream 2011 delegates agree 'Not every post needs to be about selling'

Brands need to campaign less and instead become more sociable when it comes to social media – one of my conclusions from Stream 2011, the three-day global ‘unconference’ organised by WPP Digital.

It’s not rocket science – it’s PR and I love it

Katy Jameson, Account Executive, Clarion Communications

This is my fourth week at Clarion and I’m really enjoying myself.  I’ve joined the agency after spending over a year in technology and B2B PR – previously, I worked in-house at a large supermarket chain but decided to try tech to broaden my experience and industry knowledge.

Preparing for the Macmillan De’Longhi Art Auction

Maddalena Pinto, Account Manager, Clarion Communications

It’s six months since I joined Clarion, and the big event everyone seems to be talking about is the annual Macmillan De’Longhi Art Auction happening later this month (27 September).

PR Leads to Trust, Leads to Sales

Gary Freemantle, CEO, Clarion Communications

Imagine the scene: an all-agency meeting with the client to discuss the next steps for Brand X.  The client is edgy – the economic climate is dire and he, or she, is under increased pressure to deliver on sales targets.  Each agency is being pressed harder than ever to defend their territory and prove that their discipline will make a real impact on sales…

Work Experience At Clarion: Or, Why Admin’s Not That Bad

Beth Yarwood-Smith, Intern, Clarion Communications

Just recently, I entered the Clarion offices for two weeks’ work experience.  Five weeks earlier, I’d attended an interview - or, as it turned out, ‘just a meet-up to check you haven’t got three heads or something’. That test confidently passed, I waited for the lift and got a 10-second glimpse of my first PR agency and thought: that’s a lot of magazines.

Christmas Comes Early

Kathryn Platt, Account Executive, Clarion Communications

So it’s a lovely, hot sunny day and I’m stood outside Marco Pierre White’s restaurant in central London with a box of Christmas decorations.

Confessions of a PR Intern

Crystal Cansdale, Intern, Clarion Communications

I’m writing this during my third week of work experience at Clarion Communications – where so far I’ve actually had things to do and only made tea two or three times. Probably shouldn’t have said that, they’ll be queuing up now.

The Wonderful World of PR

Julia Coles, Senior Account Manager, Clarion Communications

PR is as busy as it is varied and it’s not very often that I take stock of the experiences I’ve had and the amount of random stuff I have had to learn.   I’ve experienced sponsoring London Fashion Week shows and seeing what it’s like behind the scenes, as well as putting on a fashion show for Fearne Cotton when she launched her own label on, which were both very glamorous.

Running Headlong Into Social Media

Ashley Westgate, PR Assistant, Clarion Communications

A few months ago I took voluntary redundancy in order to kick start a new career for myself – and not having worked in PR before I didn’t really know what to expect when I first walked into the Clarion offices.  One thing’s for sure, I didn’t expect to be launching my own social media platform…but here we are, six weeks later, and I have a little community in the making.

The Fame Game

Matt Stokoe, Associate Director, Clarion Communications

Celebrities. Like timesheets, status reports and early morning photo calls, working with celebs is one of the many joys that everyone who works in PR will have experienced – most tend to be pleasurable and memorable encounters, though there are some ‘sleb’ partnerships which end up being quite the opposite and are rarely spoken about ever again (we all know who the culprits are...).

A Truly Record Breaking Achievement

A taste of Africa comes to Surrey to launch Chessington World of Adventures' African restaurant Zafari, with 260 local schoolchildren, er, beating the Guinness World Record for the world's largest drumming lesson


Louisa Jarvis, Junior Account Director, Clarion Communications

As the old adage goes – and as every PR in their right mind knows – you should never work with children or animals.

The Power of the Picture Story

Tim Hayhurst, Senior Account Executive, Clarion Communications

 “I see drawings and pictures in the poorest of huts and the dirtiest of corners” – Vincent Van Gough

 Whether we’re talking inflatable pigs over Battersea Power Station or celebrities on top of Christmas trees – like our very own Lakeside stunt with Chantelle Houghton last Christmas (above) - like it or not there’s nothing that makes an impact quite like a brilliant picture story.

Will Sundays Ever Be The Same Again?

Cat Cambridge, Senior Account Executive, Clarion Communications

THANK YOU & GOODBYE – that was the final and poignant splash from the News of the World on its last ever edition earlier this month.

The end of an era?  Good riddance?  Wherever you stand on this celebrated and now infamous tabloid, there’s no doubt that events leading up to Sunday 10 July will be etched in the memory of journalists, media professionals and PRs for many years to come.

Murals, Motorbikes and Christmas in July – it’s all in a day’s work

By Niall Hughes, Account Manager, Clarion Communications

There aren’t many workplaces I can think of where you can sit at your desk, having spoken with a TT Motorcycle racer about his upcoming documentary film, and then find yourself opening a package containing a SpongeBob SquarePants designer wall mural…while being surrounded by Christmas decorations in July.  But then I’m sure there aren’t many desks quite like mine.

An Irish PR in London

By Alison Crowley, Senior Account Executive, Clarion Communications

Dia dhaoibh.  Or ‘hello’.

Understanding the language, interests and what makes people tick in the market you’re selling to has to be the fundamental cornerstone to every good PR campaign.  And that’s been my challenge for the past six months since moving to London from Ireland to work at Clarion as the new and only ‘paddy’ on the team.

PR's Greatest Hits – 1986-2011

By Howard Bowden, Head of News, Clarion Communications

Later this year, Clarion celebrates its 25th  anniversary – so to commemorate our birthday, here are 25 things from the past quarter of a century which have helped shape PR as we know and love it…

1. Bizarre in The Sun  

The Beatles’ break-up didn’t make a single National splash – and it was only when The Sun introduced the first daily newspaper pop page in the mid-80s that the media’s modern day love affair with Celeb Culture began.

Game, Set and Match: Branding

By Lucy Meadmore, Account Manager, Clarion Communications
At some point over the next two weeks, my friends and I will be packing our picnic rugs and heading off to Wimbledon, home of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, ready to set up camp on Henman Hill – I refuse to call it Murray Mount – while eating strawberries and drinking Pimm’s in the quintessential English fashion.

Top 5 How To Avoid A PR Howler

By Shelley Wyatt, Board Director, Clarion Communications

Earlier this week, it was reported that an American PR firm had been sacked by their biggest client because of angry Twitter comments – the tweet came from the agency’s founder, no less.

At exactly the same time on this side of the Atlantic, every PR professional felt a chill run up and down his or her spine while muttering something along the lines of ‘There but for the grace of God…’ under their breath.

Wake Up (Very Early) And Smell The Coffee

Barbara Normile, Senior Account Manager, Clarion Communications

Any PR will tell you no two days are ever the same.  So when Clarion floated the idea to our client De’Longhi to get involved with the first ever UK Coffee Week by taking freshly brewed coffee to radio DJs across London, I thought nothing of it.

The Apprentice

By James Regal, Account Manager, Clarion Communications

Dum di dum di dum di dum di dum di dum di DUM DUM…

That’s right, The Apprentice is back.  The first three episodes certainly haven’t disappointed, packed with the usual nonsensical and self-affirming hyperbole that has viewers dropping jaws and reaching for smartphones to share in the collective, online horror.

A Royal Wedding

By Lucy Meadmore, Account Manager, Clarion Communications

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months, there’s a Royal Wedding happening this year.  Actually there’s more than one, as two of the Queen’s grandchildren are getting married within a few months of each other – and while the second one, between Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall, has slipped by relatively unnoticed, the first one, the important one, has become a major headline grabbing, money spinning, international news phenomenon.