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birds on the blog

When a bad day at the office turns into bad PR

Next time punch a cashion

I have just seen a most fabulous example of bad PR on a website. It’s so bad I thought I’d share it with you as it illustrates how important it is for a company to regularly check their internet profile. I’m talking about more than just indiscrete photos on Facebook here.

I was browsing this morning on the Birds on the Blog site, checking how my latest gardening post was going when I stumbled across this. An internet Bingo company had approached Sarah the site owner and suggested that they would be a good match for advertising. Now, anyone who has ever looked at this blog would know immediately that a site aimed at ‘business women of opinion’ is unlikely to have that many bingo fans. Sarah politely declined the offer and was sent the following email in return.

“We are of the opinion that women thick enough to read your mundane blog posts would surely love bingo. Your dimwit readership and our exciting bingo games would be a perfect match. Would you reconsider?”

Bitchy or what? The company is called Overture Interactive and their saleswoman, Ewelina, has done them no favours. She’s insulted not only the site but her own product users too.

As we go through our working and personal lives we all get frustrated when things don’t go our way. It’s often tempting, and sometimes happens, that a jokey reply is drafted as a response. But only an idiot would send it.

I would imagine Ewelina’s job is one where she experiences frequent declines for her advertising packages as it’s a similar approach to cold calling – it just happens to be on the internet.

And that’s the issue. While her response to being turned down might have made her feel better when she sent it, how’s she going to react when her boss realises that her comments have gone global? Things have changed in the way companies now operate and how they attempt to reach their clients. Small mistakes can’t be hidden as easily in-house as once an errant slip up in the marketing department might have been.

If she thought yesterday was a bad day at the office, I’ve a feeling that today will be a whole lot worse.

Internet marketing does work – for good or bad. Just make sure that you leave the correct impression.

 

We’d love to know of any other really bad examples of internet marketing as they always make for interesting reading. If you have any send them into us and we’ll highlight them.

Review of my year – what was 2011 like for you?

Today seems the right day to review my year in all aspects of my life – it’s a cathartic experience and helps get things in perspective.

Reflecting on life during 2011.....

Professionally it’s been a good year. For Fiona the journalist – I’ve made several films covering subjects as diverse as dementia care, OCD, rising energy prices and the Welsh Assembly elections (now known as the Welsh Government). Many thanks to ITV Wales, the BBC and Available Light for all of those projects. Alongside this, I’ve written articles on numerous occasions, so I thank the Swindon Link, Wiltshire Life and the Swindon Advertiser.

From a Mellow Media point of view it’s been a year of promise with several one-off projects, others requiring discretion and others which can be shouted about. Many thanks to Footdown, Business Scene, Sarah Arrow of Birds on the Blog, the Symondsbury Estate, Tailored For You and some new names which will also emerge in 2012. All of these companies and their people have provided work, new friends, new experiences and personal development, so many, many thanks. For all the colleagues out there in the world of business, let’s hope 2012 is full of hope as well as hard work. Let’s hope that gloomy predictions are not as bad as we’re hearing from various voices.

On a personal front, I’ve seen a child go to secondary school, another child start school and another child become one of the bigger fish in her small primary school pond. I’ve discovered both of my daughters are very good singers and my son sings along too. Both my girls took part in a community radio programme and they achieved many, many things throughout the year. My step-daughter passed her driving test and turned 18. She also presented an eight-minute film for regional BBC programme about tuition fees. There have been many occasions when I’ve been a very proud mum. And I should mention here a husband who has been supportive and loving for another year – we celebrated 11 years married. He’s put up with me for 15 though!

As a family we had a fantastic holiday in Orlando spending two weeks doing the whole Disney and Universal Studio thing. To say the least, it was fantastic. It was all we expected and more. But my biggest tip for anyone considering such a holiday – hire a large villa for a fraction of the cost of onsite accommodation, you get more comfort, better food (you can buy it yourself and actually have a salad) and often get your own pool. Hire a car and pay the $15 parking fee per day to park at any of the attractions. Also if a ride says you’ll get wet – it means you’ll get absolutely soaked so take a change of clothes. And pay the extra for Fast Passes or Express routes (it’s well worth it).

On another personal note, 2011 has been a year of terrible sadness for our family. In December we lost our neighbour and friend Roger to cancer at the age of 53, very suddenly. To look at his widow and see her pain every day is awful. But it was something sadly familiar to us. A big shadow this year was the death of our brother-in-law Peter in April at the age of 49 from heart failure. Pete died very suddenly after collapsing at the gym. He left my sister and three children, the youngest just five months old. To see my lovely baby sister trying to put her best foot forward every day, week, month since his death – has been a humbling lesson in life. And his parents and sister in Australia grieving at a distance is something we feel but can do nothing about…

So it’s with a mix of emotions that I face 2012 – I’m excited and challenged but as my daughter said to me a few days ago ‘Mum I just hope we don’t lose anyone else we love’ and that’s the main thing for me. Whatever bad things happen, put that event into perspective – there is always always someone worse off than you!

On that note – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

A portfolio career – is it for you?

Every so often, Fiona and I like to branch out and do something a little different. While Fiona never stops, whether she’s making a documentary, writing a column or advising on PR work, I find my other interests are in a very different direction. So here I am, fresh from having delivered my first gardening blog this weekend.

I think the days of a regular 9-5 job are long gone and the way forward for many people is a portfolio career. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking like this and would be curious to know what unusual combinations of jobs people put together in their working week. I’ve always been interested in lots of things and so to diversify my career makes sense. It also opens up your life to new people who have shared interests.

My family were supportive last year when I signed up for a one year course with the Garden Design School at the Botanic Gardens in Bristol, but I knew that secretly they were wondering, why? I’ve been an obsessive gardener for years, but became really hooked after helping out on a show garden at the Hampton Court Flower Show. It was so much fun that I came back and immediately investigated how I could develop this side of my life.

I found, at times, the course was very inconvenient as the workload meant that family life went out the window for days at a time. There I was, middle-aged with three young kids, working through the night to complete, of all things, a gardening course! Ask anyone, and they would expect such a course to be fun and relaxing, as you learn about a subject you are really interested in. I signed up in haste, but it was the right thing to do. I’ve learnt so much about design in the last year as it was a really well-taught course, even if I emerged rather pale and bedraggled from behind my drawing board on many days.

Having taken more than a few months to recover, I now find myself keen to use my new skills and to this end will be writing a weekly blog. At the moment it can be found at Birdsontheblog/food/strawberries in October, and I think the ‘Birds’ plan to set up a dedicated gardening section in time. Every two weeks I plan to write about jobs to do in the garden now, and every other week write a regular ‘Ask Sue’ section where I answer reader’s gardening queries. So if you have a question about plants, growing vegetables or best place to site a pergola, contact me.

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