Archive for November, 2011

Muhammad Yunus: Micro Loans Making a Macro Difference


He is known as the ‘Banker to the Poor’, Bangladesh’s Muhammad Yunus was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006, a man whose vision to overcome abject poverty one small loan at a time has birthed a truly revolutionary idea that has the potential to, in fact, change the world for the better.

Professor Yunus will visit Australia in less than two weeks to speak at the Global Leadership Forum, where he will share his insights about the capacity of every individual for great entrepreneurship and vision, a capacity that many people, most people in fact, do not know that they possess.

Yunus also has a special connection with Sydney that pre-dates his appearance at the Global Leadership Forum.  Prior to his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, he was the recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize in 1998.

In a recent interview, Professor Yunus explained that at least half of the recipients of the credit that is given by his organisation, the Grameen Bank, is given to women, who in developing countries are often invisible in terms of receiving the vital capital injection needed to start their own business, and to move out of the cycle of poverty.  He explained that many financial institutions actively discriminate against women, including in his home country of Bangladesh, where women make up less than one per cent of all of the borrowers.

Yunus said he made a conscious decision to change that profile.  Indeed, he found that the benefit to the recipients who were women far outweighed the positive benefits of loans given to men – meaning that a micro-loan to a woman had the capacity to lift first a whole family and then an entire community out of poverty, and that for women the transformation out of poverty happens faster for a woman than a man in most cases.

He says that without credit and the potential to escape poverty, this is the breeding ground for many social ills, including terrorism.  He said it is poverty that makes young men vulnerable to the lure of religious and political extremism, and to becoming involved in terrorist activity, many of whom undertake such acts as a way to support their families.

To learn more from this quiet revolutionary, Yunus along with fellow innovators and entrepreneurs Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com and Michael Fertik (founder of Reputation.com); business tycoon and media heavyweight Martha Stewart, music industry legend Russell Simmons, screen legend and human rights activist George Clooney, will visit Sydney in December for the Global Leadership Forum, hosted by The Growth Faculty, and proudly supported by Publicity Queen.

For more information about the Global Leadership Forum, and to book tickets, click here.  For media enquiries about the Global Leadership Forum, including the six speakers who will appear at the event, contact Valerie MacIver: valerie.maciver@publicityqueen.com.au

Yours in PR

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It’s Never Too Late To Restore Your Online Reputation: Fertik


Benjamin Franklin once wrote that: ““It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it”, and in our online and digital age, that one ‘act’ can be something very small indeed.  It can be something as simple as uploading an ‘interesting’ photo from your University days or from a particularly boisterous Christmas party.  Worse, that one small act may not even be committed by you.

There are a great many smart folks who thrive on the challenge of attacking and undermining the online reputation of others.  Sometimes it is for political reasons, sometimes they target individuals, or target what should be ‘high security’ websites, undermining their security, just to show that they can.

But what do you do after the fact, after your website has been hacked, after that photo that you would have preferred to remain private has been sent out into the web-o-sphere.  There is an assumption that once uploaded, those images are available online forever. So, can you put the genie back in the bottle?  Michael Fertik says YES!

Who is Michael Fertik, I hear you ask?  He is a webpreneur, innovator and founder of Reputation.com, a website that has become THE authority on both how to preserve and uphold your online reputation, and – importantly – what to do after it has come under attack from sources within or without.

Speaking from his home base in California, Michael said that once damage gas occurred, that far from being game over: “the truth is that if you know how to use technology, you can actually totally use technology to take control of your reputation again.”  This is crucial advice, as these days, when someone applies for a new job or seeks out a new business venture, 9 times out of 10 the first thing a potential employer or partner might do is ‘Google’ you, to see who you are on the web, and in particular to look for something incriminating.

If you would like to hear more about what Michael Fertik has to say about how to safeguard your online reputation, GOOD NEWS!  Michael will visit Australia in a few days to participate in the Global Leadership Forum, an exciting event that will feature the very latest thinking in business, entrepreneurship and innovation, and will also feature fellow web-guru Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com as well as business tycoon and media heavyweight Martha Stewart, music industry legend Russell Simmons, and micro-loan innovator and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus as well as screen legend and human rights activist George Clooney.

The Global Leadership Forum will be held in Sydney on Monday December 12, hosted by The Growth Faculty, and proudly supported by Publicity Queen.

For more information about the Global Leadership Forum, and to book tickets, click here.  For media enquiries about the Global Leadership Forum, including the six speakers who will appear at the event, contact Valerie MacIver: valerie.maciver@publicityqueen.com.au

Yours in PR

Webpreneur Pioneer Says It Can Be Lonely at the Start


Jeff Taylor, one of the true pioneers of the web entrepreneurship, has shared some fascinating insights ahead of his impending visit to Sydney in less than two weeks.

Taylor, who personally devised and created Monster.com, the world’s first, largest and most successful recruitment and career advice website, says the process of innovation can be a lonely experience.

Speaking from his home town of Boston, Taylor explained that when he first came up with the idea of creating Monster.com, the internet was in its infancy in 1995, and few people understood what he was trying to achieve.

At the time he created his first website, there were only 200 websites available in the world and since then, his model for Monster.com has been successfully copied and adapted the world over and has created nothing short of a complete revolution in how recruitment is done globally.

Despite selling Monster.com for the relatively low price of $900,000 Taylor says he has no regrets, as the sale allowed him the freedom to pursue other entrepreneurial endeavours, including Tributes.com – a website for online obituaries.  Interestingly, Taylor explained that the idea for Tributes.com came to him when reading a newspaper, as the job ads and the obituaries were positioned closely together.

His other recent venture is a social networking site, Eons.com, a new startup business which he has developed as part of a suite of new businesses targetting the baby boomers and seniors market; which is partnered with EonsBoomMedia which is an advertising agency that drives content for consumers aged 45+.

Proving he is man with both ideas and energy in abundance, Taylor has also started a new business: Buffalo.DJ capitalising on the fact that dance music is now monopolising the content on radio, and that professional DJs at the top of their field can earn as much money as professional athletes.  He says this latest endeavour is close to his heart, as Taylor himself has worked as a DJ for over 30 years.

Jeff Taylor, along with fellow business heavyweights Michael Fertik (founder of Reputation.com); business tycoon and media heavyweight Martha Stewart, music industry legend Russell Simmons, and micro-loan innovator and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus as well as screen legend and human rights activist George Clooney, will visit Sydney in December for the Global Leadership Forum, hosted by The Growth Faculty, and proudly supported by Publicity Queen.

For more information about the Global Leadership Forum, and to book tickets, click here.  For media enquiries about the Global Leadership Forum, including the six speakers who will appear at the event, contact Valerie MacIver: valerie.maciver@publicityqueen.com.au

Yours in PR

When is All Publicity Not Good Publicity?


There is an old saying in the PR game that any publicity is good publicity.  Is in the same vein as a famous quote by Oscar Wilde that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

We had proof positive that this old adage couldn’t be more wrong this week, with yet another brainmelt by shock-jock Kyle Sandilands.

While it is true that the media does seek out controversy, and that juicy stories and commentary does both sell newspapers and encourage people to tune in to one radio broadcast more than another, there has now come a point of critical mass at which Mr Sandilands’ antics are now costing broadcaster Southern Cross Austereo big bickies.  News.com.au reports that the value of lost sponsorship through his latest off-colour tirades may exceed $8 million.  Ouch.

Although the announcer did succumb to giving an on-air apology this week, it seems this is just too little too late.  It is a poignant lesson for businesses that need to make astute judgements about which media channels to target, as there are considerations to be made that go far beyond raw numbers as measured by audience ratings.  It is worth knowing what is  the tone of the programme, who is their target audience, and does this equate to a ‘good fit’ for the brand with the channel.

Any PR agency worth their salt will be able to advise you on which media channels would be best to target in order to get you the media coverage you want, and without any potential fallout from out of control on-air talent.  If you need a recommendation on a good PR firm, I know one  😉

Yours in PR

Are You Committing Verb-Crimes? Read More to Find Out


A person’s choice of language can tell you a lot about them – about their education, their interests and about their personality.  People working in creative industries, for example, have a tendency to using words that create drama and intrigue.  I remember once receiving an invitation for an art exhibition in which there was a description of the evening’s events which included time allocated for the artist to ‘address the piece.’  Never being afraid to ask a stupid question, I conferred with a colleague about what was meant by that phrase and in very plain speak she said: “he’s going to stand up and talk about the painting and explain what inspired it and how he did it.”  Oh, right!

A similar phenomenon takes place in the world of marketing, PR and media, too.  I have observed a clear trend in recent years for folks wanting to spice up their language by doing a verbal trick whereby nouns are magically transformed into verbs.  I saw Mark Riley, Sunrise’ s political editor, do this recently when he was describing an important piece of new legislation, and a meeting where participants would ‘landscape’ some new ideas.  Hmmmm.

Flash forward to a recent edition of Celebrity Apprentice Australia, where an advertising guru from Naked Communications had maybe been watching too many reruns of competitive diving events when he invited the apprentices, all in the one sentence, to ‘platform’ some ideas that they could ‘springboard’ at the launch.  Huh?

Oh, and that reminds me of another favourite target for misuse:  aspirational.  This must be the current business buzzword of all time, but be careful in its use.  You can aspire to something, yes; and a goal can be aspirational, yes; but don’t get clever and try to get together with your colleagues to ‘aspirate’ about the coming year, because in that case it means you will be expelling some fluid that has been trapped in your lungs!  In the same way that being a solicitor, and soliciting, are not the same thing.

I understand the reasons why people feel the need to spice up their language, particularly in the exciting cut-and-thrust world of sales and marketing, when trying to capture people’s attention and imagination.  But there is a fine line between sounding exciting and committing what I call ‘verb crimes’.

If you have any recent examples that you can share of crimes against language in the corporate world, drop me a line and share!

Yours in PR,

The Devil is in the Detail, Just Ask Jesinta!


This morning the airwaves have been buzzing with the sweet and funny sounds of Julia Morris, who has won Australia’s first Celebrity Apprentice.  The final episode was revealing for many reasons, but interestingly from a PR perspective there were many cautionary lessons in the show including the importance of attention to detail when planning marketing materials.

In the final episode both teams were instructed to create a TVC (television commercial) as well as some posters and flyers about Mark Bouris’ latest venture, Yellow Brick Road.  As everyone who watched the show will know, despite creating the most visually appealing brochure and poster, and the one that bets fit the client’s brief, Jesinta Campbell and Shane Crawford’s team forgot something fairly crucial – the phone number!

To borrow the words of Cuba Gooding Jnr from Jerry Maguire ‘help me, help you’, in this case, help yourself to help clients find you.

Mr Bouris also revealed some interesting insights when he described what he looked for in a flyer or brochure.  He said that when he first made a new connection with someone who impressed him in business that the next thing that he paid attention to was the marketing materials that he walked away with after the meeting.  He said it needed to include the company’s major product/service offering and their contact info needed to be front and centre.

This is salient advice.  Sometimes it can be easy to get lost in building a fancy website and having social-media savvy, but when you make that important connection with someone that could lead to a potential sale or new client, they need something to remember you by, it needs to be professional and it needs to include your contact info.

Tragically, leaving off the company’s phone number cost Jesinta her chance at winning the competition, but it reinforced in my mind that no matter how clever we are, when creating marketing materials, or other important documents, it can be so terribly important to get a fresh pair of eyes to review them.  Sometimes when you are working on something closely, you can miss something, and it can be something important.  Given the cost of designing and printing these items, it can often be a case of  ‘print in haste, repent at leisure’.

Make sure you help yourself by making it as easy as possible for potential sales leads and clients to find you when they are ready to talk turkey.

Yours in PR,

Make Your Presentation Fly With This Early Christmas Prezi


As regular readers of our blog will know, with my right-hand girl by my side, I attended TEDXBrisbane 2011 in October, and it was there that I made my latest inspirational discovery.

While watching the presentations of Paul Osuch from the Anywhere Theatre Festival, and by Ron Gutman on The Hidden Power of Smiling, I was struck by how dynamic and interactive their presentations were.

Like any good detective, I hunted Paul down, had a coffee with him and picked his brains about how he made it.  He very kindly shared with me that he had developed his presentation using a brand new and exciting presentation software/format, Prezi.  Best latte I ever spent!

Unlike conventional Powerpoint presentations that tend to be very linear and run from slide 1 to 2, although with some scope for animation and embedding interesting content, Prezi enables you to make your slides come to life.  You can zoom in and out, navigate the reader through turns to the left and right, include all kinds of media, it really is a quantum change in what is possible.

To view Prezi and watch some sample presentations, visit their website here.  If you are impressed with it, the licensing fee is quite reasonable, and I really feel it could be a total game-changer when next you get up and speak.  If you do follow my advice and start to use Prezi, drop me a line and show me what you have created!

Yours in PR,

TGIF – #FF! Twitter Friends Give Thanks on Fridays


It’s Friday… yay!  And in addition to the usual reasons for celebrating the end of the week, Twitter has given us all extra reasons to be happy, and indeed to share the love and to give thanks.  There is a now very much entrenched tradition whereby on a Friday, serial Tweeters send out a message where they include the Twitter IDs of all of the people who have been either the most helpful, the most useful, or the most entertaining for the week.

If you have already done your homework, and searched for and collected lots of interesting people for you to follow, what’s fascinating is then to watch whom they choose for their Friday Follow.  You will easily recognise a Friday Follow tweet, because it will appear as a list of IDs and at some place in the tweet message will appear the hashtag “#FF”.

You can read the genesis of Follow Friday here thanks to our friends at Mashable. Despite its relative newness, as is now the way with the latest digital innovations, folks are already measuring the power of influence generated by #FF, and you can review the world’s post popular #FFs on such sites as Top Follow Friday.  It seems no longer does a new idea spawn on Twitter than someone is already trying to measure it and leverage something from it.

So, my #FFs for this week will be @leilamckinnon with whom I shared a mutal confession this week that we both love geeky documentaries, @DeeMadigan from Sprocket for speaking out so bravely this week at the Schizophrenia Research Institute, @LaurieOakes for answering my question about when Kevin Rudd might make another move against the PM, my old friend Greg Thorpe @monkeyred who pulled off the amazing feat this week of having a series he created get picked up for Canadian television, as well as @wishing_tree whose national appeal Publicity Queen helped to launch this week with assistance from the Queensland Reds @redsrugby and Campbell Newman @LNPQLD .

So, my tweet for Follow Friday will look like this: “#FF @leilamckinnon @DeeMadigan @LaurieOakes @monkeyred @wishing_tree @redsrugby @LNPQLD”

So turn that Friday feel good feeling into a Friday Follow, and see what your pay-forward of positive Karma does for you.  Can’t hurt, can it?

Yours in PR,

Musical and Sporting Stars Shine in Support of Needy Australians


Yesterday the stars of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical creation, Love Never Dies, were the very first Victorians to give gifts for needy Australians at the launch of the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal.

Pictured here are leading cast members, Ben Lewis and Anna O’Byrne, who with the entire cast of the show, who have led by example in making a donation to the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal part of their own Christmas experience.

Meanwhile, in Brisbane, all political considerations were put aside as LNP candidate for the seat of Ashgrove, Campbell Newman, competed with Queensland Reds ruby union star Beau Robinson in a light-hearted competition to be the very first Queenslander to give a gift in the Sunshine State in 2011.

This is the 3rd year that Publicity Queen has worked closely with Kmart to launch the Appeal in the states of Queensland and Victoria, and all involved are very optimistic that the Appeal will top last year’s record-breaking result of 464,000 gifts collected and distributed by the Salvation Army.

Yours in PR,

Say No to Naff and Make Your Gift Giving Work for Your Business

If your business is anything like mine; you or someone on your staff is currently sourcing corporate Christmas gifts for this year for your best customers, clients, associates and partners and employees.  With this in mind, it is worth investing some time and careful thought into what your corporate gift-giving says about you, and what kind of culture do you inspire in your organisation.

I could go on at some length about the paucity of pressies I have received at office Kris Kringles in the past (although not from Publicity Queen, we all have impeccable taste!) but at one workplace in particular, the same crappy egg-shell blue mug was recycled during at least three consecutive Christmases until it became the running joke of the office about who would receive “that thing!”  Hardly the festive spirit is it, really?

This ‘recycling’ has become a discernible trend.  The Sydney Morning Herald revealed at this time last year that ebay was flooded with unwanted Christmas gifts each year, which shows enterprise in equal measure with ingratitude.

Research done by the Australia Council revealed that rather than receive a ‘naff’ present in the office Christmas Kringle exchange, by far the majority of Australians would rather a charitable donation was made in their name.  What a superb idea!  The giver gets a tax deduction, the charity receives valuable funds, and yet another useless gift will not, for once, end up in landfill.

We echo the sentiments of UNICEF (whose image we have borrowed for this blog entry) about saying NO to naff presents this Christmas.

If you are looking for suggestions of where your money could very usefully be spent, I have two terrific ones for you.  At Publicity Queen we proudly support the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, which was launched nationally today.  Last year’s Appeal collected over 500,000 gifts for needy Australian families.  To support this worthwhile cause, visit any Kmart store around Australia and purchase a gift for any value and designate the age-range for the recipient and a tag will be placed on the Wishing Trees in the store, and then distributed by the Salvation Army.

In addition, for Victorian readers, we are long-time supporters of Animal Aid, based in Coldstream, who do remarkable work to assist animals who need rescue and emergency medical care, and find homes for abandoned pets.

I encourage all of you to make your corporate giving count, and use it as an opportunity to inspire your staff and loved ones, by harnessing the true spirit of the season.

Yours in PR,

 

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