Quite simply, some charts that may be of interest. For example, note how Apple is supplanting Microsoft in search volume; that PR may be peeling upwards away from advertising and even marketing; the relative fortunes of Google+, Facebook and Twitter; social media may be levelling off; and, especially heartwarming for me, Star Wars is much more popular than Star Trek (mostly).

All charts are for all regions and years except the politics chart which is just for the UK over the past 12 months (because a lot can happen in 12 months!) Click each chart to go to the Google Trends page for more information, such as the news items that account some spikes (A, B, C etc).

● microsoft ● apple

● ed miliband ● david cameron ● nick clegg ● politics

● hp ● dell ● ibm ● hardware

● advertising ● marketing ● pr ● social media

● social media

● google+ ● facebook ● twitter

● star wars ● star trek


Advertising, PR, sales, marketing: now you see it, now you don’t

People are visual, so it makes sense that they act on what they can see. But that’s not so hot when you need to deal with, um, concepts.

So, people ‘get’ advertising, because they know what an advert is. I don’t know what the figures are for the average number of adverts people are exposed to throughout their lives, but it’s a shockingly huge amount. We see them on broadcast, print and social media, and whether or not we mentally screen them out, we’re aware of them.

But they don’t, on the whole, understand PR. This is because PR is about placing articles or selling in stories in the media on a client’s behalf. If you don’t ‘get’ that then this might help: before I started in PR, I genuinely believed all those pieces with HP’S CEO’s name against them had been written by HP’s CEO. Then, when I discovered the unalloyed joy of writing bylines, and found myself one day writing one for HP’s CEO, I suddenly realised what was going on.

Advertising is bells and whistles, while PR is a sleek, black plane. Or, advertising is ‘look at me’ while PR is ‘look at them’. Or, advertising is Edwina Currie while PR is Peter Mandelson.

Likewise sales and marketing. Again, people get sales because they buy and sell things. In the same way they can ‘see’ adverts, they ‘see’ sales. But they don’t, I’ve found, understand marketing because they can’t see them. Markets might be big, or small. They might not exist at all. But they’re the environment you need to operate in, to sell effectively.

Increasingly, I’m finding that social media is about marketing. It’s about a lot of other things too – not least research, awareness, engagement, all those great things – but what I tend to find myself thinking about now is the market. Who are the client’s competitors? What are they doing? How can we measure ourselves against them? What does success look like? Generally, it looks like something you’ve done that is better than your competitors, from selling more things to getting more attention.

Sales is little regions of activity, while marketing is the tectonic plates that underpin all of this. Leave it too long and you’ll find the plates have shifted. Or, sales is Mount Etna while marketing is Pangea (not, repeat not, Pandora).

So I’m working in a double-blind area. It’s PR (Mandy in a Nighthawk) and marketing (a theoretical ancient unified landmass with a funny name). Would I prefer to work with my eyes wide open, in ‘real’ things such as advertising and sales?

Well, that depends.

What are the hours?

Everyone needs to get out more

Estimated reading time: 2.5 minutes

So today is Wednesday which means I write about… hang on, let me look it up… tum te tum te tum… ah yes, here it is. Social media!


Over the past month, in the UK, we’ve been subjected to the constant advances of politicians throughout the election. Thankfully it’s all stopped,  but at the time I did notice a phenomenon that I keep seeing around me and that I think is significant.

Which is: when you’re inside something, when that something is your world, there’s a tendency to think it’s the same for everyone else too. And the reality is, that it isn’t.

To take the political example, I have a strong feeling that Cameron, Clegg and Brown woke up every morning thinking that the world is a world of politics. They would meet their aides, shake people’s hands, look interested when being shown lathes, and generally be in that world till they fell asleep and night and dreamed of kittens.

But for someone like me, it isn’t a world of politics. I’ve never even met a politician, that I’m aware. I’ve never been to a political event. I voted, sure, but I count myself among the people who think that politics is pretty irrelevant to their lives. It all seems so pragmatic, so ineffectual when considered against seemingly overwhelming global forces.

Enough of the politics. What I’m trying to say is that there’s a tendency to believe that what you’re doing is treated with equal significance as everyone else, even when it’s something as (supposedly) important as politics.

And I see this in social media too.

The people I follow on Twitter, tweet about it. The bloggers I read, blog about it. So there’s a real possibility that, working in social media, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a world of social media.

It isn’t.

I know it isn’t, not just because there are trees, birds and sky out there, but because during the election, despite sky-high ratings for Clegg, he just didn’t cut it in the real world. If it were a world of social media, he’d have won hands down.

Is this post making sense? I know what I’m trying to say, but I’m not sure it’s coming across. Basically, as communicators – whether politicians, PR people or social media types – we need, often, to break out of our little world and see it from someone else’s point of view. That way, we start to appreciate what’s really going on, rather than what we think is going on.

I’m lucky. I do something else too – that is, I write. OK, so I write about social media, but I like to think that I can do this from the outside in, as well as the inside, um, in. So should all communicators. It’s not a world of PR, or of advertising, or of social media. We need to get out more.

Ghost blogging? It’s going to happen. Get over it already.

source »     

The blogosphere is no garden of Eden. We can try to self-regulate, but in so doing we’re only exposing our own naïveté

In the beginning, there was the web.  It was beautiful. It was perceived – and conceived – as a nirvana, a democracy of thought, in which money held no sway.

Then, money woke up. Banner ads became commonplace. So much, in fact, that people stopped clicking them. Our reaction at Sharepages? Flip everything around. Put the banner ads at the bottom, then people won’t realise that’s what they are.

On the day of relaunch, our stats skyrocketed, and stayed up. We even had someone call us telling we’d ‘got our web page the wrong way up’.

That was some time ago. Sharepages has since changed back to a more traditional layout, under more traditional advertising thinking.

Fast forward to today. It’s not about sites and surfing: it’s blogs and browsing, or social sites and, well, socialising. And so it’s natural that, given we expect the people – yes, people – we interact with, we have certain expectations of them. We want to believe them.

Who do you believe? What do you believe? Do you really think that the columns in trade magazines are really written by CEOs? Do you really think that documentaries are made by the people who appear in them? Do you think Kathy Sykes had an overwhelming need to understand alternative medicine?

No. That CEO had his or her thoughts organised and rationalised by a copywriter. Those people in documentaries were sourced because they fitted the demographic. Someone somewhere had an idea for a documentary that would appeal. They had a list of candidates that would be good to front it. Kathy Sykes was perfect. A sexy physicist with a fairly open mind.

Media is built around demographics. The web and now the social-media-sphere will follow suit. So the nirvana – the belief, the expectation – that we have of social media is about to change. Everyone is chasing the big advertising dollar.

When you read so-called ‘soft’ news, you’re probably reading something ghost-written. That is, something interpreted and publicised and syndicated through an agent, or agency. Virtually everything in Metro, for example. So it follows that, more and more, what you read online will follow suit.

There will be a time, a year or two or three hence, in which we look back at the arguments against ghost blogging, and laugh. It lacks transparency. It lacks integrity. It lacks authenticity. Gimme a break.

In a year or two or three hence, the big money will be savvy. It will be pushing messages out in every digital channel available. The people you think are saying things, will not be saying them. Other people will.

The beautiful thing, in a way, is that consumers will become more sophisticated in their consumption. And the dynamic therefore follows that the ghosts – the PR people – will have to up their game in putting across their message.

I used to argue against ghost blogging. I used to think it was heinous. But that belief is changing. I’m coming to realise that the blogosphere – the beliefosphere – needs to step out from the garden. Big bucks are on their way, and we all need to understand and recognise this.

Is this a bad thing? No, not really. The web is a massive force for good. Advertising and PR are massive forces for communication. Is communication good? Comments please.


Quite simply, some charts that may be of interest. For example, note how Apple is about to supplant Microsoft in search volume; that PR may be peeling upwards away from advertising; the relative fortunes of bebo, Facebook and Twitter; social media is on the up and up; and, especially heartwarming for me, Star Wars is, and always has been, much more popular than Star Trek.

All charts all for all regions, over the last rolling 12 months. Click the graphic to go to the Google Trends page for more information.

microsoft apple


“gordon brown” “david cameron”

hp dell


advertising marketing pr


“social media”

facebook bebo twitter


“star wars” “star trek”

An Englishman, Scotsman, Irishman and Welshman get into a French car…

… and a Peugeot advertising exec says: Bugger.

If the Rugby World Cup pans out according to form, none of those nations will progress to the semis. Perhaps Peugeot should have considered including a Kiwi or a Springbok in its advertising just to spread that bet:

Apologies to any readers who actually thought there was going to be a joke at the end of that title. I doubt anyone at Peugeot is laughing either.

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