Word of mouth surprises

A few immediate thoughts on public relations matters returning from the Word of Mouth communications conference in London today:

[1] Frank PR has registered as a trademark a word commonly used in relation to the ability of a message to generate “talk” – they didn’t create this word, but decided to take it “legally” for themselves.  I find this bizarre when we are talking about open communications – why should people “own” words?  Despite the popular rumour – even Apple doesn’t license the word “podcast” and apparently the US Patent & Trademark Office will not register it. 

[2] Two different presenters cited an advertising value equivalent (AVE) measure for the press coverage generated by campaigns?  This is a stupid approach, empirically unsound and shows a lack of understanding of the power of PR to do more than simply generate coverage.  There is plenty of research to prove my case.

[3] Some PR people are totally unware of what a blog is, with one delegate asking how it differed from a website as she’d like to write one for a client… Unfortunately Simon Collister’s presentation on blogs didn’t seem to answer such basic questions – or provide much insight for experienced blogs. 

The day ended with a brief argument regarding whether public relations or direct marketing should be “in charge” of word of mouth (wom) – my view is that the “receiver” is actually the key driver – and within organisations people shouldn’t be scrapping over this new territory but pulling all their skills together to offer the best of what each discipline has to offer.

 More detail from the presentations and my thoughts to follow in the next few days.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

5 thoughts on “Word of mouth surprises”

  1. Hey Heather, I”m sorry not to have met with you today, and more sorry that I haven’t found your blog before. On the feed list now, though.

    1. worst presentation of the day. total self-glorification. thankfully that wasn’t true of the others.

    3. I too found that question quite a mind-stretcher, too. I reckon it was a hard presentation to pitch since a lot of us know lots; and some of us clearly know *absolutely nothing*.

  2. Hi Heather. Sorry I didn’t live up to expectations. No excuses except I wasn’t quite prepared for the widescale lack of knowledge on blogging and fell smack between the two stools.

    It would have been difficult to explain all but the fundamental differences between corporate websites and blogs in 15 minutes and I had hoped to give some practical tips too.

    That said… my tips to improve blog wom included having your RSS feed clearly visible and using tags to help search engines find content… ; )

  3. Simon – my comment wasn’t meant as a personal criticism. As you indicate, it is impossible to teach the ABC to the “baby class” who don’t know what a blog is and spend time with “go on, teach me something teenagers” in 15 minutes. I did note your tips however – including the RSS feed and using tags which I am working on. Thanks.

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