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Preview: Drew B's take on tech PR

Drew B's take on tech PR



Inside opinion on the media, news, and technology PR



Updated: 2015-03-07T08:44:57+00:00

 



Battenhall is two - looking back and what lies ahead

2015-03-08T08:47:05+00:00

Two years ago, I walked into an empty office alone on the top floor of a newly-rented space in Shoreditch and opened up shop. Battenhall was born, and it turns two tomorrow. Day one at Battenhall, March 8th 2013 These...Two years ago, I walked into an empty office alone on the top floor of a newly-rented space in Shoreditch and opened up shop. Battenhall was born, and it turns two tomorrow.  Day one at Battenhall, March 8th 2013 These last two years have literally shot by, but the last six months in particular have humbled me as we've seen recognition from our industry for our achievements beyond what I could have hoped for back then when Battenhall was just me in an empty office in East London.  Since September we have been named Agency of the Future by the PRCA, Best Small Agency in the UK by the Social Media Awards, Finalist for Best New Agency by PR Week, then this week we won our favourite award so far, Best Social Media Agency (not small, or new, just best) at the PR Moment Awards. To be named the top agency in the UK while we are so young and still so new to the market has totally blown me away. I'm so incredibly proud of my team and thankful to our clients and supporters for getting to this point so quickly in our company history. Our recent award wins Founding mission two years on I launched Battenhall with the founding mission to change how brand communications agencies work. Having spent most of my career investing a lot of personal time in side projects, testing and learning with emerging social media technologies, then applying all of this in PR and marketing consultancy, I had seen how it could create a new way of working which better suited the increasingly social media centric world we live in. Working in this way I saw was delivering the best work, attracting the best clients and the most talented colleagues. This is why I knew I had to launch an agency where a new way or working was built into the core, and where all team members have a depth of social media and digital expertise.  To accompany a way of working, I felt that we would also need to create systems and processes too. So we give all team members a large technology budget, flexi working location and hours, unlimited holidays, and tons of other perks that enable us to all do our jobs at another level. You can read our full manifesto here.  allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="340" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/VYqt30_WFqo" width="600"> The PRCA's Agency of the Future documentary on Battenhall and how we work Two years on and the founding mission has shown that this new way of working not only works, but is thriving. We don't talk too much openly about our clients, but they are a who's who of brand names and blue chips. And our way of working has been noticed by places such as the FT, Forbes and the PRCA.  Where it all started and what comes next Battenhall was named after a place, in Worcestershire, and it's where I grew up. Both my parents spent their entire lives working with machinery, and my father would often bring parts home for me to make things out of. I think that's where I got my fascination with all things tech. My mother left her native Spain to find work in England in the 1960's and ultimately settled upon Battenhall. Perhaps that's the entrepreneurial spirit that she passed to me too. And I'd like to think I have taken on their work ethic too - setting up a new business certainly isn't easy, but nothing like the kind of work my parents were used to.  Our social data insights as used in a recent Guardian feature article Our mission is to create the next great agency, and I'd say we're getting there fast. Now the hard work is starting to pay off, and Battenhall has a future to plan. This involves new disciplines, new markets and a constant flow of innovations in how we work. We're building up new divisions in ad planning and buying, creative, design & build, and data insights. We're hiring at all levels, so get in touch if you're interested. Here's to the next two years and many mo[...]



Macbook Air tip: how to cool it down, quieten and make its battery last longer again

2014-02-05T17:51:37+00:00

Apple Macbook Air fan noisy whirring hot

I have a Macbook Air. I use it every day and take it with me pretty much everywhere. It's one of the original (old!) models, and recently it started getting hot, noisy and lasting under one hour on a full battery charge, so I thought I was going to need to invest in a newer model. I seriously thought it was on its way out, even though it looks new.

Then I stumbled across a few forum threads, spent 5mins tinkering, and my laptop is as good as new. Battery now lasts 4hrs again, it's cool and makes no noise! 

Some people said to me on Twitter this morning that they would be keen on me sharing the links to the tips I followed, so here they are. 

1. Delete a couple of useless files

2. Disconnect from iCloud

3. Make sure Word and iTunes are not running unless you need them to be. 

And le voila! Point 1 is new to me. Point 2 is fine, as I don't really need it. And 3 is just a tip, but one I had never realised was important. 

Hope this helps!




Keynoting SAScon: the future of PR

2014-01-16T10:35:22+00:00

Quaking in by boots just a little as I'm heading up to Manchester this evening for my first conference keynote talk. I'm opening up SAScon (Search, Analytics & Social Conference). It looks to be a pretty interesting event, as the...

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Quaking in by boots just a little as I'm heading up to Manchester this evening for my first conference keynote talk. I'm opening up SAScon (Search, Analytics & Social Conference). It looks to be a pretty interesting event, as the convergence of disciplines and skills is exactly what the future of PR is about. And social is obviously my focus.

Other speakers I'm really looking forward to catching up with include Dom Burch, head of social at ASDA, Robin Wilson of McCann Erickson, Andy Barr of 10Yetis, Rob Brown of Rule 5 and Phil Mackechnie of Moneysupermarket. And of course all the people that I haven't yet met or connected with online - apparently the day is sold out. 

If you aren't there, follow on the hashtag #SAScon. If you are there, let me know on Twitter and we should meet up! 




Help Battenhall find a new London HQ

2013-10-09T09:14:45+01:00

The paint on the walls is barely dry, but already it is time for me to find Battenhall a new London HQ. We launched Battenhall in March 2013 and our team has grown from 1 to 10 people, we have...

The paint on the walls is barely dry, but already it is time for me to find Battenhall a new London HQ. We launched Battenhall in March 2013 and our team has grown from 1 to 10 people, we have clients including FTSE 100s, cult FMCG brands and hot startups. We're putting on big events and creating our own research all that. We're expanding so fast, it's only a matter of time before we need a new office altogether. 

We've been looking already under our own steam, but finding an office for a young and growing company in London is HARD. Space is usually not as flexible as we need to be, and we're a client servicing business, so our home needs to look more impressive than average. Also the race for space in London is tough. Twice already an office we really liked got snapped up before we could so much as check the particulars. Like this one, below. 

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So here is what we are after. If you think you can help us, please get in touch with me by email or Twitter (@drewb): 

  • Space for 10 people with room to grow (so maybe more than 10 if the space is not flexible)
  • Location: Shoreditch, Tech City, Clerkenwell or surrounding areas
  • Budget: flexible
  • We'll consider private, shared or serviced office set-ups
  • Must-haves: presentable, good internet, somewhere to plug in coffee machine(s)

That's about it. I hope you can help us in our search for Battenhall HQ 2.0. 




Digital disruption and a tale of two WPPs

2013-08-31T10:08:34+01:00

This week WPP announced head-turning financial results. With Sir Martin Sorrell firmly on the digital path, he stated that no media sector is safe from digital disruption and he has his eyes on 45% of the group's income coming from...

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This week WPP announced head-turning financial results. With Sir Martin Sorrell firmly on the digital path, he stated that no media sector is safe from digital disruption and he has his eyes on 45% of the group's income coming from digitial in the near future. The results he announced this week were that profits are up 19% at WPP. 

Digital disruption is what makes me tick. It has the PR industry trembling at the knees, because when it comes to real digital engagement, you cant just spend money in a different place and call it digital, like you can in advertising. This disruption is bringing in a need for new structures, new skills and new philosophies in PR businesses and in in-house teams. It's what drove me to set up Battenhall, change how I think an agency should look (see here), and hopefully do a great deal of disruption first hand. 

But let's go back to the WPP results and read a little deeper into their digital disruption manifesto. It looks as if even they have not cracked it in the PR world. This Holmes Report article titled: "What's eating WPP's PR firms" shows that the PR results for WPP were disappointing with revenues and profits going down. This quote from Arun Sudhaman from The Holmes Report piece I think is spot on: 

"...if one thing is clear, it is that PR firms, big or small, must innovate if they are to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the changing marketing landscape. And while that may not require them to become independent, it does suggest that they would benefit from acting more independently."

So where does that leave the PR industry and digital disrpution? If you ask me, still very few are getting it right, but even the biggest boys on the block are aiming in the right direction. 




Introducing the social casino experiment

2013-08-01T16:34:03+01:00

Next week we are helping to launch an experiment with our new client at Battenhall, The Casino at The Empire, on Leicester Square. This is a social media experiment, and here is how it will work. Right now, a competition...

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Next week we are helping to launch an experiment with our new client at Battenhall, The Casino at The Empire, on Leicester Square. 

This is a social media experiment, and here is how it will work. Right now, a competition is running on Facebook. The winner will get a VIP day at the casino, including £1,000 of chips to spend at the casino in one day. The only snag: every decision made in the casino that day will be crowdsourced through Twitter. 

If you're interested in having a flutter, enter here on the casino's Facebook page. Entries close this weekend. 

Follow the experiment on Twitter @EmpireCasino to help decide on which way the bets go on the day. 

And that's it. The day of the experiment is next Thursday, 8th August. I'll update this blog as the event approaches and we'll see what we learn!

Image courtesy of SelectorGame




Battenhall and workplace innovation in the Financial Times

2013-07-11T07:24:42+01:00

Battenhall, Financial Times

About a month ago Ian Sanders, a writer from the Financial Times, got in touch with me out of the blue saying that he was putting together a feature on companies that do innovate things to attract and keep top talent.

Ian said he had heard about us and read about some of the things we do. Excitedly for me, as Battenhall at the time was only three months old, I met up with Ian and we talked about future business models and how some of the ideas I had were starting to take shape here in our new comms agency and how it goes beyond talent into innovation in the work we do. 

The full article titled "Workplace Perks That Pay Off" goes in the paper tomorrow (Thursday 11th July) and is live online here (registration required).

Here's a snapshot of the Battenhall part of the feature...  

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If you're wanting to find out more, here is what we stand for at Battenhall from our website, we blog our thoughts on things going on in our industry most days, and on our Join Us page we explain our benefits and how we work, as well as listing our current job openings. 

Onwards and upwards!




David Karp, Ev Williams, the 'antischedule' and the future of work

2013-05-31T15:25:24+01:00

Since Tumblr got bought by Yahoo last week (for $1 billion dollars in case you forgot) a spotlight has been cast somewhat on the company's founder, 20-something scooter-riding, staff-lunch-sharing David Karp. Yes, he had already been the subject of many...

Since Tumblr got bought by Yahoo last week (for $1 billion dollars in case you forgot) a spotlight has been cast somewhat on the company's founder, 20-something scooter-riding, staff-lunch-sharing David Karp. Yes, he had already been the subject of many a cover story, but this new profile in Inc Magazine caught my attention. 

David Karp is the proud owner of an antischedule way of working. The 'nonconformist' who 'runs his company his way' does not keep a diary or plan meetings - he simply lets business happen. 

Karp is not the only digital visionary to work in such ways. Last year buried away in a thread on Branch, Iread that Twitter and Blogger founder Ev Williams uses a system which he calls Random Meetings Day. Once a month he sandwiches in all the random meetings people invite him to, knowing that some will not happen, some will be a wate of time, but that others will be great. 

Only last night I was reading up on author and economist Umair Haque discussing over Twitter new ways of working that suit the modern, connected economy. It got me thinking. New ways of working fascinate me and we are experimenting with them at Battenhall - so let me know if you know of any others similar to these or if you have any new ones of your own. 




Two months in at Battenhall

2013-05-30T09:41:38+01:00

It is two months since I launched Battenhall. This blog has been quieter than normal of late, as all my blogging action has been over on the Battenhall blog. So I thought it would be worthwhile writing down an update...

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It is two months since I launched Battenhall. This blog has been quieter than normal of late, as all my blogging action has been over on the Battenhall blog. So I thought it would be worthwhile writing down an update on how it has all gone so far. 

  • We have been busy and been fortunate enough to be asked to do some very exciting work, and that is awesome beyond belief
  • The team is now 8 people, and we're still hiring at all levels
  • We have 14 clients, including Sanctuary Group, minicabit, Shoreditch Works, Jimmy's Iced Coffee, E-Tale and Talking Heads (we can't talk about all of them just yet)
  • We have moved office once already, up from the 6th to the top floor in our Bonhill Street offices in London's Tech City
  • We have published two of our regular reports already - Battenhall Monthly is free to subscribe to here
  • We are ahead of budget (phew!) by 90.1%
  • We have bought most of Shoreditch's supply of good coffee

Thanks as ever for all of your support, and you can keep up to date on things happening at Battenhall over on out blog. 




Battenhall's new clients, social media training and other news

2013-03-26T11:42:32+00:00

Battenhall

Two weeks into life at Battenhall and we're busy little bees already. We're close to being able to announce a bunch of new client wins, and the first is already out in the open. Back in the very early days of this blog, 10 years go in fact, I worked with the awesome Lis Anderson at integrated agency BCLO. She's now one of the people behind Talking Heads, and I'm excited to say that Battenhall has been appointed to run a range of social media training courses for Talking Heads, starting in April this year. You can read all about them over on Talking Heads' website

Battenhall has also been busy on a few other fronts. Last week was the launch of the 2013 PR Week Powerbook, and Battenhall made it in. And in the last week the judging panel of the UK Social Media Communications Awards was announced, with me making it in as a judge which is something to really look forward to later in the year. We've also been putting together its first Battenhall monthly social media report, which you can subscribe to over on Battenhall.net at the bottom of the homepage.

Exciting times all round, thanks as ever for your support.  




10 things PR and advertising can learn from the papal conclave

2013-03-14T09:35:39+00:00

Inspired by a humorous tweet from Matt Locke, we thought both advertising AND PR deserved an analysis of the last week and how the Conclave dealt with the process of announcing that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio will be the new Pope....

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Inspired by a humorous tweet from Matt Locke, we thought both advertising AND PR deserved an analysis of the last week and how the Conclave dealt with the process of announcing that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio will be the new Pope.

  1. No embargo: live news is better than embargoed.
  2. Timing: boy did they build up suspense, everyone watching Twitter for the words 'white smoke!'
  3. Flip it: all the headlines are about how 'different' the new Pope is. There's your story right there.  
  4. Things in the sky get lots of coverage (especially smoke): many of the best-covered stunts have been done in the sky. Like this and this. Note for the next stunt planning meeting.
  5. Act fast: from resignation to new appointment was faster than a multinational can admit to having horse meat in their burgers.
  6. Don't sell an exclusive: how much do you think Hello would have had to pay for this one?
  7. Allow photography: you know those launch events where you can't take photos. This was like the opposite.
  8. Check the mic: how many press launches get botched with dodgy sound levels.
  9. Get stuck in'first day on the job - mass with the Cardinals' reads CNN's top story.
  10. Tweet@pontifex has been used, sparingly, no hashtags, bit shouty, but used all the same.

(disclaimer, this blog post is meant to be for fun)







Launching Battenhall

2013-03-08T07:07:00+00:00

Today I'm incredibly excited to be launching my new agency Battenhall. My aim is to be able to build the next great agency. The launch announcement is over on the new site. Wish us all the best in this new...

Today I'm incredibly excited to be launching my new agency Battenhall. My aim is to be able to build the next great agency. The launch announcement is over on the new site. Wish us all the best in this new chapter!

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Battenhall

2013-03-11T20:27:56+00:00

Today was my last day working at Hotwire and 33 Digital. This friday I am launching a new agency called Battenhall. Exciting times. My eight years here at Hotwire and 33 Digital have been epic. I have had the good...

Today was my last day working at Hotwire and 33 Digital. This friday I am launching a new agency called Battenhall. Exciting times. 

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My eight years here at Hotwire and 33 Digital have been epic. I have had the good fortune of being able to set up a social media agency and work in an integrated way on global, traditional, digital and social media briefs. And most recently as UK CEO, do a lot of business management. It will be very sad to leave these fond memories behind. But I am excited about what lies ahead. 

Battenhall will be a communications agency for the social media economy. I feel strongly that the agency model and how organisations try to manage the media and their own brands is ripe for disruption. So I am going to be building an agency that is set up to thrive in this new era - an era that is here to stay. A business that will, I hope, be the next great agency.

Thank you for your support so far. I hope it will continue for the next chapter.  




My experiments with Twitter, Jeremy Kyle and list bots

2013-02-27T07:10:26+00:00

Last week along with my colleage Tim Bond I ran some experiments in trying to automatically create lists of people who talk about certain topics on Twitter, then to analyse the topics of conversation they use. This could potentially help...Last week along with my colleage Tim Bond I ran some experiments in trying to automatically create lists of people who talk about certain topics on Twitter, then to analyse the topics of conversation they use. This could potentially help in campaign planning or strategy formulation.  Using If This Then That, you're able to create 'IFs' that are RSS feeds. And Twitter still supports search results through RSS. So this is the first step; to choose the search terms you want (Tim and I went for Jeremy Kyle just because he was trending on Twitter at the time... more on the importance of that search term later!). I've shared my IFTTT recipies so you can see exactly how this works (incidentally since I shared the list 4 days ago it has been used by 26 other people on IFTTT, see below).    Then for your 'That' choose Twitter as an output, and specifically the Lists output. There are two ways to set it up, I've shared both over on If This Then That. One creates lists of people talking about your topic, the other creates lists of people mentioned in the same tweet as your topic.  What you can then do is run topic analysis on these lists to see what the trending topics are for example - probably not for Jeremy Kyle, instead go with whatever your brand, product or project might be. This would give you some really useful insights. And lists, when public, are shareable so colleagues can follow your new shiny creations.   So what happened when several hundred people got added to my Twitter lists because of a mention of Jeremy Kyle? About one in 100 people got a bit grumpy with me, both male, and both in the early hours of the morning. Here are their tweets :) Lessons learned: if you're going to be auto-adding people to public lists, label the lists clearly and expect a little feedback if you pick a topic of the kind that I chose.  Later I will post some conversation analysis from these lists, stay tuned! [...]