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A few days ago I got yet another poor attempt at e-marketing. Putting aside the fact that the contact had never been in touch with me before or provided an unsubscribe option on the email, I was taken aback by just how bad this one was so decided to use it as a case study in bad examples - so here goes.

I have highlighted a number of marketing errors below by making comments in red, do feel free to let me know if you spot any more.

Hi Parker PR! (Really? The opening address to me is as the name of my company! How personal and engaging is that? You will have a much higher response rate to your e-marketing if you can take the time to find the right contact details and use them.)

Currently, 1 Canadian dollar equals 2.04 GBP! If you don’t want to sacrifice quality of work and are open to collaborating with an awesome team oversees, consider us. (Apart from the poor use of grammar, just what does this mean? Is it supposed to be a call to action - if it is then it's not working. When marketing, make your proposition clear, concise and easy to understand, that way people will know what to do next.)

I’m Lauren - Brand Development Lead at Design Pilot Creative Agency in Toronto, Canada. We specialize in creating digital experiences that engage, inspire, and entertain. We do websites, ecom, apps and more. Ideation, UX and design is our mantra. (I'm sorry, just what on earth are those things you refer to in the last sentence and what does it mean? Please don't use jargon with your e-marketing, not everyone uses the same language as you and it puts people off engaging with you.)

Check us out: design-pilot.com and if you like what you see let’s connect :) (This is a massive cheese overload and the URL is incorrect and not made into a hyperlink. Make sure your directions are easy to follow and make it easier for potential clients to find you by making the hyperlink active.)

Best, (Best what exactly?)

  Lauren Hurley  (Nice icon; I have no idea why it is there or what it's meant to mean but never mind. Don't try to be too clever when marketing to people you have never met before - in-jokes are never funny when you are on the outside)

Brand Development Lead

 

Whether you are a PR pedant, pedagogue or purist, everyone seems to have an opinion on the proper use of the apostrophe. Of all the uses and misuses of it, the one that flicks my switch is the lack of it in a business' name. The problem often occurs when a business is named after the people or person who set it up.

My apologies to Charltons above, but it was the first image that Google offered me and is not meant to be detrimental. So often I'm driving and see, for instance, Jones Plumbing. If this is a company owned by one Jones, it would make the name possessive and require the addition of an apostrophe at the end. If the company were owned by more than one Jones it should of course be Joneses'. However, that would look difficult to the eye and not understood as being in common use.

That is where things come unstuck. There is a great article on Sentence First about the use of the apostrophe  https://stancarey.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/apostrophes-in-business-names-and-place-names/ which highlights the fluent use of it in place and business names.

bus

I applaud E.B Hill of Leeds for taking the time to get it perfectly right - see the above bus - I'd be interested in your thoughts and pet hates. 

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Graham Paker is an award winning PR professional and inspirational speaker

I've been promoting the value of collaborative PR and marketing for some years because I know it works. It's a simple idea of two or more businesses getting together to mutually promote each other. Some years back I recommended this approach to a motor mechanic client, who hooked up with a florist I knew while attending a networking event I ran.

The garage began leaving bouquets of flowers in the cars of loyal customers following a service - the florist promoted the garage in the shop and by word of mouth. The relationship brought both increased business.

Ken

The above photo shows Ken Bonsall, lead singer of modern punk/folk band Ferocious Dog sporting a Nana's Kitchen t-shirt. You can see the photo on Nana's Kitchen's Facebook page and on a number of others connected to the business. Ken wears his t-shirt at gigs where people that attend music festival are likely to be - Nana's Kitchen serves food and runs bakery classes for kids at music festivals where Ferocious Dog are likely to be playing. Mutual brand recommendation is a powerful, easy to apply and relatively inexpensive form of PR and marketing. 

I've become quite fascinated by the way people use social media to potentially build relationships with people they do not know. In particular, I'm intrigued by the suggestion that social media is different to other forms of communication. We hear a lot about how it allows us to build personal relationships, to speak to anyone and everyone - and yet, at the same time, I read a lot of comments about ignorance taking place.

To get a better understanding of that I'm doing a quick experiment this week by monitoring the responses I get this on Twitter and Facebook. All week I will record all the Re-tweets, likes and shares I make in response to other people's posts. I will also be recording the responses I get from those posters, for instance, will those using the hash tag #journorequest let me know they appreciate my re-tweets or responses to their tweets or will they ignore the fact that someone has responded to them?

It should be interesting to see if people are using social media to make connections with others, or simply to broadcast their own messages.  

I'll never forget a conversation I had with Alastair Campbell, what seems now like many years ago on whether or not Gordon Brown was going to be the first PM to lose an election based on personality. Having been Tony Blair's head of communications on several successful campaigns he should have known a thing or two about promoting personality, but, he posited, the next election would be won on policies, not the persona of the future Prime Minister.

I still believe Alastair was very wrong, in fact I felt very sure at the time that he knew he was wrong and that Gordon would lose as much, if not more on personality than on policies. Ever since Saatchi and Saatchi began sculpting the public image of future PMs we have seen more and more focus on PR and personality than we have on effective policies in the UK. We are now at the point where, minority parties like UKIP, the Green Party and the SNP aside, the public has little taste nor time for politicians of the historically main parties. This is in part due to scandals that have impacted on them all and actions by individuals within various parties. It is also, to my mind, as much to do with the homogenising of politicians at the hands of media trainers and Communications Directors who put more emphasis on format over content. The image is now all that matters.  

Back in 2010 Gordon Brown stood to lose the election not because he as battling with a global economy in crisis, not because he was dealing with a war on terror or because he had made a hash of pensions. He was set to lose it because more people liked the "look" of David Cameron or Nick Clegg more than the steady at the wheel, no fuss former Chancellor. And now, as we sit on the verge of another general election, things look set to go full circle. I don't believe Cameron will lose the election on the back of his policies and performance over the last five years as much as he will due to the fact that the electorate no longer (if they ever really did) warm to her personality. He is being saved by the fact that Ed Miliband is seen as an even less palatable leader from a pretty picture point of view and Nick Clegg committed political suicide with his dumping of pledges on student loans etc.

The people gaining ground and votes are those that have or are stepping out of the shadow of the grey suited spin mandarins, the bland doctors of stick to saying nothing and being as non-committal as possible. The likes of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and even Pretender Princes like Russell Brand gain credence through exhibiting real personality - as odd and potentially distasteful as they may be. These rebels in search of applause connect with the electorate because they have a semblance of humanity about them, they are not some amorphous clone who offers neither public personality, principles nor policies that differ from the opposition.

We are now in the age of "pick me, I'm the least different" except the public is weary of being sold the same old dull package; if Ed or David want to be clear winners in May, they may just have to cast off the uniform suits they have clothed themselves in and start to look like human beings again - who knows, the public might actually appreciate a bit of real personality, one that they feel they could vote for, not against.