Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Some companies have always recognised that excellent customer relations management is key to building a powerful brand, others (invariably less successful) simply don’t seem to get it.
Word of mouth recommendation is incredibly influential both in enhancing reputation and driving sales, and the rise of social media has highlighted just how quickly those reputations and sales can be affected by delighted or disgruntled customers.

It used to be said that an unhappy customer would tell seven of his or her friends about a negative experience; in turn those friends would pass on to seven others and so forth. Where this notional figure came from is anyone’s guess, but what is for sure is that now a dissatisfied customer is able to post comments on their own Facebook wall, as well as on that of the errant company, and will tweet their dissatisfaction far and wide. In short, instead of spreading the word amongst immediate friends and family, that customer, at a stroke can advertise the shortcomings of a company to hundreds, if not thousands of friends and followers within seconds.

This has clear implications for CRM and highlights the increasing importance of the role of PR in this area.

Last weekend, I visited a retail outlet hunting for Christmas bargains, having received a personal invitation to take advantage of ‘up to 50% discount’.  (So far, so good – as a previous customer, CRM has identified my interest in the outlet and has offered an incentive for me to spend some of my Christmas budget with them). Imagine my disappointment to find that an item originally priced at £29.95 had been reduced by a not so massive 95p so £29. Thinking this was surely a mistake, I asked at the desk, only to be met with a shrug and the astonishing comment ‘Sorry love, I’m just one of the monkeys that work here’.

After attempting unsuccessfully to fight my way through the mulled wine queue to find a manager, I left, text friends that I’d arranged to meet there, then once home applied myself to Facebook and Twitter to complain.

Within an hour, I’d received an apology from the store owner and the offer of a gift voucher by way of tempting me back. I was delighted, my faith restored in the retailer and now I’ve Facebooked and Tweeted my compliments on a PR job well done.

Time consuming it may be, but responding promptly and positively to customer comment or complaint on social media sites is essential to protect your brand. As with my experience, a complaint handled expertly can turn a negative attitude into a positive opportunity to reinforce brand values and reassure customers that their views really matter.

To find out more about using social media as part of your PR strategy, why not give us a call for an informal chat?

In the meantime, we’ll send a bottle of bubbly to the best Christmas shopping story we hear, so Facebook or Tweet us to share your tale of woe or triumph!  Contact us

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


As a graduate, stepping out in to the real world was always going to be a daunting task. During university we were bombarded with statistics about rising unemployment and constantly told that a degree simply wasn’t enough anymore.

So after three years of studying, essay writing and exam taking, I am now facing the harsh reality of what my lecturers tried to warn me about.

As they promised finding a job is no easy task. Neither, for that matter, is knowing what sort of job you want to find. Having studied English I have not arrived at the beginning of a predetermined career path in the same way that someone who had studied Law or Medicine might.

Whereas they were clear in their minds where their lives were headed before they embarked on their degree, I went in knowing that I could read and write pretty well and that I liked the subject. They tell you that you can do anything with an English degree, but you can also do nothing.

As much as you have skills which would be useful in a variety of professions, you are also not really qualified for anything. You have to make something of your abilities, find an outlet for the things you enjoy and are good at in order to succeed. And that, for me, is where PR comes in. I decided that gaining work experience was the key to finding out whether a career in PR was right for me. I wouldn’t buy a dress without first trying it on I thought, so why choose what I may well spend the rest of my life doing without first giving it a whirl.

I first tried PR during a summer break from university when I spent a week working at DDPR. The fact that I was even able to get work experience was a promising start because that in itself can be difficult, so I was very grateful to them for taking me in.

From the minute I arrived I was thrown in at the deep-end, which turned out to be a blessing despite the initial shock. No tea-making, no hole-punching, no stapling, no tedious or mundane tasks of any sort. I was calling journalists, writing press releases, organising events and attending client meetings before I was even halfway through the week. And having done all of these things I realised, I was really enjoying it. I was putting my communication skills, my writing abilities and my creativity to good use. Not only did I want to come back after my week was up, they wanted to have me back because, I can only assume, I was good at what I was doing.

So here I am, writing from the DDPR office because, having recently graduated, I want to gain as much experience in PR as possible, to help me excel in this fast-paced and exciting profession. Although the competition for jobs is strong, PR is a buoyant industry which is expanding and offering good career development opportunities for people just like me.

Lois Tristram

Monday, 5 March 2012


Lights. Camera. Action! Well – okay – it wasn’t quite as glamorous as all that, but we had great fun making a short promo film for our client Mereway Kitchens recently.

If you’d told any of us that we would be standing in a field watching a tank ‘run over’ a full kitchen layout, we’d not have believed you. But – as we should know by now – anything can, and probably will happen……

The idea came about in a flash– it was Mereway’s 25th year in business – something definitely worth marking. With an interest in all things retro currently happening, we took inspiration from some of their early advertising – which showed a car sitting happily on top of their work units.

So – we reasoned – why not show that the units are even more durable now? In the absence of the car, we called in a tank. The result is a witty film starring kitchen units, tank in a field and a commentator with a great tag line. The video has garnered well over 2,000 views at the time of writing – a great result for our client Mereway. And the absolute essence of what social media is all about. It’s about getting people talking, commenting, linking, tweeting and re-tweeting. If everything is carefully managed, this creates a network of links and back links that help push your profile up the search engines, and bring you out on top of the pages, rather than hidden far down the lists.

As an aside – we were thrilled with the comments too – especially a structural engineer’s comment on the clip, that if the tank had been lowered on to the units, they would support the weight!! Great to know for anyone looking at investing in a new kitchen in the future.

Take a look at the clip on this link.