Capital PR

Archive for February, 2007

Mercer Report REPORT

Posted by Keelan on February 21st, 2007 Comments Comments Off

I was at the Sens-Oilers game last night, so I PVRed Mercer and watched it today.  Edmonton’s only visit to Ottawa didn’t disappoint, unlike last week’s Mercer Report (Feb. 13th), which I didn’t enjoy that much.  The Sens blew a 3–1 lead in the third period, but pulled out the win in a shootout.

On this week’s show, Rick jumped in a frozen lake (well the hole cut in it) with David Suzuki and drove Toronto transit.

Rick’s Rant about the Auditor General and the Passport Office, and Stop Global Warming, Give Cash to Quebec were my favourite segments. 

Call Centre Support

Posted by Keelan on February 20th, 2007 Comments 1 Comment

Why, when you are going through the automated menu system, do they ask you to key in your phone number only to then have “May I please have your phone number” be the first question you are asked once you are actually speaking to a human?

I find this absolutely infuriating as I’m sure most (if not all) people must.

Don’t ask me to key it in if the person I end up speaking with isn’t going to have it displayed on the screen in front of them!

I haven’t singled any particular company out here, because the majority seem to do this — STOP IT! 

Bill Gates — a fine speech, and a lesson in the power of time management

Posted by Stephen on February 20th, 2007 Comments Comments Off

Bill Gates was speaking this morning at the National Arts Centre about the coming decade of change in the world’s ongoing digital revolution.

It was a very good presentation, and the speech was very well received.  What impressed me as well was that he said he’d speak for 20 minutes, and then he did.

Twenty minutes on the future of technology and its impact on our lives.

The lesson for me?  If that only took 20 minutes, then odds are good the longest any speech should be, ever, is 20 minutes.

The event started on time, ended early, and Mr. Gates is now the proud recipient of an Ottawa Senators jersey to boot.

Welcome to Ottawa, Mr. Gates — please come back soon.

Rogers, Admin Fees & Mail-in Rebates… Oh My!

Posted by Keelan on February 19th, 2007 Comments 6 Comments

The ‘back’ button on the side of my Blackberry stopped working a couple of weeks ago.  The device still works, but navigation between screens using only the scroll wheel & menus was a becoming a little too cumbersome.   Plus the same capability is now available in a much smaller package with a camera and MP3 player.

So this weekend, it was off to Rogers for the Blackberry Pearl.

Now, let me start off by saying I am an ultimate Rogers customer.  My household has the following Rogers products:

  • My Blackberry/mobile phone
  • My wife’s mobile phone
  • Hi-Speed Internet
  • Three digital TV terminals (HD PVR, HD Digital, Digital)

All this works out to about $400 per month, or about $4800 per year.  I would assume this ranks me high as an individual consumer for Rogers and they’d want to keep me happy or, at least, somewhat satisfied. 

Back to my experience at the Rogers store on Saturday.

I walked in, went up to the first sales person I saw and said, “I want to buy a Blackberry Pearl.”  So a pretty easy sale of one of their most expensive items.

As he was processing my purchase and linking the new device to my account, I was informed that there would be a $35 Administration Fee!  He asked if I minded this.

I said, “Well, actually I do, but I’m guessing there is nothing you can do about it.”  Big surprise, there wasn’t.  I then asked what it was for.  He said, “Administration.”  Really, well in that case… by all means charge it… 

I guess they couldn’t find $35 out of the $4800 I’m already giving them to handle ‘administration’ of my account.

I was then advised that the $250 I was paying for my new Pearl (based on a 3–year contract) was actually $300 less a $50 mail-in rebate.  This required me to fill out a short-form, copy my receipt and send it in to Rogers.  I did that today.  It was a couple of minutes, but why?

When are companies going to stop with the damn mail-in rebate?  Particularly when, like in this case, you are sending it to the seller (Rogers), not the manufacturer (Blackberry).  

For the love of god, I was standing in your store making the purchase, just charge me the price less mail-in rebate and save us all the trouble. 

If you (Rogers) then need to sort out something with Blackberry afterwards, use the ‘administration fee’ I paid and leave me out of it.

Happy Flag Day

Posted by Keelan on February 15th, 2007 Comments Comments Off

Today, February 15th, is National Flag of Canada Day.

During celebrations at an Ottawa high school, Prime Minister Stephen Harper (who only celebrates the flag below) paid tribute to Canada’s Second World War veterans and announced a contribution of $5 million to operate the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy, France through the next decade.

Canada

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion issued a statement that said: (para-phrasing) flag day celebrates our common citizenship and sense of pride in our country; reminds us how lucky we are to live in a country of peace, where a Charter guarantees our rights, where the future is abundant with promise; this banner identifies us and powerfully demonstrates the strength of our convictions and our national pride.

Totally right on all counts.

Unfortunately, Mr. Dion has yet to give up his French Citizenship.  So does his flag day flag look like this?

Canada-France

Today is the second good opportunity Mr. Dion has missed to give up his French Citizenship.  The other was when France’s presidential candidate Segolene Royal made comments that appeared to support the idea of Quebec sovereignty.

In my opinion, if you want to lead this country your citizenship should be Canadian, only.

Franked! for Blogger Relations

Posted by Keelan on February 15th, 2007 Comments 4 Comments

Last time I was “franked”, it was for “squiring” a client around town or something along those lines.

This time it was for blogging.  Well… not so much for blogging as for providing information to bloggers on behalf of clients – exactly the same way, as a PR professional (or flack), I provide information (press releases, backgrounders, story ideas/tips, etc.) to main stream media or ‘MSM’ as referred to in the Frank article.

I’m a subscriber to eFrank, but I don’t read it religiously.  Both times I was “franked”, someone had to tell me about it.  Maybe there have been other times that I’m not aware of?  Doubt it though.

Being slagged a little by a “magazine” that doesn’t put bylines on its articles by no means bothers me — sometimes the articles are funny when they don’t go too far over the line. Other times I feel a little dirty (like after leaving a strip club) after reading Frank.

Anyway, I saw the article (which ran a couple of weeks ago) as an opportunity for another post on blogger relations.  I did my last post on this topic after reading Ted Demopoulos’ post on Blogging for Business titled How to Pitch a Blogger.

I’m in public relations (which of course involves a great deal of media relations) and the firm I work for, Thornley Fallis, for more than a year now has been paying a lot of attention to social media (blogging, podcasting, etc.)

With more than 60 million blogs worldwide, how can we afford not to pay attention?

Thornley Fallis represents a few defence industry clients and I manage the accounts.

As part of ongoing public/media relations for these clients, 8 or 9 months ago, I came across The Torch, a blog focused on the Canadian military.  I made contact to introduce myself, identify the relevant clients I represent, ask about their interests and offer to provide information that I think may be of interest to them.  The same way I would if the Globe and Mail or CTV assigned a new reporter to the defence beat. 

Here’s a post Joe Thornley did around the time I first contacted The Torch and here’s a post on Blue Blogging Soapbox, which has an author or authors in common with The Torch, about what they learned about Thornley Fallis after checking us out when I contacted them.

Back to the Frank article, “Blogshite: The Torch” (it quotes Joe’s post, so whoever wrote it must be a fan of Pro PR).  The article suggests that I and Thornley Fallis have some privileged relationship with the authors of The Torch, that they post whatever I send them about my clients and that they attack any mainstream media (listing: Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail; David Akin, CTV; Mike Blanchfield & David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen) that write less than favourable articles about my clients and their products.  None of this is true in anyway whatsoever.

The funny thing is, I in fact have less of a “relationship” with anyone at The Torch than with the journalists mentioned above.  I’ve never met or even spoken to any of The Torch authors on the phone.  Email only.

On the other hand…

I had coffee with Daniel Leblanc a few weeks ago, when he started covering defence again for the Globe.

I’ve been emailing and talking on the phone with David Pugliese for likely 4 years now and I worked with his brother for 3 years or so when I was in government.  I still have lunch with him periodically.

I read David Akin’s blog daily, we exchange emails from time to time, we’ve spoken on the phone and I’ve set-up interviews with him for clients.

Yes, The Torch has posted some stuff that I have sent them.  I’ve also sent them stuff that they haven’t posted.  The same way as main stream media sometimes write stories from releases I send them or do interviews that I pitch them, and other times they don’t.

As the blogosphere and social media continues to grow, I think I and my colleagues at Thornley Fallis are taking the right approach on behalf of our clients.

As Ted Demopoulos suggests in his post How to Pitch a Blogger: “Address us by name. Make it clear you’ve read our blog. Be on friggin’ target!”

As I said in my post, after reading Ted’s: “Really not much different that pitching a ‘traditional’ journalist.  Do some research to figure out their ‘beat’/area(s) of interest and personalize the contact.”

Some media outlets (e.g. CTV, Toronto Star) and some journalists (e.g. David Akin, Paul Wells) are embracing social media, others aren’t.  It will be interesting to watch how all this evolves and be part of it.

Thank you Frank magazine for providing the inspiration for this post.

“Flight Suit” Briefing on the C-130J in Ottawa

Posted by Keelan on February 15th, 2007 Comments Comments Off

Lockheed Martin who makes the C-130J Super Hercules is a client of Thornley Fallis and I manage the account.

In late November 2006, the Government of Canada identified Lockheed Martin’s bid of the C-130J Super Hercules as the only successful qualifier through their Statement of Interest and Qualification (SOIQ) process for their Airlift Capability Program – Tactical.

In the wake of this announcement, some media reports and opposition party politicians questioned the capabilities of the C-130J.

Tomorrow, the US Ambassador is hosting Colonel Larry Gallogly, Commander of the 143rd Airlift Wing, Rhode Island National Guard in Ottawa.

Col. Gallogly will give a presentation to government officials and media to articulate what Canada can expect from the C-130J.

Col. Gallogly led the first combat deployment of US Air Force C-130J aircraft.  He has more than 5,500 hours as a pilot in the C-130A, C-130E and C-130J, and will share his views and experience on the performance and capabilities of the C-130J Super Hercules as a tactical airlifter in actual theatre operations. 

C-130J

Lockheed Martin C-130Js operated by the U.S. Air Force have just completed a 20-month deployment to southwest Asia where they soundly demonstrated the ability to maintain a high operational tempo under demanding desert conditions.  During the two year deployment, four C-130Js conducted 5,444 sorties over 10,750 flight hours, delivered 12,681 tons of cargo and carried 70,350 passengers.

The deployment involved aircraft from the Rhode Island 143rd Airlift Wing based in Quonset, R.I., the Maryland 135th Airlift Group based in Baltimore, Md. and the California 146th Airlift Wing based in Channel Islands, Calif.

C-130Js are now being operated at a high tempo around the world in both combat and relief support operations with the worldwide fleet exceeding 340,000 flight hours. The United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Australia and Denmark are all experiencing first hand, the high reliability and increased range, speed and payload capabilities of the C-130J.

Direct Mail/Email Fundraising

Posted by Keelan on February 14th, 2007 Comments Comments Off

In my opinion, the Conservative Party of Canada is really good at fundraising through direct mail and email.

Living in Ottawa and being in the business I’m in, I’ve attended both Conservative and Liberal party events over the years.  Thus I receive mailings (letter and email) from both parties.

The Conservatives mailings seem to be more frequent (without being an annoyance) and deliver their message quickly and concisely.

The Liberals mailings seem to be less frequent and I tend to find the cover letters longer and not as well crafted.

I don’t have anything to support this, but I understand the Conservatives generate a lot more money through their direct mail fundraising efforts than the Liberals do.

 

Podcasting 101 by Shel Holtz

Posted by Keelan on February 14th, 2007 Comments 1 Comment

Today, a few colleagues and I at Thornley Fallis (LeeEllen, Lauren & Joe) participated in a Ragan Communications Webinar Podcasting 101 presented by prominent blogger and podcaster Shel Holtz.

Now, I already know (I would say anyway) more than the average person about podcasting.  Current colleague Terry Fallis and former colleague David Jones have had a podcast for almost a year now.  I listen to it and For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report semi-regularly.

I’ve also participated in a lot of webinars on communications and public relations over the years.  Many of which I didn’t find that useful, didn’t hold my attention/interest and I ended up leaving early.

I have to say that I found Shel’s presentation really good.  For me, it started off a little slow, talking about RSS, only because I’m quite familiar with RSS (it would have been fine for people not that familiar with it).

But then the presentation really got interesting and informative — I took away quite a bit that I hope will be of future use in advising clients.

Shel talked about:

  • How to strategize a business podcast
  • The tools of podcasting, from recording to hosting
  • Integration of your podcast with other online content
  • How to build a community of listeners
  • How to promote and create a successful podcast

Definitely worth the $329 registration fee.

Thanks for the presentation today Shel.

More “things that make me wonder about Ottawa”

Posted by Stephen on February 13th, 2007 Comments Comments Off

Other than the city’s drivers’ fundamental challenge understanding the concept of merge lanes …

For about seven months now, I have been driving down Metcalfe street every morning to get to our office here at 55 Metcalfe.

And every morning, I find myself surprised, yet again, that there is a dumpster blocking an ENTIRE lane of traffic on Metcalfe — a street where we ban parking before 9 a.m. — at the corner of Metcalfe and Laurier.

I dare not suggest the new hotel — Hotel Indigo – doesn’t need to get renovated, but seven months of a dumpster blocking traffic?

I have two questions about this, given my temperment this morning:

How come I’ve never seen a story about this dumpster, which has been a constant irritant all these months, and

How much does it cost to take up a lane of traffic in Ottawa for seven months? Is there some way for me to find out?

My fear is that the permit to do this is something like $1,000, and therefore next summer we will see a host of RVers finally figuring out it’s cheaper to get a demolition permit and park on the street than it is to go to a campground.

So, to our new mayor, His Worship Larry O’Brien: end the madness, and clear the streets.

UPDATE: This morning, after I wrote this post, the dumpster was magically gone … but my questions remain, and my commitment to pursue them remains undimmed.