"Measurable" PR

We, at CBC, are all about “measurable” PR campaigns.

It is an essential approach to any PR or Marketing campaign, whether it’s one that you pay an agency to undertake or one that you spend your own valuable time on. And you need to decide on “how” you are going to measure success before you start.

When we meet with our clients and agree on communication aims at the start of each campaign, we also discuss with them their perception of what their key publications are. These are the magazines, newspapers, TV or Radio shows that are read/watched by their target audience. We measure how often we communicate with our contacts from those publications and how often we get coverage in them, and the source of the press material issued (whether it be a PR, comment, case study or blog).

PR is not like Advertising, and with all the best will in the world, we can’t guarantee coverage in publications. At the end of the day, the journalists and editors decide what, who, and when they will cover a story. Our job is to make the press materials that we send to journalists and analysts, appropriate, newsworthy and of a high standard and to respect their editorial deadlines and last minute changes/cuts to space. This is when you need to set expectations with clients, as it sometimes might take between 2-3 months before the coverage of their story is actually out. That time however is well spent with research and preparing background material so we are ready to hit the ground running.

We measure our monthly performance on simple things like:
*Did the target number of Press Releases go out each month? depending on the client
*How many pieces of press coverage did I get in my clients key target publications?
*How many column inches did we get and what would the advertising cost of this space be?
*What messages are there in the text? Are the top two customer messages in there? If not Why not?
*Did correct contact details and logo /website appear on press material issued? That’s when you need to ensure that proofreading/fact checking needs to be done again after the piece is included , as corrections can be made by the editors, if you ask them nicely!

If you are interested to hear more about how a measurable PR campaign would look, just drop us a line: info@brookscomm.com

The Madonna of the Yarnwinder- Two UK journalists found not guilty of art theft

Now justice has prevailed will Jack Doyle and Robbie Graham receive the reward offered by undercover cop representative of Duke of Buccleuch and endorsed by legal team?

EDINBURGH, 21st April 2010. Today in the High Court of Edinburgh, a jury found two private investigators from Liverpool not guilty of conspiracy to extort money from the Duke of Buccleuch. In October 2007 Jack Doyle and Robbie Graham, returned Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Madonna of the Yarnwinder”, stolen in 2003 and the largest ever UK art theft, to an undercover police operative posing as an agent for the Duke of Buccleuch. They, alongside three solicitors, were subsequently arrested and charged with extortion.

“We are delighted that our peers have vindicated us” said Jack Doyle, “If we had been found guilty of these ridiculous charges no stolen art would ever come back again. What we did was to bring back a culturally significant masterpiece which is something neither the police nor the insurers could do. We brought it back, and have been put through two and a half years of hell since. If we had not recovered the Madonna she could possibly have ended up in Russia never to be seen again.”

“This trial should never have happened.” said Robbie Graham. “At every step of the way in bringing back this priceless painting we checked that what we were doing was legal. If it was dodgy then why did we get solicitors involved, offer to take the painting to a police station and agree to hand it over in the boardroom of a leading law firm? We asked three solicitors, and an undercover policeman posing as the agent of the Duke of Buccleuch, and they all said that it was legal. We were determined to save this painting and to do this good thing for history. We have made history”

In July 2007, Jack Doyle and Robbie Graham became aware of the possibility that the Leonardo Da Vinci painting “The Madonna of the Yarnwinder” dating from the early 1500s and believed to be the same model as “The Mona Lisa” could be returned. They then sought and were given assurances from three solicitors that the painting could be brought back legally, and they were told there was a £2 million pound reward for returning the painting. At all stages they were careful to follow the instructions given to them by the solicitors and the undercover agent John Craig and never at any stage did they put the painting at risk. Subsequent actions by the solicitor acting on their behalf were unknown to them until after the return of the painting, and beyond their control.

“I want to make one thing clear. We never asked for any money whatsoever. “continues Jack Doyle,” We asked “Is this legal? And if so and we return the painting, is there a reward?” We were told that yes it was legal and yes, there was a reward of £2 million pounds for this painting which was offered to us by an undercover policeman (known to us as John Craig) acting as the agent for the Duke of Buccleuch and with the full knowledge of his superiors. We kept our side of the bargain. We now expect John Craig to keep his.”

One thing apparent from this trial, apart from the fact the two continually sought reassurance from solicitors that what they were doing was legal, was that they were to receive public recognition for bringing this masterpiece back to its rightful owner, the Duke of Buccleuch. During the negotiations it was agreed that there would be a press call and a meeting at the Duke’s castle, Drumlanrig, with the painting.

Robbie Graham says “We entered into this legal enterprise in order to publicise our business, StolenStuff Reunited. We thought if we can get a Leonardo Da Vinci painting back what a good advertisement it would have been for us! We would love to go to the castle and meet the Duke, it would be an honour to meet him and to explain our side of the story, now that he knows that our intentions were totally honourable. He can call us any time. We would really value his recognition for the work we have done in returning a major part of his family’s heritage.”


Photography available on request

For comment or media interviews please contact Chaz Brooks

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated communications strategy. We can help you boost your business, email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

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Canine psychologists and island adventures

Canine psychologists and island adventures

PR is all about creating opportunities. So what better way than to spend a morning “opening doors” within the beautiful and historic surroundings of the Guildford Guildhall. This is precisely what we at CBC did on Wednesday this week, when we acted as Experts on PR and Marketing at a business networking event hosted by Enterprise First, and backed by Guildford Borough Council and Barlow Robbins Solicitors. The Guildhall, a beautiful wood paneled building of Tudor origin, used to be a courtroom and council chamber, so what better venue for an event to help boost local businesses, with a number of companies offering advice ranging from taxation to creating your own web site. As Experts, we were not only able to offer free advice to a wide range of new business startups, but also to create our own business lead opportunities for the future. And what an interesting selection of entrepreneurs we met: from dog grooming and canine behaviour advisors, to bespoke ceramic furniture, and adventure holiday specialists. Some people have such interesting lives! Looking forward to the next networking event!

Funky Gadgets at the GS Live

Last week, I spent a good part of my time at the “Gadget Show Live” in Birmingham, which reflects how huge the market for gadgets really is. The show was probably at least four times bigger than last year! It’s a fun place to be, surrounded by loads of the most diverse useful and useless gadgets and innovations, and above all a great day out.

For me, it’s always fun to do shows in the UK as they are so different to the ones in Germany where, as a rule, people still expect loads of freebies and will go to any lengths to get them. In the UK, however, it’s a bit more relaxed – fewer half naked booth girls, fewer end-users that are not interested in what you do but want a free pen, and less stress from the show organizers if your TV screen happens to extend half an inch outside your allocated stand space – overall just more relaxed.

What felt a bit alien though was the big plug that was being made for the Gadget Show itself. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Gadget Show, I like the presenters, I think it’s fun and fair enough that they organise the show and want to plug the TV show, but some things just went a bit too far for me. Having done consumer and trade shows in Central Europe on a regular basis I found it highly unprofessional of the organisers to add an extra day to the show (only 2 months before the actual show), just because the other days were already sold out. Many companies at the Gadget Show are not actually that big and have to literally close their offices while they are at the show. I spoke to a few exhibitors and they all agreed with me. So to have to miss one extra day from their office bases without even being asked is quite harsh. Another thing that went too far for me, was the exaggerated number of Gadget Show merchandise shops, where you could buy all manner of Gadget Show T-shirts, mugs, key rings and God knows what else. Perhaps it’s just me being German, but that just smacked a bit too much of plugging your own show for me. But hey ho, looks like they can get away with it, especially as they are the only gadgetry style exhibition in the UK and have a big and growing market behind it. But don’t get the wrong impression here. I definitely enjoyed my stay at the Gadget Show and a big thanks to Dane-Elec for having me. It was enjoyable and fun, good to engage with people and finally meet some guys from the Zpen Facebook fan page face to face.

Hopefully I’ll be up in Birmingham again next year.


Tea, Curry & Football

Nobody enjoys work experience, or at least nobody is supposed to. I, however, have had a thoroughly enjoyable week with CBC. How much of this was actually down to finding out about working at a PR company is debatable, but watching Manchester United crumble at the feet of Bayern Munich was enough to make any Liverpool fan’s week. The winning goal was simply superb; Van Gaal had obviously been anticipating Patrice Evra misjudging a loose ball and therefore placed Olic out wide ready to pounce.

Being given the task of writing a press release about CBC’s 1000th press release; quite a mouthful, was a pleasant surprise as I was half expecting some very tedious stints at the hole-punch machine due to an awful two weeks with a company in Liverpool where my hole-punching talents had been ruthlessly exploited. From those two weeks I did carry away one very important lesson, people in offices drink a ridiculous amount of tea, but nothing could have prepared me for this. With only a slight exaggeration, I must have turned down 23 cup of tea offers over my four days in the office.

The highlight of my week was unfortunately not related to PR, it was in fact an impressive 3 dish curry spread cooked by Chaz himself, followed by Barcelona playing 70 minutes against an ugly team incapable of stringing three passes together. Oh wait, it was Arsenal. Wasn’t it?