CBC is recognised as ‘a beacon of good practice’

We’re so pleased, we’ve done it again! We’ve passed our Investors in People assessment 🙂

This is the fourth time we’ve passed, and things just seem to get better each time we’re assessed. This time, our assessor Jim (regular and long-standing readers of our blog will know that he’s assessed us every time) went as far as to say that we’re a ‘beacon of good practice’:

“Work-life balance is embedded as a company ethos. This is a real strength of Chazbrooks and other organisations could learn a lot from them.”

Passing is no easy task, though. The assessment involves one-to-one interviews, phone interviews and discussions, and Jim also examines our working environment and company documentation like business plans, appraisal documentation, training plans and training evaluation reports.

We now have nearly 10 years experience with Investors in People assessments, and are putting it to good use! We help our clients with their own Investors in People assessments. By advising on the structure and content of company documentation as a whole, we help our clients save time and money and ultimately, gain the Investors in People accreditation. Also, as a team of writing experts, we ensure that the messages in the documentation are well communicated.

For us, Investors in People isn’t just a certificate for the wall. It’s a business marker – proof that we take time to make sure we are a team that are positive, motivated and efficient, and proud of the service we offer. And as a result, our clients get to deal with enthusiastic professionals who deliver great, cost effective campaigns.

By investing in our team, we are investing in our clients!

For more info on how we can add value to your company, tweet us at @PRexpertsUK, email us at chazb@brookscomm.com or call all on 01483 537 890. Look forward to hearing from you!

The Social Media Revolution

“LOL, just DM me on Twitter. I’ll download the GPS app on the iPhone and I’ll see you there!”

What on earth is that all about? Ask a teenager as they may be able to tell you. When I started working in marketing over 20 years ago there was no Internet, Email, or even mobile phones to speak of. I’m a dinosaur according to my kids.

Twenty years ago if you wanted to issue a press release, you had to print out the number of copies you wanted to send, pay to have photographs duplicated, print out labels for envelopes, stick the labels on the envelopes, put the press releases and the photographs in the envelopes, frank and put the envelopes in a post box and then if you were lucky it might get printed in a few weeks, or months, depending on magazine print deadlines. Now you still “post” press releases, but on Internet sites, and by sending them instantly to an infinite list of contacts at the press of a computer key. Love it or loathe it most people are continually online with smartphones nowadays.

One of the most significant developments recently in communication is called “Social Media”. These are Internet-based communication systems like Facebook and Twitter. In a business context, Facebook mainly tends to be companies targeting consumers, but Twitter is fast becoming a vital business-to-business communication method. Two years ago there were 1 million registered users, now there are approximately 250 million. Twitter is, in effect, a news dissemination mechanism in a short message format where you can link to stories on the Internet and exchange information with like-minded people. The immediacy and reach of Twitter is incredible, and it is changing the way people receive their news. For example, the recent Brit Awards had a lower than expected TV viewing rating, largely because the results had been “tweeted” before the programme aired a couple of hours later. The recent civil unrest in Egypt was brought to the outside world via Twitter.

One thing about Social Media is that you can spend an awful lot of time on it, and it is not always clear what results you are getting from this investment of your time. You need to focus about what you want to achieve from it, who you want to target, and the key messages that you want to promote. If you use a marketing agency to work with you on social media it should work with you on measurables and deliverables. You and your team can spend a long time on twitter and LinkedIn or Facebook but how do you target your key customers? How do you engage them in conversation? And how do you then convert this to sales? How do you monitor what is being said about you? And how do you measure your success?

There are now several free analytical tools which can measure the effectiveness of Social Media campaigns. Here are some tips for beginners trying to get to grips with Social Media. Try to keep your tweets relevant/interesting/entertaining. Keep a regular flow of information. Try to engage people and make your tweets/messages interesting by asking people’s opinions and getting them to interact. Don’t be overly “salesy” and add some relevant, interesting personal touches from time to time, but don’t tell the world what you had for breakfast, even Stephen Fry’s followers tire of this. Don’t use offensive language: if you’re not sure, think how you would feel if the whole world read your message. If you are ok with it and you are sure nobody will feel insulted, it should be ok.

Chaz goes to the big city

Surrey goes national at the British Chambers of Commerce conference

A delegation of four Surrey businesses, plus Surrey Chambers Chief Executive Louise Punter, went to the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference last week. All were eagerly awaiting presentations from top politicians and business leaders. George Osborne, Vince Cable and Ed Milliband were on the bill.

The venue, Church House, behind Westminster Abbey, was shrouded in gloom when everyone arrived, due to a power cut — not “budget cuts” as some bright spark commented. After a gloomy introduction by BCC’s David Frost, in light terms not subject terms, the power was restored just in time for Chancellor George Osborne to take the stage. He spoke for twenty minutes, about how Government can support business and how the economic recovery will be fuelled by the SME sector. Business secretary Vince Cable then spoke along a similar theme and majored on what the Government can do to aid small to medium sized businesses, especially in the area of bureaucracy. He promoted the government’s “Red Tape” challenge, which is a scheme for businesses to question what they may consider to be unnecessary red tape – and if the red tape cannot be justified then it will be cut. A Google search will quickly bring you to the website.

After a networking lunch where the Surrey businesses were able to mingle with other Chamber businesses and representatives from over the country, Ed Milliband spoke to the conference and took questions like all the politicians. A common skill of top politicians is how expert they are at handling questions. This was also mentioned by another Chamber member about David Cameron’s recent visit to Frimley Park hospital. I posed Ed Milliband a question about his views on supporting new technology/environmental companies, to which Ed replied that, like environmental issues you have to consider moral as well as purely economic factors.

The Surrey delegation had the most businesses attending the conference from any region in the UK and Surrey Chambers Chief Executive Louise Punter commented “I wanted to take a selection of Surrey Chamber companies. Thanks to representatives from projectfive, Something Big, ramsac and Chazbrooks Communications for taking a day out of their schedules to attend what was a memorable day and to see how the Surrey business community fits in the national picture.”