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Measuring New Zealand’s progress

By Tim Marshall

This report is hot off the press from Statistics New Zealand. It is a sort of triple bottom line report for New Zealand as a country and provides a baseline for measuring national progress (ultimately hopefully towards agreed goals.)

I think it’s relevant for PR practitioners who help our organisations contribute to national discussions on improving our lot.

Our conference this year “Kiwi and Proud eh?” had the good intention of creating a national PR plan. In fact, PRINZ members in the public, private and not for profit sectors all work on individual PR plans to progress their respective organisation’s goals – which hopefully are pretty much in line with where the country as a whole wants to head.

This report provides an overarching framework for measuring national progress in a range of areas. It also fits nicely with PRINZ’s sustainability project. For this progress to occur naturally requires communication and stakeholder engagement.

Could this report provide a spark for the national PR plan discussion PRINZ had hoped to ignite at the conference? Would you PRINZ members be interested in a presentation of this report by Statistics NZ either at divisional events or in a webinar?


July 31, 2009 at 1:35 am Leave a comment

Gordon Brown: Communication is key

By Tim Marshall

Communication is key to resolving the world’s problems says British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a presentation to the TED conference in Oxford.

Brown says the use of powerful new web-based communication tools, when combined with people’s basic desire to help each other, create a unique opportunity to address poverty, security, climate change and economic challenges.

If you ever doubted the relevance of communications, or simply need a little confidence boost when critics query the value of the communications function perhaps you could direct them to this compelling presentation.

July 28, 2009 at 12:48 am Leave a comment

NBR’s website subscriber move and responses

By Tim Marshall

In June PRINZ hosted a very well attended event in Auckland called The Changing Media Landscape. Mark Jennings from TV3, Nevil Gibson from National Business Review (NBR) and Bernard Hickey from gave their views on the future business models for the news media.

Now NBR proprietor Barry Colman has introduced a website subscription model as his approach to making his publication pay.

His move has attracted a lot of flak in comments on the NBR website, a bit of support from Digital Publishing Forum director (and former Magazine Publishers Association president) Martin Taylor and a very detailed analysis from Bernard Hickey.

NBR’s initiative and the responses create a fascinating follow-up for attendees of PRINZ’s The Changing Media Landscape event and other observers of the business challenges facing the news media.

July 23, 2009 at 4:16 pm 1 comment

Govt axe on PR best avoided by measurable productivity

By Tim Marshall

This morning’s front page lead in the New Zealand Herald headed “Spin doctor jobs on line as Govt orders cuts” begs for a blog post.

My first thoughts are on measurable productivity. If Government PR and communications people are making a measurable difference then why would any rational person want to get rid of them?


March 27, 2009 at 11:36 am 3 comments

Privacy law review

By Tim Marshall

I hear in an interview with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio that PRINZ’s friend John Burrows (formerly PRINZ’s Ethics Panel chair) is leading the Law Commission’s review of privacy laws.

Privacy rights are an issue for PR practitioners, particularly those who work with celebrities including stars of the sports, music and acting worlds and high profile politicians. Privacy laws are also relevant to media advisers of people who are thrust into the media spotlight like British couple Gerry and Kate McCann, parents of Madeleine who went missing in Portugal.

A big chunk of PRINZ’s Code of Ethics is concerned with balancing the privacy rights of individuals and organisations with the public’s right to information and a commitment to open communication.

In his radio interview John Burrows says “galloping technology” such as the increasingly widespread use of surveillance devices like closed circuit television has highlighted anomalies in the law. And a news release on the privacy law review asks: Should the media be subject to any greater or lesser legal restrictions concerning privacy intrusions than any other members of the public?

John Burrows is calling for as many high quality submissions as possible for the privacy law review. Submissions close on 29 May 2009. So if your experience is that privacy law is an ass, or just a bit behind, now is your chance to influence change!

March 26, 2009 at 11:45 am Leave a comment

Clean up Greenwashing

The Commerce Commission has published a set of guidelines for businesses on how to avoid making untrue or misleading statements about the ‘green’ credentials of their products and services.

Published in December 2008, The Fair Trading Act Guidelines for Green Marketing aim to help businesses comply with the Fair Trading Act when making environment related claims.

Source: Talk Sustainability, 17 March 2009.

March 23, 2009 at 3:48 pm Leave a comment

Tough out the recession, communicate

By Tim Marshall

If in these tough times your organisation is questioning the value of communication, you should read this New Zealand Herald article by Tom Davies, director of professional support for the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.

With “the economic ice age upon us”, Tom outlines seven key focus areas that will enable companies to stay healthy and survive the recession.

As you might expect, Tom’s first three points involve money matters – improve your cashflow management, get more out of your working capital and consider debt restructuring.

But his next three points are heartland communications and public relations – look after your good customers, keep communicating with your staff and keep communicating with your other stakeholders.

Who would have expected an accountant to say three of the seven most important things a company should do in tough times involve communication and relationship management?

So if fellow PR people and communicators are looking for some independent support for the necessity of your work in bad times (as well as good) you could point any doubting Thomases to a Tom who doesn’t doubt your work is crucial.

March 23, 2009 at 3:21 pm 1 comment

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