09 May 2013
Working in the technology industry, we all like to feel that
we're pretty well clued-up on the latest trends and on the
predictions for future trends. Indeed, if all you do is check out
the Gartner / IDC / Forrester predictions at the start of each year
then you'll have a pretty well-informed idea of what's going to be
big in tech in the next 3-5 years.
With this in mind we've all probably had a moment when something
which started out as a long-term bet in an analyst report, suddenly
became common knowledge or parlance in everyday life. For example,
'cloud' used to be the preserve of just the IT and B2B tech mags
and conversations between CIO - then suddenly Apple launched iCloud
and now it's bandied around in mainstream advertising campaigns for
just about every major IT vendor you possibly think.
Or what about social media - once just the domain of tech-savvy,
switched-on individuals, suddenly your Mum wants to be your friend
on Facebook, your Dad's LinkingIn with you and Twitter is awash
with Z-list celebs being paid £££s for tweeting how much they love
certain brands of shampoo...
These are the moments when tech goes mainstream.
I had a similar moment last week with 3D printing.
3D printing is one of those technologies that just seems too
incredible to be true, a science fiction pipe dream that could
never be reality. Yet little by little over the last 5-10 years
we've seen incredible advancement in the technology, increased
sophistication in what can be achieved and - perhaps most
importantly - massive reduction in the cost the equipment. Then
before you know it… Raj and Howard from the Big Bang Theory (yes I
watch the Big Bang theory, let's just accept it and move on) are
printing 3D miniature action figures.
Then, as if featuring on a prime time TV show wasn't enough to
prove that 3D printing technology has gone mainstream, the news
that 3D printing has been used to print a working gun certainly did
the trick! BBC,
Guardian and 250+ other news sites have covered the story in
the last 48 hours. And that leads me to the ultimate golden rule of
whether tech has gone mainstream… Coverage in the Daily Mail -
Texas anarchist group fires world's first 3-D printed gun made
entirely from plastic that can pass through airport metal
It's now just a matter of time until your Mum starts printing
doilies and your Dad starts knocking up 3D garden gnomes in his
3D printing | Leave comment
29 April 2013
I was having a little browse in a book shop in Reading on
Saturday and I noticed a book called
Life in Five Seconds: Over 200 Stories for Those With No Time
to Waste. The book described itself as 'being
about all of life (from famous people, historic moments and iconic
places to little everyday things like pizza) but with the useless
and boring parts stripped away'.
I have to say I was a little sceptical when I laid my eyes on
pages full of pictograms rather than short blocks of text but was
still drawn to the images. I soon realised that I was actually
really enjoying coming up with my own plot for important historic
The pictograms in the book are witty and provocative and I can
definitely see bringing it to a few dinner parties. I mean, who
wouldn't love a Pictionary session with a twist? I wonder if there
is a room for it in my work too.
How would my boss react if I prepared the next slide deck for a
new campaign idea in pictograms?
One thing that I did realise though is that it's worth giving
things a go even when I'm sceptical about them at first. There are
some really cool ways to engage with people - watch this space for
my next company meeting slide!
PR, , pictograms | 1 comment
16 April 2013
The awful events at the Boston Marathon last night yet again
proved how social networks are now genuine rivals to traditional
broadcast networks in spreading breaking news - however, this has
been known for a long time and we shouldn't be surprised by it any
However, one aspect becoming increasingly prevalent as more and
more brands get engaged on twitter, is that the preference for
scheduling tweets in advance has bred an unhealthy culture of 'out
of sight, out of mind'.
When news of the magnitude of last night is breaking, there
should really be no place on twitter for commercial, brand heavy
tweets - it looks insensitive and crass.
When setting up tweets to post out automatically, it's key that
the brand owners remain alert to breaking news, and don't assume
that scheduled is equal to 'completed'.
PR | Leave comment
02 November 2012
Pretty much everyone that's looked at Twitter/Facebook/anything
today knows, November 1st marks the start of an
important date in the fundraising world: Movember.
Men across the world have started the day with a fresh shave to
make way for a new sprouting of upper lip hair which cannot be
removed for a month. All in the name of a great cause - to raise
money in support of prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.
Steve Spencer and I are representing the Octopus Comms crew.
We've been discussing our hopes for the month ahead, and thought it
was worth sharing these with you all.
Octopede 1: Steve Spencer
Now looks like:
Thinks he'll look like:
More likely to look like:
Octopede 2: Sammy
Now looks like:
Thinks he'll look like:
You can keep track of our mo-gress (and donate) here: Sammy Jamieson,
Updates to follow.
, Movember, fundraising, prostate cancer, moustache, testicular cancer, octopus Comms | Leave comment
25 October 2012
Last week, a few of us PR folk hit good old Oxford town to meet
some hungry and ambitious graduates.
With the likes of Google, Procter & Gamble, and Samsung, we set out to introduce graduates to
the wonderful world of PR, marketing and advertising, and give them
an insight into what we do and why we are so brilliant.
We met an inspiring bunch of people, all eager to take that
initial and monumental step in their career. Even though we didn't
have a super shiny Samsung TV at our stand, we were still one of
the busiest and most buzzing exhibitors by far!
It was a real eye opener to gauge people's awareness and
knowledge of PR and find out what had spurred their interest and
curiosity in the industry.
Having studied a third world development and comms degree at
university, I wasn't really exposed to the industry until my final
year when I took a PR module. Even after that, I had never really
thought about pursuing it further as a career. But look at me now -
a full on tech PR gal! Who would have thought?
I urge graduates studying all kinds of subjects, from English to
history, to just take a look at PR and marketing and consider it as
a career choice. It is amazing the types of things you learn,
skills you develop and experiences you gain in this industry.
Not forgetting the opportunities you get to use your creative
flair and network with some amazing people. Of course, it may not
suit all tastes and won't be the right choice for many. But I
surely love it and think it's great.
12 July 2012
At the beginning of this year, Disruptive Analysis
Bubley set out on a novel approach to monetising his opinions
and research via twitter by establishing @DAPremium, a paid for
subscription model for his insight into the mobile industry. This
sits alongside his standard (free) feed @disruptivedean,
where he publishes other findings which will, he hopes, drive
traffic to the premium service.
To access the premium feed, users have to pay online and then
get accepted by Dean to follow him - it's a simple development of
Tweets" privacy setting.
It's such a brilliant model; I'm amazed more people /
organisations aren't doing it, (a Swedish charity, Stockholms
Stadsmission, which looks to address homelessness in the capital,
successfully trialled such a premium service last year
I spoke to Dean about his approach and he explained that he puts
more company-specific material behind the paywall as well as some
elements of his research, and for the subscription price
($100/quarter or $300/year), his premium followers have access to
pithier insight than on the free platform. Dean also uses the
platform to add value to people buying consulting services or
coming to his/Martin Geddes' workshops, and he protects the premium
tweets through terms and conditions banning any RTing or
forwarding, and also (where feasible) promises subscriber replies
to questions posed on the DAPremium feed.
Dean says the operation can be "clunky" to run and administer so
such a model would not work for those with thousands of followers,
(he takes the payments himself through PayPal, so authorisations
and ensuring the right people have access to the feed can be time
However, with over 50 people already signed up, even if they're
paying by the quarter, Dean is generating a healthy dollar return
per year in subscriptions. This is certainly nothing to be sniffed
at, given the reasons behind DAPremium being set up; (to quote Dean
from his blog) "Twitter is like tax - as an analyst, you have
to grit your teeth and do it, painful, time-consuming and
distasteful as it is. I end up spending time on Twitter that could
be more profitably spent writing posts on this blog, advising
clients or taking briefings. It adds cost, but brings little in the
way of value or revenue".
So what next for the feed? Dean says he'd like to turn it into a
community, although is mindful of the time that might take to
manage, but he's hopeful of it becoming more a forum than
I think it's a great way of protecting - and monetising - his IP
as an analyst, and is already proving successful. Despite a few
people speculating on the idea for a couple of years, no-one other
than Dean, from what I can see, has put it into practice, and it's
good to see it a success.
Others may want to sit up and take notice - this could catch
Chris Owen / @wonky_donky
, Twitter, premium feed | 1 comment
29 June 2012
Technology's probably never been so pervasive as it is
these days, so it's great to see our involvement in the UK tech
scene reflected by PR Week as we continue our climb up the
Tech league table. We're now officially the 6th biggest tech PR
business in the UK and the fastest growing out of the top 10,
which, in a market that's fast consolidating and continually
changing, is no mean feat.
We love technology, we know technology and it's where Octopus
Group started . Ten years on and the passion is still burning - and
the proof is in the pudding. That's down to clients putting
their reputation in our hands - clients like Cisco, Colt,
Computacenter, CSR, f5, Kcom, McAfee, Mimecast, SAP and
Silicon Valley Bank - to name a few!
Now, they say people buy from people, so it's no surprise that
we have the best in the industry. Astute, Brave, Hungry, True and
Together - that's us and that's our recipe for success. We hope
you'll join us!
, Octopus, PR Week Tech PR, League tables | Leave comment
28 June 2012
Every year when the
PR Week Tech league table is published, it's always a time for
reflection on the year before and where the industry is
The good news is Octopus, and our sister companies, had a
fantastic year and jumped to 6th in the table by
revenue. Not only that, but we were the fastest growing
agency in the top 10 which to us is always important. To celebrate
we've also been profiled this week, via my co-founder
Sandy, who was there on day one. He scrubs up well, even
though he is a self-confessed "gobshite" and will never build that
Like Sandy, I've always held the view that the technology sector
is a fantastic gateway for PR and a fantastic place to learn.
It moves faster than any other industry - it's exciting, it's
young, it's entrepreneurial, it's inherently creative. Where
else could companies of a couple of years old sell for
millions? It's also a place where young PR pros can build
their careers quickly and get a fantastic springboard into the
world of business, across any sector.
Octopus is a great example of this - after building a name for
technology in the early days we've gone on to work in energy,
automotive, financial services, professional services. Like
many of our tech clients, we've been entrepreneurial too and grown
from a company into a group with multiple brands targeting
different parts of different markets.
But for me it's less about 'technology' these days and more
about 'innovation'. I don't think I can remember seeing so many
great ideas in going about my work. Every week I'm meeting really
smart people with big ideas - from graduates to seasoned serial
entrepreneurs - who are all looking to build a name for themselves
and use us to help them tell their story. They don't define
themselves as in the technology sector; they just have an idea to
improve something, and it's very inspiring to see and be part
So well done Octopedes for another stonking performance and
here's to more great work, great campaigns - all with a liberal
dusting of innovation of course!
, Octopus, PR Week Tech PR, League tables | 2 comments
26 June 2012
Yes it ended in heartbreak again for England. Yes it
ended in penalty shootout woe again. Yes the years of hurt go on.
But this time, the morning after the night before felt strangely
England football team at
Auschwitz. Image from Google images.
Compared to South Africa 2010, there were no negative newspaper
headlines pointing blame at the manager or the players (except for
a few teasing one-liners directed at penalty flop Ashley Cole).
Twitter was awash with reflective, positive, and forward thinking
tweets - none of the usual 'what if' or 'if only' we have come to
associate with England.
England weren't expected to go far in Euro 2012; some even
predicted we wouldn't get out of the group. But, aside from the low
expectations, this mood following England's exit is largely down to
the way manager Roy Hodgson and the players have handled themselves
over the last few weeks. The FA has, for once, had a pretty
successful PR campaign around Euro 2012 - if we put the John
Terry/Rio Ferdinand drama to one side.
Refreshing is probably the word to use, and that word isn't
usually used in the same sentence as the FA or England. The
appointment of Hodgson two months ago was the first positive step
from the FA, giving the job to an Englishman after years with an
Italian at the helm. Then came the appointment of Gary Neville as
Hodgson's right hand man, which was welcomed and applauded by many
as a bit of a masterstroke by the FA.
England footballers have long been labelled - and rightly so -
for being overpaid and treated like kings, but one of Hodgson's
first acts was to scrap the lavish pre-Euro 2012 training camp to
Spain and take the players to rainy Manchester instead - another
move welcomed and praised by the media and fans alike.
Upon arrival in Poland and Ukraine, England stayed in the middle
of town, not locked away in a fortress or hidden from prying eyes
as they were in South Africa 2010. Hodgson encouraged the players
to mingle with fans outside the hotel and show that they are human
after all and not VIP movie stars. This is a new, open England it
seems, which is exactly what the media and fans have wanted for
The FA also organised trips for the squad to Auschwitz and the
Schindler factory, so that they could take in some of the country's
history and show that there is a more important world outside of
Hodgson has been one of the most honest England managers in
recent times. Answering probing questions with honesty rather than
ducking and diving as we've seen from his predecessors. This has
built up trust - a trust that has been missing for some time -
among the press and fans alike.
So Euro 2012 may have ended in defeat on the pitch, but off the
back of it, the last few weeks have been a success for the image of
the FA and England. There's very much a sense of England United,
and for that I doff my cap to Hodgson and the FA.
Looking forward to reading any of your thoughts on this in the
comments section below.
PR, Euro 2012 | 3 comments
04 May 2012
So PR Week's industry rankings are out and we all get a
bit of insight into what's been going on for the last 12 months.
Once again, the industry average is still short of double digit
growth which tells its own story.
For Octopus Group, this year's results mark another
milestone…we're officially a top 50
consultancy. On top of that, once again we've outperformed the
industry average by more than 100%.
That's great to see, but the fact that we've consistently
managed to outperform the industry and steadily move up the
rankings is far more significant. Whether the economy is sunny or
gloomy, Octopus Group delivers the goods! That's down to a
couple of fundamentals that define us.... hunger, commitment, hard
work and talented people. Very talented people!
So what does 26% growth
in PR fees achieve in 2012?
Well it means moving up five places from 51 to 46, but
actually this year there were 19 'new entries' in the top 50
(agencies that didn't enter last year…ahem). If we're measuring
like for like, that's the equivalent of a 25 place jump, which says
We all know the PR industry is going through a big change. In
our opinion, big, bold moves to embrace that change are the way to
navigate challenging times. That's why we've outperformed the
industry and this year - we plan to be even more courageous.
Watch this space....
, PR Week top150 2012 | Leave comment
site by rubbaglove
© Octopus 2010