Unspinning PR one dent at a time

PrunspunNearly 150 people crowded into a private room at the Slug & Lettuce pub in London’s Soho last night for PR Unspun, an event organized by Chinwag Live.

I was there as part of the panel which included Jacqui White, Online Communications Director, Edelman UK; Stephanie Bonnet, Director, Burson-Marsteller London; and Mark Rogers, CEO, Market Sentinel. The chair was Mike Butcher.

Everyone was there to talk about the Big Question for the PR profession – how is the PR industry adapting now that social media is heading for mainstream adoption?

Discussion ranged far and wide across this very broad topic, and I’m sure we only dented the surface. You’ll be able to judge that for yourself very soon as the event was recorded for a Chinwag podcast which will be available in a few days.

Apart from the specific subject matter being discussed, I found the event a terrific social gathering. So many new faces to get to know. I had some stimulating conversations with a number of interesting people. Great to see so many from PR agencies there, large and small.

And it was a pleasure to meet for the first time people like Ellee Seymour and FIR listener Mike O’Hara. Good, too, to see old friends like Stuart Bruce (who Twittered), Loyd Davis (who facilitated the podcast) and Dan Light (we worked together on the 300 virtual press conference last month).

Thanks to Deirdre Molloy and everyone at Chinwag for producing an outstanding get-together.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Ellee

    Hi Neville, It was certainly a pleasure to meet you too, albeit it briefly. Your photo doesn’t do you justice, btw.

    I do feel that all PR practitioners should be blogging if they are using the social media for clients, it is the only way to get a true feel for it. I tell my clients that they must make time for it by setting aside time in their diary, it should be listed as a daily job. If MPs like Nadie Dorries can write an outstanding blog (my favourite one written by an MP)
    http://www.dorries.org.uk/Blog.aspx then surely PR execs can too if they are promoting it professionally.

    I read a couple of Labour blogs today and came up with a nice story, I even signed up with facebook so I could access a campaign to oust Michael Meacher. What good fun this is.

  2. Stephanie Bonnet

    It was indeed quite a packed room and questions kept flowing in. What was very encouraging is to see that so many UK PR people are now sold on the idea of digital, something which was not that obvious only 12 to 18 months ago, in particular compared to other European markets.

    It was a great pleasure and honour to be speaking alongside you. Thank you very much for your insights.

  3. A PR Guy's Musings - Stuart Bruce

    Chinwag Live PR Unspun report…

    Last night’s Chinwag Live PR Unspun event was very well attended. Not much to add to Neville Hobson’spost asfor me it was mainly an opportunity to meet old and new friends and associates such as Neville, Lloyd Davies of Perfect…

  4. Notes from PR Unspun at middledigit.net

    […] Last night I went to the PR Unspun event laid on by Chinwag. Some great speakers (including Neville Hobson who had some great things to say), held together rather nicely by Mike Butcher and some really good little nuggets in there. But, on the whole felt all a bit “Yeah, Yeah”. All the questions were there but still no one seems to have any answers. Or they do but because they’ve spent time and money cracking the code, they won’t be willing to offer it up for free in a room full of PR people […]

  5. Mike O'Hara

    Hi Neville, it was great to meet you at the Chinwag event (and a shame I didn’t get a chance to speak with you some more).

    I thought there was some really useful information and insight that came out of the panel session and follow-up questions, and I really look forward to hearing the podcast of the event.

    On the subject of Second Life (which you may remember I asked you about) you might be interested to hear our interview with Glenn Fisher, Director of Marketing Programs at Linden Labs, which went out today on the B2B Marketing Podcast at http://www.b2bmarketingpodcast.com

    I find the whole area of Second Life fascinating, and I look forward to maybe meeting you at Coffee with Crayon one of these days (my Avatar’s name is Mike McKenna).

    Keep up the great work with the FIR podcast. Cheers.

  6. Dan

    Good to see you too Neville. Thanks for presenting some eminently digestible points of view to an audience of crudité-munching rabbits, hypnotised by the headlights of oncoming traffic. Next time we’ll subsidise Soho’s prohibitive parking costs and send you home with Scooterman.

  7. Ritch Sibthorpe

    Hi Neville, I hope all is well. Very much enjoyed the event and interesting to hear the views and insight of the panel. It would be great to hear more from you on the potential for virtual worlds, and Second Life in particular, for brands that are ready to take that particular step. I attended the Virtual Thirst press conference recently (or rather my avatar, Rikard Shilova, did..) and thought it worked very well indeed.

    On thing that occurs to me is that a collaborative approach between complimentary brands could be incredibly effective as the infrastructure in SL develops – with a view to creating entire cities, parks and venues packed with engaging experiences… Working in partnership with the wider SL community of course…

    Would be very interested to hear of any collaborative work in SL that you think has been particularly impressive so far…

  8. Form Function Emotion » Chinwag PR Unspun Event Conversations

    […] Better and less conversationally opinionated notes than mine are available at Neville Hobsons blog. Neville was part of a panel that included Jacqui White, Online Communications Director, Edelman UK; Stephanie Bonnet, Director, Burson-Marsteller London; and Mark Rogers, CEO, Market Sentinel, with Mike Butcher as chair. An excellent and well informed panel all at the top of their game. […]

  9. neville

    Thanks, everyone; clearly we all had an enjoyable experience!

    Ellee, I really want to meet you again for a proper chat. Re the photo, well, thanks. Must do something about that.

    Stephanie, a pleasure to meet you as well and hope to do so again.

    Crudite-munching rabbits, Dan? Heh!

    Ritch, good thoughts re brands and Second Life. I have something in planning re talking about that and related topics. Post about that here in this blog soon.

  10. Ellee

    Neville, I would be delighted to have a longer chat too. I would also like to learn more about Second Life. And I must start brushing up on citizen journalism as I have been given a nifty camera to record interviews for 18 Doughty Street and my blog. In fact, I have been invited to attend a seminar at the London School on Economincs on the impact this is having on the mainstream media by POLIS, the journalism and society think-tank, it is certainly making waves – and there is no going back.

    On the PR side, I am only taking on clients who use social media, it’s all beginning to happen for me now. The people I am working with want to have some influence globally for their product and share my enthusiasm for its effectiveness, they want PR to work differently, they want to see PR work with passion.

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