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Never let a good crisis go to waste

29 January, 2019 | Emily Scaife

We’re told that ‘it’s good to talk’ but farmers haven’t always had the best reputation when it comes to communication (the ‘get off my land!’ stereotype has proved difficult to shake off). But, in truth, the farming industry has stepped up its game when it comes to communication in recent years. Not since the Second World War have farmers enjoyed such popularity.

The BBC’s Countryfile is watched by around 4.5 million viewers every week. Open Farm Sunday – an initiative  that encourages farmers to invite families through their gates to experience a real-life working farm for one day every year –  welcomed 2.2 million people across the UK in 2018. And the rise of the artisan farm shop has brought greater awareness of where the food on our table actually comes from.

Calling out the Arm Chair Critics

08 January, 2019 | Matthew Willis

You know the story. An unfortunate CEO forgets that the mic is switched on. A pensioner’s complaint is met with profanity by a disgruntled customer service rep, and goes viral on social media. A meaty substance of dubious origins is found in a TV dinner.

Just some of the myriad reputational traps a modern business might encounter.

What comes next is equally predictable: an avalanche of armchair critiques from crisis ‘experts’. Ten Tips for Avoiding PR Disasters. What Every Customer Service Team Needs to Know to Avoid Bad Headlines. Nine Lessons from Hamster-Gate.

Brexit: Could a general election be the only solution left for business?

20 November, 2018 | Darren Ennis

Politicians like nothing more than an election or a fudge. But business does not.

CEOs require as much certainty as possible, so it was not surprising that most business leaders led by the CBI’s Carolyn Fairbairn welcomed the draft Brexit deal while the majority of politicians were throwing their toys out of the pram, resigning or calling for a vote of no confidence in Theresa May — triggering the real possibility of a general election.

Tired of London, but not of life

16 October, 2018 | Kathryn Bowditch

A man who is tired of London is tired of life said Samuel Johnson. A philosophy I fully bought into when I first arrived in Bloomsbury as an eager undergraduate determined to shake-off my small country town upbringing.

Fast forward 20 odd years and here I am heading off to the PR Week Awards with my Fourtold colleagues hoping to pick up the award for Best Agency outside of London. We may or may not win. There’s some stiff competition, proving what I am sure PR Week was hoping to show when it introduced the award this year. That the M25 is just a very busy road, not a barrier to great thinking and communications.

Talk matters when it’s the harder option

02 October, 2018 | Adam Powell

Companies frequently get a bad rap for ducking tough issues and trying to ignore areas of controversy. So it’s only fair that those who do step up get the credit.

When Bayer Crop Science bought Monsanto for $63 billion it knew it was taking on some tough reputational issues, not least the issue of glyphosate. It is the main ingredient in the world’s most widely used weed-killer and a red rag to a bull for many activists and campaigners. 

KSI vs Logan Paul – is corporate comms late to the YouTube party?

31 August, 2018 | Clem Silverman

When news reported two social media celebrities settled a dispute with a highly lucrative boxing bout broadcast via a pay-per-view stream on YouTube last week, I must admit I’d never heard of them. The failure to have these guys on my radar probably tells you more about my age and YouTube channel subscriptions than anything else.

 

Ready for your Video Prime Time? Using YouTube in Digital Advocacy.

09 August 2018 | Frederique Luca

Video is a creative and effective tool for trade associations, corporations and NGOs to communicate and engage with their communities. This is the first of a three-part series that looks at creating or enhancing your video strategy using YouTube as your main channel. 

YouTube has already moved from a ‘nice-to-have’ to an essential channel for most organisations. But smart, strategic planning is needed to move beyond measuring the success of video in terms of subscribers, likes and views to actually delivering on business, reputation or policy goals.

 

Where next for the Daily Mail after Paul Dacre’s departure?

07 June 2018 | Adam Powell

I’d bet good money that Paul Dacre is the only national newspaper editor that most people outside of journalism and the news bubble can name.

His name is synonymous with The Daily Mail and the phrase ‘Marmite’ is too mild to describe him. He made the Mail the most feared and influential paper in the UK. And now he’s going.

Coca-Cola, Michelin and a shared spirit of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité?

12 May 2017 | Adam Powell

The new CEO of Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, has axed the post of Chief Marketing Officer and called on staff to take more risks and not fear making mistakes. Meanwhile Michelin is running a ‘trust experiment’ to reinvigorate its employees after years of paternalistic micro-management.

Mapping and spreading influence

31 March, 2017 | Ali Fisher

Networks matter; whether under attack by a hyper-agile network of cyber-activists using the latest digital media, or needing to convey information to employees, the ability of organizations to identify and visualize meaningful networks can have a significant impact on their success in strategic communications.

What comes first? Content or clicks?

21 March, 2017 | Rhodri Cole

At a media briefing in London this week, GQ’s online editor and its engagement editor gave the audience a peek-behind-the-curtain, sharing insight on how and why the magazine puts great value on exclusivity and escapism for its readers.

The case for organisational restructuring of communications functions

15 February, 2017 | Debbie Parriss 

Do you have the confidence that every message and experience that customers have with your organisation rings true and leaves a positive impression? Can you rely on your employees to reinforce and echo the sentiment and content of your marketing and PR programmes? Does your internal audience even know and understand the messages you are trying to deliver externally and if so, would they support these?

A New Year and New Tones in Storytelling

9 January, 2017 | Amy Johnson

Headlines are full of words like fake, post-truth and fabricated. Politicians and policies are dividing public opinion – and the public. Tools of diplomacy being rewritten overnight.

Changes abound. And it seems that this New Year, comms professionals face a fresh challenge: sharing information in a way that is relevant, compelling, ‘entertaining’ …. and pre-defended.

How to be meaningful in a world full of content

13 December, 2016 | Rhodri Cole

The Economist was founded in 1843 as a publication to promote free trade, in particular to advance the repeal of the Corn Laws (measures enforced in the UK in the 19th century which imposed restrictions and tariffs on imported grain). Today its editorial policy has broadened somewhat and the publication enjoys a worldwide readership of some 1.3 million people. The newspaper has been published on a weekly basis since its foundation but, thanks to today’s online world, it now posts blogs and reports more frequently.

You have to be a good listener to be an effective PR consultant

22 November, 2016 | Debbie Parriss 

I think there’s a bit of a misconception in the world of consulting: that you have to be vocal, assertive and instantly know all the answers to all your clients’ problems in order to be truly successful.

Should CEOs tweet?

14 October, 2016 | Matthew Willis

As the profiles and personalities of our leaders become ever more important assets in corporate reputation, the question on everybody’s lips is: should they jump into social media? Should they tweet? Or should they create and maintain any other social media profile you care to name?

The answer is yes, they should have an account. The real question is how will they use it. 

The connection between emotions and effective advertising

15 September, 2016 | Amy Johnson

The connection between emotions and effective advertising has always been clear. How we react to, engage with, and connect to brands is a capability we can’t deny, lodged deep within our brains. I’m no neuroscientist, but it’s not difficult to understand the link. And it’s always intrigued me.

From boardroom to shop floor: why spread the message?

17 August, 2016 | Rhodri Cole

While trying to get my foot in the door in the field of communications and PR, I balanced gaining work experience in my chosen sector (in a charity and major news organisation) with working in an operational role within a major retail business.

Brexit. Now what? The Top 5 priorities for communication teams.

20 July, 2016 | Matthew Willis

On 23 June the UK rattled Europe and the world as it voted to leave the EU. The result has sent shock waves through the politics and markets on both sides of the Channel.

The show must go on

24 June, 2016 | Amy Johnson

On the night of the “Brexit” vote, I stayed in a Brussels hotel just next to Berlaymont. When I turned in on Thursday night, the results of the vote were not clear. The last thing I saw through my window was a television crew doing a stand-up. By the time I woke up, the results were decisive.

In the right place, at the right time

3 June, 2016 | Amy Johnson

Yesterday I attended the European Business Summit in Brussels in support of one of our clients. Held annually in Brussels, EBS is geared to reach the business community. It’s where business, policy and civil society meet, say the organisers.

Employee Engagement – on trend or heading out of fashion?

12 October, 2015 | Matthew Willis

A few recent experiences have caused me to reflect on the concept of ‘employee engagement’.

The first was this excellently written critique by Larry Myler in Forbes. I’d heartily recommend reading it for yourself, but would summarise it as a cautionary tale of businesses that get so wrapped up in managing the process of engagement, that they forget to concentrate on actually engaging people. Not seeing the wood for the trees, if you like…