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Category: Our views


Happy birthday to the pioneer of business communications

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8th June

Pioneers have been defined as those who open up new areas of thought or development. Few deserve this title as much as Sir Timothy “Tim” Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. Being that it is his birthday today, we thought it only right to commemorate this with a look at how this man has changed society and helped in the development of business communications today.

Unlike many of today’s fat-cat corporations, Tim made his ideas freely available to the public, taking out no patents nor asking for royalties. Instead the launch of the first website in August 1991 provided visitors with the information they needed to create their own websites. Tim wanted his ideas to be used and adopted by anyone and everyone.

As if it was a member of the family, many have watched the World Wide Web grow in … Read More »


Beware the Triple Dip

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26th April

0.3 per cent. In most people’s finances it’s not much of anything, a fraction of a fraction. Unless, that is, you’re talking about the GDP of the world’s sixth largest economy and the reputation of a government.

Thursday’s news that the UK economy has grown by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 is no big shakes in terms of the nation’s finances. We all know the economy’s bumping along – shrinking a bit one quarter, growing a bit the next. Generally struggling to recover from the global banking meltdown which caused this mess in the first place.

But in terms of the credibility of the Chancellor and the Government, it’s big news and, following the loss of our AAA credit rating, you can bet George Osborne was mighty relieved to hear it. Watch his interviews following the news – … Read More »


Puppets on a string? The reality of pop marketing

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27th March

It’s interesting to hear the views of 1960s pop star Sandie Shaw, who this week told a government committee that it’s easier for musicians from privileged backgrounds to prosper in today’s music industry.

Of course there are many cases of working-class musicians who have made it (and continue to make it) in the competitive world of pop. Adele and Dizzee Rascal, for example, show us that great talent knows no barriers.

But it’s certainly true that launching a successful music career now requires a great deal of marketing, PR and funding.


Happy Valentine’s Day

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14th February

Happy Valentine’s Day, Client. Yours, an Admirer.

Sorry, who is this?

You’re not meant to ask. It’s Valentines’ Day.

But I’m asking.

Oh, all right then. I’m the Agency.

And you’re doing what? Wishing me happy Valentine’s Day?

Yes.

Why?

Because I, well, you know.

What?

I love you, and stuff.

You love me? But you disagree with me all the time.

Not all the time. Just sometimes.

What about that time I asked you to focus on our USP, and you said no?

That was different.

Why?

It wasn’t a USP. We’ve been through this. Sometimes we’re right.

Sometimes.

But it doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

Isn’t that a double negative? I thought you people were against that sort of thing.

You got me. Yes, OK. But I do. Really.

Really?

Yes.

Well, if that’s the case, why did you push that last campaign idea so hard?

It was brilliant.

In what sense was it brilliant? Clever, yes. Witty, yes. But where was … Read More »


Is it really all over for brand Armstrong?

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1st February

The Lance Armstrong doping scandal has been massive news in sport – one of the biggest global stars confessing to being a drugs cheat was depressing, if unsurprising, for cycling and its fans.

But for most who watched the Oprah Winfrey interview, the overriding impression was that it was all a little contrived, lacking in sincerity and with an agenda behind it.

So what was that agenda? Why did Armstrong choose now to confess?

Arguably, it was damage limitation. With the doping authorities circling above Armstrong and with the truth inevitably coming out, the damage to his global brand threatened to be crippling.

There’s more at stake here than the reputation of Armstrong the cyclist – after all most people have suspected his guilt for a while now.

There’s his Livestrong Foundation, which has generated more than $500 million of funds to support cancer sufferers … Read More »


How to perform in front of the media

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21st December

How do you perform when you’re in the spotlight so you come out unscathed at worst and – at best – a media star?

The problem is it’s the wrong question. Media interviews aren’t just about performance. There are two Ps that come before it. The second is practice. And the first, and most important, is preparation.


What makes a good press release?

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3rd December

There are several answers to this question. Some are blindingly obvious, and some less so. But since it would be wrong to make assumptions about people’s knowledge, I’m going to throw them all together in a list, and hope I neither patronise nor baffle anyone.


The red squiggle will not save you

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2nd October

Hurrah for spell-checking software! It makes life so much easier, right?

Er, no. It doesn’t, or at least, not always.


Innovation is the answer to industry decline

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14th September

The marketing guru Peter Drucker said that “The enterprise that does not innovate inevitably ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present…the decline will be fast.”

We all know of famous examples where that decline has happened. Most recently, Eastman Kodak springs to mind – the company with a 131-year history that filed for bankruptcy in January. In their case, it looks like their challenge wasn’t figuring out new technology, but figuring out the business model and new ways to create, capture and deliver value.

In my business, we’re very much drawn to pioneering companies that like to innovate and deliver value.

One particular example is our client CFH, the South-West’s print and mail specialists. CFH was once regarded as part of the print manufacturing industry – an industry that has gone through rapid decline. But their focus … Read More »


Why does so much business writing suck?

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5th September

We’ve all heard umpteen times that communication – external or internal – is the lifeblood of any business. Yada yada. But if that’s really true, how come so many people in business, from top to bottom, are so bad at written communication?

In 15 years as a corporate writer and editor, I’ve met countless execs who are very impressive face to face; they get their message across with finesse. Yet ask them to put their ideas on paper, or on the web, and it’s a different story – even for those with a background in marcomms.

Maybe it’s because, since leaving school, no-one has ever given them any pointers. Besides, what we learned to do at school, as we inched painstakingly towards an essay word count or tried to show examiners how terribly clever we were, is just plain counterproductive in the … Read More »





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Happy birthday to the pioneer of business communications

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Beware the Triple Dip

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