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August 30th, 2012

Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand

Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand

After a 75-year run in print publication, The Dandy comic has finally been pressed to the limit. Publisher DC Thomson has announced that the comic will be evolving from a print edition to an online, tablet-ready format.  The last printed edition will appear on 4 December 2012, coinciding with the comic’s 75th anniversary.

I grew up reading Desperate Dan and Bananaman in The Dandy. I was also an avid reader of The Beano). And now that I work as a PR and digital communications professional (and not as the veterinarian or paleontologist that the eight year-old me had planned) I have cause to pause and reflect on the state of modern media consumption.

In the 1950s The Dandy had a circulation of over two million, but that has now plummeted to a distinctly unfunny 8,000. So how can publishers and media producers adapt to such change?  Well, by exploring and innovating, by trying new formats, and by testing digital campaigns to see how brands, advertisers and consumers want to interact over the web, mobile media and tablets.

As consumers we have all changed.  For example, from my viewpoint in media relations and PR, I have witnessed huge changes in what clients think of print coverage compared to digital coverage. Far from being the poorer cousin of print, digital coverage is now regarded as easier to share, to use across different  channels, and to drive more immediate calls to action.

To me, DC Thomson’s announcement is not so much about The Dandy’s demise but more about a new beginning.  The Dandy already introduced its iPad app earlier this year, no doubt due to internal anticipation of the printing press closing shop, as well as in response to the exponential growth of mobile device media consumption among youth and young adults. Just like its legions of readers, the comic is looking forward, not back.

So here’s to The Dandy – being alive and well on the digital newsstand for another 75 years to come.

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August 27th, 2012

Things you may not know about Covent Garden: London’s first public square

Things you may not know about Covent Garden: London’s first public square

A view of Covent Garden during lunch time.

We’re settling in at the new headquarters of Prompt London  in Covent Garden, and we are slowly learning more and more interesting facts about our new home.  It’s renowned for its pedestrianised public square that serves as home to the many street performers who entertain the constant flow of people exploring the area’s shops, cafes, market stalls and restaurants. The location of the current square used to be part of arable fields used to grow vegetables during the Middle Ages. It was known as the ‘convent garden’ due to the fact it was owned by monks of the local St. Peter convent in Westminster.

But the monks had all their land, including their vegetable field, taken away from them when King Henry VIII confiscated land belonging to the monasteries in 1540. The king transferred ownership of the land to the first Earl of Bedford, a man named John Baron Russell. Nearly 100 years later, in 1632, the fourth Earl of Bedford, Francis Russell, commissioned Inigo Jones, a famous architect of the time, to build luxury accommodations which he hoped would encourage wealthy tenants to occupy the area.

Jones was influenced by Italian architecture after he studied it for many years. He designed London’s first arcaded, public square based on his interpretation of Italian piazzas, surrounding it with a grid street plan and marking a significant moment in English architecture and town planning.

For more fascinating facts on London and our new home in Covent Garden, be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PromptLondon.

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August 20th, 2012

Hello, Twellow!

Hello, Twellow!

Imagine combining the outreach of Twitter with the organization of the Yellow Pages. With that idea in mind, say hello to Twellow 2.0, the updated version of the site originally launched in 2007.

Twellow is the premier directory service for Twitter, with over 31 million user profiles indexed and categorized throughout the site. This latest upgrade was driven by Twitter’s exponential growth. Mike Marr, the lead developer of Twellow, told WebProNews that the goal was: “cleanly displaying as much information…without providing that additional clutter you find through Twitter.”

The site pulls all public Twitter profiles into the directory; you could be in there without even knowing it. Tweets that are protected under Twitter’s privacy settings are not shared on the site. Twellow then automatically categorizes the Twitter accounts by keywords in each user’s short biography. This categorization is either hit or miss due to the automated process and how accurately the user’s bio is filled out. The option of self-categorizing your own profile is also available while registering for a Twellow account.

Twellow offers nearly 3,000 different categories to help users browse and follow others with ease. Categories range from Bedroom Accessories (which then subcategorizes into furniture, linens and cabinets), to Entertainment, which lists the Twitter accounts of actors and musicians like Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton.

Marr’s vision targets both individuals and businesses who want to easily find and follow those people who matter most to their particular vision. Twellowhood, an additional feature on the upgraded site, sifts through users by location, making it easier for Tweeters to find their neighbors.

For more information on the social media site, visit our Twellow profiles at www.twellow.com/PromptBoston or www.twellow.com/PromptLondon.

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August 15th, 2012

Things you may not know about Covent Garden #73: the home of The Muffin Man

Things you may not know about Covent Garden #73: the home of The Muffin Man

Do you know the Muffin Man? The Muffin Man? The Muffin Man. Do you know the Muffin Man, who lives on Drury Lane?”

Yes, I know the Muffin Man (the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man…) – or at least, I know where he lives.

Drury Lane is a famous street that serves as the eastern border for Covent Garden, the area in which Prompt has located its new London offices. It stretches from Aldwych to Holborn, and has evolved over the centuries from one of the worst slums in the capital, to the star-studded centre of the city’s theatre district.

As well as the address of the Muffin Man, Drury Lane is also home to the New London Theatre, and perhaps most famously, The Theatre Royal. The building you’ll see today, as you wander down Drury Lane to visit us here at Prompt (maybe with muffins?) is in fact the fourth Theatre Royal, built in 1812. It has since witnessed performances ranging from Ivor Novello to Monty Python, and is now entirely owned by darling of the West End musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Which brings us back to the Muffin Man. If you had only ever heard of Drury Lane thanks to that old nursery rhyme, and are now excited at the thought of it being a real place, then why not come and talk to us about your business. In return, maybe we’ll take you to meet someone special – after all, Baron Lloyd Webber is currently staging ‘Shrek, The Musical’ at the Theatre Royal, starring the Muffin Man himself, along with his much-loved gingerbread creation.

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Posted in Hazel Butters: Opinion, London, Prompt locations | Comments Off on Things you may not know about Covent Garden #73: the home of The Muffin Man

 

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August 13th, 2012

Not the Apple of our eye: Apple’s not so ‘genius’ adverts

Not the Apple of our eye: Apple’s not so ‘genius’ adverts

Apple’s latest line of adverts have received harsh criticism from tech geeks, with a number of people arguing that they make consumers look stupid and out of touch with the latest technology.

The series of videos were featured during the London Olympic Games. They showed an Apple Genius helping customers in various ‘mind boggling’ situations. Following consumer feedback, they were pulled – although they can still be found on You Tube.

As an Apple fan, I feel the adverts were supposed to be edgy and comedic and not taken seriously. But having to pull an advert shows that Apple seriously misjudged its audience on this occasion. While they didn’t offend me, I can see how they could be misinterpreted as patronising and condescending.

Here at Prompt, we’re always discussing how companies can be effective communicators, consistent and strike the right chord with its audiences. In these areas, and so many others, Apple is usually an outstanding leader, consistently ticking all those boxes – just think of how ground-breaking its 1984 commercial spoof of ‘1984’ was when it showed during that year’s Super Bowl to launch the Macintosh. Another classic is Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign which showed iconic personalities including Thomas Edison, John Lennon, Muhammad Ali and Jim Henson, accompanied by Kermit the Frog. It’s impossible to watch the adverts without your hairs standing on end.

Apple's Think Different ad

As consumers we have high expectation of Apple innovation in all areas, including its adverts. I’m sure this isn’t a case of one bad apple (ad) spoiling all the good ones.

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Posted in Apple, Boston, Copywriting, London, Media, Prompt locations, Technology | Comments Off on Not the Apple of our eye: Apple’s not so ‘genius’ adverts

 

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August 10th, 2012

Climbing the social ladder (metaphorically speaking of course) to a Covent Garden BBQ:

Climbing the social ladder (metaphorically speaking of course) to a Covent Garden BBQ:

With the Olympics quickly coming to a close, the friendly folk at Prompt London’s new Covent Garden office building decided that a good old fashioned BBQ would be the perfect way to celebrate all things great and British. With everyone everywhere getting behind Team GB, it’s a fantastic time to be in London.

Let it not be said that we at Prompt London are party poopers, so as the yesterday came to a close, we put down our pens, closed our laptops and went to see what all the excitement was about.

Although the climb to our office roof deck wasn’t the easiest, by the time we reached the party, we were welcomed by a glorious green haven, fantastic weather, and a much needed drink – what a sight for sore eyes. And while the party was not thrown in our honour, it turned out to be the perfect welcome to our new office community. We were able to network with other building tenants and discuss everything from the Olympics to business, while chowing down on some tasty burgers and beverages. Our new WC2 address has put us right in the middle of the hustle and bustle – professionally and socially – which has turned out to be a sumptuous surprise for us Covent Garden newbies.

And even though we don’t expect a roof-top BBQ every Thursday, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our first full week in the Prompt Covent Garden office.

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August 9th, 2012

Prompt begins work with The Big Studio

Prompt begins work with The Big Studio

While Prompt is known for working with clients all around the world – from Los Angeles to the Middle East – we also enjoy collaborating with clients who are located in the same neighborhood; and our newest client is no exception.

Prompt Communications wins account with The Big StudioThe Big Studio, located in the same Kendall Square neighborhood as Prompt Boston, is an innovative consulting group that helps companies use digital, web, and mobile technologies to generate fresh ideas, drive product innovation and meet business goals. The Big Studio and its hand-picked team have worked with Fortune 500 companies, leading brands and household names.

Prompt will work with The Big Studio on a US public and media relations program including a highly focused media outreach campaign, content creation, and social media support.

The Big Studio’s co-founder, Robert Gauvin, said: “We searched for a public relations firm that would understand the style of innovative, outside-of-the-box services we offer, and after high-quality recommendations, we found our solution with Prompt. This team is collaborative and eager to grasp the concept of design-thinking, even hosting numerous face-to-face brainstorm sessions itself. We’re confident that its experience in technology, along with its professionalism and enthusiasm, will help The Big Studio to deliver its message of true innovation.”

The Prompt Boston team is excited to be working with a company that provides and delivers on such a non-traditional business offering, and has already begun working with top-name press on coverage and editorial opportunities.

For more information on Prompt winning The Big Studio, read the entire press release here. And to learn how Prompt Communications can increase your company’s public visibility, email info@prompt-communications.com.

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August 9th, 2012

Prompt appointed by innovative design strategy company The Big Studio

Prompt appointed by innovative design strategy company The Big Studio

The Big Studio has appointed Prompt Communications to conduct its US public and media relations programs. Prompt will work on a highly focused media outreach campaign, as well as delivering content creation pipelines for targeted social media platforms.

Prompt Communications wins account with The Big StudioHeadquartered in Cambridge, MA, The Big Studio provides digital, web and mobile technology solutions for retail, finance and service companies, including Fortune 500 businesses keen to connect business goals with customer needs. The Big Studio does this through untraditional, inventive techniques, ranging from comprehensive research methods to hand-picked innovation teams for each project.

Founded in 2009 by Robert Gauvin and Michael Tuccinard, The Big Studio is a team of talented, experienced professionals that includes behavioral economists, social strategists and concept designers. Together they generate fresh ideas through tactics including role-playing, continuous sketching, in person interviews, co-location and customer behavior analyses.

Robert Gauvin, The Big Studio’s co-founder, said: “We searched for a public relations firm that would understand the style of innovative, outside-of-the-box services we offer, and after high-quality recommendations, we found our solution with Prompt. This team is collaborative and eager to grasp the concept of design-thinking, even hosting numerous face-to-face brainstorm sessions itself. We’re confident that its experience in technology, along with its professionalism and enthusiasm, will help The Big Studio to deliver its message of true innovation.”

Prompt is a digital public relations consultancy with offices in London, Boston and San Francisco. The company has gained enviable experience in the technology industry since its founding in 2002, working with clients such as Dell Compellent and Oracle Corporation, as well as many emerging technology companies.

Hazel Butters, CEO of Prompt Communications, said: “The Big Studio breaks every traditional stereotype attached to design technology and offers unparalleled services to help businesses connect with their customers. With both Prompt Boston and The Big Studio based in the Cambridge technology community, we are thrilled to be working alongside the company’s founders, who each stem from fascinating backgrounds. Through Prompt’s transparent media outreach approach, The Big Studio’s ground-breaking digital solutions will gain the public awareness they deserve.”

About The Big Studio
The Big Studio works with companies striving to use digital, web and mobile technologies to generate fresh ideas, drive product innovation and meet business goals to connect more effectively with their employees, customers and other stakeholders. Its clients include retail, finance and service companies, including Fortune 500 businesses. For more information, please visit www.thebig-studio.com

About Prompt Communications
Founded in January 2002, Prompt Communications is a communications agency with offices in London, Boston and San Francisco. Prompt offers expertise across all marketing disciplines, teaming its consultants’ extensive knowledge of technology with experience of pan-European and American media, analyst and marketing campaigns. Using highly targeted marketing, PR, analyst relations, social media and corporate copywriting initiatives, Prompt helps its clients gain the visibility needed to achieve their business objectives.  www.prompt-communications.com

Media Contact:
Prompt Communications
Jessica Branco
Tel: 617-401-2715 / +44 208 996 1650
press@prompt-communications.com

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August 7th, 2012

Things you may not know about Covent Garden #61: the birthplace of the sandwich

Things you may not know about Covent Garden #61: the birthplace of the sandwich

Mmmmmm... sandwiches...

As we settle in and get to know the area around our new UK office, we’re working our way around the huge number of sandwich shops, bakeries and cafés in the neighbourhood. And what a choice – on our doorstop there’s everything from French-influenced chains including Le Pain Quotidien, Patisserie Valerie, Paul and the Prompt-appreciated Prêt à Manger, to friendly well-stocked independents such as Scott’s Sandwich Bar and Notes Music & Coffee. There’s cake, coffee and sandwiches suitable for every taste bud.

But did you know that Covent Garden lays claim to being the first place where a ‘sandwich’ was ever served? In 1762 John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, a keen gambler, is believed to have ordered a ‘slab of meat’ between two pieces of bread at an exclusive society club called the Beef Steak Club, at the Shakepeare’s Head pub (sadly destroyed in the Fire of 1808). Apparently the bread was to protect the Earl’s hands, and so his cards, from the grease of the meat.

Today, as I type this at my lunch, the sandwich still serves the same basic purpose. Although I don’t have a pack of cards to hand, I can scribble notes about that press launch, take calls from a client, tweet and type without getting any grease onto my keyboard. It’s just a shame that the Earl isn’t around in 2012 – he may have created a foodstuff that didn’t leave crumbs in the keyboard…

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August 2nd, 2012

Prompt opens in Covent Garden!

Prompt opens in Covent Garden!

It is with great excitement that Prompt London announces its new home in central London, based in Covent Garden. We could not be happier about our new digs. As we’re unpacking boxes, we’re in love with the more urban vibe and know our clients will be as well.

Our central location is (dangerously) close to a bevy of boutique shops, pubs, restaurants and entertainment — the options are brilliant and lunchtimes are never going to be the same again. This spot is also in close proximity to Soho and its many publishing houses and creative agencies, putting Prompt right where the action is. Covent Garden tube station just around the corner, is connected to the Piccadilly Line, and we’re just a short fun walk from Leicester Square, Charing Cross, Embankment or Holborn.

To me, our latest London move is a significant milestone for Prompt. Over the past decade in business, we’ve seen plenty of evolutions in technology, shifts in the economy and changes in the style of services that clients expect. We’re excited to see the modern drive for a blend of media relations, public relations, copywriting, analyst relations and social media marketing. We are also relishing the increase in both early-stage tech companies and world-leading established companies that we work with, as well as new areas of business including green tech, social media training, plus growth in some fun non-tech areas.

At the same time, on the back of the Queen’s Jubilee, Wimbledon and now with the Olympics well underway, London certainly has a celebratory vibe – complemented by a series of discussions on the role of tech and innovation around the development of the capital’s Tech City.  As we expand once again in this city, we’re excited to be part of its debates, discussions and economy.

So, we very much hope to see you in the neighborhood soon! For once, we’ll be the ones getting a kick out of being the new kid in (central) town!

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