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September 10th, 2013

aPriori signs new European PR contract with Prompt

aPriori signs new European PR contract with Prompt

International agency to continue to drive European media relations for PCM innovator

10 September 2013 Prompt has been appointed by enterprise product cost management software specialist aPriori to run targeted 2014 European media campaigns covering Britain, France and DACH (Germany, Switzerland and Austria).

Headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts, aPriori develops and markets enterprise product cost management software to reduce the costs of products both post- and pre-production. aPriori Product Cost Management software platform is the first solution of its kind that allows companies to maximize savings throughout the development and manufacturing stages. The software provides real-time product cost assessments, enabling discrete manufacturers and product companies to make informed decisions to drive down product costs. aPriori helps world class manufacturing corporations stay on budget and reduce excess spending. The company recently announced $6 million in additional funding on the back of a record financial year which included annual revenue growth of 84% and a 62% increase in customers alongside a fifth year of 90% customer renewals.

Rick Burke, VP of Marketing for aPriori, said: “In Prompt we feel we have found a public relations company that matches our own personality. Together we are goal focused and strategic, targeting relevant media audiences in key territories, and concentrating on very specific markets. Prompt has understood our ambitions to produce some excellent and metric-based results to date including opinion pieces, interviews and coverage in core automobile, aerospace and manufacturing press. We now look forward to continuing our momentum, press coverage and sales-focused PR activities in 2014.”

Prompt is a PR consultancy that has gained significant experience in the technology industry with PR, copywriting and marketing clients from early stage technology companies to global organisations such as Dell and Oracle Corporation. The company also offers early stage companies an introduction to PR with packaged services called ‘First Byte’ with sales-focused, ‘no surprises’ PR, thought leadership, media coverage and sales-related content.

Hazel Butters, CEO, Prompt said: “aPriori is a unique company that provides a high quality product with huge value for any businesses looking for an innovative way to make more informed manufacturing and sourcing decisions that drive significant cost out of products. Rick and his team are great to work with – and they’re incredibly focused, providing our team with the goals and objectives essential for effective, results-driven PR. We very much look forward to continuing our work with aPriori into 2014.”

About aPriori
aPriori software and services generate hard-dollar product cost savings for discrete manufacturing and product innovation companies. Using aPriori’s real-time product cost assessments, employees in engineering, sourcing and manufacturing make more-informed decisions that drive costs out of products pre- and post-production. With aPriori, manufacturers launch products at cost targets, maximize savings in re-work projects and never overpay for sourced parts.
www.apriori.com

About Prompt Communications

Founded in January 2002, Prompt Communications is a communications agency with European offices in London and US offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. Prompt Communications offers expertise across all marketing disciplines, teaming its consultants’ extensive knowledge of start-ups, technology market 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 they need to achieve their business objectives, from increasing sales to enhancing reputation with stakeholders.
www.prompt-communications.com

Media Contact:
Jackie Fraser | Prompt
Tel: +44 845 053 9121 | +1 617 401 2717
press@prompt-communications.com

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Posted in News, Prompt news, Technology | Comments Off on aPriori signs new European PR contract with Prompt

 

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March 21st, 2013

The UK Budget (a man called George joins Twitter)

The UK Budget (a man called George joins Twitter)

You may have missed it (if you live on another continent or happen to live in Britain without access to a TV/radio/the internet) but yesterday was the UK budget, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announces the annual taxation, spending and budgetary plans to the British public. If you don’t know George, you may remember him as the man who was booed at the Paralympics in response to the UK Government’s heavy cuts to disability benefits.

Wednesday was also, quite bravely, George’s first day on Twitter (check him out @George_Osborne), which resulted in a huge number of, er, let’s say less-than-flattering and rather strongly worded tweets directed at the Chancellor. He’s not been discouraged though, and has now stated on a British TV interview this morning that he wants to get more followers than his Labour counterpart Ed Balls (@EdBallsMP).  As things stand, George Osbourne has 34,717 followers at this moment (after a momentous four tweets) while Ed Balls has 78,006 followers (after 3,000+ tweets).

Of course, followers don’t mean that people like you, agree with you, or even want to listen to you.  Twitter is a very powerful way to communicate; while followers are an indication of some level of influence, it’s also important to consider reactions — in the form of retweets, replies and mentions.  To get a clearer outlook on how an individual is regarded, you need to analyze sentiment and go beyond keywords by interpreting irony, sarcasm and humour (there was a lot of each of these in reaction to George and his handful of tweets).

One of my favourite tweets was from comedian David Schneider (who gained a lot more retweets than George):

David Schneider Twitter

From a press perspective, the London regional paper, the Evening Standard, kind of stole the headlines. Even before George had stood up to make his speech, the newspaper had gone to press with a front page that detailed the key points of the budget. Poor George had to make the speech with Ed Balls standing opposite him in the Houses of Parliament, waving a copy of the newspaper.

Daily Mail

Though the most disturbing front page goes to the Daily Mail, which, in a supportive gesture to reflect how the budget mirrored Margaret Thatcher’s core conservative values, mocked up this montage on its Thursday-edition front page, using inspiration from Thatcher’s famous ‘This Lady’s not for turning’ speech.

 

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Posted in Hazel Butters: Opinion, London, Social Media, Twitter, UK press | Comments Off on The UK Budget (a man called George joins Twitter)

 

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December 13th, 2012

You say December 13, I say 13 December

You say December 13, I say 13 December

December 12 Prompt CommunicationsDate formats. Is it 13 December today, or December 13? Working as a transatlantic PR and copywriting team, we know that the accepted format is largely decided by which side of the Atlantic you happen to be working on. While PromptBoston would say December 13, PromptLondon would always use 13December (but let’s not call the whole thing off).  Add the year too, and PromptBoston would say December 13, 2012 while PromptLondon would use 13 December 2012 (note the lack of comma).

One of the first things we ask anyone joining the Prompt team, wherever they are based, is to get used to writing the month part of the date out in full, so as to avoid confusion on reports, editorial trackers, client updates, internal planning documents and communications generally. “What do you mean America is going to celebrate independence on 7/4/2013? Really? In early April? That seems wrong?”  “No, Saint David’s Day (Patron Saint of Wales, if anyone is wondering) isn’t on 3 January, I said it was on 1/3/2013, and I’ll be donning my daffodil and making cawl on the first of March.”

The largest slice of the world’s population uses the date format that we’re familiar with in Britain – the majority of Europeans, Asians, North Africans, Latin Americans and Australasians use this ‘little-endian’ approach, beginning with the smallest measurements of time (day, then month, then year). The reverse, ‘big-endian’ format, is preferred most notably in China, Japan, some neighbouring Pacific states, and a handful of Eastern European countries. It is also part of the international ISO standard. The ‘middle-endian’ format (month, day, year) is used almost exclusively in the North America, with the exception of Belize, as far as we know. However, as a Brit who has spent a lot of time in America, I can still see logic in the American approach – the month comes first because it changes less frequently than the day, then you just add the specific date and top it off with the year.

Whichever format you are used to or see as the most logical (please tell us, we’d love to hear your opinions), we all at least get to write the date format the same way once a month (and yesterday brought the further novelty of the year matching too – 12/12/12).

Over the upcoming seasonal break (in between encouraging my British family members to drink eggnog while arguing over Trivial Pursuit), I’m going to spend some time trying to figure out why the date format flips in its journey across the Atlantic. Should we blame George Washington or King George III? Perhaps we can point the finger at Jonathan Swift? In the meantime, please don’t even get me started on why we drive on different sides of the road

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Posted in Boston, Hazel Butters: Opinion, London, Opinion, Prompt locations | Comments Off on You say December 13, I say 13 December

 

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November 14th, 2012

Next stop, e-tickets: Boston’s commuter rail gets digital

Next stop, e-tickets: Boston’s commuter rail gets digital

As followers could sense from our tweet sent out earlier this week, PromptBoston is looking forward to the latest innovation stemming from the MBTA – a smartphone digital ticketing system.

Image of the MBTA commuter railFor those outside of the bay state, MBTA is an acronym for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the company in charge of Boston metro’s public transportation. Want to sound really Bostonian next time you’re in Beantown? Then just refer to the subway system as ‘the T’, common city slang for ‘the train’.

The implementation of a digital ticketing system makes the MBTA the first major US commuter rail to offer passengers a paperless alternative, according to Boston.com. Coincidentally, a British mobile-ticketing agency is the developer behind the historical move – here’s looking at you, PromptLondon!

On Monday, commuter rail riders at North Station were able to purchase and display tickets on their smartphones. South Station regulars will be able to do the same after Thanksgiving, meaning pesky paper passes will have to do for another week or so.

In my opinion, the move means great news for both the MBTA and commuters in general. Boston.com reported that the option of digital passes will eliminate the handling of nearly $20 million in cash, meaning a faster collection process for conductors and service members. E-tickets will also help cut back on littering – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen expired passes tossed onto the floor of the commuter rail.

Smartphone userFor commuter rail riders, the digital upgrade will reduce time spent waiting in lines at ticket windows or automated machines, and eliminate the hassle of digging for loose change in pockets and purses when the conductor comes around to collect.

The transition to digital seems like a no brainer – after all, in today’s world, who doesn’t have a smartphone? To try the e-ticketing out for yourself, download the MBTA mTicket app available in both Apple and Android stores.

For the latest in Boston happenings and tech news, follow us on Twitter – and why not browse through our feed on your smartphone while waiting for the next train to arrive?

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Posted in Boston, Communications consultancy opinion, Innovation, Prompt locations, Technology, Twitter | Comments Off on Next stop, e-tickets: Boston’s commuter rail gets digital

 

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November 2nd, 2012

Can I get some PR with my coffee?

Can I get some PR with my coffee?

Earlier in the week, one of our favorite neighbors in CIC, CEOExpress, sent us a link to this story about British department store Debenhams offering a ‘plain English coffee menu’, or a list of drinks that describe caffeinated goodness in the simplest possible terms.

It prompted (geddit?) much discussion in our Boston, London and San Francisco offices, and across the Atlantic, as from @PromptLondon to @PromptBoston we have varied coffee drinking tastes. Debenham PR coffee menu

From a copywriter that, regardless of the menus in coffee shops, always orders a black coffee and not an Americano – because if he does he is then asked if he wants milk.  He says a black coffee is a black coffee:  it’s direct and descriptive.  Although if he wants an espresso, he’ll order an espresso, as that’s what it is called, and the most understandable term for what he wants.   Meanwhile we have Boston-based PRs that love the range of lattes available at Voltage, the awesome local coffee shop near the CIC. Some of our favorites at Voltage are the ‘Paper Plane’ (cardamom-flavored and rosewater), ‘Atticus Finch’ (vanilla with burnt sugar) and ‘Beyond the Sea’ (caramel with a hint of sea salt).

Then there’s the coffee station on every floor of the CIC. Take your pick of flavor shots – from the standard hazelnut and French vanilla, to seasonal pumpkin and Irish cream. As if that weren’t hard enough to choose, then you have the choice of coffee to drink – 50/50, Columbian, or café mocha. Yum, one of each please!

Whatever our coffee preferences are, I think we’re in general agreement that the repeat of ‘really’ in Debenhams’s new coffee signs could be interpreted as a little, well, patronizing.

You could argue that this is also very clever PR on Debenhams’s case – from speaking to PromptLondon-ers, a lot of Brits remember going to town centre department stores like Debenhams, C&A, British Home Stores, and Co-Op as children, and stopping halfway through a tiring shop to get a cup of tea or coffee in the in-store ‘caff’.  And renaming products may ring a chord for Brits, and garner some sympathy (and custom) for the shop.

This could also be seen as a reaction to the continued drowning influx of global coffee shops brands into the British retail segment.  If you go to any town centre today the reality is that you’ll find a Starbucks where once you would have found ‘Poppy’s Coffee Shop’, and although it’s just one more inevitable change in a global retail world, it doesn’t mean that everyone in small town Britain, or anywhere else for that matter, sees it as progress or evolution.

It’s not all about the half-and-half vanilla skinny mocha latte than it is about friendly service, a smile and a chat with a familiar local face over a cuppa.

One of the biggest changes we’d like to see in coffee shops is the refusal to serve people who say “Can I get a…”  – it’s not self-service. It’s “May I please have…” – and don’t forget to say thank you. Take that for a personal PR tip.

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Posted in Boston, Communications consultancy opinion, Copywriting, London, Media, Opinion, PR Practices, Prompt locations, UK press | Comments Off on Can I get some PR with my coffee?