My new favourite digital reporting tools

12 Mar

Penny Arrowsmith, Communications advisor, PRINZ

One of the great benefits of working at PRINZ is the ability, and encouragement to attend plenty of professional development courses. PR Summer Camp was the first course I attended. This jammed-packed course covered everything from the traditional – creating new stories – to the latest developments in social media, blogging and even Snapchat. As well, the two day course covered protecting reputation, unravelling search engine optimisation, measurement and evaluation resources and tips for making the most of all media channels.

Being new to the world of public relations and communication it was great for me to see that what I learnt through my university studies was considered best practice in the ‘real world’ and not an ivory tower ideal.

Personally, I’m very interested in everything digital – blogging, social media – but also finding ways to evaluate this information and report it in dynamic ways. So instead of tabling papers at a meeting there are sites such as where campaign information can be collated and presented visually or which shows how tweets are performing. is a great resource too as it shows how your content is shared through social media. My favourite resource is an ‘easy to use infographic creator’.


Thanks to Catherine Arrow for putting on a great two days. If you have been using any of these tools or have others to recommend let me know.

Look out for the 2016 PR Summer Camp series in January next year! Register your interest by emailing and we’ll let you know when it opens for registrations.

Senior PR Insight: Anna Radford, FPRINZ, Radford Communications

2 Mar

Throughout 2015 PRINZ will interview senior PR practitioners about their career, discovering what they believe is the key to being successful in PR, what tips they were given and have used in their career, and what they expect of a junior practitioner in 2015.

Anna Radford FPRINZ, Director, Radford Communications.


Anna Radford, FPRINZ, Director of Radford Communications

Anna has been a communications practitioner for 30 years.

Before establishing Radford Communications in 1999, she had extensive experience in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors.  Previous roles included Head of the Communications Department for the World Bureau of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in London, and Internal Communication Manager and Corporate Media Relations Manager for CLEAR Communications (Telstra Clear’s predecessor).

In more recent years, Anna has worked with clients in the security, intellectual property, adult literacy, financial services, local government, natural health products and infrastructure services sectors. Anna is a PRINZ Fellow and the current PRINZ Awards Chief Judge.

How long have you worked in PR/Communications industry?
I’ve been in the PR and communications industry for 30 years. I originally trained as a journalist and worked briefly at the Herald before deciding journalism wasn’t for me. I went back to university and finished my degree and then got a job in a PR consultancy. I then worked in-house for the next eight years until I set up my own consultancy.

Did you complete tertiary study? If so, what and when?

I studied a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in History and Political Science. I also have a Diploma in Business Studies with a PR endorsement and a Certificate in Journalism. Next semester I will be doing my first tertiary study in a long time –a level three change management paper through Massey University.

What attracted you to the industry?

I read an article about public relations and thought it sounded like an interesting career so I went and saw a career guidance counsellor. He suggested I do the PR course at AUT, which was the only one in the country at the time, however having just completed a three year degree and a six month journalism course meant I wasn’t keen to continue studying. After hearing that he suggested I get a job as a receptionist in a PR firm and wait for a job to apply for.   I didn’t want to do that and wondered whether he’d have given a male graduate the same advice!

Instead I wrote to a number of Auckland consultancies asking if they had any available positions and, if not, would they meet with me anyway so I could find out more about PR.  A couple agreed to meet me and one even knew of a junior consultant position going, which is how I got my first job. 

What do you think is the most significant industry change you’ve experienced?
The change associated with information technology, which has brought opportunities and challenges. For example, when I first started work, offices had typewriters rather than computers.  When we created a newsletter we typed it up and then had the printer run off the content as bromides (a high resolution version of the content).  Newsletter lay-outs involved cutting up the bromides and gluing the stories into place on the design board before giving the designed product to the printer. 

We’ve come a long way since then and the internet has certainly made life easier, but also more demanding. We are so connected, it’s fantastic. I am always online. But it has also meant more risk management, i.e. a bad review can go a long, long way. We have to think a lot more broadly and deeply about risk management today than we had to in the past.

What is the most valuable piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
A manager I had when I worked in-house taught me how to think and work far more strategically than I had in the past.  This has benefitted me as a practitioner and opened up more opportunities in my career, allowing me to take on work I might otherwise not have.

What has been your favourite piece of work to date?
I don’t have a favourite piece that springs to mind; it’s more the pleasure of a job well done. My favourite part of my job is that, as I’m able to think of the bigger picture, I can often get clients to lift their heads and see all that is possible strategically. That is what I most enjoy, seeing their eyes light up.

What PR discipline do you enjoy doing the most?

I am passionate about internal communications.  The way organisations and their people function and interrelate absolutely fascinates me!  My strategic insight really comes into play during internal communication work – so much so that I am currently helping a client and his management team to develop their organisational strategy (vision, mission, business objectives and values) as a precursor to their internal communication programme. 

Who do you look up to/who did you look up to as a young practitioner?
I used to attend PRINZ functions and look up to the senior PRINZ people like Rob Crabtree and Joseph Peart and wonder if I’d ever be like that! Now I look back on all that I’ve been able to do with PRINZ, being a Viva Voce APR panellist, an Awards judge and now Chief Awards judge; it has all been a great experience.

What do you expect of young practitioners that they may not be aware of?

  • Big picture thinking: Understanding that we’re sending a media release not just to get media attention but to meet an organisational objective.
  • How to set SMART objectives and appropriate measures: This will ensure your PR work has a strong and strategic foundation.
  • Business experience: It’s a bit of a circle with no beginning because you need business experience to understand how business works; I think that understanding really puts you ahead of the pack.
  • Writing: How to write really well. Whether we like it or not, writing is the bread and butter of our industry.

Anna is the PRINZ Awards Chief Judge, for insight into entry in the PRINZ Awards, see the 2014 Chief Judge FAQ video.

Book Review: PR crucial in crisis management

24 Feb

By Nikki Wright, MPRINZ, Managing Director, Wright Communications Limited

Issue and Crisis Management Exploring issues, crises, risk and reputation by Tony Jaques (Oxford University Press, 2014) IMAGE

The changing nature of public engagement has made the role of public relations practitioners in issue management more important than ever, according to a new book.

The role of PR in responding to issues and crises is explored in Issue and Crisis Management: Exploring issues, crises, risk and reputation by Tony Jaques (Oxford University Press, 2014), the first specialist book on the subject in Australasia.

Jaques, an Australian, established Issue Outcomes in 1997 as a provider of management training and consulting services. He has worked for more than 20 years in Corporate Issue and Crisis Management, mainly in Asia-Pacific.

A key message of his book is that companies can tick all the legal and technical boxes but still be found guilty in the court of public opinion.

Importantly, Jaques warns that being factually correct is not enough: if something is seen by stakeholders and/or the public to be a problem then it is a problem.

Because of this, clear communication is crucial and public relations practitioners have an important role to play in making sure the message is easily understood.

“Engineers and other executives in technical fields are prone to using complex language and jargon, which might be accurate and legally approved, but comes across to the stakeholder as arrogant and insensitive,” he writes.

“As the organisation’s language expert, the public relations person needs to produce communication that is technically correct, but that ensures all stakeholders understand its intended meaning.”

The book draws lessons from a mix of prominent international case studies and ones closer to home, including the infamous “Where the bloody hell are you?” advertising campaign in Australia and the Pike River disaster in New Zealand.

It also draws a clear distinction between issues, crises, emergencies and disasters, offering easily understandable definitions for each.

As it explains, an ‘issue’ can do much more damage to a company than a ‘disaster’, which can create immense disruption but does not create any reputational harm to the individual company unless it worsens the situation through its own actions (or inaction).

One of the areas Jaques explores is agenda setting, which has traditionally been dominated by mainstream media playing what he describes as a ‘gatekeeper’ role.

He says the growing use of social media now allows individuals and organisations outside of the traditional forms of media to set the agenda, meaning organisations need to do more than just read the newspaper each morning to keep across potential risks.

“Internet-mediated agenda-setting has dramatically increased the number of ‘gatekeepers’, so that bloggers and other online activists now have powerful new tools to push their own priorities onto the public agenda.”

He expands on the role of the internet in a chapter looking at activism and the tactics used by activists to promote their views and attack their opponents.

“Without doubt the greatest advance in issue management in the last 20 years has been the rise of the internet and social media,” Jaques writes.

“For activists, the digital revolution has brought particularly profound change, giving them a new weapon that can alter the organisation-stakeholder dynamic, potentially increase the power of activist groups, and make their concerns more salient to organisations and society.”

For new entrants into the public relations industry, Issue and Crisis Management provides a clear and comprehensive introduction to these crucial concepts.

For more experienced practitioners it offers a useful refresher to keep them up to speed with developments in the sector, especially in the rapidly evolving online landscape.

Tony Jacques is a speaker at the 2015 PRINZ Conference in May, presenting two sessions; Issues and crisis; Best and worst. How do you stack up? And So what REALLY is the role of a CEO in a crisis?

Read more here.

Book tickets here.

Reflections on the 2014 Sally Logan-Milne Young Practitioner of the Year entries from lead judge Tracey Bridges, FPRINZ.

18 Feb

PRINZ Awards generic

In anticipation of the 2015 PRINZ Awards, Sally Logan-Milne Young Practitioner of the Year head judge Tracey Bridges, FPRINZ, shares some insight into the judging of last year’s award.


From Tracey’s 2014 Awards night speech: “The entrants gave the judges a very difficult task. The following questions – and their answers – shed some light on this awards category, the depth of entrants we received, and show how hotly contested this is becoming.

The first question is, it’s a big age range – can someone at the beginning of their career win against someone who can demonstrate a longer list of career achievements?

Second, if a candidate doesn’t win one year, is it possible for them to enter – and even win – in a subsequent year?

And lastly – are the “old school” values that this award represents relevant to the modern practice of public relations – and can someone working, for example, in the digital field achieve highly in the category?

The answer to each of these questions is a resounding yes.

With this award we set a very high bar, but any young practitioner who can demonstrate a personal philosophy for our practice, who has a passion for learning, a commitment to problem solving and who can demonstrate measurable results against clear objectives can win, regardless of whether they’re very new in our profession, whether they’ve had a bash at winning before, or whether they’re working in digital communications or some other branch of our profession.

The trick, of course, is to demonstrate these things to a higher standard than the other entrants.

We had some outstanding entrants, with different backgrounds, strengths and achievements.

This means the unsuccessful candidates can hold their heads up high, and the successful entrants can be doubly proud.”

The 2014 winner of the Sally Logan-Milne Young Practitioner of the Year award was Erin Roberts and the highly commended recipient was Cindy Bangs.


The 2015 PRINZ Awards Facebook live chat, held 17 February, featured a Q&A on the Sally Logan-Milne Young Practitioner of the Year category, read on for the questions and answers.

Q: Do the judges prefer the five focus points for the Young Practitioner of the Year category to be explicitly addressed? Or can the entrant generally cover the five points?

A: Don’t leave it up to the judges to second guess, provide as much relevant detail as possible within the word count. Be sure all questions are covered in your essay.
Q: Do the judges use a point weighted system for the Yong Practitioner of the Year category like the others? E.g. is one of the focus points “worth” more?

P: The four assessment areas are equally weighted – see here.
Q: Do the seniority of the references you provide matter in the judging process for Young Practitioner of the Year? Or is the interest more in what’s said?
A: What the referee says is important and judges will pay this close attention, however judges would expect the referee to be a manager or team leader, rather than a peer. The criteria says: Submit written references from two people who are clients for your work (either internal or external to your organisation), attesting to your personal and professional attributes.

The details

 The Sally Logan-Milne Young Practitioner of the Year award celebrates the achievements of one outstanding young practitioner. The Award is run as part of the annual PRINZ Awards and is open to any practitioner under the age of 30 at the time of entry close (March 12, 2015).

Each entrant must submit an essay of up to 1200 words telling the story of their career in public relations and include two references to attest to their personal and professional attributes. The award is named after the late Sally Logan-Milne.

The winner receives $500 from the Sally Logan-Milne legacy fund, a framed certificate and the chance to access short term mentoring with a PRNZ Fellow.  Entries are open now and close on 5 March, with an extended entry period of one week and a higher entry fee ending 12 March 5pm. If you have any questions about the PRINZ Awards email Simone ( or call 09 358 9804.

Academic research; Professionals are from Venus, scholars are from Mars

4 Feb
Image credit:

Image credit:

By Margalit Toledano, PhD., APR, Fellow PRSA, Fellow PRINZ, Senior lecturer at the University of Waikato

“Professionals are from Venus, scholars are from Mars” this was a title of a paper that was written by Professor Betteke van Ruler from the Netherlands ten years ago. The paper was published in Public Relations Review (Vol 31, issue 2, June 2005), the leading scholarly journal of public relations, and it generated many responses, comments and citations. Prof Van Ruler argued that “in defining what professionalism is all about, practitioners and scholars live in different worlds” and suggested certain integration of values.

In the footsteps of van Ruler we, as academics, try to understand and clarify what practitioners are actually experiencing and describe the role they play in society. These questions inspired a growing number of journal publications, books, and international conference debates. The increasing research activity established public relations as a legitimate topic within the disciplines of communication, management, strategy, and other areas of study. Have practitioners participated in this professional development? Some have indeed benefited from research informed educational programmes at universities, however, most were not that involved and missed an opportunity to reflect on the profession.

As a former practitioner who now teaches in a university, I’m keen for some interplanetary conversations.

This blog invites PRINZ members to contribute their perspectives and knowledge to current research. It follows up on a project I managed in 2010 based on two focus groups with PRINZ members who contributed significant insight into the challenges involved in using social media on behalf of organisations. This research was published in Ethical Space: The International Journals of Communication Ethics in 2011.

My current research tries to identify the impact of the cultural environment on practitioners’ professional values and concepts and find out if practitioners experience social media differently in different environments. It is a comparative study that uses the same questionnaire in New Zealand (in English) and in Israel (in Hebrew).

To come up with any valid conclusions I need your help in answering the questionnaire that is distributed to New Zealand public relations practitioners via PRINZ. Can you please make your contribution to public relations research by submitting your answers via this link, it only takes a few minutes.

It is a very short, anonymous questionnaire with some challenging questions that might interest you. We promise to share our findings with PRINZ members and appreciate your help.

Practitioners might be from Venus but some people from Mars are part of the same galaxy and are interested in you and your opinions. Please be a star and make your contribution to growing the PR Body of Knowledge today.

Thank you

Margalit Toledano


Senior lecturer, the University of Waikato

Digital tools for 2015

6 Jan

Chelsea Came, Communications Advisor, PRINZ.

Last year I completed the PRINZ Advanced Digital Strategy course facilitated by Catherine Arrow. The course focused on developing your organisational digital strategy and the importance of aligning it with the overarching organisational strategy. We also discussed practical solutions to a variety of case studies and tested some new digital tools. Below I’ve listed my top five:

Mentionmapp takes your most recent tweets and creates a mind-map featuring the people you’ve recently tweeted at and hashtags you’ve recently used. It allows you to visually see who interacts with you most on Twitter and what their interests are  – great for identifying your online community and potential new thought leaders.


Tagboard pulls together all the mentions of a hashtag across all social media and gives you data on the use of that hashtag i.e. positive/neutral/negative sentiment, posts per hour and a trending map, as well as related tags. This is good for seeing all the mentions of your hashtag in one place, visually.


Socialbakers tracks, analyses and benchmarks social profiles across a myriad of social media to produce relevant (monthly) reports on social users – see the November 2014 New Zealand Social Marketing report, which contains information on the top brands on Facebook in New Zealand.


Spike is a news tool that allows you to track stories or topics as they grow. You can filter by location and topic, time period and even rank by Facebook likes, velocity, Tweets and more. You can enter a search term to see what content is trending around the topic and combine multiple filters to get the most relevant and useful data to you. You can then save as many ‘newsrooms’ as you want, and be emailed about each one as often as you’d like.


Create a visual story about any topic – just search (you can filter by media) and drag the pictures, videos, and quotes across to your board. It’s a great visual display of your chosen topic and you can have multiple contributors. To view the full version of the example below, click here.

Screenshot 2015-01-06 15.26.46

Human Rights Day 2014 – a storify created by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

If you are interested in attending Advanced Digital Strategy in 2015 book here.

Telecom to Spark – moving from Icon to I can

26 Nov

PRINZ members were privileged to hear from Andrew Pirie, GM of Corporate Relations at Spark New Zealand last night on the iconic brand’s transformation from Telecom to Spark in August this year – moving from Icon to I can.

Attendees heard insight into the initial planning, subsequent phasing of communications, specific timing of announcements, the ‘internal before external’ comms and considerable ‘war room’ set up both at announcement and launch. In thanking Andrew last night I described the transformation as ‘conveyed with a beguiling simplicity’. In fact, in best practice PR and communications, the detail that takes place behind our work is what makes it appear simple.

SPARK2In the early stages of the brand transformation, the then Telecom spoke with its counterparts at Z and ANZ, learning from their experience and, in particular, the focus on getting the inside right first. For me, the sharing and collegial aspect of corporate leadership in New Zealand came through in the anecdote.

Talking through the results, Andrew said ‘this is what we’ve learned so far’, the ‘so far’ SPARKsentiment resonating with me. As we know, communications is a cycle so evaluation and planning don’t really stop when done well.

Finally, a ‘Thanks ATM’, the brainchild of consultancy Sherson Wills pulled on my heart strings. With a pensioner getting a $35,000 homeline refund (every bill she’d ever paid), to a family getting a TV and a young adult receiving thousands in tertiary education, this ‘digital tardis’ was fun and memorable, created impressive earned media, aligned with the launch strategy and allowed the brand to take the lead by thanking Spark’s customers early on in the process.

The campaign as presented by Andrew presented well-planned public relations at its best to a scale not often seen. Thanks Spark for the opportunity to hear about lessons learned on your incredible journey.

View Andrew’s presentation: How our customers inspired the change to Spark.


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