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Are we OK to kick in former clients now? Oh yeah, and the UK got downgraded apparently?


By Andy Barr, Head Yeti

February 28, 2013 | 5 min read

No time for niceties and introductions this week. Let's get straight into it, as it is a busy one.

It has been a painful week for Interflora

Let's start with a little chuckle about Interflora getting penalised for shady SEO. A very sad state of affairs, and I don’t just mean for their bottom line, but also the fact everyone has been putting the boot in, even their former agencies who were once paid (handsomely no doubt) to work for them.

The strange move of kicking a former client whilst they are down did cause some rare industry chat within our office. Would those of you who work agency-side ever consider publicly berating a former client when they are going through a bad time?

We came to the conclusion it was poor form, but then again, these young hipster social agency types (one of which I own - yes, I see the irony) are trailblazers so maybe this is a new trend?

Moving swiftly on…

At the time of writing, RBS has just announced its annual results and its share price has dropped by around 5 per cent. I am fairly confident that this will bounce back once punters realise that the loss was mainly as a result of the part-state-owned-yada-yada having to write down significant losses for anticipated fines around Libor rigging and PPI mis-selling. Ouch.

Looking at the comms messaging from the RBS team though, they are spot on. They are being bullish, highlighting the big changes that are being implemented and I was hugely impressed with their use of Twitter to not only highlight some of the bank's past mistakes, but also explain how things are going to be improving.

They have been quick to communicate that their bonuses are far lower than other major financial institutions and I think that, with the exception of the die-hard, anti-banking posse, the rest of us consumers are buying into the message and can see that RBS is heading in the right direction.

Should the RBS comms team carry out sentiment analysis in the immediate aftermath of their results on what consumers think about the brand, I think they would be pleasantly surprised.

Whilst RBS’s use of Twitter has, in my opinion, been a good move, I can see that there is still a load of negativity being pumped around the 140 character fun-zone.

This should not cause the comms gurus any long-term headaches though.

As we have seen time and time again with the likes of elections and gripping reality TV shows, Twitter may be hugely important to all of us that use it but it does not represent mainstream society opinions. Well, my Twitter stream does not anyway.

Another company that came out of the woodwork with some unexpected good news this week… step forward Barratt Homes of housebuilding fame.

This was a rare win for the government as well, courtesy of Barratt citing the NewBuy scheme as being one of the reasons for its Q1 2013 success.

Barratt's head honcho went as far as to say that NewBuy is “firing on all cylinders” - again, a hat tip to the government initiative.

Speaking of government initiative, we can only imagine the level and volume of briefings that were aimed at the big media outlets over the weekend when the UK lost its AAA credit rating.

Early indications show that the briefings may have worked though. After a little weekend media hysteria that we can all forgive, Monday came and went and the world gave a very Gallic shrug as though to say: “So what?”

I imagine that the most frustrated person about the lack of action following on from the downgrade was the head web-developer at The Torygraph.

I spotted that they had set up a “live” page that gave almost instant reaction from stock markets as they opened around the world to the UK downgrade. This was seemingly and very subtly aborted once it appeared everything would remain fairly calm.

Anyway, enough from me as I have a manic few days ahead. Mrs B and the children are being abandoned this weekend as I venture h’up north to Leeds to unleash our second ever White Paper at the Social, Search and Marketing conference, Think Visibility.

I hope to see you there. Bring ripe fruit and a strong throwing arm.


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