The PR Guru

January 19, 2012


Mark Warren (Lister Trade Frames), Caroline Law (Caroline Law Consulting), Louise Psyllides (The Sentinel’s Business Editor) and I saw the last presentation for the semi-finals of the Local Business Accelerators this morning, and we’ve now got to make the difficult decision of which three fledgling businesses should go forward to the next stage of the competition.

We’ve seen some great presentations over the past couple of weeks, from six of North Staffordshire’s newest businesses. The three ‘lucky’ winners will receive three months’ of mentoring with me, Mark and Caroline, as well as some great coverage and free advertising in The Sentinel. And one of those will go forward to the national finals, with a chance to be mentored by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden!

It’s good to see such enthusiasm and passion in our local business community, and they all have growth potential.

So thanks to Optimise Automotive, Lucy Goodwin Designs, MOJO Maker, Dimbleby Ceramics, For Tyres and Barewall for the time and effort they put into their presentations – and to all of the businesses who entered but unfortunately didn’t make it to this stage.

Louise will notify the three winners today and announce them to the wider world in The Sentinel’s Business pages on Monday.


November 3, 2011



We’ve teamed up with The Sentinel on a new competition for local small businesses, backed by Dragon’s Den’s Deborah Meaden.

If your business is between one and three years old, and you believe it’s full of potential, you can take part in the Local Business Accelerators campaign, which has been set up by the Newspaper Society and has £15m worth of free advertising on offer for UK firms.

One lucky winner will be mentored by Deborah for a full year in 2012!

Three winners in North Staffordshire will win three months of free advertising in The Sentinel, and will be mentored by Mark Warren, MD of Lister Trade Frames; marketing strategist Caroline Law; and my good self.

We will also be judging the entries, alongside The Sentinel’s Business Editor Louise Psyllides.

All you have to do is describe how three months of free advertising would help your business – easy really!

You can enter the competition here:

You’ll have to move fast though – the deadline is November 21st.

Further information is also available here:

Young start-ups offered chance of expert mentoring from TV Dragon Deborah Meaden

Competition will give small firms a boost

‘Important to drive awareness’

Businesses happy to share advice

December 4, 2009

Reality TV: useful PR exercise?

Hello again. I’ve been considering reality TV this week, and its role in PR campaigns.

Sadly, I’ll be tuning in to the ‘I’m a Celeb’ final this evening (don’t have much choice in the matter!), and we can be sure whoever becomes ‘King/Queen of the Jungle’ – Gino D’Acampo, Kim Woodburn or Jimmy White – will be all over the papers, radio and TV for the next few days.

For what it’s worth, I think Jimmy White will get really close to winning and then lose out after a dramatic Stephen Hendry comeback 🙂 Or maybe Gino will win.

But whoever wins, what happens next? After the initial coverage has died down, will they be able to maintain their public profile?

Will Jimmy go back to bumming around on the snooker circuit? Will he get a presenting slot on The One Show?

What got me thinking about this was a meeting I had with one of the managers at Oakley Hall, which is where Big Brother’s Freddie Fisher (aka Halfwit) lives.

Now Freddie has stayed out of the limelight to concentrate on his business and launching a career in politics, which is fair enough.

But what of the other contestants? Can anyone remember who any of them were? Usually at least one stays in the public eye, but the show was only four or five months ago and they’ve all disappeared back into obscurity surprisingly (and thankfully) quickly.

So does reality TV have any role in making people celebs anymore? I’m not sure. Whereas a few years ago Big Brother (and the others) were turning people into stars, the shelf life now just seems to be a few days.

The only exception I can think of is Dragon’s Den – even the ones who don’t succeed benefit from the air time devoted to their products, on prime time TV.

As long as your product is a good one it would well be worth applying here – there are lots of stories of businesses the Dragons didn’t invest in, who have gone onto succeed.

And in Levi Roots, the Reggae Reggae Sauce man, surely they have spawned the most successful reality show contestant?

His sauces certainly have a longer shelf life than most BB contestants!

Anyway, good luck for tonight Jimmy, but sadly I think you may have to settle for second place – not for the first time!

Hope you enjoy the battle with Tuffers for a seat on The One Show sofa!

Create a free website or blog at