The PR Guru

February 1, 2013


It’s a very important day in the Young Enterprise calendar tomorrow.

Our teams of young entrepreneurs will be exhibiting their wares at the Potteries Shopping Centre, Stoke-on-Trent, for the annual trade fair.

It’s the first time most of them have sold to members of the general public – a great experience!

It’s all part of the Company Programme, a national competition which seeks to find our best company and the Richard Bransons and Peter Joneses of tomorrow.

It would be great if we could have a team from North Staffordshire at the national finals in the summer!

But to do that, they need tomorrow to be a success, so it it would be great to see you lending your support at the Potteries Centre, between 9am and 6pm.

If you would like to get involved in Young Enterprise by the way, we are always looking for volunteers from the local business community to mentor young people through the journey.

Give me a call on 01782 472035/07880 733138 for more info.


Richard Swancott Associates provides bespoke PR and social media campaigns for businesses of all sizes and descriptions. Through their partners, they also offer search engine optimisation, email marketing, and telemarketing services.

All campaigns come with money-back guarantees, based on our performance. So if you don’t get a good return on your investment, you don’t pay anything!

For further information, contact Richard Swancott Associates on 01782 472035 or


February 25, 2012


Good afternoon everyone!

As you may know I am one of the members of the Staffordshire Marketing Academy, which puts on events to help local businesses improve their marketing and increase sales. We’ve got an event coming up on March 30th at the Best Western Moat House, Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent (9am-1pm).

We have a real treat for you on March 30th! Our keynote speaker is an inspiration – in fact he’s been described as the most inspiring man in the world – called Steve Cunningham, the World’s Fastest Blind Man.

Steve lost his sight at 12 but unlike many, who would understandably want to give up, he resolved never to let it affect his life and has since broken the world speed records on land, sea and air. Amazingly, he was the world’s first blind pilot, finding fame along the way.

He now dedicates his time to helping businesses and children around the world understand that the barriers to success are all in the mind, not in ability or environment.

Thanks to Steve and our other speakers, including David Hughes, sales expert at Annodata, Europe’s largest independent vendors for print and document management, Action for Business Live! 3 will be a unique, unforgettable experience, and one which will truly inspire you to fulfil your immense potential!

Look forward to seeing you there!

January 31, 2012


I mentioned my involvement with Young Enterprise last week (thanks to those of you who came to the trade fair on Saturday by the way – and we have another this Saturday for those of you who couldn’t make it), and this time I thought I’d talk about my link with another voluntary organisation, the Staffordshire Marketing Academy.

We have an event on March 30th, called Action for Business Live! 3, which will inspire and motivate you to take your business to the next level!

As with our two previous events, we’ll be having a range of speakers, an interview with one of Staffordshire’s most successful businesses, and an unmissable keynote speaker.

Here’s who we have lined up so far:

  • marketing specialist Caroline Law will be talking about putting a winning marketing strategy in place
  • Matt O’Connor from Cyberzia will be covering your website, and how to make it work for you


  • you will learn how to turn conversations into transactions with sales expert David Hughes, from print vendors Annodata (Europe’s largest independent print specialists)

Our case study, keynote speaker and other presenters are still tbc. But let’s just say we are talking to one of Staffordshire’s biggest tourist attractions, and one of Europe’s biggest networking strategists, about getting involved…

It’s at the Moat House, Stoke-on-Trent, on March 30th (9am-1pm), and tickets are £35 + booking fee. Early bird tickets, priced at £30 (+BF), are available until February 17th.

More info to be announced shortly.

In the meantime keep in touch with us on Twitter, @staffsma, for the latest updates.



November 23, 2010

Publicising a uranium enrichment facility and Korea’s heir leads to Korean warfare, plus… Stoke-on-Trent likened to Afghanistan by pottery director

EDIT 25/11 – Sarah Palin made a PR Gaffe yesterday by saying Americans were going to “stand with our North Korean allies” so much to the shock of the world that it is not only trending on twitter in the US but in the UK as well. Her interviewer pointed out that in fact, it’s South Korea, not North Korea, that is the US’s ally.

This comes on the same day that it is revealed campaigners accused The Prime Minister of breaking the law by jokingly comparing Commons Speaker John Bercow to one of the Seven Dwarfs; and on the day that Mr Cameron disowns remarks by MP Howard Flight, saying welfare changes would encourage ‘breeding’ among those on benefits. These high profile politicans need to learn to watch the way they phrase things.

Mr Flight was named by David Cameron last week as one of more than 20 new Conservative peers, after having previously been sacked as Tory candidate ahead of the 2005 election for suggesting the party had secret cuts plans. The MP, who is yet to take his seat in the House of Lords, was commenting on the government’s plans to axe child benefit for top rate taxpayers.

South Korea says two marines have been killed and 16 others injured in a North Korean attack on a South Korean island near the western sea border.

South Korea returned fire and launched fighter jets in response.

The skirmish came amid tension over North Korea’s claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility, and just six weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il unveiled his youngest son Kim Jong Un as his heir.

In South Korea, people initially responded with shock and various celebrities have expressed their concerns and feelings via. Twitter.

Jay Park wrote on his personal Twitter, “I just heard the news. Please be safe.

Simon D of Supreme Team said, “I hope that the issue does not escalate and there are no more casualties. NO WAR”.

T-ara’s Eunjung added, “I know. This is an extremely serious matter. I’m worried”, while actress Park Shinhye wrote, “My heart aches. All the people who wished for peace had their hopes ruined in a second. Please no more injuries.

Comedian Park Kyung Lim tweeted, “I just finished filming and what is this. At a time like this, we must have accurate news and unite to comfort each other.”

It seems that Korea’s decision to release this information to the world was the wrong decision and launced severe carnage. Let’s hope the fighting ends soon.

In more local news, Stoke-on-Trent has been likened to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province by Matthew Rice, director of Emma Bridgewater.

Referring to city planning as “feckless”, he called on the local council and developers to use historic buildings and former factories during regeneration rather than to knock them down.

He said, “If you go around Stoke these days there is lots of bare land where things have been demolished. I’ve no idea what it looks like in Helmand Province but I get a feeling it would look a little like here. There is always this idea that we have got to demolish everything to put things right. A blank canvas they call it. But I’d rather see people use the buildings in regeneration and development.”

Stoke was once the site of the country’s biggest pottery firms including Wedgwood and Royal Doulton. However, the decline in manufacturing the 1980s and 1990s saw dozens of factories, mines and steelworks closing and historic buildings left to fall derelict. At its height, Stoke housed 2,000 bottle kilns and 200 factories. Only around 30 factories now operate.

September 27, 2010

India suffers a PR nightmare

PR Gaffes happen all the time, because people speak without thinking and what they have said is instantly recorded by the press. Even months later, the press can pick up on things, such as how the Indians promised the forthcoming Commonwealth Games would turn the country around and have failed to deliver on their promise.

It seems that the Indian Commonwealth Games are going to be a public-relations disaster because the Indian Authorities talked up just how much the event would show the country’s new-found maturity. However, images of collapsing footbridges, bug-infested accommodation and child labourers suggest that the £2 billion invested by India‘s government was misused.

People have been shocked by just how little has actually been done, especially since there have been some successful developments in India; including the Bombay-Pune highway and the Delhi Metro. However, nothing like this seems to have been constructed around such a high-profile event like these games. The country’s rivalry with China will also be hurt because the Beijing Olympics in China were wonderfully organised; with the birds-nest stadium being a hit with the world and the grand opening ceremony a spectacle for viewers to see.

The crisis in Delhi is not the fault of the poor people living in shacks adjacent to each venue, as shown by the media, but is all down to the rulers who promised that things would be different. Most Indians don’t care about the Games, because it will not have much effect on them and they are just using the crowds as a way to make money.

On the day the negative stories about the Games first surfaced, the Bombay Stock Exchange hit a new high. India is led by a man who has probably profited more from absolute poverty than anyone else living today. It seems this PR Gaffe could actually be benefiting the country more than hindering it.

Because expectations were not high, the country will survive the PR disaster, but the image of India they wanted to create has been destroyed.

Of course, PR gaffes happen locally too. Some local PR stories in the last few months include Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service spending £500,000 on public relations and communications, as well as Prince Philip’s reference to Stoke-on-Trent as ‘ghastly’. Will people ever learn to think before they speak?

April 22, 2010

Congratulations to our young achievers!

I was at the Young Enterprise Area Finals last night, in my capacity as the North Staffs Area’s Co-Chairman.

It was a brilliant turnout and once again the young achievers from all over North Staffs and Stoke-on-Trent were an inspiration.

At this point I’d like to congratulate all our teams, from Newcastle-under-Lyme School, Westwood College (Leek), Sir Thomas Boughey High School (Halmerend), Haywood Engineering College, Blackfriars, and Brownhills Maths and Computing College (all Stoke-on-Trent).

And thanks to all the local businesses, media and parents who gave us such a brilliant turnout.

A big shout out must go to our overall winners, Junk from Newcastle-under-Lyme School and Touch Wood Customs from Haywood Engineering College. Best of luck to you both in the County Finals at JCB on May 5th.

Finally, with my charity hat on, I have to say that Young Enterprise is an organisation which depends on volunteers from the local community – both as business mentors and board members – and the generosity of the Staffordshire business community.

We could not survive without either of those, and your contributions help to improve young people’s career prospects cannot be understated.

If any of you would like to get involved with YE in North Staffs, please give me a call on 01782 472035 or 07880 733138.

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