Thursday 25 October 2012

People Power

As I’m sure most of you are aware, in the past few weeks a momentous feat was achieved.  For those of you citing X Factor revelations or the latest blow ups in TOWIE, I think you might be on the wrong tracks.  On the 14th October 2012 Felix Baumgartner made the death defying leap from space to set the altitude record for a manned balloon flight, parachute jump from the highest altitude, greatest free fall velocity and he became the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power.  Felix is truly an astonishing man – but his sponsors Red Bull Stratos have also achieved a pretty amazing (possibly accidental..?) feat.

Red Bull Stratos’ Facebook page was buzzing as Felix dropped through space and following his landing his proud sponsors posted a message to let the world know he had landed safely.  The message they posted, complete with a spelling mistake of pretty enormous magnitude, soon became viral. 

For those of a sensitive disposition please forgive me for what I’m about to post!

Many people, particularly those in the PR profession, have been skeptical about the “mistake” Red Bull Stratos made.  This type of mistake be considered to be potentially detrimental to Red Bulls public image but despite the offensive language it seems to have only benefitted their popularity.  At the time the status was posted the Red Bull Stratos Facebook page had 4136 likes and as of today, two weeks after the jump, almost 33 million people have liked their page.  This is a huge leap and a massive boost for Red Bull Stratos.  Accident or not, it certainly got people talking. 

Tench and Yeomans state that as most people gain information from broadcast media which is normally the most effective route to generating opinions and if it’s really successful a ‘buzz’ can be created by media coverage leading to word of mouth endorsement.  Word of mouth could actually be considered one of the most important PR techniques, a method which I’m sure Red Bull Stratos are thankful for.

50 Shades of Grey, published in June 2011, has really taken the world by storm.  Millions of people around the world have delved into the X-rated world of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.  Usually we are very judgmental of those around us but seemingly due to the popularity of the book it seems everyone has read it.  Try not to gag but I would put a pretty good bet on your mum, aunty, that snobby tutor you have at Uni and maybe even your guy mates have had a pretty good flick.  It seems that the world is divided about the storm 50 Shades of Grey has created.  In many ways it has helped shatter the taboos that we as a culture still cling on to, seeing that old lady reading it at the back of the bus rarely requires a second glance – it has become the norm.  As much as many people may disagree I for one quite like the fact that a book, as naughty as it may be, has helped to open up our closed minds and become less stilted in our opinions.

Amazon UK stated on the 1 August 2012 that 50 Shades of Grey has over taken the combined series’ of Harry Potter to become their best seller.  Who could have predicted that a book that had not even been out for a year has over taken a series of books which span over a decade? E L James is now Amazon UK’s best-selling author a mean feat for a previously unheard of author.  I think it is safe to say that when it comes to 50 Shades of Grey, what many consider to be socially acceptable soft porn, the readers really did the talking.  The PR Team of the publishers Vintage Books might as well have stayed at home with their feet up as the millions of people who devoured the book, my best friend included who read the trilogy in a matter of days, were the best advertising any product could have wished for.  Whether the reviews were good or bad – people still wanted to get their hands on a copy. 

Word of mouth is a seriously powerful tool – handle with care.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Fake it Until You Make it..?

Fake it 'til you make it" is a popular quote from music legend Steve Tyler, which is used globally as a confidence building catch phrase. I personally have confidence problems when giving presentations and talking in front of a group of people, most people don't believe I'm actually quite shy but when I get to know people I am the exact opposite! My confidence is a massive hindrance to me at uni and has often prevented me from gaining the grades I could achieve and meeting new people. Whilst giving presentations and feeling outside my 'comfort zone' I have often thought about this phrase and it has helped me quite a lot.

I apply this catchy phrase to public speaking but is it used for other purposes? Are there parts of our lives we fake until we 'make'? Relationships for example, are we just pretending to feel certain ways to get what we want? To be more interested in that barman than we are to get free drinks? To be more charming and accommodating to our tutors to gain an advantage against our peers? To be super nice to that security guard to prevent getting warnings about noise complaints? We've all been there.

Life is filled with ulterior motives and people with not entirely honest intentions, but we all seem to get by. I feel this is probably because we all do it. Some people obviously more than others, but to a certain degree I think that everyone has somewhat of a 'fake' side.

In the business world this could be seen as being proactive to make the deals and bring home the bacon by charming your way around people - but in real life how much of it is fake and how much of it is human nature?

Thursday 19 April 2012

Bangkok Cafe Hyde Park

I know we were happy for a long time but things don’t feel right anymore – I’ve moved on and I think I have found somebody else.  I’m sorry Chinese Takeaway, but I’ve fallen in love with Thai.

As a big supporter of local businesses, and particularly due to my massive weakness for any new culinary delights, when I saw that Bangkok Cafe opened near my house I couldn’t wait to try it out.  From the outside, the cafe looks quite small, but do not be disheartened – Bangkok Cafe is beyond perfect for a quick, casual lunch. 

A selection of reasonably priced starters, main courses, soups and stir fries are available from noon to 11pm, Tuesday to Sunday.  On first impression the cafe seems almost too small to cater for its needs, I visited with four of my friends and although there wouldn’t have been much more room for many other diners, I feel the cosy feel only added to the relaxed and exotic atmosphere.  The in-store menu is quite a bit smaller than the take-away menu but it will definitely not disappoint. 

I visited Thailand with friends a few years ago and really enjoyed the cuisine, in particular a Garlic and Pepper dish, which to my absolute profound joy they offer at Bangkok Cafe.  To start I chose chicken satay which was delicious and perfectly sized, and for my main course I chose the infamous garlic and pepper chicken with noodles and asides from tasting amazing the food looks absolutely beautiful.  The staff were so sweet and hospitable, even offering free spare ribs when they forgot to bring a Thai Red Curry to the table.  I honestly had one of the best lunches I have had for a long time, with plenty of coins still in my purse I can afford to go back this week!