Corporate Social Responsibility Is Not Public Relations: The Book Is Flying

It is Spring, Easter has come and gone and here in the UK we are about to re-emerge from lockdown and suddenly, we have a lot to look forward to…time has flown and yes, it has taken me this long to write about all the wonderful and positive things that have happened and are happening for my new book, Corporate Social Responsibility Is Not Public Relations

 The Launch

I cannot believe that it has been a full month since the book had its official publication day on 18 February this year. Like everything that has been happening, the launch event was virtual, and on the day we had just over 100 people join from all over the world. It was great to see so much support for the book, which has continued. The book has been warmly received by both the media and the public.

Irish Tech News & Podcasts

Interest in the book has led to different opportunities and conversations, which includes me creating a special mini podcast series for the award winning, Irish Tech News. The first podcast from this series, launches this April. I have interviewed a mix of people, some of whom are in the book and some new voices, who are all talking about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the things that they are doing to create change and make impact.

The first podcast is now live and is with entrepreneur, Leigh Kathryn Bonner who is one of Forbes Under 30, who is behind her CSR led-business, ‘Bee Downtown.’

In this particular podcast, Leigh gives us an insight into bees, who we discover are one of Mother Nature’s best storytellers!

The other, Irish Tech News podcast interviews I have coming up, are with – a  new purposeful tea company; a clown who is helping to make children laugh in refugee camps; an expert on sustainable and ethical investments; an ethical fashion entrepreneur and more.

Publicity Received

The book has been featured on Reputation Today, who ran a few pieces; India CSR Network also showed the book a lot of love and ran four stories; Asian Voice Newspaper; India Global Business; Viewdigital; Digital Journal; Enfield Dispatch; and Irish Tech News did a podcast with me about the book, which led to the mini-series.

Coming Up

I also have a few interviews just around the corner, including being interviewed on other podcasts. In fact, I am looking forward to joining Books and Friends on 19 April.

The book launches in the US in May and there’s more exciting news to announce soon.

Gratitude

But, the most important thing right now is to thank everyone who has bought the book! Thank you!! As an author, there’s nothing like the thrill of knowing someone is reading ‘your book.’

 

Reflections of 2020

Our year started with a lot of promise, but then our lives were suddenly put on hold. During this time, we have learnt to be flexible and pivot, come up with new plans, be resourceful, even more hardworking and creative, as we have had to fit our lives around our homes.

2020 has probably been the most memorable year for all of us, for perhaps all the wrong reasons. It has been a year of sadness and uncertainty. Precious loved ones lost, but never forgotten.

It has been a year with some positives, where community has become important and has helped kept us going, along with our gardens, parks and we where have reconnected with Mother Nature, who has been patiently waiting for us to reconnect with Her.

It has also been a year of family and friendships.

As we move towards the new year, rather than put 2020 firmly behind me, I shall remember the lessons learnt from it; remembering what it means to be home, safe and well, with my small family.

So, I will see you in 2021, ready to embrace whatever the future brings, which will be possibilities and new opportunities.

Wishing you all a healthy, safe and positive new year!

SHORTLISTED FOR WOMEN IN MARKETING 2020 AWARDS

Sangeeta Waldron, founder of Serendipity PR & Media has been been chosen by the judges for the shortlist of this year’s Global WiM Awards organized by Women in Marketing (WiM). The prestigious awards celebrate excellence in the industry across the world and highlight those professionals with a distinct commitment to the future of marketing.The WiM Awards launched in 2010 and were established to recognise the economic, social influence and impact of women to millions. The WiM Awards has given recognition to inspirational women and male equality advocates across the globe, from some of the biggest brands – Google, Facebook, Hearst, HP, WPP, Diageo, Unilever, Burberry, SAP and Live Nation to name but a few.

Sangeeta Waldron said, “To say I am thrilled and honoured is an under-statement; to be recognised in the industry with big global brands is indeed uplifting, particularly in the current climate, which has been challenging for everyone.”

WiM CIC is network created to educate, inspire, connect and recognise women in the marketing and associated professions through the cycle of their lives. It takes a holistic approach to the education and wellbeing of women through collaborations and partnerships with organisations that complement its work. From women working in large corporations, charitable organisations through to female entrepreneurs, WiM reflects the evolution of the marketing world.

Born in 2004 by Ade Onilude – a then member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Central London team – out of a need for women in the industry to be recognised, celebrated and empowered to fulfil their potential. This led to Ade conceiving and delivering the first WiM event to coincide with International Women’s Day on Work-Life Balance. Since then, the annual WiM events have grown and tackled topics such as ethical marketing, the creatives, branding and diversity in marketing, with the purpose of provoking discussion and inspiring women in the industry and the wider business community.

Over the years, WiM has enjoyed the support of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the Marketing Academy and sponsor organisations such as ITV, Mondelez, Vodafone,HPInc and IPG. And the support of some very special individuals: Gail Gallie, co-founder of Project Everyone, Sarah Speake, Daryl Fielding, Antonio Lucio, and Heide Gardner. WiM has evolved over the past decade, and now serves a global network of influential individuals across the sector.

 

 

WiM Awards 2020 marks its ten year anniversary, reflecting the evolving landscape of marketing.

 

 

Little Bit Of More Book Love For The PR Knowledge Book

I was delighted to see this unexpected book review for  – The PR Knowledge Book from Rusen Kumar, founder and managing editor of India CSR Network, India’s largest ethical news platform. Rusen is a respected media mogul in India and well-known in the areas of social entrepreneurship, social journalism and social-economic development.

Rusen has been at the forefront in driving change for not only the vulnerable people in society, but also getting corporates to act differently in India.

You can read his full review here and am hugely grateful for all his support.

My Love of Podcasts!

During lockdown and our changing world, I have been keeping myself busy with writing and podcasts, not just listening to them, but being fortunate enough to be invited on to various shows to share my stories.

I enjoyed sharing my business wisdom and stories and have recently been on two popular US based podcasts shows – CurryUp StartUp Podcast and the #365FirstChallenge

Both shows are hosted by great podcasters who have the mastery of asking great questions and importantly, good listeners, knowing just when to come in to ask that timely question.

Podcasts are great for sharing knowledge, experiences and stories with a wide audience. You can listen to podcasts about politics, business, cooking and more; the options are endless. Data shows that two million podcasts are registered by Google.

According data released from Buzzsprout, Latino podcasts are flourishing due to the large number of Spanish speakers in both the US and South America, with Chile in the lead with a podcast growth rate of 85 percent; followed by Argentina; then Peru and Mexico. The country with the fifth-highest rate is China; and I know that in India, podcasts is a growing market.

While in the UK, 12 percent of adults listen to at least one podcast per week and are the most popular among millennials (21 percent) and only five percent of Baby Boomers have caught the podcast bug.

Other research by Music Oomph shows that brands that advertise products and services during business podcasts have a 14 percent lift in purchase intent! There is plenty of research on customer behaviour proving that podcasts impact brand lift.

Other interesting podcasting statistics on customer behaviour:

  • Brands that have ads in podcasts about society and culture are most likely to have a 9.2 percent lift in purchase intent.
  • Brands that advertise in news and politics podcasts are most likely to have a 12.8 percent lift in purchase intent.
  • Brands that advertise in comedy podcasts are most likely to have a 7.3 percent lift.
  • Brands that advertise in sports podcasts are most likely to have a 9.3 percent lift.

According to Forbes – 36. 39 percent of US small and medium-sized businesses owners are podcast users and 65 percent of them listen to podcasts weekly, according to 2018 podcast listenership stats.

So, if you happen to be looking for something to listen to…give CurryUp StartUp Podcast and the #365FirstChallenge a try.

Twenty Twenty

I have been working on the PR campaign for this is incredible book(which came to me serendipitously), Twenty, Twenty by the highly-acclaimed author, Nigel Watts, which is a blueprint for 2020, which was originally published in 1995 by Hodder and Stoughton.

The book eerily and accurately predicts a global pandemic that occurs in the year 2020 causing the world to communicate largely through virtual technology, with people wearing masks, a drastic reduction of air travel leading to ‘virtual tourism’, and nature fighting back for its survival due to mankind’s destruction of our planet.

Tragically, Watts took his own life in 1999 and now 25 years later, his very brave widow, former BBC presenter and broadcaster, Sahera Chohan has republished this timely and relevant book this August; the book’s anniversary month.

At the time, when it came launched, the book received rave reviews from The Times, Time Out, Sunday Times and more. The Times said: “Twenty Twenty is about the end of the world, viral apocalypse, virtual reality…[it] asks the big questions at a time of global destruction and spiritual uncertainty…an intriguing synthesis between ancient mysticism and the brave new world of virtuality. It is a book to make the pulse race, the mind dance and the heart sink.”

Twenty Twenty foretells the events of the year 2020, where an ageing writer infected with a deadly virus and despairing of mankind’s continuing damage to the planet retreats to a derelict factory in the icy wastes of northern Canada. Meanwhile, at a remote research institute in the Californian desert, William Morrison, a virtual reality test pilot, and Julia

O’Brien, a British anthropologist, are working on a VR simulation of the Amazonian Kogi tribe. William and Julia appear to have little in common, until they discover an uncanny connection that finds them being drawn towards a derelict factory in northern Canada. As the story escalates to its dramatic conclusion, Watts powerfully manipulates the reader’s perceptions of reality, whilst blurring the boundary between creator and created.

Nigel Watts has drawn his name in the sands of time, putting him side-by-side with some of the greatest futuristic authors – Orwell, Huxley and H.G.Wells – securing Twenty Twenty not just as a book of our time, but an enduring and influential novel. Needless to say the book has been drawing lots of media attention and it has been such a great book campaign to work on…to know how it ends you will need to buy the book, which is available on Amazon.

 

 

Online Event – How PR can help SME’s kickstart their businesses post COVID-19 on 24 August

Hello! On 24 August from 10.00 to 11.30am I will be sharing my knowledge with fellow women in business at this online Federation of Small Business (FSB) Women’s event, which is a platform to learn, share, network and build vital relationships. These regular FSB events are open to all, the format is informal and educational with a female focused networking focus and a chance to hear from expert speakers too.

My session is purposefully called ‘How PR can help SME’s kickstart their businesses post COVID-19’.

Do join us if you can, be great to see you!

Click here on event to book and for more information.

Falling In Love with Bollywood Again

During my time in lockdown, I have rediscovered my love of Bollywood films again compliments of my Netflix subscription, which has the bonus of subtitles and maybe it’s also because you need ample time to watch a Bollywood film, as they average three hours long!

There’s something for everyone, the cinematography, the dance, the music and storylines. The closest Hollywood film to Indian cinema, in my view is ‘La, La Land’, which has all the magic ingredients of a Bollywood blockbuster – fun, music, songs and dance. Bollywood has songs for nearly every situation and you can never see a Bollywood movie without experiencing a great soundtrack. Plus, Indian film offers storylines about ordinary people facing challenges that help them grow as individuals. Movies like these have become global hits because of their strong storylines.

I experienced my first ever Indian film with my dad when I was about six years old and we went to see Arandhana at the local cinema in Southall, London. I remember it was a Sunday evening and as we came out of the cinema hall, my dad bought the Arandhana LP, which we would go on to play regularly. This is a film that captured my heart and at only six, I fell in love with Indian romantic drama. I have memories of my dad singing me the tunes, and as I got older, he would insist that this music was better than anything was being featured on Top of the Pops at that time!

So, what have been I have been watching on Netflix?! Well, I have been making up for my years of Bollywood void and have enjoyed the classics such as Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sadness); Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (Never Say Goodbye); Heroine; and Hum Aapke Hain Koun (Who Am I to You?). I have wanted to go back into time and watch my favourites such as Silsila (this is an Arabic word that means chains) and Kabhi Kabhi (Sometimes), but sadly these are not on Netflix.

 

But I think my favourite film, which not quite a Bollywood production, as it’s only an hour and half long and there’s no dance or music, is Bulbul, a Netflix original. It is a period drama that looks at old beliefs and superstitions. Set in a village plagued by mysterious deaths and stories; the storyline is haunting, revolving around Satya and his brother’s child bride who are separated when Satya is sent to a foreign country. When he returns, he finds that his brother has abandoned his wife. Everything about this film is sumptuous – the acting, the costumes, the settings. It’s one of those films that stays with you, long after you have watched it.

So, if you fancy watching something different during lockdown and you have Netflix, press play for Bulbul. It might just whet your appetite for something more full on Bollywood… Mujhe Bollywood se pyaar hai (I love Bollywood).

 

 

What Will Mainstream Media Look Like Post The Pandemic

When we all emerge from this pandemic, it will be a very different media landscape. We have seen that movies and television shows have delayed productions around the world and many of our much loved media titles, might not exist, as they struggle for survival.

Though television can be consumed while we are in lockdown, the creation of it still involves bringing people together on set. Widespread efforts to curb COVID-19 has triggered unprecedented change in the TV business. Where productions have stalled, writers’ rooms have moved to teleconferencing and radio presenters have guests either zooming or phoning in.

Many alternative weeklies have stopped printing and laid off employees, because of sharp advertising declines, as many businesses have stopped operating or sadly gone bust.

Journalists, photographers and advertising staff at print titles have lost their jobs and fear they will fear that they will not be re-employed when the crisis is over as sales and advertising revenues are not expected to return to pre-virus levels. Long-term, this crisis could have a devastating effect to the news industry’s bottom line.

Though there have been faint glimmers of light, where I have read how online news platforms have seen a spike in web traffic and subscriptions, as the pandemic has attracted record-breaking audiences for online news sources. Traffic to The Guardian’s website has increased more than 50 percent exceeding all previous records, and there had been a substantial surge in the number of readers taking out digital subscriptions or signing up to make regular contributions to support its journalism.

However, it’s worth noting that media outlets like The Guardian have long struggled to earn substantial revenue from digital advertising.

Yet, while we are now all addicted to the news, wanting accurate information. UK national print newspaper sales have fallen by as much as 30 percent since the start of the government-ordered coronavirus lockdown, according to industry sources, with journalists at many local newspapers placed on leave and warnings that hundreds of reporters could be left without jobs as the advertising market collapses.

On top of this, so many independent newsagents have closed, and supermarkets are expected to cut the numbers of copies of media titles they take because of reduced footfall. Free newspapers have also been hit by the collapse in commuters and ad revenue, with London’s Evening Standard adopting an improvised door-to-door delivery model, with a reduced circulation of just over 400,000 copies being posted through letterboxes in the center of the capital.

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, director of the Reuters Institute at the University of Oxford told The Guardian that he predicts “huge declines in advertising revenues” owing to the looming recession that is likely to result in hundreds or even thousands of job losses in British journalism. He has predicted the economic effects of the pandemic could potentially remove 10 percent of all frontline journalistic jobs in the UK.

Nielsen voiced a concern of many in the industry, when he said a particular worry for British newspapers was that remaining print readers would lose the habit of reading a physical product during the lockdown.

No industry is being left untouched, many will have to innovate and change their business models to make a comeback and be part of the new world…a phoenix rising from the ashes.

 

Photo Credits: Sean McMenemy and Geralt

 

Coronavirus: Mother Earth is Pressing The Reset Button

Times are eerie and chaotic, as the world wages its war with coronavirus. Schools are closing, supermarket shelves are becoming empty, people are stockpiling, toilet roll has become gold, people are now working from home, telecommunication companies are experiencing a surge in internet use, self-isolating and social spacing are now part of our vocabulary, we no longer shake hands and the list goes on.

Everyone keeps asking themselves (as remember we are self-isolating!) What’s happened? What’s happening? When will this all end? No one has the answers, we are in this Hollywood blockbuster on our own, there’s no super hero to save us.

Except one thing is clear, our habits are changing in real time. We are re-prioritising what is important to us…friends, family, communities and neighbourhoods. Our connected on-lines worlds are more important than ever before and as our children stay home not doing the normal things that they should be doing with their friends, we now want them to connect with their friends online, to have some kind of normal in all this turmoil.

If we all stopped for a moment, stood still and took a breadth, we would realise that right now in this chaos, that our Mother Earth is pressing the reset button and the world needs a rebalance.

There are always winners in battles and in this war on coronavirus, I was wondering who are the winners – Toiletry brands? Supermarkets? Pharmaceutical companies? manufactures of toilet roll?! None of these. There is only one winner and that’s the lungs of the planet. With countries like China forced to scale back on its production and the reduction in air travel, data is already showing a reduction in pollution.

In an extraordinary way brands, businesses and organisations are reminding us to be kind right now…we have Pret giving free drinks to our heroes at the frontline, the NHS. LinkedIn, is opening up its learning courses for free and using its platform to share news more broadly, help businesses use live video to replace onsite events, and deal with business continuity. Luxury brand, LVMH Moët Hennessy, the French company behind major brands like Louis Vuitton, Fenty Beauty and Benefit Cosmetics, announced that its factories, which normally manufacture perfume will shift to manufacture hand sanitizer gel and will be delivering the products to French healthcare authorities for free. Gas and electricity suppliers have agreed an emergency package of measures to ensure vulnerable people do not get cut off amid a virus outbreak. Ex-footballers, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs are opening their hotels to NHS workers free of charge. While Chelsea FC will be putting up NHS hospital staff for free in their hotel during this coronavirus crisis.

So, what can we be doing to get through this, amidst the worries of our finances, jobs and homes. That answer is to reconnect with ourselves, breathe, reflect, read, meditate and most of all learn to be kinder to ourselves, and just be kind.

Photo Credit: Main image by FrankundFrei from Pixabay