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The latest issue of World Security Report has arrived

WSR Jul15-1World Security Report is a quarterly electronic, fully accessible e-news service distributed to 39,000 organisations globally. It tracks the full range of problems and threats faced by today’s governments, armed and security forces and civilian services and looks at how they are dealing with them. World Security Report is a prime source of online information and analysis on security, counter-terrorism, international affairs, warfare and defence.

In this issue:
– G4S Global Forecast for Q3
– Insider Theft
– Securing the airport perimeter
– Understanding the Limitations of Software Security Technologies
– ECIPS Becomes Inaugurated by Statutory Royal Decree
– US Correctional Facilities: Strip Search or Scan?
– Industry News
– Events Calendar

Click here to download your copy of World Security Report (pdf) >>
Click here to view dynamic copy of World Security Report >>

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Success for inaugural Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Asia

Mr. Pornchai Rujiprapa, Minister of Information and Communication Technology addresses Critical Infrastructure Protection

CIPRA VIPs 600Bangkok hosted the inaugural Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Asia at the Avani Atrium. The event was co-hosted by Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention & Mitigation (under the Ministry of Interior), the Ministry of Information & Communication Technology and the Electronic Transactions Development Agency. It was supported by the Ministry of Transport and sponsored by Thailand’s Provincial Electricity Authority.

In the opening keynote address Minister Rujiprapa said: “We are aware how important critical infrastructure is to our economy, our society and our way of life. Today the infrastructure is crucial to all of us because it provides life necessities, from water and food to electricity and gas. It also provides the telecommunications services that help us conduct our business; and it supports the banking and finance system that keeps our economy running”.

“Several years ago, the systems and networks of the infrastructure operated separately. However, they are now so tightly integrated, especially with the introduction of “Internet of Things”. We must take a totally new path to safeguard our critical infrastructure, and also strengthen our resilience to threats whether they be from terrorism, natural disasters or cyber-attacks”.

“We are living in a whole new age of criminal activity. In the past, infamous criminals could have driven across different states. But these days, criminals can commit a thousand robberies on the same day in many countries, without ever leaving their homes. That is the challenge we face today”.

“In addition, the recent devastating earthquakes and increasing terrorist activities in Southeast Asia highlight the need for ASEAN to be prepared and secure against the changing threats. When there is so much at stake and there is no room for failure, no single agency or organization is capable enough, to match the scope and scale of the challenge. We need cooperation among all critical infrastructure partners including government agencies, private owners and operators. We need unity. And it is the reason conferences like this are so important”.

Over two days experts from around the world had the chance to share knowledge, expertise and experiences with one purpose in mind, to protect the safety and security of its citizens.

The event will be returning to Bangkok 15th-16th June 2016.

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The latest issue of World Security Report has arrived

WSR Apr15-FCWorld Security Report is a quarterly electronic, fully accessible e-news service distributed to 39,000 organisations globally. It tracks the full range of problems and threats faced by today’s governments, armed and security forces and civilian services and looks at how they are dealing with them. World Security Report is a prime source of online information and analysis on security, counter-terrorism, international affairs, warfare and defence.

In this issue:
– Social Media Internet Threat
– World Travel Risk Management
– Security success depends on level of situational awareness
– EXODUS Alert
– Industry News
– Events Calendar

Click here to download your copy of World Security Report (pdf) >>
Click here to view dynamic copy of World Security Report >>

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Pornchai Rujiprapa, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Thailand confirmed keynote at CIPRA

Mr. Pornchai Rujiprapa, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Thailand will open the inaugural Critical Infrastructure and Resilience Asia conference in Bangkok on 25th-26th June with an opening keynote presentation.

This important event is co-hosted by Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention & Mitigation (under the Ministry of Interior), the Ministry of Information & Communication Technology and the Electronic Transactions Development Agency. It also has the confirmed the support of the Ministry of Transport, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau and the event is sponsored by Thailand’s Provincial Electricity Authority.

Whether it is through a natural or manmade disaster or terrorist attack; the proper functioning of a nations critical infrastructure is vital to the interests of any society. At this year’s Critical Infrastructure and Resilience Asia, at the Avani Atrium Bangkok, leading experts from around the world will discuss the threats both in the physical and cyber domains and how to mitigate those threats.

Keynote Speaker confirmed:

– Mr.Pornchai Rujiprapa, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Thailand
– Lt General Datuk Dr. William Stevenson, MiDAS Chief Executive, Malaysia

Latest speakers announced:
– Dr. Koonton Yamploy, Director of Geotechnical and Engineering Division, Department of Highways, Ministry of Transport, Thailand
– Dr. Kitti Subprasom, Bureau of Planning, Department of Highways, Ministry of Transport, Thailand
– Mr Mohd Zabri Adil Talib, Head of Digital Forensics, Cyber Security Responsive Services, Cybersecurity Malaysia (Under Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI))
– Dr. Sak Segkhoonthod, CEO and President, Electronic Government Agency and Cloud Security Alliance, Thailand
– Dr. Anond Snidvongs, Executive Director, Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency
– Police Major General Apichat Suriboonya, Head of Interpol NCB Thailand, Commander of Foreign Affairs Division, Royal Thai Police
– Professor Dr. Panitan. Lukkunaprasit, an adviser to the Center of Excellence in Earthquake Engineering and Vibration, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
– Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse, Chairman, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center
– Dr. Indrajit Pal, Assistant Professor – Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation and Management, Asian Institute of Technology
– Professor Surapon Virulrak, Ph.D, Executive Committee, Association of Siamese Architects Under Royal Patronage
– Ricardo Baretzky, President, European Centre for Information Policy and Security (ECIPS), CYBERPOL program
– Yap Kwong Weng, Chief Operating Officer, Parami Energy, Myanmar

For further details visit www.cip-asia.com

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Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Asia Announces Preliminary Conference Programme

CIPR Asia logo120Bangkok, Thailand will see the inaugural Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Asia take place at the Avani Atrium Bangkok on 24th-25th June to discuss key issues and challenges on protecting and securing ASEANs critical infrastructure and information.

The announcement of the Preliminary Conference Programme highlights the importance of this discussion, with a great range of high level speakers from key industry sectors across ASEAN, looking at key issues from emerging threats identification and management to Modelling, Simulation, Convergence and Standardisation for Improving CIP Solutions, and International & National Agency and Operator Co-operation to Emergency Preparedness and Response Coordination.

The conference not only investigates the threats, security and resilience of physical operations, such as the power plant, transmission grid, road/rail network or telecommunications network, but also the cyberspace that interconnects our society and the critical infrastructure, enabling hackers to access the information and data held by government and corporations, or attacks on SCADA systems.

Click here to download Preliminary Conference Programme (pdf) >>
Click here to view dynamic version of Conference Programme >>

Speakers include:
– Dr. Koonton Yamploy, Director of Geotechnical and Engineering Division, Department of Highways, Ministry of Transport, Thailand
– Police Major General Apichat Suriboonya, Head of Interpol NCB Thailand, Commander of Foreign Affairs Division, Royal Thai Police
– Professor Dr. Panitan. Lukkunaprasit, an adviser to the Center of Excellence in Earthquake Engineering and Vibration, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
– Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse, Chairman, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center
– Dr. Indrajit Pal, Assistant Professor – Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation and Management, Asian Institute of Technology
– Professor Surapon Virulrak, Ph.D, Executive Committee, Association of Siamese Architects Under Royal Patronage
– Dr. Kitti Subprasom, Bureau of Planning, Department of Highways, Ministry of Transport, Thailand
– Yap Kwong Weng, Chief Operating Officer, Parami Energy, Myanmar

Cyber security also plays an important role in the discussion, with speakers including:
– Mr Mohd Zabri Adil Talib, Head of Digital Forensics, Cyber Security Responsive Services, Cybersecurity Malaysia (Under Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI))
– Ricardo Baretzky, President, European Centre for Information Policy and Security (ECIPS), CYBERPOL program
– Dr. Sak Segkhoonthod, CEO and President, Electronic Government Agency and Cloud Security Alliance, Thailand

Keynote speakers include Lt General Datuk Dr. William Stevenson, Chief Executive of the Malaysian Institute of Defence & Security.

The preliminary conference programme can be viewed at www.cip-asia.com.

Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Asia is being co-hosted by the Department for Disaster Prevention & Mitigation (under the Ministry of Interior) and the Ministry of Information & Communication & Technology, as well as support from the Ministry of Transport and Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau.

The ever changing nature of threats, whether natural through climate change, or man-made through terrorism activities, either physical or cyber attacks, means the need to continually review and update policies, practices and technologies to meet these growing demands.

The event will bring together leading stakeholders from industry, operators, agencies and governments to collaborate on securing Asia. The conference will look at developing existing national or international legal and technical frameworks, integrating good risk management, strategic planning and implementation.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region continues to develop closer ties with the announcement of the Asian Economic Community (AEC), the further integration of the regions economies and policies, and therefore critical national infrastructure, is inevitable.

This is already being demonstrated with the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline and ASEAN Power Grid operational across the region, to which all countries rely, and will continue to integrate further, creating a joint responsibility for their protection and security.

Attacks on critical infrastructure sites are a favoured target for terrorist groups, for good reason. They offer what is seen by the terrorist as a soft target, that is, maximum effect with minimal chance of interdiction. The potential effects in terms of damage, the hugely detrimental economic impact, disruption of normal daily life and resulting publicity, can far outweigh the terrorist organisations commitment in both manpower and risk.

Southeast Asia has seen a rise in insurgency-related attacks and terrorist activities, creating uncertainty and insecurity on critical national infrastructure. Climate change has also seen more extreme weather patterns, creating additional hazardous, unseasonal and unpredictable conditions and a severe strain on infrastructure.

On a country level, there are strategies to deal with infrastructure protection issues. On a regional level, there is the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), under which several teams have been set up to deal with disaster management in general, but none is geared towards the protection of critical infrastructure.

Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Asia brings together leading stakeholders from industry, operators, agencies and governments to debate and collaborate on securing South East Asia’s critical infrastructure and its valuable information and data.

For further details visit www.cip-asia.com.

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Great success at 2nd Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Europe

MinisterialOpening500At the 2nd Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience, Europe (CIPRE), leading stakeholders from across Europe and indeed around the world once again came together in The Hague to learn, discuss and debate some of the crucial issues and threats facing all nations, in ensuring the normal functioning of critical infrastructure in the face of increased threats of terrorism and crime, as well as natural and manmade disasters.

The deliberate targeting of critical infrastructure by criminals, foreign powers and terrorists is now a fact of modern life. Our vulnerability to this kind of hostile activity is only going to increase as we depend more and more on information technology to manage these systems.

So whether it is physical threats, like the sniper attack that knocked out a substation in California and the deliberate sabotage of the Doel 4 nuclear reactor in Belgium, 0r cyber attacks, the numbers of which are now too numerous to list here, what is needed, is a holistic approach to infrastructure security.

CIPRE’s unique format with its theme of convergence provides the platform to promote that holistic approach.

The event started the afternoon before the conference with a roundtable discussion hosted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology with leading experts speakers from different disciplines.

The conference started with everyone together for the opening keynote speakers Mr Ivo Opstelten, Minister of Security & Justice, Minister for Security & Justice, Netherlands and Mr. Fernando Sánchez, Director General, National Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP), Spain.

Then after a plenary session which discussed bridging the gap between Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP), the conference split into two dedicated CIP and CIIP tracks. After a day and a half of high quality speakers and debate the two tracks then converged once again for a final plenary session

During the conference, delegates and speakers from both tracks were able to network, discuss and exchange ideas in an atmosphere of friendly fraternity.

CIPREConf200Mr Meda Udroiu on behalf of the Romanian delegation said: “We have all appreciated the quality of papers, the discourses of the participants who kept our attention with most interesting topics during the two days of conference. The debates in plenum, in panels as well as at the round table organized by IET – all have given us the opportunity to better understand the CIP and CIIP field. Networking coffee and networking reception have also meant for us an opportunity to exchange contacts and ideas.”

The next event in the series, Critical Infrastructure and Resilience, Asia, will take place in Bangkok in June 24-25 and Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience, Europe will return to The Hague 22-23 March 2016.

For information visit: www.cipre-expo.com

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The 3rd World BORDERPOL Congress is a huge success

DSCN9700-250The event once again attracted representation from across the globe, with 138 delegates from 38 countries represented.

27 Heads of Service, 18 Deputy Heads and 93 Heads of Department, Managers and senior officials from across the border community came together to discuss the pressing issues that are of concern to all in an atmosphere of mutual respect and fraternity.

Some of the most interesting discussions revolved around the sharing of information, the effects of cyber crime across borders and UAV technology and how to exploit it.

Highlights included:
– Minister Abba Moro, Minister of Interior, Nigerian, signing an agreement to make Nigerian Immigration Service the first African agency to become a full member of BORDERPOL.
– Commissioner Clarence Yeo was the recipient of the first BORDERPOL ‘Excellence in Border Management’ award on behalf of Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore.
– There was an award of a special citation for the Hungarian Border Police to recognise their sustained support for BORDERPOL and its aims since its inception.

Thomas Tass Executive Director of BORDERPOL received a ‘Recognition Award’ from Mr. Muhamad Anil Shah Abdullah, Director for Police Services, Assistant Commissioner of Police, ASEANAPOL for his work in promoting IBM worldwide. Mr. Abdullah also stated the intention of ASEANAPOL to work more closely with BORDERPOL in the coming years.

BORDERPOL also announced that the next World BORDERPOL Congress is to be held in The Hague from the 8th -10th December 2015.

The conference programme can be seen at: www.world-borderpol-congress.com/conference.

For information visit: www.world-borderpol-congress.com

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Great response to launch of CIPRA

MICT logo-ict120We are delighted with the response form the launch of Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Asia, having secured the co-hosting of the event in Bangkok by the Department of Disaster Prevention & Mitigation (under the Ministry of Interior) and Ministry of Information & Communication Technology. Support is also being enjoyed by the Ministry of Transport and organisations including the International Association of CIP Professionals, BORDERPOL, CYBERPOL, International Security Industry Organisation and Security Partners Forum. A great conference programme is beginning to take shape.

Keep up to date by visiting www.cip-asia.com.

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Launch of Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Asia

CIPR Asia logo120Following a successful launch and first European conference on Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience, Torch Marketing, in collaboration with KNM Media launch Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Asia in Bangkok, Thailand on 24th-25th June 2015.

Southeast Asia has seen a rise in insurgency-related attacks and terrorist activities, creating uncertainty and insecurity on critical national infrastructure.

Climate change has also seen more extreme weather patterns, creating additional hazardous, unseasonal and unpredictable conditions and a severe strain on infrastructure.

On a country level, there are strategies to deal with infrastructure protection issues. On a regional level, there is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), under which several teams have been set up to deal with disaster management in general, but none is geared towards the protection of critical infrastructure.

Cyber security is also becoming more prevalent, and as more critical infrastructure becomes connected to the internet and exposed to the dangers of cyber security attacks, new strategies and systems need to be developed to mitigate these threats.

Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Asia will bring together leading stakeholders from industry, operators, agencies and governments to collaborate on securing Asia. The conference will look at developing existing national or international legal and technical frameworks, integrating good risk management, strategic planning and implementation.

Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Asia will also offer limited exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities to commercial organisations supplying solutions and support services to government and operators tasked with protecting critical national infrastructure.

Visit www.cip-asia.com for further details.

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Strategic Routes to Critical Markets

Layout 1Torch Marketing, in partnership with KNM Media, launch WorldSecurityReport, offering a great way to reach the global security community and extend reach to new opportunities.

WorldSecurityReport eMagazine – with a circulation of over 38,000 senior officials from a variety of government, security organisations and law enforcement agencies worldwide – will be a bi-monthly eMagazine providing readers with up-to-date news as well as in-depth features, essential analysis and comment.

Further details can be found by clicking here >>>

 

 

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Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Europe moves to The Hague, Netherlands

CIPRE logo300Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Europe has announced that it will take place in the city of The Hague, following the great announcement of support from the Municipality of The Hague and Hague Security Delta. The Hague, renowned as the City of Justice and Peace, provides the ideal location to host the 2015 Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Europe Conference and Exhibition.

The 2015 Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Europe Conference and Exhibition will take place on 4th-5th March and will once again deliver a high quality conference bringing together the leading organisations and operators responsible for securing Europe’s critical infrastructure.

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The Importance of Retaining Staff

A growing issue for companies, big or small, is that of encouraging staff loyalty and retaining staff. It is all too easy for a member of staff to get up and go and they are taking expertise, industry experience and company knowledge, probably to a competitor.

Employees are important to a company
Employees are the lifeblood of any company and a continuity of staff provides continuity of service which is important for developing long term relationships with customers. As relationship marketing becomes more important in today’s business society, it is the people factor and personal touch that can make all the difference.

Companies have a tendency to believe their staff will remain loyal because the employment market is tough. This may be true to a certain extent, particularly in a difficult economic climate. However, when there is an affluent employment market, they may leave for more money or better prospects, and you may need to protect from employees being head hunted.

Improving employee morale and motivation improves staff retention

Managers sometimes believe that because nothing is said, their staff are happy and content in their work. Unfortunately, it is not always easy for an employee to discuss this with their line manager and if they complain to other staff, word of mouth works quickly in close environments, creating an unpleasant atmosphere.

Internal PR
Staff retention is an important Public Relations issue that should be addressed by all companies, and the bigger the company, the more complex it becomes.

Internal PR is not just about staff retention but is also a good motivator, after all happy staff enjoy work, like coming into work and consequently make more effort for a company they enjoy working for.

This kind of atmosphere also improves staff morale and builds team spirit, so the team work together better and towards common goals.

Empowerment
For small and medium business, the empowerment of staff is a motivating factor. Where they are able to make decisions, relinquishing key staff of minor decisions, provides the employee with a sense of importance and belonging to the company structure.

Communication is the key
Internal PR is about communication – involving staff with the company, the activities of the company and company activities.

Tools of communication and activities are extensive to fulfil these aspects and could take the form of house journals or staff newsletters, team building days or company do’s, for example.

Whatever methods are chosen for internal PR activities, they must be focused to achieve set objectives for the company. Define your objectives and design a cohesive strategy for the company for maintaining staff, improving staff morale and motivation and enhancing the employee environment.

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The value in knowing your customer better

I recently managed to meet with the top executive of an organisation I had been trying to get a meeting with for some time.

After much research in finding this company, which was brought to my attention through word of mouth, I set about trying to target them a bit more aggresively, and took some time and effort to find out who exactly the right contact was that I needed to deal with for my very specific requirement.

After the writing to introduce oneself (yes in the traditional paper form), as well as follow up by email and then again email (you know how it is… “I am following up on…”) and tried to speak to on the phone, but without a great deal of success, I took the additional step and trouble of going to see them.

After making an appointment through the all-important gate-keeper, yes the PA, he was graceous enough to afford me some time to meet directly with him at his office (as they are abroad, this was not as straight forward as it sounds).

What good value that ticket turned out to be.

As I met with him, he commented to me that he didn’t like talking too much on the phone (perhaps it’s a generation thing but I also know people in the younger generation who have the same affliction), and email was good for continuing communications, but not for the initial setting up of a relationship.

He very much preferred meeting someone for the first time and dealing face to face, before making any commitment. “You can accomplish so much more, as well as get a feel of who you are dealing with. Get to know them.”

How right he is, as we built a good rapport that we never did or could on the phone or email.

As well as showing the value of meetings (and indeed other tools in the marketers box – the traditional pen and paper (direct mail), as well as exhibitions, it also demonstrates the need to get to know your customer better and their buying behaviour.

New customers can take time to nuture and build a relationship.

Every customer IS different, even in the more structured b2b marketing world.

You need to get to know your customer, but also know who your potential customer actually is and how they wish to conduct business. Makes life much easier!

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Is direct mail dead with the rise in social media?

Many reports and commentators claim that social media and electronic mail will see the end of direct mail…

designprint120x120An interesting proposition which needs careful consideration, researched and a little common sense applied before this kind of statement can be claimed, or should be adopted as a part of the marketing strategy.

Is direct mail still relevant?  After all, it can be costly to adequately manage the database and mail out an expensive mailing piece, when you can shoot off an email to several thousand people at virtually no cost.

That is, however playing a dangerous game. Even with the opt-out legislation for b2b, data management is still important as is the need to be able to accurately target the right customer with the right messages.

The growing problem with emailing is the increase in spam filters and the decrease in open rates and click throughs. People are simply being bombarded with hundreds of emails daily, most of them irrelevant to their business activity and needs, and they are switching off to email blasts.

This has a double effect of not only being less useful, but also more annoying, reducing impact and increasing negative feelings towards a brand.

Yes, good data management can assist with this, but the ever increasing email traffic will not.

Social media itself also only has so much reach in a business environment. Despite their claims, Facebook and Twitter (the epitome of anti-social media, rather than social media – how many followers or likes do you actually know?) can add value for awareness, but still are limited in reaching your specific target audience.

Direct mail can provide additional focus and impetous to a noisy market place and should be part of the overall communications strategy. In instances, it should lead in making the first contact, after all people still love to receive that personal letter through the post, then followed by a relevant and cohesive email follow up.

Direct mail has the ability to reach the right person with the right message and be noticed. It should be part of an integrated campaign using all the relevant tools available.

With an average response rate around 5%, opposed to email of around 0.1%, direct mail still has much to offer and is certainly not a dead tool.

Implemented in the right way, with good creativity, it can continue to pay dividends and enhance your brand.

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PR is more than just a Press Release

If you thought PR was just sending out a press release then you need to think again.

Public Relations is about connecting with all your customers – interal, external, direct and indirect. PR is the very soul of a company. It defines what you are and what you stand for and goes through the organisation from top to bottom.

Yes, PR includes the relationship with the media and keeping them informed of company developments, new products and stories of interest. After all they are an important channel to your customer. But the relationship with and perception of your company, by its customers and potential customers, needs to be nurtured by other forms of engagement.

An open day, a newsletter, even a friendly letter to your customers and certainly social media and the content it contains, all delivers perceptions about your company that need to be managed and controlled within corporate guidelines to achieve a common goal and message.

What your staff say and how they deal with customers is just as important as the article in the major industry mag, to create and maintain a positive relationship.

They say all publicity is good publicity – I am not so sure! Negative publicity has proven to have a detrimental effect to a business. A major oil company having experience of this in recent years, as well as some companies allegedly avoiding UK corporation tax.

The banking industry’s wopping bonuses for top execs, in these tough times is another example of why PR should be engrained as a top down culture. It’s left huge amounts of disillusionment and resentment towards the bankers who expected sympathy when the banking crisis was at its height.

Successful PR programmes can be richly rewarding as a long term investment, delivering real customer relationships and creating that warm fuzzy feeling towards your brand every company strives for.

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Relationship Marketing

A CUSTOMER SHOULD BE FOR LIFE!

But what do we mean by Relationship Marketing?

In today’s increasingly competitive world, much emphasis is focused around new customers; attracting new customers; developing new clients.  Of course, this is a key area for increasing a company’s turnover, without which it would not grow and prosper.

But the big mistake by most is they forget what they already have – access to the huge resources of their existing customers, if only they knew how to get at them.

Despite current economic challenges, and as we start to recover from the recession, companies, large and small, are looking for increasing levels of service and consolidation of suppliers to those they trust and can rely on – after all, you are more likely to trust a friend than a stranger!

Better quality of products, the value added services and personal service all form part of this higher level of all round service.  That also includes the way you portray your company to your customers – your identity.

And how can you maintain customer focus and nurture all these existing relationships while trying to captivate new customers?

The same way you build personal friendship; regular contact.  Not necessarily in person, as this would not be time efficient, but with personalised communication techniques and interesting and informative dialogue that keeps your customers fully up to date with your own developments.

It is once this level of relationship is established that the doors begin to open to these existing customer resources; complimentary products, the development of new ones, to name just two.

However, this relationship marketing can often be complex or too time consuming for a company to perform, jeopardising the whole basis of their customer relationship. The rise of social media has played an important role in developing and maintaining customer relationships, but this is just one part of an overall programme of activity.

Cost is also a factor for many, although this should not cause concern as it is likely to cost less than you think (but also how can you put a price on the value of new leads?)

Campaigns can be planned to fit almost any budget at any level.  And if they are planned well, the results can speak for themselves.

Torch Marketing excel in planning communication programmes, utilising all aspects of the marketing communications mix to produce the most effective results for your individual company.

These results are focused around developing both existing and new customers.  Developing a relationship with your customers to ensure that you completely satisfy their levels of expectations and they become a customer for life!

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Are You Making the Most of Exhibitions

EXHIBITIONS CAN BE EXPENSIVE – SO MAKE THEM WORK

There is no denying exhibitions can be expensive.

The cost of your exhibition space is just one expense, while the cost of building the stand can set you back anywhere between a few hundred to several thousands of pounds.

There are lots of exhibitions around and they’re all trying to attract you to display at their event.  But, what better place to get face to face with your potential customers than an exhibition. A steady stream of people who are there with one purpose in mind – to gather information and source potential suppliers.

So how do you know at which exhibition to display your products and services and how do you then get people to visit your stand?

Carefully selecting which exhibition to go to is relatively easy.  Each event will produce an information pack with the target audience, level of promotion the event will generate and expected attendances.  You need to select those which are the closest to your key prospective customers.

As for your stand, that’s a different matter.

At the event, why should people stop at your stand?  In amongst the several hundred stands at an exhibition, you have about 5 seconds to appeal to the passing customer – a bit like a High Street shop window.  So what are you going to do to get them to stop and visit you, without physically assaulting them?

Firstly, you need to consider your budget – how much do you want to spend at the event. This is directly related to what you want to get from the event.  Spend little money on weak graphics, poor literature and an unfriendly stand layout and you won’t achieve your high level of expectations.

Invest a little more cash on a more professional look, a welcoming stand layout, appealing graphics, sensible brochures and perhaps a few gifts, then you could find yourself exceeding your anticipated targets.

You may even wish to develop a theme for the stand to follow or something unusual that will catch the eye of your prey.

Secondly, ensure you obtain a good stand location, with adequate space to appropriately display your products and brochures, leaving room for guests to make themselves feel comfortable.

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, properly plan your stand layout.

Ask yourself a few questions: From which way will the flow of traffic be approaching? What will catch their eye on my stand? Am I showing the real benefits I can offer? Does my stand deliver a welcoming and friendly appearance?

If you want to appeal to the quality companies you really want as customers, you need to talk to them at their level.

Take a step back and think – would you want to stop at your stand? If not, then it’s back to the drawing board – or call in the professionals! At Torch Marketing, we have over 20 years of working in the exhibitions and events industry.

Finally, you could also look at providing a little PR support to the event.  Make the most of it, you’ve invested quite a bit of money already, a little extra can make a lot of difference.

Most events produce an Exhibition Guide, where an advert may be of use. Some are supported by leading trade magazines.  This means they will also have a Press Office where journalists gather their news and stories on new product launches or improvements in existing products.

Establish a contact in the press office and feed them with your news – you may also be launching a new product, so let them know.

The job of attracting customers or potential customers to your stand is not just the job of the exhibition organiser, it is a collaboration of effort and the more collaboration, the more successful the event for you.

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