Monthly Archives: June 2013

From strength to strength

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The last 12 months has seen a lot of exciting change at Liberty as we have grown and evolved as an agency and we are proud to see that this is being recognised across the industry.



With that I’m happy to announce that we have been shortlisted for the second year running in the Best PR Agency category for this year’s ME awards. A prestigious award given our heritage in the mobile space and winners voted for by several hundred impartial judges we are so excited to be in the running for the honour.


This is a challenging economic climate and companies need partners they can rely on. Achieving cut through for our clients is what we thrive on and industry recognition that we are doing that successfully only spurs us on as a team to do more and more.


Fingers crossed for November!

Social networking – no, not that kind!

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Two words that have had a modern-day overhaul are social AND networking.  Together they conjure up some digital jiggery-pokery that only the young and geeky can get involved with.  Funny how time can change the meaning of words in our English language.  But the social networking that I’m writing about today is not about the online community, it’s about how to network – socially – with your peers.



I’m often asked about how I approach new business for Liberty and how the agency has retained its clients.  It’s been a wonderful experience over the past 15 years requiring hard work and attention to detail, building knowledge of my subject matter and working with some fantastic talented communication professionals; all the ingredients that have led to success.  However, when I look at the companies and the industry people that make up our client base, more often than not, they are contacts with whom I have crossed paths over the course of my working life and who have lent their support to my business ideals – and made Liberty what it is today.


I’ve never considered myself a salesperson, far from it.  I’m certainly not going to cold call anyone, or door stop someone at an industry event in the hope they might consider dropping their existing communication consultancy for Liberty Communications.  My approach is much more subtle and it starts as every relationship should, with an open mind, an ability to listen and a willingness to share – whatever the outcome.  Like all relationships in life, they should be based on mutual trust and respect and not on the assumption that if you cozy up to someone, they will automatically reward you with their business.  In my experience it’s all about the depth and breadth of the relationship between two like-minded professionals.  On that basis, you can bring something to each other and mutually benefit from the pairing.


I’m lucky enough to be involved with an amazing VIP networking organisation called the Centurions.  We’re dedicated to mixing socially with peers and sharing ideas.  Centurions is for the great and the good from the digital entertainment world.  We don’t hold presentations or wear name badges, we just relax with good conversation and great stories shared.  Whether business follows is not the point, but it has and that’s the outcome, not the upside.  Networking socially for me is what Centurions is all about – it’s not the hard sell and it’s an absolute pleasure!


I’m off now to join over 100 like-minded digital industry folk – I know I’m in for an inspiring evening!


For more information on Centurions, visit – and mention my name

Secrets, government lies and the world of online spies…

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Earlier this week the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee described the advent of the Prism system of Internet surveillance as; “deeply concerning, and an intrusion on basic human rights that threatens the very foundations of a democratic society.”


Security Vs Privacy – the debate continues


The Prism online surveillance subject bought to light by former CIA employee Edward Snowden once again highlights the blurred boundaries between maintaining collective public safety, and state encroachment on individual civil liberties; be they online or physical.

It could be argued that the spies are doing only what they always have and only what is necessary. Al-Qaeda’s assaults on September 11th 2001 demonstrated to politicians everywhere that their first duty is to ensure their own citizens’ safety—a lesson reinforced recently by the attack on the Boston marathon in April and last month’s gruesome murder of British soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby in London.

With cyber and physical terrorism apparently on the rise, there is a compelling case for using electronic surveillance especially with cyber criminals proving increasingly hard for Western security services to penetrate as a direct use of mobile phones and the internet.

The issue of sweeping up information about society has been modestly reported; compared with the wars launched against Afghanistan and Iraq, and the public seems happy enough for the moment. If there was another attack such as 9/11 or 7/7, Mr Snowden and the whole information security issue would soon be forgotten.

Because spies choose what to reveal about their work, nobody can really judge if the cost and intrusion of the security services are proportionate to the threat. One concern is the size, scope and cost of the security bureaucracy: some 1.4m people have top secret clearances of the kind held by Mr Snowden. The question remains, is this sensible? Surely the Wiki Leaks saga exposed the inherent weaknesses in the system?

Spooks do need secrecy, but not on everything, always and everywhere. Officials will complain that disclosure would hinder their efforts in what is already an unfair fight and with the world becoming increasingly digital this is simply a logical progression.

Yet surely some operational efficiency is worth sacrificing, because public scrutiny is a necessary condition for popular backing. Even allowing for the need to keep some things clandestine, societies around the globe (online and physical) need a clearer idea of what their spies are doing in their name, both in the field and online.

Rebuilding the UK economy, one BRIC at a time…

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Earlier this week Sir Meryvn King highlighted the first shoots of recovery in the British economy; house prices recorded their most buoyant year since 2009; EE hit half a million subscribers on its 4G network and London hosted it first Open Co. event celebrating innovation and technology within the capital .


Looking beyond the traditional frontiers


It also saw the PM continue the EU referendum debate in the House of Commons with taunts aimed at Labour frontbench claiming that “the people’s party does not trust the people” – all in all an eventful week.

Although the economy may be showing signs of recovery the issue of EU membership still looms large, with plans for an in-out referendum on the UK’s EU membership after the next general election. The proposal has split opinion throughout the country as well as the UK’s business community. Would companies benefit from letting go of EU regulations? Or would withdrawing from Europe put exporting and investment opportunities at risk?

Either way, the uncertainty around Cameron’s proposal might encourage SME and aspiring tech start-ups to set their sights elsewhere to emerging markets outside of Europe, such as the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). According to the latest ONS figures UK trade in these regions has, doubled since before the economic crisis; however BRIC countries still only account for 5% of British exports.

With China and India alone contributing more than 20% towards the overall global GDP in 2012, now seems like a better time than ever before to trade and branch out into these markets. As Brazil prepares for the Football World Cup and 2016 Olympics it too is investing hugely in technology infrastructure projects and the likes of UK tech start-ups such as Get Taxi, Geckoboard and GoCardless could be presented with an opportunity to corner the international market as much as the domestic.

An upstart Kent tea-blender, an educational software company based in Doncaster, the Northern Ireland firm responsible for the new Routemaster bus and a small Ayrshire distillery are just a few of the UK’s export champions; reaching markets well beyond the EU boarders and as far afield as China, Mexico, the Gulf States, Brazil and Russia.

I am certainly not a Eurosceptic; it does seem however that for too long the States of the European Union have placed too much emphasis on the collective economic strength of the Union. The last five years of economic hardship, and more recently the situation in Greece has starkly highlighted the flaws in this collective approach to trade and economics.

The UK should not give up on the idea of Europe: that said, for the health of the UK tech, innovation and exporting sectors , as well as the wider economy we must broaden our horizons to the more lucrative and dynamic markets represented by the BRIC countries.