Oamaru mum, Joanne Prouting has won five nights in Fiji with return airfares for two, staying at the Sofitel Resort and Spa. Joanne, a long standing patient at Lumino The Dentists (Shearer Dental) in Oamaru took part in the company’s initiative to get New Zealanders thinking about their dental care.

‘I thought I was dreaming because I never win anything,’ laughs Joanne. ‘I’ve never been to Fiji before so it’ll be a nice break; I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t think I’ll believe it until I step off the plane though!’

Lumino The Dentists, the country’s only national provider, is concerned that people are storing up trouble by pushing concerns about their oral health to the back of their minds. Andy Tapper, Lumino managing director explains: `We’re trying to get people to come in and see their dentist so that any small problems they may have don’t get worse through neglect. With any consultation or treatment at a Lumino practice we offered the chance to go into a draw to win a fabulous holiday and Joanne is our very lucky winner.’

The Oamaru practice has recently added a second dentist. UK migrant Steven Fletcher is now working three days per week at Oamaru, including two additional late nights.

The latest initiative follows a study of over 18,000 people by the University of Otago in Wellington which showed that 23% of New Zealanders had put off going to the dentist in the last 12 months.

To find out more about Lumino The Dentists, visit http://www.lumino.co.nz/


Leading event structure and scaffolding company, Camelspace, has constructed a giant washing line for an Oxfam New Zealand event. At Takapuna Beach in Auckland, Pacific Islanders waded out into the sea to hang up 350 T-shirts on the lines. Each shirt had the name of a different island printed on it to signify the insufficient action being taken to combat climate change.

‘It was great to be involved with such a worthwhile cause,’ says Phil McConchie, Commercial Director and co-founder of Camelspace. ‘We constructed the washing line out of specialist scaffolding material and also built submerged platforms for the people hanging out the washing to stand on. We were incredibly pleased with the overall effect. It appeared as if sea levels had risen so much that the Pacific Island residents’ backyards had been flooded.

‘Unfortunately, in some areas, this is already a reality. Hopefully, the 350 event and the resulting video we participated in, will go some way towards bringing attention to the damaging effects of climate change on the Pacific Islands.’

The campaign, ‘350 Islands for Change,’ was organised as part of the ‘350 International Day of Climate Action’, a global call to bring greenhouse gas pollution back down to a safe level.

A video of the event can be viewed on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_LVtiRyenI


Auckland based events and catering company, Urban Gourmet, has appointed Bridget Daniel to the position of Events Manager.

Bridget will be organising weddings, cocktail parties, formal dinners and corporate events, as well as a whole host of other functions, for Urban Gourmet clients.

Bridget has come from Hudson Sales and International events company, Reed Exhibitions. She managed a range of high-profile events including the Speciality and Fine Food Fair and the launch of IFE (International Food Exhibition) in Budapest.

'I am a real foodie so this role is perfect for me. I had tasted Urban Gourmet at various events and been absolutely overwhelmed,” explains Bridget. ‘I was also really attracted to the diversity and scope of the position, the staff at Urban Gourmet and the level of client interaction.'

Bridget believes that the specialist knowledge she gained overseas will add significant value to Urban Gourmet’s client offering.

More information on Urban Gourmet can be found at http://www.urbangourmet.co.nz/


Evidence is continuing to mount that many children in New Zealand are under nourished according to research published in the prestigious American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, further endorsing the Health & Herbs’ Herbal Hero campaign for better childhood nutrition.

A study by the University of Otago of 184 school aged children released in September found that iodine supplementation led to significant improvements in cognitive brain function. Previous studies suggest that up to half of all New Zealand children may be mildly deficient in iodine.

A second study, published this month, of 225 South Island toddlers, says that the one in three New Zealand pre-schoolers who have low iron levels, which can slow brain development and cause behavioural problems, would benefit from an iron fortified diet.

Health & Herbs International, has launched a new campaign headed up by ‘Herbal Hero’, a cartoon character created by Health & Herbs to educate children and their parents on the benefits of good nutrition and taking a regular dietary supplement.

Jacqui Simcock, Senior Technical Manager at Health & Herbs explains: `Radiance Kids Multi provides iodine naturally sourced from sea kelp as well as iron and adequate, yet safe levels of all the vitamin and mineral nutrients needed to keep kids healthy and vibrant. But parents do need to remember, these are not designed to replace food, they are an essential nutrient top up.’

Health & Herbs’ campaign is backed up by the most recent Ministry of Health Children’s Nutrition Survey which shows that only two out of five children meet the recommended number of fruit servings per day.

‘New Zealand children are not underfed but the foods they are eating are not meeting their nutritional needs,’ Jacqui adds. ‘A variety of nutrients are known to encourage healthy brain and nerve function, memory, mood etc – these include vitamin D, magnesium, B vitamins, essential fatty acids (DHA) as well as iron and iodine.

‘These new studies are great in that they bring recognition to often forgotten minerals such as iodine that are commonly deficient in all New Zealanders, especially children as they are rarely exposed to high iodine containing foods beyond iodised salt.’

‘Herbal Hero’ is visiting participating stores nationwide to promote Health & Herb’s new Radiance Kids range, which has taken seven years to perfect. The range includes Radiance Kids Multi, Kids Immune, Kids Vege, Kids Bone and Kids Colostrum. The Radiance Kids formulations have been specifically developed for New Zealand children’s dietary supplement needs and are exclusive to Radiance worldwide.

Visit http://www.healthandherbs.co.nz/ for more information Follow Herbal Hero on Twitter http://twitter.com/herbalheroOr become a Facebook fan www.facebook.com/pages/Herbal-Hero/293087745304?ref=ts


The Smile Studio in Orewa is enjoying a facelift, to celebrate its three year anniversary as part of the national Lumino The Dentists group. A new logo, colours, outside signage and a refreshed reception area are all part of the refurbishment.

‘We are very pleased with what has been done. It looks very smart,’ says lead dentist, Dr. Adam Doudney. ‘Getting the exterior Lumino The Dentists signage up is an appropriate way to celebrate the three successful years we have had with the dental group. It also confirms in everybody’s minds, that we are a committed part of the national network.’

‘It has been great to get the whole place freshened up. The last time it was fully repainted was 13 years ago, when the practice was first established, so it was looking a bit tired. Customers can now enjoy being in a bright, modern looking environment that matches the high level of service that they expect to receive from us.’

Smile Studio has also been updating its machinery and dental technology. The practice recently brought single-visit, CEREC dentistry to the Rodney District. The CEREC technology, which uses a variety of computer assisted technologies, enables a Smile Studio dentist to design, fabricate and fit a new crown, veneer, onlay or inlay in a single visit. The same procedures in the past would have taken multiple sittings with the patient.

‘According to our supplier, we have the only CEREC machine in Rodney,’ says Adam. ‘Refreshing the appearance of the practice and making these new dental technologies available is all part of keeping things as up-to-date as possible for our customers.’

For more information, visit http://www.lumino.co.nz/


Oasis Beauty NZ has appointed Amy Fisher to the position of National Training and Event Manager.

Amy will hold training sessions and special events for potential and current Oasis Beauty stockists so that they can learn more about the company and its range of naturally inspired sun and skin care products.

Amy, who studied at the Southern School of Natural Therapies in Victoria, has spent the last 12 years working in the beauty industry and is experienced in spa and beauty therapy, product sales, merchandising and training. Previous responsibilities have included managing the Jurlique Day Spas in Melbourne and London and launching the Origins counter at Kirkcaldie and Stains in Wellington. Amy also spent time as Business Performance Manager and Trainer for prestigious Parisian skin care and cosmetic brands, Sisley and Orlane.

‘I am very excited to be a part of the Oasis Beauty team,’ explains Amy. ‘I’m looking forward to working for a brand that is honest, uses the very best ingredients and achieves outstanding results for its customers.’

To find out more about Oasis Beauty, visit www.oasisbeauty.co.nz


Chris Baker has joined Orakei based Ken Holmes Financial Services as an adviser specialising in investment and small to medium enterprises.

Chris who is a qualified chartered accountant was previously a director, private clients at ANZ Private Bank and has broad experience in consulting to local government financial services.

Although brought up in Epsom and educated at Auckland University, Chris has worked extensively in the US and in London, with a special interest in importing and exporting.
He has four sons and has coached the university rugby and cricket club junior level teams for over 15 years.

Chris comments: `A big part of my role at KHFS will be assisting our clients in creating and maintaining their wealth and financial security. We try and focus on individual solutions based on each client's situations. A clear financial strategy is the key.'

KHFS principal Ken Holmes says: `I've known Chris for over 15 years and this is a great opportunity for us to work together. He has a great rapport with people and is an expert at providing tailor made solutions which cover all the elements.'


I am currently putting the finishing polish on our first Musings from an Intermediary e-newsletter. It will contain lots of news from both Intermediary and the PR world. It will also include some very special offers and PR packages- just what you need to get you through the rest of this blip in the economy. I am planning on sending it out on a quarterly basis (February, May, August and November). Just flick me an email if you would like to be on the mailing list!


On Tuesday afternoon, Auckland car dealer, Andrew Simms, and Ateco Automotive NZ Ltd, the New Zealand importer and distributor of Citroen, Alfa Romeo and Fiat celebrated the launch of the Alfa Romeo MiTo. The glamorous event was held aboard Neville Crichton’s state of the art Super Maxi Racing Yacht, ‘Alfa Romeo II.’ Alfa Romeo customers and a number of other VIP guests were in attendance.

Andrew Simms, Managing Director of Andrew Simms European, recently invested $500,000 into his Newmarket based business, in order to accommodate Alfa Romeo, along with Citroen and Fiat. He was thrilled that ‘Alfa Romeo II’ was available for the MiTo launch:

‘Neville Crichton, Governing Director of Ateco Automotive Pty Ltd, was kind enough to share his stunning boat with our guests,’ says Andrew. ‘It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be given a personal tour of a top class, record breaking racing yacht. Plus, it was the perfect way to introduce the Alfa MiTo.’

The Alfa Romeo MiTo is a three door sporty hatchback. There are two versions available globally but the one that has been launched in New Zealand is the highly equipped, high specification 114 kW MiTo Sport. It includes Blue&Me Bluetooth telematics with a USB connection, climate control air conditioning, sports bumpers, spoiler and pedals, rear parking sensors, Brembo Brakes, auto wipers, lights and interior mirror as well as front fog lights as the headlines in its standard equipment list.
Lawrie Malatios, General Manager of Ateco Automotive NZ Pty Ltd, believes that the MiTo will be ideal for New Zealanders that crave the convenience, economy and low emissions of a small car as well as the style, performance, and luxury of Alfa Romeo’s larger models.
‘The only thing that has been downsized with the Alfa Romeo MiTo is the size,’ explains Lawrie. ‘Everything else is what would be expected of an Alfa Romeo, from the style, which is inspired by Alfa Romeo’s fastest production car, the Alfa 8C Competizione, to its performance, which is provided by a compact turbocharged engine. Equally, the Alfa Romeo MiTo shares a lavish level of equipment with its larger brothers and its long list of advanced technology will make it a benchmark in its class.’

The Alfa Romeo MiTo is priced at $39,990 plus statutory charges and delivery.For more information visit http://www.andrewsimms.co.nz/ or http://www.alfaromeo.co.nz/


Jessica Mentis, a final year spatial design student at the Auckland University of Technology headed up the city’s first ever architecture convoy on Friday (16th October), with the help of leading event structure and scaffolding business, Camelspace. The parade was held as part of Auckland Architecture Week 2009.

Jessica was given the opportunity to have her design, ‘Tower of Twittering Auckland’, lead the convoy after winning Stage 1 of the Architecture Week ‘TRANS-FORM-ers’ competition which she entered in July. The challenge was to design a piece of moving architecture.
Camelspace donated their time and materials to provide Jessica with a framework for her design.

‘Camelspace were able to provide me with a pyramid shaped tower, made out of scaffolding,’ explains Jessica. ‘This structure was at the centre of my design. It acted as a kind of aerial throughout the parade receiving tweeting signals. Then, at the end of the convoy, it was transformed into a stage, allowing the audience to climb it and send their own tweets.’
‘I am so grateful to Camelspace. I couldn’t have done it without them.’

‘We jumped at the chance to get involved,’ adds Phil McConchie, Commercial Director and co-founder of Camelspace. ‘We place huge importance on putting something back into our local community, and helping the next generation along. We were also really impressed with the design that Jessica came up with and wanted to help bring it to life.’

The Architecture convoy started at Western Springs, before moving on to Grey Lynn, K’Rd and Queen St. Arriving at Shed 12, 90 Wellesley Street West, the Architecture Week venue, all mobile architectures underwent a transformation, revealing an interior, which were exhibited and experienced as part of the Architecture Week Pecha Kucha evening. Jessica beat 600 other students from AUT, Auckland University and Unitec to take first prize in the design competition.


I have read a few of your media releases recently and it seems you are a little confused as to how one of these simple documents should be structured. Perhaps you have not been in the industry for long and simply weren't aware of a couple of the following points (although, I have only been a public relations professional for three years and all of the PR students I know are familiar with the following guidelines. Ah well, maybe we are the exceptions to the rule...) Or maybe you weren't given the media release 'talk' when you were younger. Let me point you in the right direction...

1) The journalist you are sending these releases to receives a million, squillion emails a day. You need to capture his or her attention within the first few seconds of them glancing at the story or all is lost. A title that takes more time to figure out than the Da Vinci code is not going to go down well. The journalist probably won't even bother opening the document.

2) Every student in PR school is taught that the first paragraph must sum up the story. Even if you can convince our lovely journalist to open the file, stuffing the first five paragraphs with meaningless fluff will not compel them to read any further. I appreciate your attempt to alter the way all good media releases have been written since before the beginning of time but it's just not working is it?

3) Typos, typos, typos. Is it really that difficult to send out a media release without it being smattered with bad spelling and grammatical mistakes? I've heard that in-depth proofreading- by both yourself and other people in the office- can be helpful....

4) Media releases should always be sent out under the client's name, not the name of your consultancy. The aim is to get coverage for the brand you are representing, not for yourself.

5) Issuing your release after 5pm is not a particularly sensible idea. Mornings are the best time to get in touch with journalists. Otherwise, it is quite likely that your release will end up in a big black hole and it will never be read. Although, seeing as you do not adhere to the previous four points, maybe that is a blessing in disguise.

If you are still a little muddled, do not despair. There are plenty of 'how-to' guides on the internet or you could ask a PR student for some advice? Maybe you should have a read through this guide before you next attempt to put together a media release.

Warmest Regards,

A Fellow PR Company


Bodywall, a New Zealand designed and manufactured health and fitness system is set to transform the way people look after themselves according to enthusiasts who have trialled the system. The first of a planned series of Bodywall centres has opened its doors in Mt Eden, Auckland, with plans to roll out an extensive network of franchise operated studios across both the North and South Islands. Bodywall franchises are only available to qualified personal trainers or physiotherapists.

‘Bodywall will redefine the health and fitness experience in New Zealand,’ says Bodywall founder and Managing Director, Chris Toal. ‘It is one of the most versatile and easy to use systems around meaning that it can cater to a wide variety of different fitness levels and needs. It has also proved its worth as a rehabilitative tool, helping everyone from burns victims to professional rugby players wanting to rebuild strength in an injured leg.

‘As well as being highly effective, Bodywall is also fun. It’s like a giant play gym for adults,’ adds Chris. ‘We recognise that most New Zealanders perceive exercise as a chore and would make more of an effort to do it if it was an enjoyable experience. An added bonus is that two people can use the wall at a time so you can share your workouts with a friend.’

Each Bodywall studio includes a large textured wall where all of the 30-60 minute sessions with either a personal trainer or physiotherapist take place. Whoever is working on the wall wears high-adhesion, rapid release gloves and shoes that were developed by Massey University’s Industrial Design Department and 3M New Zealand. Using the wall and force supplied by your own muscles Bodywall provides a low impact, high intensity workout, working on your limbs and core at the same time.

A variety of attachments have been designed specifically for the wall so that virtually any health or fitness need can be catered to by personal trainers or physiotherapists. This includes sports training with special adaptors for reproducing exact actions and loads for sports as diverse as rugby, cricket, tennis, golf, hockey, netball, skiing, boxing, kickboxing, weightlifting and many more.
All training sessions are with a qualified personal trainer or physiotherapist who works alongside clients to set and achieve their training goals.

For more information visit http://www.bodywall.com/


Increasing numbers of New Zealanders are suffering from sensitive skin, triggered by the chemicals in their perfumes and skincare products, says South Island based sun and skincare company, Oasis Beauty.

Their warning follows a British survey which reveals that 74% of women are allergic to their perfume and that organic or natural scents could be the perfect alternative. The research also shows that increasing numbers of women are seeking out more ecologically friendly scents which will not irritate their complexions.

‘Studies have shown that around 50% of women and 40% of men admit to having sensitive skin,’ says Stephanie Kimpton, co-founder of Oasis Beauty. ‘Unfortunately, the chemicals found in many skincare products and perfumes can exacerbate this condition. They can also cause pigmentation, contact urticaria (hives) and even photodermatitis (an abnormal skin reaction to ultraviolet (UV) rays).

‘One the challenges we face in New Zealand is that there are still no regulations that cover cosmetic ingredient labelling. This means that it is possible to buy cosmetics with no labelling and it can be very difficult to know exactly what you are putting on your skin.’
Oasis Beauty has seen growing numbers of people switch over to their more natural skincare products, due to problems with sensitive skin.

‘Some of these people have been putting up with various skincare issues for years,’ says Stephanie. ‘It’s only when they try a product without all the harsh chemicals in it that they realise that their skincare regime was part of the problem.

‘Choosing a fragrance or moisturiser which relies on natural scents and ingredients more than on chemical compounds, and only purchasing items which display a full list of ingredients, is a reliable way of ensuring that what you use on your skin isn’t going to cause an uncomfortable and unsightly reaction.’

All Oasis Beauty products are formulated from the highest quality organic, natural and ethical ingredients. No harsh chemicals, dyes or carcinogens are used and none of the products are tested on animals. The products are available online or from selected stockists and beauty therapists nationwide. For more information visit www.oasisbeauty.co.nz


Intermediary Communications is to represent Bodywall, a New Zealand designed and manufactured fitness and rehabilitation system.

The Auckland based public relations consultancy will provide Bodywall with a coordinated marketing communications strategy, advice on rolling out a franchisee recruitment programme and public relations guidance.

‘We are extremely excited about working with Bodywall,’ says Peter Boyes, Managing Director of Intermediary Communications. ‘One of our specialist areas is healthcare communications and their wellness training system is unlike anything we have come across before. They have a really interesting story to tell.

‘Our goal is to educate the public on the benefits Bodywall can offer from a fitness, rehabilitation and overall wellness perspective. We will also be striving to increase brand recognition among potential franchise holders.’

The idea for Bodywall first came about in 1999, when founder Chris Toal, a qualified therapeutic masseur, became frustrated at treating large numbers of injuries that could easily have been avoided by releasing tension within soft tissues.

Using force supplied by your own muscles Bodywall provides a low impact, high intensity workout, working on your limbs and core at the same time. All training sessions are with a qualified personal trainer who works alongside clients to set and achieve their training goals.

The versatility of the training system means that it can cater to a wide variety of different fitness levels and needs. Clients can include anyone from a professional rugby player wanting to rebuild strength in an injured leg to someone simply wanting to lose a few pounds and develop some basic fitness.

More information on Bodywall can be found at http://www.bodywall.com/

Intermediary Communications is part of one of New Zealand’s largest independently owned communications partnerships. The team has managed projects in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific markets. More information can be found at www.intermediary.co.nz.


A new pair of hands is taking over at Lumino The Dentists Smile by Design in Whangarei. After 37 years Dr Harvey Stephen is handing over to local lad, Dr Matthew Ross.
Matt was born and educated in Whangarei and is the son of a prominent lawyer. He graduated from Otago University in 1996 and has 3 ½ years overseas experience and 9 years working locally in Whangarei.

Harvey Stephen says: `Matt has a reputation for being a caring and gentle dentist with a good chair-side manner and I’m sure he will provide great service and will keep up with the ever-changing trends in dentistry. His commitment to dentistry in Whangarei is indicated by his position as Secretary of the Northland branch of NZDA, and no doubt will one day be its President. I shall be taking a break for a few months before returning to the practice part-time.’

Matt adds: `I’m really looking forward to the challenge of running my own business, with Harvey’s mentoring and support. Lumino has given me the opportunity to take the reins of a state of the art practice in a great location in my home town of Whangarei. There will also be some familiar faces; Julie our practice manager will still be welcoming clients and answering queries; Jodie will still be assisting at chair-side and Pauline is still available for cleaning and oral hygiene advice.’

Matt and his wife Serena have two little girls and a newborn son. Matt offered adolescent services at his previous practice in Kensington and intends to take a contract with the District Health Board under the dental benefit scheme, which means that the Whangarei practice will once again provide free treatment to adolescents up to the age of 18.

Being part of a national network of dental practices means that clients at Lumino Whangarei have access to a wide range of special offers and services. Currently Lumino has teamed up with Q Card to help people budget for their oral health care with a 12 month interest free plan for treatments of more than $1,000. The offer is available for a limited period.

The latest initiative follows a study of over 18,000 people by the University of Otago in Wellington which showed that 23% of New Zealanders had put off going to the dentist in the last 12 months.

For further details of the Q Card offer and participating practices visit http://www.lumino.co.nz/ or call Lumino’s free phone number 0508 LUMINO (0508 586466)

To find out more about Lumino The Dentists, visit http://www.lumino.co.nz/


Rhino Repair Cream was featured in the 'Father's Day' special edition of Viva today. Janetta Mackay described it as:

'The sort of handy use-for-everything cream everyone should have in their cupboard. It's made by South Island based Oasis Beauty from natural and organic ingredients and is a good all purpose moisturiser and a skin soother for mild eczema and sunburn that's said to deter peeling. Has a slight smell of manuka honey.'

A pretty impressive write-up, especially given the larger, more established brands that Rhino is sharing a page with (L'Oreal, Chanel, Clinique etc)

Take a look at the Viva article on the news page of the Intermediary website

More information on Oasis Beauty can be found at http://www.oasisbeauty.co.nz/


Managing Director of Intermediary Communications, Peter Boyes, chats to NZ Business Magazine about why social media should be incorporated into every company's PR strategy and how it can have a positive impact on their bottom line.

'The rise of social media through the Internet means that every company has the potential to be a media company,' explains Peter. 'But to do that successfully means cultivating originality, honesty and transparency in your communications.

'It's not just about getting noticed, it's about being heard and that's tied crucially to being credible in what you say. This is where public relations is uniquely placed to help you master the new marketing universe.'

Interesting reading!

Read the full article here


Oasis Beauty NZ, one of New Zealand’s up and coming health and beauty companies, is launching a campaign to educate customers about the benefits of using sunscreens containing natural ingredients. As part of the campaign the company is bringing back its Oasis Sun SPF30 60ml travel size sunscreens in a new look pack. The return of the broad spectrum sunscreen is supported by the development of a bright new counter merchandising unit for stockists. Both the sunscreen and the units will be officially launched on Sunday, 30th August at the Spring Gift Fair trade show in Auckland.

Stephanie Kimpton, one of the founders of Oasis Beauty, says: ‘A lot of people might believe that if a sunscreen is not stuffed with exotic sounding chemicals, it won’t provide as much protection as a product which is full of natural and organic ingredients. This is simply not true,’ explains Stephanie. ‘As an example, Oasis Sun is endorsed by well-known international mountaineer, Marty Schmidt who used it last year during one of his ascents of Mt Everest. According to Marty, he and his team were the only ones who weren’t sporting fried skin by the time they reached base camp!’

Oasis Sun contains certified organic jojoba oil, shea butter, non-GMO natural vitamin E and certified organic soya lecithin as natural UV blockers that also moisturise against wind, water and sunlight. The fact that it is pH balanced, uncoloured, and un-fragranced and paraben free means it can be used by very young children and individuals with sensitive skin.

'Our daughter has suffered from dry skin and chemical reactions since birth,’ says one Oasis Sun convert, Jennifer Purvis. ‘We’ve been able to find other skin care products for her but sunscreen evaded us. Everything we tried left her red, dry, scaly and itchy. Eventually, we came across Oasis Sun and it worked perfectly. No rashes, no scales, no itchy skin and best of all, no sunburn.’
RRP for Oasis Sun is $16.80 and the sunscreen can be purchased at a variety of retailers across both the North and South Islands. A list of stockists can be found at http://www.oasisbeauty.co.nz/.

Oasis Sun can also be bought online through the Oasis Beauty website.


Every day it seems that a new social networking tool becomes available. Facebook, Bebo, MySpace and the more recent Twitter. The world is constantly waiting with bated breath- wondering what form the next online phenomenon will take.

Each additional social media or networking device makes life even harder for business owners. Back in 'ye olde' days, a company would have had time to reply to an accusation or a negative comment. In most cases, you would hear from a journalist, asking you about the rumour. You would then hopefuly get the opportunity to take stock and put forward your side of the argument before the story ended up as front page news. Sometimes you would even be able to stop the article ever seeing the light of day...

However, nowadays everyone is a journalist. People are constantly connecting and passing on information, through blogs, online forums, news sharing pages and social networking sites. If something is said, whether it is about a business or an individual, whether it is positive or negative, it can be dispersed across the web within a matter of seconds.

Businesses need to be aware of how information is being communicated now. It is vitally important that companies are monitoring the different online tools and know how to respond when they are mentioned in the conversation. Even better would be if businesses were consistently contributing to the online discussion, building up trust with their audiences and sharing knowledge that is both beneficial and relevant to them.

This is a great blog entry on the issue from Harold Burson, one of the world's most influential PR figures and founding chairman of international PR agency, Burson-Marsteller. If this amazing man in his mid-80s understands the crucialness of being part of the online conversation, then no-one has any excuse not to be using these tools to their best advantage!


Now, as someone who escaped the UK a few years ago, I find this story downright scary! Hands up those of you who didn't realise the British government could force you to pay inheritance tax, even if you have cut up your passport and spent the last squillion years living Down Under?

Britons settled in New Zealand should not assume that they are immune from UK inheritance tax, even if they have taken New Zealand citizenship, warns Auckland-based Ken Holmes Financial Services.

The credit crunch has led to British tax agencies scouring the world for untapped revenue, which can be a nasty surprise for ex-pats. Ken Holmes, managing director of Ken Holmes Financial Services explains: `The UK Inland Revenue doesn’t necessarily accept your nationality or citizenship to be a definite reflection of your domicile. While it is not difficult to change your country of residence, it is trickier to change your domicile once it has been established, meaning that anything you own worldwide over $810,000 will be subject to 40% UK inheritance tax.’

Domicile of Origin is acquired at birth based on your father’s domicile (or mother’s if she is unmarried) and it remains the domicile unless you force a change during your life time. This can mean that if your father was UK domiciled at the time of your birth but you have been living in New Zealand say, for the past 50 years, you could in theory still be UK domiciled for the sake of inheritance tax liability.

Ken points out: `To change domicile you have to convince the UK tax authorities that you intend to remain in your country of current residence for life. This requires the proper collection and presentation of evidence to prove this intention is genuine. A lot of New Zealand residents assume that the fact they are permanently living here with little or no ties to the UK is sufficient evidence. This is not the case and we’re starting to see UK revenue inspectors looking at New Zealand residents much more closely.’

Ken advises anyone who thinks they may be liable to take financial planning advice: `We’re telling our clients in central Auckland and the Eastern suburbs that they shouldn’t assume that the UK tax man accepts that they are no longer UK domiciled. Significant action has to be taken during your lifetime to prove to the UK tax man that your intention is fact.’

If you want to be domiciled in New Zealand you must makes a submission to the Capital Taxes Office in the UK and sever most ties with the UK. Usually this means closing all British bank accounts, selling all assets in Britain and even organising your funeral in New Zealand. If you are granted a new domicile of choice it takes three years for the loss of UK domicile to become effective for IHT purposes.

Other helpful steps include;
• Taking New Zealand citizenship and changing your passport
• Joining social organisations in New Zealand and severing links with any social organisations in the UK
• Voting in New Zealand elections
• Make a will under New Zealand law
About Ken Holmes Financial Services
Ken Holmes Financial Services specialises in financial advice, insurance and investment services in central Auckland and the Eastern Suburbs.



Health & Herbs International, New Zealand’s specialist naturopathic products company, has launched the Radiance ManukaGuard lozenge. Every lozenge contains 100% pure manuka honey providing 20+ certified bioactive manuka factor, which is exciting medical researchers worldwide because of its special health promoting properties.

Radiance ManukaGuard lozenges contain only pure New Zealand manuka honey harvested from a remote and unpolluted area at the tip of the North Island of New Zealand, an area so rich with manuka trees, it enables the production of an exceptionally high quality manuka honey.

The honey is `condensed’ into a compact, convenient lozenge using a specially developed process which maintains its biological activity.

According to Professor Peter Molan at the University of Waikato: `The certified manuka factor bioactivity as found in Radiance ManukaGuard provides ultra high-potency antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties. Research shows that this extraordinary factor has strong properties against Helicobacter pylori (a bacteria that is the common cause of stomach and peptic ulcers, heartburn and reflux) and is extremely effective in combating the bacteria responsible for most sore throats; Streptococcus pyogenes.’

Most honeys, including much of what is sold as manuka honey, have some degree of antibacterial properties due to their naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide content. Recent research led by Professor Peter Molan at the University of Waikato has shown that the enzyme catalase found in the human body breaks down the antibacterial hydrogen peroxide, but has no effect on the potency of the special antibacterial factor that is unique to genuine manuka honey. This makes genuine manuka honey an extremely valuable antibacterial agent as its effectiveness is not downgraded once ingested.

Some Key Facts
Manuka - Leptospermum scoparium
• Unique and native to New Zealand and some limited locations in Australia
• Maori have known and utilized Manuka healing properties for centuries
• Professor Peter Molan was the first to study manuka’s healing properties
• Manuka factor bioactivity levels vary in the different varieties of manuka that grow in different areas of New ZealandThe manuka factor
• 1981- Professor Peter Molan discovers honey harvested from certain manuka trees contain unique dual antibacterial activity.
• He names this property the ‘manuka factor’ in 1998
• The manuka factor number denotes the strength of the manuka factor, the special sort of antibacterial activity that is unique to genuine manuka honey
• 2008 - Professor Peter Molan develops upgraded testing technology to more accurately measure the antibacterial bioactivity of manuka honey, the manuka factor
• Radiance® ManukaGuard™ 100% pure manuka honey provides 20+ certified manuka factor bioactivity in every lozenge. Unlike other products it does not contain cane sugar or other additives.-ends-

About Radiance and Health & Herbs International

Radiance is Health & Herbs’ premium NZ brand of nutritional supplements established 18 years ago. It is one of the top three brands ranged across all health stores with a fast growing and significant pharmacy presence in the NZ market. The Radiance brand consists of a complete range of therapeutic formulas manufactured in GMP/TGA/FDA accredited facilities from the highest quality ingredients. Including specialty through to everyday essentials and vegetarian solutions the Radiance brand is regarded as a one stop shop for natural health supplements.

Health & Herbs International is a privately owned natural products exporting, importing, distribution and marketing company. Founded in 1989 and based in Albany on Auckland’s NorthShore, the company prides itself on being driven by sound science and time-tested naturopathic principles. Health & Herbs is the major importer of American dietary supplements and distributor of high quality international and New Zealand brands of dietary supplements and natural cosmetics.


According to one of the country’s leading event and catering companies, Urban Gourmet, New Zealand businesses have not stopped holding client and staff functions, despite the tighter economy. Instead, organisations are getting increasingly creative with
their budgets.

‘We have definitely noticed companies becoming more innovative,’ says Sophie Lister, Events Manager at Urban Gourmet. ‘For example, we have seen a massive jump in the number of businesses choosing a fork food style of catering for their events, instead of the more expensive formal sit down dinner.

‘Businesses are also altering the structure of their events, making them shorter but more compact. They are striving to use their time more effectively.’

The downturn in the economy has also caused businesses to become more discerning about event locations:

‘Companies are realising that there a large number of venues around, with a variety of different price points,’ explains Sophie. ‘It pays to shop around and make sure you get the best value for money.

Sophie is pleased that New Zealand businesses are still recognising the importance of staff and client events, despite the tougher times that everyone is going through.

‘It is very important to companies that they keep holding events,’ explains Sophie. ‘They have to be seen to be out there, working for their clients and keeping them happy.

‘Employee events are equally as important,’ adds Sophie. ‘They keep morale up and demonstrate that the company acknowledges how vital good employees are to the success and future of the business. If a company has always held a particular event and then stops completely, it can come as a nasty shock. Staff members will understand if the event is scaled back and the company can’t spend as much but it is important to still have something.’

On top of this, New Zealand based event and catering companies are realising that they need to make their own adjustments to cater for tighter budgets. Urban Gourmet has adapted a number of its menus to suit customers that might not have a huge amount of money to spend but still desire good quality food and a superior level of service. A recent addition is the rustic Bistro Menu which includes a selection of high quality, innovative dishes but is $10 a head less expensive than Urban Gourmet’s other menus.

For more information on Urban Gourmet, visit www.urbangourmet.co.nz


New Zealand’s unique climate and botanicals have put it at the forefront of a boom in natural sun and skin care, according to up and coming health and beauty company, Oasis Beauty NZ.

Co-founder of Oasis Beauty, Stephanie Kimpton, says: ‘Here in New Zealand we are faced with some harsh climate conditions, with sun damage to skin being especially prevalent. We’ve developed a particular understanding of sun and skin care solutions that will effectively help people to repair their skin and protect it from the elements, as well as being affordable and a pleasure to use.’

Global sales of natural and organic cosmetics are increasing by over US $1 billion a year, with most demand concentrated in Europe and North America. Preliminary research shows that European sales exceeded US $2 billion for the first time in 2008.

Stephanie points out: `Research shows that in comparable markets sales of natural personal care products nearly doubled between 2002 and 2005, with the market for natural and organic products increasing by more than 20% a year. It’s expected that the natural cosmetics market will report the highest growth in the coming years.

Oasis Beauty has launched a new publicity campaign to support its popular range of professional New Zealand made sun and skin care solutions. The new look PR and advertising is being led by Auckland based communications consultancy, Intermediary Communications.
The Oasis Beauty sun and skin care line consists of a wide selection of naturally inspired products that have been designed to be highly effective in enhancing the skin’s condition and appearance.

Stephanie believes that the Oasis Beauty sun and skin care products are ideal for anybody wanting to protect their skin and improve how it looks and feels:

‘We are dedicated to providing our customers with exactly what they want. Years of listening to feedback has helped us create the professional Oasis Beauty range. We are very excited about relaunching the range and bringing the collection to more people across New Zealand.’

Sun and skin care solutions in the Oasis Beauty range include:

· Oasis Sun SPF30 – Uncoloured and un-fragranced, Oasis Sun is a non-greasy, non-whitening sunscreen that is safe for the whole family, aged 6 months up, to use, including those with sensitive skin

· An Apple a Day Moisturiser- a SPF 25 day moisturiser that harnesses the power of natural apple AHA's to help the skin maintain its youthful glow by smoothing away rough-textured skin to make way for new cells. The broad-spectrum SPF25 sunscreen protects the skin from cellular damage and premature ageing caused by sun exposure

· Rhino Repair Cream - a potent healing remedy for excessively dry skin, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, bites, bruises and where skin requires serious soothing and healing. Formulated for use on face and body

All Oasis Beauty products are formulated from the highest quality organic, natural and ethical ingredients. No harsh chemicals, dyes or carcinogens are used and none of the products are tested on animals. The products are available online or from selected stockists and beauty therapists nationwide.

For more information visit www.oasisbeauty.co.nz


I've just found this rather nifty new online tool called What Does the Internet Think? It somehow calculates the number of positivity and negativity surrounding a particular word/phrase/place on the internet. I'm not sure how accurate it can be but it's fun to play with if you need to rest your brain from the media release or communications plan you're working on.

Oh yeah. I typed advertising and public relations into the 'WDIT' search function. Public Relations came back 87.9% positive, 7.5% negative and 4.6% don't care. Advertising came back 57.9% negative and only 33% positive! I'm not sure what this tells us about the state of the PR industry but it made me chuckle all the same!


Our client, Lumino The Dentist, spoke to the Herald on Sunday late last week, warning New Zealanders that cutting back on regular dental care when times are tough could prove to be a false economy : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10578249

To help people out, Lumino is offering a number of interest free deals and payment holidays, through such cards as Q Card and Farmers Card. You can find out more about these options by clicking here.

For those that are still keen to indulge in a bit of luxury, Lumino has slashed the price of tooth whitening. They are offering the Opalescence Tooth Whitening System for a limited period only for $299 for a take-home formulation (around half the usual price).

For more information on Lumino The Dentists, visit www.lumino.co.nz


Leading private education provider, New Zealand Management Academies (NZMA), has launched a drive to boost the numbers of international students coming to New Zealand, claiming there’s never been a better time to benefit from studying in one of the safest countries in the world.

NZMA has started an integrated marketing campaign across student-centred media using, advertising, public relations and web based programmes to present information about studying in New Zealand in ways which are relevant to the new technology savvy generation.

Managing Director, Tim Cullinane explains: ‘New Zealand is officially the safest country in the world according to the Global Peace Index (GPI), an annual ranking of the world's nations on the basis of how peaceful they are but it is also an extremely exciting, interesting and beautiful place to visit. The cost of living is low compared to a lot of similar countries and standard of living is high. Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most vibrant city and the base for NZMA, was recently identified as fourth best city in the world for quality of living.’

Central to NZMA’s international campaign is a highly interactive, user-friendly website (http://www.nzma.co.nz/). The website offers in-depth information about the Business, Hospitality and practical, career focussed English Language courses on offer at NZMA, as well as a guide to life in New Zealand. A discussion forum, blog and details of how to apply for study programmes also feature on the website.

‘Studying with NZMA in New Zealand can provide an excellent opportunity to learn valuable English speaking skills and get to know other cultures,’ explains Tim. ‘Students can also study towards vocational qualifications, in Business and Hospitality, which will hugely enhance their employment opportunities anywhere in the world.

Past student, Zhao Zhen Paddy believes that studying towards a National Diploma in Hospitality Management at NZMA provided him with the skills and confidence that he needed to pursue his rewarding career in China.

‘I have my dream job,’ says Zhao. ‘I don’t think I would have been offered the position without my English language skills and my NZMA hospitality management diploma. NZMA have fantastic industry functions which help us to practice, gain confidence and showcase our skills to the industry. Also it’s like one big family, because everyone makes you feel so welcome.’
For more information on studying in New Zealand visit http://www.nzma.co.nz/


One of the most important, most effective ways of raising awareness of your business is through word of mouth. This is because people will trust a friend when he or she tells them that they have had a good experience with a product or a service, much more than if an TV advertisement blares it out at them.

Third party endorsement is one of the many factors that a good public relations programme will focus on.

There are two simple steps to encouraging this kind of communication.

1) Make sure you start with a product that is good quality, is different to other products in the marketplace and that you have the capacity to keep up with any demand you engender. You can talk about your business all you want, but if you don't fulfil the promises that you make to your customers, they will not be making a return visit. Also remember that word of mouth works both ways. Negative word of mouth can spread just as quickly as the positive kind. Ensure that your customer service is at the highest level and that if there are any complaints they are dealt with calmly and deferentially (if you screw up once, say sorry and do your utmost to remedy the situtation, most customers will forgive you. Do it more than once and you probably won't be so lucky!)

2) Tell people about it- communicate with journalists that you know are interested in your field of expertise, talk to your customers and past customers, make sure that all your friends and family (and their friends and family!) know what you are doing and are aware of any successes you have.

If you have happy clients already, ask if you can use them as testimonials to put on your website or send out to media (always with an appropriate, newsworthy story- testimonials won't stand up on their own)

Finally, don't be afraid to ask for referrals. This can range from including a note in your email signature to simply asking a current client whether they know of anyone else that might be interested in your services (those last two pieces of advice were given to me by well known keynote speaker and trainer of referral systems, Bill James)


I popped into my local florist this morning to buy some flowers for the lovely National Bank lady that has been guiding my boyfriend and I through our first house purchase (we move in on Thursday- hurray!) While we were speaking to the very polite girl behind the counter, a woman from a large real estate agency down the road came in, plopped down a floral display, proclaimed that everyone in her office had told her to bring them back as they were hideously ugly and then left.

Firstly, there was nothing wrong with the flowers- they were gorgeous. Secondly, it turns out that the florist provides the real estate agency with the flowers. For free. Somehow I don't think they will be providing them with free blooms for too much longer. My boyfriend and I were stunned by the rudeness of the people at the estate agents. This will no doubt influence our view of that particular branch of XXXX from now on and also the perceptions of other people that we tell (through this blog for example!)

This also brings to mind a building company that a prospective client was telling us about earlier this week. The builder made a few mistakes which prolonged the building work and resulted in the client having to shell out more money on labour costs. The builder eventually reimbursed the client but not before getting into a right tizzy and blaming the mistake on every man and his dog (all the client wanted was for the builder to say sorry and give him his money back....) The builder doesn't realise that the way he acted could have dire consequences on his business. Every person that client chooses to tell about the builder and his behaviour could be another lost customer, put off by how unreasonably he acted.

Business owners need to remember that their best PR team is themselves and their employees. Everything they do- the way they answer the phone, how they deal with complaints, how they phrase their emails, every manner in which they communicate with their suppliers/customers/employees- reflects back on their company.

Also worth bearing in mind is that human beings are genetically wired to remember the bad things for a lot longer than they remember the good things (this is actually true- interesting story about it here in
Time!) A bad reputation can be very hard to shake so it really is worth making sure that you don't develop one in the first place. The only way this can be done is by communicating properly with your audiences and ensuring that you fulfill the promises you are making to them...


More of an advertising story than a public relations one but of interest all the same....

Property Wizards, the Auckland-based low flat fee real estate company has been banned from advertising in any edition of Property Press, in what the directors believe is yet another example of bias against cheaper non traditional agencies, which is keeping charges to New Zealand homeowners higher than they should be.

Steven Sharp, director, Property Wizards explains: `The wrong advertisement was accidently placed in an issue of the Central Property Press and the publishers have used this as an excuse to ban Property Wizards from ever advertising in any edition of Property Press. We believe our flat fee model has sparked antagonism from vested interests who do not want to see the cost of selling a home come down.’

Property Wizards , which became a fully licensed real estate agency in December last year, charges a low flat sale fee of $7,000 plus GST, regardless of the value of the property, which is only payable when a sale becomes unconditional. When marketing costs are included the cost of selling a typical $400,000 home in Auckland is around $10,000, substantially less than what it would cost with a traditional agency.

Earlier this month Massey University senior property lecturer, Dr Susan Flint-Hartle was reported as saying New Zealand homeowners were paying too much to real estate agents and that the big firms’ were stopping fees from reducing because like any established industry there’s a stranglehold on the ways things are done.

Steven Sharp added: `Our situation is similar to that experienced by the Joneses just over 18 months ago when they introduced a flat fee system and found all sorts of barriers erected to keep them in check. However, Property Wizards is taking a more prudent approach to expansion.

`We are one of the few licensed agencies which does not charge a commission on a sliding scale meaning vendors can save a substantial amount of money selling with us. Not only that, we retain our salespeople and help them develop an income stream. And for those people who wish to sell their homes themselves we offer a suite of off the shelf marketing packages.’

For more information check out www.propertywizards.co.nz


I have to say, I really enjoyed the XT Network TV advertisement that was launched last night. It looks like it has had a fair amount of money poured into it- it's a swish, high quality TVC and featured one of my favourite presenters of all time, Richard Hammond from the legendary British TV show, Top Gear. You can watch the video at the XT Network 'teaser' website: www.testdrive.co.nz

The advert did the job perfectly- I was so intrigued by it that I took note of the website address which popped up at the end and went straight to my laptop to find out more about what was being promoted (I actually assumed that it was for a new kind of car or plane!) They have been discussing the campaign over at GeekZone. Apparently, XT Network is the new branding for the upcoming Telecom New Zealand WCDMA network, that will be launched in June 2009.

I'm really impressed with how Telecom has approached the introduction of this new brand. It has been a perfect example of how a well planned and coordinated public relations, advertising and online marketing campaign can work absolute wonders. Telecom has been teasing the media and the public with stories about the new WCDMA network for the past couple of years (check out this NZ Herald story from 2007). The Richard Hammond TV advertisement and test drive website have acted as the perfect catalysts to boost anticipation and awareness of the official launch in a couple of month's time.

Let's just hope that Telecom's new service lives up to the promise and is as good as their advertising and PR....


It's an undeniable fact. Business owners, both in New Zealand and the rest of the world, are responding to leaner economic times, by slashing their advertising budgets.

In February 2009, TVNZ announced that it would be cutting $25million from budgets over a four month period to cover a decline in advertising . In the UK, a Bellwether report showed that 35% of British companies had reduced their ad spend in the third quarter of 2008.

I hope that a need to pull back on certain areas of expenditure will cause more companies to explore more effective, value for money approaches, rather than sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring their marketing obligations altogether.

Public relations is one way of getting more bang for your buck. The market exposure you get from a well executed PR campaign is often much greater than an expensive, flashy ad campaign. This is generally because PR is slower burning and is an ongoing, ever evolving process, whereas advertising is hard hitting (e.g. a big TV ad or a series of print ads) but is gone (and sometimes forgotten...) just as quickly

PR also has an extra advantage in that it is much more credible than advertising. According to Forrester Research, nine out of ten people don't trust advertising while nine out of ten people do buy on the basis of peer recommendation. This is predominantly down to the rise of social media; increased consumer generated content in mainstream media and easier access to media across platforms.

I have to add that, despite what today's blog image implies, I am not an advertising hater ! I think that the most effective campaigns are those that combine both advertising and public relations. One fantastic example is the ongoing global Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.

The best way of ensuring value for money is by using a company that can provide a fully integrated PR and advertising programme.


I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to the UNICEF Water Pistol Fight at Western Springs yesterday. Thankfully, the weather was kind to us and it looked like everybody had a fantastic day. I know I did- I got absolutely soaked (thanks to the guys running around with buckets!!)

About 1,500 people turned up so not quite enough to break the Guinness World Record. However, it was a fun day for all involved, which is the most important thing

We got some great coverage for UNICEF NZ and the Tap Project campaign. The water fight featured on ONE News, Prime News and 3 News. If you missed the news last night, make sure you check out the video segments on the respective websites. You might have been caught on camera!

Link to video story on Prime is here (towards the end of the video)
Link to video story on TV3 is here
Link to video story on TVNZ is here

Thank you to the people that gave up their time to make this event a success. SPS Medics, Foleys Water and O'Brien Line Ltd (especially to Wayne Henry, owner of O'Brien Line Ltd who provided a water truck jammed full of water for free and gave up a huge chunk of his day to make sure the water kept flowing!) as well as all the UNICEF volunteers

We took a few photos ourselves, which we have posted on the Facebook group. We also have some video footage on YouTube


Those of us that have worked in the New Zealand PR industry for a while will be confident that we know how best to reach the people we need to. We will (hopefuly!) have a good understanding of how different Kiwi audiences are best communicated with and we will be used to the various media channels. Many of us will have gathered a collection of useful contacts over the years, and will have a number of journalists, editors and producers on speed dial. But what happens when a client needs us to take their messages further afield? What do we do if they want to build a brand presence in China or Japan?

I personally think that this is where online public relations really comes into its own.

Blogging, for example, is a value for money and highly effective way of raising brand awareness on both a local and international scale. It is particularly valuable if you are wanting to break into Asia. Japan has the highest blog readership in the world, with the supremely popular tech blog, Gigazine, topping the charts. The Western world doesn't even get a look in until further down the placings, with the USA at number 4 and UK at number 5.

Other forms of Asian social networking are also lightyears ahead of the American and British founded ones. For example, China's main networking site, QQ, which is a similar model to Facebook, has 300 million active accounts and the site turns a profit. It suddenly makes Facebook's 60 million accounts, with zero profit, look pretty miserable...

Even if you are not conducting an international campaign, understanding how different cultures communicate and what tools they use to access news and information is extremely useful. New Zealand's Asian population is projected to reach 790,000 by 2026. It might be a good idea to start thinking of ways to get in touch with such a large chunk of the population!

While online communications is undeniably one of the most effective ways of communicating with Asian audiences, more traditional media should not be forgotten. There are a number of popular Asian newspapers in New Zealand, such as the NZ Chinese Mirror and the Indian paper, Auckland Times. There are also a fair few Asian radio stations out there, such as Radio Chinese and Radio Tarana (Indian). It is quite easy to track down print and radio media in the Asian countries themselves and quite often the editors are adept at speaking English, which makes communiction easier if you are not multi-lingual!

Finally, if you want to open up a dialogue with different cultures and nationalities, consider investing in the services of a good translator. This can be especially useful for translating your media releases and articles. Quite a few Asian newspapers, websites, blogs and forums are written in English but if you ignore media written in the native language of the country, you will most likely be missing a huge portion of your target audience. You can find an extensive list of translators at the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters.


I was at a PR event last night and I was amazed at the number of eyes that glazed over when I mentioned the word 'Twitter'. A couple of people asked what it was and why I used it, one person had signed up but had never gone any further than that because he just didn't understand the tool. A lot of people claimed that they don't have the time or the inclination to use Twitter or any other online networking devices.

Firstly, I would like to dispel the myth that online networking takes up too much time. Obviously, you can spend as much time as you want online, using tools such as Facebook and Twitter. However, these activities don't have to be time consuming. Two or three meaningful Twitters a day are much more valuable than a stream of consciousness type approach, where you inform your followers of your second-by-second movements.

There are numerous benefits to being online. Twitter allows you to access news instantly. From a PR perspective, it gives you another chance to connect with the right people and gives you the opportunity to understand your audiences better. I follow a few Kiwi media figures through Twitter. By getting to know them through their Tweets, I can develop a better understanding of what interests them (and what doesn't!) This means that I am less likely to waste their time with stories that don't turn them on.

Twitter can be hugely valuable for your PR clients. It allows businesses to hear what their customers are thinking and what they want. For example, Vodafone can instantly respond to questions about the company and can get immediate feedback about their services, business approach etc. Twitter also allows the company to present a more human side- customers begin to feel more emotionally attached to a business as they are communicating and listening to a real person from that organisaiton.

I have a lot of faith in Twitter and think that those who ignore it- especially in communications and PR- will simply get left behind.

Thankfuly, there are a few NZ PR companies that are ahead of the rest of the pack and have realised the benefits of social media- Pursuit PR, Ideas Shop, Network PR, Rockstar PR and Intermediary Communications are all proud members of Twitter! Click on the links to visit each respective Twitter page.

Even the guys at TV3 are realising that Twitter is not just a 'flash in the pan'. Check out this segment on Campbell Live- Thursday, 19th March.

ETA: Bullet PR is also on Twitter. I knew they would be as the guys there are renowned for being very keen on online communications- I just hadn't managed to track them down when I first published this post!


The date of UNICEF NZ's attempt at the Guinness World Record ™ for the World's Largest Ever Water Pistol Fight is fast approaching.

The free record breaking event will be taking place at Western Springs Lakeside Park, Auckland from 11am-1pm. According to Guinness World Record ™ rules, every participant must register before taking part in the event. The on-site UNICEF registration table will be open from 10am and will remain open throughout the event.

More than 2, 671 participants are needed to break the current world record, which was set in Spain in October 2007.

You are free to bring your own water pistol- as long as it is a standard, shop bought pistol. We will also have water pistols available at the event, in exchange for a $2 UNICEF donation.

Many thanks to Foley's and O'Brien Line Ltd., the Auckland based water carriers who have kindly provided us with a water truck for the event. No water pistols will run dry with these guys around!

For more information phone 021 667 873 or email jennifer@intermediary.co.nz

You can also join the offical Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=55320653079&ref=mf and follow my Twitter updates at http://twitter.com/JenniferBoyes


Even though most of us are loath to admit it, we absolutely love reading negative news stories. Whether it is poring over details of the alleged battering of Rhianna by Chris Brown, shedding a tear over Jade Goody's terrible ordeal in the UK or even reading depressing tales about the credit crunch and property prices- if a publication prints it, we will read it. These kinds of stories sell newspapers and magazines.

I wonder why this is.... Is it because stories about the downtrodden and desperate make us feel better about our own lives? Is it because these tales give us something to gossip about with our friends and work colleagues?

Whatever the reason- I'm sick of it. I want to read stories about people and businesses who are bucking the trend and are doing well, despite the current economic enviroment. Some newspapers are having a stab at providing this. I recently read a regional newspaper that was making a special effort to publish positive stories about businesses in the area. Unfourtunately, the name of the paper has totally escaped me...if anyone can remind me, I would be very grateful!

The folks at NZ PR company, Durning PR, are also doing their bit to tempt us out of our current negative mindset. They have just launched their own 'Gloombuster Awards' to reward businesses with positive stories to tell.

If you are a business owner with a good story to tell, make sure you get in touch with your local paper and let them know about it. Some types of negative news stories do sell papers. But I think more and more people are reaching the same mindset as me. Enough of the depressing news angles- give us some positivity!


On Sunday, 5th April 2009, we will attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest water pistol fight ever held!

We need over 2,671 people to make it into the record breaker's club so come along with your friends and family and help us smash the record. If you're lucky you might even get your face in the offical Guinness World Record book as there will be a photographer there.

The water pistol fight will take place at Western Springs Lakeside Park, Auckland from 11am - 1pm. Feel free to bring your own water pistol, as long as it is a standard shop bought model (no real gun replicas or super-charged, customised, rocket launcher type pistols please!) You can also purchase a rather cool looking pistol from us in exchange for a $2 gold coin donation (see the photo at top of this blog)

This event is to raise awareness of the UNICEF NZ TAP Project campaign. Tap Project is a nationwide fundraising effort. It involves restaurants and cafes across the country inviting their customers to donate $1 or more for the tap water they would normally get free.

The Tap Project campaign, which runs from March 9th 2009 until April 9th 2009 celebrates the clean and accessible tap water as an available privilege to millions, and also raises money so that UNICEF can provide safe drinking water to children around the world.

If you would like to keep up with news about the water pistol event, you can join our Facebook group.

I will also be twittering about the event on a regular basis.


Just thought I'd point out that the organisers of the annual global CLIO awards have introduced a new PR/Strategy category.

There are a number of subcategories including: crisis management, corporate PR and consumer PR.

Traditionally, the CLIO awards are for recognising creative advertising in package design, print, radio and television. I think it's fantastic that they are acknowledging that PR can play a hugely important role as well. The whole 'advertising is dead- the rise of PR' argument is ridiculous. Both tools are equally important and can achieve out-of-this-world results when working side by side.

If you have completed a PR project that you're supremely proud of, fill in an application for these awards. Get New Zealand PR out onto the world stage!


'My name is Jennifer Boyes and I'm addicted to online communications.................'

It started with a simple and harmless interest in forums and blogs when I was younger. However, as each year goes by, increasing numbers of online tools and applications are springing up.

Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, LinkedIn, Diggit, Reddit, Stumble and Del.icio.us are all global networking/sharing devices that I use on a regular basis. Closer to home we have Kiwipulse and ShareMyNZ, two New Zealand networking sites. And now, despite my best efforts to fight it, I have fallen victim to the temptation of Twitter......

I am passionate about online communications- on both a personal and professional level. I think it is something that is still undervalued by companies in New Zealand although I have noticed a few of our larger brands are starting to embrace online tools (Air NZ for example, which is on Twitter) .

The only thing that bothers me is the possibility that at some point in the future, there will be so many online networking mediums out there that it will become increasingly difficult to communicate with the right audiences. Us PR people will need an arsenal of about 500 different websites, if we want any chance of getting in touch with all the right people!

What do you think? Do you think that this is real a danger or do you think there will always be a select few networking/sharing sites that are hugely popular and accessed by the large majority? I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

By the way, if any of you use Twitter, leave your details in the comments here and I'll make sure to check you out. Or you can follow me and my own inane ramblings- my username on there is JenniferBoyes. Twitter you all later!


The Internet.....it will never catch on.'

-George W Bush, 1986-

When emailing and the World Wide Web were first being developed, many people didn't believe that these new tools would take off and become widely used by the general public (mind you, a similar group of people also thought that mobile phones were a fad.....)

Well- they have been proven wrong and then some! Many companies can no longer function without being connected to the Internet. We research, network, communicate and sort out our finances, all from the comfort of our office desk. Actually- we don't even have to be in our office, in front of a computer- we can now connect through our mobile phones and even our televisions.

One thing that has emerged out of our ever growing reliance on the Internet is an increased dependence on email as a means of communication. These days, more people email than pick up the phone.

Email can be hugely useful. Taking the time to write a message down enables you to say exactly what you want to say. On top of this, when you email, you don't run the risk of interrupting a client or a jouranalist when they are busy. On the down side, it does remove that personal aspect. Also, emotions and meaning can't always be properly conveyed through email and this can sometimes lead to misunderstandings....

Understanding email etiquette is an extremely important part of communicating properly....whether it is internally or with customers and suppliers. Here are a few tips from someone who has grown up with the net and has sent an awful lot of emails over the years!

1) Be meticulous with grammar, punctuation and spelling. You want the people you are communicating with to believe that you are professional and educated. Sending them an email without any full stops will not convince them that this is true.

2) Do not write your entire email in capital letters. This should be an obvious point but I recieved an email from a supplier a couple of days ago and the email read LIKE SHE WAS SHOUTING AT ME. Capital letters are hard to read and completely unnecessary

3) Be concise and to the point. If you are in business, it is likely that the people you are contacting are very busy people. Unless you are emailing a family friend, make sure that you do not ramble on for half a page about the weather/your children/your best friend's dog.

4) Beware of the Reply to All button. This email function can be very dangerous! Make sure that you only reply to the people that you want the email to be read by. Also be careful of the auto-fill function when typing out email addresses. Your client might not appreciate that highly confidential information being sent to your Mum or ex-boss by mistake....

5) Finally, never ever send an email when you are feeling angry. The consequences of this have been seen in many a newspaper story. Once you have sent an email, it can't usually be retrieved. If you are not sure whether you should send an email, save it in your drafts folder, sleep on it and then reassess the situation in the morning. You might decide that sending an abusive email to that supplier that got a delivery wrong or the client that paid an invoice late might not actually be the best course of action!