From our readers

Be bold and protect your ideas from theft

Thank you for highlighting the issue of ‘thought thieves’ (News, 20 March). Having your ideas stolen is incredibly frustrating for any marketing agency – be it PR, advertising or digital. It is a battle the marketing industry has been fighting for some time.

The heart of the problem is that, unlike a design or a piece of text, there is no copyright in an idea itself. This is bad news for all ideas-led businesses. But that’s not to say there is nothing you can do about it.

MCCA’s Pitch Protection Service (available free to member agencies) helps our members go into pitches feeling confident their ideas are not open for everyone to pinch. Working with lawyers K&L Gates, and using confidentiality laws, we are able to give our members additional comfort that the information they present is subject to standard non-disclosure agreement rules.

As PR has evolved into more dynamic, thought-led projects, and with the recession tempting clients to cut corners, protecting your pitch has never been more important. If you value your ideas, be bold and stand up for your rights.

Scott Knox, MD, MCCA

PR needs to stake its claim in social media

Kudos to Immediate Future for making available its guide to Twitter (, 27 March). Altruistic actions such as this are what the industry needs to help it move forward in the ever-changing and increasingly important realm of social media.

While there are no written rules, all too often we see brands using social media platforms such as Twitter with little or no purpose. Companies need to experiment and innovate in the space, but there should be a clear purpose behind the experimentation and innovation.

Sharing best practice among our peers is key for the PR industry to progress and rightfully stake its claim in social media.

There is enough for all of us to go around.

Right now, however, PR is scrapping with the digital marketing and search engine optimisation industries for this claim.

And let’s be clear, the winner of this tussle is certainly not a foregone conclusion.

Stephen Davies, MD, 3W PR


The first duty of firms is simply to survive

If we want a glimpse of where PR might go over the next ten years, we should examine Japan. The world’s second-largest economy’s property bubble burst 20 years ago. Since then deflation, recession and reality have broken the country’s commitment to consensus building.

The Japanese way of doing business – cosy relationships with customers, consensus-based decision-making and the social kudos of protecting jobs – has been exposed as an array of conceits that would never survive a hideous economic crunch. Japanese companies now feel more ideologically capitalist than their battered brothers in the West. Hard times make people appreciate the realities of economic growth and capitalism. As President Obama said recently, we had better stop knocking the get-up-and-go of greedy bankers. We’ll be out of this hole when they rediscover it.

The first duty of companies is survival. To do good they have to be around to fight another day. Is the PR industry up to the challenge? The language of mutual social responsibility, stakeholder engagement and values, CSR and even word-of-mouth advocacy comes from another age. The reality check is on.

Paul Seaman, PR blogger,

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