And if I had a million Bitcoins… turning virtual currency into PR gold

Historically, global economies have had multiple forms of currency. Beyond traditional money or cold hard cash, we’ve had the barter system, commodity-backed currencies, and now we have virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin. One of the most frequently asked questions about […]


25 Nov
by Aspectus PR

Bitcoin

Historically, global economies have had multiple forms of currency. Beyond traditional money or cold hard cash, we’ve had the barter system, commodity-backed currencies, and now we have virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin.

One of the most frequently asked questions about Bitcoin is, “What exactly is it?” Bitcoins are essentially bundles of data that can be bought on specific exchanges like Bitstamp, making the currency 100 per cent virtual. People looking to play it “safe” and avoid direct ownership of the currency will soon be able to invest in Exchange-traded Funds. This doesn’t entail “physically” owning the Bitcoin, thus avoiding some of the risk.

Seems like an excellent, fool-proof idea? Well, not so fast. Virtual currencies, especially Bitcoin, have come under much scrutiny for their tendency to attract two types of people. One being speculative investors who want to see where this entire experiment is going and the other being criminals. Bitcoins appeal to these types due to its anonymity, lack of central backing, and the fact that Bitcoin transactions are barely traceable.

This notoriety has established Bitcoin as the poster-child of virtual currencies with the media.

At the same time, Bitcoin has created a significant opportunity for Aspectus PR to position our clients as thought leaders in this ground-breaking area. We have several financial clients that can provide insight and commentary on tricky aspects such as Bitcoin’s legitimacy. This has led to much activity in terms of media opportunities, which we have also maximized by diligently keeping abreast of the news and staying on top of stories developing as a result of the debate.

As Bitcoin becomes increasingly popular, it will be interesting to see how this latest iteration of virtual money will be used, and whether or not the general public accepts it as a legitimate currency.


Movember 2013 Week 3: Movember pays more than just [top] lip service to a good cause

Movember is an astonishing phenomenon. It was started in a pub (where else?) in Melbourne, Australia and, in its relatively short lifespan (10 years) has not only raised millions, but had a profound cultural and sociological impact. Every man has […]


22 Nov
by Aspectus PR

Movember is an astonishing phenomenon. It was started in a pub (where else?) in Melbourne, Australia and, in its relatively short lifespan (10 years) has not only raised millions, but had a profound cultural and sociological impact.

Every man has probably asked himself the question, ‘Can I grow a moustache?’ and now they have an event that gives them a perfectly valid excuse to try. Last year, in the UK alone, an estimated 363,000 people took part, raising £26.9 million. In addition, men and women in 21 countries across the globe raised over £65 million for charities associated with men’s health.

A less important, but still impressive impact is the role Movember has played in bringing the moustache back into fashion. Many men start in November and continue to sport their moustaches well into December and beyond. What’s more, we are now also surrounded by Movember memorabilia, the event having spawned a whole new market, which appears to be booming.

Aside from the impact of donations, one of the most significant aspects of Movember is how it has altered the mindset of men regarding their personal health. Again, last year’s statistics show the extent of this change: of the participants surveyed, 69% had a general check up with their doctor; 79% discussed their health with friends, family, and colleagues; and 70% talked about specific men’s health issues.

If you’re not convinced by Movember’s own statistics, the incredible story of Dr Bill Blazey is a fantastic personal account of just how important the charity is.

Movember is a great example of how humour can be used to tackle a tricky, taboo subject and although here at Aspectus PR we are having a lot of fun taking part, we would also like to raise money for this great cause. We would therefore really appreciate it if you could take a few moments to donate to our team.

And now… to the all important photos charting the progress of the Aspectus men:

Movember Aspectus PR


Big Investment in Tech for Good

Back in October, Aspectus PR joined Big Issue Invest to celebrate the successful conclusion of its ‘Tech for Good Challenge’. For Big Issue Invest, the moment marked the completion of the first of a planned series of Corporate Social Venture […]


21 Nov
by Aspectus PR

Tech for Good ChellengeBack in October, Aspectus PR joined Big Issue Invest to celebrate the successful conclusion of its ‘Tech for Good Challenge’. For Big Issue Invest, the moment marked the completion of the first of a planned series of Corporate Social Venture initiatives where big businesses invest time and money to guide entrepreneurs through an investment competition. For Aspectus it represented the latest step in our commitment to supporting young entrepreneurs. With the dust settled, Aspectus met Big Issue Invest for a drink last week to reminisce on the Tech for Good Challenge and its PR successes.

Aspectus got involved with Big Issue Invest earlier this year. Our first task was to promote the Tech for Good Challenge and in a welcome but unusual step for Aspectus, we worked alongside a number of other agencies. Taking a coordinating role, Aspectus was tasked with organising media outreach across the multi-agency team and liaising with Big Issue Invest and a number of the winning ventures to tease out a great story.

As well as coordinating energies across the agencies, we secured a number of key media hits including Wired, IT Pro and an interview with Big Issue Invest’s CEO Nigel Kershaw in London Loves Business.

Mayhul Gondhea, Programme Manager at Big Issue Invest said: ‘It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Aspectus. The quality of work produced was of an extremely high standard, they showed professionalism throughout the engagement and were very flexible in their approach to dealing with changes in the project. I would be delighted to work with them again.’

Working with entrepreneurs is always exciting, and always something we value at Aspectus, having worked in the past with the likes of eToro, Knowsis, Eagle Alpha and Simeio. Not only does their energy and strength of vision make the entrepreneurs behind these companies great to work with from a PR perspective, but they also represent our future (and current) business leaders and are making a real difference to the business landscape.

Congratulations are in order to both Big Issue Invest for the success of the Tech for Good Challenge, and to the ventures who won mentorship and investment as a result. Based on the success of the Tech for Good Challenge, fingers are crossed that Big Issue Invest will be back in the future with further CSV initiatives, and Aspectus PR would be thrilled to work with them again.


Movember 2013 week 2: The mo’ not to grow

If there is one thing we’ve learnt from Movember here at Aspectus it’s that few people can carry off a moustache. This is largely because they are so unpredictable. Even the most barrel-chested alpha male may struggle to grow more […]


14 Nov
by Aspectus PR

If there is one thing we’ve learnt from Movember here at Aspectus it’s that few people can carry off a moustache. This is largely because they are so unpredictable. Even the most barrel-chested alpha male may struggle to grow more than a few sparse bristles and even the raven haired may find evidence of their Scottish heritage sprouting from their facial follicles.

Having said that, there are steps men can take to tame their facial hair and keep it in check. With this is mind we have compiled a handy guide of what not to do this Movember…

Movember tips moustache 2 DON’T feel the need to match your hair to your moustache
Movember tips moustache 3 The same applies to body hair…
Movember tips moustache 4 DON’T copy the style of a teen sensation, even if he does have 46 million+ Twitter followers
Movember tips moustache 5 DON’T spend too much time on it
Movember tips moustache 1 DON’T apply Miracle Grow

The Aspectus men may have already committed some face crimes themselves, judge for yourselves below…

Aspectus PR Movember 2013 Week 2

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From construction site to PR insight: Aspectus PR’s latest intern in New York recalls his first week learning the ropes

After graduating at the end of May from The University of Scranton, I found myself either sitting on the couch watching too much TV or mixing concrete on a construction site.


13 Nov
by Aspectus PR

Aspectus PR - PR logo(Written by Brendan Beaver)

After graduating at the end of May from The University of Scranton, I found myself either sitting on the couch watching too much TV or mixing concrete on a construction site.

I’m the type of person that enjoys keeping busy and being around people, so to say the least the summer of 2013 and post-graduate life was proving dull. However, while looking through various networking and job search engine websites, I saw a LinkedIn post for Aspectus PR – a three-month internship learning the ropes of how the PR world works – and knew immediately that this would be the perfect start for me.

Having been successful in my application, I arrived at the train station 35 minutes early on my first day only to realize I’d forgotten my jacket and had two different colored socks on. However, I was soon mixing it up as the latest intern at one of New York’s leading specialist agencies. I’m working across both financial services and technology accounts, learning everything from broker-dealer lingo to the importance of a reliable printer. My role includes creating media lists, briefing books and supporting social media campaigns.

Crucially, I’m really starting to grasp what the varied demands of PR are and what needs to be done to meet and exceed client expectations. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say I gained more knowledge in my first week here at Aspectus than I did during my entire internship two summers ago.

The Aspectus Team has a diverse group of personalities that make it easier on the intern. They are easy to approach as well as mindful of your work load. They have provided me with great knowledge of how the PR world works and I’m looking forward to learning everything Aspectus has to offer.

Needless to say, after the nerves and anxiousness of the first day wore off, I’ve since been able to properly pick out socks of the same color and remember to bring a jacket…


Halloween sees Gore [not Blood] discuss green agenda at Envirotech and Clean Energy Investor Summit

Two of Aspectus PR’s key specialisms are Energy and Financial Services. So when an invitation to attend NewNet’s Envirotech and Clean Energy Investor Summit came along, we jumped at the chance – especially when the keynote speaker was Al Gore, […]


12 Nov
by Aspectus PR

envirotech and clean energy investor summit 2013

Two of Aspectus PR’s key specialisms are Energy and Financial Services. So when an invitation to attend NewNet’s Envirotech and Clean Energy Investor Summit came along, we jumped at the chance – especially when the keynote speaker was Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States.

Bringing together key decision makers and investors, the Summit took place on Halloween at the green investment centre in London, just a stone’s throw from the Tower of London. Perhaps it’s just as well the setting wasn’t too macabre given some of the horrifying tales associated with global warming, as this was an event pervaded by optimism. It included discussion panels on investing in wind, marine, biomass and solar among others, but the headline moment was the address by Gore, who is now Chairman of Generation Investment Management (Generation IM).

Founded in 2004 by Gore and David Blood, Generation IM is dedicated to long-term sustainable investment strategies. Gore was there to argue that, despite the dire climate situation, there are real opportunities for sustainable, green investment. Sprinkled with fascinating anecdotes, the core drive of Gore’s speech was that, like the bubble (and resultant crash) caused by the trade in sub-prime mortgages, current investors are dealing in unnecessary risk by putting their money in sub-prime carbon assets.

To avert catastrophe, the IEA estimates that we need to avoid 2oC global warming (compared to pre-industrial levels) by leaving two-thirds of carbon assets in the ground. Many investors that see dithering at the international level conclude that it won’t happen, and that carbon-heavy assets will continue to be profitable.

However, Gore argues there are very real reasons to think that pressure will be brought to bear, and these carbon assets will be stranded. If so, there is a compelling opportunity for those holding low-carbon portfolios to make substantial gains.

With delegates as diverse as young cleantech companies and giants such as Shell, there was a wealth of opinion on offer. Yet the overriding message was unanimous: clean, green and sustainable investment opportunities are more than just ethical choices – they are financially sound.

Of course, this is a message we’re well acquainted with at Aspectus, and the PR challenge in an age of ‘green fatigue’ is to tell it well and stand out from the crowd. This requires insightful and intelligent comment from both the financial and green perspective and with Aspectus’ proven pedigree in both we have the knowledge and experience to do just that.

The full text of Al Gore’s keynote address can be found here.


Movember returns

This November, the Aspectus men will once again test the loyalty of their partners, incite the sneered lip of friends and cause colleagues to shake their heads in mute embarrassment. Movember has returned.


07 Nov
by Aspectus PR

This November, the Aspectus men will once again test the loyalty of their partners, incite the sneered lip of friends and cause colleagues to shake their heads in mute embarrassment. Movember has returned.

For those unaware of Movember, it’s an international charity event where men are sponsored to grow a moustache to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer and men’s mental health issues. All funds raised are spent combating these conditions.

Last year the team struggled through the month with mixed success but raised a tidy sum thanks to generous family members, friends and clients. This year we have a number of new recruits in our midst and we have high hopes our final total will be higher – readers can donate to the team here.

We will track the team’s progress on the Aspectus blog so keep an eye out over the coming weeks to see who looks like Ron and who just looks wrong.

Here are the team’s clean-shaven chops on day 1:

Aspectus PR Movember 2013

Bill Penn Movember 2013

 

Incredibly on day 1 of Movember our intrepid leader, Bill Penn, was already sporting a lustrous black ‘tache. He has sportingly decided not to take part in the rest of the event lest he discourage the rest of the men in the office.


Biometrics – the PR challenges to keeping your finger on the pulse

Once the preserve of science fiction films and James Bond gadgetry, biometric technology is now increasingly being put to business use, from airport retina scanners to sign-in facilities on construction sites.


05 Nov
by Aspectus PR

biometrics_v3Once the preserve of science fiction films and James Bond gadgetry, biometric technology is now increasingly being put to business use, from airport retina scanners to sign-in facilities on construction sites.

With the recent launch of Apple’s Touch ID Fingerprint Technology, biometrics has been catapulted firmly onto the consumer radar as well. As with just about any new form of technology, there have been concerns over its privacy and security implications. And while fears such as those expressed by Senator Al Franken, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, are not unfounded, the media has been quick to seize upon these without giving due consideration to the benefits such technologies can bring.

In our digital world, we place ever-greater demands on our technology to allow us to do things faster, more efficiently, and in the most convenient way possible. Therefore, it makes sense that technology has to constantly evolve to meet expectations. The rise of Big Data, the cloud, 3D printing, and now biometrics can all be attributed in part to this phenomenon.

At the same time, companies involved in or entering these fields must contend with the challenge of communicating the benefits of these technologies effectively, while being sympathetic to people’s concerns over security. Having worked with clients such as Simeio and HID Global, we know how tricky this can be. A good communications strategy is crucial.

As we wrote recently, following the IET Mountbatten Lecture given by David Willetts, new technologies are the key to the UK’s future on the global stage and should be embraced, but it is also important to cut through the hype and misinformation in order for a company’s communications strategy to be successful and sustained over the longer term.


Guns and houses: seeing beyond 3D printing hype

Last week saw the Aspectus Engineering PR team attend the IET’s Young Professionals’ lecture ‘3D printing: The future of manufacturing?’ at the Royal Institution. We are currently managing a PR campaign promoting the IET’s series of Prestige Lectures and this […]


30 Oct
by Aspectus PR

3d printingLast week saw the Aspectus Engineering PR team attend the IET’s Young Professionals’ lecture ‘3D printing: The future of manufacturing?’ at the Royal Institution. We are currently managing a PR campaign promoting the IET’s series of Prestige Lectures and this particular lecture has generated a huge amount of interest.

The speaker, the University of Nottingham’s Professor of Innovative Manufacturing Richard Hague, discussed both the history of 3D printing and current applications of the technology, before providing the audience with an insight into the future of the sector. Unsurprisingly, the media’s perception of 3D printing came up several times during the lecture, and Richard explained how it had affected the technology in both a positive and negative way.

With the lofty expectations that consumer 3D printers will be able to build almost anything in the future, from guns to houses, the technology now sits at the pinnacle of Gartner’s famous Hype Cycle. However, Richard believes that this publicity has damaged the industry and warped the perception of 3D printing in the public’s consciousness. He even went so far as to suggest that the phrase ‘3D printing’ has been permanently tainted.

As such, Richard was at pains to draw a distinction between the household printers that have dominated the media, and the high-spec industrial devices that are driving innovation in the manufacturing sector. Richard preferred to use the technical term for the process – ‘additive manufacturing’ – and argued that the media hype surrounding 3D printing had distracted from its real benefits – i.e. that it can be used to print a range of practical components and devices.

For example, the technology is already reducing waste and increasing efficiency in the manufacturing supply chain by producing lightweight components, which are cheaper to ship, but still have the same functionality and structural integrity as the parts they are replacing.

Richard did concede that the hype has played a role in getting the technology in front of C-level executives who are now investing in additive manufacturing; so it can be seen as a double-edged sword.

Certainly from a PR perspective, hype can be useful in terms of bringing technology to the attention of potential buyers and a much wider audience, but hype is also unwieldy and must be managed. PR is about subtlety and clarity of message, whereas hype can easily amplify populist aspects of a story with scant thought for accuracy or detail.

3D printing brands have rushed to capitalise on the current wave of hype in order to fit with the news agenda, which has given them ‘quick wins’ in terms of coverage. However, in doing so, many have also inadvertently aligned themselves with narratives that have nothing to do with their messaging. The good news for additive manufacturing companies is that the hype surrounding the technology is on the wane and this recent article from the BBC is just one example of the media’s willingness to write more in-depth features on the use of 3D printing in industrial contexts.

Clearly, there is an opportunity for additive manufacturers to re-educate the media by communicating the real benefits of 3D printing and its true potential more clearly. Not only will this cut through the hype, it will ensure they generate quality coverage and position their brand front of mind for consumers and potential buyers alike.


UK Engineering and Technology funding boost announced at IET’s Mountbatten Memorial Lecture

Last week, Aspectus PR’s event marketing and engineering teams supported our Client, the IET, at the Mountbatten Memorial Lecture, which was this year presented by the Rt Hon David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science at the Royal Institution. During […]


18 Oct
by Aspectus PR

IET Mountbatten Memorial LectureLast week, Aspectus PR’s event marketing and engineering teams supported our Client, the IET, at the Mountbatten Memorial Lecture, which was this year presented by the Rt Hon David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science at the Royal Institution.

During the lecture Mr Willetts asserted that the UK’s broad ranging world-class science and research base is one of the country’s greatest assets. However, he also argued that in order for the UK to become a global leader, it will be necessary not just to invest in new and emerging technologies, but to apply the research available.

The Minister set out how the UK will tackle some of the greatest challenges society faces, like climate change, energy storage, food production, and population growth. He then outlined the eight technologies he sees having significant economic importance for the UK. These were big data, satellites, robots, modern genetics, regenerative medicine, agricultural technologies, advanced materials, and energy storage.

What is really encouraging is that Mr Willetts also announced that considerable government funding has been put aside to drive development of world-class technologies and scientific advances in the UK. This includes a £70-million Agri-Tech Catalyst, which will help new agricultural technologies bridge the so-called ‘valley of death’ between research and application; £44 million for projects to monitor ocean currents in the North Atlantic; £3.5 million to develop innovative tools and services like gene sequencing for the UK synthetic biology industry; and £15 million for King’s College London to create a Research and Innovation Hub at Guy’s Hospital.

The Mountbatten Memorial Lecture is one of the nine Prestige Lectures Aspectus is promoting on behalf of the IET. The third lecture in the series is the IET Young Professionals’ Event. Being held on Thursday 24 October 2013 at the Royal Institution, it will be delivered by Richard Hague and focus on the future role of 3D printing in manufacturing.

All the lectures are free to attend, so if you are involved in engineering and technology, do make some time in your diary and we hope to see you there.

For further information and to register go to: http://conferences.theiet.org/lectures/