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PR in times of cholera

How do PR professionals, companies, organisations or plain individuals cut through the noise in the era of social media? This will be one of the key questions in 2018, and even more so at a time when ideas and opinions are so easily misconstrued and a simple misthought phrase can lead to Trumpian noise and fury on Twitter or, indeed, elsewhere.

It would seem that this is not a time for pushing boundaries. A simple mis-step and you have a full blown global brand identity crisis. Yet somehow brands need to differentiate themselves and make themselves stand up above mediocrity and reflect something their audiences want to hear.

Step into the fray Virgin Trains, which this week performed some marvellous 'virtue signalling' by banning free copies of the Daily Mail for its First Class Passengers. This led to some to notice the irony of this occuring just at a time when this publication had been criticising the poor service quality of the British privatised rail service. In any event, The Guardian had also reflected similar opinions and had not been censored. Does that make Virgin more progressive than Great Western? Who knows? At least it seems Meghan Markle has been spared the challenge of persuading Her Majesty from banning King Comb Over himself from Buckingham Palace. The Donald has decided to suspend his planned visit anyway. Why bother cutting the ribbon at a new US Embassy when the building costs so much and has has in any case been erected in a 'shithole', much too far from Kensington and Chelsea for the cost saving entrepreneur's liking?

Whatever the method, be they brands, politicians or just ordinary people, new ways will be sought to engage with our audiences and to build an emotional narrative that appeals to certain segments of the population. Could this ultimately lead to a "you can't win'em all" mentality, in which consumers fall behind different brands in much the way that they do behind political parties. Guerrilla marketing could be a buzz word this year, given the benefits to be sought from taking up one cause, even if it is at the expense of another. Clearly if this is the case we will not have seen the end to such controversies for some time. I nevertheless can't stop feeling that each time the media pick up one of these 'scandals' or 'gaffes', they are not being a trifle disingenuous. Most of the time, there is a strategy behind everything. The challenge for the PR guys is in picking the right one. And the media's goal should be to dig deep and uncover what's behind it, rather than just feigning shock and horror, very much to the benefit of the ones doing the offending or signalling their virtue.

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Hard Brexit or no Brexit: Calling bluff on this (not so) Scottish play

Being English, naturalised Spanish and living in Spain, sometimes it is difficult to know what position to take on Brexit. Seen from afar, the spectacle of a country self destructing over an issue that could have been avoided, -had David Cameron been more statesmanlike and avoided basing national policy over such a fundamental issue purely on the interests of his party-, is at the very least fascinating. One British (well, admittedly, Scottish...) commentator told me how exciting it was to watch, comparing it to a train crash in slow motion. Given how tiresome the country's eurosceptic mob has become over so many years, it is not difficult for that German word schadenfreude to come clearly into view when contemplating which of all the negative or not so negative scenarios for the country could possibly end up top should they fulfil the dirtiest of their fantasies.

Among those scenarios are options ranging from slow decline to forecasts of something not far short of the Apocalypse.…

Mi ficción se parece a la tuya más de lo que te puedes imaginar

Desde hace años soy consciente de cómo los medios de comunicación de cada país retratan su propia sociedad como algo ajeno al resto del mundo. Todo lo que se anuncia, incluso si afecta a la humanidad en su conjunto, se transmuta a través de las pantallas en un tema local.Bueno, no todo precisamente. Lo malo sí sigue siendo siempre ajeno y lo bueno se asume como propio. Sea una directiva europea, una subvención o una orden de la OMS, si es popular el Gobierno se echa flores y si genera protestas es culpa de Bruselas o de quien toca. Los de fuera, en fin.En este contexto tienen lugar el Brexit, los disparates de Trump o el odio de Salvini. Y en este contexto convivimos en realidades paralelas, cegados por las cortinas de humo que nos crean nuestros respectivos gobiernos, e igual de incapaces de entender qué pasa allende nuestras propias fronteras.Si esa es nuestra visión, es comprensible que las sociedades ya no sean capaces de comprender sus relaciones con el exterior porque francament…

Esto es lo que que deben hacer los gobiernos para resolver el problema migratorio

Los problemas normalmente no surgen de la nada, sino son consecuencia de los modelos y sistemas que como seres humanos hemos creado. Lo mismo ocurre con el 'problema' migratorio, cuyos orígenes remontan a la época de los griegos, que pusieron los primeros cimientos al concepto de ciudadanía tal y como hoy la entendemos. Muchos siglos después surgieron los nacionalismos, aunque en África las personas ya se organizaban en tribus, y en India se dividían en castas, que era un concepto similar en tanto que representaba la división de la sociedad en grupos, y por tanto, de allí surgían los conflictos que tantos baños de sangre han producido a lo largo de la historia. Y eso sin mencionar el papel de las religiones a la hora de fracturar la sociedad en identidades dispares.

De la historia del colonialismo y de la primera y segunda guerra mundial, no voy a entrar en detalle. Todos ya la conocemos bastante bien. Sin embargo, llegada la paz, las sociedades europeas no tardaron en crear n…