X MARKS THE (SOFT) SPOT

X MARKS THE (SOFT) SPOT

Chrissie has been over-analysing lately. In particular about the virtual kiss and where it fits into the world of professionalism…

I’m a serial kisser. Not real kisses, but the ‘X’ type at the end of text messages and emails. The thing is, not everyone else likes to use the affectionate sign-off.

To me it’s an innocent symbol of ‘I quite like you and I’m going to strip the formality out of this. Let’s be friends!’ If you’re like me, beware: those with a stiff upper lip can have utter contempt for this over familiar approach. They think kissers are idiots – people who have no control over their emotions and who are likely to spoil a perfectly professional relationship with their awkward display of patheticness.

There are some people in my professional circle who kiss every time. There are others who do it never. And in both scenarios I tend to follow suit. And that’s fine. We all know where we stand. But there are others who kiss sometimes, presumably depending on their mood. These confusing kissers lead you on, leave you hanging and generally make you wonder if they are intentionally playing a cruel game with your emotions.

Serial kissers will know that kisses can be withheld in situations where a display of disapproval is warranted. In a world of instant and remote messaging, where much can be misconstrued and misread, there is no mistaking the obvious slap in the face of the absent X. I use this tool with my boyfriend every day.

And then of course there’s the question of whether an X compromises professionalism. Does a kisser get taken less seriously than a non kisser?

The question I always ask is ‘why so serious?’ And since when did professionalism equal a lack of emotion or affection? At this point I could lead quite smoothly into a discussion about crying at work and how damaging that is to your credibility as a professional, but that’s for another blog! One thing I will say is that serial kissers might well be serial cryers as well. (I am not admitting to this. I’m not.)

Forgetting professionalism for a moment, let’s explore about the obvious male/female dynamic here (because let’s be honest, plenty of affairs are instigated in the workplace). Perhaps the weirdest thing about virtual kissing is when it’s between members of the opposite sex and no-one really quite knows where they stand. Is it there for a reason or just out of friendliness? If someone kisses, do you kiss back? If you don’t you’ll almost certainly look cold and unfriendly. And you’ll probably make the kisser feel stupid. But if you do kiss back, you might be encouraging a further advance that you really don’t want. Then you’ll just be accused of being a tease!

In some situations there is no way to win.

I have a few clients who sign off with an X. A few are male, most are female. I have close friends of both sexes who never use a kiss. I don’t know if they’re trying to keep an emotional distance from me or are just not the soppy type. But I have decided it doesn’t really matter. Clients, colleagues and friends know me well enough to know that I’m a bit emotionally unhinged and unorthodox. Everyone else can learn that the awkward way!

In summary, I have compiled a list of rules to ensure kissing doesn’t open a can of worms. I hope it helps the undecided to maintain a respectable reputation:

  • Be selective. Kiss who you know you can get away with kissing. Not someone who might well take it as a come-on or someone who will just think you’re a prize prat and will look upon you with disdain from that moment on.
  • Be consistent. If you’ve started kissing someone, kiss them every time. You’ll look emotionally unstable if you stop and start. Or worse still, it will look like the ‘one time’ might have been an accident. And that you’re happy to kiss other people, but this rogue kiss was an awful mistake, the thought of which makes you want to vomit a little.
  • Reciprocate. Unless the email is from the office pervert and/or you have pathological hatred for the sender, kiss back – at least once. Or you’ll look like you have intimacy issues.
  • Consider the relevance of your industry and reputation. Kisses from lawyers are bloody weird. From PR darlings they are a recognised form of arse kissing.

Glad I could help! x

PR FOR OUR NEW NETWORKING EVENT

PR FOR OUR NEW NETWORKING EVENT

Some of you may know about the monthly networking event that we launched in June called Fusion. It’s been a massive task to generate PR for this and to get word to businesses in and around Derby and in fact the whole East Midlands region!

Fusion Trans - cropped

We’re really happy with the amount of online and print coverage we managed to secure for our launch, both pre-event and post-event. Thank you to all the journalists and editors who helped up with this.

Here’s a round up:

Derby Telegraph
Derby Telegraph
The Business Desk
The Business Desk
East Midlands Business Link
East Midlands Business Link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Business Desk
The Business Desk
Midlands Business Insider
Midlands Business Insider

SMOOTH LINES THAT’LL MAKE YOU SNORT

SMOOTH LINES THAT’LL MAKE YOU SNORT

Black Hare Boss Lady Chrissie, has some irreverent advice for those foxed by what to say in an email subject line. Follow this at your own risk! We do not accept liability for client loss and red-faced regret.

Email is the modern business communication tool of choice, but it turns people into faceless robots. You don’t have to become one of the drones, boring everyone to death with your duller than dull email intros. Everyone knows the subject line is key, it’s like the picture on a box of chocolates; a naughty, wiggly finger, teasing you in.

I’ve spent many an hour agonising over a subject line, wondering how inappropriate I dare be, in order to get the attention of some pain in the arse who never goes through their emails properly. That said, most of the time a quick summary of the email content is sufficient. Not every subject line has to be a finely crafted work of marketing genius but sometimes it does help. It’s especially useful for PR work – a press release to a busy publication has a minuscule chance of survival in the din of the average newsdesk inbox. You could improve its chances with a subject line that can’t be ignored.

LOWER THE TONE

There are times when you have licence to be more creative and daring than others. For example, when you have a client in the adult sector, subject lines to the press are a sheer delight to write and I rarely fail to get a response to a request for coverage from even the most mainstream of titles. In fact, I look forward to the next time I can titillate a steamy-spectacled features intern on a Monday afternoon.

I bet you think this won’t really work if you’re in the industrial B2B sector. Come on people, have some imagination! (Worth a click, most definitely worth a click…)

Full Inbox Empty Life
Make someone’s day!

THE FOOL WHO CRIED ‘URGENT!’

If you can’t use filth, you could try urgency. I remember testing out some subject lines once, at a previous agency. I sent an EDM to my boss, with the line URGENT, OPEN NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She came back from lunch and opened it in a panic, despite it being sat in the middle of a pile of ten new emails. This was of course a joke and I’m not really suggesting you do this, but it might depend on how desperate you are. You are at serious risk of never being taken seriously again. And it generally only works if you recognise the recipient as an individual. It it comes from a company, it screams spam of the worst kind. Like, past-its-sell-by-date, sweepings off the factory floor spam.

Even as an individual, you should use with caution. Only the other day, one of my suppliers was moaning that he has an infuriating client who sends every single email to him, with URGENT: at the beginning of the subject line. Not even 1 in 10 of the emails she sends are urgent. So now he makes sure he reads and actions them all last. Not quite the reaction she was hoping for! Silly mare.

CONFUSION REIGNS?

Subject lines are equally vital for email marketing campaigns. I have a pesky client who sends out his weekly newsletters with a subject line beginning: Re. (So you immediately think it’s a reply to something you’ve sent.) It gets me every time it lands in my inbox, I open it straight away thinking it’s the latest part of some recent correspondence. So it must fool other people as well! Although I have warned him that it might annoy people to the point of unsubscribing, especially if they’re not that interested in the content of the email. But possibly a risk worth taking…?

On a more serious note and as a general rule, remember the following:

  • You’re talking to a human not a machine. Show some personality.
  • Exaggerate as much as is reasonable. (Don’t tell an out and out lie, the content will just disappoint and irritate.)
  • Use urgency carefully and only when it really matters.
  • Apply innuendos where you think they’ll be appreciated, avoid them where you think you’ll cause genuine offence! Upsetting Maud in accounts ain’t gonna get your invoice paid any quicker.
  • Size matters. That’s not an innuendo! Most studies show that very short and very long email subject lines have both shown a significant spike in open rates. Give it some thought and consider each email and campaign individually.

CASE STUDY: PR & BREAKING A SEX TABOO

CASE STUDY: PR FOR INTIMACY MATTERS, BREAKING THE SEX TABOO

Businesses that tap into society’s appetite for sex are booming and public attitudes towards sexuality are more liberal than they have ever been. That’s not to say there aren’t still barriers to break. When we were approached by Colin Richards to help him gain some positive publicity for his business Intimacy Matters, we were thrilled to tackle a PR challenge a little more unusual than most.

Colin is a Sexual Mentor and Psycho-Sensual Coach based in Westminter, London. He helps both individuals and couples to overcome problems in their sex lives, by combining counselling with practical teaching, workshops and massage sessions. Trained as a sex and relationship counsellor, masseur and hypnotherapist; his clients range from straight and gay professionals in their 20s and 30s who want to experience the thrill of a sexual experience without the commitment or guilt that paying for sex would involve; to couples in their 50s and beyond that have lost their spark due to illness, age related loss of libido or simply because they’ve been together much of their lives.

Our Solution

Cosmopolitan November 2015 Cover

It was clear from a recent increase in the amount of female clients that Colin was receiving enquiries and bookings from, that it was a largely untapped market, but also one that shared a lot of hang ups and embarrassment about the idea of paying for a sensual massage service. We knew that if we could convince some of his female clients to be open about their experience and talk to the press, it had the potential to make an incredible feature.

It took some time but eventually, two women agreed to tell their story and we spoke to several women’s glossies about the possibility of them running a feature. Cosmopolitan were the first to recognise the opportunity and we agreed exclusivity with them for the story.

PR Cosmopolitan Sex Case StudyA glamorous photoshoot, several interviews and four months later, Cosmopolitan published an impressive 6 page feature, posing the question to their readers – would you pay this man for an orgasm?

The article was well received by intrigued readers and resulted in a new influx of enquiries from women right from the day the issue hit the shelves. We know it’s just the beginning of a bigger task to continue breaking the taboos related to Colin’s work and to challenge the common misconception that women are less sexually demanding and adventurous than men.

Colin Richards said:

“Chrissie of Black Hare achieved what I felt may have been impossible. She took me on as a client eight months ago and after explaining my unusual profession to her in detail, she spent a great deal of time understanding my world and the motivations and principles at the core of my work. Even to the point of attending as a bystander one of my workshops. From that point on I trusted her to act on my behalf to get my brand and story out to the media.

Immediately I have benefited from increased client appointments as well as approaches from other media outlets. Determined, creative and a great writer herself, I plan to continue benefiting from Chrissie’s expertise as a PR consultant for some time to come. Thanks Chrissie.”

KIDMAN DOES MEERKATS

ADGEEK: KIDMAN DOES MEERKATS!

So we’re a little late with our ad of the month for October – but that’s because we were pretty undecided, nothing much floats our boat this month. That’s probably because it’s the October lull, the calm before the Christmas storm and the seasonal batttle of the adverts.

Nicole Kidman & Sergei

But then we spotted Compare the Market’s latest effort, starring none other than screen legend Nicole Kidman. We were a little stunned at first. Is this really her or some (much younger looking, by the way!) lookalike? Would the Oscar winning actress who usually only commits to projects of significant artistic merit, really sign up to star alongside Sergei and Aleksandr in an ad for insurance comparison?! The mind boggles.

We’re not sure if Ms. Kidman is hard up at the moment or whether she just needs some PR in the UK, but this just goes to show that even the most discerning of film stars can be bought for promotional purposes of a cringeworthy nature. No-one bats an eyelid when she appears in Chanel ads, because that’s just so Kidman. But Compare the Market? We’d just like to know how much she cost!

So if you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the ad. If nothing else it will make you chuckle. It’s like watching an even weirder scene from Moulin Rouge where Satine’s love interest ends up being a small mammal from the savannah.

Black Hare Ad of the Week October

Watch Nicole frolic with Meerkats!