Friday, May 20, 2011

7 tips for communicating when the electricity goes out

By Tracy Jones 

Anyone who has ever been through a natural disaster will tell you that one of the first things to go is the electricity. 
While mobile phone towers amazingly kept working following recent cyclones, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis across the world, power went out for prolonged periods.

For communicators used to having all the latest tools at our disposal, planning for how to get messages across in a blackout is critical.

Here are 7 tips to help:
1.      Rely on radio.
Even if people don’t have battery-powered radios, the one in their car probably still works. Use radio stations to get important messages out.
2.      Make every message self-contained.
People relying on their mobile phone for the internet don’t switch between Twitter, Facebook and the web during a crisis. They tend to stick with one application. There’s nothing worse than a Tweet that only tells you to “check our website for the latest update”. See our post on Twittercues for some hints on better tweeting. 
3.      Stay charged
Always keep your mobile and your laptop fully charged.
4.      Host your website in another city.
Or at least make sure your local provider is really, really ready for any risk.
5.      Use blogs and twitter to feed your content.
You can use blogs and twitter to feed content onto your website and facebook accounts. That way if everything else fails you can easily upload content via your mobile phone.
6.      Have a back-up email account
If your own business server goes down, a back up Gmail or hotmail account will see you through a crisis. 
7.      Remember the old tools
Once upon a time we relied on pen and paper and talking to each other. They still work. 
Twittercue: 7 tips for  communicating when the electricity goes out. #prtips #crisiscomms

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are you a PR professional planning a visit to the NT, Australia?

PRIA is looking for potential workshop speakers for events in Darwin and Alice Springs.

If you are a PR professional planning to visit Australia's tropical north, the Public Relations Institute of Australia's Northern Territory branch would love to hear from you.

The PRIA is always looking for guest speakers for their various workshops and seminars, although they work on a very limited budget.

So if you are heading our way and would love to give back to your professional community, please let us know by leaving a comment on this post or sending us an email

Twittercue: Searching for PR pros planning to visit #Darwin or #AliceSprings in #Australia.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Codes key to clever campaigns

By Anita Brabham & Domonique Young

About a month ago we came across a presentation from PSFK on mobile tagging and were excited about its potential as a PR and marketing tool. Like so many other innovations, it slipped our mind until we heard a radio segment on the Australian Communication Exchange using the new technology to engage with deaf and hearing impaired people at museums.

For anyone who isn’t in the know, mobile tagging is a barcode, quick response code (QR code) or Microsoft tag that links to extra information about the tagged item via Smartphone technology. Everything from street signs to coffee cups can be coded. All you need to do is take a picture of the code with your phone to access extra information about the item or image. It’s a bit like a hyperlink that links the real world with the digital world.

To see this best at work (and ogle at the endless PR and marketing opportunities this app has), visit the National Sports Museum which transcribed museum audio talks tours into Auslan (Australian Sign Language) and consequently into mobile tags, or Auslan Smart, revolutionising the museum experience for the deaf and hearing impaired. Auslan Smart is the first of its kind in Australia.

In Spain, the postal authority Correos and mobile marketing company Macanudos joined forces to code postal stamps. Take a picture of the QR code with your phone and you were given destination info about Alhambra of the Granada region, or whatever landmark was on the stamp.

Another fine example was New York City Parks. They used mobile tagging at community events to celebrate Arbor Day and add another dimension to the works on display in Central Park. Magma Agency embedded old photographs, scenes from iconic films and music clips from Orchestras who’d played at the park in years past with mobile tags. Each work featured a small tree, which Magma dubbed ‘parknodes’ that housed the barcode. A digital map of the parknodes was plotted, a Facebook page set up and voila, a successful marketing campaign was born. If you’re interested, check out Magma’s video for more.

Like any effective PR and marketing strategy you need to give consumers a reason to take action and interact with you. While at first people might engage with this technology because it like sounds fun, truly effective strategists and marketers should understand their audience and deliver the info they would want.

The possibilities of mobile tagging are endless. Imagine magazines, print ads, tourist displays, books and music linked to extra juicy info or goss? Watch this space, because we think the technology will be used more and more in the future. Oh, and did we say it's currently free to create mobile tags (we don’t think this will last)? To start cracking codes on all your favourite products, simply visit your Smartphone app store and download a QR code reader application.

Mobile codes create clever campaigns. #PR #apps

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sustainable Living House Warms Up for Winter

The onset of winter will see new energy efficient technology put to the test at the Alice Springs Sustainable Living House, which has a public open day this Saturday.
A new solar air heating system, installed during winter last year has already proved its worth with the resident of the house, Maggie Turnbull.

“After the roof was painted white, and with the colder than normal temperatures last year, we noticed the house felt quite a bit cooler than in previous years.”

“The new solar heating system has been doing its job already this year by providing warm, fresh air to the house, helping to reduce the need to use other heating systems.”

The system uses a roof mounted solar panel to heat fresh air, and then pumps that heated air into the house.

It works best on sunny days, and as the typical winter’s day in Alice is cool but sunny, this type of technology is well suited to Alice Springs.

“Permanently closing the old vents in the ceiling has further helped to keep the warmer air in, and along with our solar hot water system, rooftop solar system, low energy lighting and other energy efficient measures, our overall energy bill should be just a fraction of an average Alice Springs home”, said Ms Turnbull.

Alice Solar City are monitoring the before and after temperatures at the house to assess how effective the solar air heating system is.

Some of the other energy efficient measures installed by Alice Solar City include an external colourbond ‘skin’ and adjustable shading.

Visitors can see how much energy the house is using and generating via an LCD in-house display.

DesertSMART COOLmob has fitted out the house with the latest off-the-shelf water efficient products, including a new 4.3/5 litre dual flush toilet, new tap fittings, showerhead and washing machine, and a clever rainwater tank that delivers water straight to the solar hot water system.

A ‘Water Wise’ booklet which shows simple and effective ways to lower your water use, including information on greywater systems and native gardens, will be available.

The Sustainable Living House is open from 1pm to 4pm this Saturday at 68 Kurrajong Drive.

Alice Springs Sustainable Living House puts new energy efficient technology to the test. Open Day this Saturday 1-4pm 68 Kurrajong Drv #Alice Springs #Sustainable #Green


For media enquiries please contact Laurelle Halford from Creative Territory on 0417 222 211 or (08) 8952 9412 or

About Alice Solar City
The Alice Springs Solar City Consortium is led by the Alice Springs Town Council and includes broad community support from the Northern Territory Government, Power and Water Corporation, Tangentyere Council, the Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce, the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre and the Arid Lands Environment Centre. Funding sources include the Australian Government, the Northern Territory Government, Power and Water Corporation, and Alice Springs Town Council.