From the Bat Cave; batty bans on Social Media

sm fear

This month we are blogging from the Bat Cave, unfortunately the Bat Mobile is not included although we do have an array of diggers and wood chippers outside. The Mitchell Moneypenny office building is being treated to a little facelift which means the entire building has been covered with scaffolding and men in high vis jackets. So far they have been lucky with the weather, but I do feel for them working outside in what is supposed to be our summer, especially the few days when it’s pouring with freezing rain.

With all the recent social media press attention, both positive and negative, we have been looking at the role that social media plays within financial networks. Many networks had previously been nervous about using and allowing the use of social media due to the risk of being non-compliant. In certain cases a complete blanket ban on use of sites like twitter was implemented by the more nervous networks. This is a stance that both recent headlines and our statistics suggest seems to be changing. The results are extremely interesting and can be found in the Money Marketing article by our MD Nicola Mitchell containing the first ‘Moneypenny Social Media Index’ published on the 30th May.

It demonstrates how important it is to implement a solid social media strategy and why just being ‘present’ on social media is not enough. Whilst a slightly cautious attitude to use is sensible, the refusal by networks to allow members to tap in to this amazing resource is frankly batty! Creating and maintaining social profiles is not about sales or financial promotions and those unsure of compliance risks should certainly steer clear of using it for this purpose. It is a way to create an all important personality for your brand and interact on a more personal level. It gives the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and share industry topics with like minded people.

The use of social media may also drive back good customer service; something I feel has been declining over recent years, with sites like twitter allowing you to tweet at businesses publicly and directly the pressure is on to keep the consumer happy. I personally make sure I seek out and thank companies that provide excellent service and also provide feedback on products and services I have received. Businesses that respond promptly and positively to offer further assistance or advice will always retain my custom.

The demand for more information about social media use in financial services is definitely out there. We have once again been invited to do a seminar on the subject for another client conference. It will be interesting to see if we get the same level of enthusiasm as we had at the last one.

We will continue to closely monitor the networks and will be keeping you abreast of the changes as they slowly awaken to the importance of having a social presence and finally find their social media feet.

Budget, Eggs and the Iron lady

easter blog

It’s spring time (but not as we know it) in the Mitchell Moneypenny offices and after a very unseasonal freezing cold March we are very pleased to hear that sunshine is finally on its way. March is supposed to be a time of daffodils and Easter chicks, not sheep being pulled out of snow drifts! Perhaps Mother Nature got distracted trying to work full time, keep a house and family in order and find time to make Easter bonnets for the school parade? There was no bonnet making for my kids school this year but had they done so I think they would have been knitted.

The big event of March was the much anticipated Budget announcement. We nervously watched George Osborne deliver it to see if we could actually afford to buy any Easter eggs this year.  In a time of austerity the budget was never going to delight everybody, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom, the help to buy and mortgage guarantee schemes will hopefully give a much needed boost to the economy and if that doesn’t work out at least we get 1p off beer!

There has been a lot going on in the office with some great new clients to look after. It has been fantastic to work on such a variety of projects and face new challenges. Nic has been particularly in demand for her knowledge and expertise lately. She attended the Money Marketing awards on the 21st March for her regular role as judge, a very good night by all accounts. She is also a judge for the Headline Money Awards coming up in May (and yes, before you ask, it is too late for bribery!). This month also marks my six month anniversary working for Mitchell Moneypenny. It has flown by so quickly, and I can’t believe how much I have learned.  Some of the day to day tasks that I now do without thinking were a terrifying prospect just six short months ago.

In other news, (you may have heard) Margaret Thatcher passed away this week causing a ‘Thatcher post’ overload on my twitter feed. She certainly had the marmite effect on people, and whilst I was never a ‘lover’ myself I do have a begrudging admiration for the lady that became the first woman ever to take command at number 10 and kept her post the longest.  Her funeral will be a huge state affair next week and I can’t help worrying in a country so divided over their feelings for her whether this will stir up a whole hornet’s nest of problems.

Tanith Harding

Embracing 2013


After a long relaxing holiday break, eating far too much food and generally lazing around, I was glad to get back to work. My fear of actually morphing into a bean bag was perilously close to becoming a reality and all the movies I had watched were starting to blur together. The children were definitely ‘ready’ to go back to school. The novelty of Christmas and new toys had definitely worn off and the “he said” “she said” battle had resumed. Besides I wasn’t sure my poor feet could cope with standing on yet another lego brick.

If I had thought at any moment we would slowly nuzzle back in to the flow of work, I was mistaken. January 2013 was crazy busy. Meetings and lunches needed setting up and resulted in a flurry of press coverage for clients. We also had a presentation on social media to put together for Personal Touch Live at the ICC in Birmingham later in the month. I have to note at this point that this would be my second ever presentation whilst working at Mitchell Moneypenny. Fortunately with a workload of social media pages to set up as well as the slides to finish, I had no time to concern myself with the actual presentation itself.

In amongst the dates set aside for press lunches Nic also needed to travel to London for her regular role judging the Money Marketing Awards. As with any judging panel there are always some minor disagreements. Luckily then that judging alongside her was the amazing ‘LangCat’ and a world leading authority on financial technology to help make the final decision!

As the date of the conference came closer, the weather turned colder, and we were faced with the news that snow was on its way. Waking up the next morning to an unchanged landscape filled my poor eight year old son with immense dissatisfaction. When I suggested we check the next weather report for an update, he responded “What’s the point, they just lie!” leaving me bemusedly wondering how one so young can already be so cynical. As we all know, the weather man, whilst slightly premature, had not been lying about the snow. A few days later the whole country was completely covered in the stuff, resulting in the closure of nearly every school and the building of hundreds of snowmen. The trouble with snow is that the novelty wears of fairly quickly. By day three we were all hoping that it would disappear so that we could get on with our lives.

When it became apparent that the snow was not shifting we all somehow managed to muddle on (albeit carefully). The date for the conference had arrived and Nic and I decided that the train would be the safest option. As we arrived at our room I realised just how many people I would be presenting to and suddenly felt slightly queasy. Watching Nic confidently deliver her part of the presentation I managed to just about collect myself and on cue headed over to the lectern. Opening my mouth and expecting nothing more than a tiny squeak to come out, I was amazed at the level sound of my voice. The presentation was extremely well received, and by the afternoon session I had my nerves completely under control. I just hope nobody saw my legs shaking!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

December has been a busy month with the lead up to Christmas, arranging events for clients. Last week we attended Xmas drinks at a lovely bar in Soho with clients and members of the press. It was a great evening getting to know people better and we were delighted that so many people made the effort at such a busy time of year.
When I started working at Mitchell Moneypenny just a few months ago, Nic mentioned to me that she can be ‘a little Devil wears Prada’ from time to time! Anyone who has seen the film will know I was slightly unnerved by the comment. Shortly afterwards she told me I needed to make a file with all of the names, titles and publications of the journalists attending the client press xmas drinks. The list quickly became known around the office as ‘Meryl’ so in the spirit of Christmas, here’s a picture of Nic and I at our Christmas party!
Prada Christmas
Okay, maybe not really, but it did make us laugh.
That’s all from me for 2012, except to say that Nic, Myself and the Mitchell Moneypenny team wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013!

In At The Deep End

Starting work here at Mitchell Moneypenny at the beginning of October I felt a mixture of excitement and anticipation. Taking on a brand new role is always daunting and I must confess that I was feeling more than your average share of ‘new girl nerves.’  There is always so much to learn when starting a new role and getting your head around the basics (let alone finding them) can be a challenge. Add to that the ‘haven’t got a clue, but don’t want to sound like a complete idiot’ panic that rises every time you are set a new task and don’t want to make a hash of it, and I think you have a clear picture of most people’s first day. But those first day worries soon melted into insignificance as I picked up the pace with the help of friendly and encouraging colleagues.

It is with that help that I have managed to plunge straight into the deep end with reasonable confidence, which is very good indeed as it has been an especially busy month at MMHQ.  We have been working on several presentations, launching a client’s new product and trying to conquer the world of WordPress by getting our new website up and running. I think it’s fair to say that we have had a few tentative moments when both Nic and I thought we had ‘broken’ it! But thankfully we seem to have come out as the victors (for the time being).  Facing these challenges whilst learning the basic day to day functionality of Mitchell Moneypenny life has meant that October seems to have whizzed by in the blink of an eye, leaving me wondering how on earth a whole month can have passed in such a short space of time?

I also managed to put in an appearance on our local radio show (BBC radio Glos) this month.  I have been a panellist for them for a few years now, popping in from time to time to comment on topical issues and engage in discussions. As I leave the studio I often try to reflect on the comments I have made, wondering what about myself if anything I have revealed, and how much trouble I might be in when I get home as a result of them! On this particular occasion I had no need for reflection as a quick check of Twitter told me that I had inadvertently ‘outed myself’ as a book sniffer!  A reference to comments made about the disappearance of the common book in favour of e-books in a modern age, and my new boss had tweeted,  ‘New MM recruit @tanithharding on BBC Radio Glos ‘I love the smell of them’ ..books that is – tad worried will catch her sniffing trade mags’.

The fast pace of PR and social media can at times be a bit like juggling five balls whilst riding a unicycle, but it’s certainly an education that I’m looking forward to experiencing at Mitchell Moneypenny! Hopefully you will continue to keep an eye on progress and follow the continuing drama via our twitter account @moneypennyPR.

Tanith Harding