Unicer Talks – Blogs, a problem for companies or a new universe for PR?

conversas da unicer

Unicer Talks is a conference taking place on the 10th of April. It could easily serve as a case study on how blogger relations can fall short even when the intentions are good.

This past Wednesday I came across a referring url that pointed to a draft of what is now http://www.conversasunicer.net/. It belongs to Unicer, one of our largest companies. After spreading it through twitter, we saw the content take shape. We learned who the speakers are and what would be discussed exactly.

According to Conversas Unicer, the objective is to discuss corporate communication and management. A few issues come into mind:

First, just the use of the term “Problem”. As a blogger this doesn’t make me feel comfortable, at all. Using a word like “challenge” would have been much more appropriate. But that is just part of the issue.

For an event wishing to nurture the debate, they chose the right bloggers to participate as speakers. Bruno Giussani , António Granado , Eduardo Correia , Luís Paixão Martins , Maria João Nogueira and Paulo Querido.

But the timing of the communication seems all wrong to me. April 10th, when the talks take place, is a thursday. So, how can other bloggers participate when most of the time they are full time workers? And if I hadn’t discovered the blog when it was just a draft, when would it be publicized?

Unicer as also been diligent in participating in the discussion taking place in blogs to make it’s point. Encouraging feedback and criticism. That is admirable and my congratulations for that.

But now for some details on how everything relates. One of our biggest Public Relations agencies is LPM Communication. And one of their clients is Unicer. That alone means nothing, but one the speakers is Luís Paixão Martins, who owns LPM Communication and writes a blog on public relations. He is with no doubt relevant to the debate. But this relationship should have been pointed out from the start.

On the comment box, Nuno Almeida from LPM pointed out that their transparency is total. I disagreed based on their lack of mentioning the part LPM is taking on the event.

For a few final ideas:

  • The event should have been made public long ago. To give bloggers time to contribute with usable suggestions and constructive criticism. At the moment, the event seems constructed with three things in mind. The growth of the number of blogs, Unicer’s work on that field, and LPM’s work in the field (with a bit of self promotion apparently).
  • It is impossible to be 100% transparent. What we can do is give people the tools and the opportunity to find all the information that gets left out for some reason.
  • Unicer is making a good effort, but could do a better job in involving bloggers.

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