A triumph for short term creativity over organisational narrative

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Driving along yesterday I was amazed to hear the latest radio advertisement for the Royal Society for the Protection Of Birds (RSPB), inviting people to join the Spring Garden Bird watch.

It started off with the sound of a cat meowing, and then the words “do you like watching garden birds”, with more meowing.

Sadly, I couldn’t find it online to link to, but I did find plenty of negative comments about it.

Now, whilst I can appreciate the humour in a black sort of way, whoever approved this at the RSPB has really failed to grasp that creativity doesn’t always mean effective messaging.

To use the noise of a cat in relation to watching garden birds flys in the face of the RSPBs organisational narrative, as even the Society itself campaigns to highlight the damage done to wild birds from domestic cats (see here the RSPB web pages).

As they point out cats and birds just don’t mix – the RSPB quote figures on their web site of 55 million birds estimated to be taken as prey by cats every year in the UK. So what are they doing in an advert about bird watching?

Either the RSPB is employing people with a limited grasp of the organisational narrative , or there is a disconnect between the marketing department and policy staff, or whoever was in charge of this campaign allowed professional copywriters and advertising agency professionals with no grasp of what the organisation is about to sway their better judgement.

However it came into being, an advert for the RSPB featuring a meowing cat just doesn’t sit right and their reputation is diminished as a result.

Microsoft drop the big one

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When on line self build web sites started to appear Microsoft were (unsurprisingly) one of the first on the market with their Small Business Offering. This gave small business es the ability to create and maintain a web site without having to rely on a web designer. This is a fantastic way to get an online presence , and the beauty of the Microsoft tool was that it was absolutely free.

About 18 months ago this all changed. First Microsoft stopped taking new registrations – without notice. Then they announced that existing accounts would be transferred to Microsoft’s 365 tool – a paid offering online access to a range of products on the cloud – including web design and management.

And this has been where we we’ve been at for around a year. Now the change is imminent – all sites must either be transferred to Microsoft 365 by the end of april or they will be closed. The only other option is to build the site again in another tool and transfer the domain name.

It’s a lot of “faff” for small charities and not for profits who have built up sites in Microsoft small office, and even the transfer to 365 isn’t straightforward. I know quite a few who have – I helped them set their sites up, but there is nothing in the Microsoft changeover information to help not for profits with this change.

BT have a great free web tool for not for profits and Moonfruit is a great tool which costs less than Microsoft. I’m recommending all of my contacts change to one of these.

I’m sure Microsoft won’t notice, but ownership of a site is important.