Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why PR People Should Care About International Commodity Prices

I am sitting at an International Monetary Fund (IMF) conference where a panel of experts are discussing international commodity price fluctuations. The only communicators in the room are me and my two colleagues from PCG. Thanks for inviting us IMF.

Why am I here? Is it because I love energy economic theory and its geopolitical implications? Am I trying to living the DC dream of hanging out with smart people talking about big policy issues? Did I get lost on my way to the George Washington University Chick-fil-A?

I am here because the best public relations practitioners know their topic almost as well as those they serve. PCG aims to be able to talk shop with economists and engineers and translate for mom and pop. We aim to bridge two worlds.

There are times when I run into communicators who are all flash and no substance. That is not who we strive to be at PCG.

So I have to go for now, they are talking about US imports of Nigerian and Angolan Crude. Good stuff right?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Washington DC

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Buzzword Bingo at CERAWeek (Beware the Black Swan)

Public Relations professionals have long lamented the string of buzzwords that every industry uses to describe its day-to-day work. Unfortunately, CERAWeek speakers in Houston this week have been accosted by this same plague. Allow me to illuminate you.

Yesterday at a cafe outside the morning plenary session, I heard a speaker on a nearby television mention a "black swan" event. This is not the first time I had heard this term during the conference. There was a gentleman sitting across from me typing away on his iPad and I introduced myself and asked, "do you know what a black swan event is?"

He said he did not and had not explored it because he was embarrassed he did not know. We had to Google it. It turns out it is a finance term that references an event that deviates from what is expected with far reaching impact. Why can't we just say that? Because its sexier to say "black swan." Unfortunately, its not good communication.

The black swan has had several friends here this week as well -- above the ground challenges, shale gale and many others.

Buzzwords may make us feel clever, but I think it is important to remember that simple words are still best when trying to communicate. That is unless you want to be a black swan event yourself and deviate from what's effective.

Andy Hallmark
Potomac Communications Group

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Houston, Texas

Monday, March 4, 2013

PCG at CERAWeek 2013

The first session of IHS CERAWeek 2013 began this afternoon and PCG has three professionals on site to support clients and engage in the weeklong energy debate.

CERAWeek is one of the most prestigious energy conferences in the world with five days of intense panels showcasing expertise across every facet of energy production. I plan on soaking in the knowledge and engaging in side conversations about issues ranging from price balancing in the worldwide natural gas market to the importance of tight oil to global supply.

These conversations inevitably lead others to ask me and my other colleagues what we do for a living. When we answer that we work at a public relations firm, others often have quizzical looks on their faces as if they are thinking, "How can PR people hang with us in these complex discussions?"

I don't think any of us at PCG started our careers thinking that we would want to know this much about energy, but now we are all a little obsessed. So, bring it on CERAWeek. Goodbye for now, I have to go debate volatility in U.S. gas prices and how that will affect power prices domestically. #CERAWeek #energynerd

Andy Hallmark
Potomac Communications Group

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Houston Texas