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By Laura Perkes

The often overlooked tactic enhances reach, raises brand awareness and drives new customers and clients to your business.

Picture the scene: It’s 2021, and the enormity and popularity of  is providing entrepreneurs with a plethora of opportunities and the ability to tap into an audience of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential customers, all at the push of a button.

When Facebook first launched back in 2004, it really was the first of its kind. Before that, we had MySpace and a few other platforms I’ve never heard of (Friendster or Hi5, anyone?), but none of them had managed to make the impact that Facebook did, and still does.

Since Facebook, we’ve seen the launch of Instagram in 2010 and TikTok in 2016, plus the addition of Instagram Reels in 2020. Not to mention other platforms such as Snapchat and Clubhouse, all giving us access to a wider audience.

In the past 19 years, we’ve all had the luxury of being able to communicate directly with our fans, customers and potential customers in a way that has never been possible before. But before the advent of social media, businesses and brands were built the “old fashioned” way, using more traditional marketing techniques, such as advertising and face-to-face networking.

Social media seems like the Holy Grail

When the world became more digitized, tools such as online advertising, pay-per-click and email marketing grew in popularity and gave entrepreneurs and brands alike the chance to reach an even wider audience. Data was easier to track and metrics and insights enabled you to calculate your return on investment.

For many entrepreneurs and startup businesses, social media seems like the Holy Grail. Not only do you get to build an audience and interact and engage with your followers, but it’s also completely free at the point of entry. Of course, you can now invest in adverts across all social-media channels, but for someone completely new to the  world, social media is a sensible place to start.

Yet there’s a missing piece of the puzzle here. A modality that’s as old as time, but a powerful force when it comes to sharing messages, raising brand awareness and building on the know-like-trust factor. And that’s .

Everything you say and do is PR

Public relations exists so that you can communicate with your audience. If you Google “public relations,” you will find Wikipedia’s definition: “Public Relations is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or organisation and the public, in order to affect the public perception.”

So, essentially, everything you say and do is PR, but the platform in which you share your message changes. The tools you use to share your message changes. But the message remains the same. Your audience, generally, stays the same, yet where they hang out may change, based on the launch of new platforms, or the increased popularity of existing platforms, such as YouTube and podcasts.

YouTube first launched back in 2005 and podcasts launched a year earlier in 2004, yet they’ve only really exploded as a business tool over the past few years, giving entrepreneurs and startups the chance to create easy-to-share and easy-to-digest content that their ideal clients will love  content that can then be repurposed across social-media channels.

Back in 2004, when I first started my career in PR, there were really only three types of media outlets to pitch to: print titles, TV and radio. Online titles were seen as the poor relation to print, so we rarely bothered pitching to them as clients didn’t see the value in them  oh how times have changed!

However, because there was less choice, it made it easier to build relationships with journalists and work on features and content ideas with them. Over time, the media landscape has changed, and online started to make a huge impact and podcasts and YouTube channels became prime real estate.

Now, there is way more choice when it comes to gaining exposure, so while you may not consider social media, YouTube or podcasts your typical media outlets, they’re still consumed by your ideal clients, still covering topics that complement what you do, and they still have a ready-made audience of loyal fans that you could (and should) be tapping into. How? Quite simply, by pitching.

One piece of content can be shared and shared again

The way you’d pitch yourself to a podcast host is the exact same way that you’d pitch yourself to a journalist. That is a PR tactic and a skill that publicists have been honing for decades. Now, one of the utterly brilliant, yet often overlooked, powers of PR is that you can take one piece of content and deliver it to millions of people in one go. No other form of  enables you to do that.

It may take time to build and execute your PR plan. You may not see anything published or broadcast for three to four months, but when it lands, it’s well worth the wait, as your content has the potential to be seen or heard by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential ideal clients and customers. Just think about the circulation of a print publication, then triple it to get an average reach.

Think about the audience size of a podcast, then think how many extra people you can reach by sharing it across your social-media channels. And then think about how many extra people you will reach when the host shares it across their social-media channels. All of a sudden, one piece of content can be shared and shared again, leaving behind a digital footprint and breadcrumbs that can lead even more people to your business.

This is another reason why PR is such a powerful and influential tool  because what you do now is searchable forever. PR isn’t always easy to measure, which potentially adds to its downfall in the ROI stakes, but it’s still a tactic that should be employed, and a muscle that should be flexed, as part of your communications strategy.

PR is yet another way of transporting your business and your expertise to a wider audience, an audience that has been built up and cultivated for decades, that already knows, likes and trusts the outlet and the content they produce.

So, next time you decide to put all your eggs in one basket and focus all of your attention on one particular marketing tool, or one particular platform, ask if there’s a more efficient, more effective way of sharing your message to drive hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new customers to your business. The answer, in case you missed it, is PR.

By Laura Perkes

Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe

Not a single day goes by without my speaking to an early-stage entrepreneur who wants to discuss marketing and how to get quick results. So let’s just get this out of the way from the beginning: Marketing takes time.

There are some tactics you can use that will generate a return on investment (ROI) in the relatively short term, but achieving real long-lasting results takes time. Put simply, anything you achieve in the short term will go down as fast as it went up. You want to play the long game. This is true even if you’re tempted to try some things that are less organic but might look good on the surface, such as buying likes or followers. Don’t do that.

Instead, here are five reasons you should start generating content on your own company blog as soon as you can:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is very much a thing

I know that social media gets all the hype nowadays and no one is talking about search anymore, but they’re wrong not to. A quick glance at the numbers will show you that search drives just as much traffic as social does, at least for the time being.

Once you’re sold on the importance of search, now the question is how to leverage it. I am obviously oversimplifying here, but the more incoming links to your site, the better. How do you get people to link to you? Well, some SEO experts would tell you to buy links. I say listen to Google and produce good content people want to talk about and link to.

Getting social on social media

Let’s break down what social media means. The “media” part is obvious, but what about the “social” part? Are you engaging with people like you do offline or are you using Twitter as a glorified RSS feed or sales platform?

I once heard a speech from the guy who invented the “Like” button at Facebook. He explained that he wanted to give people the ability to express appreciation for someone else’s content. What did it do? We ruined it by begging for likes.

How about instead of asking me to follow you, giving me a reason to click “Like” or “Follow”? What’s the best reason to get someone to do that? Fill your feed with quality content, yours or someone else’s, and that’s how you increase your numbers across social media.

Public relations is not the same as content marketing

Let’s clear one thing up: When you or someone on your team writes an article about the industry on the company blog, that’s called content marketing. When a journalist writes about the company, that’s called public relations (PR).

So why does content help with PR? When you pitch a journalist, the first thing he or she is going to do is Google your name or the company’s name. When there is no footprint on the internet, that raises a red flag.

However, when he or she encounters all of your content, all of a sudden you are now a colleague, and not just a company pitching that journalist. Just like he or she produces content, you produce content.

Content changes the whole dynamic between you and journalists.

Your user acquisition can be much more frictionless

Whether you are running ads or acquiring users in another way, content makes the whole process that much easier.

It’s fairly straightforward. If I come across an ad for a company I’ve never heard of, I might click, I might not, but even if I do, it’s a very cold click, and converting me will be quite the challenge.

If, however, I see that ad and think to myself, “Oh, I know that company. I read their blog, listen to their podcast, or follow them on Twitter,” the chances of engaging me are significantly higher. Simply put, content elevates your brand.

Business development with a stranger is not as fun as with someone who trusts you

Finally, last but not least, content marketing helps with business development. Imagine going out to dinner with a potential customer and the person sits across from you with a look on his face that says, “What are you selling this time?”

Now contrast that with the look on his face that says, “I am loving your content. You clearly know your stuff, and I want to work with professionals. So how do we get started?”

That right there is the difference between cold business development and warm business development. That’s the difference between a company that produces valuable industry content and a company that only focuses on promoting itself.

So, the bottom line, in case it wasn’t clear? Stop reading this and start producing content of your own.

Feature Image Credit: Getty Images

BY HILLEL FULD

Sourced from Inc.

By

Public relations and journalism exist in an uneasy balancing act, a relationship where they both rely on each other as part of a communication ecosystem.

It used to be that journalism was the stronger player in the relationship, but now as a result of cuts to newsrooms, PR is becoming more dominant. And this relationship could undermine already limited trust in news.

Public relations and journalism

Public relations is defined as the practice of using communication strategies to build relationships between organizations (such as corporations, institutions and government) and the public.

Traditionally, one of the most important connections for PR practitioners has been those with journalism. PR professionals rely on their journalistic connections to help get their messages out, and journalists draw from PR to help find interesting stories, fill quotas and meet deadlines. In fact, according to the Canadian Public Relations Society, PR professionals tend to interact more with journalists than with any other professional group.

This relationship worked for many years because journalists had the upper hand. Journalists had a culture that made them wary of PR professionals, which helped to keep the PR industry in check. When interacting with PR practitioners, journalists would choose whether to pursue a story, and how much of the story suggested by the PR professional is actually worthy of column space or broadcast time. Journalists were likely to seek out different sides of an issue suggested by a PR professional, rather than just publishing a news release verbatim.

In return, the PR professionals could be reasonably confident the coverage would be trusted by the public. By choosing what to cover and how to cover it, journalism keeps PR accountable. If PR practitioners do anything to threaten their relationship with news outlets, they will not be able to work effectively.

However, in recent years, as a result of media consolidation and the rise of social media, the relationship between PR and journalism has shifted. While this shift seems to favour PR, in reality it has resulted in declining trust in news, and that’s bad for everyone. When the delicate balance between journalism and PR is upset, we end up with an information ecosystem that is less trustworthy because it is driven by organizational goals rather than the public interest.

A shifting balance

Now journalism is increasingly relying on PR to survive. As my previous work has shown, local news is facing unprecedented pressure from media consolidation and the social media business. As journalism jobs have dried up across North America, many talented and trained journalism graduates and successful journalists are accepting jobs in PR in order to make ends meet.

At the same time, many cash-strapped newsrooms are turning to advertorials or sponsored content to make up for shrinking revenues. As a result, more of the news media is implicated in spreading PR content that is often one-sided, incomplete information that favours corporate PR clients.

For example, when important information like COVID-19 vaccine efficacy is presented to the public directly from news releases, important scientific facts can be minimized or left out of the portrayal of the issue. That can contribute to eroding public trust in both the news story and the organization covered by it. While PR plays a role in ensuring the trust between organizations and the publics, some PR practices can lead to the decline in trust in news.

A group of journalists holding microphones during a media scrum.

Cash-strapped newsrooms are increasingly turning to PR to make up for falling revenues. (Shutterstock)

Other grey area PR tactics, like astroturfing, direct media attention to stories that journalists might not otherwise consider very newsworthy. Astroturfing entails using social media to create fake online grassroots support for an organization or issue. News outlets often cover a story that seems to be getting a lot of attention on social media. Unethical PR firms will often exploit this fact by buying likes, shares and engagements, creating fake hype for a specific product, person or organization that would otherwise not be covered at all.

Rethinking the relationship

Journalism isn’t perfect, but striking the balance between PR and journalism is beneficial for both parties. As this balance shifts in favour of public relations, it becomes harder for the public to trust news. That leads to more aggressive PR tactics, further eroding the public trust. Everyone loses.

Steps can be taken to rebalance the relationship between journalism and PR. Journalism must be strengthened, including local news, so that journalists have the resources to refuse sponsored content and push back against PR pitches. This means we all have a role to play in paying for the journalism we value, and new funding models should be developed to help provide resources to smaller and independent journalism in Canada and elsewhere.

To that end, entrepreneurship networks like indiegraf and other opportunities for independent journalism need to be supported by offering business training to journalism students, providing government resources to support journalism entrepreneurs and through our own habits.

Journalists who are brave enough to also become entrepreneurs by starting their own publications need us to pay for their content through Substack, Patreon or other subscription services. This will have a cascading impact as these journalist entrepreneurs create small businesses that can provide new job opportunities for other journalists and journalism students.

Finally, professional associations for PR practitioners like the Canadian Public Relations Society or the Public Relations Society of America need to do more to punish disreputable firms that use tactics like astroturfing to create fake influence. By strengthening journalism and putting limits on PR, we can reset the balance and create a healthier media ecosystem for everyone.

By

Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Royal Roads University

Sourced from The Conversation

By Josh Weiss

What exactly is public relations? I think every PR pro has been asked this question a hundred times.

However, it’s sometimes worse when people think they know what public relations is and start referring to a TV show like Scandal or a movie where the public relations professional is “the fixer” for a celebrity trying to hide the truth from the mass public. This scenario is amusing at first until you realize that the person truly has no idea what you do for a living.

When I’m asked what I do, I occasionally explain with a smile that I’m a perception engineer.

After a long pregnant pause, a fellow PR flack who overhears my description usually audibly chuckles or gives me a knowing glare. But think about it. The term perception engineer is actually an appropriate description of public relations. Our ultimate goal in PR is to influence what others think about a company, product, person or topic.

While the target audience may be unique depending on the situation, the overarching goal to influence what people think remains the same regardless of the tools we use (e.g., social media, pitching reporters, op-eds). The effort to influence also remains the same regardless of the communication need (e.g., crisis, pro-active, reactive, internal).

Being a perception engineer is significantly different than being an “influence peddler.” Our job is to engineer strategies that will actually influence our target audience to change the way they think about or perceive something. Forget about thinking outside the box; we, as perception engineers, reshape the box. In contrast, an influence peddler pushes the same wallpaper messaging from the box to everyone in sight. For PR pros, it’s that personalization of the message and risk of failure that keeps public relations fun, challenging and vital.

There are different examples of how to engineer perception. Sometimes an entire business can be built around selling a perception. Other times, the strategy can be cantered on breaking a long-held practice, demonstrating and highlighting something uncommon.

Let me share some business examples:

Open rates for email or mass mailings are statistically very small, so if you want 1,000 people to see what you’ve sent them, you need to send several thousand more, knowing that most of your efforts will be ignored. Yet an actual, handwritten (not computer printed) first-class stamped letter sent to your home has an extremely high open rate because the person the letter is addressed to believes it is a personalized letter just for them. Simply Noted is an automated handwritten letter company that helps businesses communicate and build relationships through real, pen-written letters. Companies send in addresses and messages, and the company’s proprietary technology writes out the personalized cards and envelopes with real pens at scale. The perception is that it’s truly handwritten, and the goal is for this to increase open rates.

Another example would be a local Phoenix-area company called Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning. The family-owned business is now in its third generation but has one glaring difference compared to nearly 90% of plumbing and HVAC companies–it’s led by a woman. The company doesn’t spend a lot of money on paid advertising but has done a great job sharing its story as a women-led business. Its leader, Audrey Monell, has been featured on the cover of national industry magazines and has won numerous local and national awards as a female owner in a heavily male-dominated industry. By breaking a long-held perception and highlighting how the company is different, the company has engineered its own perception, which has helped the company grow and expand.

Now, when you think of public relations, think of “perception engineering.” Companies that excel at this or implement strategic public relations plans can generate impressive results to benefit the company’s overall goals, ranging from selling products, landing clients, employee retention, and more.

By Josh Weiss

Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe

By

Google and Facebook colluded to undermine competition in advertising, according to documents uncovered by the New York Times. Obtained during an antitrust lawsuit in Texas, the documents lift the lid on ‘Jedi Blue’ – a cloak and dagger sweetheart deal between two tech giants that monopolize online advertising.

So what’s the deal?

  • Google and Facebook are accused of abusing their market position to strike a backroom deal to further their business interests.
  • The agreement is said to have seen Facebook win more favorable terms when bidding for advertising in return for its support for Google’s Open Bidding platform for selling adverts over header bidding – where advertising space is auctioned across multiple ad exchanges.
  • Google has long agitated against this method of buying advertising, maintaining that it slows down web pages and causes batteries to drain faster, as well as elevating the risk for fraud and billing errors.
  • As a result, Facebook gained more time to bid for adverts and was able to strike direct billing deals with sites hosting the ads. The underhand arrangement is also said to have seen Google furnish its rival with its data to enable Facebook to better target audiences.
  • In a quid pro quo, Facebook consented to bid on a minimum of 90% of ad auctions when it could identify users, with a pledge to spend at least $500m a year.
  • Such terms handed Facebook an unfair advantage over Google’s other advertising partners according to the New York Times, which spoke with six of these to help build its case. This meant Facebook was almost guaranteed to win a consistent number of adverts.
  • Evidence of collusion was first obtained from documents filed as part of an antitrust complaint lodged by the Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, amid suspicion the tech pair were getting too cozy.
  • This relationship even included a clause that committed both companies to ’cooperate and assist’ in the event of any investigation into their business practices.

Why it matters

  • Should apparent collusion be corroborated it would further undermine confidence in digital advertising – particularly if a guaranteed win rate is confirmed.
  • In response to the allegations, Google contends that its agreement has been misrepresented, while Facebook maintains that such deals serve to enhance competition.
  • Irrespective of the truth of the matter, the lack of transparency shown by both parties will do little to instill confidence in competitors or legislators.
  • Addressing the claims directly, Google director of economic policy Adam Cohen wrote: “Our agreement with Facebook Audience Network (FAN) simply enables them (and the advertisers they represent) to participate in Open Bidding.
  • “Of course we want FAN to participate because the whole goal of Open Bidding is to work with a range of ad networks and exchanges to increase demand for publishers’ ad space, which helps those publishers earn more revenue.
  • “AG Paxton inaccurately claims that we manipulate the Open Bidding auction in FAN’s favor. We absolutely don’t. FAN must make the highest bid to win a given impression. If another eligible network or exchange bids higher, they win the auction.
  • “FAN’s participation in Open Bidding doesn’t prevent Facebook from participating in header bidding or any other similar system. In fact, FAN participates in several similar auctions on rival platforms.”
  • Both Google and Facebook have been in the eye of an antitrust storm, with Google fending off multiple lawsuits from the Department of Justice and three dozen states centered on its near-monopoly of search and search advertising, as well non-search advertising.
  • Facebook, meanwhile, has been embroiled in lawsuits filed by the Federal Trade Commission as well as attorney generals from dozens of states that accuse the company of abusing its command of the digital marketplace and engaging in anti-competitive behavior.

By

Sourced from The Drum

By

Marketers must stop prioritising strategies built around cookie data if they’re to succeed in the 2020s. Speaking on a panel at The Drum’s Predictions 2020 event at Sea Containers this week, Andy Chandler, Adjust’s VP for UK and Ireland, called for brands to evolve in the post-cookie world and start to work out whether they’re truly adding value to their customers’ lives.

“With Google Chrome getting rid of third party cookies, brands need to start looking at data differently or they’re going to very quickly get left behind,” he explained. “We are moving into a cookie-less world, where consumers are interacting more with apps than browsers, so the way we measure data needs to truly reflect that. We need to keep evolving and keep up with where people are, ensuring we add real value to their lives.”

A recent feature by The Drum explored the impact of Google’s plans to “render third-party cookies obsolete” and how brands must now respond. According to Ed Preedy, chief revenue office at Cavai, one solution could be for brands to use online messenger apps to speak directly to their consumers. He says messenger apps can ensure more tailored advertising and better conversion rates when it comes to making a purchase.

He added: “In 2019, there were 73 trillion posts across all messaging apps. And in markets like APAC and Latin America, something like 63% of consumers purchased over a messaging app or spoke directly to a business. These are becoming hotbeds for commercial opportunity and it will only grow in the decade ahead in the UK too.

“Messaging apps allow for a genuine two-way interaction. They qualify what users want and who they are almost instantly, so therefore the advertising that runs is contextually relevant. They will become so much more important as cookies start to dissipate. I think there will be a wider move to more personalised platforms, where advertising is less random.”

It was a frank assessment that Tanzil Bukhari, managing director for EMEA at DoubleVerify, very much agreed with. He insisted consumers now want to see more relevant advertising and that getting rid of cookies will ensure this happens more consistently. “The Google Chrome announcement will mean publishers have to offer much richer and directional content, and that’s only a good thing.”

Using data in the right way

But there was also a message of caution in the air, with Vodafone’s brand director Maria Koutsoudakis warning that brands and agencies who prioritise data too heavily risk becoming irrelevant, on a panel earlier that morning alongside Ogilvy CEO UK, Michael Frolich. Koutsoudakis asked the audience: “When was the last time you spoke to a customer? If you stood back from click attributions and A/V testing then what do you really know about your customers now?

“By only really focusing on data, there’s a risk we create a generation of marketers who don’t understand brand, consumers or behavioural change and aren’t agile enough to cope with it. There needs to be more of a blend of people being on the ground, really speaking to their customers, as well as having a good data strategy. If marketers only care about digital metrics then there’s a risk they become irrelevant in marketing in the 2020s.”

With consumer data obviously so important to the UK mobile network’s business, she admitted it has taken a back step to ensure it’s precious about protecting it. “We don’t sell this data as we can’t afford to lose our consumers’ trust,” she admitted. “Being so cautious might mean we get left behind, but I think it’s worth it as we can’t take any chances.”

Frolich agreed with Koutsoudakis’ sentiment. In the 2020s, he said ad agencies shouldn’t be using client and third party data unless they can absolutely prove it has a positive impact on creativity and this in turn enriches the lives of their customers.

“We aren’t a data company, we are a creative agency,” he insisted. “We use client data and third party data to feed our creativity and build better work that consumers then enjoy. If you’re using this data and it isn’t creating better human insights then you’re using it incorrectly.

“Agencies have bought big data companies and it isn’t working because they’re not using the information to create better marketing. If we can work with a client like Vodafone and use their data to feed better creativity then we’re winning.”

The sentiments around trust were picked on another panel, where Courtney Wylie, VP of product & marketing, Mention Me had a word of caution: “We’re going to continue to see this evolving trend of lack of trust. A declining trust in influencers, brands, marketing channels.”

However, the way the relationship between agencies and brands works will become a lot more adaptable over the coming years, with a one-size-fits-all approach now completely redundant. John Readman, CEO & Founder, Modo25, explained: “In past there were only two options: work with an agency or do something in-house, but we will see these lines blurring more and more. There’s no reason why a combination of both won’t be the best way forward.”

Talking about the way forward, Andrew Challier, chief client officer, Ebiquity predicted that the industry will finally see “the rebirth of creativity and the importance of creativity in engaging people and reaching people in a meaningful way.”

A more ethical way of thinking could impact Facebook and Amazon

As we move further into the 2020s, some of the event’s panellists warned that established retailers and social media brands could start to fall short, as consumers switch to a more ethical way of thinking.

“Yes, lot’s of people still buy off Amazon, but the fact Brits also want to become more engaged with their local community means independent retailers should be confident heading into this new decade,” predicted Hero Brown, founder of Muddy Stilettos.

She explained further: “We’ve noticed a real shift in our readers wanting to support the high street more and more, and there’s this ethical thinking coming through, which could be detrimental to an Amazon. Shoppers want real-life experiences, even from online brands. They’re starting to get tired of faceless fast transactions and want to see brands brought to life in a more physical way. This trend will only intensify in 2020.”

Meanwhile, Darren Savage, chief strategy officer at Tribal, would like to see Facebook’s dominancy recede in the social media space. “I think major firms who consistently lie will come unstuck in the 2020s as people won’t put up with it anymore,” he said. “An immoral toxic cess-pit like Facebook will come tumbling down.

“The blatant lies they tell around consumer data will mean people will leave the platform in much bigger numbers. Truth is more important than ever before and just being a big business isn’t going to protect you if you mislead consumers.”

Proving you’re making a difference

This ethical way of thinking also extends to a brand’s commitment to sustainability, and Misha Sokolov, co-founder of MNFST, believes this will only rise in importance over the coming years.

“I spoke recently to someone at the Volkswagen Group and he was telling me how they calculated they were responsible for 1% of all global emissions, and that’s why they now want to be carbon neutral within 10 years,” he said. “The smartest brands won’t just put a nice message on their packaging, but do something that has a provable positive impact on the environment and helping reduce climate change. It must happen automatically as brands will lose market share if consumers don’t think their being ethical enough. There’s no excuse in the 2020s.”

And businesses shouldn’t just think of sustainability in environmental terms either, with it also being just as wrapped up in how a brand and business treats its employees. Stéphanie Genin, global VP of enterprise marketing at Hootsuite, says employee advocacy will be a huge trend moving forward, as consumer want to ensure their favourite brands treat their staff good before supporting them with a purchase.

She added: “Employee advocacy and employee generated content will become so so important. When you empower employees to be the communicator of what your business stands for it really adds to brand value and boosts sales. I think marketers are missing a trick by not prioritising this more heavily.”

However, Readman, added none of this will work unless it’s part of a global governance policy. “It’s all good being sustainable and doing good things for employees in one market, but if it’s not something you’re doing consistently across the board then consumers will work it out and there will be a backlash.”

Meanwhile, for John Young, executive creative director and co-founder, M-is, as brands start to really understand the consumers through personal engagagement, “the advertising budgets will transfer into experiential budgets.”

Be as safe as possible

Another topic of conversation that came up throughout the day was brands ensuring the data they keep on consumers remains safe, especially as more and more of their ads are traded programmatically.

Francesco Petruzzelli, chief technology officer at Bidstack, said that 13% of global ads are currently fraudulent and that while major brands know it’s a “big issue”, they’re not necessarily doing enough to prevent it. “We acquired a publishing guard to protect publishers, but I find a lot of people aren’t thinking seriously enough about this issue. It won’t go away!”

Dan Lowden, chief strategy officer at Whiteops, added how he recently worked with a major brand who believed bots were accounting for up to 5% of fake views of its £10m campaign, but says his team worked out they were actually accounting for 36% of traffic.

Looking ahead, he concluded: “The bad guys aren’t going to let up and will keep on persisting with cyber crime in the 2020s. We all need to be serious about tackling this problem and do more to collaborate as an industry to ensure that marketing dollars are genuinely being spent on human engagement and not just robots.”

By

Sourced from The Drum

By Paul Koulogeorge

One of the biggest struggles faced by marketers today is how to balance new media (digital and social) with traditional media (TV, radio, print). Marketers tend to pay attention to the “new shiny idea,” often taking action on new media campaigns. But one traditional medium that has bridged the gap between the two worlds is public relations.

Public relations (PR) is work that helps a business or individual cultivate a positive reputation with the public through various paid and earned communications. Twenty years ago, PR worked through traditional media and in-person engagement; whereas today, we now have digital, social and influencer marketing — even virtual reality — to consider.  Unlike TV, radio or print, PR has evolved and is as relevant, if not more relevant, today than it was 20 years ago.

Below are a few examples of how PR has evolved in the digital world.

Refined Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been a hot ticket for several years now. As consumers continue to look to social proof and opinion, influencer marketing has evolved.

I expect this year to be a big year for nano-influencers — those with a following of 1,000 to roughly 5,000, and who often have much higher engagement from their fan bases. Due to their smaller following, their recommendations and opinions are often perceived as more genuine and trustworthy.

Brands are using influencers and other engagement tools to connect with consumers on a more personal level. For instance, H&M used influencers and polling tools to target their millennial consumers, find out their preferences and collect feedback for the designs. 

While the world of influencer marketing operated much like the Wild West in previous years, I believe it is beginning to show us more savvy and refined programming than ever before.

Multichannel PR 

Reaching the public has evolved from standard print, online and TV placements to a multitude of avenues. As mentioned above, influencer marketing is key to being relatable to younger consumers, as is the emerging world of podcasts. Brands can play off the influencer posts and drive new followers to connect on their own social channels. The impression and traffic to one web article can be leveled up by connecting stories and sharing with different brands’ fans, whether it be through reposting business news on LinkedIn or sharing a perfect consumer-facing press placement in Instagram Stories with a swipe-up link.

Today, PR must be broadened to multiple channels to deepen and expand the reach to target consumers. The message simply cannot break through the clutter when only focused on one medium.

The millennial-driven company Bumble has done a great job at touching on all channels through its influencer partnerships, such as its partnership with The Chainsmokers for the Bumble Beats dating app, in which the band hosted a concert ticket giveaway at the first college road stop of the campaign, or thought leadership interviews centered around new workplace initiatives like “The Hive.”

Content Performance 

It takes more than a heartwarming story or innovative product launch to earn a story in 2019. Increasingly, reporters and publications are being asked to deliver metrics such as article views, clicks, social media shares and likes. Therefore, your brand must be able to offer more than a great story by showing a willingness to help amplify that story across a variety of networks.

This is something I think all PR teams should be offering in 2019 as part of the pitch for earned media. There are different audiences to reach on various social media platforms, in newsletters, etc., that should be utilized when important and noteworthy press is earned.

IHOP was able to show how sharing news and information across different platforms can increase the engagement of consumers. With the brand’s stunt, changing its name to IHOb last year, the company was able to garner stories published by a variety of outlets and on social media platforms, as the news was virally shared.

Virtual Media

As tech continuously upgrades and shares information through artificial intelligence, PR strategies will begin to include voice-searchable content. Many consumers are using a virtual assistant to provide everyday information, from the news to the weather outside. I believe earned and paid media will be transformed to be easily referenced by virtual assistants, reaching targeted audiences more efficiently.

Google Assistant already shares information from search results. Asking “OK, Google, what’s the latest news?” or “OK, Google, how do I get rid of a cough?” results in top answers read aloud to the user. The future of these results will become even more specific and useful as more data is collected, making ideal earned placements with detailed information increasingly important.

Modern Day Metrics 

PR and marketing results have historically been difficult to track in terms of return on investment. Common practice in PR used to be measuring ad value equivalency and potential impressions for an earned media placement. However, times have changed and the advancements in digital have given PR pros modern new tools for measuring success across a variety of attributes.

Metrics platforms are helping brands understand their positions by providing a variety of analytics at their fingertips. On a single dashboard, brands can now track things like their share of voice among competitors, true audience metrics and reader engagement with content to determine which avenues and messages are successfully converting.

The examples above show how public relations is still doing what it did a century ago by “cultivating a positive reputation,” but is now using 21st-century tools and techniques to deliver the message. The way I see it, PR has adapted with the times, unlike the rest of traditional marketing and is staying relevant by taking the best of the old and combining it with the best of the new.

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By Paul Koulogeorge

Vice President of Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations at The Goddard School.

Sourced from Forbes

 

As part of its big rollout of its new content services, Apple debuted a new short film for Apple TV+ featuring some of the most creative minds in film taking us inside their respective worlds on the anxieties and triumphs of their craft.

‘Storytellers’ was shot by Academy Award-winning cinematographer/filmmaker Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki. The film features iconic storytellers – Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams, Sofia Coppola, Ron Howard, Octavia Spencer, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Damien Chazelle, M. Night Shyamalan and Hailee Steinfeld – who take us through the creative journey of telling stories that matter.

Sourced from The Drum

By

KFC has restored ties with its former chicken distributor Bidvest in the wake of a disastrous switch of its logistics contract to DHL, which resulted in the temporary closure of hundreds of restaurants as stock ran out.

The volte face comes just one month after the bungled switch from Bidvest to DHL began and sees Bidvest pledge a ‘seamless return’ to supply 350 of the chains 900 UK and Ireland restaurants.

Prior to 13 February Bidvest served as sole supplier for the fast food chains operations across the British Isles.

DHL has blamed software developed by Quick Service Logistics and ‘operational’ issues at its Rugby depot for its failure to deliver the goods,

A KFC spokesperson said: “Our focus remains on ensuring our customers can enjoy our chicken without further disruption.

“With that in mind, the decision has been taken in conjunction with QSL and DHL to revert the distribution contract for up to 350 of our restaurants in the north of the UK back to Bidvest Logistics.

“We’ve been working hard to resolve the present situation with QSL and DHL. This decision will ease pressure at DHL’s Rugby depot, to help get our restaurants back to normal as quickly as possible.”

KFC is still battling with the after effects of the breakdown in its supply chain with 3% of its restaurants still shut and others offering only ‘limited menus’ two weeks after being forced to apologise to customers in a responsive print ad.

By

Sourced from THEDRUM

Online reputation management is very necessary all of a sudden.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

Businesses say they plan to allocate more resources to their online reputations in response to the growing popularity of social media and online reviews.

According to a new survey from Clutch, 40% of businesses will increase their investment in online reputation management (ORM) this year.

All this is due to the growing power of social media and third-party reviews sites, which impact businesses’ control over their online reputation.

Clutch surveyed 224 digital marketers and found that more than half of businesses (54%) consider ORM “very necessary” for success. As a result, 34% said they allocated more resources to ORM in 2018, and an additional 43% said they plan to hire a professional public relations or ORM agency in 2018.

Businesses already invest a significant amount of time observing their online reputation, Clutch found. More than 40% of digital marketers (42%) monitor their companies’ brand online daily, while 21% monitor their online reputation hourly.

According to public relations experts, businesses frequently monitor how their brand is portrayed online because they know even one negative media mention can quickly damage the public’s perception of their company.

“When people search for brands online, they tend to search for stamps of credibility,” explained Simon Wadsworth, managing partner at Igniyte, an online reputation management agency in the UK. “If potential customers find anything negative, that could end up being a significant amount of leads the business won’t get from people who are put off from using the service.”

Social media also has shifted the ORM landscape because it gives consumers free-reign to share their opinions and experiences quickly and frequently: 46% of businesses look to social media most often to monitor their online reputation.

By using professional agencies that have expertise in online reputation management, businesses can minimise losing new customers who may be dissuaded from purchasing their product or service.

To read the complete report, click here.

 

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