Public Relations


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


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.


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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Here’s why you need to get your advertising to zoom in.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

The relationship between desire and attention was long thought to only work in one direction: When a person desires something, they focus their attention on it.

Now, new research reveals this relationship works the other way, too. Increasing a person’s focus on a desirable object makes them want the object even more – a finding with important implications for marketers seeking to influence behaviour.

The study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, is the first to demonstrate a two-way relationship.

“People will block out distraction and narrow their attention on something they want,” said Anne Kotynski, author of the study. “Now we know this works in the opposite direction, too.”

In marketing, advertisements with a hyper focus on a product’s desirable aspect – say zooming in on the texture of icing and frosting – might help sell a certain brand of cake.

Findings suggest the ad could be targeted to people who have shown an interest in a similar product, such as running the cake commercial during a baking show.

This finding also works in other areas outside advertising too. For example, doctors could potentially help their patients develop a stronger focus on healthy activities that they may desire but otherwise resist, such as exercising or eating a balanced diet.

The study’s findings also add a wrinkle to knowledge of focus and emotion. According to a spate of previous research, positive emotions, such as happiness and joy, widen a person’s attention span, while negative emotions such as disgust and fear, do the opposite: narrowing a person’s focus.

“We conceptualise fear as drastically different from desire,” Kotynski said. “But our findings contribute to growing evidence that these different emotions have something key in common: They both narrow our focus in similar ways.”

The findings also fit the notion that both of these emotions – fear (negative) and desire (positive) – are associated with evolutionarily pursuits that narrowed our ancestors’ attentions.

For example, fear of predators motivated attention focused on an escape route, while an urge to mate motivated focus on a sexual partner.

“If a person has a strong desire, research says this positive emotion would make them have a wide attention span,” Kotynski said. “Our research shows we developed a more beneficial behaviour around desire: focusing our mental energy on the important object, much like fear would.”

The study

Study participants were shown images of desserts mixed in with mundane items. They were instructed to pull a joystick toward them if the image was tilted one direction and push the stick away if it was tilted the opposite direction. Researchers recorded the reaction time of each.

Participants who responded fastest to pull the images of desserts were those whose attention had been narrowed. Responses were much slower to the mundane, and for participants whose attention was broad, suggesting narrowed attention increases desire for desserts but not for everyday objects.

The study used dessert pictures to measure reaction time because such images have been shown to increase desire across individuals, most likely due to a motivation to seek high fat, high calorie foods that is rooted in evolution.

There you go people. If people love cars and you can get them to focus on the car you are hawking, you’ll have a better chance of converting that to a sale. May the ROI forever be in your favour.


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More than a third of millennials use their phones for personal activities up to 2 hours during the workday.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

Technology is now on the verge of making us utterly unproductive. This is according to a new report from Udemy.

The study measured how distracted employees are during work hours, how they’re responding to distractions, and the price of distraction for employers and the economy at large. The research found a strong correlation between increased levels of distraction, decreased productivity, and a lack of proper training at work.

Workers can’t resist the pull of social media
Most survey respondents (58%) said they don’t need social media to do their jobs, but they still can’t make it through the day without it. When asked to rank various social media sites and communication tools by degree of distraction, Facebook came in first (65%), followed distantly by Instagram (9%), Snapchat (7%), and Twitter (7%).

In addition to recognising how workplace distraction can hurt productivity and diminish quality of work, companies need to be aware of the very real damage to employee morale and retention. Among millennials and Gen Z, 22% feel distractions prevent them from reaching their full potential and advancing in their careers, and overall, 34% say they like their jobs less as a result.

When people are engaged, they report being more motivated, confident, and happy, and feel they deliver higher quality work. And, based on the survey, opportunities around learning and development are the top drivers of engagement.


Workers want training but are reluctant to ask for it
Though 69% of full-time employees surveyed report being distracted at work and 70% agree that training could help them learn to focus and manage their time better, 66% have never brought this up to their managers. Younger workers, in particular, are also having trouble balancing work and personal activities on devices they use for both; 78% of millennials/Gen Z say using technology for personal activity is more distracting than work-related tools like email and chat.

Let’s face it, we are all suckers for social media. The good news for marketers is that with highly engaged audiences comes a lot of places to put targeting advertising and reach these audiences.


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It could be sending the wrong message to your intended audience.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

An academic study has found that women wearing heavy makeup are less likely to be perceived as leaders. Of course, it depends on what you are selling and to whom. But if you want your model to portray leadership, then stay away from the make-up kit.

The research from Abertay University found that women wearing heavy makeup were less likely to be thought of as good leaders. The study was led by Dr Christopher Watkins of Abertay’s Division of Psychology, and published today in Perception journal. It revealed that the amount of makeup a woman is wearing can have a negative impact on perceptions of her leadership ability.

Study participants were asked to view a series of images featuring the same woman without cosmetics and with makeup applied for a “social night out”.

Computer software was used to manipulate the faces and the amount of makeup was also manipulated in the face images.

Each participant completed a face perception task where they judged sixteen face-pairs, indicating how much better a leader they felt their chosen face to be compared to the other face.

It was found that both men and women evaluated women more negatively as a leader if the image suggested she was wearing a lot of makeup.

Dr Watkins said, “This research follows previous work in this area, which suggests that wearing makeup enhances how dominant a woman looks. While the previous findings suggest that we are inclined to show some deference to a woman with a good looking face, our new research suggests that makeup does not enhance a woman’s dominance by benefitting how we evaluate her in a leadership role.”

The study was carried out by Abertay graduates Esther James and Shauny Jenkins and used a measurement scale common in face perception research, which calculates the first-impressions of the participant group as a whole, working out an average verdict.

Dr Watkins has carried out previous high-profile studies including work looking at how women remember the faces potential love rivals and the role of traits related to dominance in our choice of allies, colleagues and friends.

To view the full study click here.

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Facebook is now the most popular places that advertisers are putting their video ads, even beating YouTube.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

Top marketers know that digital video is one of the most powerful tools to increase consumer engagement and brand loyalty. In fact, according to a new study from Clinch, brand marketers are ramping up their production of digital videos with an emphasis on creating campaigns specifically for Facebook and YouTube.

The study found that 78 percent of marketers plan to increase their production of video ads in 2018, while only 43 percent of marketers plan to increase their production of static banner ads this year.

Social is Video

When it comes to digital video campaigns, Facebook reigns supreme, representing 46 percent of all video ads produced. When adding Facebook-owned Instagram into the mix, this number leaps to 74 percent. YouTube comes in a close second at 41 percent.

Says Oz Etzioni, CEO of Clinch, “It’s no secret that Facebook and YouTube dominate the digital media landscape and we don’t expect this to slow down, particularly with the Facebook algorithm change which requires brands to pay in order to be seen. In 2018 brands will increase spend and leverage the rich data that these platforms provide. However, the data and platform are just two pieces of the puzzle. Creative is the critical third piece. If brands aren’t uniquely tailoring their creative specifically for each platform and by audience, opportunities will be missed and ROI will be lowered.”

Nearly three quarters of marketers are adopting online video from their TV commercials. 44 percent indicated that they don’t shorten commercials for each platform’s suggested length. While TV ads remain a critical source of video content, the user experience of each social platform is very different than traditional TV. For example, TV ads are 15 to 30 seconds long but Facebook and YouTube recommend six-second videos.

Etzioni continued, “We were really surprised to learn that marketers were taking a one size fits all approach to video. In 2018, marketers will awaken to the fact that investment in creative will increase ROI and personalisation at scale, and will become the norm for digital video as it has become for static ads.”

Defining Social Personalisation

While 50 percent of respondents say they personalise their video campaigns, brands can be doing a lot more. Those that are personalising their creatives based on data are seeing big results. Nearly 90 percent of respondents who have customised Facebook or YouTube video ads reported seeing benefits. Furthermore, 70 percent of those who customise said that they have seen improvements in their key performance indicators (KPIs).

According to Etzioni, in the next few months, the definition of personalisation will change. “Rather than creating a handful of versions – one for men, one for women, one for the East Coast and one for the West Coast, we expect brands to be using data insights to personalise at scale. This means hundreds if not thousands of versions of videos where the message and creative is tailored to their specific needs and interests. This will create a more meaningful experience for the consumer and transform video campaigns from simply brand awareness to direct response opportunities,”

The full report, “How Leading Brand Marketers are Using Personalised Video to Drive Sales,” is available for download here.



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It’s all about the reviews, so make sure yours are good.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

More than three quarters of travellers use review sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor to conduct research prior to booking services.

This is according to a survey conducted by The GO Group, an international ground transportation provider.

Travel GIF by Evan Hilton - Find & Share on GIPHY

The respondents were asked about site usage for accommodations, activities, events and ground transportation.

When asked about use of sites for hotels and other accommodations, 13% of respondents said they always check sites; 31% said they do so frequently, 34% said sometimes and 22% said never.

Fifteen percent said they always check sites for reviews about tours and activities; 25% and 34% said they do so frequently and sometimes, respectively. The results for checking on attractions and venues were similar were about the same.

Fewer people use review sites for ground transportation. Only 10% percent said always they did so; 23% said frequently and 40% replied sometimes.

The survey also asked how many people post on review sites. Just three percent said they always posted on the sites, nine percent do so frequently; 40% post sometimes and 26 % responded they have never posted on a review site.

“In addition to or even in lieu of obtaining information and referrals from close friends and family, more people are opting to use content generated by strangers as a guide for booking travel experiences, says John McCarthy, president, GO Group. “As reliance on online review sites continues to grow, it behooves all of us in the travel-related industries industry to regularly review and respond to posts, and monitor them for potential customer services issues.”

Angry Always Sunny GIF by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Find & Share on GIPHY

The GO Group LLC is the nation’s largest airport transportation provider, offering shared rides, private vehicles, sedans, charters and tours, serving some 90 airports in North America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe and transporting more than 13 million passengers per year.

This study shows just how much babysitting and care you need to put into your online reviews. Like you don’t already have enough to do!

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Nearly 90% of retail marketers will increase marketing spend this year.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

RetailMeNot has released result of a study showing how retail marketers will expand their content, use their marketing spend and what they are planning in 2018 to better engage and convert consumers.

This year, 9 in 10 retailers will increase marketing spend, and marketers will spread their increased budget almost evenly among marketing channels such as social, mobile, brand and display. This move reflects the need to ensure that every customer is receiving information in the channel of their choice. Interestingly, 93% of mid-sized retailers (between US$500 million and US$1 billion in annual revenue) are increasing their budget compared to 86% of large retailers (more than $1 billion in annual revenue) indicating an increase.

“Retail marketers are no longer thinking in channel silos. They are approaching commerce holistically with an understanding that consumers are channel-agnostic,” said Marissa Tarleton, CMO, RetailMeNot. “Delivering an experience that meets the consumer in the moment across the shopping journey will be the pathway to success for brands.”

Tackling New Trends and Challenges

While trends like virtual reality are still an exciting frontier, most retail marketers have their sights set on more realistic forward-looking trends. More than half of retail marketers surveyed believe improving mobile web checkout capabilities (52%) and offering exclusive promotions for mobile app users (51%) will positively affect sales growth in 2018. Additionally, voice-assisted shopping is an area that 39% of retail marketers plan to implement, with many retailers hoping to capitalise on increased use of smart home systems and smart speakers.

About 50% of retailers indicated they will use multi-touch attribution in order to better monitor the quality of traffic from their advertising investments. Further, retailers will become more bullish on advertising fraud as they look to ensure that their marketing is reaching the highest quality audience. More than 6 in 10 retail marketers (63%) will increase their direct media buying in 2018 in order to better monitor the quality of their traffic from advertising investments.

Holistic Approach to Increasing Sales

Retail marketers are wisely embracing mobile as a conduit for sales both on the phone and in physical retail stores. Based on our survey, retail marketers believe mobile is the key priority for positively affecting sales growth, and 72% will use mobile marketing to drive in-store sales. Further, 82% will rely on mobile marketing to drive in-app sales.

As marketers look to increase revenue in the coming year, their team structures and channel approaches will evolve to become more cross-functional. In fact, 50% of retail marketers say that their mobile marketing team falls under digital marketing within their organisation, up from 41% in 2016.

Finally, promotions continue to be top-of-mind for driving sales. Most retailers (76%) plan to increase the amount of promotions they are offering in 2018, and 86% will partner with websites and apps that focus on deals, cash back and loyalty programs.

“The convergence between physical and digital shopping will blend even further this year,” said Tarleton. “As retail shifts continue, delivering seamless shopping experiences—be it in-store or online—are critical to success.”

RetailMeNot is a savings destination connecting consumers with retailers, restaurants and brands, both online and in-store. The company enables consumers across the globe to find hundreds of thousands of offers to save money while they shop or dine out.


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