pr digital agency bangkok thailand

Influencers rising

The fantastically unpredictable nature of influencer marketing has changed the nature of what PR is, and with breathtaking speed.

 

At the Holmes Report’s recent Innovation Summit in San Francisco that attracted key influencers and PR professionals, a salon series was held by Allison + Partners, one of the summit’s partners. At the Future of Influencer Marketing salon, much attention focused on Allison + Partners’ new major report “Unleashing Influence”, which says 2019 is a crucial year for influencer marketing. But if influencers and marketers are to reach their full potential, they will need to improve their communications abilities and establish more systematic ways and practices for demonstrating the value of their work, according to the study.

 

Big influence, big money

 

Businesses spent $6.3 billion last year and could splash out perhaps up to $10 billion in 2020 in the no-holds-barred industry of influencer campaigns. Only that clients are keen to see evidence that the big money they are willing to pony up on influencer marketing is actually being channeled in meaningful ways, preferably via influencers who can demonstratively rally the base and get followers buying products and services, and posting, sharing about brands on social media.

 

Until long-term trends and some normalcy emerges, influencer marketing is likely to remain marked by uncertainty. Who if anyone can or will play the gatekeeping, agenda-setting role once played by journalists remains to be seen. The influencers of today are even less regulated, and accountability guidelines have not been established. Influencers may never have the same clout the media once had in today’s world of scattered bandwidths, shorter attention spans, and multiple channels, where disruption is the norm.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Keeping it real in a digital age

 

Digital marketers, you have your work cut out for you.

 

Consumers find the content generated by companies, less interesting, less authentic and less impactful on their purchasing decisions than advice given by fellow buyers, according to a new report by Stackla, a marketing platform that focuses on and user-generated content. The report, which says that 86% of consumers place a premium on authenticity, indicates vast differences between consumers and marketers.

 

Information being shared on products should ideally focuses on personalized experiences with brands, say nearly 7 out of 10 customers surveyed for the major report. But while 92% of marketers think their brands are providing the personalized content that buyers prefer, less than half of the customers themselves agree with this. Not surprisingly, customers are also over twice as likely to find customer-to-customer shared content interesting, compared to brand-created content.

 

Tell me a story, and keep it personal

 

The Stakla report also says that customers are turning to first-hand accounts on social media platforms for advice from fellow experiencers, shoppers, travelers and other buyers of various services and products. Nearly 90% of respondents would post about a positive travel experience, while 85% and 65% would do the same about a similar encounter with a restaurant or health/beauty product, respectively.

 

The chasm-like consumer-company disconnect is compounded by how consumers are 2.4 times as likely to think customer-created content is most authentic, while companies are 2.1 times as likely to think that brands are better at generating the most authentic content. The study indicates that nearly 80% of buyers say user-generated content affects their decisions whether to buy something. Compare that to with a paltry 8% who said the same thing about influencer-created content. That doesn’t sound very influential, actually.

 

Digital marketers, you have your work cut out for you.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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PR you can prove

Public relations is slowly developing the capability to prove the value of its results. Yet too often, especially for this day and age, PR firms continue to focus on impressions created rather than the desired results delivered.

 

The hard to quantify value of “good PR” is part of the problem. Indeed, other kinds of businesses are finding more success in improving the nature of customer service relations by attending to a few vital concerns, according to a recent report by Infiniti Research. Customers love it when questions or complaints are addressed efficiently and promptly. It leads to return purchases and word-of-mouth value that has positively impacts ROI. Other key findings in the study are that short and to the point surveys more effectively gauge opinions of clients and customers, and that having a focused goal for surveys will result in more useful and insightful data.

 

Publicity vs profits

 

As PR becomes better at tracking impressions, their effect will have to become less impressionistic, more clear and focused. The relative worth of ads and stories in newspapers and magazines, and online articles vis a vis online advertisements, remains hard to quantify. But that doesn’t mean PR agencies should continue challenging themselves to find out what techniques works best.

 

Beyond traditional KPI tallies, PR needs to focus more on outcomes, not just activities, and learn some tricks from the hardnosed nature of management consultancy companies and their role in strengthening brands. Successful campaigns will then be shown to be those better synched to improving the bottom line.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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pr digital agency bangkok thailand

Offline by nature in a world linked up

A significant chunk of big data is going unrecorded and marketing information untapped, while at the same time lifestyle preferences are pushed aside: China is less than a decade away from having a population in which a full quarter of the population will be over 60 years of age, according to demographic trends.

 

Sorry, there’s an app for that too

 

While the country continues its relentless pace of digitalization on all fronts, some seniors are balking at the perceived need to electronically attend to an increasing amount of tasks that just a few years ago were done almost exclusively in traditional ways. While day-to-day shopping and other needs have been simplified by electronic payment schemes in ways that developed countries have not implemented on so wide a scale, the catch-up is greater for elders caught on the old-school side of the digital divide. Banking, hailing taxis, booking tickets and accommodation when travelling, and ordering in restaurants are all examples of transactions now conducted easily and smoothly online for younger Chinese, and making functioning autonomously a significant challenge for seniors.

 

The Uninfluenced

 

Compounding the trend is the population’s skewing towards an ageing society, with many fewer couples opting for the economic investments required to raise a second child, even after the dramatic scaling back of the one-child policy.

 

And while information aplenty on all levels is being amassed on the habits and trends of younger buyers, elder Chinese stand having less known about what they are looking for, and providing information on the adaptations that might make meaningful differences in their lives, if known about.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Once more, with feeling, please

Public relations professionals must cope with a complicated work environment that even more than usual now calls on them to be adaptive to disruption and ready to shift their core skills onto new platforms, even when the ground beneath their feet is giving way. Customers in the Information Age are making a majority of buying decisions that are, ultimately, based on emotional factors, says a partner at a big B2B marketing firm.

 

Buyers want a good story, and to develop a connection with a company before committing to a purchase. Trust and authenticity matters, not slick marketing. Just make sure what you say is interesting: in the B2B world in particular, boredom has become a significant factor to overcome, as prudence too often overrides the need to take bold action when called for.

 

I heard it through the grapevine

 

Beyond the sometimes overhyped influence of influencers on social media and the like lies the commonsense persuasive power that comes from word of mouth. Conversations with friends and colleagues count as much as online influence, according to a study from data and analytics firm Engagement Labs. Face-to-face sharing also tends to allow people to exchange thoughts on a wider range of products and services, and in ways in which we are freed up from online values in terms of showing awareness of what’s trending, getting wrapped up in “social signaling” or being in broadcast mode. Offline, you are more likely to give unfiltered, no-nonsense advice, and on products (like laundry soap) you may not necessarily feel the need to tweet about.

 

If your product is good enough and the story to sell it is touching, the hard work is already done.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Kylie Jenner: Superinfluencer and billionaire

Much has been made of the recent news that Kylie Jenner, 21, has raked in her first billion dollars. She moved up on an elite list in doing so, shaving a couple of years off the previous record held by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who hit the $1,000,000,000 mark in 2008 at 23, and who had bested the record set by Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who made his first billion at age 31 in 1987.

 

The milestone was independently confirmed by both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes, shortly after an exclusive deal was inked between Kylie Cosmetics, founded and owned by Jenner, and Ulta Beauty Inc. She succeeds in combining winning marketing/PR skills and a compelling personality with a sense of authenticity to her legions of fans, including 128 million Instagram followers. This comes on top of growing up on hit TV reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, and has created an aura of indelible charm. When you’re your own best influencer, it seems nothing can go wrong.

 

She is, of course, still 21. Yet her recent posts about her rap-star partner’s rumored cheating on her seems to keep her in a world of believability and enhances her fandom; her PR awareness has yet to make significant dents in her online persona, as the billion-dollar mark indicates. But even superinfluencers are ultimately beholden to their integrity, so her greatest tests may not have come yet, given the media spotlight always shining on her and her intriguing family, and the many challenges that come your way with fame.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Busted for insufficient social credit

China is forging ahead with several innovative trends in e-commerce and social media that are having significant effects on the lives of its netizens. The country is tracking of its citizens’ behavior via the Internet (and CCTV cameras). There are now increasingly significant additional costs for violators of small-time crimes and those involved in other activities deemed to be “unsociable”.

 

Some 23 million Chinese have been blacklisted from buying airplane or train tickets for engaging in what the government deems to be anti-social behavior, which can include anything from smoking on trains to letting pet dogs run free in areas where they should be leashed, to using outdated tickets on public transport or not paying taxes. Spreading fake news can also get you “discredited”, which in a society that relies heavily on censorship and propaganda can lead to a lot of grey areas.

 

Simply unsocial behavior

 

One particularly cringe-worthy example of dubious digital behavior was entertainer Cai Xukun’s over-the-top efforts to make his new song go, go, go viral. Although already a member of popular boy band Nine Percent, Cai vastly inflated the number of times his new song “Wait, Wait, Wait” had been shared on social media site Weibo. While the song may not have the cool factor of a banned book generating its own special-edition PR, if the stunt leads to more people listening to the song, well, there you go. But it’s not the kind of technique likely to be useful more than once.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Getting the right fit and other adventures in retail

Stores are upping their IT game to entice customers into the buying process, and to help keep the in-store shopping experience relevant in a world online. Nike recently unveiled the Reactland VR video game in the iconic brand’s New York flagship branch. Potential buyers can strap on a pair of Epic React Nikes and run on a treadmill, as they watch an avatar of them with footwork synched to their own navigating a virtual environment on a big screen, for the entertainment of all in the store. The CGI settling allows you to test drive a pair of Nikes in a challenging environment.

 

Be your own tailor

 

Clothiers may have to turn more to such strategies if new tailoring technology proliferates. The prototype Size-Stream Scanner uses 10 sensors and takes just a few seconds to know the shape of you. The technology has improved vastly in recent years, and is complemented by the spread of big data and array of opportunities to spend more money in fewer clicks. The surprise factors involved with trying on shirts and trousers could soon be a thing of the past. Outfittery takes things a step further by using 20 algorithims based on the ideas of some 600,000 consumers to offer not only outfits that fit to a tee, but sage fashion advice on colors and styles based on your personality profile. Armed with detailed tech specs, buyers be free to order clothing (and style advice) with greater confidence with just an Internet connection.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Facing a whole new shopping experience

While online shopping has never been easier, and continues gaining in popularity, big-name stores are turning to convenience with a touch of retail theatre to keep buyers happy when they’re shopping outside home. Both at-home and in-store shopping experiences are going hi-tech. These digital trends are both data-rich and customer-friendly, offering exciting opportunities for buyers and online marketers alike.

 

In China, leading online shopping website Alibaba now operates over 60 Hema supermarkets that normalize facial recognition technology. In 2017 Alibaba partnered with KFC to allow customers to settle the bill simply by smiling. Now, facial scans in cashierless Hema supermarkets are allowing shoppers to make purchases in the same manner on a bigger scale. Items can be scanned for detailed information on nutrition, preparation instructions and place of origin.

 

Shopping for food, with options for cooking along the way

 

Customers in the Shanghai branch can also scan a menu with a QR code during their time shopping and have meals ready for them afterwards at the Robot.He restaurant, a set-up due to be widely replicated in other Hema stores. Certain foods that you see in the supermarket and that you’d like prepared for you live are zipped away via conveyer belts hanging from the ceiling and then transferred by a robotic arm to the kitchen. After showing your face at the checkout, the freshly prepared meals are ready to go back with you as well – or receive your food via robot waiters and enjoy onsite at the restaurant.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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How bloggers became the new content superstars.

Blogging is not real writing. This was one of several memorable lines in Steven Soderbergh’s excellent 2011 movie, Contagion. The apocalyptic medical thriller went on to examine the staggeringly important role freelancer Alan Krumwiede played in the global viral MEV-1 outbreak and ensuing public hysteria brought about in its aftermath. Initially a down-and-out conspiracy theory journalist begging for any sort of attention whatsoever (sound familiar?), Jude Law’s character became one of the world’s most followed icons as a result of his blogging about the film’s far-reaching protagonist, the Meningoencephalitis virus. It was a case of right time, right content.

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