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PR at its core

The values listed in the Preamble of the Public Relations Society of America (PSRA) continue to provide timeless advice that can prove useful for navigating the uncertain seas of today’s world. Far from old-fashioned, they represent ideas that can provide clarity for professionals caught up in the spin cycle or find themselves outpaced by the digitally savvy or hyper-networked among rising influencers. For every move in which IT-focused, AI-enhanced protocol and big data threatens to disrupt traditional business patterns, the more innovations can arise for those prepared to take risks, if tethered to some of the most essential of key messages listed in the Preamble, a few of which are addressed here…

 

Advocacy

 

Advocacy often seems these days to have been subcontracted by default to influencers, customers writing peer reviews, social media platforms, and a Gen Z getting a feel for their algorithm-assisted moral compass and wanting companies to focus more on, for example, CSR and taking better care of the environment. PR firms increasingly need to up their game to remain relevant advocates for clients, by harnessing big data to analyze and accurately project spending patterns and the behavior of potential customers, and maintain and update better lists of new-gen publishers and persuaders with a finger on the pulse of today’s trends.

 

Honesty & Independence

 

Facts are everywhere these days, oftentimes therefore cheap, and yet in other instances harder to confirm thanks to the fake news phenomenon. The deeper and more meaningful facts will be carefully cultivated, not copy-pasted, and based on critical reasoning and analysis. And, needless to say, enticingly presented. As always, decisive and discreet selected sharing of information remains appropriate. Another listed PSRA value is the independence to provide counsel to whom one choses. As always, it pays to represent clients who are aligned with your own mission and have messages worth amplifying.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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In pursuit of wellness

A new report on leisure spending indicates that wellness tourism is growing more quickly than most other sectors in the hospitality industry. For PR professionals, the potential for cashing in is significant, particularly in the Asia-Pacific.

 

More income, more trips

 

A focus on wellness now accounts for about 6.5 percent of all holidays. This represents a growth rate of 15 percent since 2015, or a raw total of about 830 million trips worldwide. Significant growth in particular is being experienced in Asia. As money becomes more available and the region’s share of the global pie grows, lifestyle upgrades are becoming more affordable and the quest for downtime grows. This is led by the great economic expansion in China over the last 20 years. Yoga, Ayurveda, medical tourism, tai chi, temple-stays, swimming pools, cultural tours and massages are all part of the trend, in addition to entire venues exclusively dedicated to making one feel more balanced and in better physical and mental health.

 

Chinese-led growth

 

Tourists from China are expected to add up to almost a third of the global travel market within 10 years. Chinese are already the planet’s largest group of spenders, infusing some $258 billion each year to the global economy. On the receiving end, China is also anticipated to the top destination country for travelers within a few years. China’s dominant “9-9-6” work culture, in which employees are expected to work from 9am – 9pm, six days straight, fuels the need for vacations that are relaxing and then return you to work in tip-top condition.

 

Girl power, magnified

 

Women are leading the demands for more relaxation. This includes time away from the annoyances and pressures of men on female-only vacations, which have grown in popularity by 200% in recent years. Women are wealthier, less likely to marry and have kids, and thus more likely to pamper themselves than ever before, as socio-economic shifts lead to more lifestyle-friendly travels. This ties into traditional market forces (think 500 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets) appealing to women in spa settings and amplified retail therapy, with wellness products and services in increasing demand.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Reinforcing the PR side of PR

Everyone appreciates praise. Yet the art of flattery and persuasion, even in the age of influencers, often seems to have taken a hit. There’s a distinctively impersonal, IT/AI feel to social media, due to its basis on connectivity which takes place without face-to-face interactions. Publicists proud of their lists of and links to influential people would do well to take a pause and ask themselves what their philosophy on relating to people is based on.

 

Online, but not all the time

 

Genuinely glowing reviews often bring in more revenue than well-placed advertisements. Persuading customers and potential buyers to leave behind a few heartfelt words helps generate future sales and better ROI. Money can’t buy this. Prospective buyers are more influenced by peer reviews and storytelling than ever before. So by all means, get your stories out there, spread and shared not just via algorithms and “Likes” but at water coolers and dinner tables.

 

Relating to the public

 

When negative reviews come or damage control is needed these soft or people skills are all the more essential. Getting people to write or otherwise share nice words about you is more of something friends do for each other, not clients of colleagues, no matter how financially valuable the relationship. Goodwill is largely based on other values, even when the bottom line factors in.

 

Online more of the time

 

That being said, do be practical and digital, of course. Maintaining a strong online presence is something PR firms should do and should ask their clients to do as well. It’s an ideal way of spreading good vibes and messages these days, of course.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Trust generally, verify occasionally

Consumers in the US are concerned about the quality of food they are eating, but not going out of their way to look into production practices of agribusinesses — not that it was ever easy to discover the truth about food safety, of course.

 

Gluten-free? You tell me

 

Opinion was split about half and half over whether consumer food guidelines were useful and practical, or confusing and not having much relevance to the average investigative eater. Most consumers reported putting at least some small effort into trying to figure out more about food safety, but a full third did very little to no research at all.

 

Second opinions valued

 

The classic approach of consulting informed non-stakeholders into what insight they have on the matter was valued by around 80% of consumers, who were much more likely to trust key third-party certifying bodies or governmental agencies than the producers of food products themselves. Just under half of respondents threw caution to the wind and bought and consumed a product they felt they had doubts about in regards to safety, health or nutrition. Only a third of respondents thought much about the validity of claims made by celebrities or influencers.

 

You are what you eat

 

Compounding the issue was that even though most consumers reported general trust in the safety of what they were eating, it can be challenging to truly know what you are eating, since the potential of big data has done little so far to help trace the multiple origins, production histories and assemblage of the various components going into the foods we eat.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Millennials maximizing their online shopping potential

Reacting with gusto to the dramatically evolving patterns for spending money via the Internet, Millennials are spending like no other generation before them. New research indicates that those born in the ’80s and ’90s are outspending any other age group – both in stores and online.

 

Letting go of money

 

The study show that Millennials are the most likely of generations to drop $50 in the US or 50£ in the UK when they have a chance to so, no matter if shopping at home online or in person in the actual store. Generation Xers and Baby Boomers are not spending quite as much as the latest generation to have fully evolved into adulthood. Most likely, once Gen Z fully comes of age, this fully digital native batch will lead the pack in spending as well, as indicated by statistics on those born in the new century who have already joined the workforce and are spending like it.

 

Brand loyalty

 

By a small margin, young people of the Millennial generation are also most likely among the age groups surveyed to support particular companies when they felt their products, services and mission were aligned with their own. Millennials are also more likely to add more items into online carts when they are satisfied by the services provided by a company they like.

 

Subscription box boost

 

In the US, more subscription box business models for starting online income generation based around a particular niche were more popular than in the UK. The trend carried through for all generations. This popular multi-step model outlines how to go from idea to income, based on one’s Internet connectivity and networking skills for finding customers and giving them what they want.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Welcome to your home away from home

Accepting new employees into the work culture of your office is a test of if a company to apply core beliefs fairly to everyone. Does the mission statement really reflect the higher reality or do cliques and corruption have more clout? The answer can be found in instances like when new employees are onboarded. Here are a few ways to show how welcoming newcomers can help enhance commitment to the right kind of corporate values.

 

Keep it stylish

 

A sense of fun can do wonders, as offices become more homes and coworkers like family members, in ways where overlapping is possible, depending on the organization. Examples of infusing casual rhythms of relaxation can come, for example, through encouraging freedom of expression through allowing employees to decorate and personalize their office space as they like. Making the home away from home closer to home itself can boost morale and productivity.

 

Bond with me

 

Company evenings and outings allow members from different departments to mingle and engage in ways based on light-hearted conversation and entertainment in memorable points of connection that create deeper relations and a sense of trust.

 

Hear my voice

 

In meetings and in consultations with work teams, and clients too whenever possible, ask new employees for their feedback and opinions. Encourage them to speak out and share what they think and have personal sessions to further prove the point.

 

Meet the family

 

Bosses who make the effort to go over and meet new employees at their homes or invite them to theirs show in dramatic ways that newcomers are very much a part of the family. This attention to detail and high level of personalization of course also can pay dividends in cases where the personal touch can go far in impressing clients as well.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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How to maximize your megaphone

Congratulations on the publication of your article! Is your PR placement online, in print or both? Have you emailed it to the right people and broadcast it far and wide on social media? PR placements play a vital role, but limited bandwidth and a greater number of competitors facing the same concerns means that audiences are smaller, so you’ll have to push more buttons to have the same effect as yesteryear.

 

Resend, and make it resendable

 

The go-to way of spreading messages for PR firms and just about everyone else who want to be heard is of course online, and that of course means efficiently using the right social media platforms. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are the key places to focus on. Make sure to tap the right influencers for enhancing your key message in your placement, so a wider range of followers and potential customers can be reached. Both quality and quantity matter in terms of platforms for effectively dispersing matters whenever you are extending the reach of an article, advertorial, advertisement or other campaign material with a message people want to hear or you want them to hear.

 

Go ahead, paraphrase

 

Short and effective rewrites are easy ways of enhancing main messages with a minimum amount of work that goes far, and maximizes SEO potential, while drawing a greater range of data seekers to your article. Just about everything except for the link can be worded differently. Similarly, original 1-2 sentence summaries with a link to the original article can be placed on various social media sites to boost readership.

 

Your good work on display

 

In a world logged on, an unplugged, classic and professional approach stands out in unique and powerful ways. Easels, frames for walls and portfolios are just a few ways of enhancing easy and elegant access to attractively presented PR placements, without needing to open your smartphone or laptop.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Determining why and how social media matters

New studies this year are telling us what we all know like never before: the impact of social media is significant and growing in many aspects of human life, including buying and marketing of, well, just about everything, now that you ask.

 

Everybody’s doing it

 

Despite a small but significant group of conscientious objectors and an increasingly smaller segment for whom IT is still beyond reach for economic or cultural reasons, social media usage continues growing unabated. Just under half of respondents in a new study reported that they have upped their online portfolios over the last half a year. Businesses know this, and are all the reminded by the potential digitally generated windfall each time a new statistic like this comes out. Ninety percent of these firms are convinced of the significant benefits of maintaining a strong social media presence. Yet they remain unsure of what this means exactly and how best to exploit this new market.

 

Not everyone’s benefitting

 

Seven out of 10 social media marketers believe they are sharing essential information and tips on how in-house teams can develop beneficial strategies. Yet almost 5 out of 10 struggle to meaningfully contribute to the developing pans that help meet their company’s goals and key needs, including positively impacting profits. While the technology and communications norms of everyday social media usage are just beginning to seem understandable, verifying their net impact on various economic aspects of life remains difficult to track.

 

Give the buyers what they want

 

One study of similar demographics produced two years apart delivered results indicating just how challenging it is to reach out meaningfully to audiences and potential buyers. The first study indicated interest in posts making overt reference to sales and discounts, but the response for this same topic this year was much lower. That part of the PR business never changes: trends are just that, and the truly successful messages and campaigns need to highlight something timeless and beyond the interests of the day.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Dark data keeps companies guessing

The new State of Dark Data Report reveals that, well, we don’t know very much about dark data. That’s why it’s named as such. While it is recognized that heaps of information are now being amassed by companies, the problem is that since it is collected in different ways, used for different purposes, and ends up in different places, it remains uncorrelated and unanalyzed. The survey of views from executives from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, China, Japan, and Australia explains why, as is, dark data remains only theoretically useful.

 

The report estimates that dark data represents over 55% of the totality of all information. The figure uses various metrics to attempt to account for the array of systems, protocols, people and IT devices used to collect data. Three-quarters of the executives asked agree that the institutions that collect and make use of the greatest amount of data will have heightened advantages that cannot be compensated for by way of other advantages. Data is king.

 

We’re trying; really, we are

 

More than half of the companies claiming to be “data-driven” in one way or another admitted that this phrase is more aspirational than a statement of actuality. On a related note, even in the early stages before artificial intelligence have really been established, 4 out of 5 industry professionals have expressed confidence that humans will remain central to AI applications. However, over 90% of respondents from companies said they are willing to develop and apply a new understanding of data. Only just over half are enthusiastic about having to do so. The only country where significant enthusiasm was generated on the topic, and which was seen as most advanced in understanding dark data’s potential, was China.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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The rise of brand storytelling

Stories are more easily remembered than statistics and facts alone. Stories stimulate our neural activity. Stories also impact the brain’s sensory cortex. Such are just a few facts related to how stories do a better job than facts alone (but, of course, still very much need them). The union of facts and heart-stirring narratives is called brand storytelling, a phenomenon rapidly gaining currency among digital marketers, aka digital storytellers and content marketers.

 

The future of marketing

 

Brand storytelling capitalizes on and represents the nearly inevitable outcome of several trends, including buyers trusting information coming from fellow customers than from companies, the tendency to edit out advertisements from daily news feeds and streaming sites, the quest for authenticity in brands, decreasing brand loyalty, and the nature of the trend-setting, digital-native Gen Z.

 

Sponsoring values, not products

 

Advertisers are rebranding themselves as value-focused, which has always been be a tough sell. Creating interest in goods and services without blatantly looking like you’re selling them may not be a new challenge, but is an increasingly relevant one to meet in a world awash with information and multiple channels for exposure. Influencers are found attractive by their followers for their character and integrity, not their over loyalty to particular brands, let alone for being mouthpieces for sales and specials of the day.

 

There’s no publicity like free publicity

 

If the best stories write themselves, the most unscripted of plot twists can have the happiest of endings in terms of PR value. Which is to say, the best things in life are free. When a very obviously 21st-century coffee cup looking like it was from Starbucks worked itself into a bar scene from the premium streaming series “Game of Thrones” the gargantuan error generated for Starbucks what one industry expert valued to be no less than US$2.3 billion in free advertising. Some stories are too good to be true, and the great ones are too serendipitous to have been made up.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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