pr digital agency bangkok thailand

The shifting but significant nature of SEO and social media

Recent research shows that while almost two-thirds of small businesses have social media accounts, just over half of them have a social media marketing strategy. While that may not be as dangerous as buying and driving a car without getting a driver’s license first, there is plenty of room for more prudence on behalf of firms of any size attempting to make best use of their online potential. Even when you don’t know all of the terrain that lies ahead, roadmaps are useful.

 

Social media marketing coming of age

 

Over 55% of these businesses with a social media presence have an in-house team managing these webpages, while 37% of them use social media software to help maintain their social media accounts. The most popular ways in which these firms are tracking the success of their social media presence is engagement (24%), leads/conversation (24%), clicks to other websites (18%) and audience growth (16%). There remains significant reluctance to jump into new waters without a sense of what lies beneath.

 

Don’t forget SEO, even if it’s mysterious

 

Even more perplexing than attempting to optimize usage of social media is managing your website’s SEO, since, well, we’re not quite sure exactly what it is or how it works, actually. Over 60% of small companies place greater importance on social media marketing than SEO planning. Just over a third of small businesses have an SEO strategy, although about a quarter of them plan to have one by the end of 2019. This lack of planning is perhaps understandable when considering the shifting, unreliable nature of what SEO is, and how search engines like Google define it. But it pays to pay attention and be ready for what comes next, when some kind of calm and standardization comes about after the stormy conditions defining the online world of today.

 

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

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Who’s your CSR czar?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been with us for around a quarter century now, but is rooted in philanthropic concepts as old as time, which go to the heart of what society could or should be based on. The tendency to want to be seen as doing good and being fair-minded has long been a concern to leaders of businesses, nations and other institutions. Not least of which since it helps justify their continuing to retain power and influence, for – at least in their minds – the greater good.

 

The authority to help out

 

While CSR is still seen as secondary to the overriding purposes of many firms, it easily aligns with their overarching mission statements, which describe companies’ ideal societal impacts, beyond profits. At a minimum, companies facilitate the betterment of the lives of employees and their dependents. Meanwhile, governments tend to see themselves as providers or at least enablers of the SR part of CSR. But as big data comes about, transparency increases and bottom lines and product origins become more traceable, CSR in a wider sense of ethics increasingly affects not just local environments, but carbon footprints felt globally.

 

The Gen Z factor

 

People with little to know knowledge of the last millennium or life before smartphones are now coming of age, shopping online, and expressing tendencies to spend their money on companies they see as taking stands on issues and sourcing products and services in ethical, sustainable and documentable ways. Several multinationals like Netflix, Google and IBM have reached out to young consumers who have expressed interest in supporting companies aligned with their progressive, modern values. Many brands are shifting to move away from certain segments of the public and more overtly marketing and positioning themselves to take better advantage of new demographic realties.

 

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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In search of SEO

The calculus of optimizing a company’s online potential seems simple enough: get more people coming to your website and engaging in activity there that will boost profits. Only that there are many hurdles to overcome, due to lack of prepaedness for optimizing the great potential of SEO. And the fact that the rules of the game are subject to change.

 

Staying atop the digital dogpile

 

Getting and remaining listed highly on Google’s first page of search results is getting more difficult, as companies are becoming increasingly competitive in making sure their online presence is as good as it gets, led by attractive, relevant content in synch with what big search engines are asking for. Similar challenges, competitiveness and expense limits the effectiveness of click-baiting people into visiting your website. Good SEO comes down to an effective deployment of winning content, and good use of meta tags and keyword targets. A new study of small businesses indicates that the number one SEO metric used by small businesses is traffic from the likes of Google and other major search engines, while also significant are conversions and leads, as well as use of backlinks.

 

SEO, s’il vous plait

 

The study shows that only a third of small businesses have a fully developed plan for boosting SEO, but that by the end of this year, roughly half of all companies will have such a strategy. Over six out of 10 of the small businesses surveyed say that social media marketing is the most common SEO booster. Also important to the small firms was having a website that was easy to interface with smartphones, and investing more heavily in digital marketing.

 

Putting the O in SEO

 

As if all that wasn’t challenging enough, some observers say that by the end of next year, half of all online searches may be voice-activated. This is one more area in which many small businesses need to play catch up in, if Internet searches related to their products and services are to be anything close to optimal.

 

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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CSR as good PR

Over 75% of respondents in a recent survey expected business leaders to a have committed views on difficult issues the world is facing today. Companies are increasingly expected to have a positive impact not just on their workers and their families – which was the original intent of Corporate Social Responsibility – but on society. In addition, CSR has gone digital as much as anything else, with its effects able to be tracked, analyzed, reflected on and adjusted just like other KPIs.

 

Sustainable societies, sustainable companies

 

Another study reported that two out of three consumers will spend money on a brand that tracks and proves their sustainability. In the coming age of big data, in which customers’ buying patterns are clearer by their online activity, companies and other entities will also have information about their behavior publically accessible too, including carbon footprints, CSR activities and anything deemed worthy enough to turn up on Google.

 

Where CSR meets ROI

 

According to the 2015 Global CSR Study, 90% of consumers would choose not to patronize a company proven to have taking part in inappropriate business practices, and also expect companies to take a stand on environmental and social issues. The Reputation Institute found that while 40% of our decisions whether to buy something is based on what we think of a company’s products and services, 60% of those decisions come from what we think of the company itself. Reputation influences long-term financial stability, and all the more in a digital age, when privacy is under threat, and data can be manipulated. The last word in reputation is integrity, and remains as valuable as ever.

 

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The continuing saga of good storytelling in PR

The more that innovation delivers buyer-friendly breakthroughs, the more that disruption can wreak havoc. The larger databases become and enhance our buying options, the more confusing shopping online can become. The more we say we value authentic information, the more technology and media channels proliferate and make it easier for fake news to creep in. As social media platforms grow in number and complexity, switching off and detoxing from Internet addiction goes more mainstream.

 

Companies are scrambling to give customers the richer digital experiences they crave. The vastly growing quantity of information is helping fuel demand for quality. Through their brands, digital influencers and PR firms are competing in new ways, on new platforms, to hold and keep the attention of audiences. The content and depth of stories allows – and further encourages – content providers to engage with audiences in more meaningful, memorable ways.

 

The more channels expand, audiences fragment and attention spans fall, the more a unique story with heart is useful as a means for expanding influence and innovation for those who have a great message and the knowhow to spread it. A recent study by ad firm Hill Holliday evidences that customers are more likely to buy products and spend more on them when they are marketed along with an interesting story. This supports what the great majority of marketers think, that an integrated experience for customers across key platforms leads to greater customer satisfaction. When the message is compelling enough, the rest will often fall into place.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Streaming ‘Roma’, Influencing Oscar

In the latest earth-quaking, IT-led disruption to business as usual for movie lovers and the marketers who influence them, the biggest movie streaming website, Netflix, scored big at the Academy Awards with 10 nominations, and picked up big wins for best director and best foreign language film best for its made-for-laptops film “Roma”.

 

While the black-and-white, Spanish-language film could also be seen in theatres, the fact it was made by Netflix has industry professionals paying attention. The campaign supporting “Roma” was backed by a US$25-million PR blitz. Although panned by one big theatre chain as a “made-for-TV” movie after winning four Bafta awards, including film of the year, the move is just one more sign of how more people love staying at home to watch films.

 

Competition is fierce for the future of Hollywood. Netflix’s “‘Roma’ Experience Day” multi-channel public relations campaign amplified the novelty factor for the film with a sophisticated strategy featuring choice details such as chocolates stamped with the name of the film and augmented-reality entertainment in which attendees at a gala were superimposed into a scene from “Roma” that they could share later. While some say that the Netflix is ruining the film-going experience, the company’s recent PR coup shows that viewers are in charge, and they don’t have to go to the cinema to get premium entertainment, and don’t even have to wait a few months anymore for the official debut on small screens.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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CGI influencers and a tale as old as time

People have always loved a good story, and getting wrapped up in plots. Lines famously blurred in 1938, when the fictitious radio broadcast “War of the Worlds” caused real-world panic that aliens were actually on the offensive.

 

A real trend today is the rise of a new-gen, less-than-human digital influencers, who are having valuable input on brands and society. When popular Instagram influencer Lil Miquela came out as a CGI product of the imagination, it created a stir, as she had been presented as human before the revelation. Some who had suspected her of having a face looking seriously Photoshopped felt vindicated. Others saw her as simply a product of the IT-enhanced times of today. While never approaching the disruption and chaos of “War of the Worlds”, a sense of having been had was still perceptible once the truth was out. Lil Miquela still has 1.5 million Instagram followers. So does another new-age influencer, Pumpkin The Raccoon. Although in the animal’s case at least we knew all along it’s a gag.

 

When asked to tick the “I’m not a robot” box in a promo for #RobotProblems, Lil Miquela has a moment with her CGI self before a human friend ticks the box for her and then cocks her head and arches her eyebrow slightly. It’s irony. We’re all in on her act now. But with AI’s growth, possibilities for deception are on the rise, and digital influencers will need to have honest exchanges with the public if they are to retain their long-term influence and reputation.

 

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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Integrity, integrated

Two interesting trends in the public relations reinforce and strengthen each other, although on the surface they may seem, well, somewhat segregated. The first trend is customers and market forces combining to promote tech-savvy, multifaceted, fully integrated, digital PR campaigns that synch messages across platforms both online and old-school, to optimize KPI and ROI.

 

The other trend is for greater integrity. Following Nike’s “Believe in something” campaign featuring currently unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose well-known position against racism may have helped cost him a starting position in the NFL, sales for the iconic sports manufacturer shot up by six billion dollars. But when Gillette tried something similar, reimagining its “The Best a Man Can Get” tagline as “The Best Men Can Be” with an accompanying video in order to encourage men to be less sexist, the results were mixed. The video accompanying the new messaging turned off more many traditional customers and didn’t result of much of a sales bump. Although intentions may be noble, the bottom line in risky campaigns that come off as preachy might be to take Nike’s classic advice to “just do it”.

 

Worse still are off-message messages in Twitter storms from the likes of Tesla’s Elon Musk that go far and wide thanks to the well-integrated nature of communications today, but go down strangely in terms of integrity. Have something nice to say. And if you must be provocative, it pays to rebel with style, not with words that may come back to haunt you and your company’s reputation and value.

 

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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