Lie detectors wanted

The proliferation of fake news has led to renewed calls for fair-minded institutions and individuals with the integrity to keep us informed about what really happened. In the multi-platform information age, while the amount of raw data – and big data – continues growing exponentially, the value of all of these facts, factoids and downright mistruths are coming into question. Our trust in the veracity of what we see and hear has significantly eroded. New methods are needed if mistrust is to be kept in check.

 

Faking it well

 

Younger people are getting news from social media. Traditional media has gone online too. Digital marketers have a stunningly rich array of ways in which they can spread messages. But a lack of standardisation and fact-checking all around has led to more skepticism. The way in which messages can spread has increased, while the likelihood of our believing the information thrust at us has declined. Photoshopped images were just the beginning. With deepfakes and AI getting more sophisticated by the day, and sites where stories and videos shared lack oversight and regulatory bodies filtering posts, it is becoming more of a challenge to determine what’s real.

 

Reality check

 

Propaganda has always been with us. Hollywood magic has long dazzled us with stories that we like to pretend are real, at least for a couple of hours of suspended disbelief. But now the art of make-believe has become easier and cheaper to pull off, and available to the masses. The potential societal impact is significant. Media organisations, PR agencies and other outlets with a reputation for telling it like it is now have new roles not only as representatives of particular viewpoints, but as truth tellers, in a day and age in which the truth itself has become the most precious of commodities. They may thus increasingly take on roles as agenda setters, to counteract technoractic tendencies have allowed for information to be shared with the greatest of ease, but without the fact checking that many now crave.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Death-defying influence

How far will you go for that unforgettable photo that puts you far above – like, really far above – your garden-variety influencer? Kelly Castille and Kody Workman, a traveling couple passionate about exploring and dramatically documenting breathtakingly beautiful locales around the world and blogging as Positravelty, have done it again, coming up with an audacious photograph that defies belief. In a real cliffhanger, the mesmerising shot shows Kody firmly seated on terra firma, with his significant other appearing to have somehow just reached him after floating through on air to greet him. Beneath Kelly lies a great chasm.

 

Crazy or epic?

 

The gorgeously otherworldly setting for the duo’s latest jaw-dropping shot is the Laguna Humantay in the Peruvian Andes, a timeless land of rolling mists, deep and colourful gorges and nature at its wildest. Earlier this year, Kody briefly dangled Kelly above another abyss just beyond an infinity pool that also looked like the edge of the universe in an equally beautiful if rather more discovered holiday location: Bali. The couple says the drop was not as far as some say it looks, though. While the perfect selfie and opportunity to have it admired on social media has tempted a significant number of fame seekers to put themselves in provocative and at-time dangerous positions, that have sometimes resulted in death, Positraveltry says they always careful check environmental conditions to ensure that they are not endangering their lives.

 

On the edge of marketing

 

Positravelty’s philosophy behind the photo is classic marketing that creates conditions and a story that is hard not to talk about, no matter what your opinion on the safety factors may be. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as the expression goes. The couple strikes an image of fearlessness, loudly applauding the notion of taking risks when warranted, tempting followers to channel their inner Indiana Jones, or at least engage in armchair escapism at home and, of course, remember to check their blog for the latest exciting adventure. “There is a difference between risking your life and taking a risk at having one,” they unapologetically ask. “We know which side we would rather be on, do you?”

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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NEVER FORGET THE HUMAN SIDE OF DIGITAL MARKETING

When it comes to communicating with your target audience it is of course obvious that you will need to use digital media and social media platforms to connect with them. But how you connect is the most important part. Behind all the data, research, and insights is one important fact – you’re talking to humans. They are the ones looking at the communications your brand puts out into the marketplace, so it’s important to always communicate with them in an authentic manner, you need to earn their attention and that won’t happen if you don’t understand what they want to see, hear, or read.

 

EVERYONE LOVES A STORY

 

Since the dawn of time people have told stories and when they hear a good one they not only remember it they share it and tell others. This same basic principle applies to the stories that brands tell to their audiences. When developing a story you need to take a step back and ask yourself a few simple questions.

 

  1. Will it resonate?
  2. Is it worth sharing?
  3. Is it memorable?
  4. Will it create a moment?

 

A well told story should resonate with the audience it is aimed at, and if it does that it will be memorable and worth sharing. Moreover, it should create a moment in someone’s day and that moment will have your brand attached to it.

 

TELL IT LIKE IT IS

 

Ensure your story is well written and crafted, this may seem like an obvious point but all too often you see pieces of communications from brands that don’t seem to understand this one simple truth – a well told story is a memorable story.

 

GIVE YOUR STORY A PULSE

 

Make sure it has some life in it, you don’t want your story to have a short life span, it needs to be able to live and breathe long enough to still be relevant for the duration of your campaign. Your goal is to ensure that when it is shared by others that it is still pertinent and thus will still be effective.

 

GREAT STORIES GROW

 

All the best stories have chapters, some never stop. Once your story is launched you’ll need to support it with more ‘chapters’. Once people have heard about the initial story you’ll want to follow up with more to support it and keep it top of mind. There’s no point in having a launch that gets everyone’s attention and then suddenly going silent. Once you have piqued an audience’s interest you need to keep giving them more. If your story resonated with them at launch they’ll be happy to hear more about it…curiosity is yet another human trait.

 

There’s a reason we call ourselves here at Vivaldi the Human & Digital Public Relations Agency, that’s because we know one cannot succeed without the other.

 

Joseph Henry is the founder and CEO of Vivaldi Public Relation Agency.

He is an expert communicator and influencer who has been helping leading companies achieve their strategic objectives in Asia for the last 20 years.

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Share this

This just in: platforms come and go but it’s what you say that matters most. In a new report summarising the opinions of journalists, content quality topped the list of key KPIs, receiving one of every four votes. IT matters were also of concern to media-industry professionals, specifically meeting in-house goals of regularly publishing a particular number of original articles online, and the need to have and maintain a robust social media presence.

 

Please pass the press release

 

Most journalists agree that the most reliable sources for extracting information for the articles they write are press releases. PR agencies should take note and remember how their key products are being used if they are ever accused of being spin doctors. In an age with sources of veracity less clear and questions on authenticity on the rise, earning and maintaining a good reputation is a rarer commodity. Social media platforms are by comparison trusted as the best source of news by 10 per cent of the media.

 

Business as usual

 

In addition to the primary role of content, a lot of classic nuts and bolts of journalism remain in place, despite significant shifts in how information is presented and shared. Investigative research, in-depth interviews with and quotes from contacts already known and trusted by journalists remain highly valued. In terms of what’s being seen and consumed, also retaining high popularity are photos with a high resolution, videos and infographics. Journalists also value their own contacts with fellow members of the media. Even in an age of differentiated audiences and loss of advertising income, and beyond readership metrics, a classic, content-focused core remains most relevant to storytelling.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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The art and spin of financial PR

What’s a generally financially solid, reputable firm to do when the bottom line has bottomed out and your ROI has gone AWOL? Call in the financial PR pros. The good news is that there’s almost always some legitimately positive news that can come out of seemingly lesser numbers, and other numbers even more helpful that can be uncovered and spotlighted.

 

A numbers game

 

Monthly ups and downs often don’t fully account for a company’s long-term, less quantifiable real worth, let alone the next big thing in development, which will show R&D money spent – make that “investment” – and the profits expected to follow. Moreover, statistics on hand that fairly ‘tell things like they are’ need to be chosen carefully yet creatively, in order to put the most impressive stats first. There’s no sense of tapping big data and paying for algorithmic programs that analyze well, if you’re not going to fund a way to let digital marketers compellingly tell the story of a firm by selectively using the best available stats.

 

Angles are everything

 

Far from mere digits and decimals, numbers tell their own stories, depending on the way they are presented as part of an overall thematic. They are creative characters in a story. Many are not known, and would give a good impression if more widely known. So discover them. What’s the average length of an employee’s tenure at your company? What are wage hikes like? Is there a CSR component that demonstrates a certain return of profits to the community? These indicators of good health that can be told in conjunction and back up the more standard information shared regularly in reports with shareholders and stockholders.

 

Performance metrics and prudence

 

Not all statistics need to be shared. Not all information that is not shared is negative. Much good news remains unknown and untold. The future is uncertain. But not entirely. So speculate in a way that puts on the image you want to project, mindful of information that competitors are not tapping and exploiting. Optimism matters. While the value of numbers may be absolute, the beneficial ways in which they are presented are countless.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Influence, or lack thereof

A rude denial was not what superinfluencer Amy Seder thought would be the response she would get receive after one recent request for free accommodation. But that’s exactly what one Italian hotel fed up with requests from influencers sent her. “Blogger infestation. Not interested,” was the specific retort. With influence pedaling reaching the point of no return, it’s easy to see why many hoteliers and restaurateurs are growing increasingly reluctant to splash out on self-proclaimed influencers who don’t live up to their hype.

 

When influencing becomes freeloading

 

This is not the first famous case of a hotel delivering a sharp rebuke to an influencer, nor an isolated incident. The ‘Will influence for free accommodation’ mantra has grown old in an age jam-packed by pundits claiming that profits and public awareness will be generated by their positive reviews of the institutions that pamper them. In another incident, a Philippine resort tired of receiving requests for comp from influencers sent out a tirade that criticized the nature of the profession, questioning the idea of what on the surface may look like getting something for nothing.

 

The future of influence

 

There’s no returning to the rather quaint world of just a few years ago before online advertising started to really come into its own and allow for the cultivation of the interactive social media platforms and digital marketing of today. While a vetting process and some regulatory measures may be needed, the future of advertising and influencing, shopping and negotiating will have a significant digital component that won’t be stopped by admonishments. Influencers are here to stay, although the nature of what’s said and how it’s said will no doubt continue evolving, as has always been the case.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Give the people what they want

More than four out of five Internet users have unfollowed a firm. The number one reason for the digital ostracisation, for two-thirds of those who have turned their backs on once favoured firms, is lack of compelling content. The challenge to e-marketers and the companies they represent couldn’t be clearer: know your audience.

 

That’s a lot of information

 

Big data makes it possible now for providers of any kind of product or service to know their customers well. Really well. Such info is not simply available from competent acquiring and using of data on buyers’ preferences, but also available through good, old-fashioned customer outreach, which is also aided and enabled by the Internet. There’s simply no excuse for companies to have a lack of connections to their customers, since their preferences directly impact ROI.

 

Social media, of course

 

The most effective strategies these days for staying in touch with, surveying for ideas from, and offering deals to customers involves a significant online competent, with a strong focus on social media sites. No matter whether this is taken care of in-house, at least partially, or subcontracted out to PR firms, the bottom line is that a digital presence is crucial. Without one, firms risk isolating themselves from the growing ranks of digital natives entering the e-marketplace, and older buyers becoming increasingly savvy at ordering things with their computer without needing to visit shops.

 

Shopping online

 

The technology and e-commerce websites making use of it are making shopping from home or work, or while commuting or on vacation, an increasingly viable and convenient option, for everything under the sun.

 

The customer is always right

 

This truism has taken on new currency, and not so much when there is a difference of opinion, but because now more than ever those opinions are knowable, accessible and sortable. The most in-the-know companies these days are those who can build and sustain unbreakable customer relations based on mutual satisfaction and happiness that fits to a T.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Amazon and the art of listening

The surge in voice-recognition technology is being led by the market trailblazer in online shopping. Amazon is taking over territory on the strength of Echo, its handy five-year old platform for making Internet a more happily hands-free experience. The brand enjoys nearly half of the market share for searching for information online activated by oral communication – about the same as its share of e-business transactions in the US.

 

Ready for more

 

The digital giant is well positioned to make even bigger profits, with a significant percentage of Internet users not currently making use of voice-recognition technology to join the trend. Within three years, nearly four out of five netizens are expected to be making use of the convenience-boosting technology. While 85 per cent of Internet users have heard of Echo, 70 per cent know about its nearest rival, Google Home. Only three in 10 people have heard of the next biggest competitor, Apple HomePod.

 

Ready for even more

 

Coupled with the massive increased interest in online shopping, led by technological upgrades and the preferences and comfort in using social media navigating the Internet among the natives who make up an increasing percentage of the market, online shopping is here to stay, and represents a bonanza for tech-savvy digital marketers.

 

Is anybody listening?

 

Almost one out of three people are suspicious that their personal information is put at risk when using digital assistants and that their conversations can be tapped into and recorded, no matter how they attempt to take control of their privacy settings. For now, though the message is loud and clear: Amazon has achieved voice dominance, and will be doing everything it can to make sure we’re all paying attention.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Remembering a modern master of messaging

Novelist and humanitarian Toni Morrison, who died on August 5, left behind a legacy of writings that serve well as examples of how to tell a story with heart. Although described as a black American female writer, her writings can best be called universal for their simple elegance.

 

Just connect

 

By creating characters that are cherished for transcending time, nationality and other particulars, Morrison made connections with readers that will outlast her. She knew her material by heart, wrote from her heart, and connected with a sense of subtlety and authenticity. She defined knowing your material as an investment in time. Time spent in research, editing, reworking, all the way along, keeping in mind the audience, and how what was said would impact them.

 

What’s not said

 

By knowing backwards and forwards what did matter, Morrison was able to reduce what was said to an elegant minimum, creating spaces for readers to jump into and imagine things themselves. Many great advertisements do the same thing. As does negative space or white space in photography and art. Master jazzman Miles Davis thought of this as power of the notes that are not played. Conscious omissions allow audiences to read between the lines, capturing key messages without being blunt or prescriptive.

 

Show, don’t tell

 

Morrison suggested storytellers avoid ‘thrilling sentences’ and let the plots unfold in pauses in the action that allow readers to become a part of the narrative themselves. By not overdoing it, Morisson delivered powerful themes in ways that respected the reader, choosing what was not said as carefully was words that were used, effectively allowing audiences to draw their own conclusions, which can lead to greater impact.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Creating content that delights

Even as public relations companies attempt to find out and deliver the kind of content that consumers want, they are attempting to better their techniques that will help them do so. If this sounds like putting the cart before the horse, that’s because it is. But the alternative to not taking risks in creating content is falling behind in a highly fluid online marketing scene.

 

Disconnected, but forging on

 

While there is a significant disconnect between the perceived effectiveness of content between creators and audiences, and how effective content is having on delivering results, plans are underway to make improvements. More moving, meaningful brand experiences are desired, but the devil is in the digital details as to how this can be achieved – and tracked. A new study shows that marketers are focusing on creating content that demonstrably delivers ROI results, is efficiently managed, and makes use of more compelling visuals. Only that without better ROI results, content that can be seen as effectively managed and is visually exciting may not be either, actually, and would necessitate a return to the drawing board. A stunning 95% of content on brands is ignored by audiences, according to one estimate.

 

Tell me a story that I should like even more than you do

 

So what’s a good PR team to do? Tell a great story that inspires consumers to pay for the products and services being delivered, of course. But until the secrets of how to deliver exactly what keeps consumers entertained and paying up, by teasing useful information from big data, the disconnect between content providers and audiences will remain. It’s no wonder PR workers are seen as having jobs ranked more stressful than most, when the kinds of precise results asked for by clients are attempted to be met on channels and platforms through content that often is so hard to define.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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

 

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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