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Mistrust of brands soaring

Online shoppers are rather displeased these days with their overall interaction with brands, which are seen as not digging deep enough to win and retain customers. This is the key finding of a new report on Internet-based commerce, which details why firms of all kinds are still seen as staying too close to traditional methods.

 

More points, please

 

Close to half of respondents have excommunicated a company from their online lives for failing to win them over with enough personalization, promos and other perks. Free delivery is just for starters. It’s no longer impressive for product and service providers to give just a few token privileges, in an age where customers can easily find competitors eager to show that they could do a better job.

 

Wrecking the basics

 

For a label like “influencer”, influencers may not all that influential. They rank lowly in terms of trustworthiness in the new study. Celebrities are ranked even lower. At the top are family members and colleagues. The more distant the physical proximity and access to real-world interactions, the less likely the influence is, according to the report. At least movie stars have another, more important line of work, and are viewed as taking on work in advertisements because they are valuable for who they are more than what they say.

 

Lobbying behind the scenes

 

But many influencers have fallen into the trap that journalists have, by having a career that invites others to persuade them to promote a particular, often one-sided message. Least trusted of all, according to the report, and for similar reasons, were politicians. This reinforces a timeless PR message: if you are in a position where what you say and how you say it are taken note of, stay clear of corruptive influences if you want your reputation to last.

 

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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TELL A STORY PEOPLE WILL WANT TO SHARE.

Humans are storytellers and story sharers. Everyone loves a good story and they also love to share those stories on their social media accounts such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. When a brand has a great story to tell they need to ensure it is told well and in a way that people will want to tell their connections about.

 

Share and share a like

 

Today, every single person who is active on social media is like a mini digital media company of one, they are your add-ons to traditional media channels. If it’s an event give them something to photograph, video, or simply write about and if it is a static story on social media make sure it is worthy of a like and a share because when you do this you have instantly increased your reach and engagement beyond paid media channels.

 

Put a capital ‘E’ in your stories

 

Pick one or more of these to be the focus of your brand’s story –

 

Engaging – when you’re telling someone something they want to hear about then you have already been welcomed into their world.

 

Educational – when your story will help enhance someone’s life through knowledge and valuable information they will react accordingly, they will be thankful for the information and more often than not they will share it.

 

Entertaining – we all love to be entertained and when a brand’s story can be told in a lively and fun way then audiences will be thankful. We all lead such busy lives so when a brand can provide some respite people will not only be thankful they will also remember what the brand did.

 

Exciting – big news gets attention, so when a story has some ‘wow’ factor to it people will respond. Stop people in their tracks with something they cannot resist walking past and paying attention to.

 

Empathetic – brands that understand their audience will always have loyal followers, when a story is told in a way that people can relate to that story will be sure to resonate with them.

 

Emotional – when your story can tug at someone’s heartstrings it is hard for them not to react, but you need to do it in a way that touches their feelings and will be embraced by them.

 

The best stories are rarely forgotten and luckily in today’s social media enthralled world those stories are spread far and wide. So when considering your next public relations campaign strategy ensure you have a story to tell for your brand and that it is one others will want to share.

 

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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LIGHTS, CAMERAS, TRACTION. WHY VIDEO IS AN IMPORTANT ASSET IN PR.

We live in a world dominated by digital screens, they’re in our homes, in stores, on the street, on public transport, in planes, in our offices, and of course in our hands. So it is no surprise that video is one of the best ways to engage with an audience as there are so many options available to get their attention and drive engagement.

Video is social

Social media is dominated by videos, Instagram, once used only for photos is now populated by user videos and brand videos. Its IGTV offering has already proven to be extremely popular as has the Stories feature. In fact, video posts on Instagram receive 38% more engagement than image posts. Social media influencers on Instagram were fast to adapt to video and those who embraced it as part of their strategy saw their ‘Likes’ and engagement increase as a result.

Using video as part of a public relations strategy today is an essential consideration and there are so many opportunities to capture and create content from product launches to announcements, events, presentations, and speeches that can then be spread across multiple media outlets from broadcast to online.

One size doesn’t fit all

It’s important to not only understand your audience but also the platform you plan to post your video on and ensure you have already considered your strategy for how to shoot and edit your video content to suit each format. For example with IGTV you need to remember that it is a portrait (vertical) format, whereas with Facebook you opt for either landscape (horizontal) or square and with YouTube landscape works best.

Team effort

Most of us are carrying a powerful video tool in our hands each and every day, our smartphones. So it is now much easier for the PR team to capture some behind the scenes and making of video content while your main video team are focussed on the prime content. Skilling up some team members to competently shoot video is not hard, arm them with a few add-ons for their phones and have a specialist give them a few lessons and you’ll have additional footage to fill some gaps to release on social media as either ‘behind the scenes’ or ‘making of’ content.

So when your planning your next PR campaign it makes sense to see how video can be incorporated and used to maximum effect.

 

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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PR ethics for competition and communication

In this final edition in a short series of blogs on how the Public Relations Society of America’s Code of Ethics relates to online-based PR today, the concepts of furthering communication and competition are looked at. On the face of it, the nature of digital realities today make ‘competition’ and ‘communication’ rather synonymous and symbiotic, seemingly forever feeding each other in an endless round of healthy if at times barbed exchanges online, with no communication-inhibiting monopolization in sight thanks to the competitive nature of posts and counter-posts on Facebook, Trip Advisor and the like…

 

Beyond tit for tat

 

…Only that these social media platforms can become self-serving pedestals and alter the nature and purpose of communication carried out on them. The PRSA’s stated commitment to a free flow of information, are checked by societal forces that have always worked to crush competitive forces, for better or worse, which often links with the idea of limited or at least dramatically curtailed communication. Worse, the go-to biggies of the digital age like Google, Facebook and Mircosoft, while officially espousing free expression, have all come up into trouble for hindering the freedoms they claim they stand for. These three titans have faced, and fought, for example, enormous fines from the European Union, and have become accustomed to operating with few to no rivals. The democratizing forces of the Internet have come up against firewalls protecting multinational institutions, which are often the ones setting the new standards.

 

Is there still room for privacy?

 

While Facebook’s CEO famously derided the idea of privacy in the future, and censorship, facial recognition technology and other digital forces coalesce to serve the consolidation of power, signs of counterbalance are found in new messy norms which champion the peer reviews of the little guy and the growth of the next big-time Gen Z influencer. But as long the Information Age police are the information providers themselves, the whole point of digitalupgrades’ are called into question.

 

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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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.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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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

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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Waiting for information alignment

Many key trends look ready to coalesce in ways that should make data more easily accessible and better organized. Only that for every innovative step forward, more questions and disruption is caused as well. What’s new? Well, plenty, actually. Voice search, led by the rise of Alexa and Google Home, is ready for big-time liftoff and will have interesting ramifications for SEO – which remains something both unquantified and essential for businesses. The same goes for video, which is becoming more popular on websites but is just as susceptible to the unpredictable, shifting nature of SEO.

 

A world of opportunity for storytellers

 

For public relations professionals, this presents the usual challenge and opportunity: for those with the right message and networks for amplifying messages, the rewards are great. Deeper, better content that connects meaningfully with buyers, in particular niches, remains essential and is more important than ever. Beyond the reach of big data and reaching target audiences, developing a rapport still matters, and remains built on trust and experience. This takes a proven track record more than algorithms and mere potential. What matters is data maturity: it takes time and energy to isolate trends and optimize today’s great opportunities for message sharing and profit.

 

In search of truths

 

This need for authenticity and balance in a world more marked by chance is well represented in the rise of the digital platforms for many traditional media that now have more online that hard-copy subscriptions. The successful shift has solidified and raised the standing of classic institutions such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Classical influencers still have their role in times threatened by fake news, and big data, which gives even larger importance to the need for veracity.

 

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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Sports influencers making lots of smooth moves

After a slow start compared to other marketing fields, sports marketing has taken off, and shows no signs of slowing down. Industry experts cite a variety of factors for the trend, but particularly the relatively sudden appearance of Gen Z’s financial prowess. This digital native, most socially conscious demographic is expected by next year to be spending anywhere from US$30 billion to over US$100 billion annually. Just as e-commerce platforms and big data are coming of age, not surprisingly, so are the youngsters best positioned to take advantage of new ways of spending income, including sports-related purchases.

 

An e-marketing bonanza awaiting

 

The new earners and spenders of Generation Z are seen as being more pragmatic, supportive of social initiatives, and robustly responsive to campaigns of all kinds that directly appeal to them and appear genuine in intent. At the same time, around two-thirds of marketers of sports events, teams and equipment and see more influencer programs as being vital for their field in the mid- and long-term future. The up-and-coming generation in particular can long expect to be targeted with sports-related campaigns.

 

Great ROI for sports marketing

 

The ROI of recent sports marketing programs indicates that they are very effective in generating profits. Sports marketers in recent studies said this is facilitated by having open relationships with influencers and working collaboratively to ensure that the authentic reach of their influence was optimized in line with client companies’ needs and matching them in turn as closely as possible to the expectations of buyers.

 

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 rise of video SEO

Image may not be everything, but videos are often more fun to take a moment to be distracted by than text. Marketing experts know that using video helps websites rank more highly in terms of SEO. The authority of the website matters as well, in addition to various factors that will increase the professionalism of your videos. High quality video videos have been easily shot on smartphones for years now, and companies are slowly getting better about capturing images in short films that help project the image they want.

 

How to optimize

 

Having a website that’s already impressive helps. So does a good choice and use of platforms your videos are seen and available on beyond your website. Social media accounts like YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook are of course useful for generating awareness. Screenshots can be extracted from footage and used to help generate interest with a choice caption. If you don’t have a transcript yet, make one – this will make it easier for those who still prefer reading or use it part of the time. And do you offer a choice of languages?

 

Thumbnails matter

 

The video will get better play when it is the focus of the page and not lingering in corners. This makes for easier navigation as well. Another tech spec to be aware of is page-loading time. Since videos aren’t digested all in one go, and don’t lend themselves as effectively to scanning and scrolling through like website and texts, having an enticing and clear thumbnail image with an appropriate title is a must. If your video is about dining in a particular restaurant, don’t use a thumbnail featuring someone driving to the restaurant or something else indirectly related. But being human matters too. One marketing site found that thumbnails with a person were clicked on 30% more. Many tend to judge a book by its cover and a video by its thumbnail, so make sure to have an irresistible one.

 

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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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.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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