5 Things Your Company Should Be Doing by 2016 (That They’re Not)!

This post was first published by Kristin V. McNulty on March Communications‘ blog M+PR Nonsense.

I wasn’t born this way—immersed in all-things digital, that is.Confessions_DigitalStrategist_Image

The world was quite different then. It was 1985 and Madonna just made history for most cassette tape sales. Floppy disks were at the forefront. Phone books were tangible. “Please Be Kind and Rewind” was a slogan printed on every VHS cover in Blockbuster. Disposable cameras were cutting edge. And, the only time a computer was used in school was to play The Oregon Trail. It wouldn’t be for another 10 years that the “internet” would become a household term. And, even still, it was seemingly limited to a jovial You’ve Got Mail greeting after five minutes of ear-piercing dial-up.

While I most definitely am dating myself, I appreciate inherently knowing a world before Wi-Fi. A world where direct mail advertising was king and “word of mouth” promotion was queen. I’ve since seen targeted print campaigns become overshadowed by online strategy. I’ve witnessed Facebook mainstream into newsrooms and businesses. I’ve watched Twitter change the real-time dissemination of information. And, I’ve observed search engines shape the very landscape of website presence and design.

While I’m still a closeted ‘80s girls at heart (donning a scrunchie and admittedly listening to New Kids on the Block time and again), I also have had to evolve right beside it. I’ve studied it. I’ve adapted to it. And, now I’m helping clients stay ahead of it. The it being a world whose axis now spins on digital enterprise.

As we head into 2016, it’s mission-critical for every company to be foundationally optimized in order to successfully launch branding initiatives that are palpable for mass consumption. Here are five things that your company should be doing now in order to not be “so last year” when the ball drops at midnight: Read more

The ‘Twitter-verse’ is Changing – For the Better or Worse?

This post was first published by Brandon Reid on March Communications‘ blog M+PR Nonsense.

In the world of social media, it is crucial to stay on top of the latest trends and developments. In fact that is exactly what many social platforms help their users do, by providing news, information, and content in a shareable, condensed format.Twitter

Twitter specifically has come to be considered as a news source in its own right, even if the real-time news is not always completely accurate. Even so, as the social media site keeps its users up to date on the latest and greatest, Twitter is also known for constantly looking for ways to improve the platform’s functionality and user experience, by utilizing new analytic or algorithmic capabilities.

Unfortunately, Twitter users do not always see these efforts as such an improvement.

While it is fair to say that many Twitter users probably do not handle change well and have no reason to complain about a layout adjustment on a site that they use for free, it seems that recently Twitter has been making changes simply based on what they are capable of doing, rather than what is in the best interest of the platform’s functionality. Read more

Don’t give up giving up your time

Time is precious, especially at this time of year in PR land. Christmas shopping, dinner, drinks, family but who can remember the last time they gave up their precious free time for charity, volunteered or took part in unpaid work? In the month that the BBC launched the #1MillionHours campaign and our client The GALAXY Hot Chocolate Fundstarted to donate to charity groups, I realised I knew very little about the importance of these unsung heroes.

So, why are not more of us involved, is this due to time constraints or is there a stigma? The BBC are trying to make it ‘cool’ to volunteer again. Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s #1MillionHours campaign is a year-long volunteering campaign that will see both stations motivating their young listeners to pledge 1 million hours of time to good causes over the next 12 months. #1MillionHours is one of Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s most ambitious social action programmes to date, working with featured charities Age UK, Barnardo’s, Cancer Research UK and Oxfam to highlight volunteering opportunities.

Kristen Stephenson, from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, says people don’t realise there are “fun” roles out there. “Sometimes the perception is that volunteering is getting involved in a regular formal role, say in a charity shop, which may not be appealing. There’s a lot more flexibility than people realise. Young people can take on leadership roles on charity boards and make strategic key decisions.”

I recently visited a community group where the volunteers gave up their time and were truly passionate, modest people of all ages. Through the Galaxy Hot Chocolate Fund, we aim to reach these small community groups and charities across the UK and Ireland by donating cash awards and parties to support them.

The Maybury Centre, Woking is a meeting place for an eclectic mix of people and we helped them enjoy a well-deserved Christmas Party. The difference the community centre makes to the people in the area was evident and completely overwhelming as I had little knowledge of these places existing. Many people in minority groups can end up isolated and vulnerable especially at Christmas and the importance of these groups giving out a hot meal and providing a place to chat meant everything to them.

There are thousands and thousands of community centres, animal rescues, disability groups and even hospices that rely on the selflessness of people and their time. Every year through the GALAXY Hot Chocolate fund we learn that resources are constantly being cut and demand is always going up. £300 donations can mean the difference between being open for the next six months or not.

This time of year highlights the important work being done by volunteer groups and I hope campaigns like #1MillionHours do make an impact on a section in society that more people should be aware of. Our lives are busy and we rarely have time to reflect, after visiting first-hand and observing the good work these organisations can do within the community I would encourage everyone to get involved!

GENERATION Z: The Most Complex Consumer to Challenge Marketers?

Marketers and PR folk have long been obsessed with Millennials, those born in the eighties and nineties as supposedly the first generation to adapt to the ‘new age’. However as this market starts to edge into their mid-thirties, there is a new, younger generation paving their way into the world who have grown up completely immersed in the iGeneration, and knows no different; Generation Z. This is also the generation that has grown up in the era of war and terrorism, and holds a more mature appreciate for culture and ethics compared to their predecessors.

For marketing professionals this presents an interesting demographic to target, as the way they play almost turns traditional consumer behaviour on its head. Our latest research shows that Generation Z are completely turned off by celebrity culture and traditional media, and are more tuned in to peer to peer recommendation and online superstars like Zoe Sugg, Tanya Burr, Jim Chapman and Alfie Deyes. For female Generation Z-ers, bloggers are actually cited as the fourth most popular “celebrity” influence.

Chloe Combi, author of Generation Z, defines this audience as those born between 1995 and 2001 – a subset of Generation Y, really, but a distinct one, whose dates coincide with the spread of home internet connections and mobile phones. She explains: “Those two things birthed a different world, which is the world this generation was born into. This iGeneration can’t conceive of a world before everyone owned a mobile phone, and instant gratification is their norm; they have it in the palms of their hands within moments, usually for free. This ability to find whatever they’re after without the help of intermediaries – such as libraries, shops or teachers – has made them more independent and self-directed than generations before them.”

For Generation Z, social media is king, but not as maybe you and I know it. Unsurprisingly Facebook, as with most demographics, remains the number one platform, however for Generation Z, Snapchat is the second most popular, with 42% of this audience checking Snapchat at least once a day. For other audiences, Snapchat would barely even appear in the Top 10. With Snapchat increasingly looking to monetise their service, this is a really interesting platform to keep an eye on if you have a product or service that targets this complex group.

Where Generation Z are concerned, you can pretty much also assume that print media is dead. This is isn’t to say they don’t pick up the odd magazine or newspaper, however for genuine cut through, online sites, bloggers and vloggers are the media that hold the real power of influence. When asked what influenced their buying decisions, no traditional media apart from TV appeared in the top 10. These guys shop around, read review sites and blogs, seek out recommendations and refer constantly to social media. This isn’t an audience to be fobbed off; they are savvy, and seek value for money.

For any successful marketing or PR campaign, consumer profiling and understanding how your target audience plays is pivotal. As technology continues to advance at an incredible rate, and what we know from one generation to the next changes rapidly, keeping on the pulse of varying and differing consumer behaviours and applying this knowledge to your creative approach will make all the difference between failure and success. No question.

Generation Z are a really interesting demographic, and certainly make for a challenging and exciting audience to engage with. The New York Times describes them as ‘the next big thing for market researchers, cultural observers and trend forecasters’, and Women’s Wear Daily as ‘the next big retail disrupter’. And by no means are we anywhere near understanding this audience fully, as the nature of Generation Z means they are ever developing and evolving in their behaviours. And it certainly makes for an interesting approach when working with clients that operate in this consumer demographic!

Visit our PR resources page to download the full infographic detailing the Generation Z research conducted by Escapade PR.

GenerationZEscapadePR

BizWireTV: What’s the Value for Brands?

This post was first published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications‘ blog M+PR Nonsense.

bizwireTV

Business Wire’s new Web video news show, BizWireTV, launched just a few weeks ago and already has a dozen or so programs available online. But, with programming selected from the news distribution site’s top trafficked and socialized press releases each week, is it really any surprise that big brand names like Google, Sprint, Toyota and Intel are the ones constantly featured?

In my recent LinkedIn Pulse piece, BizWireTV – Air Time Worth Striving For?, I examine this issue further, asking if BizWireTV programming will become highly sought after air time, and if it’s even worth it; or, if it’s ultimately a self-serving move for Business Wire to become more of a multimedia content brand.

Take a read and let us know what you think in the comments!

GlobalCom PR Network becomes member of ICCO and sponsors “Independent Consultancy of the Year Award”

December 10, 2015 / GCPR News

GlobalCom PR Network (GCPR) represents the 21st century breed of global PR development. It is an association of independent agency teams with a proven track record in their domestic countries united in a global operating network. With more than 1,400 experienced PR consultants, GlobalCom PR Network serves national and international clients who benefit from our local expertise and international presence.

In order to expand the PR reach and exchange best practices with other PR experts around the world in order to further rise the quality we can deleiver to our clients GCPR recently joined the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) which provided a platform for public relations consultancies around the world.  The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 32 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

“Our aim is to raise our international standards, quality and performance for our international clients with this partnership as the ICOO and GCPR share common goals and visions” said Ralf Hartmann, CEO of GlobalCom PR Network.

GCPR also sponsored the “Independent Consultancy of the Year Award” at the recent  ICCO Global Awards 2015 which saw leading agencies, and individuals from across 6 continents win accolades for effectiveness in PR and communications.

Leading PR practitioners from across the globe attended the ICCO Global Awards 2015 at the Park Plaza Hotel, Riverbank on the evening of Thursday 26th November, hosted by BBC personality Helen Fospero. Top consultancies, individuals, and networks all competed for awards in 18 categories including two GlobalCom PR Network members: MY PR from Italy and Instinctif Partners from Hong Kong.

The winners for Independent Consultancy of Year, sponsored by GlobalCom PR Networks included: Interel Group for the EMEA region, Avian Media for the APAC region and Imagem Corporativa in the Americas.

GCPR ICCO BILD

Ralf Hartmann (GCPR Germany), Richard Merrin (GCPR member agency Spreckley Partners), Bobby Lundqvist (GCPR member agency Wise Communications), Maxim Behar (M3 Communications)

Escapade Boosts Food & Drink Portfolio with Rejuvenation Water and Wild Thing Paleo Bar Wins

Consumer PR agency, Escapade, has boosted its portfolio of food and drink clients after being appointed by Rejuvenation Water and Wild Thing paleo bars. The accounts will sit across the agency’s Food & Drink and Sport, Health & Wellbeing sectors, with both products targeting both food and active lifestyle enthusiast.

Product shots

Kris Ingham, Founder of Rejuvenation Water, said: “Escapade presented the perfect mix of refined market knowledge across both the food and drink, and health and wellbeing sectors, coupled with smart, creative ideas to increase trade listing and entice our target audience to trial and buy. The account team have already become a close and trusted extension of our marketing department, and we are confident that their creative mix of PR and digital strategies proposed for the New Year will prove the perfect launch platform for Rejuvenation Water in the UK.”

The first of its kind in functional and flavoured water, Rejuvenation Water is vegan friendly source of unique amino acids that are vital to keep you at your peak, both physically and mentally. Escapade will be supporting the launch of the initial range, available in three flavours: Apple & Mint, Spanish Orange or Ginger & Lime. The agency’s campaign for Wild Thing paleo bars will focus purely on digital and social tactics, supporting the current range of 100% raw, gluten free and organic bars available in four blends: Coconut & Chia, Cocoa & Almond, Berries & Seeds and Nuts & Seeds.

Rhianon Williams, Associate Director at Escapade, said: “With such strong heritage in food and drink, particularly the booming segment of those designed for function and health, we are always excited to be given the opportunity to work with clients in this field. It’s one where we know we can not only add immense value, but also implement some smart integrated tactics that really ‘get’ this growing consumer demographic. We are delighted to be on board with these two emerging brands!”

Escapade is a consumer PR agency, with offices in Berkshire and London. The team specialise in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer Lifestyle, Food & Drink, Consumer Technology and Sport, Health & Wellbeing. For more information please visit www.escapadepr.com.

PR: Ahead of its (Content Marketing) Time

This post was first published by Martin Jones on March Communications‘ blog M+PR Nonsense.

content marketing whiteboardContent marketing remains firmly planted near the top of most brands’ priorities these days. Organizations are weighing their options and trying to figure out what their next step should be. Do they grow their own internal content capabilities and do some trial and error — getting it right is going to require a significant investment in a number of different resources. Or, do they take the less risky route and turn to one of their external agencies to see what they can learn? Well, let’s take a look at the facts.

While the evolution of the Internet and social media is a great thing, it has brought with it the unfortunate side effect of enabling brands to devise some very suspect content marketing activities. Read more

Global Magnolia PR? No thanks! One size fits all doesn’t always work where global reputations are concerned, says Prova’s St John White.

I’ve spent most of my career in marketing and PR, polishing the reputations of some great brands. And whilst most of the basic principles have remained the same, the PR industry’s approach to international reputation management has, in my view, taken a turn for the worse.

Back in the eighties, I worked with some great names such as Lucas, TI, Bosch and Lockheed. These leviathans of the automotive industry tended to operate their PR on a local level, with regional markets being given the autonomy and budget to manage their own campaigns. Over the next few years, globalisation took hold and recession forced retrenchment and painful cost cutting.

By the end of the last recession, what are we left with? A small but powerful group of businesses that seem disconnected from their local markets. Once approachable brands now seem to have become remote, monolith like and strangely anonymous.

This trend has been reflected in a creeping practice where global brands appoint large, multinational agencies that purport to do everything in every region, be it Europe, Asia or the Americas. Sponsorship in Spain? No problem! Media relations in Mexico? Sure thing! Crisis comms in Kuala Lumpa? Easy! We now commonly hear of agencies covering the mega region of EMEA or Asia Pacific with a mighty swoop of their strategic hand.

In my experience this approach has created a dreadful swathe of characterless agencies that ultimately fail to connect to the client or indeed the end customer. What we’ve now got is a hierarchy of global brands that plug into their correspondingly anodyne agency roster. The result? Campaigns that are so broad that they become meaningless to engineers and manufacturing directors based in OEMs, parts suppliers and logistics suppliers alike.

Granted, big brands need global campaigns, but these don’t need to be delivered by magnolia coloured network agencies. Independent consultants like GlobalCom operate much more flexible, vibrant cross border partnerships that offer local campaigns within an international framework.

We all understand that it’s easier to just plug-in a global off the peg solution. But a bespoke suit fits better and certainly gets you noticed doesn’t it?!

stjohn