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Activism – The New ‘Sex’ that Sells

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It’s out with sex and in with activism; marketing and branding specialists alike have dubbed 2017 as the year that “activism comes of age”.

Following a series of polarizing elections and debates, it’s clear that the world is now more divided than ever. Demonstrations, protests, and marches fill our streets and dominate the conversations on our social media feeds – there simply is no avoiding the topic of activism. Fuelled by millennials – who see themselves as active agents of social change – this wave of social activism has set off new ripples in the marketing world.

It’s gone beyond supporting a cause – audiences are now demanding that everyone else does the same. And while this may present a risk of alienating segments of their consumers, brands are beginning to dip their toes into politics. The potential virality of brand activism in the era of social media marketing has helped brands gain more exposure, attract new customers and cement old loyalties. In most cases, the benefits far outweigh the harm.

No longer excused from sidestepping conversations about pertinent socio-political issues, it does little good for a brand to remain sitting on the fence. Take Uber for instance. Earlier this year, the company suffered a major setback after the hashtag #DeleteUber trended worldwide on Twitter. Close to 200,000 users deleted or deactivated their accounts within minutes, following allegations that the company was endorsing Trump’s controversial immigration policies by remaining neutral during protests. Meanwhile, in announcing its $1 million donation to the American Civil Liberties Union, Lyft (Uber’s competitor) received high praise for its denunciation of Trump’s outrageous executive order. By the thousands, angry consumers began switching their allegiance to Lyft and within hours, the company saw a drastic expansion of its user base – exceeding the numbers of Uber for the first time.

Riddled by heightened emotions and drastic political changes, consumers want to be more involved – associating themselves only with brands that share the same ideologies and values. Consumers are making their voices heard with their wallets: every purchase is a political statement. Thus, explaining the biggest rise in brand activism observed in the history of marketing and advertising. But riding this wave seems a lot easier said than done. While brands like Heineken and Dove have successfully crafted campaigns around the importance of unity and feminism respectively, others like Pepsi have completely missed the mark.

Heralded as “The Great Pepsi Shakeup” the three minute Ad was quickly pulled following the global #boycottPepsi on Twitter. Commentators on social media were understandably aggrieved – accusing Pepsi of appropriating imagery from the real protests and completely undermining the dangers and frustrations of these group of people. In attempting to resonate with the millennials, Pepsi completely neglected the most important aspect of brand activism: sincerity. Attempting to “join the conversation” (as preached) without discussing real issues, portrays the brand as opportunistic and more detrimentally, offensive.

Following this fiasco, Heineken, on the other hand, made a political statement of their own with a video titled “Worlds Apart: An Experiment.” Six strangers, each with diametrically opposed socio-political views were paired and encouraged to foster an understanding and open friendship despite their differences. Where Pepsi enraged, Heineken pulled at the heartstrings of its viewers. In this, there are two key differences:

(a) Heineken’s Ad discussed real controversial issues concerning transgender rights, climate change, and feminism while Pepsi adopted a more generic claim for unity and peace – whilst appropriating the imagery of real protests.

(b) Heineken proposed an actual, practical solution of encouraging discourse and fostering understanding despite our differences, instead of portraying themselves as the miraculous solution to all problems.

Gone are the days where sex was enough to sell. In the advent of progressive political changes, consumers and audiences alike have become more politically engaged, often interacting on social media where reputations are made or lost within a matter of minutes – aka the age of the millennials. Ultimately, as much as consumers love thought-provoking ads that tackle the real-world issues we face today, brands should always remind themselves that sincerity and authenticity should underlie all efforts geared towards harnessing the power of brand activism.

Posted by Roselynda Afandi, CorpMedia


Event Success: Steering Conversations into New Spaces

conference-engagement“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit

Behind each successful event is the ultimate vision to deliver value to a target audience from start to finish. This usually begins before the marketing campaign kicks off, and continues well after the exhilaration surrounding the occasion has subsided and the dust has settled. Event marketing may make for an arduous journey, which nevertheless, can bear fruits when done right – be it in fostering brand awareness, generating leads, or establishing market positioning.

Embracing the efficacy of social media, marketers are increasingly bringing their events closer to their audience by taking the dialogue online. In centring takeaways around engagement and empowerment, they’re letting members access, as well as share content with minimal effort. Shareable assets from blog posts and clips, to media updates and infographics, enable online users to tell others about you – usually in the quickest way possible.

Make it Buzz-Worthy

Set up a website? Check. Send out the requisite promotional flyer or email? Check. Time to sit back? Not just yet. As American entrepreneur and marketer Seth Godin points out – long gone are the days when the mantra for marketers was “Build it and they will come.” Instead, sustained nurturing of community on social media is essential to create truly buzz-worthy events.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with good old direct mail. But publicity is best done on platforms which your audience frequents and actively circulates content, especially the ones that you put out. Engaging prospective attendees with visually stimulating and interactive material is likely to keep the hype around your event lasting for much longer, seeing as how each retweet, like or download is an invitation to discover, discuss and disseminate news about your event.

Sneak peeks and teasers (articles, videos, audio, photos, etc.) posted on your social channels also build anticipation, helping to publicise event highlights, key speakers or unique offerings, while not being viewed as pesky or harassing reminders. Regularly update your promotional material and make sure your content is interesting, shareable and of value to individuals who have signed up, as well as to those who remain undecided (and might need a little convincing!).

In short, potential participants value being given a heads-up on what they can expect. Nothing beats letting them feel like they’re making an informed decision before committing themselves to the event. Add a little intrigue to the mix, and you’re on your way to building and growing a community that readily tunes in, and feels like it has a stake in your event.

“Great Execution is the Ultimate Differentiator”

Beyond drumming up hype, attention should go into providing quality experiences during the event as well. Among these, real-time social updates are important, not only in capturing the excitement of a live event, but also in sparking and keeping conversations going. By publishing thought-provoking questions online, the space for substantive exchanges is no longer limited to the event floor, program book or website – instead, your wider community of followers is now included in the discourse, bringing with them more perspectives and more of their own audiences.

Make joining the conversation easy by using hashtags that are created specifically for the event and used across all social platforms. These go a long way to help your audience search for information that you are sharing, and at the same time, allow you to monitor mentions from attendees or affiliates. Having your ear close to the ground keeps you in the loop of what’s being said, and allows you to be more responsive to the suggestions, comments or enquiries being made.

Meanwhile, featuring and tagging participants in your visual updates will boost emotional connection with those present, letting them know that you acknowledge and appreciate their attendance. A gallery of photos or a series of video clips can also serve as a recap of each day’s activities and highpoints, effectively encapsulating the core message and spirit of the event – all of which can be shared repeatedly with various groups of friends and followers online.

Harnessing Word-of-Mouth

Even as the curtain closes on your event, your work isn’t done yet! Capitalise on the high of your attendees and have them continue the dialogue by drawing them to platforms where they can further share about their experiences. A good example would be a blog post that nicely summarises the event, provides worthwhile (and downloadable) content, and encourages participants to leave their inputs or feedback.

Captured statements about particular programs, presenters or your event in general – accompanied by compelling visuals – can also be shared on your social channels. These testimonials (duly attributed, of course!) help lend credibility to your event, and provide positive word-of-mouth for your brand.

Quite simply, by empowering and giving a voice to your community at each stage of event planning and management, immense opportunities for engagement and exposure are to be had. Event success lies in your hands, as much as it does in the conversations of your followers!

Posted by Rahimah Amin, Corporate Media


Recycling Originality: Content Marketing’s Paradox?

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“Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.”

If the quote by Voltaire is anything to go by, then originality must be a moot concept.

Originality is often understood to mean thinking or acting in an independent, inventive, or individual manner. But considering that we live in a world that requires us to be connected and responsive, it is inevitable that our thoughts and actions are inspired and shaped by our experiences and the environment in which we live.

So then, can there truly be an original idea – free from influence and imitation? Facing this very challenge are content marketers, in their exacting search for continually creative content. But given the industry’s propensity to churn out ideas every single day, only for some to be cast aside, marketers have taken to reusing once-rejected material for new clients. Should recycling creativity be always seen as doing more harm than good? How can the credible creative recognise the right times to reuse old, yet amazing (and possibly profitable) content?

Here are some tips to consider when deciding to breathe new life into an old idea while waiting for your next spark of genius:

Exercise judiciousness

A look at the marketing landscape will show that influences abound. However, be aware of the differences between mere reproduction, and careful revision of ideas. Recycling creativity goes beyond reusing old content, and should see the marketer conscientiously reworking ideas such that they fit the brief and product of any new client. While the eventual concept may draw inspiration from different sources, it should essentially be work consisting of inputs which have been modified into, and presented as something fun and fresh.

While taking creative liberties with recycled ideas, it is also important to stay connected with their origins or how they came to be, so that marketers can better appreciate the new, improved versions and retain the authenticity in their communication with consumers.

Manage the creative ego

Creative minds are often afflicted by the fear of banality, and sometimes, unnecessarily so. Recognise that moments of brilliance are not always readily conjured, and that recycling creativity can mean letting a previously shelved idea – with the necessary tweaks made – take flight and live out its potential.

And even if concepts perceived to be new are discovered to have been delivered before, it should not weaken marketers’ belief in their ideas. After all, our thoughts bear a degree of unique, personal influence and are never exactly the same as some familiar version of it. Moreover, there has been plenty of evidence pointing to consumers taking pleasure in, and responding to recognisable structures and cues. Gain emotional leverage with familiar models while making sure that these ideas are able to deliver some form of value to consumers.

Do not be too obsessed with breaking the mould

In an industry fixated with being trendsetters in creativity, content marketers may get too carried away with wanting to consistently break tradition. In truth, however, the mould-breaker does not come by as frequently as we think. Marketing is no stranger to recycling concepts, with a large majority building upon or reworking existing thinking.

Opting to work on the tried-and-tested may allow marketers to make the most of their versions as they focus instead on improving the execution of their works. By obsessing less on originality as the ideal, marketers can channel their efforts into achieving content excellence as opposed to creative excellence. When brilliantly delivered, time-worn concepts can always come across as new and exciting.

Go the extra mile

Recycled ideas should ultimately be converted into insights-driven content. Effective concepts understand the client’s business drivers, address their points of concern, and create and sustain brand awareness. Sure, there’s nothing wrong in presenting a used idea to another client if the solution meets the brief, but make sure it is reworked and tailored to best serve the client’s business.

That being said, recycling creativity cannot be a marketer’s first instinct or his or her last resort – it should never be the easy way out, where the same idea becomes the persistent solution for different problems.

Expand the definition of originality

Let’s not restrict ourselves to only striving for total originality (if that is possible any more), but also find inspiration in successful and tested formulae, and then fastidiously improve on them. The creative ego should not stifle the many possibilities that recycling creativity presents!

At the end of the day, content marketers look to put out work that may not always be revolutionary, but is importantly, expressive, engaging and which resonates with consumers.

Indeed at times, the process of creativity can be made simple. As Marcel Proust sees it, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Content marketing may have found a new meaning for originality.

Posted by Rahimah Amin, PR Executive, Corporate Media

 


Why Marketing is Emotional

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There’s been a lot of talk within B2B marketing circles about the importance of putting emotion at front of mind when creating marketing content.

One of the powers of social media is that it allows you to be yourself or anything else for that matter.

The euphoria of having a platform where your voice can be heard or you can be seen, creates a completely different person to what everyone sees or supposedly knows “offline.” It’s also a ‘space’ where as a marketer, you can display some emotion, even if this is in a virtual environment.

There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that you engage the best with people when you connect with them on an emotional level. It’s not necessarily about high drama or hypersensitivity. It’s about finding a connection, identifying a common ground, spotting a leveler and using that to form the foundation on which marketing conversations, marketing communications, and marketing engagement can be built.

So, what’s the marketing magic that happens when you get in touch with your emotions?

  • You create content that’s meaningful and not abstract
  • You make a lasting impression, and your content is bound to be remembered
  • You expand your creative vision
  • You churn out relevant stuff that’s reusable
  • You start to feel, and pick up what’s going on around you
  • You awaken from a sense of dullness, boredom and slumber
  • You identify your own value and pour it out to others
  • Content creation becomes a hobby and not a chore
  • You develop a personality and your image flows through every word, sentence, paragraph, campaign etc.
  • You stop hiding and reveal who you are.

To sum it up, marketing is a thought process, and if you are ready to revolutionize your marketing, then get emotional.

Post by 4CM, a member of the Evoke PR Network.


Game Changers and Social Staples

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The availability of multiple platforms on social media, coupled with changes in consumers’ taste and preferences, have led to a plethora of new opportunities for companies to grow their brands. In fact, digital marketing has experienced enormous changes in the last few years that brands have had little choice but to keep pace with technology. As social media platforms attempt to monetize their offerings by introducing new and improved features, it can get tricky for marketers to come up with the best strategy to stay competitive.

Real-time is the buzzword for 2016. Since the inception of social media marketing, brands and agencies have been searching for the best methods to deliver integrated campaigns that make others feel connected. In this day and age, it is also important to keep the finger-tapping younger generation of consumers interested by offering exclusive content that has an expiration date. The “one size fits all” marketing tactic no longer works. It’s all about finding the perfect platform to make consumers feel connected and unique, all at the same time in order to reap the benefits of a forward thinking campaign.

While it is impossible to predict how the social media landscape will change over the course of a year, here are three social marketing trends we feel will change the way brands reach consumers and become the social staples for 2016.

#1: Going Private

The latest trends reveal that the pleasure of privacy is seeping its way into many consumers’ lives online. The popularity of Snapchat has skyrocketed because the medium respects privacy. Users of other popular sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook are more inclined towards private messaging or the creation of private groups within their social network. While of course, publicity through advertising and other forms of explicitly overt marketing techniques would in many ways still facilitate knowledge about branding, the invaluable content is more effectively delivered to the individual or to a smaller group of people.

# Seeing is Believing

Visual marketing is expected to yield immense popularity in 2016. This medium ensures that the specific product and visual communications are intertwined – it is exactly this combination that reaches out to people, engages them and persuades them to make a particular choice. So, be generous, not only with the images but also the amount of short-form and long-form videos posted to your blogs, Facebook and Instagram!

Apps such as Twitter’s Vine, with its six-second maximum clip length, have dramatically increased the opportunity for businesses on a limited budget. But, if you’re to realise a decent return on your investment, you’ll need to bear the following in mind. With a tried and tested marketing success derived from the popularity of video uploads, the current trend indicate that the popularity of videos will continue to dominate companies’ online marketing strategies in the near future and it’s not difficult to understand why.

Jenn Herman, Forefront Blogger on Instagram Marketing TOP 10 Social Media Blog of 2014 and 2015, asserts that “The best way to reach your audience and connect with them in 2016 is through videos and/or live-streaming tactics as a way to really connect in a more face-to-face way. Facebook has been quick to jump onto the bandwagon in their video features as seen from the introduction of “live video”. This conforms to the demand by social media users and has raised expectations from brands and companies for social media to be transparent and authentic.

While 2015 started an era of live-casting with the introduction of new technology such as Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab, 2016 has changed the video playing field altogether. The introduction of live360 degree broadcasts allows people to move their mobile phones and experience the action as in real time.

#3 Publicity isn’t always free

While visual marketing is getting a lot of attention these days, many social media websites are beginning to charge for effective publicity. Many of the sites have algorithms installed such as PageRank, EdgeRank and TweetRank to prioritize the importance of posts. Very soon, tweets won’t appear in the streams of all your followers, and instead the intent to raise your visibility will come with a small price.

Facebook isn’t too far away on their open approach towards advertisements. Rather, businesses that attempts to use Facebook as a platform to advertise must be ready to pay a small amount before they can boost their audience reach. For example the boost post function that enables the increased reach of the post is pegged at 5 USD per post. Nonetheless, quite a handful who’ve tried the boost post function claims its effectiveness and affirms that the same kind of outreach on traditional media would be significantly more costly. According to Neil Patelco-founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, in 2016 more social networks will start charging for traffic. The algorithms are becoming harder to leverage via organic means, so if you want maximum traffic, you’ll have to spend money on ads.

2016 will see digital marketing become even more targeted and therefore valuable to businesses. It’s something that all businesses should be open to embracing. It’s not as simple as boosting a post and hoping for the best, there has to be a strategic element to it – which means you’re going to have to really be on top of your strategy.

Posted by Shahnaz Khan, PR Executive, Corporate Media

 


Is Your Brand Story Worth a Listen?

Brand Story Telling image

As human beings, we’re primed to tell and listen to stories.  From childhood through adulthood, we are drawn to the lessons we learn, the exciting journeys we embark upon, the knowledge we gain and the opportunity to unleash our imaginations.   Stories celebrate our culture.  They make life interesting and give people a way to connect.  People crave them, which creates a big opportunity for brand storytelling.

However, storytelling, as it applies to business, isn’t about spinning a yarn or fairy tale. Rather, it’s about how your products or services exist in the world.  Every brand has a story, but many never realize or tell them in an engaging way. A compelling brand narrative is something people relate to, believe in and enjoy. Your mission, vision and values are just one part of your brand story. This bigger story is what connects your brand to your customer and makes it relevant to their lives.  A great brand story is authentic and creative.  It enables you to connect emotionally and personally with your customer and inspires action – you want to take your audience on a journey with your brand.

“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.”

 So how do brands break through and stand out from the crowd?  How can you effectively tell your story to enhance your brand?  Some quick tips to get you started.

Define your voice. It’s not just what you say… it’s how you say it. Your voice should be distinctive and recognizable, and express your brand’s personality and values.  First, you need to know who you’re talking to.  This will help to tailor your messaging. Analyze the language people use about your brand online or in communications to you – identify commonly used words or phrases. Aim to make your brand’s voice consistent with that tone.

What’s in it for them?  How does your brand add value? The goal here is not to be company-centric. Make the customer or client the focus of your story, because they’re the reason you do what you do. Using inclusive words like “us” and “we” will immediately connect your customer to your brand.   Always keep your ear to the ground and listen closely to what your customers are saying about your brand. Identify and connect with your brand ambassadors on social media and use those real-world and real time testimonials to strengthen your story, and connect with your audience.

Be the solution. How do you turn your client’s most critical challenges into successes? What does your customer need that, by using your product or service, will make their lives better? Illustrate this with solution-based content through white papers and case studies; use specific examples of how your product or service has solved real problems. Using video clips, quotes, and comments from your customers and clients will lend credibility to your product or service.

Communicate your USP.  What sets your brand apart from the competition? Talk about why your product or service is unmatched in the market and what makes this important to your core audience. What’s you unique selling proposition? Be truthful, be authentic and more importantly, you’ve got to own it!

Build influence as a thought leader.  Great thought leaders have mastered the art of sharing and putting their message and brand out there. A good way to offer advice and tips is to actively share them on social-media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.  You can also add value by bringing the thought leadership of others to your own customers: show your audience how you’re using cutting-edge research in your products, or demonstrate how new findings or ideas are relevant to them.  The more valuable content you publish, the more you’ll establish your brand as an authority in your field.

Remember!  Being able to succinctly articulate a compelling story around your brand, how it came in to being, what its all about, why it matters to your primary customers and where it’s heading into the future is crucial to your success. Stories connect people and your brand story is what gives it meaning and solidity, helps define its values, shapes its destiny and captures your customer’s imaginations, thereby attracting and engaging their ongoing interest.

Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, CorpMedia.


Images in PR: 7 excuses and solutions

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We’ve found there are six main reasons why PR practitioners and businesses avoid using images as part of their communications.

We thought we’d suggest solutions to these problems so you can start creating more vibrantly eye-catching and interesting content.

“Our product is boring. I don’t think it would be a good subject for an interesting picture.”

All the more reason you should use creative images to enliven your communications. Think of Innocent Drinks. Their product is not unique, but their social media content is awash with images that are unrelated to their product but fit with the quirky image they’re trying to give their brand’s personality.

However, if you don’t think this would work for your brand then you should consider thinking about how you can create an emotive or humorous image in some way connected to your product. Look at this humorous example for Webroot Internet Security.

Another tip is to write down your headline. What first comes to your mind when you read it? Have you used a metaphor? It’s often easier to match a picture to a headline than the whole story.

“Professional photographers are too expensive; I can’t afford to pay for photographs to accompany every press release I send out.”

Professional photographers might not be as expensive as you think. If you plan wisely, you can get a lot for your money.

Rather than hiring a photographer on an individual campaign basis, consider making a list of all the campaign activities you will have in upcoming months so you can think about the images you might like to accompany your documents.

It is much cheaper to hire a photographer for a whole day and take a wide range of shots to build your photo library. This collection of photographs can then be shared with your whole team so they can have easy access to photographs when they’re creating documents and presentations.

“We’re a small company we can’t afford fancy digital cameras, never mind a photographer.”

Don’t underestimate the power of your smartphone or tablet. The number of megapixels on these devices is equivalent to the digital cameras people were investing in only a few years ago. Also the quality of apps, such as Instagram, is continually improving.

Though the images these devices produce might not be of high enough quality for printed materials, they can certainly be used across social media and in blog posts.

“I take terrible photographs; they really wouldn’t be publishable.”

There are two websites worth checking out if you would like to improve your photography.

Writer and designer Adam Dachis has put together a comprehensive guide on Lifehacker that includes a number of lessons for use with digital cameras.

Expert Photography provides a thorough Beginner’s Guide to Photography and more than 250 other articles to help you improve your skills whether you are shooting with a camera or a phone. It’s definitely worth a read.

“I can never get my photographs the way I like them. I would have to buy expensive and complicated editing software or pay someone to edit them for me.”

Photoshop is the undisputed king of photo editing. However, it’s notoriously complicated and expensive. If you don’t want to fork out a whole heap of cash there are great free alternatives.

The best options we’ve come across are getpaint.net and gimp.org.

According to PCMag.com: “Paint.net lives in an interesting space between very basic image manipulation applications like Microsoft Paint and robust big guys like Photoshop.”

Gimp.org is a credible competitor to Photoshop, and it’s free. You can combine it with Photoshop plug-ins should you feel the package is not extensive enough. Read Brighthub.com’s review for details.

If you’d still rather use Photoshop but don’t want to pay for the full package, try Photoshop Elements. It’s a basic version of the full package at a fraction of the price.

“I am unsure of copyright laws so I would rather avoid using other people’s images.”

The Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act of 1988 is notoriously complicated and extends to more than 300 sections. Therefore, you should avoid using other people’s photographs unless you are absolutely certain you are not infringing any copyrights.

When you need an image in a hurry, it’s tempting to jump onto Google Images, do a few searches, and see what catches your eye. Of course, many images will be copyrighted. To find images you can freely use, use the advanced search and tick the use rights option that says, “free to use or share, even commercially.” Even then, please credit the original photographer.

The same applies with Flickr, the world’s largest photo-sharing site. Go to the advanced search and select “Creative Commons: find content to use commercially.”

“I find the photographs on these online stock sites are often very cheesy.”

Generally, it’s worth paying for stock photography, although it’s true you have to look hard to find shots that aren’t bland, generic, or cheesy.

There’s a knack to searching on these sites. Try to think of conceptual search terms that go beyond the obvious. You might, for instance, look for metaphors from nature or perhaps the arts.

As with most things, you tend to get what you pay for. Take a look at sites such as Alamy, Shutterstock, iStockphoto, and 123RF, and find the cost/quality ratio you are comfortable with. If you want to buy photos and use them without restrictions, make sure you search for “royalty free.”

So, these are just some solutions. What do you think? Perhaps you have some of your own tricks to add. Please let us know in the comments below.

By Adam Cranfield, CMO, Mynewsdesk. A version of this story first appeared on the company’s blog.


Mobile Advertising – The Third Screen

Mobile Advertising

Advertising mediums have evolved tremendously, thanks to technology. People are constantly on the go but with their handy gadgets are never left out of the loop.  It’s all about “news on the move.” From cafes to airports, trains and cabs, everyone’s logging on to check out the latest news and trends.  It’s a trend that businesses cannot afford to ignore if they want to grow their brand and customer base.  Many have already made the switch from traditional to digital advertising on social network platforms.  Not surprising though is the big switch to mobile advertising.

Very few of us would be comfortable leaving our phone behind for any length of time, much less go a whole day without it.  Smart phones are useful in many ways, and for most of us, they are an integral part of our lives. Smart phones have changed how we check the weather, keep up with our favourite sport, research information, communicate, consume media, and much more.

There is little doubt that mobile advertising is changing the way brands reach consumers. Companies are eager to take advantage of this powerful channel.  Mobile advertising is a vast field and there are many modes of advertising within this broad spectrum such as text messaging, paid search advertising, mobile display ads, app advertising, and many more.

Yes, the third screen is here to stay and can no longer be viewed merely as an advertising experiment or side project. In fact, mobile ads are poised to become the single most important advertising channel.  And here’s why.

Two-way communication: Since consumers are generally very attached to their smart phones, mobile marketing may be perceived as “friendlier” or more “familiar” to end users. If two-way communication can be established, loyal customers can engage their favourite brands to build strong relationships with them.

Cost-effective Mobile advertising is a cost-effective means of marketing a company’s product or service.  It is less expensive than all the other traditional means of promoting a brand such as print ads, and is proving to be a more effective medium for increasing sales.

Gets everyone talking: Smart phone users always keep their devices within their hands’ reach, and keep checking it regularly. A mobile ad creates excitement among the customers and also encourages them to talk about and share product information within their circle of contacts. It encourages free publicity, and can actually increase product sale.

Customer loyalty: When customers opt to receive an ad, that information can be used for customer retention and loyalty marketing. This ensures that the customers stick to a particular brand and gain through specific discounts and deals.

Anytime, anywhere: As mobile devices always accompany customers everywhere, they can receive the information anytime, anywhere. Also, it remains stored within the mobile phone for future reference.

Target advertising:  Because of the personal, targeted nature and increasing functionality of mobile devices (for example mobile payments), ads can be targeted based on who the consumers are, where they are and what they want. Technology now exists to allow users to control exactly what information they give away, and the type of advertising they are happy to receive directly from their phones. This allows mobile advertising to deliver information relevant to an individual, adapting its message to the time, weather and location to have the best impact.

Just a few of the benefits of using mobile advertising but take note, this is a market that is set to continue to grow as an increasing number of advertisers realize its potential.

Posted by Aishah Nur, PR Executive, Corporate Media


TURNING THE AD SWITCH (ON OR OFF?)

online-offlineTraditional advertising is no longer as effective as it was 10 years ago. More businesses are using online ads to get their message and branding across simply because it’s measurable, cheap, flexible and very effective.

While it is obvious that the more you spend the better your exposure and sales results, most traditional media owners will disagree – choosing instead to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on a billboard or a TV ad and ask for actual response results. Well, you won’t get them as easily as you could with a well planned online pay per click campaign.

Advertisers are anxious to know what they’re getting back for what they spend and that’s understandable. The media is becoming more fragmented, consumers more elusive, and the inherent measurability of the internet is making other media look a little risky.

With consumers increasingly spending more time on the internet, marketers are looking to this space to stabilize ad spend in line with this trend. Youth-oriented products and services especially find social media platforms and blogs more effective to grab eyeballs. Through interactive and engaging messages, the consumer is actually becoming more involved in the actual advertising process. As a result, the efficacy of online ads is more measurable, with each impression and hit being monitored. It is easier to work out hits versus purchase, or conversion ratios.

Can digital advertising replace all traditional advertising?

From Traditional Advertising…..

If we think about traditional advertising, the channels include: television/radio broadcast, newspapers/magazines, billboards/out-of-home advertising, and direct mail. These are each great mediums to reach a fairly large, albeit shrinking, audience that is extremely diverse in demographics. If we are looking to promote a political campaign or major brand, these channels are appropriate. For all others, they may not work as well. Perhaps it is time to take a serious look at digital advertising.

Digital advertising received a bad reputation in the early years but evolved quickly beyond its flat, print-like form. Digital advertising platforms have since developed the ability to target. While the limits of early targeting did more to eliminate potential audience members than to include the largest target audience, the modern online display ad more closely resembles something that’s a lot different from the print-like form. Think sci-fi with animation and sound!

To Digital Advertising……

Today’s digital advertising allows marketers to achieve the same results as with traditional advertising but in a much more effective manner. The ability to create brand recognition by wide range exposure can be achieved through intelligent placement of online and mobile advertising within the most popular sites. There is a wide range to choose from: online news media sites, weather, streaming video and audio sites including radio and TV sites, search engines, shopping and travel sites. Include the wide and varied social network platforms in the mix and you’ve got most, if not all of your target population. A broad enough online media plan will certainly create brand presence.

Advertising and marketing plans have been based on a few simple practices – multiple touch points, offers or enticement, and response mechanisms. No question, digital can win in this competition over more traditional means.

The ability to have multiple touch points is certainly much more exceptional when we consider search, social and mobile advertising opportunities alone. The enticement or offers can be personalized in this space, thereby creating a much greater engagement rate, and of course the response mechanisms can be instantaneous. No postage, no lag-time between your message, the customer’s decision and your delivery.

Traditional advertising requires greater lead-time to place, realize and review responses. Your newspaper ad needs to be designed and submitted days before placement; television requires production and placement which is easily weeks ahead of placement. Again, while these channels certainly have a place, they also present challenges.

Digital advertising can often be created and launched on the same day. Once launched, campaign effectiveness can be monitored in a near real-time environment, and can be adjusted as needed, based on live insights.

In short, traditional and digital advertising may achieve the same goals of creating brand awareness or prompting response from potential customers, but the means to the end are quite different. With online advertising, a company has more control over the result they achieve. They can react to changes in the market much faster and can understand their customers much better. That doesn’t mean traditional advertising is out – both can work together to give the customer an all-round value proposition – and that’s a win-win for all.

By Irene Gomez, CIO, Corporate Media.


Digital Didn’t Kill The Traditional Star

traditional pr vs digital pr FB UPDATE 2 day

Although people and businesses can talk directly to the media, a PR professional knows that the chances are very good that they do not have the fundamental principles of public relations.  This means that they can make a mess of things very quickly, which may be difficult to fix.

Excellent PR in media requires knowledge of all of the core components that make up a successful PR campaign in the media.  A top PR professional knows that it is not just about being the broker, but it is the specific strategies you use when you act as the bridge between the client and the media.

Let’s talk about the media.  Life is harder for journalists but it’s getting even more difficult for PR professionals vying for their attention.  These days you need to think like a journalist to get your story in the news. Your story has to be ground breaking, topical, and it has to bring something new to the reader. Your media has to be more targeted and your media relations solid in order to get your stories told to the right people. Media monitoring and evaluations have changed too. PR professionals are no longer excited about that big spread in the magazine. Now it’s about getting their story told on the front page of a website.  Better still if they can have their client tagged in a post on Twitter from someone with thousands of followers.

Just as media relations is a big part of PR, so too are social media and digital PR.  PR offline or online is about building awareness, credibility and goodwill.  It’s about building a presence and gaining the understanding and support of your stakeholders. PR has always been about creating a favourable operating climate for a company.  Digital PR is no different. It’s about building that same presence online, understanding the digital landscape you operate in, and developing strong relationships with all the players in your social map.  The techniques include search engine optimization (SEO), content development, social media, online newsrooms, websites, blogs and online media coverage.

The way businesses look at advertising has also changed. While companies used to spend quite a bit on Ads in the print media, they are now looking at other avenues to get more mileage with every dollar spent. They want to track their Ads and they want to see results – in other words, new customers and trade leads.  When it comes to ROI, it’s difficult to measure.  Online advertising, on the other hand, is fast becoming the norm.  Digital content publishers are creating more compelling and targeted ad offerings across desktop, mobile and video channels.  Everyone is looking at social networking sites as they offer a huge audience for a small fee – one that can also be budgeted and capped. Print Ads is still definitely on the menu but it will have to come with online accompaniments

There is no question that technology has changed the PR and marketing industry.  Over the past twenty or so years, we’ve seen the emergence of emails, websites, social media, smart phones and mobile apps. We are dispersing and receiving information on multiple platforms.  Many companies are diverting their budgets to content marketing, and the PR industry is perfectly poised for this method. The bread n’ butter of public relations is earned media. Earned media is content driven and traditional marketing activities do still work – in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, direct mail and networking – for the widest possible reach to all demographics.

So, in the battle of digital versus traditional PR, which does your brand need? The simple answer is both.  Whereas traditional media offers validations and credibility, online media offers speed and reach. Integration is key to achieving maximum visibility.

Some tips to help you along:

  1. Set campaign goals: Traditional PR campaign goals often include placements in target publications along with the total number of media impressions.
  1. Search and social media news campaigns:  If you want to reach out to bloggers, grow your Twitter community, build a Facebook group, generate more site traffic, and raise your social media visibility through SEO rankings – schedule your releases to go out at least once a month. Higher frequency positions you as a newsmaker and one to watch. And, you’ll get more opportunities to fine-tune your message and measure results.
  1. Be newsworthy:  Because social media sites are searchable, every action or comment can be public.
  1. No buzz, don’t fuss: What happens when you have nothing newsworthy to shout about?  Focus on topics that relate to the specific area of expertise or business service you want to grow or highlight. Think about why and how your stories need to be told. How can you tie into trends or other newsworthy events? Look at stories in the news and find connections to what you do.
  1. Target Media: To whom are you pitching to?Do you already have a media list that includes newspapers, trade publications, magazines, radio and TV reporters? Good for you! Now, find the reporters and their media outlets on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter.  To expand your coverage, include bloggers and community sites in your niche.
  2.  Distribute and share:  Now that your social media release is ready to go, you can get the word out in a number of ways.  Post your releases on your site or blog with an RSS feed option to automatically update subscribers.Choose a free or paid distribution service to send your news to search engines, wire services and industry-specific RSS feeds (e.g. PR Newswire).
  3.  Measure results:  Keep an eye on your campaign goals and see how your results measure up. To track the performance of your release on search engines, enter your key terms. Type the release headline in the search bar to see what sites picked it up. With social media, set up a search term or hashtag, to group results across channels.

One last point. Technology is constantly evolving and businesses must adapt to the evolving marketplace to succeed.  If you subscribe to that, it can elicit the approval of your target market which can be fun but you also need a PR professional who understands the core components of traditional PR and knowledge of digital media to get the job done right for you.

By Irene Gomez, CIO, Corporate Media