Communication is the Pulse of Life!

Marketing

4 Tips For Your Next #HashTag Campaign

hashtags

It’s been a month since the New Year, just enough time for most people to forget about their resolutions. You may laugh, but it’s true.

So, how can you ensure that your brand stays relevant and remain top of mind after thrill is gone?  Enter, the hashtag! Hashtags have become an immensely popular and effective way to communicate and find content on social media.

That’s right! What used to be a punctuation mark or a numeric symbol on the keyboard has now evolved into a metadata tag. The idea was proposed by Chris Messina in a tweet back in 2007 and since then, it has gained so much traction that the word hashtag was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014. Millennials, politicians and celebrities use it. Do we need another reason to capitalize on it?

A great hashtag is one of the most powerful tools you can use to market your business through social channels. Events, Twitter profiles, trending topics, marketing campaigns and more can be covered by a single hashtag, across the web. With the right hashtag, you can connect with your audience easily, get discovered by new prospects, track and curate what people are posting about your brand.  Every time someone uses a hashtag tied to your brand, they spread your message to their own followers. Cool, right!

If you’re still at a loss as to where and how to use hashtags, here are 4 essential tips that will help to inexpensively increase your mindshare on socials.

Research, Research, Research!

Long and complicated hashtags are a turn-off and in a blink of an eye, you’ll lose your audience. On the other hand, even the shortest hashtag can give way to misinterpretations and the whole thing can go south, as in the case of Burger King (BK) and its obliviously launched #WTFF campaign. The fast food chain suffered a backlash in the form of mocking tweets and memes, with the launch of their lower-fat French fry, using the hashtag #WTFF (What The French Fry). Careful research prior to the launch would have warned BK that the hashtag is commonly used to express profanity, and likely to backfire, especially in terms of marketing and promotion spend.

burger-king-what-the-french-fry.jpeg

When it comes to hashtags, you need to plan ahead – research, research, research! Before you choose a hashtag for your campaign, you need to know what’s popular with your audience – what are they interested in and why? Find out what is relevant to your brand, what social influencers are saying, and also what the trending content is in terms of adding value to your business. The hashtag you create must resonate with your audience. It must be clear enough for them to identify with quickly, and easily draw a positive reference to – from something they hear or see in their daily lives.

The Right Channel

Be mindful of the platform that you’re running your campaign on, so that you can tailor your content accordingly. Linking it across platforms is great but what works for one may not work well with another.

The #MeToo campaign, for example, worked very well on social platforms, but had greater success via Twitter. Women who were abused and harassed felt empowered to stand up and speak up about the abuse, galvanized by the hashtag. Twitter allowed the victims to share their stories virally, while at the same time, respecting their privacy. The #MeToo hashtag caught on quickly and sparked a global movement and call for change and protection from abuse, not only for women but for men too.

metoo9

Meanwhile, you can say that the fashion industry has it easy when it comes to social media campaigns, and Instagram is most effective. With a series of hashtags, they can tap on social influencers and mobile-savvy customers – and reel them in with targeted hashtags, images and videos, pertaining to trends, new collections, stores nearby, as well as other interesting fashion titbits.

Call to Action

Don’t just focus on promos – focus on organic reach. Work towards engagement with your audience through a call to action, such as encouraging them to tweet or post their own pictures using the hashtag you created. A great example is Disney’s viral campaign, in collaboration with the Make-A-Wish foundation that got people to share their photos, complete with Mickey Mouse ears with the hashtag #ShareYourEars on Instagram.

Likewise, Calvin Klein encourages shoppers to post in Calvin Klein undergarments with the hashtag #MyCalvins.

mycalvins

Strike a Chord

The most successful hashtag campaigns do not solely focus on marketing the brands; rather, they seek to strike a chord with their audience. As in the case of Disney’s #ShareYourEars campaign, the charitable nature of donating $5 for each user post to the Make-A-Wish foundation, contributed to the campaign’s virality and ultimately Disney’s reputation as a socially responsible brand.

disney_shareyourears_2016feb_290x500

By incorporating a social message in your hashtag campaign, it not only helps to create a positive brand image, it also repurposes your message to a wider audience. Another example of a brand that does it right is Always, a feminine care product brand that made its entire social media marketing about empowering women, primarily through its #LikeAGirl campaign launched in 2014.

When it comes to social media marketing, your hashtags are the key to your SEO and visibility of your content, and can be an essential component to building brand awareness across platforms. If used wisely and correctly, your business is bound to see an uptake in customer engagement and sales.

Posted by Brintha Shree, CorpMedia

Advertisements

Trends you just can’t ignore in the New Year!

Trends you just can't ignore in the New Year!

Hello, 2019! The smell of fresh beginnings is in the air. How will the lessons learnt (or not) in 2018 prepare you for the new year ahead?

Whatever the case may be, don’t let the grass grow under your feet. Now is the best time to plant new seeds and trim the weeds – put your best foot forward and strut into 2019 with confidence, armed with communication skills that won’t go out of style! What does the future hold for those of us in the creative communications business, and clients looking to engage with their customers to increase their brand and product visibility?

Let’s look at what’s trending.

1. Videos Rule

Videos saturated by over-the-top special effects will only lapse in users’ memory over time. Authenticity calls the shots, and unique brand content will translate into unforgettable experience for users. Albeit a product demonstration, launch, promotion (and the list goes on), videos are the best medium to elicit an emotional response.

Keep your eyes on live videos. The short-lived and spontaneous nature appeal to Facebook and Instagram users, while portraying your brand as current, relatable and fun. This video format is so popular, you receive a notification every time followers go ‘live’. For brands that are youth-centric, live videos are the best way to reel in digital-savvy prospects.

2. Instagram TV

The network reached one billion monthly active users in 2018. Its highly interactive community, visual-rich nature and tremendous following continue to put Instagram at the top. Instagram is becoming very appealing to TV viewers. Content creators are producing hour-long videos on Instagram TV (IGTV), as with IGTV, there are now more opportunities to connect with your fan base on a deeper level. The vertical video format exclusive to IGTV ensures mobile phone optimization and eliminates the hassle of tilting your screens.

Renowned brands are already on board. Nike shared a clip of megastar, Cristiano Ronaldo for the World Cup campaign while Louis Vuitton showed off the Men’s Spring Summer 2019 runway look on a 12-minute long video. Users who tune in to West Elm’s IGTV received interior design tips through the “Pillows 101” and “Living in 100 Square Feet” visual aids. While entertaining, the videos are also educational and provide real value to design enthusiasts.

Though, not all brands use IGTV for serious product placements. Netflix wittily posted a video of popular Riverdale star, Cole Sprouse chowing down a cheeseburger for a straight hour. The eccentricity isn’t lost on viewers, and the video garnered more than a million views from curious web surfers. IGTV allows brands to experiment on content creation and think outside the box for ways to present itself.

3. Chatbot Conversation

Chatbots are the express lane to real-time responses. Though chatbots were previously integrated into Facebook Messenger, Slack and Skype, users can now expect quicker and personalized solutions, even on native mobile applications. The awkward human-robot interaction won’t fool eagle-eyed consumers, but these chatbots will get more intelligent after every user interaction. Its rising prevalence in customer support, hotel bookings, and routine tasks like weather reports, show how these web crawlers are steadily gaining momentum.

In the digital age where social media never sleeps, chatbots render immediate assistance so brands can spend time on other pressing demands. The round-the-clock, two-way conversation with a chatbot is also easy to install. If you’re looking to own your own chatbot at work, check out HubSpot, Chatfuel and Botsify.

4. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is often associated with the foreboding of the robot domination. But, hear us out. AR offers the ultimate customer experience through the blending of interactive digital elements. From sensory projections, stellar visual overlays to immersive backyard action, the technology brings the digital world into ours. The mixed reality spectrum is seen in IKEA’s Virtual Reality Kitchen, designed for e-commerce shoppers to get a first-touch experience on customizable kitchens and the autonomy to alter furniture to their liking.

Cadbury, too, cooked up a storm by bringing festive celebrations to life with the Advent Heroes campaign. The company distributed exclusive Holiday Heroes calendars with an AR application. Chocolate-lovers viewed specific dates on the calendar through the application each day and took holiday-centric selfies with Cadbury chocolates and candies. The unique manner of interaction with consumers shows an alternative method to product promotion – without coming off as “oversell.”

5. Stay Audience-centric

User-generated content is the rage these days. It’s as simple as brands encouraging followers to snap a photo and tagging the brand’s chosen hashtag or releasing a campaign to highlight the common user’s experience with your product.

The action camera brand, GoPro has over 5000 videos posts daily from users sharing their cliff diving, skydiving and other wild experiences, using the #GoPro hashtag. GoPro is making a conscientious effort to inspire wanderlust as travellers tick items off their bucket list. The real-life adventures are more authentic and appealing, as compared to gimmicky attempts by brands that boast megapixels and water-resistance features.

Make the most of live videos streaming on your company’s webpage or social media sites for product demonstrations, exciting announcements or latest updates. Use the power of the web to cement the foundation between your brand and customers. At the same time, take a minute to engage with consumers and make them feel valued by responding to queries and showing appreciation for heart-warming compliments and insightful suggestions.

6. Get Personal

A search for gorgeous Moroccan lamps on Google magically transpired into sponsored posts from lighting companies on Instagram. That’s no magic – personalization integrates various social media platforms together, leaving users spoilt for choice, no matter the site they’re logged to.

Personalization allows users to connect closely with your brand, potentially translating into conversions and customer loyalty. Mailchimp’s personalization toolkit helps to disseminate content that matters, make your emails sound like an actual conversation with customers, predict users’ demographics and even send your emails based on buyers’ time zones. Your brand can also utilize Facebook Dynamic Product Ads for a bulls-eye hit on targeting users with relevant ads.

Lexus launched the Beyond Utility campaign that featured everyday items alongside their luxurious counterparts. Depending on the audience’ demographics and interests, users can watch differing variations of the video. For instance, music fans are shown an ordinary headset next to a more extravagant piece. The message is clear: Lexus desires both practicality and style for customers, and utility alone won’t cut it.

7. Social Messaging

The trendsetter in the messaging industry, WhatsApp has more than 1.5 billion users globally. Brands leverage on the WhatsApp Business platform to interact with customers on Android mobiles. The application assists with organization, segmentation of new prospects and returning customers, and facilitates the communication flow between your brand and users. The conversation-encrypted chats, two-way conversation style and instantaneous replies are great advantages of this service. While WhatsApp Business isn’t deep-rooted in every brand’s marketing campaign yet, the potential for mobile marketing bears some fruit.  Like Snapchat Stories, WhatsApp may potentially run advertisements through WhatsApp Status as early as this year.

As much as you wish to be available 24/7 to interact with customers, let users know when to get in touch and don’t leave them ‘on read’. It may smear your brand’s good name and while blue-ticks don’t usually come at a price, you run the risk of being charged for slow response after a 24-hour period on WhatsApp Business.

The rest of the year will fall into place if you get the beginning right. The power is in your hands to navigate your brand in the best way forward.

From all of us at CorpMedia, here’s wishing you a fantastic year ahead!

Posted by Nur Farzana, CorpMedia

 


Winning ‘hearts’ on Instagram

Winning ‘hearts_ on Instagram

You don’t have to be cool to rule the (virtual) world. Brands are no longer hiding in cocoons, relying on heavyweight publishers for sponsored content. They’ve evolved into social butterflies on the digital sphere.

Granted, not every brand knows how to maximise Instagram to its fullest potential. Some see no wrong in whiplash colours and unrelated captions – the perfect trigger to a swipe (away). But you and your growing brand will have to do it right. We’ll help you out.

1. Find your voice

Don’t be afraid to let your feed do the talking. A picture is worth a thousand words, no? Your Instagram account is your brand’s voice. A strong identity sets you apart from the rest, but your brand can only shine when it knows itself. Think of the values your company stands by, and translate that into a visual force.

Take Starbucks for instance. Their Witch’s Brew Frappuccino is another magical concoction to join their out-of-this-world selection.

Starbucks’ recipe for success is simple. Their Instagram page shows a seamless integration around their cup of joe-from pictures of house coffees, and festive-themed caffeine to the newest additions.

starbucks

2. Be consistent – it’s a strategy

This should be your brand’s middle name. Build a cohesive brand theme with colours, filters and aesthetic designs that are in sync. Ensure your photos are sized well (1080px by 1080px), so your feed won’t resemble a stock of mismatched crops. Learn from Pinkberry and their messy use of a filter, turning their berry yogurt into a chameleon instead.

pinkberry

From one dairy name to another, Ben & Jerry’s is making their Instagram page all about their delicious pints. Like them, be consistent with your branding, and don’t post the same picture thrice in a row. Spruce things up with creative ideas and don’t let others wonder why you’re on their timeline.

If your company is promoting a new product, make things easy on the eye by capturing shots against diverse backgrounds or adding related pictures such as a consumer trying out your item. It helps to remember to whom you’re posting for too.

bnj1

bnj2

3. Schedule posts in good time

There’s no hard and fast rule on the best timing, so test your posts at different intervals of the day. Our pro tip is to use Iconosquare to view posts’ statistics and keep track of the time your target market is most active. Even if you’re posting fantastic content, it’ll be water under the bridge if no one sees it.

Sporadic posting habits make your followers forget you. Over-posting will annoy them. Find a strategic balance, and a good suggestion is to have an editorial calendar to set specific schedules.

Think of your postings as a diet plan: Don’t be over-ambitious and commit more than you can chew, or take too many ‘chill pills’ and post only once a year. People will wonder if you’re still in business! The average brand posts, according to a Union Metrics study, is 1.5 times every day – a realistic goal for most.

4. Create Instagram Stories that work

Publicise giveaways, contests and timely deals on Instagram Stories, with a call-to-action for consumers to click on instantly. With their latest “swipe up” feature, it has never been this easy for brands to direct audience straight to their content.

Bringing your followers behind-the-scenes is like dangling the metaphoric carrot, holding their attention, in anticipation of the actual release. Take a page from H&M and their Conscious Collection, giving avid fans an inside scoop on the materials used in their environmental-friendly initiative, and keeping them on their toes about the upcoming release.

Travel application site Hopper, for example, uses Instagram Stories to offer massive flight discounts for your next holiday.

Whatever your motive -cheap thrills or sneak peeks- an Instagram Story is fluid and purposeful, all while aligning with your brand’s image. It’s not called a “story” for no reason!

HnM

hopper

5. Your followers matter

Not to sound superficial, but who your brand follows speak volumes. Following a charitable cause have others believe your brand is ethical, whether or not it holds true. Of course, it’s a given to check out accounts that are relevant to your brand.

That doesn’t mean you should go on a follow spree and add random pages, especially when your followers are half the size of theirs. It seems egoistic, but let followers come to you instead. Focus on building real relationships and let others share your content for you.

The ‘like for like’ favour doesn’t work here. Think of the number as a nice compliment, but genuine engagement with your supporters eventually takes precedence. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

6. Just have fun

This seems contradictory to everything on the list. But the moment you view Instagram as a profit-making tool, you’ll lose out. While these guidelines may pivot into a powerful branding strategy, remember – when you start thinking “This seems fun”, others will too. Get inspired and start posting. Your visual diary is your brand.

Posted by Nur Farzana, CorpMedia

 


Do You Want to Hear a Story?

 

STORYAD PIC

People in general have an insatiable appetite, craving a tender story to sink their teeth into. Commercials or Ads, laden with emotions can invoke a plethora of feelings within a person. Once upon a time, advertisers were fixated on hard-selling a product’s prime assets. Today, they prefer to tell a “story” to sell. The story, though, must resonate with you, the prospect, and appeal to your emotions. After all, when it comes to making buying decisions, it’s all about what stirs your emotion.

Thanks to premium memberships and exclusive privileges, skipping an Ad is literally a click away. While it’s impossible to rewind the effects of technological advancement, it’s plausible for consumers to press play the next time they chance upon YOUR commercial or Ad.

There’s no running away from storytelling in today’s marketing environment.  It’s an essential component of any marketing and advertising campaign strategy. Brand storytelling works when yours rises over the white noise to rein in your prospects and win their trust, only then will they become vested in your business. Here are some tips we’d like to share with you.

1.  Stand out from the rest

To be memorable, you must be unforgettable. A conventional plot won’t exactly scream your brand name. Advertisers need to pull out a fishing rod to hook users with a direct connection to a powerful story, to automatically assimilate the business-to-consumer bond.

To stand out, you don’t necessarily have to be tall. Volkswagen’s Think Small campaign swiftly shifts the focus of spacious American cars to small German automobiles. Instead of short-changing consumers with empty promises of roomier cars, they choose honesty as the route forward – telling it like it is!

Think about what makes your product a rose among the thorns, and figure out ways to weave a story from that. Where carbonated beverages are aplenty, Coca-Cola’s personalised bottles, are a rare, novel invention. The Share a Coke campaign allows users to purchase a can of Coke with their personal name printed against the famous red backdrop. For unconventional names and nicknames, Coca-Cola will even customise the bottle. Consumers feel a sense of ownership, or better yet – it spurs them on to share a Coke with someone by that name. It may be simple, but a name can share a thousand stories.

2.  The emotional touch

Luke Sullivan, author and copywriter of Fallon McElligott advertising agency, shares how people talk in stories. We must do the same. The brand itself tells a story, and narratives give human experience depth. Take for instance, a savvy gadget like FitBit – we know what it is and how it works. The Ad uses an emotional pull factor as it follows an impressionable young girl while she narrates her mother’s fitness journey, all from her eagle-eyed lenses. It tugs at your heartstrings and holds your attention on pause. What’s more, it makes consumers believe that FitBit is indeed a gadget for everyone. You wouldn’t be as interested if the Ad boasted a chunk of statistics, right?

3.  Be real, give details

You may think that to reach the masses, a carbon copy of a tried-and-tested idea would suffice. But does a “recycled” idea makes you jump out of your seat? If you want to be heard, then include details, details, details. This makes the storyline genuine and relatable, and is sure to go out with a bang.

Observe your surroundings and hear what isn’t being said. Starhub Singapore’s campaign is peppered with nostalgic heartland moments to alter people’s hushed perception of Singapore as THE unhappiest country. The story resonates close to home and includes visuals of precious, authentic moments that locals cordially share.

4. Relate and resonate

Step into the shoes of a reader and ask yourself, “Can I relate?” Think of the struggles your community faces, and how others feel about a certain topic. For instance, in the age of female empowerment, the Think Like A Girl campaign by Always, nips the social stigma of playing sports like a girl, in the bud. The takeaway is that girls are as fit and adept as boys – a message that runs deep for many independent women out there.

5.  Close your eyes

Many will skip advertisements at the first second. If you can make a person forget, even momentarily, that they’re watching an Ad, you’ll garner two thumbs up (and a ‘like’). As Jon Hamm wittingly said in Mad Men, “I wanted people to say “What’s happening in the story right now? Oh! It’s an advertisement!” That will clue you in if you have an Emmy-winning Ad or not.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) shares stories of supportive mothers to superstar athletes, and how unwavering courage leads to the success of their children. The commercial is almost a film, taking viewers on a journey before reaching that paramount moment, all under 3 minutes.

Hope these tips help you to think outside the box. The next time you’re in a brainstorming session, remember: Honest, relatable and authentic storylines – That’s where the gold is.

Posted by Nur Farzana, CorpMedia


Building a Community Behind an Event

Blog Cover Picture.png

“Event marketing is an extension of your content marketing. That’s the backbone to a really successful event.” – Stefanie Grieser, strategic marketing professional and author.

Building a successful event requires a strong community that is connected and engaged, ready to lend its support and help your event grow. To nurture an event community, purposeful and timely communication is necessary. We share a few tips to help you prepare for your big event!

Expand Your Online Presence

When hosting an event, be sure to harness the power of social media. In this digital age, being visible online is a huge plus. Bring your event online by announcing and promoting it regularly via email blasts and on social media platforms. Having a strong online presence plays to your advantage. Use social media to share regular updates and the latest news regarding the event so as to build excitement around your event.

Real-Time Marketing

During the event, utilize the power of real-time marketing and post updates when you can. These updates could include pictures and videos on your social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Once the event is over, craft a post-event note (a brief on the event or thank you message) and post this on the various channels linked to your company website. If your event is an educational one (i.e. a conference, workshop or seminar), you can also think about hosting a webinar as a follow-up to the meeting.

Word of Mouth

For any event to stand out, you need to offer something compelling enough to spark and sustain conversations. This will further promote brand awareness and build a larger following behind your event. It could be anything from highlighting a reputable keynote speaker, or the announcement of special awards to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions to the industry. These can be huge draw factors that your intended audience wouldn’t want to miss out on. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool!

Make It Interactive

An event is an interactive ground that brings like-minded individuals together to share ideas and experiences. Include programs or activities to set your event apart and actively engage your audience. Customized gifts lend that personal touch but more importantly, they capture the mindshare of your audience. Rather than a generic event T-shirt or cap, how about portable battery banks imprinted with your company logo? These mementos are not only practical, but also spread awareness beyond the event.

When It Ends

Be sure to send out thank you emails and post-event surveys and feedback forms within a day of your event’s conclusion – when everyone’s memory is fresh and you’re likely to receive the most accurate feedback possible. Input from participants will help in future program planning.

Also take some time to gather all the points discussed during the conference and notable quotes from speakers and release a post-event report. You should not miss out on your major call to action, with the opportunity to get people to pre-register for upcoming events.

Stay in Touch

Do stay in touch with your community. Update them on future activities and other news of interest (but avoid spamming!). Remain visible on social media just so participants can check in and remain in the loop.

On Social Media: Post weekly industry-related news updates on Twitter to engage with your community online. One way to increase your following is to use high-volume hashtags that are relatable to your target groups. You should plan the best time slots to post your updates for maximum visibility and pick-up. Use fewer words and more visuals to capture your audience’s attention.

Monthly Blogs: This could be a more in-depth, monthly blog post summarizing the state of the industry or new developments impacting the industry. Post interviews with industry experts and publish views on your website to gain credibility and promote thought-leadership within the industry.

Last but not least, “Think Big, Think SEO”. Choose your keywords carefully and wisely and include these on all your posts, urls, etc. – any way you can, and your event will stay on top!

Posted by Chloe Tan, CorpMedia


Ethical Advertising: Does It Pay to Do Good?

 

ethical ad.png

Advertising is an important facet of business. Businesses are in the game to earn profits and advertising helps with just that – bringing the products to a wider reach by capturing the interest of target audiences. Advertisements have a heavy responsibility – they affect the daily lives of people who watch or read them. However, businesses need to be ethical in their advertising. An ethical company is likely to be viewed more positively. That’s because they have to keep an ethical promise to their customers.

Missing The Mark?

Even though businesses know what it means to be ethical, there have been cases of renowned companies making blunders in their advertising efforts.

Deceptive Advertising and Misleading Claims

If any advertisement makes unsubstantiated claims, then the intention is to mislead the public, and it becomes unethical. Such an advertisement usually creates or takes advantage of, or substantially interferes with the ability of people to make rational consumer choices.

Of course there is a fine line between exaggeration and deception. When an advertisement claims that “You’ll be walking on heaven”, it obviously does not expect readers to take that literally because the rational individual is able to discern the truth.

However, if an advertisement pitches your pill as one with “No Cholesterol!” but the ingredients listed on the back leaf show high sodium content, then that is considered deceptive advertising.

Immunity.pngKellogg’s Rice Krispies

An example of deceptive advertising would be that of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. The brand came under fire in 2010 for misleading consumers about the product’s immunity-boosting properties. The Federal Trade Commission stepped in and ordered Kellogg’s to stop all advertisements carrying the immunity-boosting claims. As a result, Kellogg’s had to pay $2.5 million to affected consumers and donate another $2.5 million worth of Kellogg’s products to charities.

Kelloggs .pngKellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats

Kellogg’s got into trouble again in 2013 when it falsely claimed that its Mini-Wheats “improve(d) kids’ attentiveness by nearly…20%.” As a result, the company had to settle a $4 million claim for false advertising.

Irrational Persuasion

It is the manipulation of feelings or interests of a target audience.

Advertisements push our buttons with celebrities, sex and success. They disable our rational mind and appeal to our feelings and emotions. They exploit deep-seated emotions the target audience might have: the need for security, acceptance and self-esteem.

McDonalds Ad.pngMcDonald’s Advertisement UK

McDonald’s seemingly harmless Filet-O-Fish advertisement caused massive backlash and debate online when it was launched. In the advertisement, a mother tells her son about his late father and to his disappointment, they shared little in common. It was only after his mother took him to McDonald’s and he ate a Filet-O-Fish burger that he found out he shared the same taste as his father (it was his father’s favourite burger). McDonald’s was taken to task for creating an advertisement that exploited child bereavement. The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK received about a hundred complaints and only then was the advertisement withdrawn.

Fear As a Motivator

Advertising agencies frequently use fear tactics. It becomes unethical when it is without proper justification. If fear is used for the good of the consumer and society at large, then the use of fear is justifiable.

Smoking .png

In the case of anti-smoking campaigns, a label carrying the words “Smoking Kills” on the box uses fear as a tactic to motivate smokers to stop smoking, for their own benefit and health.

Drink Driving .png

Also in the case of anti-drinking and driving campaigns, the use of fear is meant to stop or condemn drink driving, while highlighting the possible risks.

Many companies, however, employ fear tactics for the wrong reasons.

Nationwide Insurance Ad.pngNationwide Insurance Advertisement

The Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company released an advertisement in 2015 which features a boy reciting all the things he would not be able to accomplish in life and goes on to say “I couldn’t grow up, because I died from an accident.” The advertisement shows horrific images of accidental child death scenes like poisonous chemicals and shattered TV screens. It goes on to say, “At Nationwide, we believe in protecting what matters most… your kids. Together, we can make safe happen. #makesafehappen”

This is an example of unjustifiable fear, wherein the advertisement induces people to buy the insurance by depicting how horrible the lives of their children would be if left uninsured.

Promoting Unethical Behaviour

Unethical advertisements are also those that promote unethical and immoral behavior. An advertisement by Reebok had a headline that read “Cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout.” People were unhappy that the advertisement was unethical as it encouraged infidelity.

Reebok Ad.pngReebok Advertisement

So… What?

Ethical Advertising

Ethical advertising is critical. Consumers are more socially aware and increasingly demand for businesses and products to be more ethical in production and advertising. When any company is perceived to lack in ethics in any aspect of their business, they lose credibility from consumers, resulting in a tarnished brand reputation.

Be Honest

As obvious as it sounds, to be ethical in advertising, one needs to be honest and promote a given product or service without lies or deception. Ethical advertising tells the truth and never hides any of the product specifications or its defects. Ethical advertising is also free from any deceptive or misleading claims, irrational persuasion and using fear as a motivator.

Social Consciousness

To be ethical in advertising is to avoid appealing to deep-seated emotions and unavoidable needs of the target audience. It is objective and unbiased, and does its best to live up to its social responsibility mission.

Environmental Consciousness

Ethical advertising also comes in the form of protection of the environment and preventing harm to the environment. Unethical advertisements do not show consideration for the environment and also promote environmentally destructive behavior.

Posted by Chloe Tan, CorpMedia

 


Conquering the Value of Reputation

Value of reputation - Lincoln

When facing challenges presented by the current economic context, the response of the companies with a certain degree of resilience was swift. They adapted their strategic positioning and searched for opportunities abroad.

Proof of this tendency to conduct business outside in order to balance deficiencies encountered in one’s own market can be found, for example, in the values for Portuguese exports of goods and services in 2013, which surpassed national and international forecasts.

The role of marketing in this evolution plays a key role when one considers the necessity for creating a reputation that acts as an element of contact between one organization and its key audience.

It is this vital character of the concept of reputation, more than simply talking about brands, which we should focus on, with the objective of maintaining an effective positioning when facing those we consider as our target audience and partners in the implementation of a successful strategy.

As a differentiating asset in a market with goods and services sharing identical characteristics, an organization’s reputation becomes the reason for being the preferred choice among consumers, for projects being approved and for renewed notoriety. For companies searching for new opportunities, reputation becomes an assurance factor enabling them to develop a profitable commercial strategy and implement projects in an agile and effective way.

It has become imperative to develop the image we present to those outside the organization. Despite the critical factor of the solutions we offer, transforming them into a link to an idealized communication guarantees that these acquire a double role.

This shift in attention from branding, the logo and the image means relegating support role elements that do not have a direct influence in creating an objective and clear reputation. With clearly defined positioning, the next step becomes one of consolidating a certainty in the mind of the consumer: a brand is a promise. Answering adequately to market expectations in what regards this promise is a fundamental condition necessary to create an idea of reputation within our audience.

More than ever we need to think in the long run, focusing on resilience and on our link with the market. Here, the value that reputation acquires is highlighted as a crucial element in a wider communication strategy, with the objective of transforming the organization into a recognized and readily accepted brand by its targeted audience.

Guest Blog by Marta Gonçalves, Managing Partner, Say U Consulting and member of the Evoke PR Network.


The Art of Winning Hearts (and Dollars)

Authentic

In this age of faceless interactions and digital transactions, is it any wonder that we keep yearning for something real, something genuine? In the world of marketing, when it comes to choosing brands, it’s no longer just about a service or product – it’s all about that authentic, personal experience that we seek.

Yet, authenticity is a word that is bandied about, often too casually. What does it really mean? And how can companies be convincingly genuine and transparent?

Findings in the Journal of Business Research distil this fuzzy concept into three attributes that consumers value most: heritage, sincerity and dedication to quality. While the third component is straightforward enough, businesses tend to flounder when it comes to delivering sincere messages or incorporating roots into their core values or vision.

At a time when transparency scandals seem to dominate headlines, and clarity and commitment are at a premium, successful brands stay ahead by being open and honest, displaying empathy, and fostering meaningful relationships with consumers across varied platforms.

Under the Right Influence(r)s

The prevalence of social media makes it easy for consumers to quickly obtain information and form opinions on brands. More and more partnerships also occur on these channels, with brands investing in influential individuals to promote their offerings.

While this marketing strategy isn’t new, astute brands increasingly seek authentic collaborations that maximise their credibility. Micro-influencers, in particular, have become favoured brand ambassadors on social media. Businesses find value in their smaller follower count (ranging from 500 to 10,000), and their closer relationships to their tight, niche communities of committed followers. For companies, this means better engagement with hyper-targeted audiences through a trusted individual.

When businesses successfully align themselves with influencers that are genuine fans of their brand, they benefit from authentic recommendations, increase their presence online (sans the hard selling!), and build a consumer base by conversing with the people who really matter to them.

Your Magic Affinity

Today, more than ever, consumers are inclined to put their money where their heart is, supporting brands with which they share common values. In the polarised climate we live in, remaining silent on larger social, political or cultural issues is difficult (and perhaps, even inadvisable).

Social responsibility continues to gain momentum as companies look to connect with conscious consumers on an emotional level. Taking up a meaningful cause not only sets businesses apart, it also helps to establish credibility and trust through positive associations with the brand.

But wanting to do good can sometimes go wrong – when businesses appear less than informed about the causes they support, they can come across as tone-deaf or inauthentic. To ensure legitimacy and resonance, companies have to understand the issue and their relationship to it. Ideally, consumers should be able to draw connections (almost immediately) between the issue and the company’s core beliefs or vision.

Stand for issues that make most sense to your brand. When your social causes are communicated effectively and sincerely, you nurture brand affinity, build a community around your brand, and are likely to retain loyal customers for longer.

Transparency is the New Currency

Open and honest communications are key to building trust and ultimately, brand loyalty. Consumers appreciate being given insight into the processes that take place before their purchase, and continued efforts to keep them informed. By educating consumers and being visible in their operations, companies demonstrate their genuine commitment to the customer.

One great example is Mars’ announcement to distinguish food products into “everyday” and “occasional” items on their packs and website, as part of an initiative to promote healthier food choices. While the move was deemed unusual, it nevertheless communicated Mars’ sense of responsibility to its consumers.

In times of crisis, honesty and authenticity become even more crucial as consumers want to be assured that problems are being addressed ethically and transparently. Rapid, informative responses, regular updates across all platforms, and sincere acknowledgement of mistakes (and a clear willingness to learn from them) will help alleviate fears, restore confidence, and show a commitment to upholding the trust the company has built.

Once embedded into a brand’s culture, operations, and mission, authenticity can positively influence customer experience and perception – and this will pay huge dividends in the long run.

Posted by Rahimah Amin, CorpMedia


Redefining the Customer Experience with AI

April blog cover image

Artificial Intelligence. It’s all around us.

Think Amazon suggestions, Spotify picking your next song, Google search answers, Netflix recommendations and the list goes on. From speech-powered personal assistants like Siri to voice compression algorithms and autonomous cars equipped with predictive abilities, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way.

AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes executed by machines. Indeed, its prevalence in our daily routines has made a significant difference in the world we live in today. Communications has also been greatly disrupted by the breakthrough of AI, slowly but surely.

Is AI taking over the world? To a certain extent, this might be true. While not everyone’s been enthusiastic about its rise, advances in AI have led to fundamental changes in the workplace. Leaders are rethinking how their businesses can be run with the help of AI’s powerful tools that can be applied to everything, from compliance to data collection, and streamlining processes to increase the overall level of efficiency.

However, AI should not be perceived as a Machiavellian robot scheming to end mankind. In fact, it can be the positive force behind the innovative transformations in our lives. In the world of public relations (PR), for example, AI has enabled brands to better interact and build deeper relations with key audiences. It would be a prodigious blunder to think that PR is on the brink of disappearing!

With AI, brands are able to leverage data sets to predict the reactions of the public more accurately and follow up with more targeted actions.

So, let’s pause for a cause and focus on the powerful combination of AI and PR working in synergy to better engage with your customers and grow your brand(s).

Consumer insights lead to improved astuteness

Good news for businesses – more information on consumers than ever before! With the most relevant and specific information on hand, brands can stay current with customers and quickly create personalised content to suit their specific interests and/or needs.

Through data collection across various channels, AI can successfully gather engagement metrics and conversion statistics. With data gathering tools, marketers can segment consumer metrics based on various factors like demographics and purchasing power.

Prior to AI, chunks of information without any organisation, otherwise known as big data, were used in businesses. It was difficult and extremely time-consuming to sieve through the information. With the help of AI, the deluge of data can now be digested into bite-sized information, enabling PR professionals to gain a better understanding of their audience’s core attributes through patterns and trends drawn from the data. The resulting encompassing patterns help professionals to discern customer preferences across a more intricate marketing strategy.

Tailored content options

AI is also redefining the customer experience by locking in consumers’ needs and wants, and improving their overall shopping experience. Have you ever noticed the content you see on your Facebook feed and news recommendations are all aligned with your interests? E-commerce platforms like Alibaba and Zalora also offer shopping that is highly personalised. Algorithms process articles by heavily scrutinising the locations of readers, what they engage in on social media as well as any other publicly obtainable information. Since the objective of AI is to find out what consumers are looking for and how they want their information to be reflected, it’s no surprise that AI is the mastermind behind all your tailored content options.

Still, professionals ought to be aware of not overstepping boundaries in the course of leveraging data to offer customised options. Customer privacy should not be compromised at the expense of creating more personalised experiences as doing so may backfire and result in consumers feeling as if their privacy is being invaded!

Higher consumer engagement with data-driven communication

Before AI came into existence, humans carried out mundane tasks like distribution of press releases and the creation of automated media lists. AI is now assisting with these duties, making it easier for businesses to reach out to target consumers directly. This can also help brands engage with the relevant target groups more efficiently than their competitors.

Given the rapid speed at which AI processes data, the accuracy of messaging is also increasing proportionally. This, in turn, helps PR professionals to ensure the delivery of strong and direct brand messaging to clients.

Advancements in AI technologies also contribute to determining predictive decisions of consumers based on the patterns detected. To better cater to the needs of the consumers, AI provides suggestions within a brand for the consumers. Since every consumer reacts differently to brand content and advertising, AI can help to tweak platform performance based on interactions with consumers and their purchases to improve each consumer’s shopping experience, using the data provided by social media interactions.

Crisis management

With the daily addition of content to the Internet – from blog posts to social media updates and netizen comments – AI plays an important role in comprehending the potential consequences of any crisis and acting as a pundit by giving professional guidance.

Predicting a crisis is difficult. Given a quick examination of social posts, AI can overcome this challenge. With ample caution, social media posts that have been pre-scheduled can be prevented from being posted automatically, and PR professionals can quickly “go into crisis management mode” and craft more suitable posts.

In the PR sphere, crisis management is, without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges. That being said, accurate information and communication-intensive efforts aid in identifying paramount events and topics – all of which cannot be achieved without AI.

With AI dominating the world we live in, there is always the fear that machines would replace humans one day. But let’s focus on the positive aspects of AI. Improved efficiency. Greater creativity. Optimized target consumers.

Posted by Shermaine Sim, CorpMedia


Driving Sales: What’s Your End Game?

#5 Lead Nururing General

Lead generation has become a key focal point for B2B enterprises looking to make the most out of their marketing efforts with measurable results.

While lead generation is an exercise measured with relative ease from a quantitative perspective, its ability to drive business results is largely dependent on the quality of the audience created. As such, companies are being forced to look beyond metrics to support their initiatives. For most businesses, regardless of the industry or products and services being offered, lead generation is a critical component of a successful sales and marketing strategy. But not every business understands the difference between lead generation and lead nurturing, and the importance of implementing both tactics into their overall sales process.

You can generate leads in every which way you choose but it’s no guarantee to increasing sales. You need to stay close with those leads, and nurture them until they’re ready to buy. You have to constantly remind you’re better than the competition.

Public Relations (PR) is a fundamental, nurturing element in the quest for quality leads because it offers reputational leverage and credibility that differentiate businesses from their competitors.  From creating content for case studies and blogs, to testimonials and thought leadership pieces, these tactics not only serve as the key to differentiating factors in B2B decision-making but also help improve relationships – keeping you at top of mind with your clients and prospects.

By forming a strong relationship with each of your potential customers, and by nurturing that relationship through various forms of consistent communication through PR efforts, this allows you to deploy the tactics and techniques from your sales playbook to nudge them closer to a paying customer.

Build Reputation and Credibility

When it comes to generating qualified B2B leads, your company’s reputation is a huge deal for business prospects. After all, it is the face of the business. It takes time and effort to build a reputation, but if not managed properly, your company’s reputation can disintegrate quickly like a house of cards. So, take the time to analyze your current state of affairs – make it a point to read online reviews, search engine results, blogs and other websites related to your business. You also need to monitor your reputation closely. Have someone check out the different channels for information regarding your business; respond to negative reviews and complaints quickly; and always strive to improve the level of your customer service.

Be a Thought Leader

For a business to remain relevant in an ever-shifting business environment, it’s important to demonstrate expertise and foresight in the field. By regularly publishing content on platforms like blogs and through media outlets, businesses are able to critically differentiate themselves from the competition. Through social media platforms like LinkedIn, self-publishing blogs, articles and e-books, businesses can establish thought leadership within the industry, creating recognizable spokespersons with whom customers and partners can relate to. This way, you become the expert resource that everyone runs to. Yes, especially the media!

Create Compelling Content

In an over-saturated, highly competitive media market, it takes more than a press release to catch the eye of journalists. These days, some companies are doing away with press releases, opting instead to create their own content, such as informative articles on topics related to a company’s business, to engage their audiences, and hopefully create new business opportunities. These self-written pieces are uploaded to corporate websites and shared via social media channels, and can also be repurposed for sales brochures and other marketing collaterals. That is not to say press releases are obsolete – it’s just that they’ve evolved! The key to using press releases effectively is to focus them on newsworthy events that should be used where appropriate, and as part of a wider media strategy that includes extensive digital outreach.

Amplify and Glorify

Make sure that you get as much mileage from every mention as you can. Republish, link to and print news stories that include your company and post these on your website, marketing materials and on the various social media channels. Customer testimonials are a great way to fire up the grill! What can be more persuasive than customers talking about how your product or service helped their business? Talk to your best customers; ask them if they’re willing to say some nice things about your company or product. More than words, a video testimonial will make the message even more impactful!

Nurturing leads to a sale takes time. It is not done in a month or even half a year. It requires dedication, cooperation and lots of hard work. While many companies give up on customers by the second exposure, others have seen a great return on their investment through lead nurturing. It’s a simple but effective way to communicate with your customers and guide them through the purchasing cycle.

Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, CorpMedia