Plain English Please!

This may just be a personal gripe but why do agencies feel the need to adopt ‘marketing speak’ when working with clients?  I appreciate that it’s important to use the right terminology when explaining a campaign or PR proposal but let’s not forget clients are normal people so can we please stop using cliches and ‘buzz words’ as it has the potential to undermine the good work being done.

I’ve listed a few of Source PR’s pet hates below and attempted to give a plain English alternative.  Hopefully this will help agencies in not coming as across like characters from an Alan Partridge sketch when they’re pitching for new business.

Agency speak How it’s used Real world alternatives
Collaboration space We work remotely but drop into the collaboration space a couple of times a week

 

We work in the office twice a week
Ping me Can you ping me and I’ll ping you back ASAP

 

Send me an email and I’ll respond
It’s a no brainer Pick the low hanging fruit first, it’s a no brainer

 

The obvious decision
Think outside the box Let’s get together for a thought shower and think outside the box

 

Let’s think creatively
Circle back Let’s circle back to the issue you’ve highlighted

 

Let’s discuss later
It’s on my radar Yes, of course I’ll get that report over to you – it’s on my radar

 

I know about it but have done nothing yet
Reach out As part of our outreach campaign, we’ll reach out to influencers

 

We will contact influencers
Jump on a call I’ve a busy schedule today but plan to jump on a client call at 10am

 

I’ll call them at 10am
Deep dive / drill down / double click Let’s take a deep dive / drill down / double click into the report

 

Let’s read / understand it properly
Bandwidth He’s not got the bandwidth to deal with this

 

Capacity / capability
Move the needle We need to move the needle on this campaign to ramp up engagement

 

That campaign didn’t work, let’s try something different
New normal Jumping on Zoom calls is the ‘new normal’ in the collaboration space

 

New ways of working / normal
Jacking We’ve an audacious plan of news/meme-jacking to complement our omnichannel campaign

 

Piggyback on someone else’s success
Go the extra mile As we’re a customer centric agency we go the extra mile for clients We’re not lazy

Effective PR and communications

The University of California’s Berkley Business school has reported that jargon is detrimental to communicating effectively as it removes the real meaning of the words used, citing that people generally use jargon as a substitute for understanding or providing real answers to questions. In other words, it’s a way of trying to make yourself sound intelligent when you don’t really understand the subject that you’re talking about, or filibustering as it’s known in politics.

The overuse of buzz words could in-fact have the opposite effect with audiences losing trust in you or questioning your credibility.  According to a study in 2011, speakers who use buzzwords and industry slang instead of basic language were often perceived to be lying rather than creating the sense of mystery and complexity they hope for.

Let’s cut the pretentiousness and speak the plain English that our clients like and expect.  In my experience the brightest minds can simplify complicated subjects into something that anyone could understand – as Da Vinci once said ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.

If you have heard any marketing buzz words that drive you mad, please translate and share them with us!

Our BrightonSEO Spring 2022 Takeaways

It’s been nearly a month since we swapped the rolling hills of the Cheshire countryside for a few days of pebble beaches and chip-stealing seagulls in Brighton for no other than the world’s largest gathering of search marketeers, BrightonSEO. Our bag at Source is traditional PR and all that it encompasses, however we also offer digital services and social media is at the heart of what we do too. So, it was a no brainer for us to head down south and touch up our knowledge with the help of incredible industry experts. This spring, we were lucky enough to hear from a diverse range of speakers from all over the world, including those from the likes of Google, BBC and Moz!

Now, following BrightonSEO there are often an influx of wonderfully insightful blog posts and resources, and we wanted to make sure we weren’t flooding the space, but contributing to it in a helpful way. So we’ve waited a month and decided to use that time to pull together our favourite takeaways learned over the course of 3 days, and how you can apply them to the PR industry. If you’ve got the Brighton blues, come along and refresh your memory with us.

Digital PR And Its Place In Traditional

But first, we want to remind you of a paragraph taken from our last BrightonSEO blog post, and that was about digital PR and how it has its place within the more traditional sectors of the industry. Digital PR is prominently focused on building backlinks to a website for SEO purposes, and whilst this is an important exercise endorsed by the likes of Google-whizz John Mueller himself, we like to make our PR efforts work harder. So, whilst digital is one of our focuses, we find it works best when bedded in with a solid social media strategy and more traditional PR activity such as events, features, interviews, and CSR initiatives. That’s the future as we see it, and it’s an exciting place to be.

10 BrightonSEO Takeaways For The Traditional World

#1 – Traditional PR Is Beneficial For SEO Too (Surprissse!)

We’re beating the same drum again, but one of our favourite takeaways from BrightonSEO Spring 2022 is the reminder that traditional PR absolutely has its place in the digital world. From the number of talks that spoke about the value of brand mentions and nofollow links, to Sarah Flemming’s presentation on syndicated links (which, spoiler, revealed they have more weight on SEO results than many professionals would like to admit). The one big takeaway is that we shouldn’t be chasing backlinks in 2022, but timely and relevant PR coverage that helps boost your brand’s exposure far further than its performance on Google.

#2 – Emotion Should Be At The Forefront Of Your Strategy

The way that content makes the reader feel is important in achieving many goals, whether that’s enticing a customer to purchase, or convincing a journalist to cover your story. The way in which you convey a message can make or break its end goal, no matter what that may be! In a talk on going viral on a budget, Alex Hickson of John Doe hit home this very point, explaining how he used topical and emotional ideas (such as how excited everyone was to see the back of 2020) to create a best-selling product that the press went crazy for. Whether it’s writing copy, social or producing PR campaigns – we like to make sure that we believe in what we’re doing, and that other people will to. Emotion is incredibly important in the industry.

#3 – Search Intent Is A Helpful Tool

We love researching here at Source, and one of the best tools for doing this is Google Trends. Whether it’s from seeing what customers are searching for to ideate blog topics, to using intent to focus your digital PR efforts (by ensuring your campaigns and link building statistic pages are exactly what people are looking for, as shared by Chris Czermak of MacNaught Digital).

#4 – Creativity Isn’t Linear

In perhaps one of the most compelling talks in our BrightonSEO history, Max Hoppy, ex-Google, explained how they teach you to be creative at one of the world’s biggest companies. In short, this involves:

  • Not expecting the juices to flow in the workplace (of all the people surveyed, none said they got their best ideas in the office, in fact they came when they weren’t pushing for it, such as in the shower and whilst exercising)
  • Switching up environments, Google once sent their employees on a mini break to a farm and they came back super refreshed and more creative than ever
  • Following the 3 R’s for the best ideas – related worlds, revolution, random links
  • Learning from not just other industries, but other worlds altogether, e.g. Speedo once created swimwear inspired by how sharks move through the water!

#5 – Always Ask: “Who Cares?”

In a discussion on creating genuinely compelling content, Corrie Jones revealed that average brand engagement of promotional posts sits at around 0.05% – 0.08%, which is enough to make any PR or social pro squirm. The solution? Ensure your messages are interesting and actually talk to the reader. At Source we advocate for content that does exactly this, and isn’t a simple hard sell, as we know the best performing accounts are ones that have a switched on and impressionable audience, so when you are ready to promote to them, they’re ready to listen. One thing we really liked from Corrie’s talk was the idea of creating conversations with social, asking more questions, and listening to answers and using that to craft further content down the line.

#6 – Consumers Are Consuming More Than Ever 😬

Another point that really stood out to us, is that the average person sees between 6000 – 10,000 adverts every single day (thanks again to Corrie for that stat!). Traditional and digital marketing industries can all agree on one thing: it’s never been more of a challenge to get your messages in front of your stakeholders. However, we love a challenge at Source and this is why the point we made above, about creating conversations and content your audience wants to see, is SO important in cutting through the noise.

#7 – Trust Isn’t Just Important For The User, But Google Too!

Any good copywriter or PR will understand how vital it is to create trustworthy, well-researched content. So, it was music to our ears to hear that Google values this just as much too. With a multitude of benefits including being more ‘citable’ but also being more favoured by search engine crawlers, we’ll continue to be an advocate of creating pieces that actually offer value, as opposed to those that are simply stuffed with keywords.

#8 – Don’t Just Rely On Your Own Data

Another point we really liked, was from Iona Townsley of NeoMam Studios, who in her talk on creative ideation, suggested looking at sources such as Reddit and Answer The Public to ignite ideas. This is super clever for PR campaigns, which is what Iona discussed, but is also something worth bearing in mind when producing social and web content too – you may think you know your consumer from their interactions on your own channels, but can you go further and research other related topics they’re interested in, and tie that back into your own brand?

#9 – Your Campaigns Should be Culturally Sensitive, Always

Alongside the main event, we also attended the Online PR Show on the Wednesday at BrightonSEO, which included 12 talks from industry professionals. Two of which perfectly put together the importance of cultural sensitivity and inclusivity in everything we do as PRs. It was great to brush up on our latest understanding of these topics, and learn from the very best. Though we think the world has evolved, as revealed by Natalia Sketchley, 54% of people still don’t feel culturally represented. This NEEDS to change. Between two talks by Natalia and Lottie Maddison, our key takeaways were:

  • This goes without saying, but your LGBTQ+ messages should NOT just be during Pride month
  • Be an advocate where you can, take an active role in trying to improve the very system, or at the very least – be an ally
  • Ensure your creative is accessible, is your imagery diverse and are your resources available for colour blind people, for example?

#10 – It’s PR, Not ER

And finally, let’s end on another note that touches on mental health and the importance of looking after our wellbeing. There were 4 talks that particularly stood out to us over the course of 3 days, and those were by Hollie Hines, who reminded us of the challenges of imposter syndrome in PR, and that making stress responses healthy is the best way to deal with it. Kat Nicholls, who covered the importance of taking breaks when researching and writing about difficult topics. Charlotte McIntyre, who did an awe-inspiring talk on staying sane under pressures at work, which included the very important mantra: “no is a complete sentence. And, finally, Jane Hunt, who covered lessons learned from her years of managing JBH and where burnout comes from in PR, what was particularly poignant about her presentation was the emphasis on working with clients who respect you and who align with your values, as well as the importance of recognising stress and sadness amongst your teams and supporting them, without them having to ask for it. This is an incredibly essential topic of discussion in the industry, especially with the added pressures the pandemic brought about. Ultimately, people are what keeps the PR industry running so we need to ensure we’re running a well-oiled machine.

Featured image credit: BrightonSEO.

New Beginnings: Navigating Your First Week in PR

Written by Adam Stanworth, Account Executive at Source PR.

Having completed my first week as an Account Executive at Source PR, I decided to take the time to reflect on navigating the initial few days of my new role.

Background

In her previous blog Jess Pardoe noted that there are myriad ways in which you can enter public relations. Whether you have built up a successful personal blog that showcases your talent or come clutching a degree in a related topic, each avenue is just as valid. My personal path towards a career in PR began at the University of Sheffield where I studied for a degree in history and politics before staying in South Yorkshire to complete a master’s degree in journalism. The degree was a brilliant experience and it helped me to clarify what it was that I wanted to do with myself after the student days were over.

While traditional journalism wasn’t the industry for me, PR and communications certainly was, and during the course I had harboured a real desire to enter the field. To further my ambitions, I took on an internship at Manchester-based sports agency Ear to the Ground where I found that I enjoyed the dynamics of working in an agency, as well as the opportunities for creativity. Following my internship, I worked in retail as a means of income while job hunting, which in itself was not without its challenges due to the numerous near-misses and rejections. However, after coming across the opportunity to join Source as an Account Executive, I did not hesitate in applying. After meeting the team over Zoom initially, we then met up in person and I quickly realised that I thought I’d fit in well. Much to my delight, Source thought so too and I was offered the job, which I wasted no time in accepting.

Working in an Agency

One of the best things about working in an agency has been that each day is entirely different to the last and with an array of brilliant clients, you quickly become an expert in a variety of industries. I’ve never worked ‘in-house’, but the variety aspect of agency life is something I’ve found to be particularly enjoyable so far. I would absolutely encourage all those looking at a career in PR to consider an agency as an option because the diversity of tasks you can take on makes the prospect of coming into work an exciting one.

Getting to Grips with B2B

Source’s B2B team is expanding and it’s an exciting time to be a part of it. B2B is a crucial aspect of the business and with a host of recent client wins, it’s important that we meet a growing demand. So that I could get up to speed as quickly as possible, it was essential that I took the time to really understand the nature of our client’s operations and their ambitions. Getting to know the clients is an essential step as from here, you can begin to become their mouthpiece, whether that is through a blog or social post.

 Socials

 One of my key tasks during my first week at Source has been to construct social posts for some of our clients. Social media is such an important tool when it comes to promoting your business and having a presence on these platforms is now a necessity rather than a choice. However, it is detrimental to the business if you’re not using it wisely and constructing the social posts so that they send out the right message is a key part of my role. After finalising the copy, it is then about choosing right hashtags and scheduling times, as these aspects are vital in helping posts to travel as widely as possible. I’ve also got stuck into writing a variety of blog posts, press releases and sat in on client meetings and team briefings.

Final Thoughts

Although I have only been here for a short time, I’m loving my new role. The support from my colleagues and the aforementioned variety means I look forward to each day and relish tackling all manner of tasks. The endeavour to produce the best service for our clients is infectious at Source, so it’s impossible not to be passionate about our work.

If you’re interested in a role with us, get in touch at: hello@sourcepr.co.uk

All You Need To Know About Brand Collaborations In 2022

In the month that Greggs announced its largest ever café would be opening in Birmingham in no other than Primark, then brought out its very own sell-out clothing line to seal the deal, it would appear that truly anything is possible. Today on the blog, we discuss brand collaborations, the best examples of them and whether they’ll work for your business.

Are Brand Collaborations A New Thing?

Brand collaborations are when two businesses team up together to create something – that can be an awareness campaign, a product line, or something else. ‘Opposites attract’ is a phrase that would work well here, as often the most outlandish partnerships are the ones that get the most attention.

They aren’t a new thing, but they’re certainly becoming more adventurous.

Examples Of Recent Brand Collaborations That Worked Well

My favourite brand collaborations are the ones where both businesses come together for the greater good, such as…

  • Not exactly a collaboration with just one brand, but I loved when Tesco put the pubs first and encouraged shoppers to grab a pint from their local instead of running offers on their own alcohol, after understanding how much support these businesses needed post-lockdown.

Credit: Reddit

But I also love the downright nonsensical collaborations, that you’d never think work, but they actually really do!

  • Recently North Face teamed up with Gucci and chose Francis Bourgeois to be their cover boy for a new clothing drop. This campaign collided three completely different worlds and brought them together in perfect harmony. The public went mad for it, especially the TikTok community, where Francis started out as a creator. This stands to be a great example of how to reach new audiences and why daring and bold marketing stunts pay off.

 

Examples Of Recent Brand Collaborations That Failed

Partnerships don’t always go well, and in my opinion, some that have failed include…

  • Colin Vs. Cuthbert, which may not have been a collaboration at all… But, there are some, especially us sceptics within marketing, who think the whole caterpillar court case was just a marketing stunt, devised by both brands. However, in my opinion, all it did was leave both brands worse off – M&S ended up looking a little sour suing over a cake, whereas Aldi arguably took things too far bringing charity into the dispute.
  • Kendall Jenner and Pepsi, McLaren and Honda, and more! You can read about those on our recent blog on co-marketed collaborations that went wrong.

Will A Brand Collaboration Work For Your Business In 2022?

If you want a brand collaboration to work for you, then, yes, you can make it happen. You just need to find a business that’ll complement yours, whether that’s because you share similar values, or are complete opposites! Think of what will create a dynamic partnership and why – then the rest will become history.

Brand collaborations can be big or small, and they’ll work as hard as you want them to. Whether it’s teaming up with a charity or causation to work together on something you care about, or getting heads together with another business – or even a competitor – to get people talking about; there is something that can be achieved for every company if you put your mind to it.

At Source PR, we’re currently working with eco-baby brand Pura in Cheshire, who have teamed up with Welsh-based company NappiCycle for a number of initiatives; one of which includes re-paving a road in Wales with recycled nappies. This collaboration has already attracted coverage in the BBC on the radio and on the TV, alongside ITV News, Daily Mail, Daily Star, Independent, plenty of regionals and other trade publications, and even in the Washington Post, for our friends overseas to read all about!

This just goes to show that the right partnership can be perfect for your brand! We’re looking forward to seeing what else 2022 has to bring for brand collaborations.

Photo by Julia Avamotive from Pexels

Co-Marketed Collaborations That Didn’t Go To Plan

There’s nothing better than a clever, well-executed, and tasteful co-marketed collaboration. For example, when Adidas started working with Kanye West’s Yeezy clothing brand to produce some extremely choice trainers, the German firm hit the jackpot.

Not only did Adidas have an all-new line of exclusive and incredibly desirable trainers, but it could employ an icon of 21st-century pop culture in Kanye West to co-market them.

As a result, Yeezy trainers are in shoe shop windows across the world, and Adidas increased the desirability of its products.

However, for every good example, there are a few bad ones. What happens when a seemingly awesome co-marketed collaboration goes south? Well, let’s find out.

 

McLaren and Honda

McLaren Honda 1988 Mp4/4

After the 2014 Formula One campaign, McLaren was in the market for a new engine supplier. Coincidently, Japanese car manufacturer, Honda, was looking for a way back into the sport after a 6-year hiatus.

The two companies last worked together during the 1980s and 1990s, when Honda-powered McLaren cars, driven by the likes of Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, and Gerhard Berger, won multiple championships.

As soon as the deal was signed, McLaren’s social media feeds were full of iconic images harking back to the partnership’s past successes, and fans were super excited to see the two companies achieve the same heights in the upcoming seasons.

However, despite successfully co-marketing the partnership on social media, it failed to deliver on track and, after multiple breakdowns and engine failures, the two parted ways and both brands’ legacies were tainted.

Fans soon started mocking McLaren’s decision to collaborate with Honda after the split, with many claiming the partnership was destined to fail and was just a poorly thought-through publicity stunt – not a good look.

Kendall Jenner and Pepsi

Jenner posing with Pepsi during the commercial

When I asked the team to name a bad example of a co-marketing campaign, there was one that immediately sprung to mind.

The popular soft drink company Pepsi has had some fantastic campaigns in the past. Take some of the popular collaborations with world-class footballers, like Lionel Messi and David Beckham, for example.

These adverts would show them playing keepy ups with a Pepsi can or shooting at them from miles away. All of the stunts on display sort of implied that, after just one can of the fizzy beverage, you too could bend it like Beckham. Pretty cool, right?

Pepsi’s co-marketed advert featuring reality TV star Kendall Jenner didn’t go down as well, though.

Jenner is shown modeling when suddenly, a Black Lives Matter protest campaigning against violence passes through her shoot location. One of the protesters then invites her to take part, so Jenner skips over to join the march and picks up a can of Pepsi along the way.

Viewers weren’t struck on the commercial, and many complained that the ad was mocking the Black Lives Matter and anti-violence message thanks to some seriously confusing co-marketing and gesturing from Jenner.

 Celebrities promoting illegal companies

DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather

There’s nothing like a bit of risqué co-marketing is there? Boxer, Floyd Mayweather, and musician, DJ Khaled, were ridiculed after they’d been collaborating with the illegal company, Centra Tech, that sold cryptocurrency.

Centra Tech’s founder was later found guilty of fraud in 2018, and the two celebrities were left with dinted egos. Just goes to show that you can’t trust anyone these days, even your icons!

So, there you have it. Some examples of shoddy co-marketing for you to cringe at.

 

At Source, we know a thing or two about working with other marketers to create effective campaigns, and how they can work best for you and your businesses. Give us a call today on 01829 720 789 to talk to one of our experienced team members.

 

 

 

 

How Will July 19th’s “Freedom Day” Change The Way We Communicate?

On Monday 19th July, England is expected to enjoy the end of all Covid-19 induced restrictions. This means nightclubs can open, unlimited numbers can meet both indoors and outdoors, bar service at pubs and restaurants will resume and events such as festivals can get underway for the summer. One of the most anticipated and discussed decisions of the years so far, the opinions surrounding July 19th is truly a mixed bag. As PRs for a number of hospitality clients, this change in the rules is huge for us. So, today, we wanted to talk about how the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ next week will change the way we PR.

Using This Opportunity For Comment Placement

Firstly, July 19th brings about a huge opportunity for businesses, especially those that might have been closed or operating under tight restrictions up until now. We’ll be leveraging these opportunities to get our clients in the press, plenty of journalists will be doing live blogs and frequent articles on ‘Freedom Day’ – how can you join in on the conversation? Only recently, we got one client, the owner of an esteemed wedding venue, in the BBC thanks to being quick-off-the-mark with a reactionary comment to the extended restrictions.

Positive But Mindful Comms

One of the most important things to remember next week, is that although many of us are excited to see the end of restrictions, there are also many who aren’t. Some will still feel hesitant about re-entering normal life and may be still cautious about the virus. Communications should naturally be very positive and enthusiastic, but it might not also be a bad idea to continue communicating about safety restrictions that may be remaining in place for your clients, for those who are more anxious about the situation.

Capturing & Communicating Moments

July 19th is a date that will no doubt go down in the history books, it’s important to capture and communicate special moments from the day. Perhaps you’re a new pub or restaurant having your first ever person at the bar, or maybe a wedding venue hosting your first celebration in 12 months? Whatever it is that’s happening for you or your clients on July 19th, be sure to celebrate it on social and with the media. So many people will be talking about all the various (and hopefully positive) changes to life as we know it, you want to make sure you’re a part of that conversation too.

Ditching The Old Messaging

One of the biggest ways that July 19th will change the way that we ‘PR’, is that most of the messaging from the last year will go out of the window. Though it’s still important to communicate any safety measures where applicable, you’re also going to want to drop most of the Covid-19 messaging from your comms. Many establishments will undergo huge operational changes over the next few weeks, as PRs it’s our job to effectively relay those to audiences and make sure that we’re all on the same page as we enter this next step together.

Embracing Changing Content

Over various periods of lockdowns, home working and ongoing restrictions, the content you would have gotten through from clients would likely have been different. Now that England is opening up again, this is likely to change again. Work with your clients to create the kind of content you wouldn’t have before, whether that’s photography with people enjoying your establishment and your services, or even utilising newfound freedom to create more interesting content such as TikTok videos and Instagram Live updates.

Supporting Others With PR

Finally, one thing we’re planning to consider in our future communications strategies, is that people have suffered throughout the various lockdowns and restrictions, we want to support them with our clients anyway we can. Only recently, with our client Miller Homes, we supported a primary school local to their development who had struggled with fundraising over the past year. This is part of our ongoing CSR activity for our client, and something we’ll consider across the board. Showing you’re helping those out who might’ve been less fortunate than yourselves over the last year, is a great way of reinforcing a positive brand message.

At Source PR, we have a number of clients that will benefit from the July 19th opening, and we’re excited to be supporting them in this next phase. If you’re a business looking to get the most out of the new (or rather, lack of) restrictions, please do get in touch with our friendly team – we’d love to have a chat and get the creative juices flowing.

Managing And Leveraging Online Review Platforms For Your Business

Review platforms can divide opinions – some see them as positive, a tool that allows a business to receive feedback from customers to improve performance or to be recognised for their good work, while others view them as potentially damaging and often unfairly given by disgruntled customers or competitors.

 

Whatever your opinion, it’s important to know how to handle them to protect your reputation or to maximise the positive benefits.  Here we outline some top tips and best practice for handling reviews.

 

Keeping on top of reviews

 

To keep on top of review submissions, it’s a good idea to check the various sites that your business is listed on every few days.  Replying to 5-star reviews is just as important as replying to 1-star reviews – let your customers know that you appreciate their feedback and use the channel to build relationships.

 

Updating your business information

 

On review platforms such as Google and Tripadvisor, you can also add extra information about your business and keep information accurate and up to date, such as opening times, news and imagery.  As restrictions slowly lift, it may be worthwhile sharing your policies and procedures in helping to make potential customers feel secure when visiting your businesses.  You can also display Covid measures on your Google/Trip Advisor listing.

 

Maintaining quality in replies

 

Replies should always be kept consistent, in line with your brand and use the same tone across all review sites.  Where relevant, you may also want to sign off a response with the business owner’s name to make it more personal.

 

 

Dealing With Negative Reviews

 

There are many different approaches that can be taken when responding to negative reviews, largely depending on your brand and how you would like to be perceived.  Rather than publicly call out a reviewer you don’t believe it’s fair, we’d advise to take it away from the site and offer to discuss further via email or on the phone.  Washing your dirty linen in public is rarely good for a business and can even cause greater reputational damage with an online argument.  Take it offline and if possible, engage in a one-on-one conversation with the reviewer before deciding on how best to respond.

 

Overall, we’d always advise that businesses address negative reviews, so you can be seen to be proactive – even if you don’t agree with the reviewer’s side of the story.  In this digital age we live in, all eyes are on your business, so it’s important to make a good impression as review sites are often visited by potential new customers.

 

When dealing with a fabricated review, depending on the platform, you can usually contest it and have it taken down.  In more serious cases, for example if a customer has been asked to leave your establishment and left a bad review to punish the business, we’ve successfully worked with the platforms in removing defamatory and unfair reviews.

 

 

Using Reviews As Part Of Your Social Media Strategy

 

Sharing positive reviews on your social media channels is a great way to showcase what your business has to offer, whether it’s to current followers or new customers who have just discovered you.

 

If you’re a restaurant/pub/bar, sharing positive Instagram story content from customers is a perfect way to illustrate what other customers think of their experiences and also provides fresh new imagery for your social channels.  This type of content is just as important as a review on Tripadvisor or Google, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on your social media activity and opportunities.

 

To find out more about Source PR and how we can support your brand or business with its online presence, drop us a line!

WHY SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT ROI

Social media: a powerful tool that will connect you to your audience and help spread the word about what your brand has to offer.  It is of course another platform that can encourage sales but a recent campaign had us thinking about how social media does not necessarily need to lead to an increased ROI.

Have you ever thought about putting baked beans on your Weetabix?  I’m guessing your answer is no.  Well, it turns out that Weetabix have thought about it, to the point that they got tins of Heinz Baked Beans and delicately placed them on top of the nation’s favourite breakfast cereal.

On the morning of 9th February 2021, the Twittersphere went into meltdown with calls from Twitter users for Weetabix to delete its account.  It’s safe to say people were disgusted.  But it’s the disgust that carried this campaign to the point that the tweet became viral.  Weetabix’s tweet currently stands at 36K retweets, 65.6K quote tweets and 124.2K likes.  It’s certainly not a brand partnership that people would be expecting but that’s what makes the campaign so successful.  Pairing two foods broke the internet and catapulted the Weetabix and Heinz brands straight onto headlines.  The tweet was covered by media titles including, Sky News, Telegraph, Manchester Evening News and Daily Mail.

 

Piers Morgan even tried it on Good Morning Britain, adding to the conversation on social media and giving the campaign an even bigger boost to those who don’t have an online presence.  The campaign was given an opportunity to get another bite of the cherry, as Piers sampling the new delicacy made headlines and gave Weetabix and Heinz even more press coverage.

 

It wasn’t just the general public that made their opinions known on Twitter, other UK brands joined the conversation too, making for a hilarious Twitter thread.

Other brands were even trying their own disturbing Weetabix combinations…

Innocent Drinks are well known for running outrageous campaigns and causing a stir on social media.  At the end of 2020, Twitter descended into chaos as they claimed they had teamed up with Heinz for a ‘Beanz Machine’ breakfast smoothie.

So, it was all too funny when one Twitter user replied to the thread saying, “@innocent levels of chaos on the Weetabix page today.”

What followed was yet another strange brand collaboration, Weetabix took it even further…

 

The campaign worked so well because the country is living through lockdown 3.0 and everyone is in serious need for something to laugh at.  Plus, food combos are always a popular topic of conversation, Weetabix created a large-scale conversation that lasted for days.  The campaign brought everyone together, even if it was to share their disgust with Weetabix.

 

It’s evident from these types of campaigns that social media is not all about pushing sales messages and products.  It’s all about brand-building and gaining interest from the target audience.  A brand won’t go viral by simply tweeting about what they have to offer.  As the other brands started to respond to the Weetabix tweet, they were opening up a conversation for their own followers.  This was purely organic social media content and Weetabix only needed to spend money on Heinz Baked Beans.

 

You can almost guarantee that people had Weetabix on the brain for the rest of the day and added it to their shopping list for the next food shop!

 

Find out how we can support your business with its social media management by emailing us on louis@sourcepr.co.uk or calling 01829 72078.

 

WHAT MAKES THE BEST PR AGENCY?

As the new year begins and we enter a third lockdown, now seems the right time to think about what will make the best PR agency for clients whether in Manchester, Liverpool or the North West.  Here, we share our thoughts on what makes a PR and social media agency successful and how good client relationships are the secret to taking marketing results to the next level.

Key Characteristics Of The Best PR Agency

Know the client. I mean really know the client

One key skill for PR executives working in agencies is the ability to juggle various client demands at any one time. It can be very challenging working in a PR agency, but it does allow executives to get a broad range of experience under their belts, which in turn adds value back to clients.  You can really become mini experts in a number of different industries in no time, and the best PR agencies will always be the embodiment of this skill.  After working client side, I realised that there’s always more to know about a business, to understand its strategic decisions and its relationship with stakeholders.  If you can take this in-depth approach and apply it on the agency side, whether for B2B clients or B2C clients, you not only offer better communications advice but can also help shape the client’s business direction.

Put substance before style

I’ve never been a big fan of the PR stunt or more general ‘PR puff’.  Although creative ideas remain the backbone of what we offer, the best PR agencies should always consider whether the proposals are achievable and whether they deliver real returns and impact for clients?  There’s nothing worse than a Mr Negative in a creative brainstorm or planning process, however the best PR agencies always keep an eye on the prize and an effective balance between style with a healthy dose of substance behind it all.  Over promising and under delivering is the worst of all worlds.

Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

When looking back on my career, I do recall a moment when working in house for one of the UK’s leading retailers and we were advising the board on how to handle the media in light of a poor set of annual results.  The CEO was his usual bullish self, pushing for us to make this claim or that.  I realised then that my boss, a very successful director of communications, was essentially the grey man of the boardroom by only telling the CEO wanted to hear.  I made a vow to myself never to be that grey man and to always offer honest PR / communication advice based on experience.  Clients are at liberty to adopt or ignore it but for effective relationships, always be honest (perhaps that’s why I never became a Director of Corporate Affairs..!?). To us, this is one of the most important things that makes the best PR agency.

It costs how much?

The days of big spending PR campaigns may be over, but the requirement for showing a return on investment is omnipresent.  It has never been more important and the best PR agency will always demonstrate that great ideas shouldn’t cost the earth to deliver. We live in a quicker, more transparent society and one that does allow great stories and content to be shared easily.  Also, if you know your client, you should know what they need to spend to succeed – don’t turn your back on big budgets but always be aware of what will be delivered in return.

Know what PR campaigns work

You’d be amazed how many clients still view being on a breakfast TV sofa as a success.  Be honest from the outset and tell B2B PR clients that sales of their new widget are rarely achieved after an interview with Phil or Fern.  Be targeted, selective and know their customers and where their products or services need to be – this adds real value.

Be supportive and flexible

With Covid 19 still causing business disruption, the best PR agencies will continue to be flexible and supportive of their client’s changing needs and priorities – including knowing how to handle a crisis situation.  Having the right strategy and the flexibility to evolve it ensures a client’s business remains focussed on priorities and the changes on the ground.  Our work with Combermere Abbey is one such example of a business that faced hardship due to lockdowns but came out stronger on the other side.  Let’s hope the same is true for other businesses as we eventually emerge from this pandemic.

If you’re looking for a PR agency or social media agency in Manchester, Liverpool, Cheshire or the North West, please get in contact and let us show you why we are the best PR agency.

BEN & JERRY’S SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT – VIRTUE SIGNALLING OR VIRTUAL POSTURING?

Throughout my PR career, the advice has always been for corporates to steer clear of politics, religion or criticising the competition in the belief that it’s better to lead by example than to criticise others for the actions they take.

It now seems that view is behind the curve when looking at Ben & Jerry’s latest tweet to @PritiPatel which challenges UK policy on the management of illegal immigration as well as the crisis that is currently happening in the Channel.

On the surface, it makes a lot of sense to raise awareness of the social issues and highlight the fact that we are all people living together on one planet.  It’s also right to raise the issue faced by people caught in wars and torture as well as the brutal realities of climate change.  But should an exclusive and pricey ice cream brand to be leading the charge?

In fairness, the messaging reflects the views of B&J’s customers, the hippy ideology of the founders as well as the brand’s long-standing social principles.  It’s also positive that a business with more than 450k+ twitter followers is using its might to raise awareness.  Even from a communications perspective, at least they are taking a stand and saying something rather than the bland, generic guff that many corporates are guilty of sprouting.

Virtue Signalling or Virtual Posturing

However, before being so bold you need to make sure your own house is in order as your actions will invite scrutiny.  This scrutiny will not, and should not, be limited to the topics the brand chooses to engage in – but all areas of its operations.  This could include; what is the company doing to support climate change, how can it justify the price / profiteering of its products, are they ignoring the critically high obesity levels in the population or even what action is it taking to actually support the plight of refugees?

This scrutiny could also be applied also to the parent company Unilever who bought the brand for $326m nearly 20 years ago.  Only yesterday, ‘Unilever’ was one of the top trends on Twitter throughout the day, as many pointed out that they have issues closer to home that such as whether they are guilty of marketing a ‘skin lightening’ cream to people of colour, the exploitation of vulnerable parts of the world or even tax avoidance – that indirectly leads to less money being made available to house refugees?

To gauge people’s views on the matter my colleague @jessicapardoePR undertook a quick twitter poll and found that two thirds of responders (75+) were in favour of the company’s stand.  Although just a snapshot, this is revealing as it’s clear consumers want the brands they associate with to reflect their own ideology.

With the growth in social media and more direct communications, brands are now better placed than ever before to manage their own messages.  Previously they would have had to use the media as a mouthpiece and face the additional scrutiny that this entails.

Social media platforms are however notorious for having a life of their own with innocent or well-meaning tweets often spiralling out of control when twisted by a ‘woke world’ or those with an axe to grind.

The virtue signalling of Ben & Jerry’s latest tweet has indeed attracted such criticism, but as with most effective PR strategies, this has just extended its message and helped to position the business as a champion of cause related campaigning.  It’s a risky route to take but in the case of founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, fortune seems to favour the brave.