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POSITIVE PREDICTIONS IN DIGITAL MARKETING FOR 2020

According to a report by PayPal’s Commerce Index, the number of businesses in the UK expected to begin marketing on social media is set to double in the next six months – a huge increase from the approximate 600,000 businesses that already do so. British businesses are finally set to catch up to the rest of the global average of 35%: currently, just 24% of UK businesses use social media to market their products.

The increase could partially come down to the rise in millennial business owners and marketing heads – with the younger generation being more app and social-media savvy, it stands to reason that millennial-owned businesses would use tools they already know and love to market their services. Yet it’s not only the increase of millennials in the boardroom that are to blame – success stories of brands who invest wisely into the digital sphere and see great returns have spurred interest in the less traditional methods of marketing.

An example of a business that has begun to take digital marketing more seriously is Pandora, which has hired London digital marketing agency Fifty-Five to further enhance its social media and overall online presence. According to The Drum, Pandora is ‘in the process of increasing its investment in digital media as a way to build its brand and drive sales, as well as attract new and loyal customers instore.’ Pandora’s inclusion of the digital sphere as a crucial aspect of its branding is indicative of the turn towards less-traditional marketing techniques that businesses have been embracing more and more over recent years. Despite the brand already being a household name, Pandora is evidently interested in the further capabilities that digital marketing can provide.

If its experience will be anything like the retailer Oasis, it’s likely to be worth it. The clothing store has turned to more savvy digital marketing technique after it faced multiple store closures throughout the UK. Despite the setbacks, Oasis saw an extraordinary 175% increase in revenue and an overall 20% rise in customer engagement after it circulated an email with an ad video featuring Frankie Bridge, former member of The Saturdays. Sophia Holland Thomas, Digital Marketing Manager at Oasis, said, ‘Videos are capturing consumer attention like never before and video marketing is becoming an increasingly important vehicle for companies looking to engage with a millennial audience, where they can enhance their outreach and revenues.’

If that wasn’t enough, the data insights and consulting company Kantar recently released a report that offered its predictions for the upcoming year in the technology and digital world. Duncan Southgate, Global Brand Director at Kantar, wrote, ‘Digital is set to consolidate its dominance in 2020, with 84% of marketers planning to increase spend in online video, and 70% planning to increase spend in social media, according to our recent Getting Media Right report.’

All evidence seems to point to the growing importance and prevalence of digital marketing, and businesses are expected to invest accordingly. And if the success stories of the likes of Oasis are anything to go by, it can be assumed that this will only be good news for those brands that take the leap from traditional, linear marketing such as TV, radio or billboards. At Source, we embrace both traditional and the digital world, where influence and recommendation is key. We’re fluent in the world of online marketing and provide a tailored approach to brands and businesses that look to increase their online reach.

Get in touch on 01829 7208789 to learn more, or follow us on Twitter (@source_tweets), Facebook (@SourcePublicRelations) and LinkedIn (The Source).

MORE PR ‘SOURCERERS’ JOIN THE TEAM

We’re excited to announce that four new PR ‘Sourcerers’ have joined the team to meet client demand and to grow the business through a new specialist Rural Division.

The new appointments include Janet Hare who joins as client director, Gill Broad who joins to head up the company’s new Rural Division, Sarah Larkin who joins as an account manager and Jessica Pardoe who also joins the team to meet the growing demand from clients for social media management and digital PR campaigns.

Janet is an experienced PR professional having previously held senior media positions with BT, The National Lottery and The Millennium Dome.  Janet joins the agency and takes responsibility for client management, managing the growing team and overseeing the successful delivery of client campaigns.

Gill Broad has been appointed to head up Source PR’s newly created Rural Division.  The division has been specifically created to provide strategic communications, PR and marketing advice to rural and agricultural businesses or those seeking to engage with the sector.  Gill joins from Fisher German and prior to that worked as a senior reporter for NWM Media.

Sarah Larkin joins the team to manage the company’s consumer team.  Sarah has extensive experience having previously worked as marketing manager and Kings School Chester and with Marks & Spencer Money where she managed a range of financial services products.  Sarah also founded So Baby, a range of organic baby food that was sold in Waitrose, Tesco and Ocado.

Growing Team

The team has also been bolstered by the arrival of Jessica Pardoe who joins as a PR & Digital Media Executive.  Jess joins from Techmark and will now support the Source PR teams with digital PR, content marketing and social media management.

Louis Hill, Managing Director of Source PR, says: “These are exciting times for Source PR as we grow the team with some senior appointments and launch a new division specifically targeting those operating or looking to influence the rural sector.  We are well positioned for continued growth and to support our client’s ambitions.”

Source PR, located near Chester, is one of the region’s leading PR, marketing and digital agencies.  The company operates across the property, manufacturing and professional services sectors with clients including; Meadow Foods, Miller Homes and British Pipeline Agency.

If you’ve got a positive can do attitude and are looking for a career in PR or social media, contact us today.

PR TOP TIPS TO IMPLEMENT IN 2020

Public Relations (or PR) is said to be the second oldest profession, first implemented to spread the word about the quality and benefits of the world’s oldest profession.

The reality is that Public Relations has been around forever as people, companies or organisations look to raise their profile or the benefits of the good and services they offer.

The industry continues to evolve to reflect the changing media landscape and the ways in which audiences gather their information or are influenced by the world around them.

Despite these significant changes, much of the core principals remain the same.  We would suggest that companies large or small take stock and when looking ahead for 2020 ensure they consider the following five core pillars of success.

The five simple top tips:
  • Know your business, product or service – what are the key features or benefits and why is it different or better than others. This will help you to be clear on your proposition and what exactly you want to say.
  • Know your customers – who are you looking to influence and what are their behaviours? Your customers may be varied but map out who they are and what they do – if necessary, make plans specific to each audience.
  • Find a creative angle – Don’t be ego centric but think why is this relevant to my audiences and why is it of interest to them.
  • Share your news – if you don’t share your news then it’s unlikely that someone will do it for you. Make sure your your content is right for the platform and if targeting journalists make sure it’s relevant to them and their audiences
  • Don’t get stuck in a rut – PR and digital communications is changing rapidly and so are audience behaviours. If something does not work, try something new and different.

If you’re unsure of the best way forward, speak to an agency that is able to give you straight forward, honest advice.  We have PR, social media and digital clients across the North West, Wales and UK and our Chester PR, marketing and digital teams are available to support your business needs.

Finally, one last tip would be to be proactive.  2020 is a new year and therefore a new opportunity to make the right plans that will help take you and your business forward.

 

PR PLANNING FOR A NO DEAL BREXIT

Despite two years on negotiations it seems that no one is any clearer whether there will be a deal or not when it comes to the UK leaving the EU.

This has caused a huge amount of uncertainty in the business community, with many reluctant to spend on potentially unnecessary plans, while others are doing what they can to be ready for all eventualities.

The one thing that’s certain in this uncertain world is that businesses need to consider their communications when preparing for the various scenarios.  A business needs to assure and reassure audiences to show that that are in control, regardless of the outcomes.

Much of it comes down to sentiment – employees, customers and suppliers all need to feel confident that they can survive, or even thrive, regardless of the outcomes.  If they lose their confidence or feel threatened productivity is proven to fall and commercial confidence declines.

Get Ready for Brexit

The Government has launched a new ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ campaign to help provide answers to questions and to provide support to those preparing for our departure from the EU. We’d advise that all businesses provide something similar for their employees, suppliers and customers – considering what are the likely questions, what are the threats and also what opportunities are presented.

The food and drink industry is one that looks likely to be particularly affected.  The industry-backed Brexit Food Hub provides a place for businesses to go to access a wide range of official advice and expertise from UK food and agriculture partners, including the latest information as it becomes available.

As always, ‘front foot’ communications are best as it enables a company to put its best foot forward and be prepared to head off any negative PR or communications before they develop.  If caught off guard by the media, employees or even concerned customers, it’s harder to get on the front foot and paint the positive picture that gives assurance to your various stakeholders.

If you need help getting that message out there, or some guidance about how to prepare a communications plan for Brexit, please contact us today.

ARE WE THE BEST RURAL DIGITAL, COMMUNICATIONS OR MEDIA BUSINESS?

We’re delighted to announce that Source PR has been named as a finalist in this year’s Rural Business Awards in the Best Rural Digital, Communications or Media Business category.

The Rural Business Awards were established in 2014 to give recognition to businesses operating right across the Rural sector, to acknowledge the breadth and depth of opportunity presented by the Great British countryside, as well as to celebrate the achievements of rural businesses, from engineering through to artisan food producers and professional services organisations.

Source PR has been recognised for the excellent work they have been doing to support a range of rural businesses with their PR, digital and marketing communications campaigns.  The judges were particularly impressed with the work that Source had done communicating with farmers, landowners and estates across the country for a range of clients including BPA, Meadow Foods as well as a number of pubs and restaurants.

The Rural Business Awards, sponsored by Amazon, are fast becoming the UK’s most prestigious and respected awards for rural businesses, helping to develop a strong network and community of rural business owners.  The finals are decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, official government agencies and rural charitable organisations.

Louis Hill, Managing Director of Source PR, comments: “Reaching the finals of such a prestigious award is testament to the quality work the team delivers for clients day in day out.  Being situated in the heart of Cheshire, we’re well placed to work with a range of very successful rural businesses and help deliver effective PR, digital and communication campaigns that make a real difference.”

The biggest region

Source PR is a finalist in the North region which is the largest of all regions, encompassing the wild majesty of the Scottish Highlands and the picturesque rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Dales, dramatic windswept coastlines of Northumberland and the glittering tranquillity of the Lakes right the way down to Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Isle of Man and Cheshire.

After the second round of judging, the category winners for the North will be announced at the regional awards presentation on Friday 11th October 2019 at Newcastle University.

WHAT’S THE INFLUENCE OF INFLUENCERS?

Public relations has always been about influencing audiences and ensuring a brand or product is portrayed in the right light.

Ensuring you are able to influence those who have influence over others is a crucial part of the work whether targeting journalists, MPs or celebrities.  The advent and exponential growth of social media has however seen the emergence of ‘influencers’ whose sole purpose seems to be to share their experiences and influence others.

Admittedly, the successful influencers focus on a market segment as their area of authority, whether mums, teens, fashion bloggers or people with a passion for their homes to name just a few sectors.

‘Being an influencer’ is now one of the most popular career options for primary school children. Gone are the days of kids aspiring to be lawyers, astronauts or firemen – it’s now all about becoming an online influencer.

A survey by  global affiliate network www.awin.com showed that one in five (17 per cent) of kids now wants to be a social media influencer and 14 per cent wanted to be a YouTuber – only doctor (18 per cent) scored higher.

The role of influencers is can pay dividends for the individual as well as the brands looking to engage with audiences.   A Marketingcharts.com surveyfound 22 per cent of 18-34 year-olds made a large purchase after seeing an online influencer endorsing the item – be that games, fashion, make-up or hotels.  The challenge however is finding the right influencer, with a genuine following and who has authority and an ability to engage with their audiences.

This year’s Love Island is already spawning a new wave of ‘influencers’ with huge numbers of followers.  However, research has revealed that many of their followers are in fact fake, undermining their credibility.

Tommy Fury, the most-followed contestant, has 971,000 followers but well over half (60%) of those are fake.  The contestants whose Instagram profiles have the highest concentration of fake followers are Amber Rose Gill and Jordan Hames, at 65% each.

Six of the 17 contestant accounts were reported for suspicious activity, just weeks before the contestants were publicly announced. Strangely Anton Danyluk would appear to have great influencer and support in India, Brazil and Mexico – some of the most common countries where ‘bot farms are commonly located.

Last year, Instagram claimed it was intending to target fake likes and comments from users who use third-party apps to boost their popularity.  The issue is a serious one as research from Social Chain has reported that brands are being defrauded by up to 96% of what they spend with some influencers.

The message from this seems to be clear that when used correctly, influencers have a key role to play in successfully targeting audience groups.  However, remember to do your research to ensure you know exactly how much influence your influencer actually has.

SOCIAL, SALES & REPUTATION

Social media is ever-changing and ever-growing, with new updates bring the capability of sharing more and more information in different forms month on month. For businesses, this can seem like a perfect sales platform, with the ability to use strategic spend to target potential leads.

Of course, as social media companies recognise their worth to businesses, the cost to advertise goes up. But those looking to generate sales on social media shouldn’t be down-heartened – as a well-thought out and strategic ads campaign can still bring valuable results.

But we’re not here to talk about advertising strategies – let’s be honest, we’d be here for hours – but rather the value of non-sales focused social content. It can be tempting to see any posts that don’t directly link to sales goal as pointless, but it’s important to remember that social media shouldn’t be a platform with the sole purpose of sales.

Social media acts as the face of your business’ brand. Any potential customers will check social media pages to get a feel for what your brand does, and how you work. The amount of content you post, its relevance, the reactions you spark, your engagement and interactions all help to shape who you are in both your current and potential customers’ eyes.

Social media

Social media can, of course, support sales, but it’s also there to build and maintain reputation – an exercise which should never be underestimated. Having a solid, reliable reputation has no quantitative metrics to measure success, but it is vital for business growth. Constantly working on proactive reputation building essentially gives your business credibility points in the bank – credibility as a successful, industry-leading and valuable service for a customer to invest in.

So, when looking at your business’ social media: keep an open mind, and remember that thought out, strategized posts are still working to build your reputation and secure your long-term growth.

DIGITAL AGENCY – HOW THE TIMES ARE A CHANGIN’

When working in a digital agency in Chester and providing B2B PR or consumer PR clients with support and advice, it’s so important to keep up to date with the ever-changing world of new technologies, insights and applications.

Understanding and using new technologies helps keep you at the forefront of providing valuable advice and delivering current campaigns for clients that really work for businesses and customers alike.

If you stand still too long or stop to give yourself a pat on the back, there is a real chance that you’ll get left behind.  It’s fast moving, challenging but when compared to the old days of pure PR – very rewarding.

For years there was always the question of ‘how do you put a value on PR?’  Historically it was a measurement of column inches or messages density, but now there are so many additional factors that should be considered whether it’s directly reaching thousands of customers with engaging messages through social media or producing content that improves a client’s reputation or thought leadership position. Each post or article can be measured in terms of who read it and what action they took as a result.

Digital

With the growth in digital the whole world is more transparent.  The engagement on each post can be measured, the actual number of people who read an online article can be seen and the customer journey for each purchase can be viewed as cookies follow customers through their entire purchasing process.

This is great.  It helps justify marketing budgets and provides a real opportunity to show a return on an investment.  Most important of all is that it makes you realise that you are actually making a difference, that the work you’re creating is driving sales and that the campaigns work.  The times are changing and look set to continue to evolve which has to be great news for clients and digital PR agencies alike – as long as you can keep up.

PR TRENDS FOR 2019..?

It would not be January without a wave of predictions from PR and digital agencies about what’s in store for marketeers in 2019.  So, we’ve asked around the office for our own insights and thoughts and compiled what we believe will be some of the PR and digital trends for the year ahead…

It’s all about influence

Influencer marketing will continue to be a key platform for PRs to extend the reach and position of client brands.  However, if the economy declines post Brexit we may see a consolidation of budgets and a check in the increasingly disproportionate costs charged by some influencers.  Savvy PRs will spot the up and coming influencers and ensure a brand is well positioned and appropriately exposed to generate the best ROI.

Continued pressures on traditional media. 

Traditional media reach is likely to continue to decline, but value remains through targeted exposure, brand leadership as well as links to a client’s website.  Clients will need to be comfortable with using sponsored content as part of their mix as 75% of communications professionals are already using it in their strategies to support the publishers hungry for new forms of revenue.

Strategic partners

As traditional media declines, PR agencies will increasingly be used as a strategic communications partner to clients, whether media relations, content creation or social media management.  Let’s also not forget the ability to identify opportunities for news stories and provide first-class content journalists can use.

Good PR professionals will help clients develop on-going relationships with a broad range of audiences across a range of interest segments. As a result, clients will expand and deepen their reach by securing a share of audience attention through consistent content distributed across multiple channels.

Message development

PR agencies should tailor their messages to include more visual, video and voice content depending on which device is used.  This is best achieved by creating bespoke content across multiple channels to expand and deepen a client’s reach.

Great content needs to tell a story, not just for the media but all audiences.  Also, expand the audiences you work with to include a broader set of partners: websites, content syndicators, trade associations and others who can help bring your story to a wider audience.

Positive year

PR agencies are the marketing sector’s best content creators and storytellers, and have the unique opportunity to support clients across the communications spectrum whether the space is paid for, earned, shared or owned by clients. To have a successful 2019, PR agencies needs to be confident with numbers, data, software and proving their ROI in the increasingly digital world.

IT’S MORE THAN JUST THE MESSAGE

Anyone who’s been involved in media training or been interviewed on TV or radio has probably been advised to focus on three or four key messages to ensure that they get their point across.

Fair enough, and there’s no denying that is some pretty sound advice, particularly if there is the potential for the interview to become complex or to be pulled in different directions.

There is however one problem, and that problem has been beautifully highlighted by someone who should quite frankly know better.  Our esteemed PM.

She could be accused of running perhaps the worst political campaign this century when she squandered a 20 point lead in the polls, to nearly lose the General Election to an opposition that many had predicted would be wiped off the political landscape.

What went wrong?

So, what went so wrong? In my view it was the over use of the ‘Strong and stable leadership’ message.  People started counting the absurd number of repetitions and it was not long before the memes started and social media undermined the message – along with the robot like delivery.  I believe Ikea even used it in their advertising along with a picture of the PM seated at a desk with the caption “strong and stable” shelving.

Theresa May, and many of her ministers, forgot one of the most important elements of an interview and that’s to add some personality and dynamism if you’re looking to attract support and get people to back your cause.

This is not meant to be a party political broadcast for any party or policy, but I fear that she’s falling into the same trap when looking to secure the votes needed to deliver on her Brexit proposals.

Let’s keep an ear out for how many times she says; “It’s a good deal for our country that takes back control of our borders, laws and money…”.  We have less than a fortnight before the ‘meaningful vote’ so no doubt plenty of time to be driven mad by the repetition.

If she wants the message to cut through she will need to not just repeat it like a small child on a drum kit, but instead install confidence and support through her body language, confidence in her convictions and even tone of voice.

If not, she’ll run the risk of only ever beings seen as ‘May-bot’ who is good at reciting messages but misses the bigger picture.

Looking to develop your communications strategy or develop messages? Get in touch and let us help you through the process.