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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.

Back to School: What is Marketing?

‘So, what is marketing?’

I wasn’t expecting such a simple question to stump me for what felt like five very long seconds. We were attending the Careers Day at the local Ellesmere College, and we were prepped with a banner and on-brand coloured cupcakes (we know what kids want), ready to speak to students about a career in marketing, PR and communications.

We’re used to dealing with professionals who want to know how digital marketing can work cohesively with traditional PR, or how we can maximise the benefits of influencer partnerships on social media – we’re never asked a simple question which essentially asks, ‘what is that you do, every day?’

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein famously said that “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” We weren’t dealing with six year olds here, we were talking about our industry with curious and intelligent teenagers at a crucial decision-making point in their lives.

As well as being able to help young people as they start to carve the beginnings of their future careers, the afternoon gave us an opportunity to take a step back and go back to basics: what is it that we offer?

After a couple of practice groups of students who feigned a remarkable interest whilst clearly eyeing up the baked goods, I got into the swing of it: we essentially offer a subtle form of advertising.

As opposed to large, in-your-face adverts on the side of the motorway or shoved between TV shows (which of course do have their place), we work with businesses to identify their target audience and, most crucially, understand them. Then we use a whole host of communication lines from news stories, to profiling, to social media in order to influence their audience towards the business. This comes together into a holistic campaign, using every tool we’ve got to ensure that your brand is in front of the right people, saying the right things.

If you’ve got a growing business and thinking of taking your first step into marketing, just get in touch for a laid back chat – you never know, we might even have cake.

MAKE IT, DON’T FAKE IT

Since Donald Trump’s election the term ‘fake news’ is being increasingly used to discredit all sorts of stories which people don’t agree with, from heavyweight political scandals to the quirky, more light hearted stories commonly found on social media.

So what is ‘fake news’? Essentially it’s when outlets deliberately publish hoaxes, propaganda and disinformation purporting to be real news, often using social media to drive web traffic and amplify the effect.

Why bother?  Well it’s all about generating clicks and advertising revenue, or to enhance, discredit or boost a person, policy or organisation.  Fake news can take many forms but is principally based around;

  • Disinformation: False information which is intended to mislead the audience, rather than explain the full story
  • Propaganda or spin: One-sided information, which often omits key facts or evidence which contradicts it
  • Subjective news: The presentation of one side of an argument more positively than the other
  • Infotainment: Usually stories about celebrities which are based largely on opinions rather than facts.

It could be argued that companies and media outlets have been peddling fake news for ages but the issue appears to be growing as the growth in news channels and social media platforms is pushing ‘editors’ to become more creative with their content in order to attract readers and page visits.  However, if regularly delivering fake news they risk undermining the reputation of their organisations as respected news channel.

Protect your reputation

The same applies to businesses or individuals who seek to mislead their audiences for short term gain.  If you have built up good contacts in the media, you can also quickly lose your goodwill by getting them to help spread stories about your business which aren’t strictly true.

Importantly, it can also damage a client’s authority and position as a media expert in their field and ultimately destroy the trust between your business and your customers, with obvious consequences.

We’d advise against propagating fake news but instead developing meaningful and trustworthy relationships with the media and other digital platforms that build credibility and authority in a sector or service.

Don’t issue news stories unless the story is genuinely newsworthy, which means there needs to be something about your story that makes it interesting and prompts people to read it. Think about your audience and ask why they should care about your story.  Is it something they need to know? Is it something that they need answering? Can your story help them in any way?

Also be mindful of what you like or share on social media. It’s easy to inadvertently like, retweet or share a fake news story. But if you do, you’re unwittingly helping to spread the fake news or even endorse it.

Certain sections of the PR industry are renowned for using trickery, sleight of hand and dark arts to pull the wool over people’s eyes on behalf of their clients.  But if you’ve got a good story to tell, why rely on cheap gimmicks?  At Source PR we offer straightforward, effective and most importantly honest advice.  That’s the best way to build relationships and get results without the need for fake news.

Modern Communications and Word of Mouth

A short while ago, news reached the UK that blood donors in Sweden receive a text message when their blood has been used to save someone’s life. For so many reasons, this is an excellently admirable scheme – those who are kind enough to give up their time to donate blood should be applauded, and communication to let them know that they’ve saved a life right there and then is the perfect way to let the magnitude of their kindness really hit home.

 

Whenever anyone’s using modern communications in new ways, our ears are always pricked – and with this innovative use of mobile communication, we started to think: could an initiative aimed to give back to the public, actually end up driving business goals?

 

Communication between businesses and their customers is the key topic here. By keeping customers, in this case the donors, updated throughout the entire blood journey they’ll feel more connected to the entire process. So whether you’re collecting donations or selling goods and services, keeping your customers linked and connected to the journey will only ever make them feel more valued.

 

Then you’ve got to look further down the line. If you receive a message saying that your blood has just saved another human being’s life, that’s hardly something you’re going to keep to yourself. When you get that incredibly unusual and special message, the natural reaction is to share it. Using modern communication tools sparks the unstoppable chain that is word of mouth – suddenly, a whole new group of people are aware of the service and its cause, and they can then go on to tell their work colleagues the next day about this unbelievable message their friend received.

 

By crafting the right words and sending them the right way, modern communication tools and old fashioned word of mouth work hand in hand to build and drive a brand’s message. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, by creating a unique and engaging story to communicate to your customers, you’ve started a campaign of brand awareness that has an infinite finish line.

Where will competitors be spending their Marketing Budgets in 2018?

It’s a competitive world out there with ambitious businesses each seeking a secret recipe for a successful ‘marketing mix’ to help them win business and out compete competitors.  So, to help those who may be a little lost or unsure, we thought it would be useful to share what our clients are doing and the marketing trends that are proving popular in 2018.

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‘The Source’ of 2017’s Success

The Christmas and New Year break was over before we knew it, and now 2018 is in full swing. To beat the ‘January Blues’, here at The Source we’re keeping positive by reminiscing about the finest moments of last year. 2017 was filled with incredible cultural moments, from that ‘oops’ moment at the Oscars (how will we ever forget the Moonlight and La La Land mix up?!) to the recent royal engagement, but away from all the crazy going-ons of the outside world, nestled in the quaint village of Tattenhall, we had quite the year ourselves. From team expansions, to new clients, awards and of course, a rebrand! In case you missed any of our highlights from the past year, we thought we’d share them with you here.

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Client Awards: TIMco Wins Big at NBG Awards

One of our longest standing clients, TIMco have had an incredibly successful awards season so far scooping not one or even two, but three award wins at the NBG Awards 14thNovember at a Gala Dinner in the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool.

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Win or Lose – the Value of Awards

No matter what industry you’re in, we can guarantee that there will be awards which your business could enter. From restaurants, to recruitment, to agriculture – all sectors relish the chance to bring together the best of the best and recognise excellence. But there’s more value to entering awards than the winning itself. To win an industry award is, of course, incredible – but that’s not the be all and end all…

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