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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.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TAKES A NEW TWIST

Social media management takes a new twist as Twitter announces plans to ban political ads from its service globally, with the action to come into force on 22 November.

The broad ban will cover all adverts specific to candidates and issues, however some ads will be allowed to remain, including those encouraging people to vote. The organisation says, via a tweet, that they ‘believe political message reach should be earned, not bought…?’.

This comes ahead of the US Presidential election campaign as well as the General Election here in the UK.   Although on one level it makes sense and provides more of a level playing field for campaigners, regardless of their financial backing, it does open a whole area of debate.

Some of the key points that come to mind, include whether it is right for a media outlet to ban all political advertising or would it be better to implement the existing guidelines on advertising that prevent false claims, libel or malign forces acting inappropriately?

There are also a number of very grey areas including; what exactly determines a political advert?  Should the ban cover all topics relating to racial equality, women’s rights or even climate change?  It’s clear that an all-out ban would be hard to police, subjective as to what areas are covered and could pose more problems than it answers.

There is no doubt that ‘fake news’ or worse still intentionally deceptive stories should be more effectively managed on-line or at least come with an open disclaimer.  There is a growing problem of fake news as it polarises opinion, misleads and unduly influences susceptible voters – often even making the news in more genuine outlets.

The Conservative Party has also recently been told off for doctoring a video of Sir Keir Starmer outlining Labour’s position on Brexit.  Anyone with a modicum of intelligence could immediately tell it was a ‘joke’, however there is a fear that over policing of such activities or such extreme social media management could both dry up political debate but worse still put politics above mockery – at a time when our political leaders are opening themselves to satire and Spitting Image is making a timely comeback.

Twitter exemptions

As we wait for the full details of Twitter exemptions next month, it’s a shame that a media outlet is planning to unilaterally determine what advertisers can or can’t say and to therefore ironically have an influence on a political outcome.  Perhaps it is because they simply want to apply pressure on competitors like Facebook who secure significant revenue streams from political advertisers?

The media is no doubt changing and rightfully so.  We must however welcome, embrace and use new digital communications platforms but it’s critically important that the media operates to a level playing field where rules regarding false promises or advertising are closely monitored and managed.  If that is the case then there would be no need for media outlets to take matters into their own hands and influence their own audiences by determining what they’re willing to share with their customers.

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.

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.

ELMAC TECHNOLOGIES TURN TO SOURCE PR FOR PR AND SOCIAL SUPPORT

Elmac Technologies, head quartered in North Wales, has appointed Source PR to support the business with their media relations, social media management and stakeholder engagement.  The company is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Flame Arresters, supplying clients and distributors around the world.

Elmac’s innovative Flame Arresters and Low-Pressure Venting Equipment are utilised by OEM’s and Operators in a wide range of industry sectors including; petrochemicals, oil and gas, bio-fuels, mining, pharmaceuticals, power generation, agrochemicals and distilleries.

Source PR has been appointed to raise awareness of the company’s state-of-the-art design, manufacturing, testing and commercial facilities as well as its comprehensive range of enhanced In-Line and End-of-Line Deflagration Arresters and In-Line Unstable Detonation Arresters. The Elmac product range also incorporates a wide range of valves and other low-pressure venting equipment designed to meet client-specific requirements.

Louis Hill, Managing Director at Source PR, comments: “Elmac is centred on delivering its core purpose of protecting people, property and the planet. The company has a truly global reach and we have exciting plans in place to help communicate the innovative R&D, efficient operations and unparalleled customer service they deliver.”

Digital communications

Award winning Source PR is headquartered in Chester and offers a range of communications services including public relations, social media management, content management as well as digital communications.  The company has clients across the UK, offering a range of B2B and B2C communications advice.

COLLEGIATE AC TURN TO SOURCE PR FOR STRATEGIC PR SUPPORT

Collegiate AC, one of Europe’s leading providers of contemporary student accommodation, has appointed Source PR to help them raise their profile across Europe as the company looks to secure a second wave of strategic investment.

The company currently manages more than 20 developments across the UK, Spain and Portugal with schemes typically between €35m to €100m in gross development value.  In total, they currently manage assets to a value of nearly £2bn.

Collegiate has announced its intention to raise a further £2bn of strategic investment to expand the company’s portfolio to new and existing territories across Europe and has asked Source PR to help raise awareness of the business and the opportunities presented.

Louis Hill, Managing Director of Source PR, comments: “This is a great win for the team and a further endorsement of the work we have been undertaking for clients across the property sector.  We’re excited to be involved with such an innovative and forward looking brand of student accommodation.”

Corporate PR

Headquartered in Oxford, Collegiate has a major European office in the heart of Madrid where it has an in-house team of four full time architects supporting European design, specification, procurement and construction. Collegiate AC has a reputation for delivering state of the art residences using efficient construction methods to deliver investor objectives.

Award winning Source PR is headquartered in Chester and offers a range of communications services including public relations, social media management, content management as well as digital communications.  The company has clients across the UK, offering a range of B2B and B2C communications advice.

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.

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.

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.

‘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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