Neuromarketing: Why Building An Emotional Connection Is Important

Ever wondered why we make those impulse buys, why we choose one colour over another and why some brands resonate with us whilst others don’t? 

The truth is, whilst we like to think that our decisions are underpinned by logic, a lot of the time our decision making is actually driven by our subconscious minds. In fact, Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman says that 95% percent of our purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious.  

Over the last decade, marketeers have caught onto the idea of looking into consumer ‘brainfluences’ to predict consumer preferences. This has led to a newfound and exciting way of conducting market research known as neuromarketing.  

What Is Neuromarketing? 

Neuromarketing, or consumer neuroscience, explores how we can use neuroscience to examine how our minds work and gain insight into consumer behaviour.  

Whilst traditional market research relies on the likes of engagement analytics and surveys, neuromarketing uses advanced scientific metrics such as heart rate monitoring, facial expressions tracking, eye-tracking, electroencephalograms (EEGs) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).  

In essence, neuromarketing looks into the nitty-gritty of what makes us tick and can be an incredibly useful tool for gathering consumer insight. 

How Has Neuromarketing Been Used So Far?

Neuromarketing is a very pricey method of market research and only super brands such as Coca-Cola, Yahoo and Facebook have been able to check out the field so far.  

In 2018, Hyundai created a unique experiment to find out what consumers would consider as the most positive colour. In the experiment, participants were placed in a blank room that lit up one colour at a time. These participants were also hooked up to EEGs, that read the electrical activity inside their brains, and other bio-sensory tools that read heart rate and galvanic skin response. Hyundai were then able to extract emotional data as to what the individual was feeling in response to a certain colour i.e., bored, excited, relaxed or focused. The result: the colour blue was found to be the happiest colour. Despite ‘feeling blue’ giving it a bad rep, blue was found to be stimulating, energising and comforting. Since the experiment, Hyundai have injected touches of blue through its vehicles.  

Hilton Hotels have been another to experiment with neuromarketing. In 2020, during a conference in Liverpool, guests toured around displays and event stands. Hilton Hotels had placed 24 carefully positioned cameras that tracked each person’s movements and changes in expression as they moved between stalls. This Zenus Emotion AI technology was able to monitor even the most subtle of contractions in an individual’s facial muscles. By using facial expressions tracking to gauge how guests were feeling, the results found that a puppies-and-ice-cream stall was more engaging than the open bar. Though sounding a touch trivial (I know), the same system can be used to detect threat at border checkpoints, evaluate job candidates and monitor levels of boredom. 

Once more, in 2021, Procter & Gamble used an eye-tracking software to monitor participant eye movement and focus when watching some P&G mobile ads. The tool was able to detect which parts of the ads were more engaging and how consumer gaze patterns changed over time. This allowed P&G to tailor their content to better capture consumer attention and evoke the desired emotional response.  

The Future Of Neuromarketing  

Neuromarketing is an advanced method of helping brands to further personalise messages to suit individual customers, understand their emotional responses and use that data to better design products and services. Over the coming years, neuromarketing is expected to witness exponential growth and has a predicted 2029 market worth of USD 2.41 billion. 

That said, looking scientifically into consumer emotions is a difficult metric to capture and far too out of budget for most. However, what we can take away from this emerging discipline is the idea that forging an emotional connection with audiences adds tremendous value.  

Consumers are more driven by emotional responses than we think. The 2024 marketing statistics show:  

  • Ads portraying above-average emotional responses have a 23% potential sales increase 
  • Negative headlines have 30% higher click-through rates than ones with positive superlatives 
  • 82% of highly emotional brand-engaged consumers buy from their brand based on loyalty 

So, the science shows that emotions get the better of us. Building trust, echoing warm values, sparking excitement or even outrage is what draws customers the most. Putting emphasis on what you want to make your target audience feel and how you are going to make them feel that way should be an essential in your PR and marketing strategy.  

At Source PR, our range of marketing and digital strategies allow us to create a bespoke service that suits your chosen audience’s needs. To find out more, click here 

Why Is Press Coverage So Important For A Business?

Being featured in newspapers, magazines, on radio and TV is an unparalleled win for a business. It’s a remarkable way to cultivate influence, establish yourself in your industry, and amplify brand awareness. However, many smaller businesses often face challenges in terms of both knowledge and time when attempting to establish their presence.

The good news is that with a dash of knowledge and a PR team behind you, together we can master your media coverage journey.

 

The Power of Press Coverage

Press coverage can be a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. It’s like an amplifier that broadcasts your achievements, products, and stories to a wider audience. From boosting brand visibility and credibility, to attracting potential clients and investors, press coverage opens doors that might otherwise remain closed.

In today’s digital age, press coverage has transcended traditional print and broadcast mediums. Online articles, social media shares, and digital platforms give your story an extended shelf life. A well-placed article can generate a ripple effect, as readers share, comment, and engage with your content across the vast expanse of the internet. This amplification can drive organic traffic to your website, expand your online presence, and spark conversations that can shape your brand narrative.

Navigating the Time Maze

Crafting compelling press coverage takes time – time that many business owners often find themselves lacking. This is where a skilled PR team shines. We’re your dedicated time-savers, using our expertise to define and target the most appropriate media outlets for your business. Your focus remains on your core operations, while we work tirelessly to ensure your story gets the attention it deserves.

And when the opportunity for coverage knocks, timing is crucial. A PR team is prepared to seize these moments without hesitation. They have the flexibility to scale their efforts based on the urgency of the situation, whether it’s a breaking news story, a product launch, or an industry event. By having a team dedicated to monitoring, strategizing, and executing press opportunities, you ensure that no chance for impactful coverage slips through the cracks.

Pitch Perfect Strategy

The art of pitching is where a PR team truly shines. In a world where attention spans are shorter than ever, conciseness is key. A pitch that rambles on risks losing the attention of time-strapped journalists. A PR team understands the art of concise communication, distilling your story into a punchy yet informative message that grabs attention from the first sentence. Every word is carefully chosen to convey your story’s essence without overwhelming the reader.

We craft pitches that resonate with journalists and editors, focusing on what makes your story relevant, unique, and newsworthy. By tailoring our approach, we increase the likelihood of your story catching their eye and earning a place in their publication.

Tapping into the Right Connections

Ever heard the phrase “it’s not just what you know, but who you know”? In the world of PR, this rings true. Our extensive network of media contacts spans different industries and locations. This means we know exactly who to approach for specific topics, giving your story a higher chance of being picked up by the right people in the right places.

The Follow-Up Game

Getting a pitch accepted is just one step in the process. The follow-up is where the magic happens. We don’t just send a pitch and cross our fingers; we meticulously follow up, nurturing relationships and addressing any concerns. Our persistence ensures that your story remains on the radar until it’s a published reality.

Managing Expectations, Delivering Results

Here at Source PR, we believe in transparent communication. Managing client expectations is a cornerstone of our approach. While we work thoroughly to secure press coverage, it’s important to remember that not every pitch will result in an immediate feature. Sometimes, it’s about timing, the news cycle, or the angle. Rest assured, we’re committed to continuously refining our strategy and delivering tangible results.

 

In conclusion, press coverage is a potent tool that can elevate your business to new heights. Yet, navigating the complex world of media requires finesse, time, and an insider’s perspective. A dedicated PR team like ours can be your guiding light, ensuring your stories are strategically targeted, perfectly pitched, and relentlessly pursued. By enlisting our expertise, you gain more than just press coverage – you gain a partner dedicated to propelling your business forward.

 

Ready to take the plunge and harness the power of press coverage? Contact us today and embark on your new PR journey with Source.

The Power Of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) In PR

CSR or corporate social responsibility is something that businesses of all shapes and sizes are incorporating into their operations and it’s something we like to do with almost all of our clients at Source as it can be an invaluable tool for building a business’ profile.

From conglomerates to regional SMEs, companies are increasingly recognising the importance of integrating positive social and environmental policies into the business.

Whether its reducing plastic waste or funding community projects, CSR initiatives are a great way to build brand reputation and attractiveness to customers but without PR, your good work will be hidden from view.

Here at Source PR, we have the tools and the team to get your positive work out there and really showcase your commitment to worthy causes and ethical operations.

Why should you promote CSR initiatives?

 

Enhancing your industry reputation

CSR initiatives are a great way to demonstrate, to customers and investors, that your business is committed to socially and environmentally sustainable operations, beyond simply profit-making.

By promoting these initiatives through PR in the form of media coverage of social media campaigns, your business can build a positive reputation among key stakeholders and really strengthen your brand image.

These days, it matters to consumers, customers and stakeholders that, as a business, you’re having a positive impact on the world around you and are increasingly conscious of company practice.

In fact, 88% of consumers across the globe would choose to buy from a business that engaged in sustainable practices over ones that didn’t.

Whether it’s an environmental accreditation or a workplace support scheme, these initiatives are definitely worth shouting about!

Getting ahead in a competitive market

One of the key reasons why companies turn to PR agencies is to get ahead of their competition and in a competitive marketplace, CSR can really set you apart from other businesses.

We operate as an extension of your team so we’re able to quickly understand the sector you’re in and utilise key channels such as social media or news publications to showcase your CSR efforts.

This can help to highlight initiatives such as community engagement, approach to operating sustainably or employee welfare and give you an edge over competitors who may be slow off the mark in adopting these practices.

Retaining and attracting talent

Employees are, of course, the most important assets of any company and ensuring that you can retain and attract the best talent is vital to the long-term success of your business.

When it comes to applying for roles, people aren’t necessarily looking at the profits you turned, they want to work for an employer that cares about their employees and operates ethically.

By promoting CSR initiatives through PR, businesses can showcase their commitment to causes such as mental health awareness and employee welfare which will help attract talent.

This can also boost the engagement and job satisfaction of existing employees, which is critical as ultimately, engaged employees are more likely to stay with the company and the high cost of hiring can be minimised.

B2C CSR

Here at Source, our B2C team work closely with clients to develop long-term CSR strategy that can effectively build brand reputation among their target audience and, ultimately, appeal to a more socially and environmentally conscious consumer base.

Miller Homes North West

We’ve enjoyed working with the North West arm of housebuilders Miller Homes for over 10 years and have consistently helped them to operate successful CSR campaigns.

Back in September 2022, Miller introduced its new Community Fund initiative, which was set up to provide community and charity groups across the North West with the opportunity to apply for donations between £250 and £2,000.

We’ve loved playing our part in helping our client to give back to groups and causes that are local to the areas in which Miller are developing.

This campaign has seen the housebuilder make a real difference in communities across the region with donations being made to inspiring schools, vital food banks, and some incredible charities.

We’ve then been able to showcase the amazing work that Miller is doing through the Community Fund, by securing coverage in local media which demonstrates to target audiences that the company is committed to giving back and helping crucial local causes.

Getting this message across helps to build Miller’s reputation among potential customers and ultimately helps to grow the company’s positive brand image.

B2B CSR

Promoting CSR initiatives among B2B companies, is just as important as B2C and that’s why our team work in partnership with clients to develop initiatives that will help the business to attract potential customers and set themselves apart from competition.

Meadow

Meadow, a leading ingredients business, is a company we’ve enjoyed long-lasting partnership with and whose key PR objective is promoting their commitment to operating sustainably.

Sustainability is the business’ top priority and we’ve been on hand to help Meadow communicate key brand messages, such as their decarbonisation strategy, through features, thought leadership pieces and particularly social media.

During Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, we worked with Meadow to highlight the excellent mental health support initiatives that the company has in place through social media communications on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The social posts reached over 6,000 people during the week and helped to showcase Meadow’s commitment to supporting its employees and partner farmers through support systems like their amazing mental health first aiders.

Social media campaigns such as this one can really help when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent as it demonstrates to employees (and potential employees) that this is a business that cares about the wellbeing of its staff.

If you think the team at Source could help you with your PR or media relations, get in touch!

Fake News & Clickbait… Who’s Views Are You Getting On Social Media?

One of my favourite adverts back in the 1990s was from The Independent newspaper (now the i-newspaper of course). The ad drew the reader’s attention to the fact that the majority of large mainstream newspapers back in the day were owned and operated by ‘media moguls’.

The advert cleverly printed ‘Conrad Black’ into the same font and layout of the famous Daily Telegraph and the name ‘Rupert Murdock’ into The Times mast head.  The objective being that they were trying to convey that the newspapers were anything but independent and instead simply portraying the views of their owners and paymaster generals.

Historically, Britain has proudly had one of the freest and boldest press corps in the world that rightfully and skilfully has ‘held power to account without fear of favour’.  The highlighting of the newspaper ownership therefore resonated with me as we were often advised (when studying history at university) to look at the author of the work before determining any bias to the information presented.

As technologies and 24 hour news cycles developed, the pressures on newspapers to keep up has been intense.  Not only have they seen significant drops in readership that have led to a corresponding drop in revenue, but we are also seeing strategies that undermine the quality of the news presented in an effort to attract readers to more sensational stories – otherwise known as clickbait.

The sad reality however is that newspapers are not winning.  Recent research now shows the impact social media is having on not only everyday life but also on what we view, believe and how we consume information.

On average, UK consumers already spend an hour and 52 minutes every day on social media, with over half of them using the platforms to post or send private messages (56%) and to stay in touch with family and friends (53%).

Interestingly, nearly 8 out of 10 (79%) of 16 to 24 year olds say that social media is their main source of news.  Due to the open platform nature of social media, the quality and content of this news is very hard to regulate and there have been numerous cases of alleged ‘fake news’ whether relating to the US elections, Covid management or celebrity stories.

Although UK law allows users to report illicit content to the police, there is currently no legislation covering social media regulation nor the publication of ‘fake news’. The process of putting in place a form of regulation has been in progress for quite some time, however it has received heavy criticism for long delays in its implementation.

The Online Harms Bill, first proposed by Theresa May’s government in April 2019, sets out strict guidelines governing the removal of illegal content such as terrorist material or media that promotes suicide. Social networking sites must obey these rules or face being blocked in the UK.  This may be all well and good but there is disagreement as to where to draw the line between ‘harmful’ and free speech and who will be responsible for policing the content which is likely to be a much more complex affair.

The recent Covid pandemic highlighted just how complex the issue is.  Faced with a serious threat to public health, the government looked to ‘control the narrative’ both in mainstream media and also online. Many of the legacy media outlets towed the line with regard to messaging, in part due to government media spend, and also through their ‘public duty’ however social media platforms came under scrutiny over the content of posts that were shared.

In some cases the platforms were accused of sharing ‘conspiracy theories’ that challenged the narrative, while those sharing the alternative views felt that they had their accounts arbitrarily cancelled or ‘shadow banned’ where the content of their posts did not reach their usual audiences.  By May 2021, Facebook’s fact checking team had removed 16 million pieces of content and added warnings to around 167 million posts. YouTube removed more than 850 000 videos related to “dangerous or misleading Covid-19 medical information.”

This raises the question as to who are the fact checkers and what medical or specialist knowledge do they have to undertake their roles?  Professor Sander van der Linden, a professor of social psychology in society at Cambridge University comments: “I think it’s quite dangerous for scientific content to be labelled as misinformation, just because of the way people might perceive that.”

This naturally leads to the question on who is determining what is right or wrong on social platforms as this in turn leads to what can and can’t be shared.

We have already seen the democratically elected President of the United States banned on Twitter.  If a company’s executive team are calling the shots on essentially who has a voice or not, this has serious implications.  The new owner, Mr Musk, has also introduced a subscription cost to Twitter, suggestion those who don’t cough up will have their accounts effectively silenced.  It begs the question as to what other topics or views could be silenced if they don’t marry with his agenda?

 

Fake news & Click bait - Trump banned from Twitter

Fake news & Click bait – Trump banned from Twitter

Twitter is not alone, TikTok is facing a total US ban because of its Chinese ownership (with the US government afraid of data being shared with a malign body and the potential influence it could have on a population).  If this happens I would expect other countries to follow.

The algorithms of the platforms already favour certain content over others and decide who has their views shared over others.  This is most apparent in how businesses now essentially need to pay to be heard on any platform. As the saying goes, “If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

With more than 12.5bn hours collectively spent by the UK population on social media in 2021 (or an equivalent of 1.4million years for one person!) and five out of the top 20 websites being social platforms, social content undoubtedly has the biggest influence on today’s population.

As social media and their platform’s owners become more powerful, just as it was back in the 1990s with newspapers, we all need to consider who really owns these platforms, as this massively influences what we watch, listen to read and absorb.

Industry Awards – Are They Worth It?

As we spring into the awards season, many businesses and teams may now be thinking of being recognised for all their hard work over the last year by entering an award. No matter the sector you work in, there will be an award category your business can enter.

As a PR agency, something we often get asked is whether awards are really worth entering? The short answer is YES! Although time and money goes into entering them, the potential rewards you and your business can reap make it all worthwhile. Plus, you can always look at hiring a company such as ourselves to help compile your award entries to make the process a whole lot easier!

Let’s delve into why your business should be entering industry awards!

From boosting your brand to improving your business’ reputation, entering industry awards is an essential part of marketing, and as PR professionals it’s something we encourage all our clients to get involved with.

We always say it’s not the winning that’s important, it’s the taking part and with industry awards, this couldn’t be truer! It’s all about recognition and getting your brand/business out there. When entering awards, more often than not the organisations will post shortlists of the finalists across their website, social media, and even in local the local press. So even before the final judgment call, your business has already had its fair share of exposure as a reputable candidate for an award. A win-win essentially!

Let’s take a further look at the benefits of entering industry awards…

Better brand credibility

Being nominated and winning an award is a great way of distinguishing your business from competitors, as well as serving as an effective and authentic brand endorsement.

We can’t help but associate ‘award-winning’ with an established, reliable business, so advertising your shortlists and wins across your websites and social platforms is a great way to promote your business to potential clients and customers as an industry winner, essentially being quality assured.

A great marketing tool

With winning an award comes sharing your successes. Shouting your gains is a fantastic way to earn more exposure and brand awareness. Being quality assured through the win will also likely gain a wider customers and clientele base as this new exposure is a quick and effective way to build a reputation or credibility in a sector.

Not just for big businesses!

Even if you run a small business never let that fact deter you from achieving recognition. No matter the company, big or small, everyone puts in a lot of hard work and determination to make their venture a successful one. Small businesses have equal opportunities and often specific categories that allow you to compete with the bigger businesses.  Being nominated, shortlisted or winning can also put you on the same level as the other businesses within the category.

 

At Source PR, we have had many years of experience working with clients both small and large and entering businesses into awards.  We are also pleased to have assisted many of our clients in gaining the recognition they deserve across a number of awarding bodies.

Interested in entering your business into industry awards? Introducing Source PR – where our team of skilled professionals can take your business to the next level. If you’d like to find out more about how Source PR can support you, drop our friendly team a line. We’re always happy to chat.

#CheshireDay… Our Cheshire Story

Next week marks #CheshireDay, something we all like to get behind here at Source PR. Our business is based on the outskirts of Chester city centre, in Tattenhall – a lovely rural village, and most of our team have either lived or worked in the county for many years.

This year, the theme is ‘Your Cheshire Story’ so we thought it a great time to share not only Source’s, but some of our team’s too – and what makes Cheshire so special to them.

Our Cheshire Story – Source PR

A PR and social media agency just outside of Chester, Source has been Cheshire-based for its whole life – which is over 15 years! Our offices are currently in an old-converted school building on Tattenhall’s historic high street Our founder Louis has lived in the county for a large part of his life, and is what we would call an old Cheshire veteran… There aren’t many places he can walk into without knowing at least a couple of people!

Several of our clients are based in Cheshire or in the North West, and we’re proud to support businesses born and bred in the region including Three Wrens Gin, Combermere Abbey, Bear Inns and Meadow. We’ve helped local businesses right from their inception – such as Bradwall Bakehouse, right through to supporting established brands and growing their reputation both locally and nationally.

Cheshire will always hold a special place in our hearts, and so we like to give back to it where we can too. All of our team enjoy volunteering days where they can support charities and organisations of their choosing, and a couple of years ago we pledged to offer free PR support to the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, getting them featured on the likes of the BBC and ITV which we’re told made a huge difference to their fundraising during lockdown!

It’s not just Louis who’s lived and worked in Cheshire for many years, we’ve got team members who grew up here, studied here, or who’ve just come here to work for us! Being a flexible employer means we’ve been able to bring in talent from Merseyside, Shropshire and Staffordshire to join Source PR and offer their fantastic PR skills to Cheshire businesses and beyond. Let’s hear from them…

Their Cheshire Stories – The Team

Jessica Pardoe, Account Manager

“My first job in Cheshire was at Source, before that I’d lived and worked in both Liverpool and Manchester (despite being from Staffordshire – I get around I know!). I’ve been here coming up to 3 and a half years now, and I’m still as in love with the county as I was the day I first stepped through our office doors.

I’ll never get over the ‘I’m ever so lucky’ feeling when instead of sitting in traffic on the motorway, I’m driving through the countryside. I meet cows and sheep on my morning commute instead of angry drivers! I’ve had a lot to do with the Cheshire community since working at Source, from getting to know local influencers and journalists, to joining amazing groups such as the Cheshire Creatives Club and even giving talks there. There’s a great supportive community that are very welcoming to outsiders (though I don’t think I class myself as one anymore 😉).

So that’s my short but sweet Cheshire story. I hope I work here foreverrrrrr.”

Jill Mathers, Junior Account Executive

“After finishing my degree at John Moores University, Liverpool I had taken my first full-time role with Source PR, located in the beautiful Tattenhall. It was my first proper experience of the British countryside, and it was breathtaking!

I loved the area so much that I later moved to Chester where I spent many of my evenings after work beside the canal with a Cheshire ice cream in hand! Being from Ireland, it was scary to move somewhere new, but Cheshire has been the first place I have called home. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming it’s been a fantastic place to start my career.”

Jessica McDonnell, Senior Account Manager

“Though I have a CH postcode, Cheshire feels like a different world from where I live on the Wirral! Although I love living by the sea, it’s lovely to come into work in Cheshire for a change of scene and see the sheep knocking about in Tattenhall. Lunchtime walks are scenic, and the people always say hello, which is nice.” 

Adam Stanworth, Junior Account Executive

“I’ve lived in Cheshire for much of my life, having grown up in Chester, and the only way I can describe my relationship with my home county is like a teenager who’s embarrassed by their parents.

When people from elsewhere in the country ask where I’m from and I tell them I’m of Cheshire origins I’m usually met with accusations of being ‘posh’, despite my northern accent. Images of big cars, even bigger houses and spray tans are the stereotypes people tend to associate with the county. Hence the teenager embarrassed by their parents’ aspect. However, in this laboured simile, there remains the fact that fundamentally the teenager does love his parents, really. Yes, the jokes about being from Cheshire are inevitable but ultimately, I was extremely fortunate to have such a happy childhood, here and there are so many aspects of the county to be proud of.

Cheshire is filled with brilliant industries and businesses and is a central part of the wider North West economy. It boasts stunning landscapes and two brilliant rugby league teams in Widnes Vikings and Warrington Wolves. It’s the birthplace of Ian Curtis, Daniel Craig, Harry Styles and Lewis Carroll; it’s a tourist destination; a home for refugees and full of amazing people. Despite it being a source of ribbing and mild embarrassment, I’ve got a lot of love for my home county.”

Louis Hill, Managing Director

“I’ve always been a bit of a nomad.  I was born in Kent, grew up in Hampshire and spent teenage years living in America, Africa and then London. I’d never visited Cheshire until I came here for university but quickly fell in love with it.  When the opportunity came to return here after several years working in London, I was quick to jump at it.

I’ve always believed that life is all about balance – work hard, play hard and Cheshire provides an amazing space for both. Great countryside, pubs and community while also being an excellent place to work and set up a business. Having lived in the county for more than 20 years it’s now definitely home – which seems a little strange as I’ve always considered myself a soft southerner.”

How To Create A Successful B2B Campaign In 2023

One of the reasons public relations (PR) is such an exciting role to work in is that to thrive in the industry you need to be dynamic and adaptable, and the same can be said for campaigns. When it comes to a B2B PR campaign, first and foremost, it’s vital to know your key messaging and desired outcomes before you even think about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and brainstorming ideas. Let’s explore the fundamentals to creating a successful B2B campaign.

 

First of all, what is B2B PR?

B2B is short for business-to-business and B2B PR is essentially a way of one business communicating with another business. On the other hand, B2C means business to consumer.

So, when it comes to creating a successful B2B PR campaign, what do you need to know?

 

Set objectives

 As mentioned at the start of the blog, before you do anything else it’s important to examine what the desired outcome of the campaign is. Raising awareness of the business is likely to be part of the campaign KPIs, or perhaps it’s a specific issue or topic that the business would like to champion. Maybe you want to build-up your email database, generate interest in an event or up for a webinar or event or increase social media followers. Whatever the campaign objectives it is vital that they are clear from the start.

 

Know your audience and how to target them

Now you have your objectives set, it’s time to delve into your target audiences. For some clients, they may want to reach the key decision makers in a business, for others, maybe it’s a specific company department they need to get in front of. A recent example of this is a campaign we did here at Source for Evolve 4 where we had two very different target customers, food manufacturers and primary schools.

In order to establish exactly who those key audiences should be targeted and therefore how we could create a campaign to reach them, we gathered the team at Evolve and Source together and ran a persona workshop. Though these kinds of workshops can be lengthy, they are important as along with objectives they form the foundations of the campaign.

 

Research and brainstorming for a PR campaign

 The fun part! Now it’s time to gather your team and have a brainstorming session. There’s no one size fits all approach to researching and brainstorming and every agency or business will work individually. A good rule of thumb to live by here is that no idea is a bad idea, give everyone the space to gather their thoughts and ideas, air them, write them down on paper or type them out – whatever works best. This shouldn’t be confined to the office, though. Many of us get our best ideas when on a walk, in the shower or during a conversation with a friend.

 

Channels to use for your PR campaign

 If you work in PR, you’ll have likely heard of the staple PESO model. PESO stands for paid, earned, shared and owned media channels, all of which naturally overlap to generate that integrated campaign. Analysing this model can help to determine which channels you’ll be using for your campaign.

 

Image from spinsucks.com

 

Execution and measurement

Skipping straight to execution and measurement, once you’ve set out what channels you’ll be using during your campaign, you’ll need to actually do the work – that goes without saying! Draft and distribute the press releases, pitching in the feature articles, generate the video content, the list goes on.

Once your campaign is complete it’s time to measure results. Measuring results in PR is famously a sticky point and will depend on which channels you utilised for the campaign and the desired outcomes. At Source we have tools in place such as Ace Media which allows the team to capture and track print and online media coverage, as well as brand mentions, audience and lots more. This is just one example of how we measure success for our client’s B2B campaigns.

There we have it, that was B2B campaigns in a nutshell. If you think our team could help you with your next product launch, profile raising activity or social media content then get in touch.

6 Signs It’s Time To Hire A PR Agency

It’s not always easy deciding when it’s the right time to hire a PR agency, especially if your business is an SME. Whether it’s thoughts about budget, or the hesitance to not hand your baby (your company!) over to someone else to share the load, the right time to bring in help can be difficult to pin point. Which is why we’re here to help. At Source, we’ve been working with smaller local businesses, right up to multi-national companies since 2008, and our team members have experience in marketing that far precedes that too.

Here are your 6 signs that it’s time to hire a PR agency, and why you’ll be glad you did.

When Should You Hire A PR Agency?

1. The Owner Is Managing Marketing

One of the biggest signs that your business is probably ready to hire a PR agency, is if the owner or CEO is doing all the PR and marketing – and it’s starting to have an impact on day-to-day operations. Any company with ambitions to grow should recognise the value of outsourcing work and leaving certain aspects to the professionals in the field, instead of trying to take it all on – which can lead to severe burnout!

Why you’ll be glad to have hired an agency: you’re an expert at running YOUR business, we’re experts in PR and social media. PR agencies are full of teams with experience from all different industries, that kind of knowledge injected into your business usually can’t be replicated by one person.  Most importantly however, most business owners have enough on their plate so appointing a PR agency will free your time to focus on your business knowing your marketing, PR and social media is all being taken care of.

2. You Have Budget To Invest In Growth

The best thing PR can do for your business is to nurture and encourage its growth. We’ve worked with several businesses who we’ve supported for over a decade, and we’ve been a part of their evolution from very early on. Such as Meadow, one of our longest retained clients that’s recently undergone a full re-brand and change of top-level management. If you’ve got profits that you’re willing to re-invest for the greater good of your company, then it’s time to give a PR agency a call.

Why you’ll be glad to have hired an agency: PR is all about building a great long-term reputation, so if you have the patience and time to invest in it, you’ll reap the rewards further down the line.

3. You Want Your Business To ‘Do’ Better

One thing we’re seeing more and more in PR, is companies wanting stronger ESG strategies and ensuring they’re carrying out regular ‘good work’. Whether that’s encouraging employees to join in on group voluntary sessions, lending services for free or simply donating to good causes and partnering with local groups – all of the above helps in strengthening both the reputation of your brand’s name, and what the local community thinks of you too. If you want your business to benefit from a strong CSR strategy, then it’s time to hire a PR agency that knows what they’re doing.

Why you’ll be glad to have hired an agency: charity and community work not only helps to improve and then maintain a strong presence, but it can also align to your wider business strategy and reputation.  You’ll also earn you some lovely local coverage too – which helps to get your business out there even more.

 

 

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4. Your Customers Aren’t Hearing From You Enough

Another time it might be right to hire a PR agency, is if you’re finding you’re not communicating to your stakeholders enough. Whether that’s through your social media channels, website, or external communications in the media. It’s not enough to be seen little and often, the best brands have a strategy that gives them consistent visibility. This is something a PR agency can certainly help with.

Why you’ll be glad to have hired an agency: having someone else manage your social media and website takes a lot of pressure off other team members and ensures there is a consistent and considered approach. It should keep your customers engaged and make your life easier.

5. Your Online Presence Isn’t Strong

It’s no longer enough to be in the Yellow Pages (was it ever?) or to just ‘have a website’, for your business to really grow, you’ll need to be visible across multiple online channels. One of the biggest things clients get wrong, is thinking that having a Facebook, or LinkedIn channel alone will convert them sales. A good PR strategy will combine social, web content, media relations and more to ensure you have a very strong online presence. When potential customers look you up – are they finding a strong brand with clear information about your company? If not, it’s time to hire a PR agency.

Why you’ll be glad to have hired an agency: having one centralised management system for your online presence ensures that everything is on brand and working well together, which really comes across to anyone searching you up online.

6. Time Is Being Lost In Other Departments

Finally, even if it’s not your CEO or owner managing your PR, even having another member of the team or even a department looking after it, when it isn’t their core area of expertise, can be impactful to your business operations. Sales teams can run the risk of messages being too driven by a need to convert, which can lose the faith of your customers, whereas operations staff may put marketing on the backburner because they need their time to keep things running smoothly day to day. If you’re finding that you’re losing valuable time from your team, then it’s time to bring in help.

Why you’ll be glad to have hired an agency: some staff members really love getting stuck into PR and social media for their businesses, others would rather focus on what they were brought on board to do – let a PR agency work with your business and become an extension of your team, and you’ll keep everyone happy!

If we’ve convinced you that you’re ready to hire a PR agency and you’d like to find out more about how Source PR can support you, drop our friendly team a line. We’re always happy to chat.

How To Best Use Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is increasingly being used by businesses and brands to extend their range and reach into new and lucrative markets.  Although the marketing tactic has been used for several years, influencer marketing is set for exponential growth in 2023.

PR agencies have always been the preferred partner for businesses looking to engage in influencer marketing.  From the more traditional media briefings in which companies sought to inspire editors and the media agenda, through to brand collaborations when the reputation of an established brand is used to leverage exposure for a new or emerging brand – the right PR agency can help reach and influence new audiences like no other marketing medium.

Today however influencer marketing primarily refers to collaborations between brands and ‘influencers’ on digital platforms whether social media, blogs or other digital channels. The question often asked by clients is ‘what is an influencer?’ and how to gauge whether they have a genuine ‘influence’ amongst target audiences.

Influencer Marketing – Breaking It Down

One common mistake is to not differentiate between a celebrity and an online influencer. Admittedly many celebrities can extend into the role of influencer but in many cases, they are quite separate entities.

Most influencers have built a loyal and enthusiastic audience by posting relevant and engaging content that resonates with their followers.  People organically elect to follow these influencers based on their content, which in turn can vary from quite generic topics such as food & drink, parenting and travel right down to very specific subjects such as photography, wellness or types of gin (and everything in-between!).

Influencer marketing is not limited to consumer brands as an influencer can be a well-read business expert or blogger who tweets relevant content, or a respected marketing executive on LinkedIn with insightful views and opinions. Within any industry, there are influential people—you just need to find them – and that’s where working with a PR agency can help.

Some influencers have hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of followers but there are also plenty who seem more like ordinary people. They may have less than 10,000 followers but they have developed a reputation for being the experts in their field. They are the go-to people who are trusted to provide the answers to people’s questions. Depending on their sphere of expertise, they can often be the people who make the most engaging social posts on their specialist topics. They share the best pictures, make the most entertaining videos, and run the most informative online discussions.

It’s important to realise that the influencer’s audiences don’t really care about brands specifically, more the opinions of the influencer towards the brand.  It’s therefore important to work with the influencer rather than push your rules, ‘brand guidelines’ or business practices into their actions as they can simply walk away, taking their followers with them or worse still become antagonistic.

The growth of influencer marketing

The statistics speak for themselves.  In 2016, influencer marketing was a $1.7bn industry worldwide, while last year (2022) it had grown to more than $16.4bn.  According to an influencer marketing hub report,  90% of survey respondents believe influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing and currently more than two thirds (67%) of brands use Instagram for influencer marketing.

The growth is set to continue as 75% of the survey respondents suggested that they would be dedicating a budget to influencer marketing in 2023. This rate is up substantially from the 37% who claimed they would allocate a budget to it just 6 years ago in 2017.

Tips for influencer marketing

So, for brands or businesses looking to engage with influencer marketing, we’d suggest that to be most effective, start with a plan that includes objectives, target markets and a budget and then begin careful research into who would be a good fit and provide you with a platform for targeted exposure.

When researching influencers, don’t be overtly swayed by their follower numbers but instead look at their levels of engagement.  How many people like their posts, comment or share as these are the key metrics to consider.  Often big name influencers may not be right for a brand or too commercial to develop genuine and lasting relationships.

Decide also how you are going to find and approach the influencer.  This can be time consuming so working with a PR agency that works with influencers can be a big help as often they may have existing relationship or the resource to target them organically.

When you have found the perfect partner, work with them and develop a schedule of activities.  Consider how their posts can integrate with your existing social media or content marketing schedule, what agreements are in place to ensure the right number of posts, reels or blogs are included in exchange for a product or service.  Is money changing hands and, if so, are the right contracts in place? Also remember the influencer must declare if a financial agreement or if a product has been gifted.

It’s also worth considering what doesn’t work.  Buying influence does not work as many influencers have spent time building their following and so wont risk tarnishing their reputation by selling out and promoting products they don’t like, relate to, or would not recommend to their followers.

It’s also not necessarily about quick results and fast sales.  Although this can be the case (most famously when Delia Smith recommends a kitchen product, they sell out fast!) the main objectives of influencer marketing is building the exposure of your product, its reputation and taking it to new potential audiences through the strength of third party endorsement.

Remember also to be specific as one size does not fit all.  Spend time to find the right fit with an influencer and when that’s achieved it’s proven to pay dividends.

For more information on influencer marketing, contact a member of the Source PR team and let us help build you reputation, product awareness and take your brand or business into new and exciting areas.

Our Predictions For 2023 Marketing And PR Trends

As we all return to work after a lovely festive break, we picked the refreshed brains of our team to find out what each of them believe will be the key trends in marketing and PR for the coming year. 

Jess McDonnell

The continued focus on CSR  

“With the current state of the country (and the world) I think social consciousness is increasing, which means businesses need to take CSR activities to the next level and avoid greenwashing.

This could lead to great opportunities to build that positive organic presence on owned media channels.

PR and comms experts need to champion research and data-driven campaigns and stories in order to achieve coverage in tier-one publications and national media as both businesses and consumers are now savvier than ever to ‘fake news’.”

Bridie Buckingham

Affiliate marketing for the win 

“Many people have been plotting its demise for years now but affiliate marketing continues to grow from strength to strength. Especially in the wake of the pandemic and the MONUMENTAL shift to digital marketing and e-commerce, the choice to adopt the affiliate marketing model is more popular than ever with 8 out of 10 brands running an affiliate scheme. In fact, 84% of marketers claim that affiliate marketing alone has increased their ROI by 20% since 2019. 

“Setting up an affiliate marketing scheme can boost brand awareness and augment sales without spending a huge amount on advertising. However, it is worth keeping in mind that success in this area requires selecting brand affiliates that share the same niche or target profile as you. Oftentimes, these influencers will come to you as they know the benefits affiliate links can provide for their income!” 

Jessica Pardoe

Links with purpose 

“As the last few years have passed us by, digital PR and its importance in marketing is now unavoidable. As search engines get smarter and their influence on people only continue to grow, every good PR should be thinking about how they can consider this within their strategy. Having worked particularly in SEO and digital PR in the past, I came into a more traditional role here at Source as I hated the idea of chasing links for links sake!  

 “However, in 2023 I hope to see more of a shift to PR with purpose in digital, and I think that’s where we can help! It’s important to think of the PR benefits of any coverage or online activity first, but then ensure links are considered as a very important afterthought. I think more PRs will begin to understand the value of sending out solid, relevant stories and building a good rapport with journalists, and that in turn will win them backlinks for SEO benefits, AS WELL AS gain lots of lovely PR coverage which is beneficial to brands in far more ways than one.” 

Jill Mathers

Podcasts are the future 

2023 Marketing And PR Trends

“With the rise in demand for video and audio content, it is no surprise that this is an integral part of the future of PR. We hope to see a demand for podcasts (both audio and video) in 2023 as it allows for brands to give a unique, in-depth look at the people behind business that you wouldn’t normally see on fast moving, image-based platforms like Instagram. 

“In addition, younger audiences are moving away from highly curated feeds towards raw, real-time platforms like BeReal and TikTok, in part because they feel more authentic than their overly produced counterparts. Podcasting fits into the realm of channels that offer realism which many people want to see, as well as deep diving into topics that just can’t be covered on the ‘gram.” 

Louis Hill

Don’t blindly follow the crowd  

“As the digital marketing world continues to grow at an exponential rate, it is important companies don’t get carried away with the latest fad but remain focussed on their core strategy.  

 “Too often companies focus on the latest marketing tools or trends to get themselves noticed.  Before you even consider what delivery tactics are needed, look at the strategy first – who are you, what do you stand for, what are you great at, who do you want to influence and what space do you want to own? 

Once that’s determined, assess the tools and tactics available to best achieve it.”  

Adam Stanworth

Greater use of video in B2B 

“It’s already near-ubiquitous elsewhere, but in B2B PR video content is largely neglected and still not used as widely as it could be.

In 2023, however, video should become more prevalent in the B2B world and businesses will increasingly see their stories told through this medium whether that’s on LinkedIn, Twitter or even TikTok.   

“Fundamentally, businesses are made up of consumers and consumers find video content on social media more engaging than the written word so B2B must adapt to incorporate this type of content into its social media strategy.

Video stops the scroll, and with TikToks and Reels firmly embedded within online advertising and marketing, it’s a medium that can no longer be neglected by B2B.” 

Janet Hare

The rise of AI 

“2023 is surely going to be the year of expedited development in AI technology and its application. In December last year, we saw the launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI and it was immediately heralded as impressive and human-like in its ability to create content by the world of PR and marketing and in the media. Even Elon Musk tweeted about its remarkable abilities – “ChatGPT is scary good. We are not far from dangerously strong AI” – and Google reportedly expressed concern internally about its abilities to disrupt the search engine business due to its unexpected strength.   

“As we start 2023, we in the PR and marketing industry are scrambling to test its abilities to see how we can harness its power as well as worry about its potential threat to our bread-and-butter activity of writing content and how we stay ahead of the curve. Meanwhile, the potentially negative uses of the chatbot are starting to appear and the New York City education department has blocked the use of ChatGPT on the internet and devices within schools due to its worries about it leading to a wave of ‘cheating’ in essays and other schoolwork. 

“Whether it’s seen as a negative or positive tool, the fact remains that AI is only on its way up and we will see more applications of it as the year progresses in marketing and PR.”