Facebook has changed its algorithm for displaying, ordering, and prioritising content, which means the way people use Facebook and interact with posts is going to change with it.
Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has decided to change Facebook to a more user-friendly experience, prioritising content that sparks comment and interaction between friends, over ad-based or commercial content from businesses. This move is set to cost Zuckerberg $3.3 billion of his personal worth, as the change will hit Facebook’s bottom line in a way many businesses would consider suicide. However this is a calculated move designed to appeal to user, not business owners.
One way this will directly impact the newsfeed is by drastically reducing video content. While video content is popular, it is also passive, gaining views, but not interaction. Facebook wants to encourage and reward content that generates comments and ‘meaningful interactions’. Zuckerberg has said: "By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down, but I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable."
This is a shocking turn away from Zuckerberg’s previous model of Facebook, one which rewarded and desired engagement of any kind at all costs, no matter what that engagement is with. As he’s found out: not all engagement is positive, not all of it is constructive, and not all of it is friendly. In the wake of ‘fake news’, revenge porn scandals, and live-streaming suicides, Facebook has come under fire from all angles, and has wisely opted to put a focus on quality, opposed to engagement (which is tantamount to ad revenue.)
What This Means For Businesses
Put simply, this is going to have a negative impact on businesses. Unless your content stimulates discussion, it will suffer, and since the public is growing increasingly resistant to advertising, this seems unlikely. Many brands and smaller organisations rely heavily, or even entirely on Facebook for their marketing, and this move may cripple them. Bigger companies can survive a knock in click-through rates, or a drop in views, but this signals a wider change away from advertising, at least in the social sphere.
On a platform that was originally built around social interaction, sponsored or commercial posts were and still are an unwelcome intrusion. For users, paid-for content is a hassle at best, and a reason to leave the platform at worst. Some people have become so concerned with Facebook’s data harvesting and ad-based content that they have deleted their accounts entirely.
In order to combat this, Facebook had no choice but to revert to an earlier strategy, one that puts its users above everything. What this means for businesses on Facebook, is they’re going to have to reach their audience in increasingly creative, unconventional ways, or in ways that directly reward that audience.
This is the nature of PR in the 21st Century: a creative way of communicating with an audience to deliver a specific message, in a way that rewards their attention. To do this on Facebook, any post, any video, any message that is meant to leverage a brand, sell a product, or build awareness, will need to offer something to its audience. Whether that’s through thought-provoking content, a campaign that sparks debate or conversation, or a video that surprises people with genuinely interesting facts, your audience must feel they have gained something from interacting or engaging with what you put out. It must resonate. Or it won’t work.
PR can subvert Facebook’s algorithm by giving your audience a message encoded in content they genuinely want to see. By infiltrating through endless posts from friends and family and providing a payoff for their attention, people are more likely to remember, like, and engage with you, and this can all converted into genuine support for your brand.
For a free PR consultation, or to find out more about how you use content, video, and social media to your advantage, call The Relations Group on 020 7158 0000, or get in touch with us.
The Conservative Party Conference was always going to be a central talking point in the British media; given the current political landscape both at home and abroad it was always a given that Theresa May’s speech would be closely scrutinised.
But no one expected Lee Nelson to turn up.
In a surprising stunt that stole all the headlines, a prankster made it to the side of the Prime Minister, getting past some of the best security in the world, and delivered a P45 form from Boris Johnson. This was a brazen move, undermining what little credibility the foreign secretary had left given his recent gaffes, blunders, and jokes about corpses.
But the character of Nelson (real name Simon Brodkin) will come off stronger than ever, regardless of whether you agree with his politics, tone, or method. He uses stunts to build a brand, which is of course the essence of PR, and this is just the latest in his carefully orchestrated career.
Some of his most famous stunts include hurling money at FIFA President Sepp Blatter:
Walking onstage during a Kanye West performance at Glastonbury:
And presenting swastika-emblazoned golf balls at one of Donald Trump’s golfcourses, who of course would later go on to actually publicly sympathise with Neo-Nazis.
Using stunts to generate headlines can be advantageous, especially with social media allowing for stories to be spread faster than ever. The snap reaction to generate news in the short window where interest is at its highest will guarantee that your brand is featured across broadcast, print, and online.
We worked with Lee Nelson, using his fame as a catalyst for media attention and instant brand recognition. Even though his fictional character is just an act, it is still just as credible as any celebrity, and can help boost any campaign.
Consider using a spokesperson to help drive your campaign forward, or plan a creative stunt to ensure audience interest, as well as media coverage. As Lee demonstrated, the key to any stunt is rigorous planning, and a team of dedicated professionals behind the scenes working to ensure that the stunt goes off without a hitch.
We can help plan a stunt from any stage: from the initial concept, through planning, until the actual performance itself, capture footage, and send out press releases explaining the stunt if needed.
We can even provide a free consultation to help plan your stunt, brainstorming ideas with our creative team to ensure it shows you in the best possible light, gets your brand name and messages out there, and won’t get you arrested, like Lee.
More businesses are starting every day, and thanks to social media and the internet, they are being discovered faster than ever. It is becoming harder and harder for brands to stay relevant and liked, and with ever more sophisticated ways of breaking into the public consciousness, it can be hard to maintain your brand’s position.
The Relations Group is in the business of helping brands with their image, communicating their messages, and positioning them as leaders in their field. Here are our top five tips on how to stay ahead of the game.
Stay On Target
While flexibility and adaptability are important and useful traits for any business, remembering your key message, market, and objectives will mean you stay focused on what your business is all about. Having a solid sense of identity and purpose in an overcrowded market is a blessing you can’t afford to take for granted, and will help set you apart from competitors who try to stretch themselves to encompass everything in the changing media landscape. Having a plan with specific goals in a measurable time-frame will mean you can see what’s working in a definitive way. If your strategy is not working, you can make calculated changes, instead of random quick-fixes that won’t help you in the long-run.
Play The Long Game
Leading on from this, don’t expect massive growth overnight. A well-timed one-off PR campaign can net you large exposure, but this will drop off once the campaign is over. Undertaking a long-term consistent PR strategy will allow your brand to filter through to people’s subconscious, embedding itself in their mind as the brand of your sector. By adopting a big picture view, you can see how your brand could evolve over time, and the only way to do this is through consistent work to build yourself up, increase your credibility, and expand your reach. Broadcast is a fantastic way to do this through getting a message directly to a targeted audience who will engage with the content you are putting out, which brings us to our next point…
Have something to offer your audience. More than ever people are looking at their time as a resource to be invested, so if you aren’t offering something practical or interesting that will help them, you won’t have their attention for long. Your PR story should hinge on something the audience needs to know, something that will positively impact their lives. This will lead to positive association: if you help people, they’ll like you. Considering this is such a simple concept, many brands fail to create content that is genuinely useful to the audience. If you campaign features a story that is bland, uninspiring, or devoid of facts, it will fail. If you undertake research or join up with an awareness campaign to educate the public on an important topic, you’re giving the something that they didn’t have before. This reflects positively on your brand, while at the same positioning you as a leader to others in your field, which we’ll talk more about next.
Be A Thought Leader In Your Industry
Establishing yourself as an expert is crucial to being taking seriously by others in your field. This can be tricky, but it’s one of the surest ways to build credibility. Start by creating content that goes into detail about the work you do and why it works. Analysis into your sector will be genuinely interesting and useful to people in your industry, and if it is well-written and insightful, people will respect you immediately. Once you’ve made a name for yourself, you can begin to use that as a resource of its own. Your name will carry weight, so you should use it to its full effect over radio, TV, and online, get as much exposure and publicity as possible. We can help facilitate this through a campaign that utilises multiple routes to coverage. You can be the spokesperson for your own brand, after all, you are the expert.
Get A PR Partner That Is Up To Date And Efficient
Relying on outdated methods or a PR company that isn’t ready to change with the times means you’re underselling yourself, and giving your competitors a free pass to steal the spotlight from you.
The Relations Group began as just one company: Radio Relations. But over time, our skills deepened and diversified, and we released we could do more. Beyond this, we were also facing an increased demand for a wider range of coverage options, as the online market began to take off. By adapting and opening ourselves up to new methods, we now enjoy working across radio, tv, and online, as well as having in house production facilities, and content being generated every day to ensure we’re never quiet. This is why we can say with confidence we know what we’re talking about.
So call us on 020 7158 0000 to talk about starting a PR campaign today.
When planning a TV PR campaign, it’s important to keep in mind that while you should of course strive to create content that is interesting for your audience, you also need to make sure that content is interesting for the broadcaster.
First and foremost, TV stations need to make sure what they air is of high quality. If people turn off, it can be a death sentence for them. So everything that gets submitted is subject to rigorous scrutiny.
If your story isn’t good enough, it won’t get on air.
This goes double for TV, where there must be an engaging story alongside visuals. If one side is weak, it puts the entire campaign in jeopardy.
You have to plan your campaign based around the broadcast methods you’re using; if you try to spread one method over radio and online and TV, for example, it won’t work. Each route to coverage requires its own unique methodology, they have their own needs, their own demands, and their own positives they can bring to your brand.
In the case of TV, you have to make your story visually exciting as well as editorial. If done well, it can be a fast way to more brand recognition and a better view of your business. So here are some guidelines to keep in mind when planning a TV PR campaign:
1. You have to understand who you’re pitching to. Think about what different programmes need, and what makes them distinctive. Think about what this specific station will respond to, what their viewers will want to see. Tailor everything from the very first idea to the finished product to your audience and your broadcaster.
2. Don’t stick to the script. If you’re on TV talking about a topic, you need to be an expert on that topic, in case the interviewer decides to change tactics. Have the confidence to know that you can handle anything they throw at you, and that if your script is getting in the way of your argument, you can drop it. A more animated interview makes for better TV anyway, so don’t be afraid to take it in a different direction if it means you can make it more interesting.
3. Planning ahead is crucial. Think about what else is coming up in the calendar, if big political or sports events get in the way, your story may get dropped. But you’re not psychic. You can’t plan for everything. Luckily though, you don’t have to. Controversial or outright negative stories break and develop all the time, if you can edit your content to address or highlight things in a relevant way, you can take advantage of the ever-changing media landscape.
4. Spokespeople make any content more relatable, giving your brand a face people know and trust. Even if the audience isn’t interested in the story, they’ll still watch if they know who’s on screen. Check out our tips on finding the right spokesperson for your PR campaign.
5. Be careful of too many brand mentions on air. It’s not an ad, you’re there to sell a story, not your product. If the story is strong enough, people will remember who brought them such important or interesting information.
TV Relations can help you plan, prepare, and practice for the big day, making sure your interview goes smoothly:
TV can be an incredibly effective and powerful way to get noticed. If you’re considering doing a TV PR campaign, call us for a free consultation on 020 7158 0000.
It's National Thank You Week this week, so we thought there'd be no better time to thank clients we've worked with previously.
We were inspired by the idea of 'Paying It Forward', giving one gift to the person we wanted to thank, and one more for them to send on to someone they want to thank. Hopefully it goes on to create a ripple effect, with dozens or hundreds of people feeling appreciated.
There are few things as rewarding as chocolate, so we thought this would be the perfect way to say thank you to businesses that have helped us grow, given us testimonials, and referred us on to others.
And it was certainly appreciated:
This is one of the ways we try to be more than just another PR company. We want people to know they matter. Our contacts aren't names on a database, numbers on a spreadsheet, or means to an end.
They're people. And they deserve our thanks.
It’s a well-known fact that adverts often utilise less-than scrupulous methods to get a reaction from their audience. ‘Sexy’ ads have been around for decades, relying entirely on showing the public an attractive person, who just happens to be holding a product:
We aren’t sold based on the product’s merits, its prestige, or its appeal. We are sold through the association we have with the person, and how they make us feel.
By linking the product to the feeling of attraction, the brand has successfully created a positive feedback loop: we see the ad, like the person, thus like the brand. We don’t particularly care about the product, but we damn sure like the feeling we get when we think about it. Subconsciously, we are reminded of it whenever we look at whatever it is we bought.
This is called classical conditioning, and has been a topic of psychological study for decades. It requires a stimulus that triggers a response, this trigger is then remembered as a direct link to this pleasurable sensation. Advertising used this link to push products for decades, again and again until it became a tired technique, overused to the point of cliché, even eventually becoming a punchline for stand up comedians like George Carlin:
'Advertising sells you things you don't need and can't afford, that are overpriced and don't work. And they do it by exploiting your fears and insecurities, and if you don't have any they'll be glad to give you a few by showing you a nice picture of a woman with big t*ts. That's the essence of advertising: big t*ts. Threateningly big t*ts.'
However, we are now seeing a move away from such simplistic cause/effect conditioning, as people have become increasingly resistant to advertising, especially this type of hyper-sexual exploitation. A recent study has found that, while sex-appeal is more likely to make people remember the ad, it doesn’t make them more likely to remember the actual brand, and it has literally zero impact on the target’s intention to buy. Furthermore, people are now actually more likely to form a negative opinion of brands that use sex to try to sell its product.
So with that in mind, perhaps it’s time for 21st Century marketing teams to embrace the shift, and start creating content that works. As we mentioned before, people hate to be manipulated, and they hate to be relentlessly sold to, so adopting a gentler approach is a smart move.
PR allows brands to get exposure in a far less aggressive way than advertising, which people respond far more positively to. By creating interesting content parallel to you, you guarantee your audience will listen, then they have the power to decide to pursue you further. By allowing them to make that choice, they’re already inclined towards you, instead of being on the defensive. This is the perfect way to attract people, and will create a genuine personality for your brand, rather than a persona which people can see through.
One way to establish credibility in an authentic way is to use a celebrity spokesperson that people can recognise or identify with. Celebrities in ads are paid to endorse a product, celebrities in PR are paid to deliver a story. This will still ensure the viewer’s attention, without the obvious attempt to utilise aesthetics for financial gain. Check out this video we made that utilises a celebrity without detracting from the core message:
Creating genuine relationships is what we do, so if you’re interested in pursuing a broadcast PR campaign, get in touch with us on 020 7158 0000.
Everyone likes it local. If you go into a supermarket, they'll have the location of the farm they sourced the beef from or the field that grew the potatoes printed somewhere on the packaging. And those strawberries sourced from the same town your grandmother grew up in always taste infinitely sweeter than the ones simply labelled “Spain”.
We like that thrill that comes from seeing something so familiar gain recognition, immediately understanding its relevance in our lives, and this is one of the greatest strengths of broadcast PR.
A typical advertising campaign for radio and television uses thirty second slots to try and persuade consumers that they need a particular product or service. These adverts will appear on multiple channels, repeating multiple times throughout the day, and tend to run for several months at a time. The reason for this is the cost of production: the company needs to stretch that advert out to ensure that they make their money back. Stretching one idea for the longest possible length of time while still maintaining effectiveness is the best way that an advertising campaign can minimise costs and maximise consumer engagement. And, given our ability to remember certain long-running adverts from our childhoods, this repetition clearly has some impact.
The unfortunate side-effect of this kind of campaign is that it is completely unable to adapt and thus often has to generalise in order to engage with the widest demographic. Adverts with a national outlook can't afford to throw in anything that would alienate consumers, meaning that the majority of advertising campaigns avoid targeting a specific locality, and they are unable to run multiple versions of an advert concurrently. It would cost too much money and they would find themselves limited to smaller, regional channels if they tried. Instead, an advertising campaign has to accept that it will not engage a large proportion of its audience purely because it is not relevant to their lives.
Broadcast PR works rather differently. Due to the reliance on the media to disperse the chosen message, a PR campaign can only last as long as the buzz does. Sometimes this does mean that the message only gets a short life but, in the hands of a skilled PR operator, it can turn into a longer term and constantly evolving promotion that works for multiple audiences. If linked to a long running news story, or one that is continually developing, a promotional campaign can easily outlast the usefulness of traditional advertising because it remains relevant and new to the consumer.
Adapting to remain relevant is a key strength of broadcast PR, and its usefulness is not limited to just its ability to evolve with an on-going story. By working with regional broadcast networks, the message of the PR campaign can adjust to suit the local area so that it appeals the very different audiences across the nation and relate to the differing needs of those communities. The promotion can hook onto suitable local stories, whether it's about an opening event in a small northern town or an awards ceremony in central London, ensuring that the message is one that feels relevant to that area.
Consumers see their community spotlighted and therefore believe that X brand is on their side, understanding their needs and issues. They get to feel that special thrill that comes with seeing something familiar to them acknowledged and suddenly the message becomes linked to that feeling. Broadcast PR keeps the campaign relevant through linking it to the familiar.
Local produce, from crafts to craft beer, has become a big thing in recent years. The same boom is happening with local radio and so it offers great opportunities for broadcast PR. Ran by people within the community, with an understanding their wants and needs in a way that the big commercial stations cannot, these radio stations provide a more intimate platform for in PR campaigns. After all, those working for the local radio station will use the same stores, experience the same community issues, and have the same pride for their region. Local radio is a part of them, meaning that they are infinitely more trustworthy than any other station.
In this social media-heavy world, locality has only increased in importance when it comes to broadcast PR. Word of mouth no longer simply means word of mouth, instead widening to encompass everything from a friend passing on a recommendation on the phone to reviews posted on Facebook or Twitter, and this means that a good story can catch a wider audience than ever before.
It can start small, beginning on one person's page, perhaps then being shared between one group of friends, who share it with more friends and relatives, until eventually everyone seems to have seen it. The story has achieved the ultimate aim: going viral. It all starts with that first share and that's where the local focus has its strength. On social media, just like in real life, people like to talk about what feels relevant to them and a campaign that relates to a particular community will increase engagement.
Example: Bouncy Bands
A teacher in Arkansas shares her experiences with “Bouncy Bands” in her class on a local teaching page, intending to give others in her profession the a way to settle their energy-filled charges. Flash forward a few weeks and suddenly her findings are discussed on the news and that post has reached the UK, with the product in question rising in popularity across the world. The story started as something local, applying to only a select community, but interest in the human experience in the story and digital word of mouth took it far beyond the realms of a typical advertising campaign.
Broadcast PR is an adaptable way to spread a promotional message. Its ability to link in to the local community through regional news and events ensures that it will be relevant to the very different audiences to hear it, evolving with the stories it finds and ensuring the maximum engagement.
Get into contact with us, to plan a PR campaign and get a free consultation.
It’s Bring Your Dog to Work Day today! A quick google or search on twitter will show hundreds of people bringing their pets into work and brightening up the office. If you aren’t convinced, I brought my dog to the office this morning, and morale skyrocketed. His name is Paco, an Irish Red Setter, and here he is bouncing around the office:
This day is all about doing something different, making a livening up the office, and boosting morale with a friend everyone can enjoy.
But how can this help your business? I don’t mean bringing a dog into the office, I mean how can the day itself help your brand grow?
Bring Your Dog To Work Day is an example of what’s called a media platform, an event dedicated to an idea or raising awareness about a certain issue. Today is also National Kissing Day, one of the days of National Picnic Week, one of the days of Pride Month, the list goes on. Every single week of the year has opportunities for stories relating to these media platforms to get coverage.
And we can help you be behind these stories.
Due to the changing nature of media, the 24/7 news cycle, and the demand to keep up numbers, radio stations and online websites are constantly searching out content to do with these media platforms. Because media outlets know stories to do with these events will get traction, they’ll always run stories about them, and your brand can be involved, providing interesting content that audiences want.
Whatever your brand or sector is, there will events you can utilise to leverage your brand. This is effective because you won’t be advertising, you’ll be promoting your product in a subtler way, that audience don’t switch off to. The story will have their interest, and your brand will be mentioned in connection to an event that they are invested in or enjoy being a part of.
The way this works is we generate an editorially justified news story based around the messages you want to communicate, and carefully craft it to best present those messages, while at the same time being an engaging story that news stations and sites will want to run, and that audiences will remember. All this feeds into your business: directly presenting you as an authority in your field, and showing you as a brand that cares about educating the public on something that matters to them. This is the way to make connections. Rather than foisting a product on them they may not want or need, you’re instead reaching out to them about something they know about, with something they want to hear.
If you're interested in using media platforms to elevate your brand awareness and increase your audience reach, send us an email or call us on 020 7158 000.
More and more companies are using advertising to tackle social issues, raising awareness while gaining more publicity for their brands. This seems like a win-win, but in reality there is a dark side to this seemingly altruistic method of advertising.
When companies begin to capitalise on important political or social issues, some people might jump onto the bandwagon praising the business as more human, compassionate, or aware. But on a fundamental level, making financial gain from false sincerity is risky at best, and transparently greedy at worst.
Through social media, we are increasingly seeing backlash against insensitive or outright idiotic ads, proving that the highly sought after millennial audience businesses are targeting are not as passive, apathetic, or easy to please as some would believe. Adverts are subject to a level of scrutiny unseen in previous decades, largely due to the internet, with people able to quickly spread a message or identify problematic scenes and messages in a matter of seconds.
In short: people can see through disingenuous premises. Piggybacking a serious issue in an ad to say ‘Look how much we care about this, now buy our product’ only shows people that you’re willing to cash in on people’s struggles for your bank account, not to actually fix the problem.
Rob Baiocco, a creative executive at the BAM Connection who has worked on campaigns for Pringles and Starburst, has said: ‘Companies are avidly and aggressively trying to get involved in a socially responsible space, and they are doing it horribly – they are grabbing at straws. […] They are entering a complex conversation they have no right to be in, yet they are forcing their way in. […] These creatives are trying to make their toilet paper save the world.’
These type of ads attempt to commoditise the issue without ever doing anything to address the underlying cause, and by sanitising and simplifying often complex factors, ads can come off as flippant. A prime example of this is the now infamous Pepsi Advert, which dared to suggest that police brutality could be solved by a soft drink.
On the other hand, there have been adverts in the past that applied a deft touch and some much needed human understanding to a complex issue, leaving forced product placement and slogans out of it, focusing on the issue itself that was at the heart of the ad.
Diesel chose to get political with an ad critiquing the widely lambasted wall that Donald Trump built much of his presidential campaign around promising. It features impossibly attractive people destroying the metaphorical and literal walls that divide us. While definitely cheesy, it comes across much better than the Pepsi ad, due to the fact that it never suggests that Diesel is the driving force behind political change, or that a pair of jeans would help people fight against oppression.
The reason this worked, and the Pepsi ad didn’t, is because Pepsi implied their product magically fixed the problems of racial tension and police brutality. It doesn’t. Diesel, on the other hand, never once presents their product as transformative or the key to solving the problem. It merely allows discussion, facilitating positive change which in turn can inspire viewers to go out and do the same. If you tried to give riot police a Pepsi, you’d probably get tasered.
A similarly divisive ad that came under fire recently was the McDonalds advert that tried to capitalise on child bereavement by suggesting a burger could build a connection between a child and a father he never knew. This movement away from the political sphere was probably seen as a ‘safe’ move by the execs at the company, which needless to say, it wasn’t.
Upon first viewing, if you didn’t know what you were watching, the advert might be considered touching; however as soon as the final shot of the fillet of fish burger lands on the screen, all credibility is lost. While the concept works: the idea that you can have a connection with someone through an external source, even something as simple as a burger, the fact that it is being exploited in an ad cheapens the entire message. The bottom line is: people know you are trying to sell them something.
It’s important to clarify this: If you’re genuinely interested in helping a situation, your brand can be a driving force behind increasing awareness, maybe even helping to start a conversation about ways to move forward. PR is all about pushing a message while providing helpful, interesting content that listeners identify as a source of information, not a sales pitch.
If you can tie your brand into a story that explains what’s going on, that helps clarify or educate, you can be responsible for bringing about positive change without insinuating you have all the answers or that your brand is the saviour of the oppressed. People hate to be patronised, especially people close to an injustice which is already struggling to be taken seriously or attract media attention. The Pepsi advert was the latest in a string of belittling jabs at the Black Lives Matter movement, which was built to stop children and innocent people from being murdered. To help, you don’t want attention on YOU, you want it on the issue.
Creating an editorial video that puts the spotlight on the issue at hand is one way you can show you care without placing your brand at the forefront. Here’s an example our company Televisualise put together that received large amounts of media attention and educated the public:
By using your position to elevate an issue into the public sphere, you lend it your credibility, and in return gain public attention through doing something genuinely helpful.
For more information on how PR can help your brand, visit our Case Studies page, or get in contact with us on 020 7158 0000.
There is a certain trend that has been developed during the last thirty years and widely promoted in marketing academia which is the misleading notion that marketing means advertising.
Companies often spend most of their marketing budget on advertising. The belief is that advertising will help them sell their product and build more market share quicker than any other possible strategy.
This belief is based on bad reasoning. You cannot sell a brand before that brand is established.
More than ever companies are building their house starting from the roof rather than from the foundations.
When your positioning is essentially based on who has the lowest price it’s a race to the bottom. The problem with a race to the bottom is that you might actually win. Then you’d be left with the lowest value product: and people would associate you with low quality to go with it.
Indeed, what allows a company to develop and prosper is not the overall revenue but the margin it has been able to create and, consequently, to invest to consolidate itself while amplifying its customers’ reach.
A company should position itself in the part of the mind where it is seen as the solution to a particular need.
How can a company position itself to do that? By becoming a market leader.
According to Al Ries, the best way to become a market leader as soon as possible is by creating a new category. In my first company Radio Relations, the category of Radio PR hadn’t been defined. By creating the category of Radio PR rather than Broadcast PR, Radio Relations became a genuine market leader albeit in a niche, within a niche, within a niche. However for larger sectors creating a new category requires a lot of courage as often another brand has already broken into a new sector.
Since most companies tend to join an already existing market, how can they try to identify a valuable key difference between them and their competitors and get more margins without competing on price?
This is a question many marketing departments aren’t able to answer.
Is it their fault?
In an over-saturated market where anyone can search through hundreds of companies, it’s no surprise that it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd.
Trends can be followed enthusiastically without ever actually managing to say anything new. Being ‘creative’ for the sake of doing something new often results in an inconsistent or confusing message. It is far better to take some time, and come up with a considered approach to the problem of creativity.
What do you offer that is new, what do you do that is different? Start with what you can offer, then think about a way to market it that you haven’t seen before. Is there a new angle to be exploited?
Marketing is most effective when a variety of techniques are used. There is a major misconception around the rule of advertising in marketing, it’s not the only tool to use for marketing but just one part of the overall marketing strategy.
The most effective image that comes to my mind when I try to describe marketing is that marketing is a puzzle made up of different pieces, none more important than the other. Some might be bigger, but without them all together, the picture isn’t whole.
What are the names of these puzzle pieces?
Advertising is just one piece that can be as big as the budget you decide to allocate to it. However, that budget should depend on the best channel for you. Which one achieves the best results for you right now? Which could do you think could go on to achieve the best results for you in the future?
It has been widely shown that most businesses rely on one or two of these channels without ever considering any others. Sometimes they don’t even know how to optimally use their main channels properly to be as efficient as they should be. This should be your main priority.
So what is the main function of advertising?
Advertising can be useful either to defend your positioning from aggressive competition or to consistently sustain your brand in the mind of the customer. The values associated with your brand, which is your brand positioning itself, can be effectively communicated through advertising, but this detracts time away from the ‘selling’ aspect of the advert.
Advertising is often unsuitable to create a brand. Advertising is often very good at defending a brand or market share once it’s established. Before doing advertising, you must create a brand. Think Facebook, Tesla, Google, YouTube, SnapChat – zero advertising to build the brand.
Most of the marketing and sales departments however do the opposite: they start advertising a product manufactured recently with the aim to use a strategy to create brand awareness.
The basic process of a marketing department can be defined in a short line:
Start with the what and end with the why. Which is exactly the opposite of how the brain works when it comes to making decisions.
What is a decision? A decision is a motivated action.
To echo Simon Sinek, the marketing process should be inverted. Start with the why. End with the what. You should start by asking:
“How can I help my company shift from a business that manufactures products to a brand that people immediately think of as a solution to their problem?”
Answer: Adopting an approach of consistent PR.
Why PR is paramount for the long-term sustainability of your business model and your company’s life?
PR is based on third party endorsements: blogs, newspapers, online newspapers, radio, tv but also trade shows, network events, testimonials or affiliate marketing, any or all of which can play a major part when it comes to building a solid PR strategy that builds your credibility in the mind of your target audience. A two-day PR campaign or an ad-hoc press release is not a strategy. A one-off rather than a sustained plan.
To be effective, a PR campaign must be patient and persistent. The marketing department of any company should allocate resources to PR, especially during the first five years because that is the period when you create your brand, and it can be very difficult to change the public’s perception of who you are. Ideally you would have a monthly budget aimed to get as much targeted relevant coverage as possible.
Getting positive attention is one of the most important and measurable assets a company can have in the current economy. Positive attention is a commodity you should be chasing and willingly allocating time and money into to build your brand in the mind of your audience.
Even when you boost your product with a simple online ad you are claiming attention. You want that attention, but you also want to build confidence in you and what you do. Ultimately, you want to be able to do as little work as possible to convince your potential customer to buy your product. You shouldn’t have to convince your target audience to choose you by the end of a long campaign. They should know you, they should trust you, they shouldn’t have to make a choice about whether to do business with you.
Visibility is always better than obscurity. You do not build a business by staying in the office, hoping people come to you. Make your business work for you. You could immediately start boosting the third-party endorsement you have had recently, along with advertising, to convey to your target audience that you are credible, newsworthy, that your company has been considered worthy of praise and are therefore worthy of trust.
Just consider this: attention is limited. What you get must be taken from someone else. Attention is like time, it is a resource. The better you are at getting attention, in managing attention, in driving attention to what you do, why you do it, and how you do it, the less attention your competitors will be getting.
One of the simplest ways to get started in raising your credentials is through broadcast PR. Radio has 90% audience reach per week and by putting forward a spokesperson from your brand you’ll be achieving awareness, brand positioning, credibility and well as thought leadership all in one go.
If you haven’t already considered a consistent, stable and long-term PR strategy that includes radio, TV or online, fill in the contact form here, or call at our office on 020 7158 0000.