Category Archives: Brands

Video is the Future

I recently attended a video creation and distribution workshop looking at how good content is created and then distributed to different news agencies around the world for use on their online sites, their stations or in their papers – and across social media channels. It was interesting as it highlighted what we do already know but sometimes may forget, how important effective and interesting content is and secondly, how important video is to selling a news item in today’s world.

As news outlets are becoming more and more digital, and there is a bigger focus on online content, it is no surprise that videos are becoming a more effective way of pushing news out. However, making sure your content is effective, engaging and draws in the attention of your target audiences is crucial and certainly tricky to get right.

However, brands are creating videos and those who are fast-moving are even creating their own media rooms which store own-produced content for media to access and download. Resulting in marketers  working more closely with content production teams to produce interesting and news worthy materials.

Understanding exactly what will work for the journalist and your target publications, however, is the most important part. Brands need to make sure they focus on the ‘news’ story and not publish a video which is too ‘marketing’ or advertised focused. If you are not targeting the media, then understand what will gain the attention of your social media audiences for example. From this, attention must be given when using banding in the video, as this will ultimately affect the pick up your videos receive.

Below is a great example of creating an engaging and provoking video which worked well to capture the audiences imagination and attract attention towards the product:

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/culture/video/2015/jan/28/polar-bear-tube-london-fortitude-sky-atlantic-video

polarbear2701hA life-sized polar bear is spotted in London, roaming the streets and riding the tube. The 8-foot-long male, controlled by two puppeteers inside, is part of a promotion for Sky Atlantic’s new Arctic crime drama Fortitude.

Another recent example is the Danny Cipriani ‘Welcome Back to Milk’ campaign video… A simple concept, product and ambassador endorsement, but very well delivered in terms of the video creation. One thing is for sure, the video got a lot of pick up in the media landscape and buzz on social channels.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-3009924/Danny-Cipriani-fronts-Welcome-Milk-campaign-following-strong-Six-Nations-showings-England.html

26F46A2A00000578-3009924-England_rugby_star_Danny_Cipriani_promotes_the_Welcome_Back_to_M-a-18_1427271919045However, once you do get this right, the viewing rate of a video press release or piece of video content can be over 50% higher (source: reelseo) than a release without a video and it helps your brand be at the forefront of the industry and establish a higher rate of share-ability.

Surely this all makes it worth it? I think 2015 will see some swift advancements in video production as equipment becomes more accessible, for example the Go Pro and organisations see the importance of video to make cut through for brands and organisations.

Headline image: University of Warwick

2015 is the year for Snapchat

Each year there are always expectations and research conducted into  which social media app will be the one to watch for brand campaigns. This year, if you haven’t heard of Snapchat, then make sure you sign up and understand what the craze is all about.

snapchat-logoFor brands and organisations which target 14 to 28 year olds – Snapchat is going to be a tool to take seriously when planning communication strategy.

Below – According to Business Insider, Nearly Half of Americans aged 12 to 24 have used Snapchat.

snapchat-growthThe app is developing new features quickly from being a platform where you can send a single image which is displayed for only a certain period of time (seconds), to been able to chat one on one, send videos, edit and scribble.  New developments have now introduced the new story features which are quickly becoming one of the most popular elements of the app.

The new ‘My Story’ feature is attracting over 1 billion views a day and is an exciting element for brands, events and organisations to explore.

There is the opportunity to create a featured video which is a combination of videos or images which will sit on friends timelines and offers brands the perfect chance to advertise to a targeted market. However, the creation needs to be extremely relevant to drive impressions as the Snapchat market is hard to engage with so this takes careful planning and execution.

A new feature and diversion of the app which has just been introduced is called ‘Our Story‘. I have seen many apps trying to create a similar idea however, it requires an app  platform which has very  high user engagement, especially between groups of friends, to make it work. The new element allows friends to create an ‘our story’ group where they can all input their videos and images to create a combined event combination. This is perfect for brands and organisations who focus on or deal with events or festivals. One thing to consider is that the app works on wi-fi geofence to collate the uploads so good connection is crucial. From this, brands can also create their own sponsored Our Story piece to drive engagement and promotion.

Watch the below video to understand:

 

Also, if you are an entertainment or media brand, make sure you check out the new Discover element of Snapchat. Young and creative news agencies or platforms such as lifestyle magazines are jumping on board to incorporate Snapchat into their digital strategy. The feature allows you to send news information which remains visible for 24 hours before disappearing and updating.

I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a BIG year Snapchat.

The changing face of PR

I keep finding myself reading articles on the world of PR and how the PR industry is dead as we know it. When I started reading, I was admittedly slightly concerned, however, the more I delve into the subject and use insight from my own experience I come to realise quite the opposite. PR is not dead but transforming and re-shaping into a new era of PR which is much more complex.

Traditional PR is certainly not how it used to be and this is the PR which is becoming a dying breed. Those still adopting solely traditional methods of PR are falling behind in the race. Not a dead horse by any stretch although agencies and communications professionals have had to adapt their traditional PR methods to keep up with the new and ever evolving environment. This landscape is now made up of fragile ecosystems of shared interests connecting, chaotically, across diverse communities. Everything and anything can become public to any type of audience, across any part of the world and to any type of individual/ group/ or organisation. The term ‘public’ isn’t what it used to be.

What has brought the biggest change in the industry? Simply, digital developments. These inventions are the new communication channels and are most commonly known as social media. Social media has brought about a new area of PR and communication which brands and communication professionals have had to adapt to include within their environment. It was only a few years ago when a whole raft of agencies came forward, showcasing themselves as ‘offline PR specialists’ or ‘digital agencies’. This is just not the case anymore. The industry has realised that there should not be any strict distinction between digital communications and PR alongside other forms. They are intertwined and should work together to compliment and accommodate each other. This has lead to a new type of agency with a ‘take all’ approach. More and more digital agencies are claiming they can ‘do PR’ which in my view should be considered carefully and approached with caution – but this is another matter.

Going back to the development of agencies within the industry, I believe agencies now need to differentiate themselves from their competitors within other specialist areas – whether this be by industry type, or by specialism i.e. creativity / innovation… and demonstrate their skills in doing so.

The rise in digital channels and additional methods outside of the traditional PR space has only highlighted the importance of effective PR and communications for brands, organisations and companies. The competition in 2014 across all industry sectors in stronger, faster and more cut throat. Organisations and brands need to have their voice heard within the crowded marketplace with the knock on effect on agencies and PR professionals who now need to have the tools and knowledge to utilise the opportunities for the essential coverage which will generate the required impact for brands.

PR as an industry has developed and now understanding the multiple channels available, PRs can have the upper hand. Delivering and outreaching content which can drive cut-through coverage is the direction agencies are and should be moving towards. In an industry which is extremely quick paced, dynamic, innovative and creative, there is only one way PR can survive and that’s to adapt and develop – something PR is very used too – ensuring PR and communications is not dead, but still very much alive.

Rugby… The next step

So following on from the success of the RBS 6 Nations all eyes will be gearing up for the 2015 Rugby World Cup which will be upon us in no time at all.

Plans are already moving into place for businesses and corporates to leverage the opportunities out of the World Cup which will be hosted in the UK. Recent research (YouGov) showed that hospitality options during the World Cup are regarded by 80 % of senior business decision makers as an extremely positive new business and deal-making opportunity for their business and clients.

And proof is in the pudding, as the RFU say hospitality tickets are flying off the shelves in record breaking sales. To make sure they have supply for is demand, the RFU have created the biggest hospitality programme ever seen at any UK sporting event in the UK.

Sponsors will be gearing up their plans for activation around the major event too and with the RFU claiming this will be the biggest event in history, then we can hopefully expect great things and creative outputs from partners. This combination of increased hospitality and sponsor opportunities shows how the sports market is really utilising their assets to create sporting events with business drive at the forefront.

All positive, even if England still have much work to do over the lead-up months…

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Keep up to speed on the Battlefield, SONY…

The recent news outbreak about Sony’s security crisis has taken them over a week to respond. Why do we keep seeing scenes of top-end brands fall down the wrong path of not being able to manage and respond to their customers fast enough through social media! We saw a very similar dilemma during the Toyota crisis over a year ago.

These issues and public backlash are showing the importance of ‘getting social media right’. The tools may not be new, but the strategies behind managing certain brand are not equip enough. Large brands need to make sure they have the monitoring tools in place to ‘see, decide and act’ as fast as the public are commenting.

It all came a little too late. And making comments such as this: “We are also going to continue to post updates to this blog with any additional information and insight that we can over the next few days.” may or may not be enough to put the public and Sony fans and users at ease. We will have to wait and see how it goes.