Category Archives: Internet

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.

2015 Marketing Communication Predictions

It wouldn’t be right to not have a blog on predictions for marketing and communication trends in 2015, so here you go! Here are what I think will be the top areas which all communications professionals should be aware of. Let me know if you have any others you think should be included…

TOP 2015 MARKETING COMMUNICATION TRENDS

Video will flourish

Videos are now not just for fun, video will be a key way for marketing professionals and brands to engage with and gather the trust of their audiences. Creative brands will come forward with sharable and standout content. Innovative equipment such as Go Pros will increase in usage and technical ability, and those who don’t get involved will get left behind! 2015 is the year for more exciting video developments…

Increased importance and cost of social advertising

Anyone can be on social media however, results are not guaranteed, nor are they free! You have to pay for everything in life, and this medium is no different. Brands will need to shell out more on platforms such as Facebook and manage their channels better  to see a return on investment and engagement statistics which are worth shouting about.

Facebook fan pages took a hit last year as the ‘reach’ drastically decreased. This year, Facebook will also start banning over promoted posts and start basing it more around organic engagement. Simply, if you want exposure, you will have to pay.

Real-time marketing will be even more crucial

We saw the headline actions of big brands last year who caught the attention surrounding their effective and quick thinking real-time marketing, and this year, brands will need to be thinking the same. Brands reactive teams are growing to hold the demand for real-time marketing. Be bold and be standout.

Personalise me!

With the vast amount of ‘big data’ brands are collecting, there will be a time when consumers can personalise the products they buy, the things they watch or the way things are done. On the other hand, brands may look to personalise their messages to each individual consumer, we saw elements of this during Wimbledon and other events last year. Brands and organisations have realised it doesn’t take an unrealistic workload to achieve this result.

Mobile madness

Some believe that usage of the internet from mobile devices will increase and overtake desktop usage by the end of 2015 meaning brands need to be mobile savvy. Therefore, one thing is pretty certain, more and more investment will be made in mobile marketing and app development over the coming 12 months.

Influencers will be more important than ever

With increased noise online, targeting and speaking with key influencers is becoming more and more important. Celebrities and sports personalities, all the way to top Instagram profiles, are ever more in the media eye and visible online therefore making them an attractive target for brands to get messages to their key audiences.

 

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.

Let’s Focus on 2013

Check out my recent blog on Hatch Communications Blog, or read below! Let me know what you think.

…Well, what a year 2012 was! It was bursting full of big events with the Jubilee and the Olympics certainly dominating the media platform and keeping us PR professionals very busy.

Is 2013 missing that crucial event? Or is being ‘Olympics-free’ more liberating for PR’s? We think it will open the doors to new communications strategies and campaigns and with this freedom, it lets PR’s forge their own narrative. It will however be a difficult task, especially with the economic climate still on tenter hooks and the lack of a major events for brands to link into. It will also be a tasking job to generate the nation’s sentiment but, with the right tactics, brands and PR’s can hit those headlines.

With big events lacking during 2013, us PR and Comm’s professionals can focus our time on growing themes and technologies which are continuing to quickly develop, such as the increased use of mobile marketing. For brands, this has not only created another platform for communication, it has also increased the importance for them to have updated websites and creatively-targeted campaigns – the multi-channel opportunity is more important than ever! It also means that consumers are available for experimental activity from brands at any time of the day and any location – leaving open another avenue for PR’s to explore.

As the traditional press continue to be the subject of increasingly major changes structurally and reductions in resources, journalists are becoming more targeted with what they print in order to help their publication survive the unstable environment. A landscape very unfamiliar to the years where brands messages could be seen in the forefront of major PR stories.

On the other hand, consumers are becoming more and more savvy with brands and diluting messages they don’t want to see or hear. They are also becoming increasingly interested in what goes on behind the scenes of major brands and with the access to self-publishing through social media channels this is much easier. Consumers are also pushing brands to become even more transparent than first expected. This generates challenges and new opportunities for PR professionals, as brands can now interact even more closely with their fans and audiences. If done correctly using mirco-targeted campaigns then this can open doors for great PR campaigns.

PR’s mustn’t also forget that stakeholders need to be taken into account even more in 2013, as more and more realise how their financial concerns are affected by people’s perceptions. It is not something which can be easily tamed, and if a corporate reputation is not managed well it can be a dangerous environment to deal with.

So whatever 2013 brings to us in terms of the media environment to major national events, the PR industry certainly has many opportunities to cut through and make an impact for their brands. Keeping on top of new trends is just one job for the year ahead!

2012 Predictions: The World of PR

The world of PR has changed drastically from when some of my team started out in their careers… some remember when press releases were printed and posted out, when the telephone was the only way to communicate with journalists and when the main stream media was the only medium to target. Well, I’m sure you have noticed that things are vastly different now and year on year, elements of PR change – so I have pulled together a quick over view of what could be the main changes in 2012.

Pitching will get stronger

At Hatch (my work), we are constantly reviewing how we speak to journalists about our client’s stories, we must keep things new, fresh, news worthy and relevant to the current market. This is becoming more important than ever, as main stream media has seen many cuts to their publications from staffing to distribution, as exemplified by the Liverpool Post changing from a daily to a weekly publication. It’s very important for PR’s to keep up to date with all the changes in the media world.

Social media will increase in strength

It is already apparent how social media has changed the role of ‘influencers’, and how consumers now practice on a new platform to air their views, concerns and delights. This medium is fantastic for PR’s to utilise in their work for brands, however it is also a concern in terms of crisis management – as bad news travels even faster, therefore enhancing the need for brands to have PR support!

Who owns social media?

The debate surrounding who social media belongs to will continue to shine. It is predicted by the Hatchlings that social media and the world of online communications will become so vast that only professional communicators will know how to manage, intervene and create online communication. Technological skills are being picked up quickly by communication professionals, meaning specialist digital agencies may be left behind.

The role and understanding of PR will grow

The increasing understanding of the importance of online communications and the impact of vastly spreading messages will mean there will be a greater need for Public Relations professionals. We will bring our views on the changing media world, reputation management, crisis communication, internal communication, and community relations.

New news mediums and apps will grow

We can already see how news mediums are having to adapt their online viewing, how they interact with their readers and how they are used by their audiences. We have seen how the Guardian is working with Facebook to allow readers to view what other people are reading and share their stories, and the BBC has adapted their website for mobile/tablet viewing, and over in the States, the Washington Post is adapting the way it is viewed and shared. This is only the start. More and more news publications will need to be advancing and moving into more social ways of spreading their news and we believe 2012 will be the year for this.

How will we purchase in 2012?

It has already been tried and tested to buy things using your mobile phone, and websites can now hold your details, making purchasing easier.  2011 saw a dramatic increase in online shopping, as more savvy online shoppers are already using mobile coupons which are delivered directly to mobile phones, and group buying techniques are on the rise, for example, successful discount website, Groupon. Companies such as Innocent Smoothies have being testing the water by using Twitter as a way of offering group discounts depending on how many people click on a certain link – the more people that do, the more discount they offer. We can certainly say that 2012 will see a dramatic increase in social buying and online shopping – it will be exciting to see what new developments are occurring, and if Facebook develops more into this.

Overview

These are only a few pointers about how the role of communications and the day-to-day role of PR will be affected in 2012. This may sound daunting to some, but as long as you as agencies and PR professionals keep up-to-date with how the world is changing, they can advise their clients correctly. It will be interesting to see how 2012 will change the world we work in today.

Check out my company website Hatch: here

MOVE: Videos which inspire!

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

If I were to go travelling I would love to be able to create something like this!

Absolutely amazing!

“3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage… all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ….into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films…..

= a trip of a lifetime.”

(commissioned by STA Travel Australia)

It certainly is inspiring, and also makes me want to try out my creative skills when I head to India in October! We shall see…

The future of social media… What’s new?

Social media and online marketing are a crucial part of any clients communications strategy, and it’s a vital area that PR agencies need to be on top of. Brands need to understand that they are being talked about online whether they like it or not, and being a part of the conversation is (in most cases) the best strategy to have.

I have put together a little list tools and trends which I believe PR’s and those pulling communications strategies together need to be watching out for…

  • Geolocation – Tools such as FourSqaure and Facebook Places have adapted to an increased usage of mobile internet which is now becoming more and more advanced every day. New tools keep appearing every day such as Bizzy, a check-out switch on the traditional FourSqaure idea. There are also many recent developments with Groupon, who have launched Groupon New, which is based on their ever so successful deals and special offers. You highlight your preference ‘hungry’ or ‘bored’ and based on your location Groupon will give you a range of activities or places to visit. (Image from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com)
  • Keep you eyes open for new developments and news on this ‘Geo-location’ based topic which could change ways brands can interact. This is especially interesting for the tourism industry’s point of view, as many are using this to rate places people visit e.g. restaurants, bars, museums etc. On the other hand, read the recent news regarding iPhone’s Tracking device… this privacy issue could cause problems to these types of apps in the future.
  • Crowd Sourcing – Not a new idea, but one which is constantly been developed through the use of social media and online communications. Large brands such as Starbucks are engaging with customers through allowing customers to share their ideas and views, and therefore feeling apart of the brand. As people become more experienced online, this concept will be reachable to a larger audience and not just the social media experts.
  • Likeonomics‘ – Is a term used to describe the way the public interact with brands and push their options out into the open, this is done through ‘likes’ on Facebook and personal comments through Twitter. Consumers are constantly looking for personal recommendations and what our peers are commenting about, sharing and ‘liking’. Therefore if done well, brands can inspire ‘word of mouth’ through social media platforms and encourage further brand awareness and loyalty.
  • Near Field Communication Technology – This advancement is said to lead to half a billion people worldwide using their mobile devices as travel tickets by 2015. This technology is already in use, but is a working development. Retail outlets such as McDonald’s are already in progress in using this technology to purchase products. Certainly one to watch out for!
  • Quora – This site is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. An important tool to consider key ‘influencers’.
  • Scribblelive – I have added this little tool in as it’s a great tool for keeping up to date with the ‘culture’ of now. This tool enables real-time journalism and audience engagement without any delays. Brands can also publish live real-time content and reach internet consumers demands.
  • Zipcast is a relatively new online meeting programme. This works through SlideShare, so you can not only just upload your presentation, but can now hold an online conference and speak through your presentation with your audience. This tool is a competitor to the previous Webex online meeting device.
  • Bar code scanning is a development which could change the way we shop. You have probably already seen recent adverts on TV which highlight how iPhones can add products to an online shopping list. Apps can now compare in-store prices whist you are shopping. E.g. Tesco iPhone app: Again, these developments are taking on ‘recommendations’, so when you scan a product you are subject to a world of peer / consumer feedback. It’s these changes that brands need to be aware of, as consumer comments can be extremely powerful – you can see this through sites such as Tripadvisor.

This is just a little list of developments which I thought would be useful to highlight. Do comment or let me know about any more advancements which you feel should be included within this list. There will be those that I have missed as the internet and social media is changing vastly and quickly and keeping up with all changes is a challenge, but an extremely interesting one.

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.

What’s the future for the web?

Over the past few years there have been many changes in the internet and certain tools which have come and stayed or come and gone in a flash. The likes of Twitter, FourSquare and Facebook are phenomenons that have grown rapidly compared with many thousands of tools and ideas which will have disappeared before anyone even heard of them.  It is hard to predict the way the wheel will turn and which elements will take off and which will die.

I read an interesting post about the prediction of the internet – Web 3.0. This web browser will be able to answer full questions, analyze your interests, likes and dislikes and your personality. The browser will act like your personal assistant by creating an automatic personal profile. This thinking has been named the ‘Semantic Web‘ by the man who created the World Wide Web.

Will our computer devises eventually look like this?