Category Archives: Public Relations

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.

PR Examples Website

I came across this great website the other week (created by 10 Yetis’ Rich Leigh), and I am now an author, picking out and searching for great and wonderful PR campaigns which we can all admire and learn from! If only this website has been around when I was at University, there were so many times I could have done with a portal of recent PR stunts and campaigns. So I see this website been a great success.

The website is http://prexamples.com/

Follow them at @PRExamples

Becoming a Hatchling…

Well, I have now been a Hatchling at Hatch Communications for nearly eight months, and how time has flown by! I really feel like I have molded and become one of the team. I therefore thought now was a good time to write a little update on how I have got on so far!

Thinking about it, I am not too sure where to start…I think it would only be right to start with Keith Chegwin. Yes, you did read this right…

One of our clients, PCHPrizes.co.uk, who are a very well known prize giving company in the US have launched their UK version, and we were there to help the launch and their first prize give-away of £100,000!!! I started Hatch at the right time to become involved in this process, and after a magnificent launch party in London, I then jetted (well drove) to Reading (well Newbury) to become a part of the ‘Prize Patrol team’ and surprised our first winner with £100,000 cheque with Keith Cheggers.

Firstly, we had to research her on the internet and find out where the lucky prize winner worked, so we could go in undercover and surprise her at her desk! It was a mission, but a really funny morning. Watch the video here www.pchprizes.co.uk/winners and make sure you enter the next free prize draw!I have also recently spent the day with Keith doing a Radio Day in London, which allowed us to get our campaign messages out to a range of national and regional radio stations.

Together with all that excitement we have been busy working with Thomas Cook Sport promoting their match breaks packages and running competitions with national media and online alongside helping out with their social media development and reporting.

With the Olympics now only a few months away, we have been busy working with Thomas Cook London 2012 who are the Official Short Breaks Provider for the Games. I have been busy profiling the MD through securing interviews with national magazines and papers, preparing speaking opportunities, alongside hitting the phones speaking to journalists about our clients plans and involvement with the Games.

During January we also turned our attention to flying furry pets, as we headed up the UK’s only Rabbit Grand National! After jetting a team of Swedish Rabbit Jumping specialists over, we arranged a weekend showcase which saw the crowds flock to the little Yorkshire town of Harrogate. There is never a dull moment!

I shouldn’t really mention our Hatch night out in this post, but otherwise it wouldn’t be a Hatch blog post… as Hatch know how to party and have fun after all the hard work is done. After my first few weeks we planned a night out to welcome Charlie and myself to the team. It was a very warm welcome indeed, lots of singing (screeching on my part) in the Karaoke booth in Arc, many Jagers, then drinks and dancing down Call Lane into the early hours. For our Christmas party, we stayed the night in Edinburgh and went out for a cocktail master-class and an evening meal.

Hatch have recently won three new CIPR Awards which were awarded at the Yorkshire & Lincs CIPR Awards in Leeds back in November – another good evening. It doesn’t stop there, as Hatch are now up for more awards at FRESH later this year. You know when you have joined a good team!

There is so much more to mention about, but I must keep this short and sweet until my next post.

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

University experience and job hunting in a hard time…

My experience of studying at Leeds Met and how it helped me in the scary place of ‘full-time work’!

One of the biggest advantages of the PR course at Leeds Met was the practical elements. We were encourage to gain placements and work on live projects with real clients in order to build up our portfolio and experience. To me this was the best part of the course, as it allowed you to put all the work you learnt at university into practice – alongside giving you vital skills to equip you for interviews and employment.

I think it is important to use these elements of the course to expand CV experience! I have put forward a few tips below:

Tips for enhancing your CV whilst at University:

  • Make sure you have a selection of work placement positions on your CV – paid or unpaid, these will show you are willing to reach out and do extra work. You will find that placements will also help you with your university work, alongside giving you vital work-related skills.
  • Network! Attend events at university and any other CIPR related events. These are great places to meet people you wouldn’t normally be able to talk to – PR professionals, directors of companies etc. These events were great for me, as they helped with university work and dissertation contacts, but also with gaining contacts for future employment options.
  • Extra activities – Do something extra, something above and beyond which gives your CV that little extra. It can be sports related, a personal hobby in which you compete with, or a volunteer programme. I tried to pack as much as I coud into my second year summer and whilst working temporarily to gain a bit of money, I travelled to Thailand on two different volunteer projects. The first was volunteering on IIFA (Indian International Film Awards) which were held in Bangkok. I was selected to work backstage on the live event, helping out on the communications controls – the event was televised to millions of people. The second trip was a month-long volunteering project to Kaho Lak in Thailand. This was one of the worst hit areas of Thailand from the Tsunami, so I volunteered to teach at deprived schools in the local area.  Experiences such as these help to shape your personality and to give you something inspiring to talk about to future employers.
  • Building on your confidence – In doing the above, your confidence should grow dramatically enabling you to act more professional in interviews and in the work place.

The work place is a seriously competitive environment at the moment so the more you can do to enhance your CV alongside your university grades the better you will find your job prospects and the transition into work.

If anyone has any more tips or advice, please do let me know or post below! Thanks.

Advice to PR Students for a Dream Dissertation

It is coming to that time of year when PR students start thinking about what else they have to finish on their dissertations… or hat they have to start in some cases. With only a few months left and much research to be finished and analysed, notes to be typed out and checked, bibliography to be finalised, appendices to be organised – the end only seems a million years away. But I promise you not, the day you hand in the 3-inch thick bible will soon come!

I have pulled together a few top tips which I think helped me get through the endless amounts of paper and sleepless nights.

Don’t panic

It is important not to panic about how much time you don’t have, but think about what you have left to do and plan your time around this. Take a deep breathe and think happy thoughts about how good you will feel once you hand your final piece in.

Be organised

I believe that the most important element of getting through your dissertation is to keep organised. You can waste so much time if your papers are not organised or your documents aren’t saved correctly – so as it’s a new year, take a few hours to organise all the work and reflect on what you have done so far. Put it all into files which state what your research is; interviews, questionnaires, discussions, findings, journals etc… Before doing anything else, I assure you that this will help clear your head and put you in the right frame of mind to continue.

Timetable your work

You may find it useful to keep a calendar on your wall where you work, as this lets you see how much time you have left, and helps you section off different periods of work. Draw one up and try to stick to it!

Keep writing

Most of you will still be researching, whether it be primary or secondary, I found that the best way to keep your thoughts was to write it all down. As you read, discuss and interview make sure you are keeping a track of everything. This can be done in the style of a log book or just in your research file – which will help you when you come to writing out your findings.

Talk to professionals

Alongside conducting your dissertation methodology, it may also help if you chat with professionals on your topic. It is classed as part of your research and can still be counted. If you have a placement position, it would be recommended to talk to the team – gage their views, opinions and advice. They may let you in on something you never thought of.

When conducting my research, I used Linkedin to speak with professions around the country about my topic – I even gained a great contact in Spain who helped me find the information I needed. Therefore, use your professional social media tools and engage with people. The other advantage of this is it lets people know what you are doing and allows them to see you working… you never know where this may lead.

Time to check

The worst thing you can do is to not leave enough time to check your work efficiently at the end of writing your 15,000 words. Make sure you leave enough time for this, and ask friends or relatives to read your dissertation through for you – as they will see mistakes you won’t.

It is a difficult process but you will get to the end – Good luck!

Students are getting their books at the ready…

But what is really important to a PR degree?

It only feels like a few weeks ago that I was heading back to Leeds after my placement year in Manchester, were I was looking forward to living my last year as a student again. What people didn’t tell me, was how my final year wouldn’t be anything like my first two years of careless living, partying during the week and having the time to watch every episode of Sex in the City, One Tree Hill and 90120…

My memories of final year are mostly blurred visions of stressful long nights spent in the library, debating with group members, having the few early night drinks before collapsing into bed surrounded by dissertation notes at 10pm… a very different university experience but one that I have learnt so much from. This is the experience and advice I think should be shared. Here are a few tips for final year student.

1) Start final year prepared that big nights out will be dramatically lower (unless you don’t mind getting a lower degree mark – or work very well with a hangover!). I can’t – but maybe that’s something to do with getting old!?

2) Prepare for your dissertation early on and think about what contacts you already have. Don’t try to dive into writing a dissertation on PR and celebrities unless  you have contact with celebrities you know will help. It’s all about using the contact you know, so think about this before you choose your topic. I wrote my dissertation based on the contacts I gained through my placement in tourism.

3) Get as much PR experience in the bag as possible. Free time will be short, but putting yourself out there and gaining work experience during your final year will ultimately help you gain that job after graduating.

4) Make as many contacts as possible. Go to the university CIPR lectures and social networking events and make sure you go with questions to ask and a voice ready to talk and network. You never know where contacts will lead you!

5) My final thought for today is to remember to enjoy it! If you don’t enjoy the pressure of final year, you won’t last in an agency or heavy PR environment. The final year prepares you for your future career – so make sure you like it, or you should maybe think about spreading your wings into a another area.

The hard work pays off in the end!

A revolution is really happening…

I have spent the past two days at a social media workshop, learning so much more about the world of social media. I think that if you need something to sum up the importance of social media to any clients, or just any jo bloggs who believes its all for geeks, then you should show them this video. It certainly made me gasp a few times… interesting!

It is from a company blog called socialomics.net