Category Archives: Social Media

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.

‘This Girl Can’… Every Girl Can Campaign

Sport England has created a new campaign video entitled This Girl Can which is been aired on TV during peak times and the chat online has been very reactive. The lottery funded campaign was designed on the back of recent research which concluded that 2 million fewer women than men do less regular sport.

The video is a celebration of women across the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or how sweaty they get. The campaign which is aimed at women from between14 to 40 years old old, it challenges the cultural assumptions about femininity that prevents them engaging in sport and exercise.

The video reminds me of the ‘Like a Girl’ video by Always, in the way it’s empowering women to be able to fight stereotypical boundaries. This is still evident in our generation and it really shouldn’t be, as women are proving they can perform, achieve and as the Olympics showed us, win medals as much as our male counterparts – meaning there are so many inspirational women out there which girls and women can follow and aspire towards.

The video delivers the desired impact and showcases what a well-designed piece of video can do for a campaign, and how it can engage effectively with the target audiences.

However, one issue I see is that the campaign again refers to women as ‘girls’. Is this really the case? All the ‘girls’ featured in the This Girl Can video, are indeed women and I somehow think that referring to them as ‘girls’ again just highlights the stereotype that girls can’t do physical things… ‘You throw like a girl’.

Watch the video here:

I like the video and do hope that this is an inspiration for women around the country to do more whatever their shape. However, I can’t help but think that there should have been more of a focus on sport for friendship, sport for relaxing and well-being for dealing with work stress and the building of emotional strength, in the body and mind. In today’s society, with all the images of celebrities and other influences portraying what the perfect body should look like, I think a focus on mental positivity is just as important to helping ‘girls, women and men’ alike understand the impact physical activity can have.

More on their campaign here: http://www.thisgirlcan.co.uk/feel-inspired/

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.

Stop Horsing Around…

It will have been hard to miss hearing and reading about the recent horse meat scandal which is causing havoc within the food industry in the UK and across Europe. I wrote a blog for Hatch Communications website looking at which brands have failed to impress by ‘horsing’ around with their comms during the last few weeks since the story broke, and which ones have turned it to their advantage…

#Fail… Too Late Tesco

Philip Clarke, chief executive of the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, publicly commented for the first time today since the food crisis erupted six weeks ago. He stated that horsemeat contamination was “wider than anyone imagined” and had been a “significant breach in trust” to their customers, which had been caused by “sloppy” suppliers “cutting corners for their own gain”.

From this he has vowed to make sure meat is supplied closer to home, but many, including British farmers say this is ‘too little too late’! Pressure has been placed on British farmers for years to cut down on cost, resulting in many going out of business and giant supermarkets sourcing meat from across Europe. We will have to see how this plays out, as the National Farmers Union president, Peter Kendall said that while supermarkets already bragged about sourcing certain meats, fresh fruit and dairy products in the UK, they need to extend this activity to cheaper and processed foods.

The message is clear – ALL supermarkets need to start sourcing high-quality traceable products from farmers in the UK.

#Fail… Burger King Twitter gets McHacked

Two weeks after traces of horse meat were found in the ‘beef’ burgers from a European Burger King supplier, the chain’s Twitter account was hacked and the hackers a whopper of an announcement that the company had been bought out by McDonald’s, changing all the settings to resemble the golden arches branding.

Luckily the chain realised what had happened a few hours later, but this still wasn’t quick enough to stop the social storm that had already resulted.

However, social karma came back to bite McDonald’s too as they tried to prove where their meat is sourced by using the trends #meetthefarmers and #McDstories, but all the received was a backlash of harsh comments and critics panning the taste of their food.

#Winner… Horse Power in Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper was one of the brands to creatively capitalizes on the horsemeat fiasco by creating a tongue in cheek advert. The ad features a picture of the beefed-up new Mini John Cooper Works Roadster, with a headline that reads, “Beef. With a lot of horses hidden in it.”… we loved this one! Brands who act quickly can make something amusing and light hearted out of a serious issue.

#Winner…Business Boosted for British Butchers

The real winners to have come out of the scandal is local butchers and farmers who have reported a boom in sales over the past few weeks. Not only are they seeing more customers through the door, many are hoping that consumers will turn to their local butchers for good as they seek someone they can trust.

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!

Can a viral video stop a killer?

Invisible Children charity have produced a video which has been watched nealy 74m times. The Hollywood-type video has been created to highlight African warlord Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) guerilla group and his rebellion and criminal activity against humanity.

Although the charity has received backlash for the amount of money spent on the video, the video has seen Twitter takeover and one of the fastest ever YouTube take-offs ever known.

The video has certainly gone viral, and has caught the attention of the world! With the hope of lobbying and pushing the arrest of Kony, Hollywood celebs such as Angelina Jolie have shown their support for the campaign. And according to a recent report on the Guardian website, “The group raised $5m (£3.2m) in just 48 hours after uploading the film, which makes an explicit call for contributions. What will happen to those funds is unclear: financial statements for Invisible Children show that only 32% of the $8.6m it raised last year went to services in northern Uganda.”

The campaign certainly shows the power of social media in creating attention, drawing people in, shouting out… but we shall see what power social media has in creating change and actions. The world is a changed place, so the question we are all asking is, can a viral video stop a killer?!

I’m sure you will have already seen the video, but if not then watch it here:

*Image from Google Images

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

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.

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.