Tag Archives: commission

Our survey says… more please!

7 Jan

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Welcome Prime Timers – to the first blog of the new year.

If you’re struggling with the thought of the five-day working week, then this blog probably won’t help. I’m going to get underneath the skin of a recent survey and debate the PR-Journalist-Consumer relationship. That’s right folks, we’re exploring a three-way relationship.

The Energy Saving Trust has commissioned a survey which reveals that more than half of consumers prefer to see advertising claims backed by facts and figures. A further 41% are more likely to believe ideas supported by a third party expert organisation.

‘This is interesting’ I hear you say. But you’ll be even more surprised when I say just 1% said celebrity endorsement would increase their product loyalty.

So, judging by this report, big brands such as Nike, Pepsi and L’Oreal should scrap Ashley Cole, Beyonce and Kirsten Dunst and re-invest their budget elsewhere, because apparently it doesn’t work!

PR
From a PR point of view, what avenue you go down to get coverage depends on who your target audience is. Top titles such as the Metro and the Daily Mail are packed with survey stories, but you can’t have a conversation with a lifestyle journalist without a celebrity partner as back up.

That’s because celebrities don’t just push product, they market an experience. Are the research respondents actually telling me that when they’re looking for trainers they’re turned on by Which? statistics rather than the thought of looking like a model?

Which sectors should prioritise stats?
1. Financial
2. Technology
3. Healthcare

Consumers
I’m not expecting consumers to believe everything celebrities say. We’re in the middle of a sponsorship era. Do well in youe field, you get offers. Lie, cheat or fail to perform and those offers are taken off the table. So, media savvy readers will know that celebs will agree with almost anything as long as it pays well. These endorsements are PR through and through.

In some cases, celebrities can’t even uphold an exclusive sponsorship deal. In the Evening Standard tonight I saw that in an interview with the Radio Times, actor Ben Miller has admitted to fancying Typhoo Tea opposed to PG tips. He’s rocked the boat and put his personal opinion above his cash cow.

Which sectors shouldn’t prioritise stats?
1. Fashion and beauty
2. Arts and culture
3. Media

Journalists
But, when it comes to securing coverage, it takes far longer to explain your headline stat and sample size, compared to uttering the words ‘Gwyneth Paltrow‘. And, more often than not, she adds more weight.

I’ve actually had a journalist put the phone down on me, not because he wasn’t interested in my pitch but because he simply didn’t believe the figures.

There’s a time and a place for numbers and percentages. When they’re unusual, fool-proof and complement the product or service, they sit well with all everyone involved. But, if in doubt, find someone who will communicate your messages without the hassle.

What do you prefer?

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PR: a step in the right direction

27 Aug

It’s amazing how many ideas you can come up with for brands that you don’t work for and today was no exception. In fact I was most productive during my lunch break, dividing a mini comms plan for new footwear company She’s So Shoes.

I was asked to pull together a quick press release to promote the new online retailer, which specialises in petite feet (that’s a UK size 4 and under if you’re wondering), to sell-in to the consumer and local press. But my mind is trained to think big. Or, in other words, think fee. And in this case: shoes.

Here are my three top-line ideas for this SME to walk towards an award-winning campaign:

1. Make the story personal
Research shows that more than a quarter of females in the UK have small feet (me included) – so I’d make the story personal by commissioning research to find the top 10 regions with the smallest feet, with a sample size of 2,000 for credibility. I’d then transform this data into an infographic to bring the topic to life before selling-in to fashion, lifestyle magazines and bloggers and national papers. The content can also be regionalised to the towns referenced in the study for extra impact and packaged as part of a radio day.

To go the extra mile, costs permitting, this PR story could also grab people’s attention by sending shoe samples to journalists and other fashion influencers – ideally those with small feet so they make use of the product. A single celebrity tweet can generate hundreds of re-tweets from fans who’ll drive traffic back to the brand’s website.

2. A picture’s worth a 1,000 words
It’s similar to what Carnaby Street did recently, but I’ve never been a fan of reinventing the wheel. So I’d compile a feature, working with the British Footwear Association, to put together a ‘who’s who’ of small feet. A blend of people from the past and present, famous and the unknown to place in the women’s national lifestyle supplements. Accompany with a photocall to bring the feature to life.

3. Pop up catwalk
PRs will want to position this company against other leading brands and what better way to show that these shoes can trample the rest by hosting a pop up catwalk in the capital?

With promotional models and members of the public, who can pick a pair of shoes to model, they can strut their stuff in an area that’s bound to attract attention. Think Millennium Bridge for photo purposes.

I’d recommend that a prize draw runs alongside the event and everyone that registers receives e-updates to get exclusive access to discounts to sustain campaign momentum.

These are three quick ideas that can help a brand to make an impact and get its ‘story’ started. A full campaign will require solid tactics to develop She’s So Shoes’ community and keep customers engaged with questions, offers and fashion ideas – driven by social media.

What would you do differently? Are you in need of some Prime Time PR ideas to get your brainstorm started?

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This is NOT a Royal Baby blog: Waiter, is that an iPhone in my soup?

23 Jul

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I use my iPhone all the time. It’s the first thing I check when I wake up and the last thing I look at, at night. I tweet, blog, Facebook and Snap Chat – and I’ll do whatever the next big thing is.

I don’t get offended by people checking their phone when they’re with me – it’s about staying connected and being involved in a conversation at that very moment. I’m always telling my friends that the great thing about social media is that it happens in ‘real time’. I can enjoy a conversation with someone on the other side of the world and not have to wait around for a reply, but feel assured that they are online and I know chatting will be as easy as if they were next door.

So, I’m not surprised that new research commissioned by Mars, part of Nestlé, has found that a fifth of young people check their phone at the dinner table. But I’m shocked that it’s not more than this, what with ‘tweet what you eat‘ trends taking off on social networks, encouraging people to share their dishes with the world.

The art of conversation isn’t dying, it’s just changing. Gone are the days of crafting a careful text to get great value from your 10p SMS that communicates everything you want to say in 160 characters. More often than not they’re now free so we can say as much as we want without spending a dime. Even Whatsapp, Twitter and BBM encourage people to make conversation little and often with as many friends as they can think of.

What would be interesting to find out is if the research applies to families eating at home or dining out. Yes, more people are eating in restaurants, pubs and hotels as cheap treats during the continued effects of the recession. But cheap as the occasions may be, to me it’s still a treat and I’d be less inclined to search the web or take a call if I was there.

The article on The Drum doesn’t go into detail of many other findings from the research. It makes me question if Mars got the results they expected – because I can’t see many other pieces of coverage online.

It’s also a strange time for this research to be revealed. It comes weeks after Jo Clarke made the news when she was refused service in Sainsbury’s until she ended her phone call – which led Nick Clegg to call for gadgets to be banned from the diner table. I can’t imagine Mars wanting to put the issue into perspective for political reasons. I’m also not sure how it links back to their brand – and if this was a theme among any of the questions asked.

Overall, at first glance, this activity has little PR benefit for the business and just reiterates what we already know. Agreed?

How often are you on your phone? Is it rude to scroll through messages when eating out?

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