Tag Archives: data

Alternative advent calendars give consumers food for thought

1 Dec

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I’d like to introduce you to someone – December. That’s right, get the advent calendar out and enjoy your first square of fancy cheap chocolate.

This year, more brands are attempting to give consumers food for thought by not only engaging with them in a creative way on the 1st December, but also every day in the run up to Christmas. Genius.

Here are some of the best:

The Big Issue
Street magazine The Big Issue has launched an online advent calendar, whereby users can log onto the website to read an inspirational case study of a vendor each day. Not only does this help people to emotionally connect with the brand, but also the individuals behind The Big Issue – making this a powerful relationship-building exercise between new and existing customers.

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The Economist
To ensure you’re not winding down at work too soon, The Economist has collated a range of maps, charts and data from the site over the last year. To an outsider, this looks like a novel idea. To a digital marketer, it’s simply a quick win to boost web traffic before the end of the year.

But, don’t worry. Its designers have created a brand new interactive infographic for Christmas Day. It’ll be interesting to see how many tune in for that!

BBC Sport
In a similar fashion, the BBC is giving sports fans a 30-second video each day showcasing a ‘shot of the day‘. It kicks off with a Wimbledon recap of Australia’s Nick Kyrgios teaching Rafael Nadal a lesson in the fourth-round matchearlier this year.

A very nice way to leverage fun existing content, while giving people a reason to keep coming back.

Battersea Cats & Dogs Home
The famous animal rescue centre has partnered with The Metro this Christmas to help their pets find a new home. Revealing a ‘pet for life‘ behind every window, prospective owners can search to see if their future companion is waiting for them.

Time will tell how effective the PR and marketing stunt is. Gizmo, the six-year old Staffy, is still there and it’s almost 10.30pm! But, it’s a good way to raise awareness and personalise the process for people searching for a new pooch over the festive season.

What calendar stands out for you? Do contemporary case studies, charts, clips and cats rock your boat, or are you looking for something more traditional?

Brucie bonus: Masters of Malt
Not strictly on par with the other brands, but I cannot deny how much PR this drinks company has inadvertently enjoyed over the last week since TV legend Phillip Schofield expressed his Iove for the Drinks of the Dram whiskey advent calendar.

Schofe received a backlash from the Meaningful Chocolate Company, a Fairtrade company which has launched a calendar that sticks with the original Christmas story. It’s a good spot of PR for the business, but the share of voice in a Daily Mail mention for the brand at hand is through the roof.

That’s because criticism always leads to headlines, and that’s why I advise smart and subtle approaches to getting your brand’s message heard. Social media silence is best.

The real advent calendar

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#StayAlive: life-saving technology

24 Jun

When it comes to PR, charities are pushing themselves harder than ever to get noticed – and it’s paying off.

From WaterAid’s social media waterfall to Macmillan’s tube strike tweet, charities aren’t just sticking to their marketing strategy, they’re also going after ‘quick wins’, which is putting pressure on press teams to generate more column inches.

Having said this, I was surprised to see that Grassroots, a Brighton-based suicide prevention charity, is launching a new app next month called #StayAlive.

The app, not to be confused with the British Heart Foundation’s Bee Gees‘ inspired Staying Alive campaign, will offer support to people who feel suicidal.

Up to 4,400 people in England end their own lives each year, and 10 times this number attempt suicide, so why am I so shocked?

It’s one thing for a charity to empower you to save a life – whether that’s through a quick dose of CPR, donation or volunteering opportunity – but it’s another story to encourage people to keep living. It’s brave and the reality is that it’s a partial solution to a growing problem.

How will the app provide support?
1) Using location data to identify local services
2) Encouraging users to upload positive images to remind them of happier times
3) Advising on what those thoughts might mean and how to overcome them

My issue is that the apps on my very old iPhone are split into various categories: social, news, entertainment, lifestyle, shopping and utilities. So, I’m not entirely sure where #StayAlive would sit on my desktop. And, if I did need to refer to it, how often I’d revisit. And, if I was experiencing mental health issues, would I seek comfort in an app?

But, for a digital generation that’s logged on 24/7, there is some logic in the fact that our phones – a simple photo or a quick call – could mean the difference between life and death.

But, the one thing Grassroots lacks is maximising its social media presence. It took me a while to find the charity on Twitter – not ideal when the app name is actually a hashtag!

However, the charity’s already got the backing from regional newspaper The Argus and works closely with key stakeholders. But, I predict that it’ll get a lot of questions from the media on launch day about its innovation. So, it’s a prime opportunity to boost followers and starting conversations by setting the agenda.

After all, how often does a regional charity get to do that? This is definitely a campaign to keep an eye on.
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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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