Tag Archives: invest

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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Social media – a lot like putting your pants on.

27 Feb

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This morning I popped into the Technology for Marketing and Advertising (TFM&A) exhibition to sit in on a few seminars.

This morning’s best talk was on ‘social brand management’ led by Scott McKee from Birddog, a digital and brand consultancy, and Gareth Case from Xuber, a specialist commercial insurance company. They addressed the challenge faced by community managers everywhere, particularly for B2B brands: ‘I’m social, My brand isn’t.’

It’s well-known that some B2B brands aren’t the quickest to recognise and respond to new trends. Some even think starting a conversation on LinkedIn is a risk.

But, as McKee explained, LinkedIn has stabilised unlike Twitter and Facebook – which recently celebrated hitting the one billion user mark. So, it doesn’t make business sense to rely on this channel alone.

The problem is clients are desperate to know the ROI. They’ll happily invest in events, print advertising and a good-looking website without a second thought, but they expect instant results with social media.

Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford once said:

You may as well ask what’s the ROI of putting your pants on every day. There is a value to it but it’s hard to measure.

Damn right it is. But it feels good doesn’t it? So, why hold back on social?

PRs, marketers and brand consultants need to be really clear with their clients: new media, new rules, new KPIs. And, with 98% of the UK and US using social media, can they really afford not to give it a proper go? Done properly brands could end up with a loyal social community around them who do they talking for them.

What surprised me was how McKee and Case, his client, met. Case ended up on Birddog’s mailing list and from there, they listened and engaged with eachother on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs. A chance ‘meeting’ that wasn’t taken for granted by Birddog. McKee gave Case reasons to keep his business front of mind – long enough until he had a generous marketing budget. Then, who did he turn to? The company that had already won him over.

Together, they did the usual ofdefining objectives, audience, and competition, but also fleshed out a content plan, put their community manager to work to engage 24/7 and monitored reports to respond to what people did and didn’t like.

In just four months, Xuber reached more than 3.3 million people as a direct result of its social media activity. More than this, it generated seven new business leads worth £3.7m. Not bad for an instance company remember.

The golden nugget of this seminar was when Case was asked how he got management buy-in to go ahead with his plans. He said, they set all the managers up with their own social media accounts and let them play around with them. When they struggled and fought against each other about how many followers they each had he said: ‘you can either do it yourself or marketing can help you do it better.’

It makes sense.

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