Author: Fareeha Faheem

THE IMPORTANCE OF TEAMWORK IN PR

The importance of teamwork in PR

There are many components that go into making PR a success, the most important being teamwork. 

An incredible PR strategy, without the right group of people to execute it, is not going to work. Which is why, here at Open Comms, we consider the complementary skills we share between colleagues as indispensable.

It has certainly helped us to create many successful campaigns over the years.

Not only does working cohesively allow us to deliver consistent results for our clients, it also means we come to a positive environment that encourages friendship.

Ultimately, instilling a sense of unity amongst employees, brings with it countless benefits for both business and the people involved. We have shared some of these below:

Teamwork often leads to improvement

Working collaboratively as a team offers every individual member an opportunity to grow and flourish professionally.

This can be done either by polishing up on existing strengths or learning new skills from others. Either way, it’s a process that can support individuals, while also having a positive impact on the organisation too.

After all, as individuals build on their professional development, the business is likely to prosper, and everyone will have the opportunity to share in the success this generates.

Teamwork increases efficiency

Without the collective effort of a team, completing a project can take longer than necessary. It may also be that someone outside of an account team has an idea that will make all the difference to a campaign.

Ignoring the collective skills and experiences of others is a mistake and is not something we endorse at Open Comms.

Instead, we make sure the entire team operates as a single unit and responsibilities are evenly distributed. This also means we all get the experience that comes with working across a range of businesses.

Teamwork sparks creativity

Although a team shares one common goal, everyone has unique perspectives.

In PR especially, creativity is essential. As an agency we plan campaigns day in day out, so it’s crucial to have on board a team who are able to work together in bringing new and innovative ideas.

We always work on the principle that no idea is a bad idea and that gives everyone the confidence to contribute. We’ve had some interesting meetings as a result, but this has also led to some of our strongest recommendations.

Bringing people together to be creative in this way allows us to identify what each of our skills and preferences are. This means we are able to bring people that will complement each account together to deliver the strongest results.

Teamwork breeds positivity

Having the support of a team often helps to lift the pressure that comes with working in a fast-paced environment. In addition, bringing people together can create a sense of community, which in turn can help employees feel more connected to each other and the business.

If you would like to know more about Open Comms and the services we offer, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A PR AGENCY

The world of communications never stands still. To keep up, PR agencies are constantly having to evolve. This also includes extending the services and tactics that are available to clients of all sizes.  

Here at Open Comms, we work tirelessly to ensure that we continue to meet with the growing needs of our clients, whatever sector they work in. Our offerings encompass everything from traditional PR to digital content and more.

If you’re considering investing in Public Relations, here’s what you can expect from a PR agency that provides a full toolkit of tactics to deliver results and meet with objectives.

Social Media

PR’s natural ability to tell stories and build relationships goes hand in hand with social media. Which is why you will often find the two interlinked.

At Open Comms, you will be given extensive support with your brands online profile and audience engagement; whether that be through management, monitoring or strategic campaigns.

Management

Social media management refers to the process of managing a brand’s social platforms. This typically includes creating relevant and engaging content with the target audience in mind.

Not only can you expect us to craft tailored content for your social media platforms, but we will also publish this content on your behalf and monitor the levels of engagement it achieves.

A thriving social media presence is critical for the success of any business. This is why we will regularly analyse all social activity to ensure that our approach is working. If it isn’t, we will never shy away from suggesting different strategies.

Monitoring

Currently, we support a number of clients with the monitoring of their social media channels; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram being the most commonly used.

Social media monitoring involves proactively keeping an eye on your social media platforms to check what others are saying about your brand.

This can often include, replying to customer enquiries, engaging with positive comments or dealing with customer complaints. All of which are taken care of by your chosen PR team.

Campaigns

An effective way to get noticed online is through carefully planned and timed social media campaigns.

An alternative to traditional marketing, campaigns on social media can help to build brand awareness, reach a wider audience, increase website traffic and ultimately drive sales.

We have extensive experience of creating seasonal campaigns. These can include everything from drafting content and carefully curated copy through to arranging brand led competitions and everything in between.

So, you can count on us to deliver activity that meets with results and objectives.

Influencer Marketing

 It goes without saying that influencers and their large followings are being leveraged on a global scale, with the influencer industry predicted to be worth $15 billion by 2022.

And, rightly so.

Influencer marketing has proven to be impactful. It helps brands build credibility and long-lasting trust with relevant audiences.

As an agency, we have supported several clients with influencer campaigns. This is why you can expect a large database of contacts that align with your business objectives and brand values when you work with us.

Market Research

 A fundamental part of PR is conducting market research. It allows a business to keep up to date on the latest trends and is also vital for finding out what competitors are doing.

To ensure that our clients are always informed about news that is relevant to their industry, we can share weekly market reviews. In addition, we also provide ideas and recommendations to capitalise on latest trends, so that our clients’ brand never miss an opportunity.

Not only is market research a vital part of any PR strategy, but it can also provide valuable insight when making important business decisions.

Traditional

Although times have changed, traditional PR is just as important as ever.

Press releases, print editorial, copywriting, media relations and crisis management are all essential components of Public Relations.

As an agency, we have offered traditional PR services for more than 11 years, so let’s just say, we consider it our bread and butter.

Our approach to PR is simple. We recognise that different tactics reach different audiences. This is why we listen to your objectives and design a tailored PR strategy to align with your business goals. Whether that be through traditional PR, digital PR or a combination of both.

Aside from professionalism and expertise, you should be able to expect a level of honesty and openness from your PR agency. Ultimately, an agency should work as an extension of your own team and that’s exactly how we do things here at Open Comms.

If you are looking to collaborate with a PR agency, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

 

LEVERAGING BRAND PERSONALITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Media

Brands and businesses often misjudge social media and the way it should be utilised. In the midst of polishing and refining a picture perfect online presence, brands can sometimes lose sight of what makes them different.

Every brand has its own story waiting to be shared online.

Social media simply acts as the medium which assists with a brands storytelling process and through this helps express its unique personality. This is not as simple as plastering a logo or copying and pasting the same 30 character long bio across all social channels.

Consumers nowadays crave authentic interaction and exciting content. Which is why injecting personality into every aspect of a brands social media presence is so important.

It’s what makes you and your content stand out.

Establishing a brand personality online can seem daunting at first, especially if social media is an entirely new territory for your business, so here’s a few tips to help get you started-

Focus on the brand, not the product –

Websites are for selling products. Social media is where you tell people about who you are, what you do and how you came about. Consumers want to know more about the brands they buy from and social media is the easiest way to share this information.

Bespoke interactions –

Avoid sounding scripted or generic and take a more personalised approach when engaging with people. This is a simple, yet effective way to take ownership of how your brand is perceived online.

Explore trending topics –

Social media is constantly evolving and trends change at the speed of light. Some of which you may not even know about. This is where google alerts come in very handy. Set up google alerts of key words that are relevant to your brand, so that you never miss an opportunity to reap the benefits of a trending topic!

Develop a social media handbook –

A social media handbook plays a vital role in sustaining a brands online presence, but unfortunately is often overlooked. Essentially, a social media handbook should outline your brands personality traits. It might also include a list of words or phrases that your brand should use or maybe topics that your brand should ‘watch out’ for. Either way, this handbook should act as a bible for you or your team to follow and will help to create relevant content for social media that is consistent with your brand and its personality.

Gone are the days when a product was enough to attract consumers. Now, brand personality is the driving force behind capturing the attention of audiences. For more tips on how to tell your brands story, read Lindsey’s blog here.

If you are wanting to explore social media or PR further, please do give us a call or email.

 

TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME

The disruption caused by COVID-19 has affected people and businesses all over the world. We’ve now had weeks of confusion, panic and uncertainty.

Like many others, the Open Comms team have been working remotely for some time. While this has been uncharted territory for us, it was one that we were prepared for.

With that being said, although we had systems and processes in place that would allow us to continue servicing our clients remotely and without any interruption, what I, personally failed to prepare for is how working from home can be mentally draining.

The first few days in particular were challenging. I went from a routine that I really liked to simply waking up and confining myself to my room all day. Fortunately, as the days have gone by, I have adapted to this new way of working by making small changes in my WFH routine.

Here are some things I have done that you can do also –

Have breakfast before starting work

The most important meal of the day and one that should not be delayed. Yes, many of us will be enjoying a lie in as we no longer need to commute but that doesn’t mean waking up at 8:57 to start work at 9. I noticed, if I miss breakfast while working from home, then I probably won’t have anything to eat until lunch, which would just make me feel less energetic throughout the entire morning. Sleeping in is great, but avoid over indulging. Give yourself enough time to wake up and have breakfast before logging on.

Check in with your team

Going from greeting your colleagues every morning to no interaction at all can make you feel disconnected. Just because you aren’t physically seeing your team does not mean you can’t drop them a quick message. Email is probably not the best option to check in with the team but there are many instant message platforms that can be downloaded for free such as Slack.

Step away at lunch

It’s really easy to fall into the habit of eating at your desk, especially if you’re already in the comfort of your own home. Don’t fall into this trap! During your lunch, take some time out to perhaps venture into the garden for some fresh air or even just change rooms. Get lost on social media or maybe give your friend a quick call.

Incorporate some exercise after work

Being active is more important than ever right now. Whether it’s one hour or 20 minutes, set some time aside after work to exercise. Not only will it help to maintain overall health and fitness but exercise can also lift your mood. I’ve come across numerous gym enthusiasts and vloggers who are providing in depth home workout plans, so there is plenty of support out there on how to get started!

Working from home isn’t as ‘easy’ as it sounds but with a few tips we can certainly make it easier! If not done properly it can take a toll on your mental health and general wellbeing. Although you might be at home, don’t disregard the importance of continuing to lead a balanced work-life routine.

GENERATION Z: THE TRANSPARENCY OBSESSED DEMOGRAPHIC

They might not be your target audience. But here’s why you can’t ignore them.

Not long-ago marketeers were completely and utterly infatuated by millennials. Trying to figure out who they were, what they liked and most importantly how to sell to them. But the interest in this ‘challenging’ target audience has since faded.

It’s all about Gen Z now.

Born between 1995 and 2015, Gen Z are the latest craze. From their specific food interests and tech savvy lifestyle to their passion for saving the planet. This new generation has definitely disrupted the marketplace.

But I sell hardware, why would I care about a bunch of ‘teenagers’?

Well, simply because today’s ‘teenagers’ will be tomorrows trendsetters! In fact, give it a few years and they’ll be your customers. And the quicker you come to terms with this, the better for your brand.

Here’s the tricky part…

Generation Z’s interest in a business go far beyond face value. Yes, they care about the products and services on offer. But what’s more important is the philosophy behind the brand.

To put things into perspective, let’s take KFC as an example. The fast food giant jumped on the vegan bandwagon this year with the launch of its vegan ‘chicken’ burger. Since the announcement KFC has faced major backlash.

Consumers took to social media to question why on earth anyone following a vegan ideology would eat from an establishment notorious for mass slaughter of chickens and factory farming. It just wouldn’t make sense.

This attempt at cashing in on the latest trend may have worked in the past, but not any longer. As we proceed into a brand-new decade, its simply not enough. It’s apparent that people are now more conscious of their choices than they have ever been. What’s more, this mindfulness is not going anywhere. Certainly not with the new generation.

So, what’s the solution?

With Gen Z on the search for a more sustainable, ethical and meaningful consumerism, the need for transparency is more important than ever.

Brands must be prepared to make the shift from a ‘black box’ to a ‘glass box’, allowing consumers to easily see inside. From the processes put in place to the values reflected, Gen Z want behind the scene access before deciding whether they want to purchase a product or not.

Once this shift has been made and consumers like what they see in the glass box that is your brand, you’ll have bagged yourself the most populous generation.

Living in a connected world means we can no longer hide from the consequences of our decisions. Every purchase we make has an impact on society, on the planet and even on ourselves. So, it’s only logical for the next generation to be more aware when it comes to spending their money and importantly where.

NEW YEAR, IMPROVED ME?

The arrival of a brand-new year often fills us with immense motivation. And so, from the first day of January, most of us embark on a pretty ambitious journey.

Determined to get fitter, healthier, happier, we create resolutions. Often this is done to eliminate bad habits and establish better ones. Some practical, some slightly unrealistic.

Personally, I like the tradition of creating new year’s resolutions. I think wanting to improve yourself is great. Although self-improvement should be an all year-round quest, I can understand how for many people, a new year almost feels like a blank slate.

A fresh start.

This year, I’m partaking in the hype. While I am not planning on making any elaborate changes, I have decided to take the start of 2020 as an opportunity to begin incorporating better practices into my daily life.

Here are a few things I want to do this year:

  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Cook more
  • Take more pictures
  • Drink less coffee
  • Stay consistent at the gym
  • Sign up for a charity run
  • Not check my work email on weekends…

Though it may seem that New Year’s resolutions are made to be forgotten, fingers crossed I can follow through with mine!

Whatever your resolutions maybe, I hope that 2020 brings everything you’ve hoped for and more!

Happy New Year everyone. 😊

 

CAPITAL JINGLE BELL BALL

Usually my weekends revolve around Netflix. This weekend however was different.

I was given the opportunity to attend the UK’s biggest Christmas Party. Capital FM’s Jingle Bell Ball. And wow, what an experience! The long journey down to London was definitely worth it!

The event took place at the O2 and while the arena was massive, there was not one empty seat in sight. It was completely packed. A sold-out event indeed.

Harry Styles, Rita Ora and Liam Payne were just some of the stars that put on one amazing show. I thoroughly enjoyed all performances, but the highlight of my night had to be Stormzy’s set. His energy was infectious and left no one in their seats. Everyone was up and dancing.

I can see why Capital call it the UK’s biggest Christmas Party – it certainly is!

Another favourite moment of mine was when Harry Styles performed What Makes You Beautiful. Although completely unexpected, it was the sweetest surprise. You see, like every other teenage girl in 2011, I was utterly obsessed with One Direction. So, hearing their first ever song after so many years left me regressing and reminiscing over childhood memories.

While it was only brief, it was wonderful.

Granted that performances are a huge part of Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball, it’s not the singers that make the event so incredible. It’s the fact that the show can be enjoyed with the entire family. Unlike other concerts, the Jingle Bell Ball is for everyone. It’s an opportunity to bring family and friends together regardless of age.

Thank you Capital, for arranging such a phenomenal event.

I will absolutely be attending next year.

If you missed the show, not to worry, you can view all the amazing performances here: https://www.capitalfm.com/events/jingle-bell-ball/all-a-z-live-2019/

P.S This is NOT a sponsored post; I just had the best time!!!

ORGANIC ENGAGEMENT IN A WORLD OF PAID CONTENT PROMOTION

Organic Engagement

The value of organic engagement is constantly challenged in a world that now finds paying for posts a common practice. It seems that the only way to gain tangible results online is through a mammoth social media budget.

This is simply not the case.

A strong social media presence is crucial to business success but spending thousands on promoting content is not the only way to grow your online existence. And it definitely isn’t a marketing ‘hack’ that guarantees results. Especially if it’s just another attempt to sell.

While it may come as a surprise, social media is not for selling. Instead, it’s a tool for driving brand awareness and offers a great opportunity to build relationships with consumers, who may then go on to purchase your products.

In today’s world, consumers are more likely to interact with a brand that adds value through engaging content. Paid for posts are not the only way to achieve this.

Topical Social Days

Holidays such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter have always presented a great excuse for brands to generate online content. But now there are many other, non-conventional days to consider when planning your posts.

From Data Privacy Day to World Emoji Day, there are plenty of opportunities for marketers to utilise. While not all will be relevant there is definitely something for everyone. This is especially useful for Twitter; where hashtags can be used to join in on the conversations surrounding topical days and in return increase audience reach instantly.

Competitions

Whether its Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, competitions are becoming a very popular method of engaging with followers and rightly so! Not only do they provide a fantastic opportunity to engage with your existing followers but can also help to grow your audience.

To successfully run a social media competition, it is important to decide upon a prize, the entry mechanic, time frames and most importantly the terms and conditions.

Once these four things are agreed, the entire process is extremely straight forward and simple to execute!

Influencer Marketing

Amidst the noise on social media, there is a relevant influencer for every business. The key is finding one that has cultivated a decent following from people who are potential buyers in your market.

The reason why influencer marketing works is because often an influencer has built their following organically over a period of time. This, in turn, means their followers are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Word of mouth has long been considered a marketeers most reliable tool, with influencers it’s the same but online!

If you are intending to work with bloggers and vloggers and want to ensure you’re making the best choices, check out my blog on ‘How to pick the right influencer for your brand’ – https://www.opencomms.co.uk/how-to-pick-the-right-influencer-for-your-brand/

 

In the internet age, it can be difficult to navigate the tricky world of social media. While paying for promoted posts may work for some, it is not a ‘quick fix’ for achieving overnight success.

At the same time, I am not suggesting that organic engagement is the answer to all our social media prayers. But, recognising the alternatives to paid for posts is a step in the right direction for all brands wanting to successfully benefit from social platforms and maintain them without leaving a dent in your wallet.

HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT INFLUENCER FOR YOUR BRAND

It is common knowledge that leveraging influencers can help drive brand awareness and reach a wider audience. But the process of selecting the ‘right’ influencer is not an easy task.

Amongst the clutter and noise on social media, it is becoming increasing difficult to recognise credible influencers who can truly add value to a business. And while influencer marketing can be a great strategy to strengthen a brands online presence, when done incorrectly it can also have detrimental effects.

So, before diving into the lucrative world of #sponsored posts, here is a 3-step guide that can help ease the process.

 

1 – Recognise the different types of influencers available

The internet is home to a plethora of social media superstars. Before agreeing to work with any of them, take the time to understand the different types of influencers available.

Typically, influencers are categorised based on the number of followers they have.

Mega-influencers: 1M+ Followers

Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez, are all examples of mega-influencers. They are established celebrities who can help your brand gain recognition on a global scale. Of course, they demand a hefty fee, with some charging upwards of £800,000 per sponsored post.

Macro-influencers: 100K – 1M Followers

Usually macro-influencers are those that gained recognition through the internet itself. Such as vloggers and bloggers who rose to fame by building a follower base over time. Similar to mega-influencers, they can be very expensive to work with. But for businesses with a substantial marketing budget this is an effective way to increase brand awareness to a mass market FAST.

Micro-influencers: 1K – 100K Followers

A micro-influencer as opposed to others has a significantly lower number of followers. Typically, they focus on a specific niche and so are more suited for brands that want to target a certain type of customer. Unlike the other two, micro-influencers charge considerably less and maintain an extremely loyal fan base.

Nano-influencers: Less than 1K Followers

They are comparable to a start-up business. This type of influencer tends to have very little to no experience of working with brands. Despite having a small audience, nano-influencers attract a high engagement rate as they are most relatable for consumers. More often than not, they will accept products in return for social media coverage.

 

2 – Check for fake followers

As influencers battle for the social media spotlight, some can be tempted into buying fake followers. This black hat tactic can instantly grow an influencers audience from a few to thousands.

This is a huge problem on Instagram, where advertisement is becoming more and more important. Users can even buy interactions such as likes and comments from fake profiles to give a false impression of high engagement.

Collaborating with influencers whose followers and engagement is not genuine is not only a waste of time but can essentially be detrimental to a brands integrity. Fortunately, there are several online tools and programs available for detecting fakes.

 

3 – Identify any risks and red flags

Followers and engagement play a significant part when identifying the most appropriate influencers for a campaign. But, what’s equally important is reviewing the influencers social media channels to check for any red flags.

In today’s media landscape, nothing is ever private, especially on the internet! This is especially true for influencers who are constantly under the social media microscope. From inappropriate personal thoughts to controversial opinions and pictures, everything is visible.

So, before approaching an influencer, it is absolutely vital to make sure that ALL of their social media channels are thoroughly reviewed, and any risks are immediately identified.

Ultimately, influencers have the power to make or break a brands reputation. Finding the right person is less about who’s trending or has the highest number of followers and more about finding someone who represents your brands personality and values.

 

Influencers are certified social media butterflies and experts in creating engaging content who can help bridge the gap between a brand and its target customers. Working with them is an effective method to drive awareness.

If you are thinking of switching from traditional advertising to influencer collaborations remember to do the leg work and to make the choices that will deliver the value you are expecting.

 

MY FIRST PR CAMPAIGN

First PR Campaign

September marked a memorable milestone in my career; I was given the opportunity to work on my very first PR campaign.

Entrusted with the responsibility of bringing a client’s vision to life was undoubtedly a daunting one, however seeing my plans put into action was a truly rewarding experience. My contribution to the campaign not only improved my knowledge on how the process works but also public relations overall.

Here is what I learnt –

Research is the unsung hero of PR

Press releases, content writing and social media maybe pillars of Public Relations, but it is research that lays the foundation for everything we do.

From initial planning stages to execution, every effective PR campaign must have research at the forefront of all decision making. Overlooking the importance of it can lead to unwanted repercussions and essentially damage a brands reputation.

In contrast, when done correctly, research provides countless benefits. It is not only a vital tool for targeting the right audiences, influencers and journalists, research also helps to prepare for all eventualities that may or may not occur.

Every decision in PR is accompanied with better and worse options. Research is what helps to determine which approach is most appropriate.

Ideas are always welcome

Regardless of how big or small a campaign may be, new and creative ideas are always appreciated.

Although expressing ideas as a PR newbie was slightly intimidating, I soon recognised that the team at Open Comms encouraged original thoughts and valued all suggestions. The philosophy here is that no idea is a bad idea.

PR requires out of the box thinking and notions that gain attraction. Ideas can be expanded, reduced and inspire other ideas. So, simply because a suggestion may see farfetched or perhaps not big enough, are not reasons as to why it should not be expressed.

Expect the unexpected and prepare for the worst

While no one wants to fixate on all the things that could go wrong, an effective campaign is one that evaluates all negative possibilities and is equipped to respond accordingly.

Operating in an especially unpredictable world, it is essential to prepare for the what ifs. Without correct preparation and planning in place, a campaign cannot cope or adapt to challenging situations. Whereas covering every outcome (with a HEAP of creativity) has the potential to minimise any negative impact on a client.

I have always known that a client’s reputation is the number one priority in PR but now I also understand that for this to be true, risk management and robust scenario planning are key.