Tag: Open Communications

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.

 

VIRTUAL INFLUENCERS: CREEPY OR CUTTING-EDGE?

With newspaper and magazine sales dwindling year on year, more consumers are taking to the internet for their daily fix of news and views.

Along with online news platforms, blogs have become a popular source of inspiration. As a result, many brands now work with bloggers and influencers. This gives companies the chance to tap into the appeal that these individuals have among their followers and subsequently spread the word about the latest launch.

As the world continues to become increasingly automated, virtual influencers are tipped to be the next top trend. With high-profile brands already utilising these avatar-like personas, could this signal the future of influencer marketing?

Creepy or cutting-edge

I must admit that initially, there was something slightly unsettling about the whole concept. Particularly our desires being manipulated by a fictional character. However, the more I thought about it, this is already closer to the current ‘reality’ than we may have realised.

Reality television continues to provide some of the most successful influencers. Yet, it’s common knowledge that these shows are often scripted. Therefore, the person that we think we’re emulating is a character, constructed by someone else entirely.

Likewise, any online persona is crafted to present a positive impression.

A personal connection

Arguably, we enjoy these platforms due to the more personal angle that they offer. This begs the question: can virtual influencers ever truly resonate with consumers?

The Drum explores this in further detail, asking whether fictional characters have the same ability as humans to forge real connections with an audience.

In my opinion, as consumers become increasingly technologically aware, virtual influencers are likely to be accepted as the next logical step. However, I believe that there will be limitations.

‘Real life’ influencers have the right to share the more personal, sometimes emotional stories and experiences. This is where I believe these constructed personalities may overstep the mark.

Echoing the thoughts shared in the article, I have concerns about virtual influencers delving into very real experiences such as sexual assault. This could be seen to trivialise serious issues, which should not be belittled in the name of marketing.

Do virtual influencers represent the future of influencer marketing?

I believe that virtual influencers have their place and I can see them becoming successful. However, I imagine their sphere of influence being more limited than that of their real-life counterparts.

I look forward to seeing how this one plays out as brands jump on this latest trend. For more tips on how to pick the right influencer for your brand, read Fareeha’s blog here.

PR CONTINUES TO BE UNDERVALUED AROUND THE BOARDROOM TABLE

PR can often be an outcast and certainly underrepresented around the boardroom table. An unnecessary investment that cuts deep into company budgets. Granted, it can be difficult to measure the true success of a PR campaign but, without developing and maintaining a positive reputation, a company’s image can be put at risk.

The public’s perception has never been so vital to a business’ success and longevity. And as technological advancements continue to merge with our daily lives, the heat of the spotlight is only set to increase even more.

So, what does this mean?

There is very little room for mistakes. Whether it’s a lack of engagement on social media, a refusal to evolve services or an inability to attract new business, garnering a negative perception can often be led to the downfall of any organisation.

But there is hope! This can all be successfully and robustly manged using an effective PR campaign.

The purpose of PR

First of all, companies must determine what they want to achieve from a PR campaign. Versatile by nature, PR campaigns can be as bespoke as needed depending on the specific objectives an organisation intends to meet.

This can be anything from launching a new product, introducing an enhanced service, promoting a special event or the desire to increase the company’s profile and build brand awareness. Gone are the days when a humble press release was the most effective way to communicate with the public. Now a strategic and proactive approach must be implemented in order for a PR campaign to be successful.

Below is a list of things to consider when putting together a public relations plan:

  • Identify target audience
  • Target trade media and journalists that are dedicated to your specialism
  • Engage with target audience through regular social media posts
  • Position yourself as an expert through thought leadership pieces
  • React and comment on topical issues within your field or area
  • Pursue industry-specific award submissions
  • Create more personal and engaging blog posts
  • Pursue interview opportunities with press
  • Create NEWSWORTHY content about your business

Compiling these points into a step-by-step process, which are then scheduled and executed accordingly, will undoubtedly help a company build towards achieving its initial objective.

It is important to remember, however, that the difference between a poor campaign and a successful campaign is the ability to tell a consistent and compelling story.

This is how companies set themselves apart from direct competitors and stay relevant in the public’s perception.

Telling the story

The foundation of a strong PR campaign will be built on a company’s key message. This needs to be constantly seen and reiterated in any content that is produced. The message can be determined by simply asking why? Why is a company rebranding; expanding the workforce; releasing a new product; investing in IT infrastructure; moving offices; and so on.

Although the newsworthy angle will be to focus on what is currently happening within that company, the underlying messaging is often the reason behind it.

For example, a fashion house may announce the launch of a new store opening that will create 25 new jobs. Although this appears to be strong, albeit relatively straight forward news story, the underlying message may be that the store opening is part of a wider expansion strategy to help the fashion house hit the £5m turnover mark in the next 12 months.

For the duration of the PR campaign, the messaging should constantly echo that the fashion house is set to grow to a £5m business. As this is shared via journalists in the press, through social media, in blogs and other available platforms, the public perception will begin to view this fashion house as a growing and ambitious brand.

Communicating the story of the business can often lead to establishing stronger relationships between customers, members of the media and stakeholders, which in turn will help build brand awareness and customer loyalty. Once a brand establishes a strong following and reputation, the longevity of success will significantly increase.

Back to the boardroom

Taking all of this into account, it could be considered foolish for those with their hands on the budgets to deny a business the opportunity to protect and build its reputation.

The truth is that when PR is embraced and used to meet with the wider objectives of a company it can have a profound impact, not only on the brand profile but also the bottom line.

For more information about how Open Communications works with businesses and brands of all sizes please call a member of the team or email info@opencomms.co.uk.

PLANNING A PR CAMPAIGN THAT RESONATES WITH MULTIPLE AUDIENCES

Having put budget behind a consumer-focused campaign, it’s natural to want to maximise that investment. Planning a PR campaign that reaches as many of your target audience as possible is a great way to do this, often making for very impressive results!

 

Imagine, for example, that your product is a toy which appeals to 5-7-year olds. Not only would you want to showcase the toy to children in that age group, but it is also important that you target the parent as well. After all, they’re the ones with the spending power.

 

In addition, grandparents are known to be rather generous. Particularly when it comes to Christmas and birthday presents. Therefore, it would be wise to ensure that they are aware of your product too.

 

So, how do you appeal to all three groups, but still remain ‘on-message’ throughout a consumer PR campaign?

 

1. Begin with clear messaging

Outlining your key messages at the very start is invaluable. A robust planning process creates an invaluable guideline for any future decisions on content.

 

A brainstorm is a great way to get ideas flowing. Some vital talking points include:

  • Keywords to describe the product – bright, fun, tactile, soft, unique, adorable, cool
  • How does this toy make people feel – is it a comforting item, does it make a child feel grown up, is it designed to make them laugh, does it bring joy?
  • What is its purpose – is it just for fun, does it have an educational element?

 

You will then need to refine these ideas, selecting the words and phrases that resonate most strongly with the item. With your choices made, these key messages become the starting point for content creation.

 

Though the tone of the content will change dependent upon its intended audience, your key messages will remain consistent. This will ensure that each piece complements one another and, most importantly, becomes part of a unified campaign.

 

2. Utilise different tactics

Once your key messages have been agreed, you can begin to think about the tactics that will be used to increase awareness of your product.

 

This is one of the clear benefits to investing in PR; there are several tactics that can be considered and used, including:

 

  • Press drops

Once you’ve established your media targets and contacts, engage them with a press drop.

 

This could be a simple box containing the product and press release or it could be something more interactive. Creating a drop that is visually appealing will really make your delivery stand out from the many others which are bound to land on the journalist’s desk that day.

 

  • Influencer engagement

Bloggers and influencers are becoming an ever more valuable resource when it comes to spreading the word about new products.

 

Making contact with those who are relevant to your product and target audience can have far-reaching benefits for your campaign.

 

Find out more about how to choose the right influencer for your brand here.

 

  • Competitions

Offer people a chance to win! Better still, engineer the competition so that it spreads the word about your product.

 

Organising a social media giveaway, either on your own social platforms or on those of a relevant and credible partner, is a fantastic way to create noise around your offering.

 

As part of the entry process, ask that your post is liked or shared. Perhaps even incorporate a relevant hashtag to increase awareness of your product or brand. If your toy becomes in demand, you’ll likely spread the message about your item while increasing your brand’s social media following at the same time.

 

One watch-out however is to ensure that you are putting in place the correct governance and that anything that is gifted is mentioned within any post that is shared. If this doesn’t happen, you can end up in some very hot water!

 

  • Events

Dependent on the item, hosting an event which invites people to engage with your item can be a fantastic tactic when it comes to increasing awareness and love for your product.

 

In this case, creating a small area where children are free to come and explore the toy itself, is sure to have them tugging at their parents’ sleeves requesting that your product features on their next Christmas or birthday list!

 

However, a word of warning – events which deliver a quality experience can be a rather expensive commitment and should be costed before any commitment is made.

 

3. Maximise social channels

In this case, taking a single channel approach is unlikely to yield the remarkable results that you are expecting. Nor will churning out the same content across each platform.

Instead, do your research. Carefully look into each platform. Consider the typical age demographic, then craft and distribute your content accordingly.

After all, what appeals to a 7-year-old, may not resonate quite so well with a 60-year-old.

 

4. YouTube

These days, YouTube is a staple in the homes of most school-aged children. As a result, the famous ‘un-boxing’ videos are an effective way of sharing the excitement that comes with the latest ‘must-have’ toys with children and their parents.

 

Summary

There’s no doubt that planning a PR campaign takes a lot of work, which is why it’s most definitely a job best entrusted to the professionals.

Learn a little more about what we do here at Open Comms here. If you’d like to discuss an upcoming campaign, simply give us a call on 01924 862477.

BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL BRAND

Every day we count our lucky stars knowing that we work with a host of amazing businesses across diverse industries including automotive, recruitment, digital, food manufacturing, architecture and third sector.

Despite our clients operating in such distinct areas, they all have one thing in common; not only do they know how to build a successful brand, they also understand how to maintain that success.

What’s great is that we get to support these organisations and to celebrate their ongoing achievements.

Establishing values

At the start of any brand journey, it’s vital to sit down and think about the bigger picture.

What inspired you to offer your particular product or service? Is there a passion that drives your organisation forward? What issues are important to your business? Which common traits describe your team?

Only with these points addressed can a business truly live, breathe and begin to present a cohesive approach which effectively communicates the brand and its values.

Identifying a brand ‘voice’

Once a company has pinpointed its underlying values, it’s a good time to begin forming a brand voice.

Brainstorming a collection of words which feel ‘right’ is a useful way to start the process. With a bank of vocabulary in place, this can be used as a basis for press releases, website copy and a social media schedule.

Adopting a style of communication which is unique to your business is a great way to add some personality and to give a point of difference which will allow a brand to stand out from the crowd.

A catchy, concise positioning statement

If you could use only one sentence to explain your business, what would it be?

Taking the time to craft a crisp positioning statement which encompasses all that your organisation delivers will help consumers and other businesses to quickly become familiar with the product or service that you offer.

Hierarchy of messaging

With your overarching statement perfected, what other key messages would you like to share about your company?

Perhaps what sets your offering apart is the fact that it is organic, eco-friendly or addresses a problem which has yet to be solved.

Identifying three or four main points will ensure that future communications are prioritised correctly, focusing on the elements which are most important about your product or service.

Authenticity

In today’s world, consumers are savvier than ever. With access to a company’s website, social platforms and any news articles at the touch of a button, it’s important that a brand remains authentic in its approach.

For instance, it’s no good positioning a business as caring about the planet and then using unsustainable materials within the manufacturing process. With social media and on pack guidelines someone will notice, and it could spell a make or break situation for your organisation.

Instead, an honest and open approach which is in line with brand values, is a sure way to build up consumer trust and loyalty.

Right message, right place, right time

In short, it all comes down to communicating key messages to the right people, in the right places and at the right time.

Getting this process correct is imperative if your organisation is to reach its full potential. Here at Open Comms, our guidance has helped a range of leading businesses to build a successful brand.

We’d love to chat about our recommendations for your organisation. With the right support, you could be joining our award-winning clients and celebrating your achievements throughout 2020. For further information, simply give us a call on 01924 862477 or browse our website to learn more.

CHRISTMAS ADVERTS 2019: WHICH FESTIVE OFFERING HAS OUR BELLS JINGLING?

Merry Christmas

With the festive season upon us, it’s no surprise that our television screens have become host to an array of Christmas adverts.

John Lewis, Argos and M&S are amongst the first to share their ad’s, with the hope of igniting that magical feeling that Christmas brings out in us all.

But what makes a great Christmas ad? Well, I conducted a little research to find out what it takes to jingle the bells of those here at Open Comms.

Relatability

Louise’s favourite is the offering from John Lewis.

Featuring Edgar the fire-breathing dragon and his unlikely friend, a little girl, the story showcases the pair’s enduring friendship. Despite Edgar’s many mishaps, which include burning down the community Christmas tree, the duo stick together and eventually impress the villagers by putting Edgar’s fire-breathing talents to good use – lighting the Christmas pudding.

All-in-all an uplifting tale, with a little bit of humour. However, the key, according to Louise, is Edgar’s relatability. He’s far from perfect and gets things wrong from time-to-time, just like the rest of us!

Creativity

This year’s Aldi advert is a Christmas cracker once again – and it’s Lindsey’s favourite!

A little like Robbie Williams, Kevin the Carrot has experienced his yearly revival. If you haven’t seen it yet, think the Greatest Showman but with vegetables, and you won’t go far wrong! Kevin takes on the role of ringmaster while belting out a fantastically festive version of the Robbie Williams classic, Let Meee- eeee Entertain You!

Always a little unexpected, full of fun and creative genius – this year’s offering certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Lindsey also loves the fact that the brand chooses to build on the Kevin the Carrot story year-on-year, successfully bringing in current references to some of the biggest and most successful programmes of the year, while never failing to raise a smile.

But, the icing on the Christmas cake? The advert helps to raise awareness of Aldi’s charity partner, Teenage Cancer Trust. Now that’s real festive spirit in action!

An extra sprinkling of magic

McDonalds perfectly catches the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes, capturing all of the innocence, imagination and emotion that makes the occasion such a special time of year – and it’s Nick’s advert of choice.

Following the story of a little girl, her ‘reindeer’ and the magic of make-believe, McDonalds has successfully brought to life the elements that make the season so special. Also, depicting realistic family dynamics, the brand has subtly positioned itself as an integral part of the Christmas period.

A surprising but truly endearing angle, this is certainly a top contender!

A touch of nostalgia

Sky is taking many of us back to our childhoods, and Fareeha is particularly impressed with the return of everyone’s favourite alien, ET.

With an especially mysterious start, this ad is definitely a departure from the usual Yuletide brand offerings. Re-visiting ‘Elliot’, who has now grown into a man with a family of his own, ET is introduced to modern life and festive traditions.

Appreciating the nostalgia and the opportunity to reflect on times gone by, Fareeha has placed the Sky advert at the top of her nice list this year.

A sobering message

I have to agree with Lindsey and Nick’s choices this year, Aldi and McDonalds have successfully delivered both entertainment and magic, capturing key elements that make Christmas an extra special time of year.

However, to add a further recommendation to the line-up, The Dogs Trust have put in place a fun creative but with a very serious message. Drawing attention to the fact ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’, it makes an adorably cute but also incredibly touching contender for Open’s own, Christmas ad of the year 2019.

So, what makes a cracking Christmas advert?

Well, according to the Open team: relatability, creativity, an extra sprinkling of magic, a touch of nostalgia and an important message are the key components for our favourite festive adverts.

Which is your favourite this year?

To hear more of our opinions about his year’s winners and losers in the Christmas advert stakes, check out Lindsey’s review of retailer Argos and why she thinks it has missed the mark here.

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.