Tag: pr

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROVIDING A BUDGET

The true potential of a strategic PR programme can be transformational, but only if the target audience is communicated with in a way that will resonate.

In this digital age, there are numerous ways that organisations can engage with customers, so knowing which approach will work best is critical. With so many options to choose from, it is equally as important to allocate an appropriate budget.

Setting the programme of activity   

At Open Comms we collaborate with our clients to understand their business and industry, whilst also showcasing how our PR expertise can help them achieve their goals and ambitions. Whether we are supporting a client launch a new service or product, increasing their brand awareness or creating new marketing material, our role is to ensure that the relevant messaging reaches the right audience.

In order to create the right programme of activity for each brand, we need to identify the most relevant channels for each brand. We then allocate a certain amount of time to manage each. This then gives us an indication of the resource that will be needed to deliver results.

The recommendations we then make should be reflective of the client’s proposed budget.

A targeted approach

As there are many strands to a bespoke PR strategy, it is important to access industry insight to analyse and establish whether we are better targeting vertical or horizontal markets. This will then determine the most effective way to secure coverage in relevant media.

Although the securing of earned news coverage, whether it’s through print or online, still remains an extremely successful approach to get in front of the largest audience possible, every PR campaign should allocate time to owned content too.

This again will impact the budget and will require the client to understand that a balance of earned and owned media will deliver the best return on investment over time.

Working in this way will help an organisation to create personality which reinforces the distinction between themselves and competitors. If  managed correctly, with the right thought given to key messages, it will also attract and engage with the intended audiences.

Putting theory into practice

We have recently completed work for one of our clients that specialises in managing critical communications for some of the largest utility providers in the UK.

As they operate in an increasingly competitive sector, we were briefed with promoting a particular service which would ultimately help them to reinforce their market leading position.

We initially created a strategic plan to showcase how our support would help increase the awareness of the company as a whole and also the service it was wanting to promote. As with all successful PR campaigns, we targeted the media first through industry-led comment pieces, which positioned the client as an expert in this field. Furthermore, this also showcased their ability to roll out this service in practice.

Not only that, but we also uploaded the content to the client’s website and also across social channels to extend audience reach.

Following on from our initial market research, we realised that there was a strong opportunity to connect with existing customers and potential new business leads by drafting an original piece of marketing material.

Given the objectives, the most effective way to do this was through video marketing.

In order to make this happen, we demonstrated to the client the long-term benefits of this approach, as well as the costs. Afterall, the ROI is essential to any piece of business activity.

Delivering results on a budget

Needless to say, we got the greenlight.

Calling upon our expertise, the Open Comms team transformed the client’s service offering into a visually dynamic and engaging video.

This was then shared across all of the client’s social media channels, implemented into their marketing packages, sent to new prospects and shown to existing customers.

Within a few weeks after posting, the video had been viewed more than 800 times on LinkedIn alone, with followers increasing shortly thereafter.

Not only did this approach help enhance our client’s audience reach, but it also improved their perception within the marketplace. Because we were able to demonstrate the impact of budgeting for bespoke digital assets, our client has now shown a commitment to adapt and evolve as their industry does.

This will achieve two objectives; to reinforce a sense of satisfaction and trust among current customers and acquire new leads.

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.

WHICH BUSINESSES GET BEST VALUE FROM PR

Get best value from PR

When asked which businesses get best value from PR, the simple answer is those that believe in the benefits of communication. Every organisation, whatever its size, needs to communicate with its audiences. These could be employees, stakeholders, customers or all the above.

As an agency, it is our job to meet with our clients and to recommend tactics that will help them to speak to each audience in a way that will resonate. The message will almost certainly remain the same, but the tone of voice and medium will differ.

PR is about earned and owned content. That is, coverage in newspapers and online, along with content that has been specifically created for that business and posted to a website or across social channels.

Both have benefits and that is why creating a PR strategy gives clarity and focus. When I first started in the industry, I was told it was like spinning plates. I much prefer now to think of it as a kaleidoscope. It’s a sequence of colours that when pulled together in the right way creates a picture that attracts and holds attention.

Believing PR will deliver a return on investment

Before appointing an agency or employing someone inhouse to deliver PR, a business must believe in its value. There are no guarantees when it comes to earned coverage. Copy will be drafted and sent to a publication and it is then up to the editorial team to decide if it will secure space or not.

Even if a journalist decides that content isn’t right for them on this occasion, the copy can be repurposed and posted onto a website or shared as a LinkedIn article. This then becomes owned coverage. It belongs to the organisation and has been shared as a news piece for this purpose.

If you are considering investing in PR for your business but you don’t really believe it will deliver, don’t bother. Any agency or professional can rationalise how and why PR works, however if you are already coming up with an argument to the opposite, it’s a waste of time.

PR does take time and commitment. It isn’t as easy as most people believe, and it requires a team approach. The businesses that get best value from PR are those that work with their agency and consider them an extension of the marketing function. It is not those that have a ‘we told you so’ attitude when things don’t go quite as well as we would have liked.

Making an investment to deliver a return

Like any other specialism, PR requires investment. It is a toolkit of tactics that continues to evolve as the way we communicate changes. Maintaining an understanding of this, while also remembering the value of traditional methods, is our job.

There is a lot to learn when you work in this industry and it is not for the faint hearted.

What we need from our clients is the willingness to invest consistently. This is what delivers the strongest results. A rolling programme of activity that can shift and change depending on what is happening in the sector and within the client’s business too.

PR is very adaptable and that is what makes it such an exciting industry to work in. It is also what gives us greater opportunity to achieve results and to enjoy long-term partnerships with the brands we support.

Practicing what you preach

When we work with a client to create a PR strategy, it always starts with objectives. We then build up a programme of activity around what the brand wants to achieve and identify some key performance indicators.

This means we have a plan and a set of measures in place to work against. At Open Comms we recommend six monthly reviews which give us the chance to come together and to review the performance of the strategy we have in place. This also allows us to share further recommendations to shift the focus if necessary.

What is important is that our clients’ practice what they preach. As such, we are very specific about setting realistic objectives and honest messaging. The last thing we want to do is to create a false impression of an organisation. It doesn’t help them or us. What we do want to see is an improved profile, increased share of voice for all the right reasons and a positive uplift in sales.

If we have a story to share, we make sure the facts are checked and the organisation is creating a personality that is authentic and that can resonate with the right audiences, in the right place and at the right time.

Building a brand

This comes with time. You achieve this overnight. It takes resource, investment, commitment and willingness to learn, adapt and change.

Having a PR programme in place will directly impact on how quickly a business is able to build a brand. The more you communicate with your audiences, the more they will know about you and the quicker they will decide whether to purchase your products and services or not. Engagement in the right places will give them numerous opportunities to hear about and from your business.

PR is about influence and that comes with education. Honestly, transparency and openness are all key ingredients to a successful programme that will deliver a return on investment. Starting out with the assumption that it can be used to manipulate, unfairly coerce or misguide is setting the brand up to fail.

There is an integrity that comes with PR and a responsibility of agencies and inhouse teams to meet with a code of conduct. Being aware of this from the outset is advisable.

Delivering an experience

Once a PR programme is in place and is delivering consistent results, it will be complemented by a customer experience. This gives a two phased approach to brand engagement. The customer will read about the business and its products and services. They will then make the decision to purchase. This is then complemented – or otherwise – by the shopper experience they have. If one doesn’t fit the other there is a problem.

This is why PR, marketing and sales teams work together. It ensures that a business gets best value from PR and what it can achieve. Aligning the products with the needs of the customer, based on feedback achieved through PR, is just one example.

Embarking on a journey  

We are often heard explaining that PR is a journey and not a destination. The goal remains to secure consistent results, but the end game is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The goalposts are forever moving with PR and this must be appreciated if businesses want to get the best value from their investment.

Communicating in the right way with audiences will change an organisation for the better. The benefits will be apparent, and they will become more visible over time. Far from being a magic wand, PR relies on the use of tactics over a period of time. It requires a senior team or board to commit, believe and then achieve.

Those companies that are willing to give their all to a programme of activity are also the businesses that will get best value from PR.

Summary

Going right back to the start, when asked what businesses get best value from PR, it is those that:

  1. Believe in PR as a necessary specialism for business
  2. Are willing to invest in consistent brand communication
  3. Practice what they preach and create content that can be trusted
  4. Have a focus on building a brand over time
  5. Deliver an experience for staff, stakeholders and customers alike
  6. Are willing to embark on a journey that will evolve over time

For further information about how Open Comms approaches PR for its clients, please contact a member of the team. 

PUTTING CAUSE RELATED MARKETING INTO PRACTICE

Cause related marketing

Whether you believe that charity begins at home or that we should all be more mindful of the bigger picture, when it comes to giving, we all have an opinion.

Over the years it has become expected that brands will contribute to good causes. This could be a local charity or a very specific fund that has personal ramifications for those involved. At the same time, it has meant that businesses need to be more mindful of cause related marketing.

Since the launch of Open Comms back in 2008, we have supported many different organisations for the simple purpose of giving back.

Most of these are based within the Yorkshire region and we have chosen them as they are relevant to the business and our wider team. At the same time, we have also supported our clients to do the same. In some instances, this has meant setting a strategy which allows these companies to put cause related marketing into practice.

Finding a cause

How a business chooses a cause is the first step. It may be that there is a shortlist of initiatives and organisations that employees can choose from. The benefit to this being that a company gets the support of its colleagues.

Alternatively, there may be someone with a very personal reason for proposing an initiative and the company agrees for this to become the charity of the year.

Many organisations have a specific schedule in place when it comes to charitable donations. This means they can raise donations and offer support over a given timeframe. As well as creating focus, this provides a chance to review the partnerships.

Some third sector organisations have very structured programmes in place, whereas others are less formal. The best approach for all depends on what each brand wants to achieve as a result of the association.

What contribution to make

There are organisations that will donate a percentage of takings or associated resource from staff to their chosen cause.

We’ve noticed a shift over the years. Once upon a time, companies would give employees the chance to offer their services for free. Now, more than ever, a financial contribution or help with a specific project have become more beneficial.

Like many things in business, it goes back to setting objectives. Although giving to charity can create a warm buzz, it also needs to deliver a result. Working with the right charities means organisations can have a longer-lasting impact for that cause.

Communication surrounding cause related marketing

There is no doubt that when it is right, a partnership between a private company and charity should be communicated. Where this becomes a problem is when the shift is clearly more about promotion than genuine philanthropy.

Any organisation that wants to get involved in cause related marketing needs to do so for the right reasons. If making a real difference to the charity is what the activity is about then the PR will follow. Genuine and honest communication always delivers greater results than forced associations and stories.

Not only do journalists see through giving for the wrong reasons, but consumers do too. The last thing a business needs is to give to a charity and lose customers as a consequence.

This is why planning is so important, starting with choosing the right cause for all involved. The biggest mistake we see from brands is jumping on the band wagon. It is dangerous and often a knee-jerk reaction to something that has already run its course.

Being mindful of these pitfalls is a must when putting cause related marketing into practice.

Getting the messaging right

During the planning stages being specific about the messaging for each audience will help. This gives people a clear understanding of why a business is getting involved in cause related marketing. It will set out the rationale, objectives and what the company hopes to achieve at each stage. Also, whether the partnership is longer term or a one-off.

Providing a context for internal colleagues, stakeholders and customers will create focus for each.

It is likely the messaging will change slightly for each audience, but the objectives should remain the same. The tone will also need some consideration as it will change from more general comms that are shared. Often we find the tone is lighter when it comes to charitable giving and community based work.

Leveraging PR around cause related marketing

When we work with our clients, we create a strand of activity that focuses on community work and charitable giving. This sits very squarely within cause related marketing. It means that when the brands we work with are involved in a charitable activity, we ensure everyone involved gets the profile they deserve.

A number of years ago I met with a charity that explained they were struggling because businesses were scared to promote their associations. The feeling being that if they were to secure coverage then customers would think this was the only purpose behind their partnership.

We supported the charity with a document which they shared with all corporate partners. It made the point that many third sector companies struggle to put the resource in place that will generate regular PR. As such, they rely on associated coverage from partners.

Far from PR being a negative when it comes to charitable giving, it was a positive for all involved.

What goes around comes around

We’ve always felt that giving was the right thing to do. This will continue at Open Comms as it is one of the values of our business. As just two examples, we are a corporate partner of the Theatre Royal Wakefield and we donate to St Catherine’s in Wakefield each Christmas. We have even been known to take to the fields and to roll in mud for a good cause (picture attached from an event a number of years ago).

As well as knowing that we are doing our part, we make it our mission to encourage others to do the same.

If you are a business and you want to think about how you can give back, then give us a call. We can discuss what causes align with your brand and how you can leverage this to the benefit of all involved.

WRITING COPY WITH AUDIENCES IN MIND

Writing copy for an audience

For PR professionals, writing copy with audiences in mind is second nature. It is an everyday task and is a tactic that we use to work towards meeting with client objectives. However, when this becomes the responsibility of a business owner it can be a challenge too far.

When you launch a company, it is up to you to create a brand, develop a product and test a service. This level of control can make it difficult to change your mindset back to thinking about others and their needs first.

Understanding the audience

Writing copy isn’t just about updating a website or creating a newsletter. There needs to be a purpose and call to action. Knowing your audience will give helpful insight that can be used to shape content.

Prospective customers may want to better understand how to use a product. There are often hacks which share multiple uses of an item. This is common in the household cleaning market. For example, it may be a disinfectant which can be rubbed over radiators to become a subtle air freshener.

Thinking slightly differently about content and how useful it will be for the reader will provide focus. Mapping what you want to write and what you hope the audience will get out of it will also help. Consider three things that you want them to take away and set out sub-headings. This will provide structure and purpose.

Effective use of resource

The importance of writing copy with an audience in mind is important, particularly when you consider the lack of resource that most businesses have. Rather than doing something quickly, and therefore badly, time should be allocated to better communicating with audiences.

PR and marketing content should be a priority for every organisation, but this isn’t the case. Communications is mistakenly considered a ‘nice to have’.

Allocating the resource needed to write effective copy will mean the content shared is of a quality representative to the brand. No director would tell someone to put 50 per cent effort into anything and creating content is no different.

Giving people the right amount of time and the opportunity to produce work that they can be proud of will have a far more positive impact on a business.

Using the tools available

Some companies have an impressive website with well curated copy that is uploaded to a blog. They may also have white papers or resources available to download too. Although this content has real value to that business, they fail to share it beyond the site.

What this organisation could do is to share links across relevant social media channels. The copy could also be repurposed as an article for LinkedIn or as small snippets for Twitter and Instagram. Leaving it exclusively on the blog simply reduces the results that could be achieved.

Again, allocating time is essential if a business wants to use social media tools effectively. It is no good to post a link and consider that job done. It is important that these are then monitored and that any comments are captured and responded to.

What this additional effort will do is further showcase what can be achieved when PR becomes a priority.

Accepting things may need to change

Being flexible when it comes to PR is a must. Communications is often about test and measure and that may mean moving the goal posts or going back to the drawing board. It may be that the medium isn’t right or that the social media platform chosen isn’t working as well as expected.

The beauty with PR is that this can be done quickly and easily. Changing direction is not uncommon and can lead to far stronger results. In order for this to happen, those responsible need to accept that things change.

The best return on investment will come from a PR plan and content strategy that evolves over time.

Again, considering the needs of the audience at every stage is key. People mature and so too do brands. Amending the way that you communicate with audiences, and adapting to fit their needs, will encourage greater loyalty over a longer timeframe.

Sharing the results

As a forgotten relative, the results that are achieved through PR should be shared at the highest level. Including figures, audience reach, feedback and measures of success in board papers is just the start.

The metrics to any content strategy will develop over time. This will become apparent from what impact communications have on audiences. Being specific about objectives and campaign KPIs will help with this.

Going back to a call to action, it will become apparent whether people have changed behaviours or purchasing decisions as a result of the way a brand communicates. The results will allow that company to continue with the campaign or adapt to better meet with the objectives set.

Creating communities with purpose

Ultimately, the main reason we write copy for an audience is to encourage an action. We want those reading the content to do something with it. This may be changing opinion, educating them about a company or encouraging someone to purchase.

There are many reasons that directors can use PR to benefit their business. It all depends on the company, its strategy and what it hopes to achieve.

Those brands that get most from PR will be those that focus on creating communities with purpose. This delivers audiences that are far more than figures on a page. They become brand advocates, loyal purchasers and trusted shoppers.

Once a brand has a community in place, this can be used to collate feedback, measure success, trial new products and bolster the bottom line. I don’t know any business that would turn their back on that.

DESPITE MANY CHANGES PR REMAINS A VALUABLE TOOL FOR BUSINESS

Over the past few months and throughout the worst of the Coronavirus Pandemic businesses large and small have been faced with numerous changes and we have supported new and existing clients in several different ways.

More so than ever before, competition between businesses is high and the fight for survival is real. I believe that more companies will recognise the value of PR and understand how beneficial it can be as we move through unchartered territory. Having a good communications strategy to support your future might be the key to succeeding in an ever-changing climate.

Coming out of lockdown, one thing is clear, and that is the need for effective engagement with audiences to secure sales.

Reach a wider audience

As businesses have negotiated the changes caused by the pandemic, the need to appeal to a wider and increasingly varied target audience has grown. Consumer attitudes and trends have changed and using PR helps businesses to market themselves across multiple channels.

The need to reach a new audience or demographic coming out of lockdown is where PR could really help a business, and even extend the opportunities it has.

Social Media as an important tool

I am sure we are all aware by now that our internet and social media usage has skyrocketed during lockdown. While this may reduce a little as we move back to ‘normal’, social media should not be underestimated as a marketing tool. In fact, the benefits of using social media for business are ever increasing.

Social media management and content creation are often a key component of our work with clients. PR professionals have the expertise to support growth in this key area and create compelling content that attracts attention and engagement.

While the need for traditional media remains, it is worth being aware of other ways to communicate with customers and how PR professionals can support in this area.

Reactive to opportunities

PR practitioners have contacts across multiple media and are always on the look out for new opportunities that might be beneficial for clients.

Working with an agency gives businesses access to opportunities they might never have considered. Reactive opportunities can be anything from getting a quote from an expert to offing a product as a prize for a competition on the radio. Both get the name of the business or product out there effectively and raise its profile.

The more reactive opportunities that a business can benefit from, the more chance there is of relationships being built with the media. This means that journalists will come to the brand in the future.

Helpful in advertising activities

While it was concluded that PR is almost 90 per cent more effective than advertising it can be very useful when used in conjunction with other tactics during a wider campaign.

While many still believe advertising is enough on its own, the trust built by PR is invaluable to businesses of all sizes. And, it goes without saying, consumers prioritise trust and brand experience over anything else.

While PR professionals will have to make changes in line with the ‘new normal’, the need for brands to invest in communications will be as great as ever.

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.

THE VALUE OF VIDEO CONTENT

Although it’s been around for some time, 2020 is the year that video content needs to form a key part of any marketing strategy. Over the last decade, the use of online videos has transitioned from a luxurious, expensive asset to an affordable and vital tool. As well as attracting attention, it can be used to promote brands, companies, products and even individuals.

The statistics  

Recent research has shown that 85 per cent of businesses use video as a marketing resource, and more importantly, 88 per cent of those have reported that this style of content provides a positive return on investment.

With these figures expected to rise in the coming years, it is imperative that companies don’t ignore these facts.

The main purpose of creating content is to get it in front of the biggest and most relevant audience possible. When it comes to delivering successful PR and marketing campaigns, the written word it still extremely effective but can be complemented with digital assets.

The return of this combined approach can be measured through media coverage and broadcast secured from a carefully crafted press release with accompanying footage. This can then be uploaded to social media channels, resulting in a huge audience reach.

Digesting content daily  

The content we digest on a daily basis can often be found on social media. Brands and businesses must therefore understand that creating engaging and bespoke content for these various platforms is becoming the most efficient way to get in front of relevant viewers.

With such a diverse client base, at Open Comms we have tried and tested varying approaches and have insight into what content is best to share across multiple platforms. As just one example, we have experienced significant and consistent success on LinkedIn for a number of brands.

With the ability to access a global business community, LinkedIn is becoming the prominent platform to use when it comes to acquiring commercial leads. This has been further supported by recent statistics that show four out of five members on the platform are in charge of making business decisions.

The growth of LinkedIn in recent years has also resulted in a marketplace that is increasingly popular for businesses that want to communicate. As the number of users rise, so does the amount of content being published and shared. Therefore, companies must be willing to invest in processes that differentiate themselves from their competitors. At Open Comms we believe bespoke and dynamic video content could be one way to achieve this.

The best thing of all is that video can be used to promote any aspect of a business, product or brand. But as you want to target key decision makers, it is important to take a strategic approach as to what sort of content you are hoping to promote. We have listed below key instances when video content could be used;

  • Showcase company services
  • Provide case studies of how services have enhanced customer experiences
  • Showcase new products and demonstrate how it is used
  • News updates and company announcements
  • Tips and advice to address specific target audience
  • Deliver senior team introductions to add personality to biogs

As public relations specialists, we combine our social media expertise and marketing prowess to transform our clients’ initial ideas into visually dynamic marketing materials. We also work with specialist partners to ensure the content we create and manage is of the very best quality. After all, it’s only what our clients would expect.

Using our skills with those of specialist and trusted partners means that we can extend our offering and manage all communications for our clients. 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.

SPINNING PLATES: THE IMPORTANCE OF MULTITASKING IN PR

PR is an incredibly exciting profession to be a part of. Each day is different and there is never time to get bored. With news angles changing by the hour, the industry is relentlessly fast paced. Add to this the fact that we have a portfolio of clients spanning multiple sectors, we must remain constantly alert. All of this while simultaneously managing numerous campaigns and social media platforms. It’s no wonder that working in PR is frequently likened to ‘spinning plates’.

If you feel a little out of breath already, you’re not alone! But, with some careful preparation and a lot of practise, the pace of PR becomes second nature. All while remaining as exhilarating as ever.

Plan, schedule and adapt

Keeping on top of each of these elements requires a lot of planning, so being prepared in this profession is a must. Only by creating robust schedules is it possible to consistently deliver all that is needed for our clients.

That’s not to say that there aren’t unexpected things to deal with too. In fact, much of our work involves little notice and short deadlines. Unfortunately, the news agenda waits for no one. If we want our clients to be on the correct side of it, being responsive and adaptable is vital.

Love to learn and learn to succeed

A love of learning is essential in PR, especially if you work agency side. Not only is it necessary to build on your understanding of the industry, but with each new client there are further opportunities to grow.

Devising social media and content marketing schedules for brands, PR has quickly become the profession responsible for subject matter experts and thought leadership. This means we need to be well versed in topics that we may never previously have imagined.

Being adaptable and willing to learn is a must for anyone wanting a career in PR.

Review, revise and thrive

Just when you think a task has been ticked off your ever-expanding list – think again!

To uphold the highest standards, approval processes are stringent. At Open Comms, regardless of seniority within the company, nothing leaves the building without having been seen by another set of eyes.

Each piece of content is then sent to the client for further approval. While this usually hits the mark, we are always open to revisions. After all, we want everything that we produce to be as close to perfect as possible. That way, our clients receive only the very best from us.

With feedback coming thick and fast, resilience is a really important quality for anyone working in the industry. Each client has their own style, so being able to adapt and respond to the needs of different personalities is certainly a skill worth having.

If you’d like to hear more about our spinning plates and juggling tendencies, or are interested in hearing more about the serious side of Open Comms (although we do find that a little giggle from time to time goes a long way) – visit the ‘what we do‘ page, give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact a member of the team on info@opencomms.co.uk.

PLANNING FOR CRISIS

The dreaded word ‘crisis’ crops up more than you might think in PR. After just one year working in the industry, I’ve watched a few crises unfold. In fact, most businesses will experience one at some point, and I’ve learnt that being prepared is key.

While challenges often strike when least expected, the Open Comms team are confident in handling any problems our clients face. With a solid plan in place, and knowledge of the relevant industries we work in, we are prepared and ready to support businesses of all sizes.

Crisis can certainly give us a buzz and spice up our day! Not that we want them every day, but successfully managing a crisis can be very satisfying, although we would rather avoid them.

Keep Calm and Consider Your Actions

On discovering an impending crisis, my first point of action would be to keep calm and look at the crisis from a different perspective. Overreacting may make a potential issue worse. It’s worth considering a few options and understand the right time to intervene.

For example, an unflattering tweet could be damaging to a brands reputation, but if we were to block the account or hide the comment it is likely it will provoke the consumer into further shaming the brand.

Hiding comments after a crisis has calmed down is another option. It is sometimes best to see how the situation develops before acting. There is also a chance it might settle down on its own before things turn nasty.

Be Aware

Being aware of whats happening in the world is so important when it comes to anticipating what has the potential to damage a brands reputation. While we cannot predict the future, topical issues such as climate change, conversations around single use plastics and Covid 19 are just a few examples of things we keep our eyes on day to day.

It is important to be aware of the issues and understand how they could be connected to brands or accounts we are working with. This helps us recognise when a crisis might strike before it happens and allows us to steer clients away from throwing themselves into the fire.

Know When to Act Fast

Acting fast is important. Particularly when monitoring social media accounts. A simple complaint can escalate if not handled promptly. Its important to regularly monitor brands social media accounts, watching out for any complaints that might come through and managing them quickly and efficiently.

Misreading a tone of voice or simply not responding to a query can quickly turn into a crisis. We have to remember that brands are always visible online and that is further reason to be ready to respond.

Move On

Its worth knowing that PR crisis happen every day to many brands and businesses. With so much happening on social media, and consumers continually inundated with new content, it is unlikely that a well-handled crisis will have a long-term effect on business.

As bad as a crisis may seem at the time, many brands have overcome huge problems day to day. Being aware of what caused the issue in the first place and learning from mistakes is the most valuable thing to take away.

Having an experienced team on hand is, without a doubt, the best way to handle a PR crisis before it happens.

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.

 

USING PR TO LAUNCH A NEW PRODUCT

If your brand is ready to launch a new product, PR should be a part of your plans. Simple.

Product launches are often obvious opportunities for brands to secure good, quality coverage. So, it’s crucial to manage announcements correctly. You’ve worked hard and now you want to shout it from rooftops. Trust me, we get it.

Here at Open Comms, we have mastered the art of pushing new products onto customer radars through PR. It’s what we’ve been doing for over a decade.

  1. The importance of ‘Media Relations’ when using PR to launch a product

Media Relations is a critical function of PR. In particular when launching a new product to market.

As an experienced team of PR professionals, we collectively liaise with hundreds of journalists and key industry contacts on a daily basis. It simply comes with the job. Over time these interactions with the media become strong relationships. This is ultimately what our clients benefit most from. Here’s how:

  • Journalists are more receptive if they know you

Journalists are busy people, and it’s certainly reflected in their inboxes. The likelihood of them seeing a pitch, let alone replying to one, is slim to none. That is unless they know the sender and have worked with them in the past.

This is exactly why building and nurturing a mutually beneficial relationship with journalists is so important. Ultimately, the journalist should view a PR professional as a useful source of knowledge not a waste of time.

  • Tight deadlines can mean more exposure to last-minute opportunities

Journalists, reporters and the media in general work on extremely tight deadlines. This usually means that they will reach out to PR pro’s that they have a working relationship with.

Having an established rapport with key contacts in the media, be it print, online, broadcast or social media ensures that our clients’ new products and or services are always put forward for exclusive opportunities. These are not always available to others.

  • Bespoke approach when pitching to different media

When pitching to media it’s imperative that you understand what type of content appeals to them most.

When it comes to launches, consumer writers for example are predominantly interested in the product. Whereas journalists from national newspapers want more detail and possibly even a comment from the brand.

Knowing this information makes all the difference. However, this can only be achieved when you have extensive knowledge of the contact you are targeting.

  1. How influencer marketing can support PR with product launches

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool so much so that the industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022.

With a community of devoted followers at their disposal, influencers are a great way to launch a new product. Recent research even suggests some consumers trust influencers more than friends. Here’s why:

  • Influencers are deemed trustworthy by their followers

People are more likely to believe in a product when someone who they trust endorses it.

  • Influencers create authentic content

Influencers often personalise the content which they share. This is so that it’s relevant to their unique style and resonates with their followers, which traditional advertising cannot do.

  • Influencers are usually considered experts in their field

Influencers usually have a status of expertise in a specific area. Meaning if a brand is promoted by them, it instantly gains a sense of credibility.

  1. How competitions and giveaways accompany PR when launching a new product

Competitions and giveaways are an effective way to reach a large number of people in a short amount of time. Particularly when using PR to launch a new product. They can either be placed with media titles and or influencers, print and or online.

In addition to gaining exposure among relevant audiences, competitions and giveaways can often incentivise people to follow or interact with a brand and its product. Essentially, when it comes to launching a new product, this is a great tool to drive awareness, spark up a conservation and create a buzz.

Using PR to launch a new product just makes sense. There is certainly no point in spending huge amounts of time and resources in developing a new product and then under-investing in its launch. That would make no commercial or common sense at all.

If your brand is ready to shout about a new product launch, we’re here to help. Why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or find out more about the services we offer here.

REDIRECTING BUDGETS TO PR FOR SUSTAINABLE RESULTS

For many of us, it is human nature to invest in those areas that reap immediate rewards. Depending upon a business’ objectives and the tactics being used, PR isn’t always one of those things. This can lead companies to allocate their budgets elsewhere. However, with a little time, patience and expertise, the benefits achieved through a sustained programme of activity, can elevate an organisation to levels which far outweigh financial spend.

That’s not to say that PR isn’t a specialism with the potential to provide results quickly. Campaigns are a great example of how tangible outcomes can be achieved within a relatively short period of time. However, to deliver sustainable results which benefit the long-term success of a business, PR should be considered an investment for the long-haul.

The true power of PR

Some consider it to be a ‘dark art’, but this is based on outdated perceptions. Actually, put quite simply, public relations does what it says on the tin. It helps a company relate to the public, forming an important interface between an organisation and its customers, employees and stakeholders.

It allows a business to share whatever it needs to say, in a way which is authentic to the organisation. These communications are managed, from start to finish, by specialists who know how to craft a message in a way which will appeal to each unique audience.

The best channels through which to share news are carefully considered, and timed, so that developments are received positively – both by the media, and by the intended audience. Ultimately, PR professionals increase awareness while managing the reputation of a business. This allows brands to reach new levels of love and a position where they can be considered ‘well-known’.

A team that can be relied upon

A good PR agency will become an extension of their client’s teams. A service that can be relied upon during times of uncertainty, and a sounding board for trusted advice and guidance.

Most businesses will endure a crisis at some point during their journey. Depending on the nature of the industry, some will weather a number. However, having a reliable PR team on board, who already know the company and its systems and processes, really can be the difference between a make or break scenario.

The truth is that when a crisis hits, it can often be the first time that a company has considered PR. If you do not have a team in place, it is most certainly a wise move. However, getting to know a brand-new agency, sharing the ins and outs of your business, its culture and the crisis itself can be a time-consuming process. All at a time when moving cautiously but quickly would be the best plan of action. Food for thought which comes that little bit too late for some.

A wise investment

If PR is something that you’ve been considering, chatting this through could be a great way to determine whether it is the right route for your business.

As an agency, we would never take on a client if we didn’t genuinely believe that we were right for you. Our passion and enjoyment comes from securing results, so we firmly believe in being honest and upfront about what we can offer.

For most organisations, PR is a wise investment. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it could, quite possibly, be the best investment your business will ever make.

If you’re interested to learn more, have a glance at our ‘what we do’ page. Read a little more about our team.  Or hear about a few of our clients, past and present, on the ‘work’ page. Or simply give us a call on 01924 862477 – we love to chat!