Integrated Tech PR and Digital Marketing Agency – Guildford, Surrey, UK
Michael is responsible for the planning and implementation of digital marketing strategies for brookscomm and its clients. He has diplomas in professional marketing and digital marketing and his skillset includes: SEO, PPC, HTML, CSS, Social Media Marketing, Google Adwords and Google Analytics, WordPress, Marketo, Drupal, Hubspot, Mailchimp and Amazon Marketing Services. Michael has worked in marketing for over 15 years in both a client and agency capacity and is a long standing committee member of the Surrey Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
Did you know that one in three PCs running Windows software are infected with malicious software and that one million new forms of virus and malware are created every week?
Computer malware robs your laptop/PC of its resources, causing it to become slow and unresponsive. Viruses are easily automatically installed on your laptop/PC by downloading free software or opening innocuous looking email attachments. Once malicious software gets into Windows it can be impossible to remove with anti-virus software while Windows is running.
brookscomm client FixMeStick has come up with a solution which tackles and removes viruses and malware, including ransomware. The FixMeStick plugs into your PC via a USB port and proceeds to scan and remove all forms of malicious software – reaching the infections that anti-virus programs cannot, and removing malware inadvertently downloaded by a user. It uses three main anti-virus engines, automatically stays up-to-date against the latest viruses and doesn’t need any passwords or software installation to do its work.
Win your Fixmestick!
We are giving away a brand new Fixmestick on behalf our client, which can be used on 3 PC’s for 1 year. Worth £59.99, all you need to do to enter this prize draw is, to find us on Twitter, follow @FixMeStick & @PRexpertsUK and re-tweet – Good Luck!
The competition is open between 15th and 21st December, entrants must reside in the UK. We will pick a random winner and notify them via Twitter on 22nd December. The Fixmestick will be posted to them via recorded delivery on 22nd December. For full competition terms and conditions click here.
Read the latest reviews of Fixmestick here and here.
You know it’s nearly Christmas when all the major retailers try to win hearts and minds by unveiling their much-anticipated festive ad and PR campaigns! Retailers are well aware of the immense power of utilising emotion as a persuasion technique, and that often, emotion triumphs over logic. So how do retailers and their PR and Advertising companies use an emotional pull to persuade us to invest in them and purchase their products?
The phrases, ‘go with your gut’ or ‘follow your heart’ are often quoted flippantly but there is now substantial evidence to support the role that emotion plays in decision making. Antonio Damasio’s clinical studies of brain lesions demonstrated that patients were unable to make decisions when the area responsible for emotion was impaired. Often, seemingly logical decisions will have an emotional influence.
This concept is reflected in the 2016 ad campaigns, which tug on the emotional heart strings to provide an uplifting message, with many ads using ordinary people, as opposed to celebrity endorsements and real-life situations to be more relatable to consumers.
We have collated and dissected the top, most influential 2016 Christmas ad campaigns and looked at how they have used emotion to win us over!
The Power of PR & Social Media
Boots – Gift of Christmas
Although Christmas is a time for family, the Boots ad exposes the sheer number of women, nearly half a million, who work hard in numerous roles throughout the Christmas period, from retail to the emergency services. The ad draws on the emotional roots of the ‘forgotten’ workers, many of whom work throughout the night to ensure trains & emergency services run smoothly over the festive season, and, thus, deserve to be pampered. Offering ‘the gift of beauty’ workers are transformed from their everyday uniforms to looking beautiful in Boots products. A big change from last year’s product emphasis, 2016’s ad campaign focuses on the concept of celebrating workers who give so much of themselves to the community and ‘sacrifice Christmas day’, which no doubt will resonate with many.
Marks&Spencer – Mrs Claus
The second most talked about Christmas ad campaign features Mrs Claus, showcasing her story and her dedication to sourcing presents to individuals loved ones. Unlike Santa, Mrs Claus listens to children who need presents for other people, such as Jake who, despite their love hate relationship, wants to provide his sister with a thoughtful present to show his appreciation. Instead of a sleigh, Mrs Claus travels in style delivering presents in a helicopter. Capitalising on the magic of Santa and his wife, this advert successfully appeals to kids, and also to parents who understand the stress and importance of having a smooth-running Christmas. In addition to the advert, M&S are utilising PR to spread the word of #LoveMrsClaus, with ‘Mrs Claus’ taking over M&S’s twitter account and, stated in Marketing Week, an army of ‘Mrs Claus’ will be in stores offering free presents as random acts of kindness.
John Lewis – #BusterTheBoxer
In my opinion, this ad campaign has won the battle of the Christmas ads, especially considering the overwhelming use of the #BusterTheBoxer hashtag on all forms of social media and 15 million plus views on YouTube alone. This year John Lewis’ heart-warming ad featuring the adorable Buster dog communicated a great sense of happiness. This was a refreshing change from last years tear-jerker ‘Man on the Moon’ advert in collaboration with Age UK, which sought to raise awareness of how lonely the elderly can be at Christmas. Despite a chaotic 2016 with Brexit, this funny, light-hearted advert showing Buster and the rest of the animals’ joy in trying the trampoline helped uplift the nations spirits. Witnessing the excitement on the young girls face on the eve of Christmas and on first sight of her present, brings back nostalgic moments of the real magic of Christmas, successfully associating it with John Lewis.
So there you have it, the lowdown on how emotion impacts adverts, sales and business in every sense, highlighting the importance of being personable and resonating with your target audience.
As a specialist agency, we understand how vital these concepts are when instigating effective PR and marketing campaigns.
At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of success. We can aid you and your business, call us on 01483 537 890 or, alternatively, email us email@example.com
Getting positive media brand coverage was recently rated as a priority business objective by tech PR & Marketing professionals in our survey.
This comes as no surprise as tech businesses can achieve rapid growth when their target customers are made aware of the benefits of their products and services. New consumer technology is desired by trend setters and new technology in the business sector can provide customers with substantial cost and time savings.
So, how does a business go about promoting itself to the media and potential clients? With this and other questions I decided to ask Mandy Brooks, our strategy director, and Alison Scarrot, Media Relations Account Manager at brookscomm:
What’s the difference in practice between PR and advertising? Which do you think is more effective?
Mandy says: ”Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”
There are many articles and opinions on this but put simply, Advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media.
There are of course many opinions on which is best and in what measure but I like the thinking of Steve Cody of Inc. magazine , also quoted in Forbes, who notes: “Countless studies report that, next to word-of-mouth advice from friends and family, editorial commentary (usually generated by your friendly, behind-the-scenes PR practitioner) carries far more weight than advertising.”
“It’s not difficult to understand why,” Cody says. “Advertising continues to embrace an antiquated, top-down, inside-out way of communicating. It reflects senior management’s view on what a consumer or business-to-business buyer should think is important. PR, on the other hand, depends upon listening to the conversation and understanding the who, what, when, where, why and how of engaging in the discussion. Public relations executives excel in storytelling and, typically, present a perceived problem (i.e. childhood obesity) and their client’s unique solution (i.e. a new type of fitness equipment designed by, and for, pre-teens).”
Alison adds: “In practical terms, PR is content in the form of a story or news article that a media editor deems timely, relevant and newsworthy to the audience. When printed or posted, it is perceived as a trusted third-party endorsement of a brand. Whereas advertising is the method of paying the publication to ensure a brands messaging will be included. Through advertising, brands can control the exact wording and image of their brand and it’s guaranteed exposure.
However, advertising is always perceived as a company endorsing itself and therefore has less credibility than PR. In our experience a combination of both is very effective and maximises the reach and credibility of the brand but if I had to choose, I would say that PR is more effective as its more sincere and relevant to the reader. And also because people are accustomed to glancing over advertising.
How can the results of media relations be measured?
There are different ways to measure the impact of media relations.
Mandy notes: “We always provide details of the circulation and readership figures for publications plus the demographics of the reader where this information is available. Although we can’t be sure that everyone who looks at a newspaper or website reads in detail, this gives us a good guide to how many people have had your story put in front of them. We work closely on the right messaging with our clients, ensuring that we include information that resonates with the target audiences. We measure how often these messages are included in PR coverage.”
Alison adds: “A good specific example highlighting how our tech PR campaigns measurably and successfully bring in leads is that we work with some specialist tech businesses whose products are featured in trade publications. In the articles we have published there are reference codes for interested parties to quote if they enquire about the products. Our customers have been very happy with the sales from these enquiries. We provide all of our clients with monthly reports on media inclusion, from these they can see a correlation between media coverage and traffic to their websites. We encourage all our clients to ask where leads heard about them. It’s always nice to hear during review meetings that a client has converted a lead that PR coverage has generated for them!
If I was to consider hiring a Tech PR agency how can I tell if it is good?
Alison says: “Domain expertise is vital when it comes to appraising agencies. If the agency doesn’t understand the product or the industry it may struggle. Likewise, if the agency doesn’t have media contacts with relevant publications, it might not be able to get the brand noticed effectively by the publications and the target audiences and potential customers the client is looking to engage.
Clients should look and ask for testimonials and examples of work to gauge the suitability of an agency. Other factors to consider include how long the agency has been in business and its size.
The most important factor to consider is the strength of the relationship with the account manager you’ll be working with. With some larger agencies, it’s possible that the senior person you meet with won’t be working on your account, this can cause misunderstandings and quality issues.”
What changes in trends have you noticed in Media Relations during your career?
Alison says: “When I started my career the Internet didn’t exist! We relied on print and post for correspondence with journalists and clients which although slow, certainly made life simpler in some ways! The advent of digital technologies has vastly widened the range of media publications and the potential reach of our clients’ brand and messages. The old forms of media (print, radio, TV) have diversified which has provided us with further possibilities with digital publications and the opportunity to harness the power of blogging and online reviews to promote products and services.
The variety of media formats available now is amazing and provides so many more opportunities, although with so many options, it can sometimes be a challenge to determine which publications to target. This is where knowing the publications in detail and understanding your client’s products and objectives comes into play.
Digitisation has also had a significant impact when it comes to influencing journalists. An editor recently told me he receives over 2000 PR requests each day. This means we need to produce articles for clients which are clear, concise relevant, attention-grabbing and newsworthy. When you are writing about complex technology this is even more important.
Mandy adds: “I’ve also seen client’s expectations change, especially during the last 5 or so years. Clients need a more strategic service which aligns with their business objectives and provides measurable results. They like it that we’re able to integrate media relations, PR and digital marketing services. For us this has made the role more strategic and entrepreneurial, more measurable and more enjoyable.
More than ever, we feel that we are a vital part of our clients team, very much focused on achieving business outcomes for each individual client by utilising a specifically tailored integration of PR, marketing and lead generation services to achieve the best results.”
Launched in August 2016, the Galaxy 7 Note is the most expensive phone ever released by Samsung. In recent weeks, a significant number of consumers reported that their devices had burst into flames, prompting Samsung to issue a global recall of the 1 million sold units that it had sold so far.
The cause of the damage is relatively common. Most portable, rechargeable devices such as smart phones, tablets, laptops and even Tesla cars are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Faults occur when the batteries are charged too quickly or by tiny manufacturing errors, causing a short-circuit which can lead to fire.
This isn’t the first time that a consumer electronics giant has had to issue a global recall due to battery failure. In 2006, Sony, the pioneer of lithium-ion battery technology (they rolled out the first commercially available version in 1991) had to recall over 4 million batteries which were used to power Dell, Apple and Lenovo laptops. The short-term cost of the short circuiting batteries was reported by Sony to its shareholders in 2006 to be $432m.
Samsung have acted swiftly to try to save the Galaxy 7 Note, but their hastiness in doing so may have inadvertently sealed the phones fate. Customers have reported that the same problem is still occurring with the supposedly upgraded replacement models. The defect has clearly yet to be resolved, and the situation is turning into a PR disaster for Samsung. This week, the South Korean Government launched an official investigation to get to the bottom of the issue.
Industry analysts say investigating why the Note 7 devices caught fire, with more than 100 incidents in the United States alone and costing Samsung $5.3 billion from its operating profit over the next two quarters, is crucial for the world’s largest smart phone maker.
What can they do to save their reputation?
1: Understand the problem
It may seem obvious, but getting to the root of the issue is essential to rebuild the trust in Samsung as a technology innovator. They must ensure that all future smart phone product lines don’t have the same issue as the Galaxy Note 7.
2: Be transparent
The results of the Government investigation should be shared with the public including detailing what went wrong, how they will fix it and what they will do to prevent it from happening again. Mistakes happen, consumers can be forgiving if they are assured that the brand is being honest and up-front with them.
3: Be decisive
Considering Sony’s losses following its battery woes and the recent entry of Google into the premium smart phone market, the right move might be to completely mothball the Galaxy 7 Note. This would take the ailing product out of the firing line, preventing further embarrassing headlines and draw a line under the fiasco.
4: Remind the market of your success
The Galaxy 7 Note might be a rotten apple, but the rest of the barrel aren’t. Samsung has the largest share of the global smartphone market, which is no small part due to the reliability and build quality of their products. They should make efforts to remind customers of their proven track-record with smartphones. And to further illustrate their credentials, should educate consumers about the reliability of their diverse range of consumer electronic products.
What do you think Samsung should do next about the Galaxy 7 Note?
Is the Galaxy Note series doomed now?
Do you think Samsung’s reputation will be seriously damaged by the Galaxy 7 Note fiasco?
Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below:
Unless you are living under a rock, you will be fully aware of the Trump VS Hillary battle for the US presidency, the attacks on character and the rather quick deterioration of both parties’ reputation, fueled by the likes of Twitter. According to Wired, a staggering 7.4 million individuals watched the CNN Facebook Live stream of the presidential debate!
The quote, “reputation is hard won and easily lost” is exemplified by Trump and Hillary. The slugging backwards and forwards, the attacks and incriminating data leaks further prove that regardless of your politics, the old saying has never been truer!
PR – Reputation Management
People often ask what differentiates PR from the rest of the marketing mix. A key differentiator, when done well, is that PR is all about reputation management. Your PR representative is effectively the guardian of your company reputation. However, every team member is a brand champion; thus, everyone has to be clear of the messages conveyed, be open, but also wary of all forms of communication.
This can be challenging. It’s easy for the lines of communication to become blurred, taking into account the sudden rise of digital influencers, Social Media and the fact virtually everyone is able to voice their opinions on the internet. This can lead to information becoming diluted or misunderstood if you are not careful. Even off the cuff comments on private social media accounts can sometimes have detrimental consequences, tarnishing your image.
So how can you have your voice heard over the noise and remain the champion of your reputation?
Here are some reputation management tips from Mandy:
Have a good integrated communications plan
Make sure everyone knows what everyone else is saying to the world and how and when
Make sure everyone is on message – run a simple messaging workshop with your team to align your thinking regarding the benefits and talking points of your business
Invest in some media training for all spokespeople
Make your customers brand advocates, but don’t over promise – it’s easy to try to be all things to all customers but better to promise less, be realistic and always deliver
Ensure you communicate in a timely manner, especially responding to any issues, queries or complaints against your brand. In a world where we can access a live stream of global news, at our fingertips whilst on the go; every minute of silence could be more detrimental. Always issue a statement and communicate updates frequently.
At brookscomm we have over 20 years’ experience of enhancing great reputations, efficiently and successfully. We can aid you and your business, call us on 01483 537 890 or, alternatively, email us firstname.lastname@example.org