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Beast from the East and agile PR

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A structured communications strategy should be part of any business strategy and will help to achieve key business objectives.

Producing interesting content which resonates with target customers and other stakeholders should be part of this plan.  Published material gives huge credibility to a company and can establish key company spokespeople as experts in their field.

However, having a great plan is all very well, but to derive the best results, it is necessary to be flexible and take both a proactive and a reactive approach to what is produced and when. Responding to topical news events and having something useful and informative to say on the subject can be a great  way to get great results. You can keep ahead of the competition by producing quality content that journalists and bloggers will find useful and which enhances or elaborates on a breaking news story in the media.

Tackling the Beast from the East

Be pro-active with your reactive PR. Think ahead to what might happen and produce content ahead of the game. Take the Beast from The East for example!

We all know that the winter weather in the UK can be miserable. Back in February, snow was being forecast to hit the country in a big way. Along with one of our clients, a leading law firm, we produced a tips article on what people’s rights were if they were unable to reach work due to adverse weather. This served as an advice piece for employees and highlighted employer obligations to staff in the bad weather. This was issued to a targeted audience of business and consumer lifestyle publications and web sites just before the snow arrived. The timing of the article lead to huge interest and the results were amazing. Local press, national papers, specialist employment sites and even BBC radio all wanted to run the article.

Timely PR, boosted by social media, will increase the likelihood that you will reach and resonate with your target audience.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated communications strategy. We can help you boost your business, email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

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Audience targeting: Walking the ethical tightrope

AdobeStock_118343721-min (2)Recent news has been dominated by stories which highlight the questionable tactics of some companies, in covertly harvesting user data from social media channels which informs their approach, enables them to target their communications based on profiling and, ultimately, influences opinion.

All of this is especially pertinent as we approach the looming GDPR deadline – in a timeframe where ethics, privacy and data protection are all issues of paramount concern to business.

The brookscomm approach
In our role as trusted counsel to a diverse client-base, we develop and deliver clear messaging to support each client’s value statement and inform their customers’ decision-making. Furthermore, we conduct thorough research to ensure we are targeting end-users and new business prospects as effectively, appropriately and ethically as possible.  This approach enables us to deliver consistency, add maximum value to the audience, whilst attaining optimal reach.
Whether in our PR, marketing or social media execution, our steps toward the most positive outcome are clearly defined and structured:

  1. identify each clients’ target audience/s (WHO do we want to attract?)
  2. determine their reading and influencer touchpoints (WHERE can we reach them?)
  3. develop clear messaging and information which illustrates the value proposition (WHY should they engage?)
  4. provide clear direction, highlighting the call-to-action (HOW do we meet our end-goal? e.g. sales / subscribers / etc in a GDPR compliant process.)

The methods we use to achieve these steps follow a careful and considered ethical pathway, with the utmost care and consideration to ensure compliance, authenticity and integrity – building a sense of trust with our clients and their audiences throughout the journey.

A recent example of this being the counsel we’re currently providing to both US, UK and EU clients on how to ensure that their business communication systems and processes are compliant with the incoming GDPR legislation.

Businesses must always question their data collection methods to meet their governance and compliance responsibilities and respect customer privacy. Hopefully this week’s news will only serve to improve data collection and analysis approaches, protecting the privacy rights of the end-user and strengthening ethical practice within organisations.

Get in touch on 01483 537 890 to discuss how we could help improve your business communications.

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Why integrating business communications matters in 2018

Customers don’t think of brands in terms of digital marketing, advertising, PR or social media, so it makes sense that you shouldn’t either.  Successfully integrating these communication disciplines makes sure your brand messaging is consistent and effective.

Integrated comms is not easy though. It’s especially hard for smaller organisations where there’s less resource or expertise. At first glance it may seem that it requires four times the effort or budget to get results, but that’s not the case. Here’s how you can make your 2018 business comms strategy more effective:

Align goals

Find out from the senior management what the business objectives are for the year. Then plan how your marketing strategy can help achieve these goals. For instance, if the business wants to grow by 20%, understand if this is likely to happen by upselling, acquisition, market diversification or launching a new product etc. Visualise what business communication activities are most likely to support this desired goal in the year ahead.

Aligning the marketing strategy with business objectives may sound obvious, but its surprising how often the previous year’s marketing strategy gets repeated. Aligning goals brings clarity and focus to the marketing strategy.

Profile the customer 

Build a profile of your ideal customer. Speak with your customer service and sales staff to find out what your customers goals and challenges are and how your product/service solves them. If you’re unsure what challenges your customers face, then create a survey and ask them. Include in the profile demographic information so that you know what media and whose opinions your customers value. Use the customer challenges as topics or themes for your business communications plan for the year ahead.

Build an integrated content map

Customers transition through three phases before buying: awareness, consideration and decision making. Using the customer challenges you have identified, envisage what content you can produce for each phase. For the awareness phase try to come up with ideas for content that are eye-catching, short and informative. For instance, an infographic, tips articles, a short advert or quote. The goal here is to reach your customer and impressive on them that your product/service is a possible solution to their problem.

For the consideration and decision making phases you are looking to convert leads. This is where you can use elements of the marketing mix (price,product, promotion, placement) to communicate what is special and unique about your product/service. This type of content is typically longer to consume, more detailed and authoritative than the first phase, its vital that you provide evidence of the benefits that other customers have found from your brand.  Content formats include case studies, white papers, and survey findings, with special offers, discounts to help turn prospects into customers.

Overlay the 2018 calendar to spot seasonal opportunities and finalise your plan to product content that can be repurposed in terms of length and style for PR, digital, social, and advertising formats. If it can’t be used across the four disciplines, seriously consider the value of the exercise.

Use Automation to improve efficiency

The best integrated marketing strategies utilise automation tools to make sure they are regularly communicating with their stakeholders, not just when they publish fresh content.

Automation isn’t expensive or overly complex. Platforms like mailchimp offer basic automation for free. Consider setting up a series of emails which regularly talk to customers who have opted into your comms over a three-month period. Plot the emails and the content they deliver to mirror the buying lifecycle. Older content could be quickly repurposed and added to email workstreams. Integrating email automation with opt-in leads captured from e-advertising on Facebook or from Gleam competitions can be a highly effective and constant stream of new business.

Automation doesn’t just apply to digital marketing. Set up Google trend and publication alerts to be kept informed on developments in your market. Understanding what and when journalists publish in your sector help you fine tune your PR outputs so that your business communications remain aligned and integrated.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated communications strategy. We can help you boost your business, email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

 

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Icebar launch event of Blink XT

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Founded by M.I.T graduates in 2009, Blink has grown from strength to strength since its kick-starter crowdfunding campaign, creating an innovative range of indoor and outdoor home security and monitoring systems. The firm is scheduled to ship it’s millionth product in January 2018.

Blink provides a watchful eye and 1-click connection to a user’s home through a smartphone app. It is stylish, wireless, easy to set up and uses HD video technology, with motion and temperature sensors. When Blink detects motion, it immediately sends a push notification alert and an HD quality video to the user’s smartphone. The system can be set/disarmed remotely, with live video accessible anytime, from anywhere.

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Blink XT UK Launch

The much-anticipated Blink XT outdoor cameras were launched as a direct response to consumer demand. Building on the success of last year’s UK indoor camera launch event held at the Ivy by brookscomm, Blink asked the agency to launch this new model.

The latest Blink XT outdoor camera can be operated at temperatures down to -25 degrees Celsius,  and therefore was suitably held at London’s super cool, below zero, Icebar.

Influential technology journalists, bloggers and industry influencers were in attendance. The Icebar cocktails were flowing alongside a presentation and demonstration. The Blink logo Ice Sculpture provided a centrepiece talking point.

 

Blink Paris Launch

A media event was also held in Paris to launch Blink into France. Arranged by brookscomm, the launch was held in the Prizoners escape game live venue, providing both a mysterious and fun atmosphere. The venue allowed influencers to network, socialise and enjoy Blink’s presentation. All whilst surrounded by typical Paris style caves of the escape game. It was dead cool.

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You can read the full UK press release here.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated communications strategy. We can help you boost your business, email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

 

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The Man Who Ignored Technology & Saved The World

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Image credit: rt.com

Technology systems are an integral part of modern business life, providing us with constant, useful data, however data needs proper analysis and interpretation to be reliable and useable. The best results are achieved with a combination of the effective analysis of good data, human intervention and intuition to instil a reality check in order to arrive at accurate conclusions.

In 1983 the Cold War was at its peak and tensions were running high between the Soviet Union and the USA. Only a few weeks previously the Soviets had shot down a Korean passenger jet, killing all 269 aboard, including many Americans. The Russians were wary of US President Reagan’s “Star Wars” system and feared a pre-emptive American strike.

On 29th September Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov of the Soviet army reported for his shift at the Soviet nuclear early warning centre. This was to be an extraordinary night.  For a few minutes Stanislav Petrov was to hold the fate of the world in his hands and his calm and intuitive interpretation of data was to avert a nuclear catastrophe.

System Reports Missile Attack on Russia

Just after midnight, the early warning system reported the Americans had launched a missile attack on Russia. All the systems bar one pointed to an American attack. Petrov had an instinct that it was a false detection, partly as he had not received visual confirmation.

He decided to wait before confirmation, and he reported a false alarm to his superiors instead of alerting command headquarters to an attack, which would doubtless have set in motion a retaliatory nuclear strike. Petrov retained his composure as alarms blared and lights flashed with increasing warnings of an attack, trusting his instinct that the warnings were false.

Fatal Warning Down to Technical Glitch

This was a dereliction of duty and breach of regulations by Petrov, the logical and safe thing for him to have done was to have passed on the responsibility and reported the attack up the chain. He later said that he feared that “as I was the first source of this information the danger was that as soon as I made a decision that this rocket is real, the rest of the chain of command could have been hypnotised by my conclusions. It’s like the cockerel crowing, the first cockerel in the village crows and the others all follow.”

After an agonising wait of ten minutes, relief came as the over-the-horizon radar systems confirmed that the alarm was false. Bizarrely, the false detection had been created by a rare alignment of sunlight that had reflected via the Earth into the satellite lenses.

Intuition Saves The Day, Not Technology

Computers can misinterpret information and report in error. That’s why all systems need a Petrov to analyse and say “hang on a minute”. It’s the kind of fine nuance of thought uniquely available to the human brain. Petrov had the intuition built up through knowledge and experience to question the information he was receiving. If a computer had been responsible for pressing the button there would have been dire consequences.

Petrov’s dilemma applies to the search for effective opinion leaders in the technology, pharmaceutical and other industries. A web search/algorithm can trawl for and arrange publicly available data, but can it spot through informed intuition whether alarms and flashing lights are real or fake? For that you need the skill of a team which not only understands how to programme the computer, but also how to interpret the social nuances of the world and its interconnecting relationships.

And as for the man who arguably saved the world? Petrov’s superiors treated him with the suspicion accorded a soldier who disobeys orders, he was reprimanded and took early retirement from the army soon after that fateful September night.

In today’s data-driven world it is important to question and discuss the information provided, with creativity, data and intuition proving the winning mix.

Petrov has since passed away, but his legacy lives on.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and Digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com