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0 comments on “Audience targeting: Walking the ethical tightrope”

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.

0 comments on “Why integrating business communications matters in 2018”

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

 

0 comments on “The Man Who Ignored Technology & Saved The World”

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

 

 

0 comments on “Intern Life At brookscomm!”

Intern Life At brookscomm!

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Ever wondered what life is like at brookscomm? Our latest PR and Digital Marketing intern Calum Ridgewell reveals all…

My time at brookscomm

As I’m a politics undergraduate, I am frequently asked “So, do you want to be an MP then?”. Whilst I absolutely love studying politics, a career in that field is not my calling!

However, it has influenced my preferred career path. Politics weaves its way into many disciplines, the world of Marketing and PR being one of them. After learning how imperative aspects such as branding, marketing and public relations are to political parties, I became intrigued in the workings, and found myself researching Marketing and PR career options.

Having established a keen interest in Marketing and PR, I decided the next step was to secure some real-life exposure, and the best way to do this was through a summer internship. My research led me to brookscomm, an integrated PR and digital marketing agency. After exploring what brookscomm has to offer and their work in action I quickly realised that this company was a leader in Surrey in the field of Marketing and PR, and this was where I wanted to kick-start my career.

After a great phone call with the Head of Operations Jo McKenzie, I was invited in to the brookscomm offices, to discuss my aims and what I could gain from the role. I was given a fantastic overview of the busy workings of brookscomm by Head of Marketing Michael Bull and Senior Marketing and PR Account Executive Nirvana Wright, and I walked away full of excitement to start my summer internship!

First Day at brookscomm

From the first day, I was made to feel incredibly welcome by all the team, and the friendly, productive atmosphere of the brookscomm office was a pleasure to work in. Even after the first few hours of being at brookscomm I felt like I had learned a lot, which was a great sign!

I thoroughly enjoyed all daily activities, finding each task rewarding and insightful. Nirvana taught me a great deal about social media management and creative content creation, and after being given some top tips I found myself creating engaging blogs, tweets and Facebook posts for clients! Additionally, Nirvana showed me the ropes on sourcing and pitching to journalists using a media database.

Putting into practise PR, Digital Marketing & Social Media

Senior PR Account Manager Alison Scarrott talked me through composing and sending effective press releases to journalists, which was very interesting and an area of PR I was keen on learning more about and Ali certainly taught me a lot!

Michael, a marketing expert, gave me a fantastic insight into digital marketing, learning about SEO, Facebook targeting ads and how to use e-mail marketing tools. Michael was more than happy to answer my (many) questions, and the exposure I gained has given me a solid grounding in digital marketing.

My other daily activities included searching for press coverage of clients, sourcing new business leads and opportunities through LinkedIn, as well as working around the areas of Marketing and PR Alison, Nirvana and Michael had taught me.

I enjoyed all the tasks I was set by the team and was made to feel I was genuinely contributing towards the business, which is very rewarding!

brookscomm Culture and Ethos

brookscomm is a fantastic place to gain valuable experience in Marketing and PR, and I am very grateful to the team for giving me the chance to broaden my skillset, learn valuable aspects of the Marketing and PR discipline and develop a stronger work ethic. The organisation of brookscomm was flawless, and the effort and care they dedicate to their clients was truly inspiring.

Following the internship, I feel I am ready for the Marketing and PR industry after graduation, brookscomm has given me a firm foundation and deeper understanding of the discipline. One day in the future when I am a successful Marketing and PR Director (can’t fault my ambition!), I will look back at my time at brookscomm as a key stepping stone.

We absolutely loved having Calum as our intern!

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

 

0 comments on “GDPR: The Implications for PR & marketing professionals”

GDPR: The Implications for PR & marketing professionals

GDPR (1)

GDPR & the implications for PR & marketing professionals

Are you ready? Are you scared or fully prepared? The GDPR deadline may seem like a long way off, officially coming into effect from May 2018 for Europe. However, there is no time like the present to ensure you are fully versed with the legalities, implications and best practise to avoid brand damaging fines for breaching GDPR rules.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the current Data Protection Act 1998, setting an even higher standard of consent protocols and data regulation. It’s sole purpose is to ensure that data and personal information is protected and not misused or passed on to other organisations without consent. Although such data is currently  freely available and accessible (on contact sections of websites for instance), these new measures prioritise individual’s privacy, the methods in which information is gathered, used stored and destroyed, with the ‘right to be forgotten‘ principle.

New opportunities and challenges arise for SMEs

GDPR isn’t just about data protection. Ensuring that customer data is a priority will create more opportunities for PR and marketing professionals to strengthen the relationships with customers, by engaging them with value-driven, insightful content which informs, educates and amuses. Being honest and transparent in digital communications will be essential going forwards.

The strategy behind generating prospecting lists for sales and marketing efforts will need to change as a result of GDPR. It will be harder and more expensive to promote your business to new, prospective customers if you are a start-up or SME, especially if you have a limited advertising budget. It will put larger corporations, who can afford to increase their ad spend and use different advertising tactics at an advantage. Yet, expensive ad campaigns targeting the masses could potentially be wasteful if the adverts are not relevant to customers wants and needs. Also, consumers may inadvertently pay more because of GDPR, as company’s look to increase prices to cover the cost of greater ad spend.

The Drum reports that the fine for breaching GDPR alone would force 17% of UK companies out of business. Therefore, taking a proactive approach and ensuring your organisation is GDPR compliant will mitigate the risk of being fined.

Personalisation & data

A brand needs data-rich insight to fulfill a personalised ad experience to a consumer or to offer content and services that provide value and are useful. Without this data, a company’s lack of customer insight and tailoring of the wrong types of content could frustrate customers and weaken the connection. Keeping customers in the conversation always and providing valuable, personalised insights & updates will overcome this issue, encouraging  customers to become brand advocates.

While it is imperative to be planning towards next May’s GDPR deadline, it’s worth knowing that the regulations are yet to be finalised. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) are currently seeking clarification on a few aspects and are requesting amendments.

There is a plethora of information available, we advise the best place to seek specific information and to avoid confusion is to visit the official Data Commissioners Office website.

 

 

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 michael@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

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