What we can learn from Trump VS Hillary

Image of the White House
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:

  1. Have a good integrated communications plan
  2. Make sure everyone knows what everyone else is saying to the world and how and when
  3. 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
  4. Invest in some media training for all spokespeople
  5. 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
  6. 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 info@brookscomm.com

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Tech PR & Marketing professionals – a breed apart

Not all PR & Marketing professionals are the same. In the tech sector these people have unique skills that make them stand out from the crowd. For instance:

  • The ability to translate complex tech functionality into customer centric solutions
  • An understanding of tech buyers decision making influences & processes
  • Using segmentation tactics to define and reach target audiences

To find out more about their goals, challenges and views on the effectiveness of their PR & Marketing activities, we recently conducted an in-depth survey.  Criteria for participants was that they held a senior or director level PR or Marketing position within a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) business in the UK.

Here are the highlights of the results:

79% stated that the primary goal of PR & Marketing is to generate leads

It wasn’t surprising that lead generation was rated as the number one goal, however the margin between this and the next highest rated goal (14% said grow awareness about the brand within their target market) is significant.

Many STEM companies are start-ups or come from emerging technologies where high levels of R & D require swift returns on investment. It would seem that the pressure is on PR and Marketing to quickly generate sales ready leads to enable the company to achieve revenues to repay investors and give the business the means from which to grow.

41% rated “Proving a return on investment from PR & Marketing” as the most desired outcome

Tangible evidence of reach, growth, engagement and conversions are the C-suite currencies that tech PR & Marketing teams have to deliver. With Brexit and an uncertain global economy its seems that our survey participants are under no illusions that their job could be at risk if the department does not prove its worth to the board. What’s required is having relevant KPI’s in place and accurate tools to report on activities.

70% said that their biggest challenge is integrating multiple projects

When you consider the variety of projects such as: PR, awards, events, webinars, inbound & outbound campaigns, internal marketing, product launches, SEO, blogging to name but a few, and that each activity involves different people and different technology, it’s no surprise that integration was the biggest challenge.

Marketing automation tools such as Marketo and Hubspot offer some degree of integration, but bringing together people, processes and technology requires PR & Marketing professionals to find ways to improve project management and encourage collaboration.

68% believe that digital PR & marketing tools aren’t being used effectively in their business

Despite being in the tech sector and despite many of the participants having a strong digital presence, they still felt that their business did not utilise digital tools. In the comments section of this question participants said that measuring reach was an issue as was ensuring that publications were shared on social media platforms by staff.

Check out the infographic for more results..

We’ve visualised these and other results in our infographic below.

What are your views on the effectiveness of PR & Marketing in your business? Do you have similar challenges? Feel free to share this post or comment below.

survey-results

LUSH’s Fight Against Animal Testing: Brilliant marketing or a PR stunt too far?

On Friday, LUSH erupted with its controversial ‘Fight Against Animal Testing’ campaign video to promote the issue of Animal Testing in the cosmetics industry, urging people to go into its stores and sign the EU petition against animal testing.

The campaign video depicts passers-by’s reactions to a display in Lush’s Regent Street store of a woman undergoing laboratory testing, illustrating what animals experience when new cosmetics products are tested on them. The video also has interviews with Lush members of staff, communicating their support for the ‘Fight Against Animal Testing’ campaign and EU petition. Clearly this is something Lush is extremely passionate about, which is why it’s making such a strong stand against it.

View the clip here: Lush Fighting Animal Testing 

Here’s some responses on the YouTube video and Twitter…

“I care about animal testing, I don’t buy animal tested products. But i am seriously disappointed in Lush – this performance should have been trigger warned.” – channelclaire

“My boyfriend and I have 2 rabbits and are fostering one right now, We’re both in tears watching this. What an AMAZING performance, that woman has such courage to do such a thing. Thank you all for fighting for animal rights. There’s still hope in this world. :)” – kristee2008

Lush attempt to raise awareness of animal testing by performing violence against women. Distasteful. – stavvers

“I always liked Lush. Now I like them even more” – Starkardur

Reactions to the promotional video seem to have really divided people. It’s a shocking and emotive video, designed to move viewers into action – signing the petition in the Lush stores. Lush’s campaign has truly gone viral – it was trending across the UK on twitter, it’s hit a range of news sites and it’s had people from all over the world commenting on its YouTube video. The campaign is proof that online marketing is now the best way to spread the word quickly, creating a huge buzz around a brand or issue.

Lush’s promotional video is a marketing tactic that has undoubtedly communicated one of the key values of the Lush brand – transparency is an essential part of any business. Good on Lush for staying true to what they believe, and campaigning passionately for the cause. But at this level of extremity, where people are even criticising the video for suggesting cruelty to women – is it doing as much harm as good? Are they turning away potential customers and possibly even loyal customers with their bold statement?

It’s a choice that brands have to make – how far do you go to communicate your values? Lush obviously decided that the campaign Fight Against Animal Testing was at the heart of the brand and as a result, decided to create something controversial around the topic. They key is to remember your target audience and communicate your brand values in a way that is most appealing to them. And don’t forget to be consistent when communicating your values – the more consistent you are, the more your audience will associate that value with your brand.

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

Lessons from ‘The Blackberry Crumble’


No doubt you will be aware of the technical problems that Blackberry has had this week – millions of Blackberry users across the globe have been without the now famous… or infamous (if you believe that it was the cause of the recent rioting in the UK’s cities) BBM (Blackberry Messaging), email and internet since lunchtime on Monday.

Nearly 4 days on, the Blackberry service is said to be improving…4 days and people are still struggling with their services, surely unheard of for a Comms company! But what has Blackberry and RIM (Research In Motion – the company behind Blackberry) done in the meantime for its customers?

Well, it seems like communication and customer service haven’t been the top priorities… with 1 relatively uninformative tweet hours later on Monday evening from Twitter account @Blackberryhelp saying “Some users in EMEA are experiencing issues. We’re investigating, and apologise for any inconvenience”, and just minimal updates further to this.

What should Blackberry and RIM have done in this situation? Working in PR, we know that mistakes happen, and technology no matter how advanced and popular can fail sometimes. It’s part of life and the nature of business. What sets you apart, however, is how you react to any problems – it’s your crisis management skills and subsequent communication with your customers that really matter.

In crisis management a company has to be available, communicate often and transparently, to say what the crisis is and how it will prevent it reoccurring. RIM appears to have been in a panicked denial, and failed in all areas. Communication to customers was not good and contained industry jargon which teenage users would not have understood, and it did not put up a press spokesperson for comment at all. The problem happened which is bad enough, but sometimes how you deal with that problem and make things better is what really can save your company’s image and put right the damage done to your brand.

If you’re a struggling Blackberry customer, check the Blackberry service update page for any service changes, and if you’re interested in hearing more about Crisis Management, contact us via info@brookscomm.com or +44 (0)1483 537890.

Keep an eye on @PRexpertsUK and @UKmarketingUK for PR tips and our take on business news!

A week in PR

Thoughts from Darcie on her week of work experience with us here at CBC… 🙂

“For my work experience week, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work at Chazbrooks Communications (CBC). Before coming into work, I had little knowledge about what PR was and what would be involved but since I have been here I have learnt a lot about what PR is and able to see what type of jobs are done here at a PR agency. I thought that PR would be a good work experience for me because I am interested in Business and for one of my GCSEs I am doing Business Studies. I really enjoy this subject and it is relevant to PR because PR is all about working with businesses to promote their products and services.

The week has allowed me to get involved in lots of different tasks including; attending Planning meetings, Social Media/Twitter work, updating spreadsheets, monitoring Google Alerts and clippings and getting to do different types of research. One of my first tasks was to research all the clients that CBC works with – to get an idea of what they all do – and I then updated the overview Client document with the info I found. This task was really useful because I needed to know about CBC clients for my work during throughout the week.

The work on Twitter involved me trying to gain new followers for different Twitter accounts, and for EyeExpertsUK I gained about 30 followers! I also tweeted an article and some words of the day for the CBC Twitter account. One of my favourite tasks was doing a clipping report because I could see the different coverage achieved for the clients and also found out how many people had viewed the articles. I also helped write a press release for the Surrey Research Park. After it had been approved I issued the press release out to the local and science park press.

All in all, I really enjoyed the work even though I found some tasks, like editing a report, harder than others. This week has given me a real idea about what PR is like and I would definitely recommend doing work experience here at Chazbrooks because I felt very welcomed by the Team and got to do a range of different things – so it really did give me an idea of what it would be like to work in a PR agency.”