0 comments on “Think BIG with your communications strategy”

Think BIG with your communications strategy

Since its inception, PR has involved managing and enhancing the reputation of an organisation to its target audience via influencers such as key stakeholders, partners, analysts and the media. The overall objective is to raise the organisation’s profile to support the sales and marketing cycle. Though the core principles haven’t changed, the methods of communicating with audiences and stakeholders have dramatically.

When the main way of communicating with the media a few decades ago may have been franking a press release, we’re now in an always-on environment where accessibility to audiences and influencers has transformed the day-to-day role of a PR professional. Despite these considerable developments, many organisations still devise traditional PR campaigns that don’t make the most of integrated communications, new technology and measurement techniques.

Here’s some recommendations from us at brookscomm to ensure that whatever industry you’re in, you’re thinking big with your communications strategy.

1. Be reactive

By developing articles or commentary in response to changes occurring within your market, or in response to national breaking news stories, you don’t have to be reliant on having your own news to secure press coverage. Sometimes these can take the form of thought provoking and quite controversial commentary, which will create a “buzz” within your area of specialism.

Talking about national issues at a regional, trade and national level will help to establish your reputation as an expert in your field. It also provides a level of reassurance to your existing client base, and future clients, as they will see you as an organisation with an opinion that is respected by the press.

2. Spread the word

Social media has a big part to play in an integrated communications strategy. Once your articles have been published, either in the media or on your website, further reach can be achieved via social media platforms. People may not be reading the publication or browsing your website on the day that your content was published, but we can safely assume now that people are regularly checking their own social media and absorbing new content in this format.

What’s more, sites such as Twitter and Facebook have brilliant SEO qualities. This means that if a prospect is googling you, there’s more chance that your name will appear higher in their results as social media sites are pointing to your name or website.

Our Senior PR Account Manager Alison has also been sharing advice with legal firms around making more of your press coverage. Check out our latest article in the Hampshire Law Society magazine, Hampshire Legal.

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3. Go bigger

It’s easy when you’ve been serving a specific set of customers to stick with the same communications approach and focus on them as your target audience. While it’s wise to prioritise this audience, messages you’re promoting to those customers could be replicated to another potential market without much extra work.

Whether that’s a different industry or a region, thinking outside of your existing strategy could reap huge dividends. High quality and informative written material is worth its weight in gold, so if you’ve written it, make the most of it!

4. Track your progress

Whenever you’re completing any communications activity, it’s crucial that you measure the success of your efforts. Not only can you learn the most impactful ways to reach your prospects, you can also discover what content resonates the best and what approach is most beneficial for your sales and marketing strategy.

By utilising online tools such as Google Analytics, you can track what content is bringing the most traffic to your website, and what pages on your website are of most interest to your prospects. Analytics are now also embedded in social media platforms so you can track how many people are viewing or engaging with your tweets, and how your LinkedIn likes have increased overtime.

Whatever your communications strategy, make sure you’re maximising every opportunity to raise your profile by developing creative and relevant content, considering new audiences, showcasing your hard work and measuring your success.

Want to find out more? Get in touch! 
If you have any questions about your communications strategy or how we can help you secure media coverage, please check out our strategic communications offering or get in touch. We’ve helped several organisations raise their profile with their target media resulting in increased sales. Call us on 01483 537 890 or email hello@brookscomm.com

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0 comments on “How to maintain high standards in business”

How to maintain high standards in business

In light of our Managing Director Mandy’s new role as a client PR advisor to the Chartered Institute of PR (CIPR), Carys grabbed her for a quick chat on how to establish and maintain high standards for the benefit of your customers, and how this can be put into practice to make a real difference across all elements of business.

With over 20 years’ experience as an agency leader Mandy has built brookscomm from the ground up, gaining a wealth of knowledge on how having high standards within your company can lead to longlasting business success.

Where does your commitment to high standards come from?

A phrase that my parents always said to me growing up was: “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well”. It’s encouraged me to have high standards and has stayed with me. Now I realise it’s shaped my approach to most things in life, including business.

The question isn’t just around why we choose to focus on getting the best quality in business, but also how. The ‘why’ is clear – we want to put our best foot forward and in a business environment, we know that this is the way to offer the best service to our customers. It’s the ‘how’ that takes a little more work.

What can be a barrier to businesses maintaining such high standards?

If you speak to any business leader, they will undoubtedly say that they want high standards. We all do. But often the focus is put more on practical details. It is far more a state of mind than it is in the logistics like how people work, or who is working and when.

There’s a lot of misconceptions out there – perhaps that enabling people to work remotely or part-time means they’re not working as hard or to a high standard, or that if you take a lean approach to your business your quick decisions may be ‘knee-jerk’, which compromise your output. But that’s not the case; in fact, in some scenarios it can even be the opposite of what you’d expect. Working smarter and staying agile means you’re quicker with your processes or working setup, not dropping on your quality.

What are some of the best ways to focus on quality within an organisation?

If high standards are lived and breathed, then the concept is always at the top of your mind. It’ll shape all your decisions, from recruitment and processes through to strategy and business development. 

By committing to excellence in your industry, you’re able to provide the best possible service for your clients or customers. Explore new qualifications, make it a priority to stay up to date with latest trends impacting your market, invest in training for your team and stay in touch with likeminded contacts in your industry. This way you can offer accurate and reliable consultancy to your clients and understand your position in the market that much better, helping you finetune your offering too.

What can industry leaders do to drive higher standards?

The CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) is on a mission to develop a level of excellence for our industry, bringing a new level of rigour for PR professionals through its qualifications, events, training and other CPD related activities. I’m playing a role in helping them develop this by operating as a Chartered PR Client Advisor, which means organisations can request support from the CIPR to appoint either an external agency or recruit a communications member of staff.

It’s great to see that through programmes like the CIPR’s Client Advisory service, organisations are committed to maintaining high standards and are bringing in expertise to help with that. By applying the same rules to communications as they do to any other element of the business, leaders can focus on getting value for money and stay focused on maintaining a high-quality standard for customers.

Learn more about how Mandy and the team can support your integrated communications activity here.

0 comments on “Why there needs to be more young professionals in the workplace”

Why there needs to be more young professionals in the workplace

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By Barney Packer, Digital Marketing and Public Relations Intern

 

When they were just 18, young entrepreneurs from New Zealand, Jamie Beaton and Sharndre Kushor set up their first business venture Crimson Education. Crimson Education set out to be a platform that could matchmake students around the world to their perfect university – a great tool, especially for those looking to study abroad.

Taking an idea and turning it into a successful business at such a young age shows that the upcoming generation have something truly exciting to offer. In fact, a 2016 report by BNP Paribas found that, on average, baby boomers launched their first business at age 35, whereas millennials are typically doing it at 27. The youth of today are hungry to achieve!

With Crimson Education now valued at $160m, it begs the question; what exactly is it that young professionals add to the workplace?

Providing new ideas and thoughts

Young professionals’ fresh perspectives are invaluable. Their suggestions should be heard and recognised, even if just for spring boarding. Consider the benefits of having this viewpoint in the office, especially if you’re a business that wants to attract a younger demographic. If you have your own audience in the office, then use them!

Our MD Mandy Brooks says: “The placements we offer bring young energy into the office, which is a great way to share experience, generate new ideas and keep the business fresh and exciting.  With the original founders, myself and Chaz, still an integral part of the company, we have established a wide and diverse, knowledgeable, productive results-based team. Each team member is hugely valued and in turn adds particular value to brookscomm.”

Social media gurus

Growing up in the age of social media means that young professionals can spot opportunities that others might miss. One of the biggest demographic groups for Instagram is males between 18 to 24 years old, meaning that a teenager developing their social media following at such a young age is experience that businesses can benefit from. Young professionals are quick learners with natural marketing skills and are agile enough to move fluidly in the modern world.

A 2017 study into the effects of social media on young professionals’ work productivity found that networking, sharing, and finding social information has a positive impact on professional enhancement, with respondents of the survey stating that social media was a catalyst of the development and growth of their professional careers.

You give them opportunity, they give you loyalty

One thing that many young professionals worry about is the future of their career, and rightly so. They want to move up the ladder, earn money and be proud of their work, so opportunities for them to prove their worth is something they are driven by. Let them demonstrate their skills, while supporting and guiding them, and they will recognise it.

Young professionals who contribute creative and forward-thinking ideas are a key part of the workplace. The skills they offer are essential to any modern company and should be recognised, utilised, and developed across all industries. Collaboration is the key to success.

Over the last two months working here at brookscomm, I have been given the opportunity to apply skills I’ve developed during my university studies and previous work experience. Being supported and comfortable in pitching creative ideas within a healthy work environment has made for a really positive experience, enhancing my productivity, company loyalty and work satisfaction. All of this has enabled me to grow as a professional and deliver improved results.

If you’re interested in an internship opportunity at brookscomm, please drop us an email.

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”

Why integrating business communications matters

Customers don’t think of brands in terms of digital marketing, advertising, PR or social media, so neither should you.  Successfully integrating these communication disciplines makes sure your brand messaging is consistently more 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 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 up selling, 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 life cycle. 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. 

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