Ensuring a delivery focused approach to PR and marketing

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We are delighted to announce that we have created a new role, appointing Carys Geer as Client Services Director.

The role of client services director is crucial to our business, as evidenced by our recent smooth switch to whole team remote working. Carys joined brookscomm in 2018 as Project Leader and has key industry experience plus a commitment to exceptional service provisions for our clients.

We caught up with Carys to find out more about the role, what it means to her and how it will benefit brookscomm’s clients.

What does this new role mean for brookscomm? 

Marketing and communications as a practice is continually evolving, changing how we consume and share news with partners, customers, prospects and our peers. As an integrated agency, brookscomm has continued to thrive over the last 25 years by staying agile, anticipating and adapting its services to what its clients need. The Client Services Director role is central to the team, exploring ideas to improve the agency’s future delivery and ensuring outputs are aligned to our clients’ strategic goals. This will enable us to develop our service in a dynamic and forward-thinking way. This is critical when rolling out changes in a business to ensure consistency for both the team and clients.

What does the position mean to you?

In my career to date, I’ve experienced a few different agency environments. Finding the balance between successful delivery to clients, advancing the agency from a commercial perspective and investing in a growing team is notoriously difficult. What’s exciting to me is that this role is an opportunity to oversee and maintain this careful balance at brookscomm, working across all facets of the business. The increased focus on business leadership and development is something that really interests me and provides a great progression for my career path. It’s really rewarding to help shape the agency, develop the PR and marketing experts of tomorrow and deliver services that not just meet client objectives, but also wow our clients.

What prompted the introduction of this new role?

The different elements of this role have always existed at brookscomm sitting within different remits in the agency over the years. The creation of this new role reflects our continued commitment to an integrated approach to delivery at brookscomm. We have various specialists across our service areas within the team and so this role oversees the combined expertise, bringing it all together to provide a seamless, valuable service for our clients. Our integrated service, combining various marketing and PR activities, is adding real value to clients’ businesses and we anticipate this area of the business growing considerably, very much supported by the introduction of this role.

Has COVID-19 impacted how this role was designed to look?

Like the rest of the world, we couldn’t have anticipated the significant changes brought on by the coronavirus crisis. And while we’re extremely fortunate that we can continue working and servicing our clients, how we do this looks different to how it did a few months ago. The same is the case for the client services role, however the fundamentals of the position remain the same. Having a client services lead has been critical in transitioning the team to work from home, ensuring that delivery to clients is impacted as little as possible, and ensuring we can run systems and processes virtually for the agency as normal.

What should prospective clients look for when choosing their communications service supplier?

A company should never underestimate the value of a great marketing and PR agency. We’ve found in recent years that companies get more from in an integrated approach to PR and marketing rather than the disciplines operating in isolation, which helps to streamline activities, get better results and measure outcomes more effectively.

The right agency will be so much more than a group of people delivering good results; they will be consultants with great business acumen, partners that have your best interests at heart and will treat your business as if it was their own. That’s always been our approach at brookscomm, which means our clients get so much more from us than what is agreed at the outset of the campaign or contract. It’s no wonder that so many of our client and media contacts have been with us for decades.

Follow brookscomm on Twitter (@PRexpertsUK) or LinkedIn to stay up to date and find out more about our integrated service offering here.

 

5 ways for Amazon sellers to cash in on Black Friday

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The 29th November sees the return of Black Friday. The sales from last year’s shopping bonanza topped £1.49bn online, making it the second biggest online selling event of all time – second only to July’s Amazon Prime Day which saw Amazon sell over 175 million items across 18 countries.

Black Friday 2019 is anticipated to be bigger than ever, and the sales are no longer refined to the weekend. UK deals are opening earlier, with sales starting on Amazon at 00:01 on Friday 22nd November this year – a week before Black Friday. What’s more, Amazon is hosting a ‘Black Friday Countdown Sale’ between 18th November and 22nd November.

Black Friday offers tremendous potential to companies currently selling on Amazon. But as a seller, how can you make sure you’re getting the most out of the Black Friday extravaganza?

Here are our five top tips for seller success.

1. Optimise your listing title for searches

Making sure your product is as visible as possible in searches needs to be your priority (visibility within Black Friday deals comes later). Make sure you include a generic product description of what your product is within the title. Even if people haven’t heard of your brand, this will ensure that they know what type of product you are offering.

2. Seal the deal with bullet points

The five bullet points are arguably the most important feature of an Amazon listing. Listing features is not enough to persuade buyers; you need to motivate the viewer to buy by setting an expectation of what benefits they will get out of using the product. This is why Amazon places the customer buy-box next to the bullet points – more often than not, it’s the bullet points describing the benefits of the features that convince buyers.

3. Participate in Black Friday Lightning Deals

The main concept around Amazon’s Black Friday is to offer hundreds of exclusive discount deals on popular, quality products. To be able to be a part of this, your product(s) need to have a certain number of positive reviews and a three-star rating or higher. You must also reduce the price of the item by at least 40% to be considered.

You need to choose the quantity of stock you want to sell and submit the deal in advance of Black Friday to Amazon. Amazon then decides when to schedule it. Lightning Deals are tremendously popular due to their high visibility on the homepage, and huge volumes of stock can be sold in a very short time period.

4. Increase your keyword bid strategy throughout Black Friday promotion

If you already use Amazon’s display and brand keyword advertising tools in seller central, make sure you allocate extra budget for the duration of Black Friday to ensure your products are promoted above organic search results.

You’ll reap the benefits of a low advertising cost of sale (ACOS) as your customers’ intention now will be to buy rather than browse.

5. Use vendor powered money-off coupons

Amazon customers use the ‘wish list’ function to keep track of products they’ll be looking to buy at discount during Black Friday. Sellers can make their products more attractive during the sale by buy adding a money off coupon onto the listing. A glance at the wish list will display the discount on offer to the customer.

Couponed listings also stand out in search results. As a seller, you are in control of offering a percentage discount or a monetary amount off the list price, making this a very useful sales strategy instead of Lightning Deals.

As Black Friday’s popularity continues to grow every year, missing out on the opportunity for increased sales around the shopping event could see your brand suffer. Following these tips puts you in good stead to maximise the opportunity Black Friday offers to sellers.

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Want to find out more? Get in touch!

If you have any questions about how to make Amazon an effective channel for your business, please check out our Amazon Marketing services or get in touch. We’ve helped several brands launch and establish themselves on Amazon in Europe. Call us on 01483 537 890 or email hello@brookscomm.com

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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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.

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.