As a self-confessed nosey-parker and someone who likes to know what will happen in the future, a conference like CommsCon in Sydney was very much up my alley to spot upcoming trends in PR and helping us educate our clients on where they should be spending their marketing dollars.
Change is something we can rely on and it’s coming thicker and faster than ever before. Disruption. Digital. Drones. AI. Virtual reality. It’s here. It’s not going away. Adapt or die.
As marketers our worlds are rapidly changing too. PR is multi-platform, advertising now skewed to digital, media is haemorrhaging jobs. It’s a fascinating time to be working in such a shifting environment, however, it is also a little nerve-wracking for marketing professionals and even more so for business owners trying to keep up.
What will PR Agencies look like in five years’ time? Will advertising, creative, PR and digital merge as one? Where are the boundaries and do we need boundaries?
These were all thoughts going around in my head as I jumped on the plane to CommsCon last month immersing myself into a room of PR nerds….bliss!
I adore my profession and want to soak up a tonne of knowledge to help us create the agency of the future; deliver the best and most effective service to our clients and inspire and educate my team on the future of communications, marketing and PR.
I think that for business owners it’s harder than ever to know what to invest in to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to marketing spend. Here are some insights that I hope will help give you a broad-brush overview on where we’re at and where we’re heading:
Hyper-local and hyper-targeted
Creating high impact content that is hyper-local and hyper-relevant has never been more important.
Gone are the days when you had to talk to the mass market. You can target like you’ve never targeted before. You can speak directly to your ideal clients and target markets. You can create content (articles, video, photography, live streamed video and other assets) and communicate directly to individuals. You can also measure how this conversation is going and test, tweak, test and tweak again until your message is resonating and gaining the desired outcome.
When investing in any marketing implementation, think hyper-targeted. If you go too broad your message will be lost within our content overloaded world.
If we’re prepared to prepared to be bold, we can be big
A great example of crisis communications was used to illustrate this by Chevrolet recently. At a World Series game in the US a prize giveaway speech by a representative from Chevrolet went viral after he fumbled his way through the speech and offered the line that the new Colorado offered “class-winning and – leading, um, you know, technology and stuff.”
PR fail, right?
Well actually as soon as the social media dashboards started lighting up Chevvy reacted quickly with a tweet from the ChevyTrucks Twitter account embracing the “technology and stuff” phrase.
“Truck yeah the 2015 #ChevyColorado has awesome #TechnologyAndStuff!” the tweet said.
The brand quickly joined the conversation and showed they could see the funny side.
The next morning at 7.30am the marketing team decided to modify online spots for use on TV, changing the voiceover to include “and stuff” at the end. They scanned prime-time TV opportunities and bought commercials during that night’s sports broadcast and bought national full-page ads major US city daily newspapers.
#TechnologyAndStuff emblazoned the sides of pre-race Colorados transporting NASCAR drivers.
Within five days Chevvy retired the campaign as they didn’t want to look like they were behind on the joke.
Although this is a big brand. Startups and entrepreneurs take note, before you have a well-known brand, be daring, be a little crazy and own your space. This is your time. You’re not well known and you want people to find out about you. Don’t be afraid to state your opinion, tell it like it is and stand apart from your corporate competition who is way too scared and tied up in bureaucracy to disrupt like you can. To cut through the huge amount of content available now you need to be different and be daring.
Breaking the bubble
World-leading PR Agency Edelman used the analogy a frozen bubble to show how we’re all consuming news and content now. With algorithms defining our information flow our media bubbles are hardening as we protect our attention and see a narrower and narrower range as only seeing information that we want to see and that our friends are liking through social media.
With this in mind brands need to put content where the people are.
Trust is moving away from elites.
Advice and information is more valued when it comes from someone similar to yourself and brands are paying $10k and upwards for bloggers and influencers to talk about their brands to their highly engaged and niche audiences.
The recent purchase of influencer marketing agency HelloSociety by the NY Times is just one sign of the times.
So what does all of this mean for me?
As a business owner, observe where your clients and customers are, ask them what they’re reading and how they’re consuming content and be brave. Embrace the new. Embrace emotional resonance, the storytelling and analytic rigour of PR and marketing. Create articles, images and video that will speak to your audience. And if you don’t know who your audience is, I suggest you find out, quickly.
And the outcome for PR Agencies. It’s our time to lead. We’re the creators of the story, the content, the words and the ideas.
PR is creating outcomes that change the path of organisations and I’m proud to be a part of a PR Agency that is part of this new order.