Diversity – The Marketer’s Antidote to Tone-Deafness

Mention diversity in a corporate setting and you’re likely to receive vague statements of agreement. The general sentiment is usually lumped together with messages of “Racism is Bad” and “Embracing Everyone is Good” – both of which are extremely true in the abstract, but a little more foggy in the minutiae. However, far from being just a feel-good truism, embracing and championing diversity is valuable for any marketer and the common cure for tone-deaf messaging.

Why Diversity for Marketers

“Diversity” as a concept is usually relegated to Human Resources, and more specifically around policies to bring in talent across genders, racial groups, sexual orientations etc. But for marketers, it’s about embracing an inclusive mindset.

At this point, many of you would probably be thinking “I’m already an inclusive person!  Some of my best friends are [INSERT MINORITY HERE]”. That may be true, but even the best meaning person has unconscious bias and blind spots.  

Take for example when Snapchat released a filter that was pretty much modern-day Blackface. Having worked with tech companies, there is usually a good number of people – including marketers – that would have seen the beta version of this feature before it went live. While I doubt there was any intentional ill-will or outright racists in the chain of approval, it’s pretty horrifying to think that not one person spoke up in order to flag that this filter comes across as problematic.

Closer to home in Singapore, we see this type of eye-roll inducing messaging played out in cringe-inducing ads on saving water, tone-deaf sound-bites from politicians, and “funny” accents put on by local entertainers. Even Dove, a brand known for championing inclusivity in beauty, was not immune from misadventures in tone-deafness.

So for marketers, diversity is not just about diverse team members; it should also be about being inclusive of different perspectives. Here are three tips on how marketers can develop their diversity mindset:

Diversity starts with you

It may sound illogical but I believe diversity starts with yourself and understanding your own history, experiences, and opinions. By understanding yourself better, you find awareness of how the lenses of your own perspectives shape how you see (or don’t see) your brand’s content.

Recently, when we were conducting workshops on social media, we had a participant who had video editing experience. When we explained to her that most videos on Instagram were shot in portrait mode, she went on a tirade about how that didn’t make sense to her, and that she was trained to visualise everything in landscape. From her frustration, you could get a sense of resistance and her past experience was blinding her to seeing new possibilities. Which brings us to another maxim about diversity: “It’s not always about you.”

Developing diverse listening tools

After you’ve started work to understand your own blind spots, you can start to address them by developing diverse listening tools to grow your worldview beyond your own perspective. In today’s targeted and algorithm-driven digital world, it can be easy to fall into an echo chamber where the content that is presented to you only helps to reinforce your own perspectives, interests and likes.

To break out of this requires one to take an active role in searching for channels and sources that you know might run counter to your own beliefs and perspectives. I’ve had clients reject plans to leverage breaking social media trends, simply because “they’ve never heard of them”.

So while it’s impossible to get a complete understanding of the cultural landscape no matter how many sources of information you have, it still is fundamentally important to also venture out of your comfort zone to get a fresh perspective.

Building a brave team

Teams need to not only embrace diversity, but be brave enough to step in to highlight issues. In any typical campaign, plans are usually passed and seeded to multiple stakeholders for feedback – but if the corporate culture is not set up to allow for a safe space for disagreement, what tends to happen is a culture of “let’s not rock the boat” or “this is beyond my paygrade” .

Going back to that Snapchat filter fiasco, I would be surprised if there was absolutely no one in the chain of approvals that thought the feature would be, at the very least, questionable. But in the race to get new features to the public, and in environments where people are not empowered, diverse perspectives go unexpressed and campaigns are worse off for it.

While easier said than done, marketers should take efforts to breed a culture where anyone, regardless of their seniority or function in a company, should feel empowered to flag any potential problems. One major hurdle to this is the very human instinct to take offense at someone else being offended. A classic example I heard recently was a discussion around the lack of female representation on a panel; when the issue was raised, the organisers first response was “I’m not a misogynist, and I’m offended you would suggest that!”. That type of response shuts down the conversation and no one benefits from that.

Ultimately, we need to shift the understanding about diversity to be not just the right thing for companies to embrace, but to also leverage as a powerful marketing tool to better create meaningful content that resonates with the culture of the day.

What Is a Content Strategy and Why Do I Need One?

It’s likely you’ve heard the term ‘content strategy’ thrown around lately, but unless you work in the world of content marketing, you probably are thinking, ‘What exactly is a content strategy?’. We’re here to help.

Depending on the brand you work for, the definition of content strategy may vary slightly, but broadly it is the creation and distribution of content that drives profitable customer action.

It’s easy to task marketing or PR departments with this type of work, but, really, content strategy leverages skills and knowledge from several different departments: the aforementioned marketing and PR, but also corporate communications, social media and even business development.

By leveraging knowledge from all of these spaces, a content strategy can help propel your company toward its goals and drive real business results. There are myriad benefits to a robust content strategy, but these are three of the biggest:

BRAND CONSISTENCY

Keeping your brand’s voice and style consistent across all types of content (think press releases, marketing collateral, social media posts, the corporate website, and beyond) while also effectively communicating your brand’s message can be a surprisingly big challenge, especially if there are multiple staff members writing and posting content.

By creating brand guidelines – from preferred grammar style to design instructions regarding corporate logos, fonts and colours to social media instructions – everyone on your team will have access to an editorial starter kit that will help them craft content that aligns with your business’s established voice.

SEAMLESS, STRESS-FREE COMMUNICATIONS ROLL-OUT

Launching a new campaign, unveiling a corporate rebrand or announcing an exciting business development, though thrilling, comes with its fair share of stress. Making sure that the announcement goes live across all channels simultaneously can be a shockingly large headache, and even with brand guidelines available, it can still be difficult to ensure consistency across all channels – especially if social media is involved, and even more so if you’re responding to your audience or media in real time.

But with a concrete content strategy surrounding whatever your big news may be – from the initial communication to community management – you can rest easy knowing that the development won’t be overshadowed by frustrated members of your audience complaining about not having all the information on every social media channel or by a content misstep that goes viral.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Even if becoming a thought leader isn’t on your list of career goals, it’s undeniable that media exposure can be beneficial for both your business and your personal brand. An influential aspect of a truly 360-degree content strategy – and one that may not be a typical suggestion from an in-house department – is positioning senior team members as industry experts through thought leadership pieces, op-eds and broadcast or radio interviews.

By sharing your perspective and business insights in a clear, precise manner, you can not only make a splash in the business community, but may become an expert that journalists look to when they need a quote, which in turn can make your business top-of-mind for people of all stripes.

These benefits are just a few of the ways a dynamic content strategy can impact your business. If you are looking to invest in this type of communications plan or want a bit more information, feel free to reach out to us – we’re always happy to chat about crafting content!

Need help crafting an effective content strategy? Drop us a line at [email protected].

How Brands Can Stand Out With Content Personalisation

With attention becoming one the most valued commodities in digital marketing, content personalisation is key to making heads turn. While the term ‘personalisation’ has become a buzzword among marketers, there is research that shows users love it. According to a report by Adobe, the demand for personalised content is higher than ever before – 67% of respondents said they think it’s important to view content that is automatically adjusted to match their preferences – and a study by Demand Metrics found that personalised content is actually 80% more effective than ‘un-personalised’ content.

But what is content personalisation, really?

Generally speaking, it’s a content marketing strategy that leverages data insights and aims to deliver relevant content based on the preferences and interests of readers and viewers. It’s essentially compelling storytelling that is targeted to its audience.

How does content personalisation work?

This personalised approach isn’t entirely new. In fact, the roots of personalisation don’t stem from data, but rather from the re-emergence of the ‘bespoke experience’. Like an old-fashioned tailor who only created custom clothing for clients, offering a bespoke experience makes a user feel as if they have something special, rare, and made specifically for them. In fact, according to recent Epsilon research, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a business that offers a personalised experience.

In this digital age, personalised content is often a merger between creative idea and data analysis. But adding a personal touch for readers is more than just a newsletter that knows your name, and it ranges from Amazon and YouTube suggesting relevant products and videos to breweries offering personalised craft beer.

With emerging technologies transforming digital marketing, both AI (artificial intelligence) and VR (virtual reality) are leading to new ways of creating and viewing content. There are plenty of opportunities for personalised and gamified content, such as for learning services. With the immersing ability to transport people into another reality, VR will continue to impact the way brands tell stories. However, understanding the audience’s content consumption habits will remain crucial to make personalisation a success.

How to incorporate content personalisation

However, surely not every brand has the possibility to leverage VR technology to create personalised stories and products. While understanding the needs of consumers and collecting the right signals (aka data) is crucial to crafting a personalised approach, a brilliant creative idea can do wonders. One such example is Trouble Brewing in Singapore, a newly launched brand that crafts unique experiences for businesses and events.

While personalisation sounds like a straightforward approach to making customers happy, there are challenges, including not having enough data to customise content or not gaining any insights. Here is a set of questions that will help you to get started with launching personalisation:

  • Are you collecting any data?
  • Are you able to gain insights about user habits?
  • What do you know about your audience?
  • What are they interested in?
  • What do you want to achieve with personalised content?
  • How does your approach support your business goals?
  • What do you want to personalise? (Products, services, stories, marketing, etc.)
  • Is your personalisation scalable?

A prominent example of how to successfully and creatively personalise a product that generates content is Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign, which originated in Australia in 2011. For instance, to increase consumption and get Australians talking about Coke again, the soft drink brand printed 150 of the country’s most popular names on its cans and bottles. By doing this, they increased sales by 7% among young adults and hit over 18 million media impressions; additionally, they also generated a huge wave of brand enthusiasm. Due to the campaign’s success, Coca Cola has adopted it across other markets.

Another, more sophisticated example is Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’ playlists are based entirely on data collection, analytics and automation. Similar to Amazon’s product recommendations, the Swedish streaming service aimed to increase content consumption, turning the volume up for its users. Based on individual listening habits, an algorithm curates a series of personalised playlists each week. The result is a mix of songs that will match a person’s taste profile with previously unplayed songs. By offering this, Spotify managed to not only increase the time spent on the platform, but the personalised playlists are also a value-add service, even for non-premium Spotify members.

content personalisation

Here are some more ideas for personalised content:

  • Recommending products based on browsing behaviour
  • Personalising search results
  • Geo-location targeting (personalised directions)
  • Personalising emails based on interest
  • Suggesting complimentary services and products
  • Upselling related, relevant product or service of purchase
  • Reminding (retargeting) potential customers about viewed products or abandoned carts
  • Offering personalised style guides (for ecommerce)
  • Personalising offers for returning visitors based on their interests

To deliver personalised messages to individuals at scale, brands need to combine relevant data insights with a creative approach – it’s their synergies that can enable brands to generate a strong performance. While data helps to identify the right audience and their behaviour across devices and channels, a creative idea can lead to a personalised experience that’s enforced with every brand interaction over time. It’s this approach that will help marketers tailor the brand experience and speak directly to its customers.

Especially in today’s ever-shifting marketing landscape, efficient and effective marketing strategies are crucial. Considering that personalisation, such as product recommendations, can generate 68% more revenue for ecommerce platforms, this type of targeted content will continue to be a strategic pillar in the content marketing strategies of leading brands and offer growth opportunities for smaller companies.

Want to create personalised experiences and stories for your audience? Reach out to [email protected].

My company is profitable! Do I still need marketing?

According to a recent report, the success of SMEs is essentially like flipping a coin – there’s an estimated survival rate of 50%. This means that establishing a strong and profitable core business is more crucial than ever before.

Since survival is a major focus for SMEs, investment in other aspects that may not seem to have immediate trackable results on business performance are often highly scrutinised. But even when SMEs manage to survive and find their stride, becoming profitable without the help of marketing, content, public relations or social media, many decide to continue without these things. Why would they need them even if they are profitable? Let’s dive right in.

Marketing

With the view that only large, multinational organisations have dedicated marketing teams, many SMEs outright dismiss the idea of hiring dedicated marketing staff. If SMEs do have a staff member focused on marketing, the scope of that role is usually tied up with additional tasks, such as business development.

Without the attention and focus of a true marketing professional, marketing initiatives usually end up in the form of more traditional activities, such as developing collaterals or organising events, which often do not drive easily trackable business results. A dedicated marketer will be able to identify broader business issues and create solutions to fix them, whether that be an online lead generation, sales team support or employer brand management to help bring in the best talent.

Content

Content is on the radar for many organisations, but often only in the form of a few commissioned articles for the company website. The truth is that content has many more practical uses for a business than most business owners realise. Content can be presented in many ways – think text, infographics and videos – and have the ability to engage potential customers across a wide array of platforms, ranging from the company’s website to social media channels to content-led PR campaigns.  

A singular piece of content, such as a research report, can be reworked into different pieces of satellite content, including infographics, toolkits and short, digestible videos that can be shared on different channels. Lead generation, client relationship management and sales support are all business-focused goals that can leverage content to deliver measurable results.

PR

Crisis management and spin-doctoring are often the first things that come to mind when thinking of public relations, but these functions are usually back of mind when it comes to successful businesses who are focused on growth.

Public relations can do much more than just clean up sticky situations. Good PR will play a key role in stakeholder management, putting the business in the midst of relevant discussions happening in the industry and the media, and positioning key people in the company as thought leaders. Strong PR can boost the visibility and credibility of the business and open new doors for the company in the process.

Social media

If you think that social media is simply a Facebook page for consumer brands to deal with angry posts, think again. Social media can act as a multi-platform ecosystem that can be used to engage with different types of audiences. By using specific targeting, businesses can reach new and relevant customers from literally all around the world.

From customer support and sales to employer branding and community management, every employee can learn to use social media in a way that influences the business, no matter if it’s a B2C and B2B operation. It’s important to establish goals and outline clear roles that each social media platform will play for the business, though; only then can a business truly start to see the benefits of a social media strategy.

Do you want to find out more about what marketing, content, PR and social media can do for your business? Drop us a line at [email protected]

5 PR lessons from brands that did (and didn’t) take a stance in 2017

Perhaps it was the political and social uproar of 2016 that prompted major brands to take a stance on certain issues this year. On the other hand, 2017 also saw big companies stumble by not taking a stance. Looking back at the last year, we picked out a few PR disasters, wins and the lessons they offered to all of us.

1. An UBER year to forget

2017 hasn’t been a great PR year for UBER, to say the least! In February, #DeleteUBER rose to the top of the news as UBER’s CEO Travis Kalanick appeared to be supporting US President Trump’s Muslim travel ban by turning off surge pricing to New York’s JFK airport amidst a taxi driver protest. In November, the tech company came under fire once again, trying to cover up a massive hack and security breach that exposed the data of 57 million users and drivers.

The Lesson: Don’t wait until it’s too late

Usually, when a company of UBER’s size messes up, they genuinely apologise and pledge to do better next time. What they shouldn’t do is to pretend it never happened or ignore the growing crisis entirely. As UBER loves referring to themselves as a tech company, they should have used ‘tech’ tools, such as predicting social sentiments, to measure the looming crisis and react faster and more appropriately.

2. United Airlines clashes with passengers

In April, a stomach-turning incident involving United Airlines made headlines around the world, as a passenger was dragged off the plane to make room for airline staff. The company’s PR team was just as unprepared as the airline staff, as the company got tangled up in insincere statements and claims  that the plane was overbooked.

The delayed and half-hearted response from Oscar Munoz, CEO of United, went immediately viral, as consumers were up in arms over the insincere apology and lack of remorse. United failed to show empathy with its paying customers and came across as uncaring and brutal. Making things worse, it wasn’t the only incident of its kind for United in 2017.

The Lesson: Consumers value transparency

Don’t ever ignore problems, as consumers want your company to be honest. The United Airlines incident underlines the need for crisis comms training, strategy and planning. When your brand makes a mistake, you need to own up to it and publicly apologise.  Remember that the longer your brand remains silent, the more guilty you appear. Tackle PR issues head-on and you will build trust and credibility with your customers.

3. Always, #LikeAGirl

Although Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign launched a few years ago, 2017 saw their most powerful video yet, focusing on the idea of ‘failure’ and how it can be used to fuel motivation and passion for success. Changing the theme every year, the 2017 campaign set out with a positive approach to female empowerment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_MhsbRiFyI

The Lesson: Promote what you stand for

The brand, Always, is leading the way when it comes to promoting gender equality within our society, and this is clearly  reflected in their campaigns. Always is not only a market leader for feminine products, their campaign’s theme also matches the ethos of their brand image. Raising brand awareness and a strong identity does not always need to solely be about products.

4. The revolutionary Pepsi

If the Kardashians weren’t already laughing material, Kendall Jenner’s involvement in Pepsi’s ‘Live for Now’ campaign surely manifested their value to all of us. Being featured in the Pepsi commercial, Kendall Jenner appears to walk away from a photoshoot to join a passing demonstration in the street. The reason for the demonstration isn’t entirely clear. As the group approaches the police blocking the street, Kendall Jenner seemingly solves the issue by handing a policeman a Pepsi, resulting in the crowd’s euphoric frenzy. Nothing about the campaign resonates – or makes sense.

Pepsi put their product in the centre of social issues while simultaneously trivialising real world issues. Needless to say, this did not go down well with the public. Taking a stand without actually taking one can do more harm than good. Pepsi received backlash for featuring signs stating ‘peace’ and ‘join the conversation’, though they failed to do just that themselves!

A Tweet by Bernice King, Martin Luther King’s daughter, responded in the best possible way:

The Lesson: Don’t trivialise real issues

While most of us are proud to have to right to protest and voice our opinions, there are still many people around the world who have to fight for this basic right. Trivialising real problems and pretending a consumer product can solve (unnamed) conflicts is taking it a step too far. Leaving the post-truth world of 2016 behind us, 2017’s public wants to support companies whose beliefs they can align with.

It’s hard to know who is to blame for Pepsi’s ‘Live for now’ campaign, as everyone involved should have realised this was a major faux-pas waiting to happen. Having had an impartial, outsiders’ viewpoint  could have put a stop to this campaign that was produced in-house. An external agency would have been more sensitive with their execution. Crowd pleasers simply aren’t enough, and more often than not – they can do more harm than good.

5. Heineken taking Worlds Apart

In the wake of the Pepsi campaign flop, Heineken released a video called ‘Worlds Apart: An Experiment #OpenYourWorld’, leveraging the rollercoaster of navigating modern social and political stances with a genuine approach.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wYXw4K0A3g&has_verified=1

The video experiment brought together individuals with opposing views on transgender rights, climate change and feminism. Unaware of each other’s views, they were tasked to build a bar, and after its completion, were shown a video of the other person talking about their views. They were then given a choice: to walk away or discuss their difference over a beer.

The Lesson: Be daring but sincere

The campaign was genuine, using real people taking on real issues. Framing it as an experiment rather than an ad, the campaign offered real value to viewers. Unlike Pepsi, it didn’t pretend to solve (unnamed) issues, Heineken emphasised their strength of bringing people together. Heineken achieved what Pepsi set out to do by being sincere, honest and daring. Bottoms up to Heineken!

Want to discuss a PR campaign for 2018, or want to explore some sweet marketing ideas for your brand? Drop us an email to [email protected]

 

9 Things we learned at the Asia Global Content Forum 2017

“What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” What was true for Ogilvy in the 1960s is still relevant today.

Content creators from various industries, including Mutant’s content team, gathered at the Asia Global Content Forum 2017 in Singapore to discuss the challenges in the creation and deployment of content across markets in the region.

Here are a few insights we gleaned during the forum:

1. SEO is still relevant

Although marketers have started to shift their attention from keyword to producing quality content, search engine optimisation is still crucial for content to reach the right audience. Remember that in a world where the destination is everything, we need to know how to get there. Search is a brand’s signpost.

All marketers understand (or should understand) how ‘search’ works and why certain pages rank higher for a particular keyword than others. If keyword stuffing is still your modus operandi, then you need to read more about how content and SEO can work together. 

SEO is still relevant, but it shouldn’t be your main focus. Rather, it should be one part of your content marketing strategy. Marketers can get hung up the ROI gained by SEO, but it’s the wrong question to ask. Focus instead on overall quality content and then how to get it in front of people.

2. Interactive Marketing from Stranger Things

The wildly popular Netflix series Stranger Things might seem at first glance just a sci-fi-inspired show for teens. But the series’ dark, perplexing world has captivated millions of viewers from around the globe  (not least thanks to a healthy dollop of 1980s nostalgia for the adults). The TV drama shows the unknown, and the emotions unleashed by it, appeal to audiences the world over.  

Netflix has taken advantage of this fascination and made their promotions for season 2 interactive with a free mobile game, including trailers and short preview clips. What do we learn from an old-fashioned 2D game about a strange world? We want to be part of it.

Bringing Stranger Things into daily life, Netflix also partnered with Lyft, making car rides strangely entertaining – including a vomited slug, which is something that not many brands would dare try. The promo resulted in increased Lyft requests and a spike in social media mentions.

3. Don’t neglect the notion of play

When it comes to the concept of play it’s hard to not think of LEGO. The brand has been at the forefront of playful marketing for decades. While LEGO is traditionally a toy for kids, the company has managed to get the attention of their parents (and other adults, too), by enabling them to experience and relive the playfulness of their youth.

One such example is the LEGO Kronkiwongi Project. LEOG asked children around the world to build a ‘Kronkiwongi’, not giving any instructions but letting the imagination of kids running wild. The creations were shared with parents on Facebook, resulting in thousands of further submissions and a significant uplift in brand connection to imagination and creativity.

Other reasons why LEGO is a content hero:

  • They engage adults with movies
  • They capitalise on the success of other brands (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Batman, …)
  • LEGO tells universal stories of good against evil that resonate in every  language
4.  Authenticity is key

With more than 2 million blog posts written daily and more than 1 million photos posted on Facebook every 60 seconds, it’s becoming harder and harder to get your message across. According to HubSpot, 65% of companies state that generating leads and traffic is their top marketing challenge.

Having an authentic message is crucial to catching people’s attention. But it is not all. Marketers also need to find the right channel to amplify their message. So, tailor your brand’s message for each of your marketing channels.

5. Convey value early

When Facebook decided to play videos in the newsfeed automatically, marketers saw a huge opportunity. What seemed like a mere convenience to users is a game-changer for brands. Conveying value early in videos has become crucial for companies to increase their awareness and message association.

Remember that users have an increasingly shorter attention span. So, when creating content, make sure you come straight to the point. No matter the what market in which you operate, offering readers and viewers value is increasingly important. Read more about brand video content.

6. Never be stagnant

Best practices (for writing, SEO, email marketing and more) are great. But if everyone is following best practice then no one is doing anything different. Benchmark other brands’ methods to get a better understanding of what works, but don’t copy them step by step. If you want to succeed – be creative and unique. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

7. Curate to tell a story

User-generated content can be an amazing addition to your marketing efforts. Social media makes it fairly easy for marketers to run campaigns that incentivise audiences to create content for you.

But don’t forget about storytelling. In order to tell your brand’s story, you need to curate user-generated content or risk your brand message becoming a jumble.

8. Localisation is the way to go

It might be obvious to some people, but what works in Australia does not work in Singapore – and vice versa. Each market deserves its own ideas. If you as a marketer can’t operate at market level, you are wasting your money. Spend your effort on interrogating people locally to get a feel for the pulse and speed of things.

While algorithms for natural language translation are becoming more prevalent, they aren’t at the point where niche terminology and industry terms are accurately translated and localised.

9. Market expansion with content

When rolling into a new market content is key. But it’s also a major issue for many companies. Having a well-running content platform in one market and wanting to launch it in a new market is not as easy as it seems.

Want to know where to begin? Read more about how to get your brand heard in a new market.

Need help with developing creative content – drop us a message at [email protected]

How to jump-start social media when no one knows your company

It’s easy to make noise when you are the head of state. Both Lee Hsien Loong and Donald Trump are two (good and bad) examples of how to engage millions of people.

                                                                   

While the impact of social media is undeniable, not every business enjoys the reach of someone in the limelight. Though it’s hard to make noise when no one knows about your company, inaction is infinitely worse.

Before you jump the gun, you have to make a commitment to regularly update your business’ social media accounts. Ideally, appoint someone to be your social media manager, as it’s something you have to consistently work at to see benefits – ranging from direct communication with your customers to reaching people that never heard of your business.

Here’s how to get started:

Where is your audience?


With an array of social media platforms out there, you don’t need to be everywhere. To get your social media presence kickstarted, you’ll need to know where your audience is. If you are a B2B company, you are more likely to start conversations on Twitter or LinkedIn, while an e-commerce can better engage with users on Instagram and Facebook.

If you are unsure about what you should do on your social media channels, check out these do’s and don’ts of social media. This is where you’ll learn about how to reach your target audience and the tangible results you’ll be able to reap from it.

What are your goals?

                                                             

Bear in mind that you’re just starting out – so don’t be unrealistic with your goals. For newcomers like you, it’s recommended that you focus on consistency and growth to really make your social media game work.

For consistency, work on:
– Lock in a set number of days to plan posts and work on your social media presence. A good start will be 3-4 days a week.
– Create new content at least once a week to beef up your content library. This can be a new set of photos, a blog post or a video about your business.

For growth, work on:
Setting a goal for how many followers you want to gain by a certain date. Every business grows differently, so plan accordingly. Having a number to work towards will make things clearer.

If you want to start with a bang, you should consider working with social media influencer – Increasing engagement for your posts. Instead of asking your family and friends to share your posts to get the algorithm working, you might want to do a giveaway to start getting shares and traction.

What’s in your content library?


Gather all of your content into one folder that your team can access. This will be your content pool where you’ll go to find images, old news clippings, videos or anything relating to your business. If you make it a habit to populate this folder, your planning will be easier in the future. A good way to start your content pool is using your website’s content. You can always repurpose and use it for social content. While doing this, you’ll also probably start to visualise what sort of content you’ll want up on your social media channels.

Other content ideas:

  • New product updates to keep people interested
  • Introduce new team members to make your brand more human
  • Insights from conferences to show you are a thought leader
  • Behind the scenes snapshots for a positive image
  • Giveaways and contests to expand your reach
  • Photo albums for the user’s visual pleasure

Which brings us to the next point…

Have you created a social media calendar?

It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated. All you need is a handy excel sheet that keeps track of the content that you’re planning to post, or have already posted. This will also come in handy when you’re brainstorming for new social media ideas. It also makes it easier for everyone to share ideas. A well-kept calendar will also help you to plan your social media campaigns more efficiently.

What conversation are you joining?

Now that you’re sorted, it’s time to be part of all that social media chatter. Have a look at what’s trending by gathering some data and see where your brand can be part of the conversation. Controversial topics aren’t a strict no-no and may sometimes help your brand to stand out. But make sure that your company has actually something to offer or say about the topic. You have to remember that the social media world can be harsh and controversial topics can easily backfire. But in the end – it’s still up to you to decide if it will work for your organisation or not.

Need help with managing your social media campaigns? Drop us a message at [email protected].

 

How to manage your marketing projects more efficiently

Doing more with less is what every marketing manager hopes for but efficiency is easier said than done. Smaller companies might even feel they are too niche to be doing anything at all.

If you are exhausted from handling too many marketing tasks (or the mere thought of it), then it’s time to change things up. Here are four suggestions that will help you become more efficient in managing your marketing:

Stop micromanaging

Managers love managing – there is no doubt about it. In marketing that’s no different. When coordinating multiple campaigns at different stages, it might seem counter-intuitive to take your hands off everything. However, you have to remember that you have hired talented people to do the job.

Micromanaging is a bad habit which, more often than not, will actually slow down progress, screwing your own deadlines in the process. You don’t need to take the lead on every single task. Learning how to delegate work will not only help you stay sane, but gives you the time and space to see the bigger picture – which is actually your task. Remember that you are a marketing manager – not a graphic designer nor a copywriter.

If you trust in your hiring choices, then your teams don’t need micromanaging. They need to be empowered with information and space to manage themselves. This is true for in-house marketing departments as well as agencies that support your efforts.

Get help if you are understaffed

You know what to do, but you simply don’t have the resources to execute it yourself – so don’t even try. Smaller companies often try to manage all their marketing efforts in-house, sometimes relying on one person to ‘do it all’. Other companies operating in niches often disregard marketing altogether.

Hiring a marketing generalist to take care of newsletters, social media, blogs, and events will eventually cost just as much as using external partners. But it won’t get you the same outcome.

Marketing is results-driven, but tracking content and performance across multiple channel and platforms can become tedious. Use the resources of external partners to combine your marketing reporting and tracking in one platform. Don’t get me wrong – you still have to define your marketing goals. But working with agencies to plan, execute, and track marketing campaigns will make your work a lot easier.

Don’t chase every marketing trend

The world of marketing is fast-paced, ever-changing, and vast – touching everything from social media and content to PR and web design. Staying up-to-speed is your job, but not every trend will add value to your business. Just because Snapchat is hot, you don’t have to create daily snaps.

Being an expert in every marketing-related field is near-impossible. Specialised agencies can help you to fill your knowledge and resource gaps. If social media is your weakness, then hire an agency that specialises in it.

You need to understand what works for your brand and what doesn’t. Of course, it’s important to be informed about trends, but you shouldn’t let your goals out of sight. If the majority of your leads come via your website, you should focus on  your blog instead of Snapchat.

Reconnect marketing & sales

Especially in larger companies, it isn’t uncommon to encounter a disconnect between marketing and sales. While both are separate departments and work independently, they actually should work directly together – after all, they are chasing the same goals.

Establish a process that helps to connect these two departments. Create effective communication channels, set up regular meetings, and catch-ups. Being clear about objectives and how to achieve them together will help to connect these departments more closely. In the long run, it will simplify your work.

Bottom Line
  • Make the right hires, so you can delegate tasks and empower others
  • Get help to plan, execute, and track your marketing
  • You are never too niche to do marketing
  • Focus on what is bringing results – not trends
  • Create synergies across departments to achieve your goals

 

Need help with managing your marketing efforts? Get in touch with us at [email protected]

 

3 things to note about influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is shaping up to be one of the most effective ways for businesses to get their message and products across. Scrolling through your Instagram feed, you see beautiful models wearing boutique swimwear in the Maldives, fitness junkies posing in new athletic gear or beauty gurus praising a new cosmetic product in a 20-second video. The likes and followers of these influencers are compelling enough for many companies to invest heavily. On the surface, influencer marketing may seem like a no-brainer, but we often see brands falling into common traps, doing more harm than good. Influencer marketing done right needs more than a pretty face with a decent following.

At the end of the day, influencer marketing is about your audience and your strategy to engage the right influencer. Before diving into sending out lots of DMs, there are some key things you should understand.

1. Is your brand the right fit?

Knowing your brand and field is the starting point for good influencer marketing. Although you can find influencers in almost every category, influencer marketing might not be a right fit for your brand. Take juice brand Marigold and influencer Naomi Neo’s fiasco last year, for example. The campaign fell apart, and criticism, mocking and parodies rolled in. Real influence comes from authenticity, but her caption stating she’s “always carrying around a carton of my favorite MARIGOLD PEEL FRESH juice” does not sound authentic at all. Naomi is a popular influencer in the lifestyle space with over 369k followers, but an influencer known for their healthy lifestyle, fitness or juicing recipes would have been a better fit for Marigold.

Although the beautiful brunette can sell swimwear and dresses, she might not be a good fit business. Depending on what category your business is in, you need to find the right influencers that can authentically represent your product.

When you get it wrong, the audiences may not be as receptive to the product. Hopping on the bandwagon with the assumption that influencer marketing is a sure way to achieve your goals can easily catch you out. It might even backfire and give you a negative reputation. Take a step back to consider who you are and what your brand stands for.

2. Numbers are not the be-all and end-all

It can be tempting to go with those influencers that have the largest following. However, don’t be seduced by the big numbers. Get over the obsession with followers – it’s a terrible representation of an influencer’s actual reach. Instead of mere follower size, you should also be looking at engagement rate and follower quality. Even users with a few hundred followers receive a couple of comments, so someone with hundreds of thousands of followers should also have a proportionate amount of comments. If this isn’t the case, it’s a sign the followers may be bought or are not engaged. Either way, it’s not beneficial for your brand.

To avoid the follower quality trap, scan the influencer’s followers to see if they are genuine. Look for inactive accounts with few posts or a vastly disproportionate amount of followers and accounts they follow. Be wary of comments like “love it!”, “super cool”, “Amazing :D” paired with random emojis that don’t seem aligned with the post. These are most likely bots that comment on behalf of accounts. Don’t be misled by such bot responses – genuine comments mean genuine followers.

3. Allow artistic freedom

Remember that influencer’s authenticity is key, so don’t treat them like a mercenary soldier if you want your campaign to really flourish. Avoid giving them strict criteria, providing a script or overseeing every single tiny detail. The influencers will know their audience better than you do, so let them inject their own unique voice and perspective into the project. Don’t be that brand that gets exposed when influencers simply copy and paste, forgetting to remove the instructions.

What you want instead, is to achieve a balance between micromanaging and giving complete artistic freedom. You want to ensure that the overall brand message is still relevant and aligned with your objectives while leaving room for the influencer’s creativity. Let them have the freedom to speak in their own voice that feels natural to their audience. Using an influencer to market your product should not indicate a lesser process strategy. The truth is that simply paying an influencer will not help you meet your business needs. The content creation process involving influencers can be a bit more complicated than typical campaigns. Prepare to put in the legwork to truly make an impact.

The key to effective and successful influencer marketing lies in building quality relationships with your audience. Choose influencers who resonate well with your brand image. Zero in on people aligned with your brand’s core values and stories. A great strategy involves a mix of influencers with both large and small followings.

 

Need help involving influencers for your brand? Drop us a note at [email protected]

Gen Z: Marketing to digital natives

While everyone is focused on getting the attention of millennials, the next generation (Z) is already having an impact on the media and PR industry. But who is this Generation Z and what sets them apart? Their behaviour online and the way they consume content will be a crucial indicator for what direction the PR and media world is moving towards. Here is how they are already changing the game.

Internet & social media generation

Generation Z could easily be renamed the internet & social media generation, as they not only grow up with the internet as their primary form of communication, but they are also the first generation to use social media and the internet from a very early age onwards. In 2015, 77% of 12–17- year-olds owned a mobile phone, which is reflected in the estimated 150,000 educational apps, 10% of Apple’s App Store, aimed at them. Generation Z isn’t just media-savvy, but ‘being online’ is a given for the generation of ‘digital natives’. This means that PR folks and marketers don’t just need to stay up-to-date with the latest digital and social media trends, they need to be ahead of the curve.

No more Facebook?

Talking to people who were born at the turn of the century, you will be surprised that, although they have a Facebook account, their chosen social media channels are in fact Instagram and Snapchat. While the Facebook feed still works to amplify articles and news from websites and brands, the content form must adapt to new social media platforms. To be sure, brands and media platforms are already experimenting with Snapchat and Instagram. Airbnb, for example, used an inspirational travel video series for their Instagram Stories to create awareness and buzz for the launch of Experiences on Airbnb.

 

However, given that both platforms display content only for a limited amount of time, PR and media must adapt to craft and develop impactful content to capture the attention of these younglings.

Skipping Ads

Inundated with content, this generation has done particularly well to filter out ads and sponsored content. Simply put, they won’t react to an ad, unless it benefits them and adds value to their lives. Marketers and PR folks need to be smarter with Generation Z, but shouldn’t try to outsmart them. Advertising and sponsored posts need to camouflage themselves into something that this generation wants to see.

Struggling traditional media

This lot has little regard for traditional media and are more likely to be consuming content on social media, blogs and YouTube. Showcasing your content natively on social media and working with trusted influencers can help to make inroads with Gen Z.

Long term investment

Despite skipping ads and filtering content that doesn’t interest them, Generation Z tends to be more loyal than the generation that came before them. As Gen Z consumers stay loyal to the brands they shop at and are more likely to stick with them throughout their lives, it’s still worth making the investment as a brand.

Although the content they consume tends to be very short-lived, the investment of brands and PR agencies will be long-term. This is good news for everyone, as customer acquisition is becoming more important and might have longevity – despite constantly changing consumer behaviours.

 

Like what you’ve read? Drop a note at [email protected] to talk about how to make your brand ready for the next generation. 

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Google and Facebook are changing the game for PR

It’s hard to imagine doing PR in a world without Google and Facebook. Headlines have to be snappy and featured photos must be ‘thumb-stop worthy’, while the copy needs strategically chosen keywords to rank higher on search. Most importantly, editors are always looking for a new tech PR story to keep their sites timely with engaging content.

Here’s a quick overview of how PR is changing in 2017 – the year Google and Facebook took 20% of global ad revenues:

Competitiveness among publications

The only constant in the world of news has always been change, as websites and magazines are battling for the reader’s attention. Traditional hard news is in decline, while soft news pulls people in with bite-sized content, punchy headlines and provocative images. The difference in 2017 is the algorithm, which now cares about how much time readers spend on a page. The more and the longer readers stay, the higher the page will get ranked on search. As a result, publishers are now looking for meatier content that is still highly engaging.

The upside is that good content is being rewarded more. The downside is that there will be even more content for the reader and the media space becomes even more competitive. We need to create even more and better content, as otherwise, editors will shoot it down faster than a North Korean missile is trying to fly across the Pacific.

PR measurement

For many years now, PR has been moving from a nebulous, immeasurable territory to something that needs to be justified to the management. Gone are the days of archaic metrics like AVE (advertising value equivalent). As publications and journalists are now sharing their stories across traceable social media channels, campaign measurement is no longer estimated by just pickups. Everything can be measured in comments, shares and likes.

Crisis prevention

A scandal or a spokesperson’s misjudgement can spread like wildfire. Just remember how Kellyanne Conway’s ‘alternative facts’ created an outcry around the world. The real-time nature of social media makes a capable PR team a necessity. The only thing better than a curing the crisis is prevention. A brand’s sentiment is subject to many factors outside their business, but good PR is still key to maintaining timely, appropriate and on-brand responses.

The speed of the news

Facebook’s feed is real-time and Google updates take mere seconds. If something catches fire, the whole forest burns. The difference now is that search and social will quickly blow a trending topic. The recent WannaCrypt incidence, for example, was instantly trending, generating four million search results in a few days. Once a topic is hot, everybody wants a piece of it. Jumping into the media cycle, there’s a higher chance content will be searched for and appear in Google’s Trending Topics sections or will trend on Facebook. As news outlets want to break more hot stories, brands have a chance to create tremendous traction.

Following up to maintain engagement, building towards the next campaign and measuring the results are always key. But given the trend towards shorter, softer and more timely stories, PR needs to change with the way the news move. It’s no longer about getting into a mainstream newspaper and giving yourself a pat on the back.

Need help with your PR campaign? Drop us a message at [email protected]

How to Millennial-Proof your Content Marketing

Millennials are often described as confident, liberal, lazy and even indecisive. But, now more than ever, this generation of 18-34-year-olds is recognised for their spending power, which is predicted to reach about $1.4 trillion annually in 2020. No surprise then that every brand wants to catch this generation. But getting and holding their attention is no small feat – especially when it comes to online behaviour. Millennials react differently to trigger points because of the overwhelming presence of technology in their lives (think Snapchat and Instagram). It also makes them the most informed generation!

Effective content marketing starts with a great storyline, so in order to connect with this generation, you need to find a story to tell. So how does one intrigue this bunch and hold their attention?

Here are five tactics that can help with your Millennial content marketing:

Don’t curate, create original content

Creating original content gives your brand unique value online. Initiate the conversation! Original content, in the form of an e-book, infographics or blogs, also works exceedingly well as a lead gen tool, especially to drive traffic to your landing page. Better still – Google loves original content especially if it’s useful and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly!

Optimise content for social

Social is the new SEO, driving the most significant traffic back to brands. Invest a chunk of your marketing budget in optimising content for social platforms. Short captioned videos need to grab their attention in the first ten seconds. Make sure you keep it crisp, as Millennials don’t wait around to watch long and boring videos!

Lean on data

Using data to analyse the performance of your content can give you an insight into what kind of content potentially turns readers into customers. Use tools like Google Adwords keyword planner to help find relevant keyword phrases that people search for. It will help you to come up with exciting and relevant blog ideas. Similarly, use Google Analytics to track and measure whether your content resonated with your audience and how it performed.

Stick to authenticity

Millennials can spot an ad from a million miles away. So keep your communications, advertisements, and content as authentic as possible. Share real, actionable tips, be transparent in sharing and keep adjectives to a minimum. Most importantly, know your authentic voice and use it effectively to connect. Don’t just market to them.

Make it Insta-worthy

Each piece of content should be designed with Millennials in mind. Feature items that are instantly shareable – both in real life and online. Do also partner with key social media influencers (who breed authenticity) to help spread your story. Brands should prioritise influencer campaigns when marketing to Millennials. They relate to the authenticity of influencer content and prefer the no frills, real, up close and personal nature of the medium the influencers use. When creating content for Millennials, keep in mind what they value as well as where and how they consume content.

Like what you’ve read? Drop a note at [email protected] for a customised content marketing plan for your brand!