Tags: economy, financial year, marketing, PR
The weather may not herald the start of Spring, but with Easter behind us and the start of the new financial year now is the time for new beginnings and to review your current operations.
With 2013/14 in its infancy, there is never a better time to confirm that your business is on track or see whether the course needs to be realigned. The vast majority of people that I talk to agree that the last few years have seen difficult trading conditions. But, although tentative (and at times contradictory) there does seem to be the occasional drip of positive economic news coming through, that should at least bring forth a little bit of optimism. The companies that will ride the wave of the economic upturn are those that are prepared and ready to accelerate their marketing and promotions when the conditions allow.
So, Spring is about new beginnings, and now is the best time to dust off your marketing plan to make sure it’s still fit for purpose and ready to carry you through as trading conditions improve – or alternatively ask Quantum to give an expert appraisal of your plans.
Tags: creative content, garden, journalists, marketing, Valentine's Day
After several years’ managing retail PR and marketing campaigns, I guess my approach to hearts, flowers and all things cupid could be a little jaded. It’s the same at Christmas, Easter, Mothers’ Day … finding the right elf for the job is fun the first, second and third time around, but do it year in, year out and elves become somewhat annoying.
But this year, a cheap as chips, just for fun Valentine’s PR promotion has helped one of our clients to win their first industry award, engage with key media and highlight brand awareness amongst trade influencers, proving that, with a creative approach, Valentine’s Day is still very much a marketing opportunity.
The key has to be in developing creative content that talks to your audience – and gets them talking back to you. Simply issuing a survey-style press release listing the top ten romantic films, as one company did, doesn’t cut it. It’s not newsworthy and it’s been done many times before.
As PR and marketing professionals it’s up to us to come up with something that works across today’s multi-platform media. Similarly, it’s essential that we deliver real client ROI.
So, what exactly did we do to win the Garden Media Event’s Valentine’s Day award yesterday? Quite simply, we developed a Valentine’s messaging service for exhibition attendees. If, by chance, they arrived at the event only to realise that they’d forgotten to send a love note to their nearest and dearest – then we’d do it for them, with the added bonus of sending a special gift too.
The objectives of this mini campaign were many:
- We didn’t want to overshadow our main objective of promoting our new greenhouse
- We didn’t want a schmaltzy hearts and flowers display
- We wanted an effective ice breaker
- We wanted a reason to email journalists again, so providing a further chance to see our brand
For us, the success rate wasn’t in the number of messages sent – it was in the opportunity to engage with those walking past our stand. Our nicely designed poster, strategically positioned at the front of the stand, proved a great ice-breaker. And it wasn’t difficult to turn conversations to the product. That poster certainly hooked up to 50% of the passers-by to come on to the stand and discuss our offer. Of course, as with any face-to-face event, the success was driven by the enthusiasm of the people manning the stand. But that’s a blog for another day!
So exactly how much did this promotion cost? Two hours to develop the mechanism, another two hours for the poster design, £20 for the poster print and then a little to manage the messaging service and post.
And what did it deliver? Around 30 discussions with key gardening journalists – we’ll be monitoring the resulting cuttings, tone and future opportunities in the months to come and also linking these to key season sales. The award will also be featured in the trade media – and has been tweeted and promoted on Facebook.
In summary, Valentine’s Day does represent an opportunity, but only with a creative and engaging approach. Being creative doesn’t require a big budget, but it does need a couple of hours of freeform thinking time. You also need to have clear objectives to ensure that you stay focused.
In need of creative inspiration? Email me at Adrienne@quantumpr.co.uk and we’ll help you unlock your inner marketing muse!
Tags: apps, brands, marketing, small businesses, smartphones
A new report by Flurry states that more than 1.7 billion apps were downloaded in the week after Christmas. In the UK alone 132 million apps were downloaded in seven days, more than twice as many as Germany. The app world is massive, and growing – Flurry expects more than 52 billion apps to be downloaded in 2013.
The key question is what this phenomena means for business and how a small to medium sized business can really benefit from developing its own apps? There are already millions of useful apps that businesses can download – such as Bump which allows entrepreneurs to ditch traditional business cards in favour of virtual ones. Users can trade contact information, photos and files imply by ‘bumping’ two Smartphones together. But why would a business consider developing its own app as part of its marketing strategy?
Try these benefits for starters:
- Advertises your brand to new markets
- Builds and reinforces brand loyalty
- Increases visibility and accessibility
- Increases exposure across mobile devices, connecting you with on-the-go consumers
- Generates repeat business
- Enhances your social networking strategies
To achieve these great business benefits your app needs to have a great download-ability factor. Put simply, your app needs to provide the user with something that enhances their everyday activities – either through a service, an interest or even fun. These elements will establish your app on the download charts and ensure that consumers return to them once they’ve been downloaded.
At Quantum PR we’re currently developing an app based on business events and exhibitions. For visitors to a business exhibition apps provide the perfect channel to relay up to the minute information such as details on products available, speakers, competitions taking place or directions to different stands. Our app will enable a delegate to completely plan their visit to the exhibition, highlighting who and what to see where – smart business sense. And any business can now develop its own app to promote into its own marketplace and build its brand recognition.
So what do consumers expect from a business-led app?
- Easy access to your brand, products and services and the key benefits that it provides
- Notifications of special events, launches, and importantly offers
- One-touch access to your information
- Directions to your location
So is your business getting left behind?
The smartphone application market is growing massively, By combining great design with excellent functionality (and of course marketing!) apps have the potential to help you develop new markets for your products and services.
If you’re not yet convinced that apps are worth researching further – consider this: By 2014 there will be more than 2 billion smartphone users worldwide. So perhaps it’s time to look to get ahead, rather than get left behind.
Tags: best practice, business, marketing, Max Clifford, PR, Public relations, reputation, Starbucks, transparency
The news that PR people now outnumber journalists by 4 to 1 (compared to 1:2 in 1980) has been greeted with dismay by some commentators. Are we PRs offended by this? Well yes, as a matter of fact, we are a little.
For too long PR practitioners have been categorised alongside estate agents and politicians – not a pleasant place to be. And, ironically, the current situation has come about because the PR industry hasn’t got its own PR right.
Too many people still view PR as something a little murky, made up of well-connected people using their influence to hoodwink the public. Think of PR and a majority think of Max Clifford – undoubtedly an extremely skilled professional, but very unrepresentative of the industry. Twenty years ago PR was media relations – today, media work is one aspect of the job among many, and in many cases a less important discipline than some.
The rise of PR reflects a changing business environment. Counter to its reputation, PR is about promoting the truth and enhancing corporate reputations, rather than about deception and the so called ‘dark arts’. Transparency has come to the forefront in business and in a more discerning marketplace consumers are looking more closely at the DNA of an organisation before embracing it and sticking to it. As Starbucks has found out, a strong, global reputation can be quickly dented if the businesses practices are questionable.
Good PR needs to be focused on building up trust through best practice – and little by little the industry’s reputation should start to improve as the number of practitioners continues to increase.
Tags: articles, brands, carbon footprint, green, Honda, Johnson & Johnson, marketing, Olympics, press releases, recycling, strategic, Sustainability, Toyota
‘Sustainability is a journey, not a destination’ This quote is often used to make companies realise that being sustainable is not just about recycling paper but about continually developing how all aspects of their business are carried out from measuring their staff’s carbon footprint to sourcing more sustainable products to use.
We’re often asked to write articles, press releases and award entries about our clients ‘green credentials’. Sometimes this task can be simple with the company having all the right processes in place to capture how they’re being sustainable. One example of this is an infrastructure services company we represent who recycles more than seven million litres of water each year. With water being such a finite resource, this is something we can shout about. Sometimes clients are more uncertain about how they can promote their sustainability activity so instead of a press release, what about a conference? We recently held one with our recycling client inviting local authorities to share best practice knowledge and talk about ways of improving recycling performance.
As a PR company, our challenge is about getting your sustainability practices to mean something in the real world. If you’re doing something innovative to save the planet, don’t be afraid to use this to market your business. Let’s face it, all the big names are doing it. Interbrand has just released its second annual Best Global Green Brands report with Toyota at the top followed in second place by Johnson & Johnson and third going to Honda. This report shows that businesses around the world are taking actionable and quantifiable measures to improve both their sustainability performance and how they promote it.
Being on the sustainability journey is a long road but we think you can’t afford not to be thinking about it. Sustainability has proven to be a brand strengthening asset not to mention a strategic and profitable aspect of business. This year has seen the biggest push on sustainability that London has ever seen with the Olympic Games being the first event to be staged using public transport only for spectators and the first summer Games to send no waste to landfill. Now it’s your turn to get on the sustainability journey before you get left behind.
Tags: advertising, budgets, central governement, local government, marketing, public spending, recession
The government has announced it needs to make £650million efficiency savings from its marketing and management consultancy spend. We all know we’re in a financial mess, cuts need to be made and all who work in the public sector seem to be resigned to the inevitable.
However, why is it that whenever cuts in communications budgets are announced PR seems to take a bigger hit that advertising? Could it be, in possibly the biggest irony ever, that the profession of PR hasn’t been ‘PRing’ itself sufficiently, so that the decision makers don’t value it as much as advertising? Quite possibly. The other factors are that advertising is still so much easier to understand and grasp as a concept, coupled with the negative ‘political’ issues surrounding PR that still exist from the Peter Mandelson/Alistair Campbell ‘spin’ era.
The public doesn’t really understand PR, and what it does understand isn’t particularly positive. So saving taxpayers’ money by cutting PR is about as popular a spending cut as you can get. But PR is an essential element in the marketing mix to help central and local government to communicate the services it provides and the important role it plays.
Getting this communication right isn’t easy and does necessitate a degree of investment to do it effectively – but getting it wrong can have potentially disastrous consequences. It’s a job for the CIPR, PRCA and PR practitioners themselves to demonstrate how powerful PR can be, how cost-effective it is and continue to improve the image and standing of the profession.
Hopefully, come the next recession, PR will no longer be seen as the easy target for cuts.