“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” – Richard Branson
All human relationships are based around communication. You may have great business ideas, but if you can’t convey them to others, your ideas won’t get you anywhere. A public relations company knows best how to package and present your story to the media in order for it to get seen and heard without the costs associated with advertising spend.
Each of us has a unique story to tell. A professional public relations company is practiced at breaking through the multi-channel, multi-device marketing noise and helping you to engage with your selected audience with targeted messaging that will raise visibility about what you do.
Their sole purpose is to give your business credibility so consumers can gain trust in your product, service or brand. At all times you remain in control about how your identity, company culture and values are being presented and what is being publicised about your brand.
Not only will a good public relations company be able to attract potential customers and grow sales enquiries and leads, they will assist in establishing you as a trustworthy company that invites interest from talented future employees and industry investors.
What is the difference between advertising and public relations?
A public relations campaign offers more credibility for your product or service than an advertising campaign. This is because advertising is paid media and public relations is earned media. Your story has to be good enough to be seen as newsworthy to an editor or reporter in order for them to write a positive story about it. When your article appears in the editorial section of the magazine, newspaper, TV, radio station or website, it is perceived as information being served up by the media title or platform on which is it being distributed. This means the information has been approved by a reliable information source rather than you just paying for it to appear there. Statistically, more people are likely to engage with published content over advertising, giving it an estimated value of between 3 to 5 times more value than its equivalent in advertising.
A public relations campaign is also less expensive than an advertising campaign. There is no need to buy advertising space across numerous publications and news platforms. A well written story will get you there for free. Too often huge expense is laid out in creating an advertising campaign involving creative design and production processes and the purchasing of space over targeted media titles that will need to be repeated in order to gain influence for your brand. In advertising this process is known as the effective frequency: the number of times a person must be exposed to your advertising message before they respond and before exposure is considered wasteful. Currently, in the advertising world, this is considered to be between 5 and 7 times. Alternatively, a well written, stimulating article is more likely to be shared virally, emailed, reposted on other sites, receive feedback and comments, and get tweeted on trending topic channels.
An additional advantage for public relations is that as newspaper and magazine readerships drop due to the increased reliance on the Internet, there are less writers and editors being employed. This means titles have fewer resources with which to travel, research or source news the traditional way. Rather, more and more news outlets are relying on citizen journalists, leading research from corporate companies, and industry spokesmen to feed them current news and events.
How does a public relations campaign work?
Public relations is a process of building media relationships and then managing the spread of information about you or your business through news releases, compelling stories, educational articles, tutorials, reports, trending topics, success stories and testimonials of your clients.
The key to building a reputation in the market is for information to be relevant, consistent and easily digestible. This is where a public relations company will assist you with a goal specific, measurable PR plan, backed up with professionally written content in the correct style and format of the media platforms being targeted.
Information may be packaged as media releases, white papers, e-books, media tours, road shows and press conferences, competitions, seminars, speaking engagements and product launches. Additional tactics might include vlogs, blogs, webinars, and gamification.
A public relations campaign needs to be measurable in order to determine its success. Not only do the results of the campaign need to be measured but also a review of what worked and what didn’t and their attached media value. This is where a media tracking company such as Newsclip Media Monitoring will assist you in seeing where publicity is being published along with a variety of functions to determine meaningful and measureable media insights and analysis.
In addition to spreading good news about your business, a public relations company is able to provide damage control should a business crises arise or hostile rumours start circulating about your company. A professional PR consultant can react quickly and efficiently to addressing and dispelling rumours and getting your brand back on track.
Interested in learning how Firehorse Media can help make your company shine? Contact Mercedes Westbrook on C: +27 789707633 or E: Mercedes@firehorsemedia.co.za
Email is the biggest marketing tool online today because everyone who uses the internet has an email address and we check the contents of our email inbox daily. This means that, on a daily basis, every email we receive gets our personal attention making email newsletter marketing one of the strongest and most powerful online tools if you own a website. When you attract more online subscribers to your email newsletter you are increasing your business networking potential
While Facebook may get you hundreds of Likes and LinkedIn might get you accepted into industry circles, email marketing directly links you to your own community of customers which you can nurture and grow along an every expanding network of communications that will build better business relationships.
How can you increase the rate of sign ups to your company newsletter? Take a look at the following checklist:
- Your call-to-action must be visible enough that it stands out from the page as soon as they land on your site. Depending on your website design and your industry sector, consider either a pop up box, a call-to-action at the top of the right hand side bar, placement in the comment section or at the bottom of your blog page.
- Offer a promotion, an incentive, competition or giveaway to entice them to sign up. Make signing up meaningful and worthwhile, for example: ‘Receive this one day Marketing 101 course for free when join our community of like-minded entrepreneurs’.
- Make the process of signing up as quick and easy as possible – an email address is all you need to ask them for.
- Communicate the added value they will receive when signing up to your newsletter. Step inside their shoes and consider what might be a benefit to being a subscriber? You may want to offer access to industry white papers, free download kits or additional workshops for subscribers only. Be sure to include an online archive of past newsletters so they will have idea of what to expect to receive from you in the future.
- Be honest about the frequency of your newsletter, whether you state it is weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or ‘periodically’.
- Make it easy for them to forward your newsletter to a friend by adding a ‘Forward to a friend’ link into your newsletter.
- Spring board sign-up offers on your other social media platforms. Post deals on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn that require an email signup in order to benefit.
- Include a newsletter call-to-action in your About section and Contact pages on all your social media platforms.
- Place a call-to-action link to your newsletter signup page in your email signature.
- Choose an attention-grabbing title for your newsletter and include the word ‘free’ somewhere visibly prominent.
- Compare two versions of your sign up form to see which one performs better, also known as A/B testing. Pay particular attention to button colour, placement on the web page, copy style, content and tone.
- Make sure the content of your newsletter is beneficial and stimulating to your readers on a consistent and ongoing basis. If your newsletter is badly written, long-winded or comes across as pure self-promotion, you will do more harm than good to your brand online.
- Use eye-catching images, short captions and excerpts in your email newsletter links to lead them towards the high points of your newsletter’s content online.
- It is worth using a professional writing service or freelance editor to ensure you maintain an ongoing and professional newsletter communication that both engages and stimulates your target market.
This article was written by Mercedes Westbrook of Firehorse Media. Reach me on C: 0789707633 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.firehorsemedia.co.za
“They read all the time, but not newspapers or magazines,” says Craig Utermark, CEO of Cape Town’s Atmosphere Orange, a programmatic advertising agency. “But they are all zeroed in, whenever and wherever they can, surfing the social freeways on their phones. It is there that advertising brand managers are targeting them among the noise of millions of gigabytes of information. And it’s possible, with the latest technology, programmatic marketing allows brand managers to reach 95% of the Sub Saharan African market with 34 global exchanges, giving us access to 70 000 websites that are relevant to the South African market.”
Frukt, an international ad monitoring agency says that 65% of consumer spending is attributable to young people, not necessarily with buying but as influencers too of their parent’s spending decisions. “Unlike their somewhat spoilt Western counterparts, Africa’s Millennial generation is not pessimistic about its future (even with rapidly rising unemployment rates), in fact they are infectiously optimistic about what lies ahead. With the youth population in Africa set to rise faster than any other continent over the next decade, this ‘A Generation’ is one to watch as the next wave of youth pioneers tap into the country’s rich cultural heritage and make their collective voice, and spending power, known.”
Frukt says Africa has “arguably the strongest and most passionate musical culture on the planet,” and that is one way to get attention of the A Generation. They say that by 2020 youth will dominate Africa’s $1.3 trillion (or around R180-trillion) consumer spending.
Utermark concurs, “This generation of youth is incredibly sophisticated. The South African Social Media Landscape 2015 report recently revealed that just in this country Twitter has 6.6 million users and visual platforms YouTube and Instagram have seen a user increase of 53% and 65% respectively over the past year. So our young people, like those across the world want ads with great visuals, ideally set to a great musical beat, something they can share on social media and be seen as cool by their friends.”
The 2015 Youth Psyche report by Branded Youth showed that although social media is important, reposting has lost its allure as young people focus on building their personal brand. “Programmatic marketing, the hottest trend coming from the United States and Europe, allows brand managers to essentially look into the heads and hearts of these young spenders,” said Utermark. “At present, mobile internet advertising revenues are at R172 million and rising fast with social media accounting for 79% of that according to the latest IAB South Africa ad revenue report. They’re paying attention to word of mouth on social media, it’s impacting on spending and in 2014 when we had the highest youth voter turnout yet we could see it was even having an impact on politics.”
The Youth Psyche report showed that young people are visual and want to feel an ad has been developed just for them. Youth Marketing Strategist at Branded Youth, Bradley Maseko has pointed out that, “Instagram now has 300 million monthly users, picking up 100 million since March 2014. The photo- and video-sharing app has surpassed Twitter’s official user count of 284 million. 2015 will see a further rise in visual content being shared amongst the youth and this will be aided by the fact that Facebook is also shifting to video due to increased demand.”
Utermark said, “Brand opportunity is strongest when it focuses on empowering youth through content marketing, driving conversations with youth influencers who have an audience of people who trust them. South African’s tweet a million times a month that has amazing opportunities for clever business owners.
“For creative advertising agencies Youth Day on June 16th offers an exciting reminder of the influence of the young. Backed by the power of digital to enhance its reach and tell a connected, multi-screen and multimedia story across all the different audience generations, brands are using new technologies for big data, especially programmatic marketing, which allows for audience targeting, predictive modeling, optimisation and dynamic creative.
“The future is where it should be, the young are taking control of their destinies and propelling us in amazing and imaginative new ways forward”, Utermark said.
Content marketing puts the world in your hands
Use content marketing to your advantage when you are see your customers as human beings and not just dollar signs for your bottom line. Content marketing requires that we listen to our customers and respond to their needs in real time. When we provide solutions to our customers pain points via our content marketing drive we are mobilising our business and gaining a foothold in the thriving online and social media marketplace.
What is content marketing? Content marketing is the creation, publication, and distribution of articles, press releases, images, and video to attract and acquire a target audience.
Every business needs marketing, whether it is a start-up IT company or a tyre manufacturing business. Most of us are already using marketing strategies in some form or another through distribution of our marketing materials, our sales pitch, website and application of a database.
Storytelling that speaks straight to the human heart makes advertising campaigns memorable. Who can forget the BMW ‘Beats the Bendz’ ad campaign shot on Chapman’s Peak Drive with its clever play on words? Or the deliciously bling Kimmy Kool wannabe rapper for the Halls ‘Just Breathe’ campaign? Or any one of Nando’s famously witty and controversially provocative twists of humour?
While the science of data and analytics can help create a digital communications strategy, only when it is married to good storytelling will it put a brand on everyone’s lips. Today’s digital strategies need to be rooted in creative dynamic storytelling in order to shape consumer’s perceptions about a brand and dictate their next action through their digital journey.
With brands able to message in milliseconds across digital, mobile, and video platforms, it is programmatic media buying’s analytics which ensures a multi-layered story reaches the high-income forty-year-old male online at 9pm at night in search for a luxury sedan; the busy mom checking her emails on her smartphone while waiting to collect her kids from school; or the youth alert to cool brands worn by his favourite rappers on YouTube. And with data technology so sophisticated today, it can intuitively present the same brand message to a different audience in language, colour and placement in order to target the individual consumer better. The challenge now falls to the marketers and media creatives to craft advertising concepts that speak to this multi-channel audiences with creative content aimed at the individuals defined profile and place of engagement.
Nelson Mandela provided a story of inspiration, one that upheld one of the most powerful African ideas of freedom. Today it lives on at the voting polls; in history’s annuls; and in hearts spanning continents. In this digital age, it is ideas which attract and build audiences. Mandela’s ideas upheld beliefs that fuelled a nation; beliefs based on one man’s story that ultimately lead a country.
Let us take a programmatic journey with a man that became an unwitting icon, who birthed a journey of story relevance. A story which will be honoured once again on his birthday July 18th, and will serve to relive the ideas, beliefs, attitudes and connection to his culture that has shaped South Africa’s democracy.
Storytelling within the dynamic creative process
Step 1. Audience: To unlock the value of your brand’s story, understand that everything begins with the importance of storytelling. Some of Nelson Mandela’s first learnings as a boy were from listening to the tribal elders around the fire. As he grew into a man, he valued the art of storytelling as a way to instruct his legal clients and negotiate within politics and yet also gain the trust of the most humble people within his community. Mandela understood both his opponents and his people. He understood what they wanted and needed.
Data will define your audience, right down to individual eyeballs, the device in use, the time of use and their location. This is data that will enhance your creative message, you are targeting your message one moment in the language of a suburban mom who likes running on a sunny day; or the next moment for a tween wanting the latest video game.
Step 2. Awareness: Mandela’s actions created experiences which formed his story. Stories live on to produce more experiences. A relevant and dynamically creative advertisement that behaves, looks and speaks appropriately to each of your audience segments along their journey will create even more unique audiences and new sets of data for further optimisation of one core brand message across every digital touch point.
Step 3. Memorable: In order to be memorable, your brand story needs to be authentic and resonate with those who are viewing, working or listening to it. Your brand story is more authentic when it is reaching a consumer in the right place and is underpinned by a responsive style of storytelling. The value of your core message represented by your story reveals what makes you unique.
Step 4. Emotional glue: Storytelling brings a brand to life and creates the emotional glue that connects your brand to your audience. Despite being incarcerated from the world for 27 years, it only served to increase the power of Mandela’s story as his advocates carried through the engagement of his ideas, leading to new forms of creativity and storytelling.
Step 5. Relevance: Each ad impression is not only targeted to the right person, but also presents the right person with the most relevant message. A story responsive to its target market will shape information into meaning through the story telling of it. The most relevant message wins. Programmatic segmentation looks at the consumer’s larger motivations and is based on big data across a longer timeframe, and is intuitive in its predictions of future customer behaviours.
Step 6. Reinforcement: Message reinforcement to consumer segments ensures customer longevity. Like Mandela, brands are required to be a visionary, to find advocates, and write stories motivated towards a goal, an action, sharing and then more storytelling.
Mandela preferred to speak face to face with people, to get to know the person first. Storytelling driven by programmatic’s dynamic creative process creates connections, based on data gathered on the digital journey of its audience. Tell your brand story in a way that is customised and precision-targeted so it will grow audiences who continue to learn through your brand message as they carry the core value within their mind’s memory.
Want to know more about the art of storytelling for your brand when linked to the power of programmatic marketing? Book your free, customised Insights session here:http://atmosphereorange.co.za/training/
Image sponsored by: Tay Dall Cell – 072 116 9029. Website www.taydall.com
Advertising spend has traditionally been expensive but digital media buyers are able to cut costs by up to ten times the budget by understanding and efficiently using Programmatic Media Buying (PMB). Delivering a targeted message across all devices, the advertisement reaches the right audiences with the right messages at exactly the right time in the customer’s buying journey.
Programmatic marketing is the latest technology solution available to South African marketers. Already a $12 billion market globally, it is expected to reach $33 billion by 2017. With an outsized share of the pie, currently, 85% of US advertisers and 72% of publishers use programmatic strategies and its fast gaining ground in South Africa’s digital and mobile-connected landscape.
Shrewd marketers and media buyers use automation to track and trace a customer’s journey across South Africa’s multiple media channels. By combining all the data into one dashboard, programmatic provides a transparent view into an advertising campaign in real time. It allows for a more targeted analysis of data, dynamic creative adjustments and delivery of a more relevant conversation with the required audience.
So what does it mean for brand marketers? No wastage of brand budgets, more accountability of spend for chief marketing officers (CMO’s), and increased efficiency. Programmatic advertising technology removes the spreadsheets, manual insertion orders and menial tasks and makes the ad buying system more efficient and effective. It empowers brand managers to align organisational workflows to programmatic’s automation technology – capable of working faster than any human capabilities. This means marketers can spend more time planning and interacting with the client and creative departments towards more customised consumer campaigns. It allows creative teams time to focus on formulating more relevant and engaging campaigns for their target audiences.
What does it mean for consumers? Audiences are more likely to engage and respond at the moment of delivery when the message is most relevant to them. It serves direct response and branding because it targets the eyeballs and not the channel. It is a direct path with a relevant message.
What hasn’t changed within the branding landscape is that advertisers don’t want to waste money. The benefit is that they maintain direct control of the budget. Programmatic media buying holds budgets accountable and returns the highest amount of value possible. It exponentially increases and quantifies the chances of an advertisement being viewed by the right audiences to drive the sales return of a message. Back by full reporting, programmatic data delivers transparency of spend.
Programmatic marketing is recognised as a powerful tool for marketers to gain the most leverage from their marketing spend. However there still seems to be confusion in the market that it is merely real-time bidding (RTB).
“Programmatic buying is not the same as real-time bidding. Real time bidding is automated ad buying through real-time auctions,” explains Craig Utermark, CEO of Atmosphere Orange, one of the first digital media management companies to deliver a bespoke programmatic marketing service into the South African market. “Programmatic marketing automates the buying, placement and optimisation of advertising and delivers a higher ROI through digital platform efficiencies across Exchanges, trading desks, and Data Management Platforms (DMPs). It is a more far-reaching platform that performs more complex decision across a variety of systems, including website content management, email, call center enabled chat, mobile apps, and CRM systems.”
This means that media buyers have access to far more data than ever before as they reach wider and better targeted audiences. With the speed of sales generated by click-through and conversion rates, digital marketing allows demographic, behavioural and contextual targeting and remarketing to niche audiences. Constantly refining audience targeting means more metrics. With more metrics comes more measurement of cost per conversion (CPC), effective cost per thousand (CPM) and overall online reach and scaleability to support inbound marketing strategies and calculate the return on investment (ROI) of marketing efforts. Lead nurturing is one of the most powerful aspects of programmatic as it is capable of identifying exactly where people are in the sales journey.
The shift from traditional to digital advertising means delivery of a more responsive cross device advertising campaign. Campaigns run seamlessly over multiple digital platforms and the different screens on which they are being delivered, be it on a phone, tablet, laptop, video or television. Dedicated teams – such as that of Atmosphere Orange – interact with advertisers and brand marketers to integrate and leverage the data, optimising and recalibrating campaigns in real time. Not only does the campaign benefit from an increase in scale and targeting potential, it ensures operational speed and efficiency. This is backed up by transparent tracking and reporting and an opportunity to optimise and recalibrate campaigns continuously.
Programmatic marketing is without a doubt the future of online advertising. South African brand advertisers will need to embrace this new technology within the marketing process if they want to increase business revenue and achieve true omni-channel, customer-centric reach.
What is delaying uptake in South Africa is that not enough marketers truly understand the process and how to best navigate their brands through it.
Says Utermark: “For our clients already on-board, we find that once they see the process in action they are better able to understand and see the advantages and opportunities it offers as a powerful channel to market. Experience is the best teacher. With that in mind, we offer South African brand marketers the opportunity to engage with us on a provisional campaign basis so they can see the results for themselves. One of the strongest tools in the programmatic box is its efficiency and transparency. Once they see the results and experience the reach and conversations, we usually end up sitting across the desk from a very happy CMO wanting to know more.”