Nonprofits may have more in common with B2B and B2C brands than one might think. This installment in our series detailing consumer engagement with U.S. brands on social platforms finds patterns similar to those seen earlier when the focus was engagement with B2C and B2B brands on Facebook (PRN, May 30 and June 6). Examination of exclusive data provided to PR News by Shareablee shows the most engaged B2B, B2C and nonprofit brands seem to be emphasizing quality over quantity as the number of posts in Q1 2016 was down compared to Q1 2015. As a result, consumer actions, which is defined as the sum of likes, shares and comments, also fell.
As target audiences change, the tools for engaging them evolve, and machines enable us to do our jobs faster and more accurately. Our core function remains the same, however. PR pros still will be responsible for creating stories that educate, influence and connect people with our organizations and brands. To thrive in 2020, communications professionals will need to become more creative, have strong cognitive flexibility, collaborate, be emotionally intelligent and develop the grit necessary to constantly challenge the status quo. Here are ways to start building these important skills now.
When Volkswagen sputtered in September with dieselgate, we had little trouble finding PR pros to opine about how VW could use the crisis to remake the brand through trust and transparency ( PRN, 9/28/2015). Similarly, trust and transparency were in play during a crisis management competition at PR News’ Digital PR & Marketing Conference on June 8 in Miami Beach. Crisis pros Pia De Lima, VP, corporate communcations, Western Union, and Allison Steinberg, communications strategist, ACLU, formulated a fictitious crisis scenario (below) and judged several teams’ crisis plans. The teams had 30 minutes to concoct their plans in pursuit of a $1,000 prize that PressPage—a sponsor of the conference, along with Business Wire, Cision and LexisNexis—provided.
You have to hand it to Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella. When he goes shopping, he comes heavy. Nadella plunked down $26 billion June 13 to acquire LinkedIn as a way to energize both companies. His hope, of course, is that the deal will be a win-win, with LinkedIn gaining cachet, scale and technology and Microsoft obtaining access to information about the mostly white-collar businesspeople who are LinkedIn’s stock and trade. Arriving at a stagnant Microsoft two years ago, Nadella has been pushing the brand to become friendlier to corporate customers. In this respect, LinkedIn and its 105 million monthly active users seems a good match. In all, LinkedIn claims 433 million members, or 433 million resumes, a juicy target for brand communicators.
In 2002, social networking came into play with the launch of Friendster, followed by LinkedIn in 2003. In 2006, Facebook opened up to the general public and Twitter launched. With each new social media milestone, the movement to cultivate relationships with influencers has grown. As we know, modern-day social influencers are prominent people, often bloggers, who have the reputation and power to sway others with their opinions. They represent opportunities to shape perceptions about your corporate and brand reputation, in addition to your products and solutions. The long-term goal is to convert them into brand advocates.
Perhaps you’ve sent a pitch to Ms. Senior Editor only to remember that it’s Mr. Senior Editor. Or you’ve invited a reporter to a press conference on Monday the 3rd and received a message back saying, “The 3rd is a Tuesday. What day is your event?” So you know great content doesn’t mean anything if a document is poorly written or contains typos. Focusing on a process for writing can set you up for success. A thorough process means you have time for planning, drafting, reviewing, quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC). Juggling multiple projects and deadlines can make it hard to set aside time for all of these steps, and the planning step often gets sacrificed. Still, taking a few minutes to plan your writing before you begin will make editing much easier.
Sometimes brands respond to an issue with a statement. Other times a good response is to monitor the situation and work behind the scenes. For most brands, it’s barely noticeable when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers decides to eschew milk and cheese to gain strength, reduce inflammation in his joints, lose weight and extend his career. If you’re a Packers fan, who affectionately dons a cheese headpiece on fall Sundays, such intolerance for lactose is a concern. Should you happen to be from top U.S. cheese maker Wisconsin, whose license plates declare it the Dairy State, well, the 32-year-old’s oath could be tantamount to an affront to good manners. After all, for years Sargento, the family-owned, Wisconsin-based cheese maker, has been kicking in $1,500 after every Packers touchdown to charities feeding the needy.
There was a time, not too long ago, when PR and digital were acutely divided disciplines, often competing with one another for budgets. While that still may be the case for some, more and more PR and digital strategies such as SEO are integrating, working together to reach target audiences, improve user experience and garner a greater ROI. As a PR pro in this ever-changing landscape, it can be tough to navigate. The rules of SEO change almost daily thanks to Google.
In most cases employees are, and will always be, a brand’s greatest asset. They drive in-house and agency success. Engaging them should be the highest priority. It’s the CEO’s responsibility to help achieve a singular, straightforward vision that propels the business and energizes employees to be best in class, renowned for unrivaled talent, forward-thinking capabilities and unrelenting client service. Achieving a vision like this requires building an incredible company spirit where every employee feels that “we are in this together” and maintaining an exceptional culture that embraces doing something different for clients, colleagues and the community. Central to the creation of this shared passion for success is a dedicated plan for actively engaging and motivating employees.