Just as communicators are starting to ‘get’ millennials, there’s a follow-on cohort, Generation Z. While there’s debate about the age range of Gen Z, we’ll define it here as those born from 1995 to now, meaning anyone 21 or younger. As a communicator you can think of Gen Z-ers as the poor man’s millennials and treat them as you did their predecessors. This is a mistake. It’s better to see them as young evolutionaries. Of the characteristics that will influence how brands interact with this group, the most important may be Gen Z’s sway over family spending (more on this below). These toddlers, tweens and teens represent 28% of the population. In four years this is expected to be 40%. While the implications for communicators are clear, a paradigm shift makes Gen Z’s influence even greater. Unlike their predecessors, they have more sway over not just their piggy bank but family spending. It started with putting Gen Z in the driver’s seat for low-stakes purchases and has evolved into many Gen Z-ers making family decisions for tech devices, vacation and cars. In terms of back-to-school buying, a 2015 National Retail Federation survey found 10% of parents admit their children influence 100% of what they buy, up from 8% in 2014.
The tit-for-tat between social brands continues, with the battlefield moving to live streaming. For a time pundits enjoyed contrasting Facebook’s financials with those of Twitter. No more. Due to Facebook’s historic financial prowess, it’s no longer a fair fight. At least with live video, it’s still a contest. In July, CNBC International signed an agreement with Face- book to put its morning show Street Signs on Facebook Live for a trial following the Brexit vote. Meanwhile Twitter tapped Bloomberg Media, which will live stream several of its shows on the bird platform, including election monitor With All Due Respect. July 20 Twitter said it hooked the NBA to live stream a pair of new, weekly pre-game shows on the platform. This adds to Twitter’s sports stable: it signed the NFL ear- lier this year to live stream Thursday Night Football games. Twitter also live streamed Wimbledon in July. Facebook returned serve: it signed a bevy of people who made their reps on Vine and YouTube to create video for Facebook Live. That’s in addition to media companies like BuzzFeed and The NY Times, announced earlier (PRN, June 27). From July 25-July 28 Twitter carried live coverage from CBSN of the Democrats’ convention from Philadelphia.
In case you hadn’t realized, video is no longer a fad. It has become a fait accompli. As we’ve seen in this series, which has examined Shareablee data made available exclusively to PR News, consumer engagement with U.S. brands—B2C and B2B—on social media in Q1 2016 has grown year over year. Tremendous increases in consumer engagement with video posts have powered the bulk of the growth. Consumer engagement, or actions, is defined as the sum of retweets and likes. The same pattern seen with B2C and B2B ( PRN, July 11) holds true for nonprofits, the subject of this week’s Data Dive. In Q1 2016, U.S. nonprofits generated 5.3 million actions on Twitter, a 49% improvement compared with the same time last year. A 125% increase in engagement with video content on the platform was responsible for the growth. Actions rose 49%, from 3.56 million to 5.3 million.
There are myriad lessons for communicators related to transparency, monitoring the social conversation and when and whom to engage from two recent news items. The first item has the Republican Party being forced to shut down its live chat on YouTube July 18. The party had urged viewers to chat while it streamed its convention live on YouTube. The reason for the shut-down were anti-Semitic comments posted on the live chat as former Hawaii governor Linda Lingle was addressing the convention. The other involves the nasty messages sent via social to actor/comedian Leslie Jones, a co-star of Ghostbusters.
Full Court Press (Release): It’s almost become de rigueur for sports superstars to take a retirement victory lap: Announce you’re retiring the following year and spend your last season being showered with gifts and accolades from opposing teams when you visit their venues for the final time. It’s fine when you’re no longer at top form. It’s a different matter when you club a home run or sink a basket to defeat your opponent, which hours earlier presented you with a custom-built rocking chair and a Harley. 40-year-old David Ortiz has done that all season. His 22 home runs and league-leading 34 doubles have given the Dominican his best first half in Boston. Basketball star Tim Duncan, also 40, would have none of the swan song hoopla.
When a company does something good and no one notices, what is the impact? Companies create philanthropic or charitable initiatives as part of their CSR programs for many reasons. Because there is the notion that CSR campaigns are created to cover up bad behavior, some corporations shy away from publicizing these efforts to stakeholders. They worry that if they do, they are signaling that there is a reason behind the strategy and will come under attack.
Many internal communicators have an idea of how to define a remote worker, but a consistent definition often is hard to find. While some believe a remote employee is anyone who does not work at headquarters, this is not really the case. Those who work in a company building, owned or leased, remain highly connected to the brand. The ability of internal communicators to reach them is relatively easy. Remote employees typically are telecommuting from home, embedded at customer sites or working in remote parts of the country. Reaching these employees can be tricky. It certainly is not impossible. A few simple and inexpensive tips will help internal communicators reach them.
It’s rare when significant parts of business, government or sports change dramatically. Incremental change is far more common. Yet we find both incremental and significant change in a new Nasdaq Corporate Solutions/ PR News survey of nearly 400 communicators regarding press release distribution and SEO. Nearly 75% of those surveyed last month said the most important objective of sending a press release is to “generate media interest and/or press coverage.” That’s a traditional reasoning. Yet a full 25% said their top priority in sending out a release is “to be seen in web search results” [see infographic and chart on page 4]. That finding about SEO seemed inconsistent with another result: nearly 40% said they fail to consider SEO when it comes to allocating time and resources for press releases. In other words, while PR pros want their press releases to be found in web searches, nearly half are ignoring SEO when they prepare their releases.
One of the most polarizing topics in PR generally and among the measurati in particular is advertising value equivalency, commonly known as AVEs. And yet, notwithstanding the controversy and despite efforts promoting professional standards to the contrary, AVEs remain among the most common form of measurement in PR. Why are they so popular with the masses? And why do so many PR experts hate them? Essentially, advertising equivalency is an easy, accessible way to attribute a dollar value to media coverage by calculating print column inches and TV/radio time factored by the cost of that space and time on an “if-purchased basis.” But does it represent value? And if so, is it the best way to demonstrate PR’s unique contribution to the enterprise? Let’s explore the history of AVEs, detail reasons against their use and shed light on the current state of AVE measurement to provide a balanced view along with a moderate’s advice on a better way forward.
It could describe nearly all the data sets we’ve been looking at recently. The 30 most-engaged U.S. brands on a social media platform turned out a bit less content than they had during a quarter the previous year, yet consumer interaction with the content rose. Once again, consumer engagement with mobile video drove that engagement. Filling in the blanks, this week’s Shareablee data, provided exclusively to PR News, examines consumer actions, or engagement, with U.S. B2B brands on Twitter. Actions are defined as the sum of consumer likes and retweets. Brands listed have significant B2B revenue, although some also have B2C businesses. Specifically in Q1 ’16 (Jan 1-March 31), total consumer actions with U.S. B2B brands on Twitter rose 31% compared to the same quarter in 2015. The increase occurred despite a 3% reduction in the number of tweets the brands produced. An increase in consumer engagement with U.S. B2B brands’ videos, up a gargantuan 240%, and more retweets, a 14% rise, fueled the growth in actions.