Marketing in a post digital landscape

Marketing today is a very different beast to even five years ago, and the question of what lies in the future for the local marketing space is one that is being constantly mulled over. There’s no doubt though, whether you’re a consumer facing brand or a B2B organisation, small business or enterprise-level firm, you have to incorporate a digital element into your campaigns to stay current and make sure you remain relevant. It’s all about reaching your audience in the way that they want to be reached. Consider Generation Z. As the newest generation enters the workplace, companies have to change strategy from focusing on Millennials, to cater for a new, digitally savvy generation that essentially grew up on social media and is more interested in less traditional forms of communication. Born from 1996 onwards, Generation Zers can be categorised as preferring to consume information in bite-sized chunks, being willing to switch brands for better experiences or opportunities, and having a shorter attention span (six to eight seconds, according to this article). The same source states that the average Generation Z consumer has been exposed to more than 200,000 marketing messages before the age of 15, and continues to say that because of this, “they have naturally learned to quickly decipher through what matters. The key for brands to quickly and effectively connect with Gen Z is to create and curate content that makes them feel comfortable.” So, how do you target a market like Generation Z that has never really experienced a barrier to real-time information and communication? PRWeek makes some excellent suggestions on reaching Generation Z: Target them where they are, they aren’t coming looking for you! Instagram and Snapchat are considered the most rapidly evolving media platforms to reach Generation Z, with 38 percent of this group spending most of their time on the latter, 28 percent on the former. This website also makes some good suggestions on how to engage with Generation Z, stating that not only is relatability key, but 66 percent of Gen Z want their jobs to have an impact on the world, with 88 percent more likely to buy a product that has some sort of social or environmental impact. It also says that honesty, transparency, and authenticity are the three critical traits of which brands should be aware. A study by Sharethrough states that Gen Z, which numbers 69 million people with the spending power of USD43 billion, sees smartphones as its primary go-to devices, using them for 15.4 hours a week. Not only this, but they’re prepared to watch videos on their phones throughout the day (more than 30 minutes of mobile video per day, mostly Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat...

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The years of innovative PR

  September is innovation month in South Africa, and although it isn’t clear whom or what commemorated this month to innovation, it makes for an interesting discussion nonetheless. The only constant tactic in public relations – right from the beginning of the 21st century – has been the dissemination of press releases and motivations. More recently however, we’ve seen a massive shift within the environment, fuelled by the advancement of technology and the changing status of the world economy, which has led to shrinking newsrooms and media working under pressure. The result? PR practitioners have had to change focus, moving away from traditional PR to embrace the digital world. Digital PR is more interactive, engaging and appeals to generation X-ers, allowing them to communication directly with a brand on what they think of it, how they feel about it and what the brand should do to cater to their needs. Let’s call it a much more personal touch. Now that PR is headed to a mostly digital future (for now anyway), it is clear this discipline cannot be siloed and must operate hand in hand with the rest of the marketing mix. This blended communications world demands the best of all three disciplines (PR, marketing and social media) woven together with smart, impactful, and creative strategy, especially in a time where budgets are under immense pressure. Driving innovation in PR and communication should always be top of mind for agencies, whether it is structural, consultative methods, business models, resources management and methods of rendering services. After all, one of the principles of PR is that an organisation must adapt to its environment or it shall...

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Reaching and motivating your key audience

One of the first questions we are always asked is how far does PR reach? The short answer is that PR can connect you with anyone who browses the Internet, reads a publication, watches TV, or listens to the radio. It could be said that PR has the broadest reach of perhaps any element in the marketing mix.   The PR industry is evolving, driven by new marketing realities. It is a giant that is awakening, stretching its capabilities, taking steps and leaps forward, and assuming its key role in the marketing mix.   In today’s fast paced, e-commerce world, PR has risen to importance. And with this importance comes greater freedom – all of a sudden, the value of creative PR is apparent. Sadly, though, while other marketing genres are forging ahead in inventing new ways to do business, many PR professionals are stuck in a rut. And, let’s face it: Same-old same-old does not get anyone excited, let alone the audience they are trying to reach.   In fairness, some PR executives have grown adverse to risk and creativity, giving the PR firm little room to manoeuvre. But, with a little trust, PR practitioners can do more than just communicate with an audience. They can create an emotional connection and really motivate an audience.   Isn’t that a risk worth taking? Go on, let your PR firm flex their creative muscles and ply their craft to the max. You know you want...

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Public Relations? It’s just sending out press releases right?

Wrong. Public relations is more than just pitching stories to the media or mailing out press releases. The term “PR” covers a number of related activities, all of which are concerned with communicating specific messages to specific target audiences. Every organisation, no matter how large or small, ultimately depends on its reputation for survival and success. Public Relations is all about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. In today’s competitive market, reputation can be a company’s biggest asset – the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd and gives you a competitive edge. Effective PR can help manage reputation by communicating and building good relationships with all organisation stakeholders. To do this, public relations typically encompasses the following areas: Research: You have to thoroughly understand not only your company but also your customers and potential customers. What do you offer that is unique or special? What are customers looking for? And how well do you fill those needs? Strategic planning: Define each target audience, your marketing objectives for that group, and the messages you must communicate in support of those marketing objectives. Publicity: For most small businesses, the central public relations activity is publicity — getting visibility for your products and company. Community relations: Building local community relationships can be the most important communication activity undertaken by an organisation, yet it is often overlooked. For local businesses and franchises, it is important to get to know your neighbourhood and to get involved with local initiatives. This will in turn help raise awareness of your business and services. Internal relations: Employees are the internal audience. Whilst PR practitioners are not responsible for the day-to-day intercourse between colleagues, we can help an organisation achieve its goals by building understanding and engagement with staff, this in turn can improve loyalty and retention. Investor relations: With the current economic volatility, public perception is more powerful than ever as it can send stock prices soaring or plummeting. Investor relations is the aspect of PR that communicates the company story to stock analysts and other financial professionals. Stakeholder relations: A stakeholder is anyone or any organisation that holds a stake in how well your company performs. A key vendor is a stakeholder; rumours that you are financially shaky may cause them to restrict your credit terms. Other key stakeholders can include top consultants, board members, your bank, suppliers, sales representatives, distributors, and industry gurus. Corporate Social Investment: When a company gives to charity, it wants to help the cause, but it also wants to be recognised for its contribution. PR specialists can help you get maximum publicity and goodwill from the time,...

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PR, perfecting the balancing act

PR really is a delicate operation; picture a tightrope walker balancing precariously above the sawdust and you’ll have a better understanding. Striking the right balance between keeping your clients happy and giving your press contacts what they need isn’t the easiest of jobs. But honestly, it’s all in the approach. That’s why it’s critical for a PR company to: continuously work on its relationships, becoming both an extension of its client’s marketing team as well as building a reputation with journalists as a reliable source of information; pitch a story in the right way to the press, based on what each particular publication’s audience wants to read; provide consistently good, strong content; not be driven purely to make up monthly target numbers – this way, the media knows that they’ll never receive a piece of puffery, written just for the sake of it; and be honest and remain steadfast when it comes to training up spokespeople or disagreeing over a weak story angle. Part-journalist, part-brand advocate, THIS is a PR force to be reckoned...

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