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Friday, 10th May 2013 at 11:31am
As part of The Think Tank's sponsorship of B2B Marketing's Knowledge Bank PR Channel, our PR Director Samantha Dawe has produced a Whitepaper titled 'PR in a changing media landscape'.
The Whitepaper looks at the need for a new mindset in a changing media world. Many commentators have spoken about the basic model for media and marketing being broken. While media fragmentation is seen as a challenge, an expanding range of media options is also an opportunity.
The Whitepaper is free to download either from the B2B Marketing web site or by clicking the link below:
PR in a changing media landscape.pdf (254 kb)
Wednesday, 1st May 2013 at 4:02pm
It's an age old tradition across the globe. You say "cheers" (or regional equivalent) then 'clink' glasses, an almost universal symbol.
In Brazil, Budweiser is making this act, even more sociable, with their Buddy Cups.
The smart cups detect the contact between them and adds the other person as a friend on Facebook, this is done via a chip in the bottom of the cup and a code which you scan with your smart phone to activate it.
The cups are reportedly going to be used for events and concerts, but it is interesting to see how far afield this technology will be used
Watch a video about the new cup below.
Friday, 21st December 2012 at 6:42pm
The Think Tank is looking for a Junior PR Account Executive.
Do you have an understanding of media relations and gaining press coverage? Can you offer an organised approach, good telephone and interpersonal skills, the ability to work within a team and meet deadlines? We offer a fun and informal atmosphere but one which is about achieving great results for our clients.
To be successful at the job you will need to be super organised, have an eye for detail, be extremely positive and have a proven interest in business to business PR through your education or experience. An outstanding grasp of English (written and spoken) is an absolute must, as is the ability to multi-task with a smile on your face and produce superb results under high pressure and tight deadlines. Candidates with a second language skill, ideally French, are preferred.
If this is thejob for you then email firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV and a covering letter. Applications will only be accepted with a covering letter. The position is based in Central London.
Sunday, 7th October 2012 at 3:10pm
The Think Tank recently took part in a series of seminars, talking about issues surrounding the use of social media in the workplace and the impact that it can have upon brand and reputation.
These have been very well attended and judging by two recent Twitter abuses in the United States it is becoming a very important factor for businesses, both internally and externally.
Last week a disgruntled employee at a company called Stub Hub sent out a tweet riddled with profanity, which the company subsequently had to apologise for and issue a withdrawal. We have added an image of this below but it does use quite strong language - you have been warned!
Another business, Kitchen Aid, mistakenly retweeted an offensive joke about President Obama's grandmother - possibly as a result of social media automation. Again, this is below but the content may be deemed as offensive.
These types of social media interactions may be mistakes or they may be on purpose but the problem is the same; Social Media poses new challenges to businesses as to how they and their employees interact online and the increasing possibility of damage to brand and reputation.
If you would like to discuss any of these topics and how they could impact upon your business then please get in touch.
Saturday, 2nd June 2012 at 8:52am
Taking the engagement of their customers on Twitter very seriously, the Sainsbury's PR team this week posted an interesting response to a complaint by U.K. blogger October Jones.
He complained that the chicken sandwich that he had bought "tastes like it was beaten to death by Hulk Hogan."
The response? - "Really sorry it wasn't up to scratch. We will replace Mr. Hogan with Ultimate Warrior on our production line immediately."
Another Sainsbury's account replied by providing a phone number for Jones to call and said the company sincerely regrets that "you had to wrestle your way through the sandwich."
These are great responses but are they really appropriate when dealing with customer complaints? Made us smile though.
Thursday, 24th May 2012 at 9:26pm
The Think Tank PR team has been discussing ‘Earned’, ‘Owned’ and ‘Paid for’ media. This came about as we saw a quote in PR Week from Freud Communications’ chairman, Matthew Freud, saying that: “The basic model for media and marketing is broken”.
While media fragmentation has long been talked about we thought it was interesting that it is the interactive marketing space which is helping use define new universes.
Although full definitions may vary, the basic premise is that ‘Owned’ media is the channel you control such as your website, or partially-owned, your company Facebook page or Twitter account.
‘Earned’ media covers press coverage, however the term has evolved to cover the word-of-mouth that is being created through social media channels.
‘Paid for’ media does what is says on the tin, and covers advertising in its many formats online and in print, and extends into paid search for example.
Categorising your media in this way helps to identify the roles they can play in delivering your communications; understanding their benefits and challenges can be a critical next step, and of course that they work best together.
But of course the real test is what you say, not just how you are delivering your message, and increasingly how you are then listening, engaging and responding is key in this new ‘networked’ age.
Monday, 14th May 2012 at 4:36pm
In an attempt to boost its ad revenue and improve the quality of advertising, Facebook's measurement team is making public its research on the types of ads that work best on its platform.
After talking with marketers, Facebook identified six elements of ad creative that impacted upon recall and purchase consideration including two visual elements of focal point and noticeability and four that looked at messaging and a range of things, from whether it's easy to see the brand to whether the ad is succinct and to the point.
They then asked 109 marketers to rate around 400 ads on each of the six elements. All were from the Facebook premium-engagement format, which appear on the right column of a Facebook page and is restricted by image size and copy length. All of the ads chosen were brand or product ads rather than direct response.
The results for recall highlighted three factors that were particularly important: Images needed to have an obvious focal point, the brand had to be clear and the ad needed to fit with the brand's personality.
Not rocket science but at least an indicator of best practice winning out.
Failing focal-points were fairly common, due to the lack of space for images, however this was increased by brands which opted for small product images on cluttered backgrounds. This got in the way of consumers recalling brands - therefore simplicity is best.
The ads should also be clear about the brand they're promoting, which may sound obvious but many brands were obscured in the ads or missing associated brand colours.
When looking at purchase consideration the main aspect was whether the ad rewarded the viewer. Very important in encouraging interaction.
"Ads that were rewarding tended to be pretty clear - there wasn't an overload of information," said Mr. Bruich, who conducted the study with measurement researcher Adrienne Polich. "But [the] rewarding ads also seemed to connect. The information seemed meaningful."
The importance of offering a reward was the single biggest creative predictor of an ad's success, which apparently surprised the Facebook team.
The full study will be presented in the US next month however those that believe that bright colours or crazy fonts would create noticeability will be sorely disappointed as the survey found that this was not predictive of either recall or purchase consideration.
So it's goodbye to psychedelic Facebook ads and hello to minimalism.
Saturday, 17th March 2012 at 7:37am
The content of this letter hit the news worldwide and soon became a social media talking point, at which point it took on a life of its own. From comic blog entries like this one called 'Oscar the Grouch Resigns' (from Sesame Street fame) to a plethora of entries across Pinterest.
This is a classic case of how just one employee can quickly damage the reputation of a business and how social media spreads the message at an exponential rate. Whether the employee was right or wrong is not for us to judge, however it does demonstrate why businesses should have crisis planning in place to quickly limit the potential damage of such an action. Social Media adds to the potential risk and businesses should be actively monitoring channels to ensure that they are aware of what is being said about them by customers, employees and the general public. A forewarned business is a prepared business.
It is frightening just how quickly the reputation of a business can be damaged through the posting of video content on social channels - remember the safety demonstration that turned out not to be so safe!
It is difficult to tell just how much this will damage the reputation of Goldman Sachs however in the short term it wiped $2bn off their market value - not a good day at the bank!
Wednesday, 29th February 2012 at 9:14am
CURB uses attention-grabbing media such as chalk advertising or bespoke interactive productions where the individual acts as an instrument for creating the experience or message - pedal to charge your phone or dance to make the music louder! CURB also uses natural media which they tailor to their clients’ briefs – to promote the movie Contagion they worked with a world renowned microbiologist to create an enormous Petri dish inoculated with mould, penicillin and Pantone-matched live bacteria. Over the span of a few days these grew into the movie title ‘Contagion’ (and yes, it went viral).
During the Multisensory Media demonstration TTT’s meeting room was filled with the scent of freshly-cut grass from the pitch of a well-known Italian Serie A football club. Unfortunately for CURB there were no football fans in the meeting to appreciate this particular experience; nevertheless we were amazed at how particular they can be with creating scents and sounds. We found out that specific scents can be used to change an emotion as well as perception of time and environments.
CURB has also developed a technique to package the scents in a way that is sustainable and fun. We enjoyed the experience of small customizable pouches that released a lovely scent with just one squeeze – some of the scents included the smell of chocolate truffles or red roses (a note to all men – do not use as a substitute for a gift).
CURB uses entirely natural or sustainable materials that are recycled after they’ve been used. If that is not possible, the materials are upcycled; for example a huge poster of Michael Jackson’s album next to Heathrow airport was made out of plastic that was later upcycled to mobile phone cases and various other goods.
To find out more about their fun and innovative approach to Out-Of-Home media, PR and experiential marketing, visit www.curbmedia.com
Sunday, 26th February 2012 at 7:49am
Nearly 90 per cent of US brands say that they monitor online conversations and feedback while 80 per cent also respond to feedback. More than three quarters of those polled also distribute customer feedback internally and nearly two thirds thought that listening and engaging on social media has raised brand awareness.
The article also highlights that more than two fifths cited availability of budget as the greatest internal challenge to listening and engagement, while more than a third said the same about their difficulty in managing programmes across multiple platforms.
'Almost a fifth cited privacy issues as the greatest challenge, while 30 per cent said the same about availability of talent. The top five departments that create strategies to listen to consumers are, in order, the social media team, marketing or public relations, web-interactive marketing, product marketing and marketing operations.
Half of businesses say that listening to their customers on social media is not a core function of their business. Just six per cent of companies said that listening and digital engagement initiatives are integral to their organisation,' the article says.
It seems that brands in the US are taking social media engagement seriously. It would be interesting to carry out similar research in the UK.
Article by Emily Nicholls for Corp Comms Magazine.
Sunday, 19th February 2012 at 3:50am
Sunday, 19th February 2012 at 2:40am
From 16th February American Express card members and merchants are able to register to use the platform on a first-come, first-serve basis. They will receive $100 in advertising credits to put towards bidding on promoted tweets and promoted accounts. Twitter had begun the rollout of self-serve, which lets advertisers make electronic payments instead of being invoiced by the sales team, in mid-November with a group of fewer than 20 advertisers and expanded the group to about 100.
Dick Costolo, CEO, commented, "So many hundreds of thousands and even millions of small businesses have been using Twitter effectively for years already, so by opening up our ad platform to all these folks as a mechanism for them to amplify the value they're already creating."
Find out more on Adage.
Saturday, 18th February 2012 at 4:42am
New research has revealed that brand engagement on social networks is not as positive as first thought.
According to B2B Marketing Magazine, 'Although the uptake remains high, users are demanding more, with two in five participants claiming to be ‘getting bored’ with social media.
The survey of 1275 British social media users found that just under half of respondents would not be positive about a product their ‘friends’ have followed and/or ‘liked’, with 43 per cent saying they are unlikely to talk about a brand on social media sites. In addition, just over half of participants revealed that they ‘do mind’ seeing ads on social networks that are based on their profile activities.
Dan Brilot, media consulting director at YouGov, says, “It appears that while social media can be a key tool in the brand marketer’s armoury, in particular to maximise commitment among those already highly engaged with the brand, it has not quite reached the effectiveness necessary to be considered as a truly mass media marketing tool.”
Tuesday, 31st January 2012 at 6:21am
One outcome was the development of a ‘crisis manual’, one that is comprehensive but also succinct, avoiding the danger of becoming so ‘big’ that no one will read it when it should be a useful, easy reference tool.
For multi-site locations, the development of a common core element of company best practice can easily be supplemented with pertinent local information, added into each site-specific manual. Any organisation operating internationally should also ensure that appropriate ‘early warning systems’ and international information networks are in place that operate across borders.
Another key outcome was the importance of your organisation being the principal trusted source of information for your own affairs, i.e. ensuring ‘ownership’ of your stakeholders through provision of information. This is increasingly a challenge in today’s networked world, with social media and ‘citizen journalists’, meaning there is little time before an issue becomes live and spreads across networks, potentially out of control.
Lots to consider, and thanks to Magnus Carter of Mentor Ltd for all his input into the day too.
Friday, 13th January 2012 at 8:35am
Tina Brown, editor of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, commented, "Newsweek was very much on the cultural forefront at the time of the show, it covered the events that are so much of the background for the show's drama - the burgeoning civil rights movement, the women's rights movement, the Vietnam War. That was Newsweek's cutting-edge beat and its flourishing journalistic subject. So it seemed like a wonderful marriage in a sense to take that and apply it to the magazine, to make the magazine an homage to the period."
This is either a great marketing coup for the producers of Mad Men or a very clever promotional tool for Newsweek. Either way it will be an issue to keep.
Read more about this on AdAge.
Wednesday, 11th January 2012 at 1:04am
There are some great case studies here as well as a free 25-page book looking at how Social Media is affecting Sales, Marketing and Customer Service.
Click here to see more
Tuesday, 27th December 2011 at 7:30am
In the 2010 study, buzzwords like “extensive experience,” “dynamic,” “motivated,” and “innovative” were the most overused buzzwords in various countries however LinkedIn says that since its global membership has grown from 85 million to more than 135 million members since 2010 the list has changed.
Here are the 2011 most used buzzwords:
4. Extensive experience
5. Track record
8. Problem solving
9. Communication skills
LinkedIn has also suggested some tips professionals can act on to increase the number of people viewing their LinkedIn Profile.
Click here to find out more
Tuesday, 13th December 2011 at 9:19am
The pages have two key elements, both of which are free. Ad Age tells us 'They can be customized with large header images that advertisers can use to display their logo and tagline more prominently than under the standard format, where branded elements of the page design are often partially covered by the time line of tweets. Brands can also choose to keep a particular tweet at the top of their time line, and that top tweet also auto-expands to reveal an embedded photo or video from Flickr, YouTube or other sources, without requiring the user to take action.'
Ad Age interviewed Twitter's Chief Revenue Officer Adam Bain to find out more about their plans. The launch will initially include brand pages for 21 marketers including American Express, Best Buy, Bing, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Dell , Disney, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and McDonald's who are all deemed strategic partners.
To read the full article please click here or to find out more about how to enhance your page click here.
Wednesday, 7th December 2011 at 9:38am
They found some interesting facts and created an infographic to show some of the key results. Twitter was deemed to be the most popular social network among B2B marketers however LinkedIn was found to create the most leads.
See the infographic here to find out more of the interesting results.
social-infographic-pardot.pdf (169 kb)
Saturday, 12th November 2011 at 5:14am
To understand what it is all about and how it is going to work The Think Tank has been looking at Google+ Pages and testing out their viability for network and social marketing. The system is certainly in its infancy and we assume that many features are to be added however below we summarise some of the pros and cons we have found so far:
1. Simple to Set Up
Google+ Pages are quick and easy to set up but somewhat limited at present in certain areas which we cover below.
2. Circles of Influence
Google+ is based upon creating a network of contacts which you add to 'Circles'. These can be friends, colleagues, clients, acquaintances, media or any other category that you wish to create. The great thing is that you can select who to share your content with so that if you only want to share with one or many of your circles you can or you alternatively you can share publicly.
This is great for sharing with customers, staff or specific groups that you may be marketing to and engaging with. It is simple and quick to add to your circles when searching within the network.
This organisation of contacts is a significant benefit over Facebook and offers many opportunities to businesses looking to engage with a range of stakeholders.
3. Tracking your Impact
If shared publicly you can see biogs of those that share and add them to your circles. You can also view other stats including influencers, chain lengths and languages.
4. Spreading the Word
Sharing content is simple, fast and not limited by the number of characters, as far as we can tell. You can add images, video, links, locations and graphics such as animated gifs that can certainly enhance your message.
These can be shared publically or just to the circles that you choose.
5. Get Face to Face
A very useful tool is the 'Hangout'. This is simple video conferencing between your circles.
Hangouts can be created quickly and you can invite those in your circles, individually or in groups to join in a video conference as long as they are online.
This is going to be a great tool for getting face to face with contacts and just think of the opportunities it offers in marketing terms.
6. Google+ Direct
This is an added function that will allow those using Google to add the + sign after a search term, taking users directly to the Google+ page for the brand they are looking for.
Apparently this is going to be based upon 'algorithms' so we will have to wait and see what is required for your page to start to work with Google+ Direct.
Now for some of the not so great bits:
The 'Negative' Bits
1. Limited Function
The integration of Google+ does not seem to be quite there when compared to Facebook and other platforms. We are sure that this functionality will come however at the moment there are certain areas that are lacking.
2. Set Up
You would expect Google+ to link and import directly from your YouTube and Picasa streams for video and images but at present you have to load all of your content individually, one image or video at a time. It would be much more useful if you could link to your YouTube channel and pull across your videos.
Profiles are also limited in content that you can add and link to and offer minimal functionality and flexibility.
3. Monitoring, Moderating and Notifications
There is little functionality for the above at present. Firstly you cannot restrict people posting comments on your public posts and secondly there is no email notification to warn you that they have done so. This means that you have to constantly check online to ensure that your stream is not being attacked or having a negative impact. Privacy settings are very limited.
4. Building your Circles
There is limited integration with email clients at present. For example, if you want to add your Outlook contacts to your circles you have to firstly export them to a .csv file and then upload into Google+. Inviting these individuals to join your circles is equally laborious. Oh, and by the way, there is currently no way of inviting people to join your page, as far as we could see, only for an individual's profile.
5. Monitoring Activity
There currently appears to be a couple of glitches with viewing Circles and those that add your page. When in Circles you can select to see all your contact or those that have 'Added' you however when you select to filter it does not work, you are left with the same list of all contacts.
Also, as far as we can see you can be notified by email if someone interacts with your personal page however notifications are not sent for people interacting with your company page - you have to keep checking back to see if there is any activity.
6. Showing your Circles
Finally, and really only of interest to those starting out, you can decide to show or not show your circles publically. This is great when you are starting out and only have a few followers as you do not want the world to know that you are not that popular. However, the downside is that if you decide to hide your circles your profile tells the world that you have '0' people in your circles - GREAT!
We are sure that this is just a first stage in the introduction of Pages in Google+ and that in due course many of the points above will be addressed. It is going to be interesting to see whether Google can challenge Facebook and whether those that are comfortable with Facebook will want to switch over and start building their networks again. What Google has in its favour is its reach and influence online. We wait with baited breath.
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