Keep up to date with our blog entries on:
Tuesday, 18th June 2013 at 9:01am
The PR industry magazine PR Week cites Bruce Daisley, UK sales director of Twitter, as commenting at the recent Adobe summit that too many brands are using social media campaigns because they are cool rather than as a marketing platform with clear objectives. Hear, hear Bruce.
It reports that Daisley said too many campaigns have been rushed through in a bid to increase fans and followers.
In the same issue (3rd May 2013), PR Week reports the Twitter has signed its biggest advertising deal to date with Starcom MediaVest, who's clients include P&G, Microsoft and Coca-Cola. As well as access to data and new products, they will potentially receive "preferred advertising slots".
If you listened to WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell being interviewed a few weeks ago on 'social media' he was definitely in the "Twitter is more for PR" camp...
What are your views?
Thursday, 13th June 2013 at 10:35am
At the Think Tank, we’re very proud to have worked with Formica Group over the past 10 years.
This year is a BIG milestone for Formica Group - it’s the 100th Year Anniversary of the invention of Formica® laminate.
We are starting to celebrate the 100 Years Anniversary in Europe and visitors to the Design District in Holland last week got a sneak preview of the new Formica® laminate Anniversary Collection, designed by Abbott Miller of Pentagram in New York.
Formica Group has also produced this short video where designers and architects around the world wish Formica® laminate a “Happy Birthday”…
Thursday, 13th June 2013 at 9:15am
We thought that Microsoft had created a great print ad with their Wi-fi advert, but this one from Nivea offers stiff competition.
Created by Giovanni + Draftfcb in São Paulo, Brazil, this print ad has a solar panel to allow you charge your phone.
Whilst it may not work over here due to the lack of sun, it's definitely a clever concept and is another step towards making print ads more inventive and memorable.
Watch a demonstration of the advert in the video below.
Wednesday, 12th June 2013 at 7:11pm
As part of their 'Smarter Cities' campaign, IBM has produced some clever and useful billboards.
Providing a ramp to help get heavy luggage up stairs, a shelter from the rain or even a bench to sit on, the new poster campaign, created by Ogilvy & Mather France, has been created with the belief that cities should be designed with the needs of those that live there in mind.
The aim of the smart furniture is to encourage forward thinkers and local leaders to make their city smarter and therefore better.
Watch a video for the campaign below.
Friday, 7th June 2013 at 9:39am
The new tool, which has been tested with a few brands already, allows users to sign up via their twitter credentials within the app or website. With one click their username and email address is completed for them and then securely sent to the brand.
This seems to be further expansion by Twitter to appeal to brands, especially following some high profile hacking that has taken place recently.
Currently the lead generation card is only available to Twitter's managed clients but there are plans to roll out globally and to small to medium businesses in the future.
Find out more on their blog.
Thursday, 6th June 2013 at 9:52am
A tongue-in-cheek campaign for the National Trust was launched in the East of England late last month.
The posters, which are placed in strategic locations across the National Trust sites, encourage visitors to enjoy their natural surroundings, using lines like 'Keep on the Grass' and 'Please Do Touch'.
The signs are designed by The Click Design Consultants and also encourage people to use the hashtag #NaturesPlayground as part of the light-hearted campaign which will feature in print ads, posters and promotional literature.
Thursday, 6th June 2013 at 7:47am
There have been many tips offered for writing press releases. The key factor is to write a release that gets the main points of your news across clearly and gains the reader’s interest (whether a journalist, blogger or investor etc). This is simple but sometimes hard to do when you may be loaded with information that you think could be relevant.
It’s wise to write down the core news elements when you start to prepare your draft. There is nothing to stop you following this release up with a subsequent release, if you have more news or a progress report to give.And a word of warning: don’t make claims that you can’t back up. You may think this makes the release more attention-grabbing but if you can’t back up a claim with facts and figures, don’t put it in. A good journalist will check the facts. Your competitors may read it and counter your claims too.One of the best pieces of advice for preparing a release I was given was by a journalist, who referred to Kipling’s Six Honest Men. At the time I had to look that up, so to save you doing so here is the appropriate reference:
“I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When,and How and Where and Who.”
The Kipling reference relates to the fact that you need to contain all of the elements of the story within the first paragraph of your release. That’s because of time pressures. The rest of the release might not get read, but if you have the elements of the story in the opening paragraph this is what will hook the reader. You can work through the six honest men as a check. Don’t forget to put the date when you are issuing the news, and if the story is time sensitive, and the time too, in this first paragraph or just above it.
Who are you writing the release for? Make your releases relevant; you may need to prepare two versions of the same news release for example if you are sending one out to the trade press and one out to the local press. What the journalists will engage with is different in terms of the content and what their publications will be looking for in terms of news, even though the core story itself will remain the same.
Language and clarity
Use language that is straightforward and business-like. Don’t waffle. You can leave further explanations and references to technical information for the ‘Notes to editors’ (see below). As a rule of thumb, abbreviations should be spelled out in full the first time you use them, even if you think that everyone knows what the letters stand for eg: Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). After writing out it out in full the first time, you can use the abbreviation thereafter. Use standard measures consistently - don’t mix them in different references: the box measured 50cms high and one inch deep. If this is what you have been given, go and find the correct measurements in imperial and metric of all dimensions.
Subsequent paragraphs expand the story and a quote is usually included (not necessary if you are targeting the traditional broadcast media though). Adding in a quote from a company spokesperson or an agreed third party adds interest and can help bring a story to life. You can also use more conversational language in the quote otherwise it can feel wooden. If one of your staff has won an award for example, have a quote from them too. Killer quotes are passionate: “We have won this award through the efforts made by all of our staff here at Widgets Ltd over the past 12 months. We couldn’t have made this sort of progress without this sustained effort”. Rather than predictable: “We are very pleased that Widgets Ltd has received this award.”
Notes to editors
This is a really useful convention to be aware of. Editor’s notes appear at the end of the release and should be written under a separate heading ‘Notes to editors’. This is the place where you can put in more detailed background information, appropriate web addresses; expand on sources of data etc. It shows you can back up what you are talking about with more context. Depending on how the journalist writes their story this information may or may not be included. Put in a short background paragraph on your organisation here too and the website address.
Take time to proof read your release before you send it out. It is often worth getting a colleague to give it a proof too as they will often see things that you haven’t because you wrote the copy. Don’t rely on spell checks; we’ve all had that occasion when the spell checker has changed the original, misspelling word into something quite different.
Wednesday, 5th June 2013 at 12:34pm
After their 'Ship my pants' advert, Kmart and agency DraftFCB have created a new borderline ad.
This time promoting fuel prices, they use American expressions to create a rude sounding commercial with their 'Big Gas Savings' spot.
Perhaps not as funny as the previous advert, mainly as you have an idea what to expect, but it still has some funny moments and does lead you to wonder where can they take this next.
Watch the advert below.
Wednesday, 5th June 2013 at 10:57am
In this age of smartphones, tablets, emails, text messages and instant messaging, one thing has become slightly neglected: spelling.
To try and address this, at least in part, Scrabble and Ogilvy Paris have created wi-fi hotspots in areas that normally have no internet connection across Paris.
The catch? You have to earn your time by playing Scrabble. Given some letters, users must create a word. The higher the scrabble score for the word, the more wi-fi minutes they get.
A clever idea to promote correct spelling, Scrabble and remind people of the fun they can have with words. Take a look at the video case study below.
Wednesday, 5th June 2013 at 9:46am
Found on BuzzFeed, these adverts for the Vancouver Aquarium are the work of TAXI.
Clever and thought provoking they promote the various exhibitions taking place at the aquarium.
The campaigns include pregnancy tests in men's urinals that become positive, highlighting the fact that for some sea-creatures it is the male that bears the children.
Another included a board with a shark fin attached whilst the advert itself was only visible at low tide, and another used its placement on street lights to mimic the Angler Fish.
Take a look at the full collection of creative here.
Thursday, 30th May 2013 at 5:10pm
The competition, developed by Manning Gottlieb OMD in conjunction with DG MediaMind, uses Skype to encourage more users to submit photos of themselves wearing their spectacles via their web-cam. Using Skype to promote the competition makes sense as it is one of the biggest video calling services, and recently has been used a Microsoft as a replacement for its Messenger service.
James Hayr, head of specialist sales at Microsoft Advertising, says: “This is the first time an advertising campaign in the UK has used Skype’s video capabilities within a creative solution to bring a brand message to life. Skype’s ability to make more meaningful connections over video means that this is the only platform a campaign like this could have been executed on, outstripping the reach of its competitors.”
The campaign will run till the end of June and will be supported by digital display ads on MSN.
Thursday, 30th May 2013 at 8:38am
In Moscow illegal parking is a problem, one that leads to many drivers having their car towed to a location an hour away from the city centre.
In a new campaign, Mercedes has started to offer test drives of their Smart car to these drivers to try and encourage them to switch from the larger vehicles they are used to a smaller car which should be easier to park.
The campaigns came about as Mercedes realised that there was no interest in their city friendly cars, so along with BBDO Moscow they helped 'save' 623 stranded drivers, using a fleet of 40 Smart cars around 8 shopping malls. As a result they found test drives increased 10 fold and purchases by 300% in the two weeks following the event.
Watch a video of the event below.
Wednesday, 29th May 2013 at 6:45pm
BNP Paribas has launched what it describes as the first fully-digital mobile bank; 'Hello Bank'.
To commemorate the event Publicis Conseil, in collaboration with master production company B-Reel and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, recorded a special performance of 'Carmen'.
During a performance in Prague led by conductor Libor Pesek, the outfit's 60 musicians put aside their instruments and picked up mobile phones and tablets.
To show how much effort went into creating the performance a behind the scenes video was also released which how the mobile devices were hooked up to 227 different interfaces, and linked together via WiFi.
Watch both the performance and behind the scenes below.
Tuesday, 28th May 2013 at 9:50am
This post was written by The Think Tank's PR Director Samantha Dawe, as part of our on-going sponsorship of the B2B Marketing Knowledge Bank.
Just been having a chat with a good contact on a key industry magazine for the architect and design sector, and the subject of that magazine’s annual awards came up...
Now I know how passionate B2B Marketing magazine is about its very own annual awards…and rightly so, but it made me reflect on why we enter and why we encourage clients to enter industry awards.
We have worked with one of our clients for almost a decade. Certainly for the past four years have prepared entries with them for a European-wide series of awards that are seen as particularly prestigious. This year they won one. They are over the moon, and so are we. The press release about this Award is going to be issued globally by the various communications teams.
Entering, being shortlisted and hopefully winning awards can help achieve press coverage certainly.
But winning an industry award can also boost staff morale, attract new business, impress potential investors, gain prestige and recognition from peers and respect from customers, and raise awareness of a new product or service.
It’s worth considering an entry for a local business award for these reasons too – usually in the UK organized on a county by county basis. A local platform for celebrating the very best business successes, they will not only cover how well your business is doing, but aspects like customer service, environmental awareness and staff training and development.
For staff to see their organization recognized within their immediate community and can be really motivating.
It’s also a great way to stand back a bit and assess what you’ve been focusing on and to celebrate any innovations and efforts that are making a real difference to how you do business, or in the services and products you provide.
Of course much depends on the time and resource you have to devote to preparing entries. So set a realistic, tangible goal, for example, entering at least two different Award schemes this year. And if you don’t win the first time, don’t give up… next time you might be that winner.
Wednesday, 22nd May 2013 at 6:01pm
An advert for Tempur-Pedic mattresses from America has nailed the concept that Snickers has been working on in its current campaign.
Without giving too much away this clever ad really has you guessing and is worth a watch.
Take a look below and let us know what you think.
Wednesday, 22nd May 2013 at 3:36pm
When branding a company or product, a lot of thought needs to go into the colours used as it has been proven that certain colours provoke certain psychological responses.
For example, most fast-food chains use red to provoke hunger, whilst luxury brands will tend to use black, gold, silver or white to convey a feeling of sophistication.
These and other reactions to different colours are highlighted by the infographic to the right.
Featured on PR Daily, the infographic was produced by CertaPro Painters in the U.S., possibly as a marketing ploy of their own.
Friday, 17th May 2013 at 2:31pm
In a new advert Audi has brought together two actors who have played the same character. Both Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto have played Spock in the Star Trek movies, with Nimoy portraying the character in the original series and movies and Quinto taking the reigns for the new 'rebooted' movies.
So it comes as no surprise that Audi is asking the question, which Spock is better? In the advert we see the two playing chess online, then a new challenge is laid down.
The commercial is comical, showcasing their latest car, but drawing on some past achievements of Nimoy with an interesting ending.
Created by the same team that produced the viral dollar shave club commercial, Paulilu and agency PMK*BNC.
Watch it below.
Friday, 17th May 2013 at 8:01am
The value of your company and products’ reputation should not be underestimated. Reputation should be treated as an asset. Reputation is everyone’s responsibility. A good reputation buys you the benefit of the doubt when things go wrong.
The toughest lesson is to learn that sometimes it’s not what has happened that is the issue – it’s what people think has happened. Perception is everything.
What is an issue that can affect an organisation’s reputation?
“A condition or event, internal or external to the organisation, that if it continues will have a significant effect on the functioning or performance of the organisation or on its future interests”.
- Staff dispute
- Shortage of stock
- Supplier goes out of business
- Negative comments published online
- Computer virus
- Change in working hours for staff
- Health and Safety
Sign up to relevant Google alerts around your organisation’s name. If appropriate use other software available that will help you monitor mentions online. Be prepared to respond to comments if needed but you must be straightforward about who you are and never let emotional language influence what you are saying.
Do you know who your organisation’s stakeholders are? If not, find out. Stakeholder groups can include employees, clients/customers, opinion formers such as trade associations and professional bodies, your local community, investors in your organisation and key media who will act as commentators on what you are doing.
Don’t wait until there is a problem to engage with people; be proactive wherever you can. This also means getting together with colleagues in other departments to share and help identify potential causes for concern, even if an issue does not actually materialise.
You can gather information to help identify and manage risks via:
- Staff surveys
- Industrial relations
- Customers’ feedback
- Product development teams
- HR and Legal teams
- Health and Safety audits
Think about developing a crisis plan – you may need to get in expert external help. At least have a record of people/agencies that can help you if needed.
What threats can you anticipate? What do you know based on past experience? Do you know how to handle journalists, or who is the nominated person in your organisation that looks after this? This all goes back to having regular dialogue with your colleagues in other departments too – not just when the problem has happened.
Five core tips to get you started:
1. How much access during work time do your employees have to engage with social media and company data?
Blocking access to the internet or certain sites is often seen as the domain of the IT manager, but in today’s workplace this goes beyond merely the computer at your desk.In our networked environment people can access content and store information and data via their phone, tablet or laptop at any time of day. Therefore the rules are changing and your organisation needs to adapt.Expert Jamie Claret (www.amazingsupport.co.uk) suggests for starters you need think about:Good antivirus softwareSimple blocking systemsAdvanced blocking and monitoringPreventing sensitive data leaving your businessThe impact data leakage and wasted time during work hours versus empowering staff with access to these sources.
2. Does your organisation have a clear social media policy?
Social media encompasses a broad range of online activities, all of which can have a marked impact on the credibility, perceptions and awareness of an organisation. Outside the workplace rights to privacy and free speech can protect online activity conducted in someone’s personal social network with that person’s personal email address. However, the inevitable connections that can and are made with someone’s workplace can blur the boundaries. What is your organisation’s policy on this?
3. Have these policies been communicated to all staff?
Are they part of your induction programme?Your policy and procedures need to be communicated – don’t just rely on a document that sits in the drawer. Building this into your employee induction programme or at a team update meeting brings this to the forefront of people’s minds.Are your employees aware of the potential negative impact that online comments can have? Where social media interaction is not used exclusively for business, it is important to provide reasonable guidelines on online behaviour if any reference is made to the workplace. Furthermore you may need to draw attention to matters regarding confidentiality as they relate to your organisation or business, and how this can also cover photos or images posted online for example.
4. Are you aware of how other stakeholders might be looking at your organisation through social media?
Media management is likely to rest with either an external agency or your in-house communications team, or for smaller enterprises with a nominated employee or manager. The press have increasingly turned to social media channels not only regarding breaking news, but also to uncover more intimate details about an organisation.This can also be true of any stakeholders. And content posted online is hard to have removed… therefore you need to be as aware of what is being said about the organisation online, as others will be. Do you have any mechanisms in place to facilitate this?
5. Are you ready to act if something potentially negative happens?
You need to have a contingency plan; whether it’s customers commenting on a faulty product or poor service, or a disgruntled employee out to stir up some reactions or actually carrying out some form of deception. How will you react? Who needs to be aware of a problem as and when it occurs and importantly who should be tasked with sorting it out? Do you have an issues management team and plan? Does this plan map onto the online world?
Wednesday, 15th May 2013 at 4:36pm
American Airlines has rolled out a new perk for social media users, access to their Admirals Club lounges, regardless whether you are flying with them or not.
To gain a one-day pass for the club, you need to have a Klout score of 55. What does this mean? Klout is a tool that measures your usage and engagement on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
The perk includes almost 40 lounges across the world including airports in San Francisco, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo and London.
With others already signed up to Klout Perks including Sony, Nike, Microsoft, Disney, Audi and Gilt, this is a major push by the social measurement tool.
A clever development, but one can't help thinking that social influencers may see through it, regardless of whether they take advantage of it or not.
Wednesday, 15th May 2013 at 3:01pm
The videos, which were originally made for the Asian market, first appeared on Microsoft's general YouTube channel by mistake, but now are openly being shared.
Watch the unusual series below.