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Say “No Mas!” To Segmenting Your PR Strategy

Most marketers are paying attention to multicultural audiences and, in particular, U.S. Hispanics. No wonder: with 131 Hispanic babies born every hour into a population that represents $1.2 trillion in purchasing power, Hispanics are an important consumer group for companies to reach.

Companies are being urged to incorporate a “total market approach” meaning they should consider a cross-cultural approach to marketing – one that taps into universal truths, rather than specific ethnic groups. In theory, if this approach is deployed correctly, it allows organizations to influence and reach all consumers – not just one segment of the population. However, what many do not realize is that even if your company employs a total market approach, your strategy can fall apart once it’s turned over to PR.

If you are utilizing a total market approach, your PR strategies must be aligned. Here are tips to ensure you’re covering all bases:

  • Understand the audience: The majority of Hispanics, specifically millennial Hispanics, consider themselves “ambicultural” – meaning they feel 100% Latino and 100% American and are easily able to switch from one culture to another. This cultural duality creates an appetite for all things Hispanic. Total market PR campaigns and communications should be culturally relevant and reflective of this Latino-American life. A reminder to stay devoid of stereotypes and sensitivities by doing research beforehand.
  • Get your PR teams talking: If you represent a large organization or brand, you most likely have two PR agencies or teams – one exclusively handling your multicultural outreach that works within its own silo. If you are managing multiple PR agencies, make sure teams are coordinated and utilize a cross-cultural strategy. Total market PR campaigns that share a common cultural thread – a Hispanic spokesperson or a nod to a Hispanic passion point (e.g., multi-generational families, Latin-inspired music or food) can prove to be more effective with all audiences – not just Hispanics.
  • Reach your audience where it consumes content: The media industry now includes more than 100 networks dedicated to Hispanic programming – with hundreds upon hundreds of print, radio and online media outlets targeted to this audience. Don’t exclude media outlets that may only target Spanish-speaking Hispanics or similarly, English-speaking consumers, in general. A lot of Hispanics consume content in both languages so it’s likely to have more of an impact if you get your message in both.

It’s also important to know that Hispanics watch 62 percent more digital video than non-Hispanics – about six hours of video per month on their mobile phones according to Nielsen. And according to eMarketer, 72 percent of Hispanic Internet users will use social networking in 2014 vs. 68 percent of the total population. For these ultra-engaged Hispanics, digital and social media offer an immediate way to start a fruitful dialogue.

Successful PR lasts beyond a campaign or project. Similarly, total market PR initiatives should be consistent and continuous with audiences. Look beyond short-term ROI and consider engaging Hispanics with long-term communications. Known for their considerable loyalty to brands, this will prove worthwhile in the end.

Food for Thought: How Advertisers Can Stoke Super Bowl Buzz Year Round

When it comes to reaching a mass audience, TV is the undisputed king of all media (sorry, Howard Stern). Or is it? In this column, originally published in Adweek, Radha Subramanyam of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment demonstrates how radio delivers not only reach, but receptivity and the sense of community consumers want. Read on for insights on how marketers can create Super Bowl-style results with the original social medium:

How Advertisers Can Stoke Super Bowl Buzz Year Round

Look to radio for reach, receptivity and community By Radha Subramanyam

Football fans around the country geared up for weeks before last Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers and their opposing coaches—brothers Jim and John Harbaugh, who took sibling rivalry to new heights.

The big game did not disappoint.

From the power outage to the 49ers mounting an almost-comeback to that electric Beyoncé performance—there was no shortage of drama. And the commercials were no exception.

For marketers, advertising during the Super Bowl is a once-a-year moment of unprecedented reach and consumer attention. Never does advertising have a more captive audience. But most brands can’t afford the $3.8 million it takes to buy just a 30-second spot. What’s more, everyday TV buys don’t come close to generating the awareness of a Super Bowl spot—and in fact, can be a fumble for brands.

The magic of the Super Bowl ad spectacle is that rare alchemy of reach, receptivity and community. Don’t underestimate the power of community; at a time when we are more plugged in than ever through email, Twitter and Facebook, what many of us actually yearn for is to feel really connected. That’s the feeling we get when we’re sitting around the living room with family and friends, engaged in a common experience—like the Super Bowl. But if you want to achieve Super Bowl-sized results all year, radio is the only medium that delivers a Super Bowl kind of reach, receptivity and community year round.

To read the full column, click here.

Super Bowl XLVII – Cut the Lights, Cue the Tweets

Super Bowl hype has become almost formulaic over the years. In the weeks leading up to the actual game, many marketers release their TV spots in increments online for everyone to get an early look. Then there’s the game, which always has an exhilarating halftime show. The commercials are discussed ad nauseum for days afterward. It’s clear the formula is working. This year the Bowl didn’t break its own record, but still reached the 100 million viewer threshold. The only real variable is the game itself, which was another exciting finish featuring the extremely rare voluntary safety play.

When the lights went out in the third quarter,  we reached uncharted territory; the largest event of the year was put on hold due to a power outage, and the networks, players, fans in the stands and the viewing audience were scratching our heads. Some ads like Bud Light’s Lucky Chair were run again to fill the gap. Many took to social networks.

My personal Twitter feed was full of jokes – the most common being Bane / The Dark Knight Rises references, Beyonce’s “second” performance, and crude Ray Lewis jokes – but the tweets that stood out the most were from brands.

oreo tweet

Oreo stole the show by following the brand’s “Whisper Fight” spot with a tweet that perfectly inserted their product into the immediate chaos of the blackout.  Other kudos go to Audi, PBS, and Tide. I’ll even give credit to Calvin Klein, though that Vine was for a different target audience than the one I belong to, but I digress.

While massive marketing events like the Super Bowl seem so planned out from every possible angle, the lesson learned – for PR professionals, advertisers, social media gurus, and others, is to always be ready to make the most of the unexpected and quickly adapt to the unknown. Of course,  that is much easier said than done but these brands showed us it’s possible, and can help change brand perception with just 140 characters and a mouse click.

Let the countdown for Super Bowl XLVIII begin. We hope MetLife Stadium in New Jersey can withstand the high power consumption that the Super Bowl demands.

Truth and Privacy in Advertising – Is it ‘Mission: Impossible?’

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As the advertising world continues to collide with the digital age, issues of consumer privacy and truthfulness in marketing are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. These were the topics addressed in an Advertising Week event Thursday evening hosted by MediaCom, Davis & Gilbert LLP, and Idevoita at the Liberty Theater in New York.

Following an introduction by MediaCom U.S. CEO Sasha Savic, Jonathan Salem Baskin – who co-authored the newly-published Tell The Truth with MediaCom’s own Sue Unerman – shared his views on the relationship between transparency, purchaser data, and the emergence of “brand truth” as a basis for effective customer relationships. He discussed why it is so important for brands to be honest and forthcoming with consumers, especially in today’s world where brands don’t only talk TO consumers, but also WITH them via social channels. The consumer has more power now than ever before, and advertisers can use this as an asset when they correctly – and honestly – engage with the buying public.

Also part of the presentation was a conversation between Ronald Urbach, Chairman of the law firm Davis & Gilbert, and FTC Commissioner Julie Brill. They addressed a wide range of topics critical to the advertising industry, from privacy to data collection and security, citing specific examples and particular responsibilities of the government agency.

The packed theater was addressed by the real life Frank Abagnale, who was famously portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the big screen classic “Catch Me If You Can.” Abignale told his life story from teenage runaway turned identity thief to convicted criminal and FBI informant and academy instructor.

Following the event was a cocktail reception at Lucille’s (inside B.B. King’s Blues Club) sponsored by MediaCom and Evidon.

What do you think are the biggest issues regarding privacy and advertising? What brands do you think “tell the truth” the best? Or the worst? Share your thoughts below.

DGC Rewind

This is the first in a series titled “DGC Rewind”, pioneered and written by our summer intern, Julia Tomasek.

Before finding our niches in the whirlwind world of PR, many of us here at DGC have experienced an array of previous jobs that were interesting, unexpected, and even humorous, helping to enrich our already effervescent office environment.

By digging into the past employment of my fellow coworkers, I aim to showcase the diverse pool of characters we have working here at DiGennaro Communications. The “DGC Rewind” blog series will introduce readers to the multi-faceted experiences of my coworkers that shaped the unique, hard-working individuals they are today.

DGC founder Sam DiGennaro (aka Sammy D) used to spend her college summers supervising rowdy kids as well as manning a mini-bus to transport them to and from “the world’s best day camp.” A favorite among campers and counselors alike, Sam had patience and bottomless energy, two traits that won her the “Counselor of the Year” title at the camp.

Sam’s “celebrity” status at the camp even landed her a spot in their national commercial, where she was shown directing her troops into the mini-bus she drove, transporting them to a typical fun-filled day at camp. (See video at 0:09).

DGC’s President, Howard Schacter, also has a noteworthy occupational past. In the mid-90’s, Howard’s sports-marketing/PR job sent him on a month-long journey to the Maui Invitational NCAA Basketball Tournament–all expenses paid. It was an ideal trip for the self-proclaimed basketball junkie, providing Howard the opportunity to meet some of his favorite players and coaches like Dean Smith and Bob Knight.

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Above, DGC’s Howard Schacter presides over a press conference with University of North Carolina’s Coach Dean Smith and guard Jeff MacInnis at the 1995 NCAA Maui Invitational.

However, the saying “work hard, play hard” definitely resonates here, as Howard and his colleagues were responsible for transforming Chaminade University’s small-scale recreation center into a major venue to facilitate media coverage and relations for the 75 press who attended the event. Howard’s experience with this sports-marketing firm is reflective of DGC’s brand message that working hard does not necessarily have to be painful. It can be fun, too.

The Hunger Games Teaches Us That Timing Really Is Everything

I’ll be honest with you: I think I made my way through all three books of The Hunger Games series in less than a week. So, when the studio slowly started releasing images and interactive web sites associated with the first movie, I was in the loop and sharing the content with my friends. We were so excited about all the hype surrounding the movie that we even went to see it at midnight when it opened, and we were not disappointed—or ashamed. Maybe we should have been. (Although the most embarrassing part of the whole experience was this completely ridiculous teaser for the final movie of the Twilight Saga.)

You didn’t have to be an advertising industry expert to see how Lionsgate slowly built hysteria around The Hunger Games. The whole thing was like a scavenger hunt, giving Hunger Games fanatics the opportunity to interact with the series directly through traditional and non-traditional media, and build a connection with the movie before it even opened.

And to great success. The Hunger Games was predicted to make $90 million during its opening weekend—it raked in $155 million.

It goes without saying that the real star of The Hunger Games movie wasn’t Jennifer Lawrence or the incredibly good-looking Liam Hemsworth—it was the social marketing push, which the New York Times’ Brooks Barnes sums up nicely in this article about how the franchise generated “must-see fever.” What brands can learn from The Hunger Games is that the more subtle, phased approach builds suspense and drives interest in a product—even if the audience already knows the story. By serving products up piece-by-piece, brands make fans feel like they discovered them on their own. It is that sense of ownership that builds true loyalty, and in return, a record-breaking opening weekend.

So, when you’re working on your next campaign, think about the who, what and where—but also think about the when. Knowing the best time to reach your audience is what will get you ahead in the game.

How Much Have We Really Changed?

In the weeks leading up to the season premier of AMC’s Mad Men, various business publications had a field day showcasing the sexist ads of earlier eras.

As astonishing as some of them are, it’s legitimate to ask just how much society and the industry have evolved, especially when you consider that the percentage of women comprising the advertising workforce has remained flat—holding at 55 percent since 1982, the earliest available data from the 4A’s.

Belvedere vodka recently ran an online ad that was suggestive of an attempted rape.  A steakhouse in Georgia thought it was funny to post on Facebook the name of one of its sandwiches—the Caribbean black and bleu–in honor of Chris Brown and singer Rihanna. And who could forget last year’s Chapstick ad?

In all three instances, the ads went viral, not because people thought them clever, but because consumers wanted to express anger and disgust at words and images that were demeaning or made light of violence against women.

Even though the companies apologized for the ads, it’s tempting to lament that societal attitudes about these issues haven’t changed much. However, the speed with which consumers can and do shame brands on social media regarding questionable messages gives us reason to hope.

Book PR in a Digital World

Sometimes when you attend a panel here at SXSW, you wind up hearing a topline conversation of things you already know and not a deeper dive into things that you really want to know. Discoverability and the New World of Book PR offered a refreshing instance of the latter with a variety of tips for today’s authors.

While the discussion on the changing media landscape, use of social media and basic pitching were things we know and practice, Rusty Shelton and Barbara Henricks – book PR specialists – made it clear that timing and access are critical to success in this digital world (sounds familiar).

With fewer reporters and publications, authors need to begin the process earlier and earlier to build proper momentum and enhance success after a book is published. A bottom up approach – starting with social media and working your way to top-tier broadcast — while seemingly slow at first can have greater impact than an initial hit or two.

To kick-start your book marketing journey and enhance PR efforts, consider the following:

Timing: Start talking up your book as soon as you have a title and topic. This will help gather interest from your inner network of respected friends, family and associates to get the buzz started. Waiting until the last minute will put you behind the eight ball when it comes to securing more traditional coverage.

Social Media: Begin talking about your book or topics closely related to it on Facebook, Twitter, a blog and with bloggers to share your expertise and engage with potential readers. Once the book is available for review, these supporters will be the first to offer a positive review and start spreading the love. And don’t feel like any outlet is too small – optimization is your best friend — so take advantage of those blog opportunities.

Video: Don’t have the time necessary to dedicateto social media? Start small with an hour per week and progress from there. In the meantime, create a video for your website that allows visitors to visualize you as an author and engage based upon your passion and expertise (not to mention help with broadcast pitching efforts).

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to write a good book; it’s up to you, your community and PR team to help make it a best seller. With the proper timing, community and tools in place, this can be a reality.

When in Austin…

A group of DGCers is heading to Austin, TX, for SXSW Interactive again this year (March 9-13), and since they are now “experienced” attendees, we asked them what people should know to get the most they can from the experience, which seems to get more overwhelming each year.

Tips for attending: 

  • Don’t be afraid to approach speakers after attending their sessions. It’s all about networking—go shake hands!
  • Pace yourself. There is a LOT to see and do.  Study the schedules (panels as well as parties) and prioritize to make the most of your experience.
  • Missed the daily keynote because you were busy networking? Check it out online at http://sxsw.com/interactive/live.
  • Attend parties. There are many that are free and open to anyone with a badge (for a guide click here: http://austin.sanfranfreesco.com/event/filter?tagFilter=26). Try to attend:
    • The Mix at Six presented by Can We Network (3/9, 6pm)
    • The Interactive Opening Party presented by frog design and Microsoft (3/10, 8pm)
    • Mashable SXSWi House 2012 (3/11, 9pm)

Despite the high-tech atmosphere, it’s a good idea to take lots of business cards with you. Yes, the print kind. Maybe  Freshbooks and Shoeboxed will collaborate again as they did last year. This article tells how their brilliant promotion helped attendees organize all those wonderful new contacts people made at SXSW.

And check back here at The Hit Board which will be updated regularly by the on-site DGC team with trends, attendee insights and more.

From Across the Pond: Every Little Added Value Helps

Sometimes it’s refreshing to hear a PR person share her thoughts from a consumer perspective on what brands should be doing to improve shopper loyalty and marketing programs. Claudia_M at Eulogy recently shed light on the fact that today’s consumers – even across the pond – want the brands they use day-in and day-out to listen to their desires and reward them for their continued business.  Take a look below at her opinions on Tesco, BBC and Starbucks, and let us know your thoughts on the matter. For one…Many DGCers would welcome the chance to have an extra shot of coffee in our tall mocha every morning…

It’s common knowledge that the marketing services sector has never had to work harder to gain consumer trust and as a consumer and PR professional alike I feel that this is how it should be. I don’t want to be told what to do, I will make up my own mind whether I choose to buy a product or use one service over another. As consumers we’ve never been so powerful – we can pick and choose where we spend our hard-earned cash and have disloyal love affairs with different brands. “Customer is king” and all that jazz. But seriously, it’s one thing for a consumer to buy a product and a whole different matter for a brand to expect us to be their long term “friend.” Brands must adapt, particularly as we’re increasingly inclined to jump ship for better value. I have been working with marketing agency {united} who are keen to tease out the balance that brands provide in value but also in standing up for their values. This has got me thinking about how brands go beyond selling a product – it’s everything (and added extras) that comes with it. So beyond the cheap price tag, what brands are giving back a little more to the consumer?

Marketing services has a strong role to play in improving people’s lives and helping us to live them. Just a few weeks ago the senior vice-president of marketing at Unilever warned that the profession has become about “selling for selling’s sake” and that it needs to move beyond a pure commercial stance to promote products that “create progress and improve lives.” It was a bold argument which I wholeheartedly agree with. I question the marketing strategies of some of the most well-known behemoths. Take Tesco. Or should I say ‘Detestco.’ Tesco imposes itself on every one of our communities like a stranger that arrives uninvited. In return we receive a highly prized 2-4-1 offer! It has such a great strapline, ‘Every little helps.’ However, it doesn’t do anything in little proportions. Tesco marketing department should perhaps look more deeply into the meaning behind such a promise. Having been largely responsible for changing the look of retail, driving out independent stores by selling everything from clothes to irons, I’d like to see Tesco helping and educating customers to live a little better. Could it remove all plastic carrier bags from its stores perhaps? And the recent halving of Clubcard points awarded per pound of purchases was not such a good idea – it looks to many shoppers as if it is giving with one hand and taking with the other. It is its own fault for getting customers addicted to points in the first place.

Yet, there are some brands out there that are taking steps to listen to consumers’ needs. The beautiful BBC for one. It was no surprise that the world’s best known broadcasting brand made it to 5th place in the recent Consumer Superbrands index. What I admire about it is how it increasingly engages with and responds to consumers’ desires. Choosing to listen to social media groundswell when supporters of BBC 6 Music tried to save it from closure really sticks in my mind as an example of healthy brand-to-consumer friendship.

I have until recently been rather skeptical about Starbucks in terms of its brand values (although I am admittedly swayed by a skinny Frapa-dappa-ccino, or whatever they’re called). Starbucks hasn’t always been friendly to its customers in giving them a little extra to make them want to return, especially with the likes of Cafe Nero providing a good loyalty card scheme. But Starbucks is now providing such a scheme and even better news came last week that it will be pouring an extra shot of coffee into our cups at no extra cost. Amazing! And it’s all down to customer taunts that its coffee isn’t as good as Costa and Cafe Nero. Improving a service directly in response to their customers should keep them sweet and tempt others into the Starbucks fold.

These are just two random examples showing that brands can be aware and attentive to the consumer. As we move deeper into 2012, and with a raft of highly lauded marketing opportunities afoot for brands to capture the public’s attention, it’s time for venerable marketing to be woven into the fabric of the profession.

The ‘goody two shoes’ brand, that honors the consumer, has never looked so appealing.

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