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Five key media trends in 2017: from chatbots to fake news

Last week I was lucky enough to have spent a couple of days at the Digital Innovators’ Summit held in Berlin, Germany. It is an event that brings together representatives of many of the leading magazine, news and website publishers from across the globe to discuss how their industry is changing. Each year too a series of themes emerge which, if previous years are anything to go by, have shaped the way that the media industry has developed in the following 12 months. So here, gleaned from key speakers at the event, are five key trends.

Journalism is back

One very clear message that came from numerous speakers was that real journalism has returned. The ever-shifting political landscape in the US and Europe has ignited a real desire for quality journalism. Crucially it appears that advertisers are willing to invest to be associated with premium publishers and consumers are once again inclined to pay for high-quality journalism. Publishers are also seeing increased engagement and the number of subscriptions to quality news providers, from The New York Times to The Guardian and Quartz, has grown significantly. Ironically Trump and Brexit’s legacy could be a return to old-fashioned journalistic values.

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Five key media trends in 2017: from chatbots to fake news
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Will AI replace public relations professionals?

Is PR the kind of job that could ultimately end up being done by robots?

While practitioners will point to the fact that PR is traditionally a relationship-based game, there are a number of tedious tasks that it could make sense to automate. Sending out press releases on the wires, for a start. Artificial Intelligence systems would also hopefully be clever enough to never make a “Hi [*FNAME]” mistake, or say to a journalist “Hope you’re well?”.

There’s been a lot of debate and conjecture about robots replacing journalists. It is possible, or so it is said, to create machines capable of writing articles better than humans. Thomson Reuters claims that its own proprietary AI technology has already reached this point.

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Will AI replace public relations professionals?
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German fintech and Brexit – Don’t panic, it’s politics

There have been many predictions from many different people on what is to come for the German finance and technology sector after Brexit. In reality no one knew before and no one knows now how it will all pan out. However, there are some things that are getting clearer as time passes by.

The most obvious thing everyone learned and all the major companies realised is there is no point in unnecessary hurry. The EU is slow and so is the British government. Even if the EU is trying to pressure Britain, it won’t speed up the process. The uncertainty about the terms of any potential deal for Brexit doesn’t help, but for flexible startups it doesn’t do any harm – for the moment at least. Startups with a software solution or service are more able to adapt than classic manufacturers or companies with multiple locations and hundreds of employees.

The biggest concern is access to the European market

So called ‘passporting’ involves easy access to the European banking system while enjoying the advantages of London’s regulations, which is massively important for companies in the fintech sector. Optimists hope this system will be kept in the new Brexit deal. With rising tensions between Theresa May and the EU, caused by the planned ‘hard’ Brexit, many business managers have eyed Germany as a new home. So far the exodus hasn’t happened, but will it come?

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German fintech and Brexit – Don’t panic, it’s politics
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Five observations about MWC 2017

This year’s Mobile World Congress was a rather strange affair. For in spite of the showcasing of transformative technologies like 5G and the Internet of Things, it was actually a feature phone from a trusted old brand that stole the show.

1. Nokia takes us back to the future

The biggest queues at the Fira this year were to grab a quick game of Snake on the revamped Nokia 3310. Younger delegates might have wondered what the fuss was about, but for misty eye 30-somethings the return of the handset that was the industry standard was a pivotal moment.

Perhaps the online column inches the phone generated might encourage other manufacturers to resurrect some of their older models. Might 2017 be remembered as the year that the Motorola Razr or maybe even the Danger Hiptop come back for an encore?

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Five observations about MWC 2017
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Why it’s not OK for a CEO to be rude to anyone

It’s the kind of thing that most PR professionals have nightmares about. While clients can often feel aggrieved when they receive negative coverage, if they actually decide to attack the journalist responsible in a public forum such as Twitter, you have a disaster on your hands.

So, like most of the rest of the people working in PR and comms, we at Clarity found ourselves collectively wincing when Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes told a Bloomberg journalist – albeit in code – to ‘eat dick’.

While we will cover crisis communications in another post, here we want to discuss the dangers of brands and brand representatives conducting themselves in this crass and arrogant manner.

Rather than telling people to eat dick, you should probably be living by the mantra “don’t be a dick”. Not to the press, not to the people you work with, not to the people who work for you.

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Why it’s not OK for a CEO to be rude to anyone
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Is your startup ready for PR?

We’d love to say that your startup should have a PR agency in place from the get go, however, this isn’t always the case. Regardless of how brilliant, innovative and unique your startup is you still need all your ducks in a row in order for a PR agency to create an effective strategy that will meet your business needs. Here are five questions that will help to determine whether you’re PR ready:

1. Do you know who you are and what your startup offers?
This may seem like an obvious question, but if you’re not 100% clear on what your company is, then startup PR will be a waste of money. You need a snappy elevator pitch, clear branding and a functioning platform or product so that PR efforts will support and work in unison with your business, without creating a huge disconnect.

2. Can you outline your goals?
If you don’t know what you want for your company, neither will a PR agency. What are your top business goals for the year and are they achievable? Do you want to acquire new client prospects? Increase website traffic? Attract investors? If you present clear goals to a good PR agency, you’ll be presented with a comprehensive media strategy designed to help you achieve them.

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Is your startup ready for PR?
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PR Measurement: Why it is time to retire AVEs for good

Once, not that long ago, the introduction of AVEs prompted PR people to put away their rulers in favour of a more commercial measurement technique for brands’ media coverage. But now, the continued use of AVEs smacks of a quiet desperation. They are like a sad embodiment of PR’s inferiority complex towards the advertising community in spreadsheet form.

In economics, cost and value clearly aren’t the same thing, so marrying the price of advertising space to the outputs of media relations programmes is really rather pointless. AVEs don’t enable us to understand and measure the benefit of activities that keep brands out of the headlines, messaging cut-through in editorial vs. that allowed in advertising placements. Perhaps most importantly though, they can’t measure an overall campaign and won’t help us to look at social or online media in any form.

So why are they still being used? AVEs are a comfort blanket. When clients or agencies find themselves reaching for metrics to prove the value of their work, AVEs are a convenient crutch.

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PR Measurement: Why it is time to retire AVEs for good
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Choosing a global PR agency

Ambitious companies looking to expand to new territories face a number of challenges. Finding an office, hiring staff, thinking about infrastructure and getting through all of the red tape and paperwork have to be considered. On top of this they will need to think about how they connect with customers and partners in their new surroundings through global PR and marketing efforts.

While many companies have done perfectly well using a number of different agencies to cover different territories, dealing with just one agency should offer a simpler, more efficient and cohesive experience.

But this isn’t necessarily the case, so here are the questions that you should be asking yourself when you are choosing a global PR agency:

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Choosing a global PR agency
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How to get noticed without a PR agency

What’s the ideal time for a company to start thinking about PR?

Our answer (of course) would be: From the very beginning. However, while your product might still be on the drawing board, with no full-time employees on your books or revenue being generated, actually engaging with a PR agency doesn’t make sense.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t be working on your own PR already, though. There is plenty you can be planning, preparing and actually doing in order to facilitate future engagements with the media no matter what stage you are in your company’s journey.

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How to get noticed without a PR agency
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What content marketing can do for your B2B brand

Content marketing is a term that most, if not all, B2B brands will have heard. So what is content marketing and what can it do for a B2B brand?

Brands in the B2B space need to use every tool at their disposal to reach, grow and engage their target audience. While earned media – coverage in relevant third-party publications that your audience consumes – and paid media such as advertising can get you so far, these are only part of the puzzle.

Increasingly brands are becoming aware of the fact that they need to be creating and filling up their own channels – or ‘owned media’ – in order to get the most best out of the momentum they have built up from other channels.

However, while it is easy to write a few blogs and stick them on your company website, to really get the most out of content requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

Here are the questions you should be asking yourself before taking the plunge with content marketing.

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What content marketing can do for your B2B brand