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Why the Trump administration needs to tell the truth

Clarity CEO Sami McCabe has recently written about how the PR industry should respond to Brexit and the Trump presidency. Associate Director Ashley Norris has also examined how Trump could actually prove to be a blessing in disguise for the media industry.

I, however, want to turn my attention to a key aspect of how Trump and his team are handling communications now they are actually in control. Barely three weeks in, there are plenty of great lessons for people working in comms and at brands who want to get their name known coming from the Trump administration. Most, it has to be said, would be listed in the section headed “Don’t” rather than the one titled “Do”.

One of the latest comes from Kellyanne Conway, who invented an incident – the Bowling Green massacre – in order to further justify the new policy that stops immigrants from seven nations entering the U.S. Now, as controversial as the policy itself may be, I want to focus on why what Kellyanne Conway did was such a big no-no from a comms point of view.

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Why the Trump administration needs to tell the truth
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Why Medium is still a great option for B2B brands

A couple of weeks ago Ev Williams, one of the founders of Twitter, came clean about some of the problems he was facing with his online publishing platform Medium.

He explained why 2016 had been a stellar year for Medium with “key metrics, such as readers and published posts up approximately 300% year on year.” Williams acknowledged, though, that the main ploy he had hatched for monetising the business – a native advertising solution – hadn’t worked out how he had envisaged. He added that he was having to make 50 staff – mainly in sales – redundant, while he and his team pondered a new direction for the platform.

So is it time, as some critics appear to have done already, to write off Medium as a long-term publishing prospect?

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Why Medium is still a great option for B2B brands
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How to get the best out of working with a PR agency

Entering into a relationship with a PR company isn’t something to be taken lightly. Carefully selecting the right agency is important – they need to understand your company and product, and have a clear vision of how you can work together. We’ve written before about how to select a PR agency – this article will guide you through what to do next.

1. Be prepared to work together
The key word here is ‘together’. You can’t simply sign the contract and assume that the coverage will start to roll in from that point on. It takes time to develop relationships with target media on your behalf, and for the agency to craft your story into something that will interest journalists. This requires your help and input – they’ll need to be able to pick your brains and really get to the bottom of what it is and the whys and wherefores of how you’re doing it.

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How to get the best out of working with a PR agency
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7 questions to help you choose a tech PR agency

No matter whether you are an established business that has been trading for decades, or a startup working out how to get the most from your angel investment, chances are that somewhere on your to-do list will be employing a tech PR agency.

There are many types of business communications that you can use to attract new customers or increase brand awareness, but in terms of value for money there is no more effective way of getting the message out about your services than working with a PR agency.

Tech PR agencies have evolved and become even more useful to their clients in recent years. For example, when Clarity started half a decade ago our focus was largely on media relations – in other words securing press coverage for our clients.

Now we specialise in integrated campaigns that often include content, social media and advertising as well as good old fashioned PR. We position ourselves as your trusted business adviser; someone who is there to challenge you and help your business to evolve. We can cover a lot of marketing areas for you and ensure that they work seamlessly in delivering a unified message.

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7 questions to help you choose a tech PR agency
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In seeking to destroy it, Donald Trump may make media more sustainable

Legacy media, namely national newspapers and print-based magazines, on both sides of the pond have undergone a torrid decade.

Transitioning readers from print to digital while getting them to continue to pay for content has proved to be a very real struggle. And the rise of social platforms has meant that income from display advertising hasn’t proved as lucrative as the media companies had once hoped.

There are many technology providers looking to create solutions, especially around native advertising – Clarity boasts two clients in this space Anyclip and Adyoulike – but mainstream media, while not exactly on the ropes, would seriously benefit from a new sustainable business model.

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In seeking to destroy it, Donald Trump may make media more sustainable
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The future of the PR agency – and the PR agency of the future

The discipline of public relations is changing fast, and this will be to the benefit of everyone: From the end customer; the client; the journalist, to the PR professional. The only ones set to lose out are those who don’t anticipate the changes and refuse to adapt their ways of working. So what does the PR agency of the future look like?

Content will play a bigger part
Brands are recognising that they need to offer their customers, fans and advocates better ways to engage with them. While ‘earned’ media placements give credibility, and paid media (advertising) leads to greater recognition, brands need to go beyond simply having a presence on social media channels to make their audience feel valued. Traditional PRs are (or should be!) great at getting coverage for their clients, but the PR agency of the future will have to pay much more attention to conceiving wider ‘integrated’ campaigns involving interactive video, websites, graphics and the like. These will live on clients’ ‘owned’ channels, and be promoted through social (and possibly paid for advertising) – all of which will require a approach that ties in with the bread-and-butter media relations activities.

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The future of the PR agency – and the PR agency of the future
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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – How not to handle crisis comms

Samsung has finally revealed what caused several of its Galaxy 7 Note smartphones to overheat and catch fire.

It turns out that there were several separate issues in batteries which it had sourced from two different suppliers. Samsung has spent the last few months testing 200,000 devices and 30,000 batteries at a test facility to find out what these issues were, and held an event yesterday to explain its findings to the media.

But despite Samsung’s obvious commitment to solving the technical issues, this whole incident has exposed shortcomings in Samsung’s crisis communications procedures. Two major mistakes were made:

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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – How not to handle crisis comms
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Germans and the startup community – part II

In the last blog post about the German mindset I talked about the challenges and possibilities startups face in Germany, especially in the fintech and security tech sector. This time I want to discuss where this mindset comes from and what the crucial takeaways for startups are.

Employment costs and risk management
If you are concerned with the need for social security and slow, steady-growth businesses like the more traditional Mittelstand (SMEs) you have to think about employment costs and managing your risks in investment too. Working for an international agency like Clarity showed me the difference in relation to, for example, the UK or US job market.

The most obvious may be the so called ‘hire and fire’ in the US. Working under German employment law it is clear that there has to be a notice period, payment in case of sickness and a minimum wage. Disregarding your political opinion about minimum wage and notice periods, the latest report by ZEW showed that the minimum wage in particular affects the startup sector. But sticking to the language of startups, you shouldn’t complain and turn this into a possibility – even with higher employment costs there is an opportunity hidden.

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Germans and the startup community – part II
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Weekly Trends Report 14 October 2016

Hot off the press, here’s the latest Clarity Weekly Trends Report, with some bad news for Samsung and good news for anyone looking to get a date.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 canned
The hottest new handset on the market has been discontinued after Samsung decided that it was just too risky to keep selling the Galaxy Note 7.
  • The company issued a global recall for the device on 2 September after handsets caught fire after charging
  • But replacement devices also suffered from the same problems, leading to a second round of recalls
  • Analysts estimate the cost could add up to some $17bn, but the damage to the brand is likely to be immeasurable
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Weekly Trends Report 14 October 2016
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Weekly Trends Report – 7 October 2016

We’re one week into October and autumn is truly upon us, with the evenings getting ever darker and colder. To bring you some cheer and warmth, here’s Clarity’s Weekly Trends Report.
Facebook Marketplace abuse leads to apology
Facebook was forced to apologise after its new Marketplace feature was abused by people trying to sell all kinds of illegal goods and services.
  • Marketplace allows people to buy and sell items to friends and strangers - however drugs, weapons and even a baby were listed on the service
  • The company said a technical issue had prevented Facebook’s reviewing system from identifying posts that violated its policies
  • People are already using Facebook to trade goods, with 450 million people visiting buy and sell groups on the social network each month
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Weekly Trends Report – 7 October 2016