General Election 2017 – who is winning the PR war?
We’ve had a little over a week to get over the surprise of a snap General Election being called for 8 June. Political analysts seem to be fairly unanimous in their reading of the strategy – it looks as if it will help the Conservative party boost their majority and weaken opponents, easing the course of the hard Brexit the UK is heading for.
While some may argue that tactical voting might actually cause this move to backfire, and others warn of the dangers of believing opinion polls after the 2015 General Election, I want to focus on how the party leaders are presenting themselves from a communications point of view.
None of the party leaders will want to get caught in comms disasters such as Gordon Brown’s “bigoted woman” remarks, or do anything to make their positions untenable – such as promising a referendum on EU membership like David Cameron did. But against a backdrop of fake news and the “post-truth” era, candidates need to think hard about how they present themselves and their policies.
Five ways Twitter can help boost your PR efforts
When engaging in a public relations campaign, companies tend to rely heavily on building an audience solely through media coverage, without capitalising on other ways to amplify their presence alongside it.
Social media, and Twitter more specifically, serves as a complementary tool that can be used to add greater value to media coverage achieved, helping to prolong the life of the coverage and bring further reach to a brand. Understanding the various tactics in using different social media channels can help a brand gain greater traction and attention, adding further value to any PR campaign.
Here are five ways Twitter can be used to help boost your PR efforts:
Clarity and charity: boosting the STEM sector
Since the company was formed in 2012, Clarity has worked with charities such as Alive and Kicking and Restless Development with the aim of doing our bit to make the world a better place. But as a small company trying to establish itself and grow a sustainable business it hasn’t always been easy to dedicate as much time and resource to charity as we would have liked.
This year, however, we are giving our charitable efforts new impetus and direction. We’ve now connected with partner charities in both the UK, where we were founded, and the US, where we have a fast-growing office in New York. We’ve also carefully selected charities where we think our skills and expertise can help to make a real difference.
The issue of education is one that is very close to our hearts. As an agency that works primarily with technology companies we have a deep understanding of the issue of skills shortages in both the UK and US when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. In both countries there simply aren’t enough students retaining an interest in these areas or achieving meaningful qualifications that would set them up for careers in these industries. Increasingly talent needs to be brought in from outside the country or businesses need to relocate some or all of their operations overseas in order to meet this shortage.
United: How not to manage a PR crisis
Another week, another brand forced to refer to the PR Crisis Communications Playbook. In fact, I would think that United Airlines’ copy of this publication is looking rather dog-eared by now, given the recent debacle surrounding appropriate clothing for passengers.
A much more serious PR crisis arose, though, when footage and witness accounts of an ugly incident involving a passenger being forcibly removed from an airplane for refusing to give up his seat on a flight that had been overbooked.
Let us remember that this is a company that has won plaudits for its PR in the past. We should also remember, though, that it also has form for this kind of incident.
Rather than focus on the rights and wrongs of what happened on the plane itself, or whether the policy of overbooking flights needs to be cracked down on, I want to focus on the mistakes made in United’s communications after the event.
Pepsi: Why your brand’s message needs to be clear
Pepsi. Has there ever been a brand that lived more in the shadow of its closest rival? The perpetual challenger, which has provided us with “over 100 years of fun and refreshment”, finds itself in the public eye for all the wrong reasons right now.
The company has provoked some strong reactions – pretty much all of them negative – for a new campaign featuring Kendall Jenner. In the ad, Jenner leaves a protest of which she is part to present a can of Pepsi to a police officer.
The links to the recent protests by the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality are clumsily obvious – whether intentional or not – and Jenner’s participation in the advert is proving as controversial as her actions.
The ad has high production values and will have cost a great deal of money to make. But the damage it could potentially do to Pepsi’s brand is very difficult to put a number on.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.