At Clarity we have had an intriguing year working with a number of clients who are either preparing for an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) or are looking to consolidate and increase brand awareness after a raise.

We have written about ICOs in the past – but now is a good time to take stock and look to see if we can spot any emerging trends that will shape ICOs in the new year. Has the ICO had its day? Will it evolve into something else? Here are our thoughts.

Today is a hugely exciting one for Clarity PR as we announce the purchase of San Francisco PR company DRSmedia.

With this acquisition, Clarity has offices in four key locations: London, New York, Berlin and now San Francisco.

Our founder and CEO Sami McCabe, told PR Week;

“This is in step with our growth strategy, one of the pillars of which is expanding our physical locations. We’ve always had clients on the West Coast. And in the Bay area we have primarily worked with tech companies so it’s long been in our plans to have a physical presence there.”

“We are trying to build an agency that sits somewhere between the really big international global PR firms and the single market, single geographic area boutique firms,” he added.

Sami has been in San Francisco for a year now assessing his options and returned to his first – and most obvious choice – in DRSmedia and its founder David Speiser. McCabe has known Speiser for years. Please find more details in the release here.

 

So it seems that much of the world, and especially England, has been sidetracked by the World Cup (and let’s not forget Love Island), but while all eyes have been on Russia, Instagram unveiled an innovation that might just have a huge impact on content marketing – IGTV.

In case you were too engrossed in Saudi Arabia Vs Russia and missed the announcement  – IGTV is a long-form, vertical video platform that is available in the Instagram app as well as a standalone IGTV app. Obviously individuals and brands have been able to upload videos to Instagram for while but there have been limitations. IGTV addresses these and then some…

Some wonderful news to start the week. Clarity client Loqate (a GBG company) landed the PR Campaign of the Year award at Computing’s Tech, Marketing and Innovation Awards on Friday. The award  – given for Clarity and Loqate’s Ecommerce Trends, ‘Retail’s Golden Quarter’, campaign – was awarded for our PR campaign delivered during Q4 2017.

This award recognises excellence in brands’ use of PR activities and activation, along with partner marketing initiatives. Computing’s citation said that the “judges were looking for a well-thought out campaign that considers context, audience, timing and virality.”

We might have widely differing musical tastes, never agree on which is the best sport and always argue about food. If there is one thing though that the Clarity team is united on it is our passion for podcasts.

We all agree that there really is no better way to get through those challenging commutes than with white buds popped in our ears and smart people informing us about our favourite subjects.

So here are a few of our favourite podcasts as chosen by the team.

We are also hugely proud that one of our team members, Jay Kolbe, has his own in the guise of the Blockchain Bridge podcast. You can hear Jay and his cohorts in action discussing everything blockchain, from tokenization through to regulation, here

Noticed that you are receiving a lot of communications from companies asking you to opt in to their emails recently? That’s because we are now just days aways from the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) across the EU and potentially massive fines for companies who transgress it (up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover, whichever is greater).

In spite of its imminent implementation there is still a lot of discussion about how publishers, agencies and brands should respond to it. For example, the publishing industry and Google are still at loggerheads as to how they will work together in the future. Two weeks ago execs of four major groups; Digital Content Next, European Publishers Council, News Media Alliance and the News Media Association, which represent over 4000 publishers, issued an open letter to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, criticising the company for its plans for GDPR which it unveiled last month.

Meanwhile the FT reports that ‘With weeks to go before new data protection rules come into effect confidence has fallen sharply among British company bosses that their businesses will be ready in time. Only six in 10 members of the Institute of Directors believe their organisation will be fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation.”

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to attend a conference curated by the Midlands branch of the CIPR – the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, at Birmingham City University.

There were many great sessions, which among other things looked at the how the BBC serves the Midlands and how technology will change the way PRs interact with the media in the future.

Clarity’s London MD, Sara Collinge, recently wrote an article for PR Week about an issue that is very close to her heart – the way that brands target women.

As Sara says

“There is no one-size-fits-all and brands are making too many assumptions about what it takes to engage with a female market. As businesses clamour to attract more women they’re jumping on the bandwagon and launching initiatives without enough knowledge and understanding of who exactly they’re trying to reach, and what they care about.”

Here’s what she had to say. Incidentally you can read the PR Week article here.

If you are planning on launching an ICO at some point in the near future then the last few weeks have probably caused you to re-calibrate your plans. The news that social networks have chosen to ban Crypto and ICO ads is not entirely surprising given the concerns about some of the entities that are being created. Yet it does in many ways impinge on the plans of serious ICO based companies who are now deprived of one of their key marketing tactics. At the time of writing Google is still accepting ICO ads, but the company says that it will introduce new guidelines in June.

Whether the bans have undermined the credibility of ICOs and cryptocurrency is a discussion for another time. It does mean however that companies who are serious about ICOs will need to work harder to get their message out to potential investors, and this means that content creation and media relations are going to be even more important.

At Clarity we are currently working with a number of companies who are moving towards an ICO. We tend to be very selective about the companies we work with too, choosing entities that meet our very strict criteria. It is a given in our minds though that while the ICO/Crypto space is in a degree of flux, both will become established business practices in the future.

So if you are thinking of an ICO here are few things to bear in mind.

Newsjacking. It’s an incredibly useful strategy for brands looking to raise their profile – particularly within the UK. But many people don’t know much about newsjacking as a tactic – what goes into it, when it’s appropriate (and not so appropriate), why it’s a great tactic, who should comment, and how to go about it successfully.

Given that it’s a reliable tactic for PR and marketing pros alike, it’s worth digging deeper into who, what, when, why, and how newsjacking can be used to amplify brands and position spokespeople as experts within the press.

What exactly is newsjacking? Simply, it’s the linkage of your brand to an item on the news agenda.

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