You could have knocked me down with a feather when I had a response from THE Alfie Deyes@pointlessblog on my Instagram post about his latest interview with Blogosphere magazine. Never in a million years did I think he would comment. (I’m not oblivious that it could be one of his social media team responding but, shh, stop ruining it for me, ok?!)
When I was reading the Blogosphere article a thought struck me. What happens once you’re at the top of the PR influencer industry? How do you continue to grow, stay relevant and what direction should you take?
I took a while to answer Alfie’s Instagram reply asking what I thought about the article, it was Christmas after all! Here are my thoughts on what direction Alfie could take next.
Thank god we made it through all that ‘New Year, New Me’ bollocks that was rammed down our throats across January. Sorry, but dry January, along with the temporary wave of new gym goers and people making resolutions that are not kept can do one.
It’s time for a quick January 2016 catch up!
January was so much fun, it has gone by in a flash, probably through the haze of Birthday celebrations. One notable Birthday highlight was a rather decadent and frivolous afternoon tea at The Savoy. This then got extended to gin and tonic’s at the Beaufort Bar in all it’s 1920’s black and gold glamour. We then went around Kings Cross Station to the Alan Rickman tributes that have been left at Platform nine and three quarters. He was one of my favourite actors.
I hope you had a cracking January too, I mean it wasn’t that bad, was it?
It has been a great month apart from a couple of major exceptions, the wonderfully talented icons we have lost.
Bowie. Rickman. Wogan. Cultural icons who will be sorely missed. The world will be a slightly darker place without them all.
I was lucky enough to meet Sir Terry Wogan once (I know what a name drop!) on the strangest college trip ever to the Terry and Gaby Show. He sat down on the step next to me, before he was introduced on stage, and engaged me in a brief chat which ended with him elbowing my arm, throwing me a wink and saying ‘There are worse jobs to have!’. He was warm, engaging and a true professional.
Each in their own way helped to shape modern media, music and film. Influencers in their field.
PR is always talking about influencers. In fact it’s such a hot topic that the CIPR has sent a new magazine out at the end of January to its members called Influence.
The tag line is ‘For switched-on Public Relations Professionals’. It’s a great tag line, if not a little obvious. I mean everyone wants to be considered as ‘switched-on’ in the PR industry?!
Emblazened on the cover is the word ‘LISTEN’ followed by ’19 essentials to engage a message-swamped world’. Why 19?! Odd!
It’s targeting three key issues that are some of the biggest PR insecurities. Being able to influence, to listen and to effectively communicated.
I haven’t read it yet but I can’t wait to settle down with a coffee, welcome in February properly and get my PR geek on! Let’s hope it lives up to the hype!
Many moons ago, I wrote about the PR reason behind the no make up selfie. But, I completely bypassed the PR value behind it and the long-term objectives. The debate raised by PR Week is very interesting, but on this one I think they have missed the point. These campaigns aren’t about long-term engagement, it’s about awareness and bringing the charity to the global stage.
ALS has been shot straight in to the lime-light and become a house hold name by being beamed through our computers, tablets and mobiles by our friends, family, celebrities and role models.
Campaigns like the ice bucket challenge are short, sharp and facilitate engagement. However, they are not sustainable. It’s all about brand awareness and once this has been gained organisations then have the power, legitimacy and opportunity to run campaigns to form long-term engagement.
Brands are built by creating strong emotional ties and Denise Lee Yohn, a PR academic, suggests four ways to do this, which can be seen in the image below.
From a PR perspective ALS should now create and implement a PR strategy capitalising on their prominence within global media. Organisation’s when using this kind of social media stunt must ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ to build the brands identity, audience perception and ultimately reputation.
What strategies do you think can be used to create long-term engagement and sustainability for organisations such as ALS?
At the moment you cannot avoid it. There is even a song about it. From no make up versions to power pouts, it’s a trend you can’t seem to escape and it looks like it’s going to be around for a while.
Love them or hate them, you have to question what kind of culture they are fostering online? And is it restricted to gender? Tragically a man recently became a selfie recluse and tried to kill himself when he couldn’t obtain what he deemed to be the perfect picture. It’s an extreme example, but an example none the less. This sounds like it has taken the form of addiction but in the case of Eat Pray Love star, James Franco, he know’s exactly what he’s doing. An article in Marie Claire has researched that he is full aware that in the age of hyper-connectivity and online noise, attention is power. Cornelissen, author of Corporate Communciations: a guide to theory and practice, identifies a power, urgency and legitimacy model when it comes to stakeholder salience. People taking selfies can become powerful stakeholders if they gain adequate enough attention. Last night James Franco posted an almost nude and very odd selfie and removed it an hour later (Marie Claire have captured it though, take a look). What did it create? Attention, everyone’s currently talking about…James Franco. Everyone will be paying attention to his twitter account for a little while, so whatever he says is going to have an enhanced focus and a larger reach and therefore when you are trying to be heard amongst the crowd this can be a powerful tool. Large companies are starting to recognise that they could potentially be a profitable trend too. Samsung have identified that selfies are powerful and have decided to capitalise upon it releasing a selfie-specific camera. To be fair, the camera is actually very cool, with some super features, but it does lead to asking the question what or where next for the selfie?
There is also the element of people who are fishing for compliments. Cancer Research UK not only identified this trend but also harnessed it as a PR campaign, which ultimately used vanity PR and converted it into direct donations, the charities main aim. It played upon women empowerment, image and personal identity. By women posting not only were they saying they were confident enough to show the world their face make up free, warts and all but they could also align themselves with being a better person, it just screamed ‘Look everyone, not only am I confident, but I’m generous!’ Through the nominations aspect, other women questioned their peers, willing them to participate, but are they really asking ‘Are you a confident and generous person too?’ No one wants to be seen as insecure or a scrooge! Ultimately it generated a lot of money for charity, which can only be a good thing, I’m just not sure I fully agree with the method, but no one can deny it was a clever PR campaign.
Having not grown up in the age of the selfie I can’t help but think of the impression it may have had on me. Teen Vogue take a psychological stance and address the issue of low self esteem recommending a shift in perspective if all you are looking for are comments. The advice they give is healthy, they don’t say selfies are bad but to make sure they are fun and avoid excessive use. I think it’s important that influencers like Teen Vogue do put out positive messages like this so there is some guidance for people growing up in an ever-image obsessed world. The ‘What I see’ project discusses both sides of the selfie but within a feminist context with a dose of philosophical musings and makes for a very interesting contribution to the debate.
Grace Dent who writes for The Independent also makes the argument that selfies are about self-branding, celebrity-alignment, social climbing and proof of happiness. The more I read the more negative it gets. Are there positive aspects to the selfie? Perhaps I don’t understand the selfie. Do we need to prove to other people that we are happy? What constitutes happiness? Do people want to see others pouting in front of the camera?
What do you think?
Share your comments below, or if you find any good articles or points of view please post them too!
The book covers the cutting edge tools for communication in the peer to peer PR world, perfect for practitioners, academics, marketers, business owners or those of you just wanting to find out how to be a better communicator.
It has 9 chapters for you to dive into and explore, and what’s great about it is that it’s still growing and evolving. Whether it is taking a selfie to post, leaving a comment or offering your expertise there is still a chance to be involved. Want to know how? Well then take a peek at the #ebookinaday project blog postand click on one of the chapters to find out more.
High-five’s and thanks go out to:
All my wonderful peers who gave a lot of blood, sweat, tears and ideas
Tom Fowler, the Solent Creative developer and technical genius
Stephen Waddington for giving us valuable advice and well-timed pep talks
But the ultimate, golden high-five, goes to Catherine Sweet for accepting Stephen Waddington’s challenge, all her hard work and for getting me involved in such an awesome project! Who else can say they are an author when they haven’t even finished their Masters yet? Not many!
Read it, download it, print it, share it or get involved…it’s yours, for free, forever!
Happy April everyone, thankfully Spring is on its way!
PR is a developing field and it’s so important to stay on top of developments in current affairs, practitioners and academia.
The biggest change to PR in the past ten years has been social media. It’s constantly adapting and evolving. So being aware of what’s going on is tres important. Learning never stops and personally I am always looking for opportunities to develop my skills or learn something new. So I think I have seen a little gem for all you social media bunnies out there…
Join thousands of marketing, pr, and social professionals to watch today’s brightest minds in influencer and advocate marketing share how they build trust, generate buzz, and increase brand awareness using outreach marketing.
Featured speakers include:
David Meerman Scott, Author of The New Rules of PR & Marketing
Lee Odden, CEO @TopRank Online Marketing, Author of Optimize
Laura Fitton, Inbound Marketing Evangelist, HubSpot
Stephanie Scott, Social Media Specialist, American Airlines
Marcy Massura, Digital Strategist, MSLGROUP
Katie Paine, Author of Measure What Matters
Robin Carey, CEO Social Media Today
The agenda looks pretty interesting but I disagree that most of this is marketing. This is actually heavily involved with, influenced and driven by PR. To be honest I think they could have come up with a better title that combined both PR and marketing.
What’s great about this event is it is free. Yes, FREE! I was going to feature another event, a social media summit, hosted this April by a large PR machine, until I clicked on tickets. £600?! I could have a Mulberry bag or a holiday for that price. Now that’s great if you work in an agency or company willing to foot the bill, but for us newbies starting out trying to forge their way this price tag is inaccessible. However there are always interesting opportunities for any budget out there and I reckon this is one of them!
If I wasn’t at work that day, I’d be logging in! Thankfully Outreach have realise that some of us hard working folk won’t be able to tune in. If you register for the event and don’t attend online (and that’s highly likely given that it’s also in America, hello drastic time difference!) they will send you the recorded content after direct to your mail box to peruse at your leisure…awesome!