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Our weekly round-up of the most inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new apps, cool events, ventures and happenings that have caught our eye…

#1 Mini’s immense social media strategy

We’ve been enjoying Mini’s use of social media for a while now, but this article from Econsultancy neatly summarises the brilliance of their activity. What Mini does so well, is produce content which encourages a high level of consumer interaction and rewards loyal advocates, whilst displaying a playful, warm, fun personality throughout. If you enjoy this, another car brand doing social well (but perhaps more surprisingly so) is Ford. Check out its social media strategy here.

#2 Wimbledon Inspires Heated Competition in Mock Up Ad Campaign

Wimbledon

As brands are trying to make the most of the hottest sports events this summer, Wimbledon-themed ads are emerging thick and fast. The juice brand Robinsons has jumped on the Wimbledon wagon with a new ad featuring a mock battle to rename the famous patch of grass behind the tennis courts, officially called Aorangi Terrace.

The 40-second ad called “#HenmanHill vs #MurrayMound” puts former British number one Tim Henman against Andy Murray’s mum Judy in a battle with tennis rackets to name the patch of grass.

As part of the Robinsons Squash’d challenge, tennis fans have been encouraged to vote for Henman or Murray in an online debate to drive social awareness of the campaign, with the winner announced in a second version of the ad. Who will you choose?

#3 British Airways and its Happiness Blanket

We’ve always loved the idea of sticking sensors in people to create great PR – as long as it’s not weird and no-one gets hurt! For example, doing brain scans of people enjoying our clients’ products. So this British Airways story caught our eye as a good PR stunt to get the media talking again about how the airline is differentiating itself with service quality. We love how the blanket goes blue when passengers are relaxed; red when tense. However, the article doesn’t say what colour it changes to when your fellow passengers snore their heads off or have a weak bladder…

#4 Out of this world PR 

Mars_atmosphere

If your company or client has a big budget, listen up because marketing is about to get all space age.

We’ve all heard about The Mars One team; it’s planning on shipping some humans off their home planet so that they can colonise Mars, but did you know that it will be taking seven payloads with them?

While we can’t influence five of these seven, the last two are available “for sale to the highest bidder”, and that highest bidder can be your brand! In fact, Mars One specifically states that these spaces can be taken “for scientific experiments, marketing activities, or anything in between.” So, technically, in 25 short years, your logo might be stuck to the side of the red planet, advertising your brand to any and every alien that stops by. It’s an out of this world opportunity, but can you afford to not-pass it up?

#5 Facebook for b2b?

dislike

Out of all the social platforms, we often find that Facebook is one of the most debated in terms of its value for brands, particularly in the b2b arena, so it’s good to read a case study of a b2b brand benefiting from it. This one, from b2bmarketing.net discusses how BAM Construction turned to Facebook when they needed to find a new way to engage stake-holders. The results include claims that BAM saved £60,000 per annum, improved viral reach of the brand and achieved an increase in its international exposure – impressive!

#6 Facebook Takes on Psychoanalysis

emojis

The Internet giant has been messing with our emotions. And we’re not just talking about ever shrinking Facebook post engagement rates for brands. In its recent ‘secret’ experiment it has been analysing how social posts, online marketing and ads can change our moods. Though it didn’t go down all that well with the general public, it’ll be interesting to see how brands will monitor our ‘feelings’ through social media in the future and how this new level of audience analysis will shape PR and digital marketing campaigns.

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How to Avoid a Meltdown at Work

Angry man

We’ve all been there; you’re having one of those weeks when everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong and you fear you’re one ‘late meeting’, Twitter alert or annoying email away from a meltdown. The entry of the phrase “digital detox” to the Oxford Dictionary Online last August, along with the term FOMO (fear of missing out), often brought on by the constant pressures from social media, signalled that the human brain is at risk of overheating. Tempting as it is to throw a tantrum, it’s time to get a grip – check out these top tips designed to help you to keep a cool head in the office this summer…

#1 Take a breather

Sometimes simply taking a few deep breaths is enough to calm you down and refocus your mind. There is plenty of technology out there designed to teach you the restorative powers and techniques of mindful inhalation and exhalation. Apps such as Breath2Relax and Pranayama Lite claim to help with mood stabilisation, anger control, anxiety management, focus, athletic performance and migraine relief – impressive!

#2 Exercise

We all know the stress busting benefits of exercising but we don’t always have time to spend working out at the gym, particularly if things are hectic at the office. Simply taking a five-minute walk when things are getting a bit heated can work wonders. Alternatively, there’s Office Fit – created by a team of Osteopaths, physical therapists and yoga teachers, it gives you smart exercises to do at your desk. You may be the butt of jokes in the office, but if it’ll stop you biting that annoying co-worker’s head off, surely it’s worth it?

#3 Take a tech timeout

A study by University of California, Irvine, and U.S. Army researchers revealed that checking emails increased the participants’ heart rates at a level which indicated stress, whilst turning off e-mail eased anxiety. Although the prospect of turning your emails off at work may, in itself, make your palms sweat and your heart pump with dread, how about trying it for just half an hour at a time? C’mon, what’s the worst that could happen? That old-fashioned method of going up a colleague’s desk and talking to them still works you know…

#4 Get a little Zen

There are plenty of apps and websites out there to help you bring some Zen into the workplace. Our top recommendations include calm.com for calming sounds and visuals; Zen Space to create your own Zen garden; or Zen Wisdom for a “daily wisdom” quote to calm and comfort you. Alternatively, if you’re trying our above suggestion of avoiding technology, try visualising a calming place you’ve been yourself.

#5 Share the burden

A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say. So, be sure to give yourself a bit of venting time to unload your problems onto your nearest and dearest (without boring them to death, of course). Too touchy feely for you? Then try Worry Box, an app which lets you record your most pressing thoughts, worries and anxieties, and will help you think them through by asking questions and even giving stress-busting advice!

#6 And if all else fails…

…simply take a holiday! However, with half of professionals admitting that they check their emails whilst on holiday, your bog standard escape to the Mediterranean may not be enough to banish those work blues. Increasingly, stressed workers are heading off to resorts which offer no Wi-Fi or network connection for a total digital detox. Imagine how good it would feel to escape from the constant stream of emails, texts and social media updates.

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Poor writing spells disaster for PR agencies

The PR Skills Gap Survey published this week by PRmoment, (fast establishing itself as a fresh and interesting alternative to PR Week), made for a thought-provoking read.

Produced in conjunction with the PRCA, the survey compared the recruitment demands of public relations hirers with the skill sets of public relations candidates.

Two things surprised me. Firstly, the worrying revelation that writing ability currently accounts for one of the biggest skills gaps in our industry. Whilst 85% of PR agencies surveyed said that they rated writing as very important, a whopping 40% admitted that their businesses were lacking in this area.

Given that the creation of high quality content has never been more vital to the success of both B2B and consumer campaigns, and all aspects of multi-channel communications for that matter, this is extraordinary. Writing is at the heart of a PR professional’s skill set, so surely most agencies would consider this a core strength?

Whether communications professionals are tasked with writing copy for a blog, a company update for LinkedIn, a whitepaper or an opinion article, an e-shot, or site copy for a micro-site or an app, clients quite rightly expect that copy and all related marketing messaging to be on brand, incisive, intelligent, and engaging. That it must be ‘well-written’ is taken as read.

In-house teams loathe nothing more than having to spend hours rewriting material produced by their PR agency. A bit of ‘red pen’ action is to be expected – it’s part of the editing and approvals process – but why hire an agency if you have to re-write their content from scratch?  We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve heard this complaint from clients who approach us with new business briefs.

At onechocolate, writing tests are a key part of our recruitment process. Candidates who fail to meet our required standards of ability don’t get through the door. In order to ensure a high level of professional and personal development, we also offer on-going training through our oneAcademy programme to take our new recruits to the next level.

Our writing is so strong, that a client recently said:

 

“Bloody hell, that reads really well. You are geniuses – I love it. No edits…why ‘gild the lily?’ Thanks so much.”

 

The other thing that struck me about the PR Skills Gap Survey was the inadequate reference to comment about writing ability in relation to digital marketing and the writing skills required for services such as social media community management.

Given that the future of our industry is unquestionably digital, it is alarming that social and digital PR was hardly touched upon in the report.

The majority of the questions were focused around writing skills for ‘traditional’ PR: communications, planning, project management and thought leadership. There were only four questions relating to digital PR out of a total of 13 survey questions.

However, I do agree with Founder of PRmoment, Ben Smith’s review of the findings. He concludes: “Public relations is a market in disruption, it is undergoing huge change. The skills sets required in PR now are radically different to 2 or 3 years ago. On the buy side of PR recruitment it seems many PR teams have an uneven balance of skills required for today’s public relations market. On the sell side, candidates need to look at the skills required and embrace these new areas so that they don’t become PR dinosaurs.”

Power of Words

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What does the Oculus VR Purchase mean for Digital PR?

Another week, another purchase for Facebook. The one that sent the Internet into a frenzy last week was the purchase of Oculus VR for $2bn.

While this move caused concern amongst the gaming community and some of Europe’s leading developers (namely, that Facebook’s involvement could be detrimental to the core gaming experience), many are already beginning to ponder the positive developments in social media this may bring about.

Combining the worlds of social media and virtual reality offers a brand new set of challenges and creative outlets for digital PR.  But it doesn’t start and end with gaming alone. The key message for digital marketers is that this new relationship could soon present a wealth of opportunities for brands  both in and out of the gaming sphere. Mark Zuckerberg himself is quoted as saying:

“Imagine enjoying a court-side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world, consulting with a doctor face-to-face, or going shopping in a virtual store where you can touch and explore the products you’re interested in just by putting on goggles in your own home.”

Being able to offer consumers experiential activity in the digital space of virtual reality is now something marketers, digital PR agencies and brands can actually consider planning for, which is a truly exciting prospect.

This development is the latest milestone in the stratospheric rise of the wearable tech trend. With tech giants such as Microsoft investing $150m in VR headsets, and Sony showing off its latest VR offering at GDC, all signs are pointing to virtual reality becoming a key component in any current or next-gen tech venture.

 

Oculus

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Newspapers aren’t dying off just yet in 2014 EMEA PR Planning

There’s a consensus that European newspapers and traditional media are dying.

Circulations are falling. Young people aren’t reading newspapers. Venerable newspapers are being closed down.

The facts can’t lie can they?

But it is worth asking if the European newspaper Armageddon is really taking place. While acknowledging 2013 was no bed of roses for the industry, Peter Preston’s column provides a cold splash of reality when he recalled how he attended a conference four years ago that predicted the demise of all printed newspapers by 2014. He adds ruefully that means “an awful lot of perishing left to cram into the next 12 months, and it shows no sign of happening any time soon. Indeed, rather the reverse.”

Yes, his point is that two big UK newspapers – The Guardian and Daily Telegraph – have held their own in newspaper circulation figures with minor declines and strong digital revenues too.  The analysis could be that print and digital readerships don’t cannibalise each other.

Other trends that were expected to radically shake up the European newspaper industry also haven’t been as transformative as predicted.  Check out this Danish study into the rise and decline of free newspapers, for example.

Nonetheless we look at what’s happened in North America and expect their trend of newspaper readership decline and closure to be extended across the Atlantic to Europe. Yet another new study by NiemanLab suggests that US trends cannot be applied to the European media scene because the composition of the media industry in Europe is wholly different to the USA. European newspapers are being affected by the same fundamental changes in readership and digital, but the responses of their owners and managements will not be the same as the press barons of US newspapers.

As an EMEA PR professional, changes in premium media like newspapers are a trend that’s obviously of great interest. And it’s worth not taking the accepted wisdom on what’s happening, and recognising yet again that the media industry is complex and multi-faceted, especially across such a diverse continent and regional concept as EMEA.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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