One thing we can count on in business is change. Sometimes these are small changes—minor tremors that shift the balance and other times they are seismic shifts like in the case of a company merging with another company or being outright acquired by a company or investment firm. When times are A-Changin’, your PR team can be your best ally in helping to keep the transition smooth with both your internal and external audiences.
First things first
We’ve stressed this before in our blog: Five Ways to Strengthen your PR Relationship, but it bears repeating –the earlier you engage with us on big news the better. We are under NDA. We will not share or leak or do anything that could jeopardise the announcement of your news. We will NOT do this. So please call us as soon as possible and give us as much background and details as you can. While your internal team is working on the FAQ documents, customer communications, etc., we will get to work drafting a press release. Often times nailing the press release messages can be the best way to approach your overall communication strategy. It forces everyone to stop and think about how you want this news conveyed to your public audiences and the words your executives will use to deliver key messages.
Working with the other side
Once we have a solid press release draft, it’s time to begin coordinating with the other company both their marketing and PR teams so that everyone can get on the same page in terms of what messages will be communicated to the media, who will be the spokespeople and how you’ll team up or support each other in press briefings. For example, will both company spokespeople jointly do press interviews or will one company take the lead? We can then create press talking points for the designated spokespeople. It’s important for the PR teams for both sides to be allowed to collaborate on the announcement to ensure there is no double pitching to key media targets and the PR outreach is shared effectively to maximise the PR placements. To ensure a successful outcome (aka positioning this news event positively), it is imperative that competition (and we do appreciate at times we are actually having to cooperate with competitor agencies) and egos do not interfere. There should be a shared feeling of ‘we’re in this together and we all want the best outcome possible.’
Post news announcement
Once the press release has been issued and the day-of press interviews have taken place, it’s time to take stock of how the news is being received with the media, your customers and your internal teams. Your customers and internal employees are your primary audiences following the initial news announcement as they will long-term feel the biggest effects of this change. The worst thing you can do is go dark while you figure out how to bring two companies together or work with a new company overseeing your brand and product direction. Keep announcements you had in queue rolling and be sure to actively update your key media targets with any news.
At TechComms UK, we have extensive expertise helping clients masterfully prepare for and execute successful PR strategies related to mergers and acquisitions. Please contact us to learn more.
The Power of a Simple Thank You
It seems obvious enough that if someone does something helpful for you, it is common courtesy to thank them for their help. Far too often a thank you is getting lost in the busy, always-on world we’re operating in nowadays, but showing appreciation has been proven to create loyalty and increase productivity.
In fact, according to a Westminster College poll on employee motivation, 69 per cent of people surveyed would work harder if they believed their leaders appreciated their work. And since feeling unappreciated is the #1 reason customers switch away from products and services, are you doing all you can to make your own customers – both existing and potential new ones - feel valued?
For anyone who isn’t sure that they are, here’s a quick look at three very simple ways you can show your gratitude to employees and customers (clients).
Express it. The just-passed holiday period is perhaps the ideal time of year for saying thank you and showing your appreciation with a well-crafted email or handwritten greeting card (timed around Christmas and the New Year). If you missed out on this opportunity to express your gratitude with a Christmas greeting, why not take the time now to tell your team and your customers how much you appreciated their hard work and contributions (team), business (customers) and loyalty over the past year and why you’re looking forward to continuing to work with them in 2019.
Get feedback. Survey your employees and customers to gauge satisfaction and look for areas that need improvement on a regular basis. Be sure to tell employees you’re looking for ways to create a culture where people are valued and recognised for the work they do and encourage a two-way conversation with them so they can express best practice ideas that will enhance the service you’re offering your team and customers – they will all thank you for that. Also be sure to tell your customers you are committed to providing exceptional service and want to hear from them about how you can improve and enhance how you provide products and/or services to them, and what else they might be looking for from you that you’re not already delivering.
Use all of the feedback gained in the previous step to do the most important part – deliver an exceptional service to everyone you work with and for. Employees are more engaged when they feel valued and when they are given this recognition they tend to go above and beyond to provide exceptional customer service and do their best work. Consistently delivering excellent service also happens to be the single best way you can show customers that you appreciate them. Make employee and customer satisfaction a priority, and the people who work with you will always feel appreciated.
It only takes a minute to show you are grateful: to your team for their work and to your customers (clients) for their investment. Value them by saying thank you as often as you can and when you do, mean it.
And in the spirit of today’s post, we’d like to thank all of our TechComms UK clients. We are truly grateful for you and your business. We value your partnership and collaboration and your commitment to PR excellence. Every day you inspire us to go above and beyond to do great work for you.
Do you have plans to attend an Industry Event in 2019? If yes, it’s time to plan how you’ll promote your attendance and get as many visitors as possible to your stand.
Here’s a helpful list to get your planning started:
Check out sponsorship opportunities: Can you sponsor a panel discussion or a networking reception? Can your company name and logo appear on the tote people are given when they register to get their badge?
Determine what announcement(s) you’ll make before the event or during the event (think: must be newsworthy) and draft a press release to issue well ahead of the event start date to interest media in meeting with you to learn more. When inviting key media and analysts to meet with you, make your pitch compelling, timely and relevant to their areas of coverage to maximise success.
Decide who will be your spokespeople for meeting with media and analysts, and pitch him or her for one to ones at least four weeks before the event start date – before media and analysts’ diaries are too full to allocate any time for meeting with your spokesperson.
Put together a showcase of your products/services to highlight. If appropriate, plan to show a demo of the latest product enhancements or any new products you’re announcing.
Set up a dedicated section of your website for your event attendance with the spokesperson, announcement and showcase on it – ensure that this landing page link is shared in all outgoing communications and in your press release, plus social media, to attract as many visitors as possible. While people are visiting that page on your website, they may stay to take a look at others.
Pick a hashtag you’ll use in all social communications promoting your attendance at the event and while your team is onsite. Make it memorable and use it everywhere. If you have the budget, ask a relevant influencer to partner with you to also use your hashtag as their followers may share it with their followers, helping you reach a wider audience. Who knows, your hashtag could be one that’s trending before the event finishes
Create or update stand signage to create a bold impression that will attract more visitors to stop by your stand. Could you do a small pop-up display in another area of the event floor to amplify your presence and get more people to notice your brand, products/services?
Consider a branded item to giveaway at your stand. Ensure you stand giveaway is a useful item that will be carried around for weeks or maybe months after the event - like a reusable coffee cup or quality stationery. It's also a good idea to give away chocolates and little treats for passers-by and visitors to keep them going energy-wise as they trawl the event floor.
Consider working with a team of leafleters for them to go around the event handing out notices about your demo and stand number to try and entice people to swing by and see you.
Do a Facebook Livestream from your stand, announcing you are at the event and where about on the event floor, to encourage any followers who are also at the event to come by.
A joint marketing effort might be a good idea, if your new product or service is being used by any companies that are also attending the event – you could set aside some time in a planned location to both invite key media and analysts to attend a joint press conference, which would be held at the event. – you could set aside some time in a planned location to both invite key media and analysts to attend a joint press conference, which would be held at the event.
Before the event, have each and every one of your customer-facing team members highlighting the fact that you will be at the event – not just so they know, but also so they tell any of their friends and business colleagues who may also be in the market for similar products and services about your attendance.
Have a dedicated tweeter for the time you’re at the event, sharing images of people visiting your stand and your demo, plus talking about what you’re up to and how the event is going for you but, most importantly, your stand number and the benefits of coming to speak with you there. Live social interaction is priceless so having someone 100% focused on social means that any conversations or comments that come through can be answered and responded to straight away, which is what every potential customer or visitor wants.
To stand out and maximise your attendance, it’s important to take a creative and thoughtful approach so you don’t get lost in the crowd. If you’d like help planning your event promotion strategy, please contact us on +44 7886 015 222 or via email: email@example.com
Have you ever questioned the enormous investment – both in terms of time and finance - it requires to attend an industry event? You may have asked why are we spending this money and why is our PR team scheduling so many meet and greets with attending media and analysts?
While it’s true we’ve moved into a more mobile world where physical meetings seem to happen less and less, the fact remains that in an ultra competitive business environment you have to stand out and show up to garner the attention you need from key influencers and make a place for your products or services in the industry. You can’t be a wallflower when it comes to building a successful thought leadership presence.
Your PR agency partner plays an instrumental role in making your industry event presence a success so it is essential to work with an agency that you can rely on, that knows the industry and you as a client well enough to advise you on what will work to meet your needs.
More often than not, a successful event begins with a solid business strategy: What are you trying to achieve? Who is most important for you to meet with while at the event? What is your idea of success before, during and after the event?
Once you have this in place, the PR team will collaborate with you closely to develop a compelling invite to secure meetings with media and analysts.
Here are three key things you need to consider having in place to successfully secure event briefings:
1. Newsworthy announcements: You can’t expect to have a meeting if you have nothing new to tell people. So plan to make some kind of product or company announcement timed with the event. This doesn’t mean you need to do a press release, though we highly recommend this as a way to amplify your presence at the conference. The announcement must be something meaningful and interesting to the industry at-large or your customers and prospects to secure any attention.
2. Cater to the media: This doesn’t mean serve them a meal or buy them a drink! Media and analysts attending these events are often on tight deadlines and under pressure to deliver relevant news items. Keep this in mind when doing outreach, the more you can provide them with information for timely news stories the more likely they will be to take the time to meet with you and hear what you have to say.
3. It’s all about relationship building: The success of your conference attendance should not be measured on the number of meetings secured. It’s really all about the quality of the meetings with the most influential media and analysts in your particular space. Building a relationship is far more important than landing a handshake. Target the influencers who matter most and lean on your PR team to make these recommendations. Once you have these meetings scheduled, you need to do your homework to understand what they cover and are interested in and where you can slot in your expert insight. Again, your PR team can help with this and prepare detailed briefing notes to ensure meetings are a success.
With CES over and MWC just around the corner, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on +44 7886 015 222 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help determine which industry events are the best ones for you to attend, identify key influencers you should be meeting with, and schedule these meetings for you to align with your marketing and PR goals, resulting in a positive outcome.
In summer 2019, Forbes published a great article written by John Hall, CEO of Influence & Co. detailing the five marketing trends to pay attention to in 2019. As we welcome 2019, here’s our take on how PR can complement a 2019 marketing strategy that embraces these trends.
Build Trust. PR content has to communicate value to the audiences you are targeting. This is where thought leadership becomes incredibly important. PR communication has to go beyond the press release to resonate with the media, your customers and your prospects. In addition to establishing a strong thought leadership platform, it’s important to build relationships with key industry influencers. They are trusted sources and the audiences following these influencers are doing so for their point of view and unbiased thoughts. Having their support will go a long way towards creating trust with your audiences. Your PR team can help you find the right set of influencers to support your goals. For further reading, check out our blog about how to build a thought leadership programme here.
Embrace Creativity. Everyone is vying for attention and people are becoming more and more overloaded with information. Your PR content has to stand out in a distinct way just like your marketing communications. It needs to be memorable and bold to make an impression. For example, arranging a PR event in tandem with a marketing campaign roll-out or creating a digital, viral PR campaign to support a product launch.
Collaboration is Critical. To be successful, PR needs a seat at the marketing table and vice versa. We need access and quick responses from your internal team when we secure media opportunities and are creating contributed articles. If there are a lot of hoops to jump through in your organisation, no one can be effective at getting the job done. Collaboration with the key stakeholders is paramount to our collective success. So let’s work together to break down any barriers before the New Year begins to ensure we keep things moving.
Speak in the Language of your Target Audiences. We recommend this to clients all the time. Overly technical and jargon-filled language in your communication materials, including your website, marketing and PR content, is not going to be well-received Your PR team can help craft copy that is simple, straightforward and delivers your messages to communicate the value of your solutions and services that will appeal to your audiences more effectively.
Authenticity. 2019 is the year to get back to some basics when it comes to building and nurturing relationships with your customers/prospects and ultimately, your media targets. Show them that you prioritise providing an exceptional customer experience above everything else. The personal touch and the details matter in a tech-driven, increasingly faceless world. Can you communicate digitally? Of course, but personal contact - whether that’s a phone interview with a reporter or a press event with your customers (clients) will go a long way in helping you to stand out from your competitors. And if your PR content isn’t authentic in tone and purpose, it’s time to review and revise your approach. We can help!
The TechComms UK team is excited for 2019 and ready to help you build a PR programme that keeps you top of mind with the audiences you target. Let’s get started. Contact us @ email@example.com
One of the biggest challenges facing PR pros and marketers is how to keep content fresh so that it appeals to the media and target audiences.
Here are some top tips on how to freshen up content:
Plug into Hot Topics: News jumping or news jacking is one of the best ways to keep your content current. Take a look at your key messages and active marketing campaigns as well as topics your subject matter experts are well-versed in and then ask yourself, could you connect it to what’s happening in the world right now? For example, ransomware and cyberattacks continue to be a hot topic as the one-year anniversary of WannaCry recently passed. There’s a renewed news cycle about what companies learned from the WannaCry experience and what can be done to prepare, respond to and increase their security efforts to protect technology assets.
Make a Seasonal Connection: Think creatively about how you can tie your content themes to the current season. People enjoy reading information that’s current and relatable so if you can make a connection to them, and the season or date, you’ll be better able to engage more with your readers. For example, take the recent World Cup 2018 – could there have been an opportunity to connect what you do to it? Mobile carriers could have provided data about how much texting happened during certain matches or a retail company could have shared the number of team kits (jerseys) sold per country.
Share Expertise with an Educational Focus: All too often content creators turn valuable communication vehicles like blogs and other mediums into a sales promo and miss the opportunity to highlight the value of what their own industry experts can share with their audience. When you approach content creation from the standpoint of helping your audience better understand the value of working with your company, it results in increased credibility and establishes trust.
Sharing useful tips, creating guidebooks and dispensing advice on how to address problems or pain points are incredibly helpful to your audiences and more likely to appeal to the media as they aren’t a blatant sales promotion. Can you turn your latest ebook into a guide to addressing a market need rather than promoting the latest, greatest product in your portfolio? It could then become a valuable tool for your PR team to secure media opportunities for your industry experts to be quoted as credible sources about this topic.
Just like strawberries always taste best when they’re fresh and in-season, your content will resonate and be more effective if people can connect what you’re doing in the marketplace with what is of interest to them both personally and professionally.
We’d welcome the opportunity to help you create fresh, engaging content. Contact us Rahme Mehmet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The benefits and downsides of flexible working has been debated for years. As long-time converts to the joys of managing work routines around life’s priorities, it was pleasing to see a spate of recent research confirming what we at TechComms already know to be the joys of flexi-working.
Timewise’s report, A Talent Imperative, supported by EY Flexible Working, showed that 25% of all full-time workers would prefer to work part time for less wages, if it was not detrimental to their pay per hour or career progression.
Also extolling the virtues of flexi-working, was the Exodus survey carried out by Investors in People, which found, unsurprisingly, that flexibility in employment, such as working remotely, was more important to workers, than having a 3% pay rise. The survey also found that almost half (47%) of employees were intending to find a new job in 2018, a lower figure than last year which saw 59% of respondents actively seeking new employment. Surveys now regularly find that being offered flexible working is a more preferred option to a pay rise nowadays.
More recently, there was a Powwownow report, showing the number of employees who favour flexible working is rising – up to 75% from 70% the previous year. The same survey echoed the Exodus survey results, revealing a third of respondents would prefer flexible working to a pay rise, while a FlexJobs survey of 1,200 parents in the US highlighted that 84% think that work flexibility is the most important that they consider when looking for a new job.
From a personal perspective, there are the obvious benefits from working in the confines of a home office, including peace, quiet and no disruptions from office workers or work telephones ringing making your working time all the more productive. With the proliferation of cloud technology, collaborations tools and faster broadband speeds, it has become even easier to set up a home office or work remotely, from a local coffee shop with WiFi or MiFi for example.
At the same time, many companies, from SMEs to large corporations have implemented the technology and working practices, to enable people to work as effectively from home as they would in the office. And the benefits speak for themselves.
Not only do technology advancements mean that many roles can be just as effectively and seamlessly conducted whilst working from home or on the go – think checking and responding to work emails while travelling abroad or at an off-site meeting – they also mean that any possible absenteeism is reduced. Many workers nowadays assume that work flexibility is a part of their job and this flexible working cuts out, or at least minimizes, the need to commute thus providing a more effective use of time.
Flexible working also ensures employees (self-employed or otherwise) are better motivated and more productive. Providing remote working as part of a package is a highly regarded plus for an employee looking for greater flexibility.
Let’s not forget there are also downsides for the worker and employer though.
Unless you are Ernest Hemingway, or any writer who seeks solitary confinement, to get the creative juices flowing, the individual worker has to adapt to a new way of working. Getting used to a new working culture will present teething issues. For someone who has always worked in teams – making the move to working for yourself or away from an environment where you are seeing office colleagues every day, can take some getting used to. A better balance for some employees would be a combination of working remotely alongside set days in an office, to meet with colleagues and friends each week.
So, this cultural shift isn’t for everyone. But when it works, it’s a boon for anyone wanting less-stress and more freedom to manage work-life balance.
For the employee, implementing technology and ensuring it is compliant with security protocols is a headache. There are costs involved. The good news is many online collaboration tools are free, easy to use and so overall costs can be minimised.
For employers, some industries are not cut out for flexible working. Obvious examples are healthcare and retail sectors. Having said that, the tech world has ensured some advances in the healthcare sector, so remote diagnostics can be utilised, thus saving waiting time for patients.
For those industries that have implemented flexible working policies, the difficulty is in keeping track of productivity and the amount of time employees actually spend working. Trust is key. A shift in culture is important for flexible working to be implemented successfully. Alongside the robust IT technology needs to be a supportive culture that trusts employees.
In conclusion, the advantages of flexible working outweigh the downsides. More companies should enable their employees to take advantage of this route. It will benefit individual employees and experienced freelancers either at SMEs or larger companies. If effectively managed as part of a planned approach, flexible working becomes integral to a modern working culture to keep employees happy, creating highly-efficient and productive working environments.
The increased demand for flexible working will be particularly attractive to millennial workers. The Powwownow research also showed 70 per cent of this group citing flexible working on their wish list, compared to only 47 per cent of over 55s. The businesses that will be most successful in retaining and keeping talent motivated will be those that manage work-life balance using digital tools and are prepared to adapt their working culture for the next generation.