Mini SASCon - Harmonising PR & Top 5 Brands which ‘Get’ Social

Enjoy Digital
By Enjoy Digital
5 minutes to read

From ASDA’s ‘spot the difference’ to ‘dot-to-dot’, with the next Panel discussion which involved Joining the Dots – PR, Social & Search in Perfect Harmony, with Andy Barr (Visionary for 10 Yetis), Robin Wilson (Director Digital and PR and Social Media at McCann Erickson), Rob Weatherhead from MediaCom), and the Chair was filled by Simon Wharton (from Push ON).

One opinion follows that there is increasingly more and more conflict between PR, Social and Search. However, these forms of marketing need to work together more to manage a brand more efficiently. They are all trying to do the same thing, ie. create good and engaging content and all achieve similar outcomes (to improve search rankings, engage followers and build a brand’s reputation). Afterall, “you’re not who you say you are, but what Google says you are”, so you need the ability to build links as well as build the brand’s image, fusing the various practices together.

The discussion mainly focused on the roles of SEO and PR (as in a way social is a form of customer service). It was ventured that SEOs have particular goals in mind (ie. links and search results), and PR have different goals (building and maintaining the reputation of the company), and how these aims are achieved are dependent on the job role, how the staff work with the clients (as they will have traditional, online and offline priorities and considerations) and how best the budget should be spent effectively.

Unfortunately, this can cause a bit of conflict between them and how the job is accomplished, but these forms need to merge and work together for reasons both strategic (in what they both want to achieve ie. key objectives) and technical (for which web assets to achieve), which will be determined by the content and outreach.

All three require a level of content integration. SEO, PR and Social all have got to ‘figure out what they want and how to achieve it’, but content sits in middle of all of these disciplines (social and PR work most closely together, though there is move for social more towards customer service at times for a brand):

Mini SASCon - From Harmonising PR, Social and Search to the Top 5 Brands which ‘Get’ Social

Content therefore is the most important binding factor, and solves the issues between all three so that they can all integrate and work more closely together towards a unified content-based goal.

A short coffee break separated the last two sessions of the day, firstly with the Panel discussion We Are Not Worthy- The Top 5 Brands That Get It and Deliver It, with Tom Cheesewright (Applied Futurist and BBC go-to guy), Rob Brown (Managing Partner for Rule 5) and the Chair was filled by Andy Barr (of 10 Yetis).

The single most important factor to consider from this Panel discussion is that social content marketing is not always necessarily about the channels, but it’s about how to deliver the content quickly. If there’s anything remotely interesting or exciting “be quick and get it out there”, with an effective hashtag #ofcourse.

The speakers all addressed which they all believed to be the top 5 brands which ‘get it’:

  1. Burberry - 30% of their online traffic comes from Facebook. In the face of adversity Burberry managed to turn their image around, using PR (models and celebrity product endorsement), and they used smart photography to sell the ideals of an old fashioned yet contemporary, quintessential British life.  Afterall, if the photos on their social media look good, and make the models and celebrities look good, it makes the buyer want to look good too and buy into their brand.
  2. Red Bull - revolutionised their marketing practices through social. So now, are they just an energy drinks company, or ingenius content marketers? For example, in their sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner’s ‘space jump’, when they posted a photo of him on the ground after his successful completion on their social media accounts, it generated “nearly 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and more than 29,000 shares in less than 40 minutes”.
  3. British Cycling - with the Olympics and BMX Supercross world cup- Built their @trackworldcup social channels for cycling to sell tickets for the event and build content around it to market it and promote it. Also, with live news feeds at the event, race results and edited videos of any crashes could be live to their online audience in minutes!
  4. The tiny Swiss Village of Obermutten - In exchange for likes and tourist visitations, members of the village are putting the fan’s profile photos from Facebook around the town for them to ‘become Swiss’. They now have more likes on Facebook (currently 45,047 likes) than they have residents (80 in the whole village)!
  5. Government security centre GCHQ (Cheltenham) - GCHQ was in the news recently for claims that the collection of internet data by the British public was being amassed and passed on from a US Intelligence spying programme, through monitoring social media, to GCHQ, causing outrage at this surreptitious activity. However, before this, GCHQ were using social media to search for new employees with a “code-cracking competition” through social media, asking participants to crack a code, which would redirect them to the GCHQ’s recruitment site. What better way to gather their next generation of codebreakers than with a difficult digital puzzle to solve? A little different to the standard ‘send your CVs via post’ response. With all that data they’ve collected, it’s no wonder they’ve been able to tap into the psyche of online users to generate the best way to find their new intelligence agents and data gatherers in a more direct and conclusive approach, by taking advantage of potential ‘social hackers’ to get them working for them, not against them.

A brand’s social performance needs to be analysed and optimised, and for a brand to ‘get it’, it involves the need to understand and know how to quantify what you do, and using that information for your benefit.

For example, GiffGaff was “designed around what is possible”. Their digital and social performance is continuously measured through analytics and re-applied to streamline and re-model their business, making them also a brand who is good at creating content and buzz.

This is also worth considering for emerging brands, as the power of good content cannot and should not be dismissed. A brand doesn’t necessarily need to be the biggest or have the most money, success is based on scientific and data evidence and feeding that in to a brand’s strategy to get it right.

Brands can also do well if they are aware of new technological advances coming to market and how to exploit them (such as having products repackaged for digital format for the day of a new product launch). So it will pay to be aware of technology releases to be ahead of the rest of the game and hold a market share advantage ahead of competitors. The success of this will also depends on the consumer or product lifecycles, ie. appealing to ‘innovators’ and ‘early adopters’ or the later majority:

Mini SASCon - From Harmonising PR, Social and Search to the Top 5 Brands which ‘Get’ Social

Examples of ‘social non-usage’ errors (such as only having social media hours from 9am-5pm for a large customer service or international brand , or the failure of high officials to support a brand’s promises and apologies through a lack of social interaction) should call for the re-engineering of how the business uses social media, as brands need to understand how to respond to customer’s comments and complaints, and manage the accounts effectively, avoiding potential a crisis before they can fully develop.

Afterall, social media should be used as a form of customer services, not just for sales and advertising, and since the profiles are visible 24/7 and are always in the public eye, these considerations need to be taken into account in its effective management.

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