Small fish, big pond. When to outsource your marketing

Whilst almost everyone can grasp the basics of marketing, what does it take to really shine?

The overarching goal for most businesses is to expand and grow, though when it comes to marketing, too often there is a shortage of time and resources to figure out the most effective digital, transactional, and diverse strategies. Sure, you can try do it all yourself but that could lead to poor quality, potentially harming your business. And what a waste of your productive time and money that would be!

Hiring an agency to give you a hand is no longer exclusive to bigger shops, in fact, it is a lot more common than you think for small to medium size businesses to call in some experts to give them the boost they are looking for.

First and foremost, you get a VIP pass to expert industry knowledge. The benefits are immediate. A great marketing agency is not only up to scratch with marketing technologies and how to make them work for you, they also have the experience of doing it for others. This could give you the edge you need and saves you scrambling to play catch-up with competitors.

Secondly, putting your marketing in the hands of specialists, means your marketing won’t suffer due to staffing issues. Consistency is key when it comes to successful marketing, especially online – if not, Google will notice flows in your content production. Nowadays, all it takes is for your in-house marketer to go on holiday or have a sick day to affect the smooth running of your output. Outsourcing simply keeps the consistency despite what may be happening in the office. All the while, you get to focus on what your business does best. Working with the right agency not only means being up to date with latest technologies, it also helps to know where your target audience is and what systems are best suited to tap into them. All you need to do is sit back and watch your market grow with the trust that this is being done for you.

Outside knowledge from working with an agency can bring you and your business numerous benefits that you may not have considered; fresh eyes, new ideas, industry expertise and technology know-how. Skype, for example, used a team of developers in Estonia to build out their business when they first got started in 2003, leading to a buy out with Microsoft in 2011 for $8.3 billion USD. Slack is another company that has seen great success outsourcing design in its early days.

Last, but certainly not least, brand monitoring. Outsourcing your marketing function shouldn’t be a one-trick pony. A dedicated and proactive agency should be continually optimising your marketing efforts. The world is a competitive place for brands big and small, and it is crucial to lower your risk of market stagnation. Brands need to be up to speed, consistent, as well as creative with their ideas. Having a great marketing campaign but not the strategy and monitoring in place is a slippery slope for brands. However, an agency will constantly try new things to keep your business on trend to deliver agreed-upon goals.

Sound good? But where do you start. Choosing the right agency for your business can be mind boggling and full of people trying to sell you something without your objectives in mind. Find an agency that understands your brand and is willing to take the time to work out the best strategy for your business.

If you want to discuss your business potential, big or small, drop us a message at [email protected]

 

4 Step guide to defining your brand voice

When it comes to your business, your brand voice is everything (well, almost!). Your voice communicates your brand, core values and the type of relationship you want to have with your consumer. It sets expectations and helps build trust. In fact, your brand voice is so impactful – it can make or break your business. That’s why it’s important to get it right early on.

And yes, we know it’s no easy task creating a voice for your brand. It takes time to get it right so you should never rush it. Take your time and follow these four steps:

Step 1: Who are you?

It’s as simple as that. What is your business all about? At this stage, it is about defining your company values – what you stand for, what makes you unique, and why you exist? And even if you aren’t offering the sexiest product in town, it doesn’t mean you need to come across in a boring manner. Have fun with your brand and really stand out from the crowd! Suggested read: FunTech: Make that content cray

Step 2: Who are you talking to?

First, define your audience. Who is your key customer? Are they likely to respond to a very casual tone with lots of humour? Or perhaps your customers prefer a more corporate approach. Either way, you know your customers, so work out the best way to speak to them.

Get your team together and brainstorm answers to the following:

  • I want my brand to make people feel _______.
  • Three words that describe my brand are _______ , _______ , and _______.
  • I love the brand voice of _______.
  • I dislike the brand voice of _______.

Doing this will really help you define and drive your communications.

Step 3: Strip it back

Ok, so you’ve now identified what your brand represents and who you’re talking to. The next step is to create a list of brand buzzwords and as well, a banned list of words or phrases. Focus on specific things that encompass what your brand represents and decide how you’d like them to be communicated. Here’s your chance to think outside the box and really get creative.

 Step 4: Stimulate visually

Words are one thing, but a picture tells a thousand words. The imagery you use across your marketing should show a brand story and convey a strong message. Try creating a series of graphics that are unique to your brand and match this with quirky copy.

Here’s our favourite example of a brand that’s really created an amazing voice – Vinomofo. Their audience is made up of wine lovers but what makes this brand unique, is how they convey their message to their audience. From the way website looks, to the fun tone used in their copy, all the way through to culture which is clearly represented through the imagery – it all really helps differentiate the Vinomofo brand from any other wine company or distributor around.

Check out the tone of their website bio:

Do yourself a favour and scroll all the way down to the bottom of their home page – make sure you read all the text. It’s so funny and entertaining! It’s rare to find a brand that communicates this way. Reading their content makes you feel like you’re having a direct conversation with Vinomofo –  and they really do have fun communicating their message.

If you need help standing out from the crowd, drop us a note at [email protected] – we can help you take your brand tone from boring to brilliant!

3 Ways to help bring your content back to life

Creating content may seem simple, and sure enough it is, but keeping your audience engaged is a totally different game. When we talk about content, you might automatically think of a blog post or article that you post onto your website, and while this may be partly true, content can come in many different forms, such as videos, graphics and e-books. Often these can be a lot more interesting and creative – and is exactly what is needed to keep your readers interested and engaged.

Here are three tips you can use to keep your content alive, and your audience coming back for more:

1  Repurpose and re-use

No doubt you have already written a lot of content, much of it is probably timeless. Great – don’t waste it. Just because you’ve written a blog and posted it on your website one year ago, doesn’t mean it needs to stop there. You can re-use your evergreen content and repurpose it for a different platform. For example, if you’ve shared some amazing healthy tips about the different ways to use chia seeds, why not create bite-sized video content and deliver this across your social media channels. You can even do a recipe album on Facebook. Remember, there are endless ways to revitalize older content and re-fresh it to keep your readers excited and engaged with your brand.

2  Hook with a headline

You can spend all the time in the world creating something fancy, and sure, that’s very important. But what’s equally important is the hook of your headline. Your headline is what will draw readers in and get them to click your material. Get creative and tip the readers off with just enough information to maintain the mystery. But make sure you’re genuine with your headlines and avoid creating clickbait headlines as that will just annoy people. Here’s a great example from Buzzfeed on Facebook for all you Friends lovers out there. I don’t know about you, but I certainly clicked on this link.

3 Get personal

Gone are the days where direct selling was the main way to secure business. We’re now living in a world where customers want to see the ‘real’ you – and the Internet and social media have opened the doors to this type of discovery. Your customers want to know your story, the people behind the brand, and they want to talk to you. Share real stories about real people – be it case studies or behind-the-scenes footage. Open the lines of communication with your customers through social media by posting exciting and fun content, and write as you would speak – you know, like a conversation.

It’s time to let your customers in and get personal. Tell your brand story and develop content with a human element. Show people who you are and what you can do without making an obvious sales pitch. Your content strategy should be filled with cool ideas that have your customers craving for more. The key is to have fun, be consistent and creative.

Let us help you bring your content back to life – drop us a message at [email protected]

7 things to consider when choosing the right PR agency

Are you thinking about hiring a PR agency?

With so many agencies to choose from, it can definitely be an overwhelming process to find the perfect partner to help communicate the right brand message to the right audience.

Whether you have gone through the selection process in the past or you’re looking for the first time, here are the 7 crucial factors to consider when screening potential agencies:

1. Plan and prepare

First and foremost, you’ll need to decide what your business goals and objectives are. Do you want to achieve brand awareness, or make your new product launch the talk of the town? Or perhaps you want to establish yourself as an important thought leader in your field? Having a clearly defined goal helps to narrow your search down to find agencies with the right capabilities and expertises.

2. Size does matter

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Large firms may have greater manpower and resources, but smaller agencies make up for it with a nimble and flexible team that’s quick to catch changing trends. By default, smaller agencies have a flatter hierarchy with less bureaucracy and red tape. This can translate into saved time and resources, and greater visibility into operations. What’s important is to identify an agency with the right size and fit for your brand – one that has the relevant experience and staff to meet your needs.

3. Avoid a bait-and-switch

When hearing pitches, pay attention to the team. Make sure what you see is what you get. Are you dealing with a large agency where smaller accounts are handed down to junior staff? Will the team pitching to you be working on your account? Some agencies send a pitching team made up of senior partners and the top creative honchos to woo you, but once business is secured, the account will be handed off to other members of the team. Clarify who will be developing and executing the campaign to avoid unpleasant surprises.

4. Making connections

When you hire an agency, you gain their valuable contacts and connections. Make sure the agency has trusted and positive relationships with the right people and media. Besides making it faster for you to see results, your business would also be able to leverage upon those relationships beyond PR purposes.

5. Area of expertise

It goes without saying that the agency you hire should understand your industry and the basics of your field. Having to constantly explain programmatic buying to the account manager can get frustrating, so pick an agency that has experience in your industry and region. They should be able to work their magic and simplify the technical jargon, making even the most unsexy topics sound fun.

6. Practice what they preach

PR is one of the fastest moving industries, and it’s important to ensure the agency you choose is dynamic and always one step ahead.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making a decision:

  1.   Are they experienced with social media?
  2.   Do they provide digital strategies in addition to traditional PR?
  3.   Are they able to provide media training?
  4.   Can they build great thought leaders?

If, for example, an agency says they specialise in executing social media strategies, check to see if they have an updated blog and social media pages. You can tell a lot about an agency through its online presence. Are they practicing what they preach?

7. Counsellor versus yes-man

While it’s important for an agency to execute campaigns well, they should also be providing strategic counsel and speak up when they feel your ideas won’t achieve much. Instead of a yes approach, an agency that challenges your ideas and offers alternative solutions works better than one agreeing to every single idea. Having an objective view and strong news judgement is one of the biggest benefits to hiring a PR agency. You want an agency that takes initiative and thinks outside of the box to find the best solution to help achieve your goals.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you choose the right PR agency with the appropriate capabilities, experience, and right fit for your company.

 

Keen to learn more about what Mutant can offer? Drop us a note at [email protected].

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A day in the life of … a Mutant Content Manager

Ever wondered what a Mutant Content Manager really does every day?

Between writing blogs, white papers and e-books, and the odd Beyonce-style hair-flip, the content team is responsible for developing quality content for a variety of our clients cross multiple industries.

Check out a snap shot of an average day for our Content Manager, Jane:

Mutant - content manager

 

For on-demand creative content, visit our content platform, Words by Mutant, or drop us a note at [email protected] to discuss a content marketing campaign. We look forward to writing for you soon!

 

4 tips on creating news out of thin air

Come on, a reader knows when you’re out of ideas. Every company goes through a phase where there is simply nothing news-worthy to announce, no new products to launch, and no new events to promote – and that’s ok so don’t panic.

It takes lots of resources and large amounts of money to execute new brand initiatives, and many companies simply can’t keep the momentum going for 365 days straight. In saying that, it is important to stay active and current. In today information age, consumers are discovering and taking in so much content every day and can easily forget about you if you’re active enough or relevant to them.  

So how exactly can you keep the fountain of content and news flowing all year around?

Leverage on trending topics

Stay current by looking out for trending topics and find ways to relate them to your business.

IKEA Singapore were very quick to leverage on the Brangelina split. They released this creative Facebook advert on the day the world heard the news. It’s both clever and creative, don’t you think?

IKEA-Brangelina

 

Got data?

If your company is lucky enough to have collected any customer or industry data, now is the time to use it. Better still, if you can link it to a popular event – such as the F1, the Olympics, Easter, Christmas, or even a seasonal change – this will help drive interest and engagement. If you don’t have your own data, you can always create something informative and useful using credible third-party research sources which you can find on the internet.

HOT TIP: Set up a spreadsheet, list out all the relevant events for the year ahead and brainstorm creative brand ideas around these events.

Get your creative juices flowing

Coca-Cola is known for creating great interactive ads that are timely and always pull on people’s heartstrings. They don’t always have a new product to promote, so instead they come up with different interactive initiatives that engage consumers. It has become their way to stay at the forefront of mind even though the product has been around since 1886.

Check out Coke’s First day of College interactive ad.

Share relevant content

You don’t always have to produce your own content. With the help of the internet and different social media platforms, search for articles, videos, blogs, or infographics that are relevant to your business. It’s a good way to keep your pages alive and drive engagement.

Need help creating some newsworthy content? Get in touch with us at [email protected]

 

You can’t do everything

This feature is part of a regular series”Getting frank with Joe” giving you a brutally frank, yet realistic look at the business world.

When you run your own business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing no one has the same passion and drive that you have. You’ll think other people’s way of doing everything isn’t how you would do it, the quality and attention to detail isn’t at the level you have, and the drive and passion behind it simply isn’t there.

The ironic thing is that you are correct. Your business is your baby and you cannot expect people to have the same investment in it without the emotional and financial input you have had.

But it also doesn’t matter. Seriously, stop complaining and be a solutions person.

Having worked with dozens of startups, this is one factor I regularly see that impacts the long term viability of a company – no matter its market potential.

Focus on growing your business

In a small business it’s easy to oversee all activity and influence everything. That’s cool if you want to stay a small business, but I’m guessing you don’t. If you are spending all your time overseeing everything, you need to ask yourself how effective you can be actually growing your business.

You know what you are good at, so why not focus on that? Get other people to do the other work to free you up.

Different doesn’t mean worse

When you hire someone else to do a job, I guarantee that 95% of the time they won’t do it exactly how you would. You need to get over that. I don’t mean throw quality to the wind, I mean get used to people doing things differently.

It’s better to get something happening, than to kill time and slow your growth doing everything yourself.

If quality drops when you step away, or your staff aren’t performing, then invest your time into training rather than instantly taking over every function. If things don’t improve, fire them, and hire someone better.

Interns are not a growth solution

I’ve seen this a lot and I think it’s worth slotting in here as a standalone point. If you are trying to resource your company by stacking it full of interns, you are going down a dangerous path. Yes they are cheap and enthusiastic, but they are also inexperienced and short-term.

By all means, have your interns to help lighten the load, but don’t treat them as a replacement to hiring experienced, capable professionals.  

Experience is sometimes worth the spend

When you hire for any specialist role, make sure you’re getting someone who knows what they are doing and are experienced in the field. It’s worth the extra money.

If you are tight on finances the argument is the same. It’s better to have someone who is experienced and great working for three days a week, rather than paying the same for a full-time junior who needs constant support and checking.   

Specialists are specialists for a reason

If you are using an agency or have a senior hire, listen to what they say. This doesn’t mean you can’t have input – it means that you don’t ignore their warnings without an extremely good reason.

I’ve seen so many CEOs of all-sized businesses decide they know better and interfere in a process they, quite frankly, have no business getting involved in.

You might have read the newspaper every day for your entire adult life or even been interviewed a couple of times, but it doesn’t mean you know more about the media than the trained specialists you are paying, who have dedicated their working lives to getting results for clients.

I know all of this is easier said than done, but if you invest your time and resources towards making sure the people around you are capable and awesome, the payoff is massive.

Have a question? Why not drop us a note at [email protected].

 

Your brand sucks: Part 2

If you’ve just joined us, this feature is part of a regular series giving you a brutally frank yet realistic look at the startup world. In ‘Your brand sucks: Part 1” I talked about realising that effective brand communication is key to success. This second part will continue with some more honest truths.

  • You are not Steve Jobs

You just aren’t.

Don’t make subtle comments in meetings about what Steve Jobs’ approach to marketing was. Don’t make sly comments about Steve Jobs’ attention detail when you are ripping apart plans or copy. You just aren’t him!

But don’t worry. You are you, and that’s awesome. You can have your own vision for your brand. Use that to justify your decision making processes instead of having input simply for the sake of having input.

You are building your own empire, and that means there are a whole new set of rules that you decide, and which marketing students in 30 years’ time can marvel at. If you don’t know what the vision is, then that’s also ok. Plenty of amazing leaders have built billion dollar companies by knowing their strengths and collecting the right people around them, who can help them to articulate, communicate or even develop a vision and brand.

  • Don’t go cheap

This makes me want to cry. I see it most often from the types who transition from a bigger corporation into startups. They are used to these things simply happening in the background without understanding it. They usually react to the discovery of cheap offshore outsourcing like they’ve discovered a life hack no one else has ever stumbled across before.

They’ll proudly pull out their branding decks at a first meeting and exclaim how they got it done in Thailand for a few hundred dollars (often followed by a series cocky statements reminding us that our prices need to be dirt cheap, or they’ll simply get that done offshore as well.)  

Firstly, I take this as an insult to me, my colleagues and the craft we’ve spent our working careers learning and developing in. It’s not a great start to any partnership to insult the other person. If you talk to me like this at the beginning, I will simply tell you to go elsewhere. Why would I pour my energy into your brand if I think you’re an arse?

Secondly, the “great deal” you were offered probably sucks. Nine times out of 10 you’ve gotten something I would slap a high school student for submitting. This is particularly true if you’ve just asked them to come up with something without a brief or concept.  

If you fail to see the problem and refuse any input, I’d write you off as a lost cause. No one’s got time for that, and I’d prefer not to associate my agency’s brand associated with you. As a startup you are already up against the odds. Throwing in an amateur, cheap-looking brand and poor strategy just makes your own life so much harder.

Like any rules there are exceptions, and people love to cry out in outrage pointing out the inaccuracies of it all because they can point at a handful of companies it doesn’t apply to.

And to be honest I don’t care. Ignore it and make your business journey 10X harder than it needs to be.

It’s not about spending money, it’s about using your brain.

Need help? Drop me an email at [email protected].

Your brand sucks: Part 1

This feature is part of a regular series”Getting frank with Joe” giving you a brutally frank, yet realistic look at the business world.

Look, I get it. You’ve worked your arse off building your business – you deliver a product or service you are proud of. The market is simply waiting for something like this and a massive increase in sales is just around the corner simply because you have nailed it. Right? Wrong.

When you fail to communicate your brand, you will not achieve the success you aspire to and – most likely – will crash and burn. I’m not about to give you a step-by-step guide on how to do that but I will give you a few pointers to keep in mind.

  • Your business is not unique

I’m a simple guy; I love the idea that a person can deliver an exceptional product and it will become a success. But unfortunately those times are no longer here, if they ever existed.

Sure, there is the odd exception, but when you do come across those rare cases, there is a specific purpose and strategy behind it. Think of those cool bars with a secret entrance and no obvious branding. They didn’t get popular simply because they make a good cocktail, there is a specific strategy behind their success. This can be a mix of PR, word of mouth and social media. I’ve seen amazing businesses go under because they wanted to be underground or aloof, without understanding how to effectively communicate.

It’s not just lifestyle either. Whether you are in construction, B2B technology or whatever, if your target market doesn’t know you exist, can’t relate to you, or they don’t easily understand your key values, then you are not building the long-term relationships that is  needed to scale your business.  

  • Take a look in the mirror

All founders need to take a good, hard look at themselves before getting too involved with branding at a creative level for both planning and execution. Supply the vision and ethos that will guide the strategy, but if you lack the skills, understanding, or even interest to get involved, then please don’t.

I’ve seen all sorts of approaches towards brand strategy and communications, where the CEO doesn’t have any experience or know what they are doing. If they recognise they lack in the area, they are often fine. The others, less so.

mutant-startup-brand

In one meeting, I met the CEO of a tech company that had successfully raised millions in funding. It was an amazing platform and should have done really well in the market since they launched 18 months earlier. Yet here they were looking for desperate last ditch measures to get sales, so they could raise more funding just to survive.

I asked the CEO about his marketing and branding strategy. There was none. He even told me he hates doing “that sort of stuff”, yet he was the one in charge of executing it. Unsurprisingly, the marketing efforts fails, and then the CEO decides it doesn’t work.

With millions of dollars and over a year of operations, this company had built itself a large global team, yet not one person outside of the CEO had a role that involved giving thought on how to actually get the product in front of paying users, or how to build the brand or to scale it (beyond tech requirements).

So there you have it! Stay tuned for the second instalment to my branding series where i’ll guide you on how turn failure into success.

In the meantime, drop me a note at [email protected] if you could use a hand promoting your new idea.

Missed the first Getting frank with Joe instalment? Check it out here.

 

A guide to writing a press kit

Whether you’re preparing to launch a new business venture or you’re already up and running, a public relations strategy to boost the exposure of your brand should sit snugly inside your long-term business plans.

When we work with new clients, before delving into the nitty gritty process of media pitching, we help companies to write and prepare a media kit, or press kit, to help introduce them to members of the media.

Of course, this is something you can do yourself, although we would recommend engaging an agency to assist you in the process. We deal with the media on a daily basis, and know exactly what they need and what they’re looking for!

What is a press kit?

A physical or digital press kit is a thoughtful curation of vital information about your brand and organisation – from a company biography, biographies of key business leaders and photos.

A digital press kit is everyone’s preferred method of information distribution, as this makes it easy to send out to journalists. Its content can also be updated quickly when the need arises. A physical press kit offers more room for creativity, and is generally used when you’re meeting members of the press face-to-face.

When on a budget, forget about the fancy, extravagant physical kits that may cost a little to design. Begin with something simple like a Dropbox or a Google Drive folder.

Put yourself in the shoes of a journalist

With packed schedules, journalists rarely have the luxury of time to sift through a massive amount of information to piece their stories together.

It’s never good news if they have to look beyond your press kit to get basic information, even for details like your store address or your opening hours. This is why the information in your media kit needs to be clear, concise and easy to access.

There are a range of things that can go into your press kit, but make sure you don’t forget the following essentials:

  • Your company biography

Imagine telling someone the story of your business. Share how you started, when you started, what sparked your business idea, and the gaps or problems you address through your solutions or products.

Present all of that information in a succinct paragraph or two of text, and drop them in your press kit. While this information may not always be published as part of a journalist’s content, it offers clear insights to your company’s background and of course, to what you do. It will also help them decide whether you are someone they might want to interview for articles they have coming up.

  • Biographies of key company representatives

You need to introduce your business’s key founder or spokespeople, so the media know who the best people are to interview. Include the profiles of any key players whose profiles you’d like to raise through their biographies – such as the founder, the CEO, or the MD.

Don’t forget to include their photographs, as well as succinct information about their professional histories and one or two more personal details. This will give the media a good all-around idea of who they are.

  • Your brand logo

Include this in various colours, sizes, resolutions and formats, if you can!

This will allow journalists to publish your logo along with their content in the most suitable form, whether it’s in the print or online medium – or if you’re lucky, on both platforms.

  • Any relevant existing company press releases

From a product launch announcement to the introduction of a new member in the organisation – if you’ve got it, include it. The key here, though, is to ensure any press releases are relevant.

They can be a fantastic point of reference for the journalists to work off for their stories, and past releases can also be filed away as the journalists’ own sources. When the potential opportunity for a story relevant to your product or expertise arises, your company stays at the top of the journalists’ minds.

  • Your contact details

Think about who the media should contact, over the phone or email, should they have any queries pertaining to your business or press materials. This person needs to be someone who is knowledgeable about your products, easily contactable, and can also quickly revert to the media in the shortest time frame.

  • Other relevant product photos

If you’re launching a new product or have existing products, consider including some professionally taken product photos. Hire a proper photographer if you can – no journalist will want to publish dimly lit or poorly taken iPhone snaps.

These photos can also be reused for other purposes such as on your website or for social media purposes, so it’s usually worth the investment.

If you would like help launching a PR strategy for your business or startup, get in touch with us at [email protected] 

3 reasons your start-up should consider Instagram

instagram

Welcome to 2015, where social media is anything but a passing fad and not integrating your brand into the social experience is a heinous crime.

If you’re already on Facebook and are thinking about how you can further enhance your business presence and take a larger slice of the social pie, it might be time to consider Instagram.

Since launching five years ago, Instagram has quickly climbed the social ladder to become the number one mobile photos and video sharing app. Marketers have quickly identified an opportunity to leverage on its functionalities and have turned it into an important visual marketing tool.

While Instagram isn’t necessary for some companies – after all, it is a photo-based social App that requires engaging content to gain traction – it is worth deciding whether it’s right for your business.

Today, brands and personalities from McDonald’s to Britney Spears are on it, sharing relevant, interesting, engaging and timely photos and content to help enhance their brand in a language and medium consumers (and fans) understand.

If you are still undecided about jumping on the Instagram bandwagon, the following points might get you off the fence and into a world of filters and hashtags.

1. It’s cost-effective and convenient

Starting an account is absolutely free. Put up your 110 x 110 pixels profile picture – such as a brand logo – and fill up your bio section to tell people who you are. Make sure to add in your company website URL! Keep your bio short and sweet, and if anything changes remember to update the information.

Once you are done, you are ready to snap and post away on a mobile device.

2. It’s an excellent employer branding tool

Put aside the mistaken belief that Instagram will only serve a purpose for businesses with visual products. If Instagram can’t help you sell the tangible – your products or service, use it to sell the intangible – your company and culture.

There’s only so much your “About” section can say about your company. With Instagram, you can now show people what’s it like to be in the company before they even join the company.

Never underestimate that one new addition to your growing team or that simple company gathering the other day, for they are all “Instagram-worthy” content. Such tactics will help to dispel any misconception that your company is “dull” or “serious” and contribute to your profile as a fun employer.

This way, you will also more likely to attract the young and creative, whom you will definitely need to propel your business forward.  

3. It’s all about relationship-building and awareness

Beyond interaction with your audience, you can also proactively interact with other brands and companies you know are likely to pay attention to you on Instagram. In this instance, bigger is not better. Think smaller brands and companies that are in a complementary field and are locally-based, making them relevant to you and your audience.

If you are unsure of where to start, think about companies you’ve recently worked or met up with. Follow them, leave them a comment on their page to say hello and if you can afford to, drop them a personalised comment.

Little acts like this will catch the other brands off guard, in a good way that is. For all you know, you’ve already attained the one-way ticket to their nice list, future interactions and opportunities await!

The aforementioned examples are not exhaustive and if you’re in need of some inspiration, you may want to check out Starbucks and Club Vivre’s Instagram accounts.

Social media’s constant will always be changing and as marketers, it is crucial that you adapt swiftly and keep up on top of ensuring client service excellence.

If you want to find out more about effectively using social media platforms to complement your PR and content efforts, reach out at [email protected]

Fashion faux pas: #BoycottDolceGabbana and the art of crisis management PR

It’s the latest scandal involving fashion, celebrities, babies and LGBT – which, in short, makes it media gold.

Over the past few days, we have seen the rapid response to Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s (D&G) comments that in vitro fertilization (IVF) is “unnatural” and produces “synthetic children”.

The comments, made in an interview with Panorama magazine, have raised a furore among the press and the entertainment industry. Media commentary has lambasted their shortsightedness, while celebrities have initiated a boycott of the designer brand.

This boycott was led by no other than Elton John, thanks to a spat on Twitter, which generated the trending#BoycottDolceGabbana hashtag. It has since received support from a league of celebrities, including Madonna, Courtney Love and the Beckhams.

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It’s a dramatic turn of events, which provides an interesting and essential case study for some pointers in crisis management.

It’s not clear if there were broader motives behind D&G’s comments, but chances are they were off-the-cuff remarks made without the foresight to see how it would affect their brand identity.

From a PR perspective, there are numerous lessons you can learn about avoiding potential media nightmares – and how to react once the damage has been done.

There’s no such thing as “off the record”

It’s a game of trust. During interviews, you always have to be prepared before speaking with the media. One would have expected D&G to be aware of this after years in the spotlight, but goes to show that even media moguls can forget, and fall prey to the obvious rules.

Always err on the side of caution and be aware that anything you say can, and will, be held against you.

Don’t fight fire with fire

After Elton John led the boycott, D&G decided to go on the offense on Instagram with #boycotteltonjohn.

Although their efforts to make a point about free speech received considerable support from punters, their response was unnecessary. It is easy to forget the virality of social media, and these public spats only provide an opportunity to spawn more undesirable news.

A wise man once said, “An eye for an eye makes the world go blind”, and it is always good to be the bigger person, take a step back to assess the situation and see the best way to go about handling it with integrity.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

If you do something that upsets millions of people, the right way to respond is to say sorry. A response carefully crafted to at least include the word “sorry” or “apology” isn’t difficult, and a quick turnaround can do wonders to backtrack on a flippant mistake.

Instead, D&G sat down for an interview with CNN, in which Dolce defended his comments and made it clear that they were his personal beliefs.

“It is impossible to change my culture for something different. It is me… I respect all the world, all the culture,” he said.

He went on to say he “loves the music of Elton John”, and that while his views were private, they could have definitely expressed their views better.

While D&G came across as very frank and honest in the interview, there was no apology. Sticking to your guns is one thing, but not acknowledging and expressing remorse at the damage their comments may have inflicted is an oversight.

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