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Businesses need to adapt to new marketing challenges, say experts | Gulf Today, 13 apr 2019
Why Are We So Attracted To Minimalist Branding? | LONNY, 13 apr 2019
WHY YOUR TECH STARTUP NEEDS PR | Tech Voice Africa, 13 apr 2019
Marketing Has Evolved From Changing Perception To Changing Behavior: Ravi Desai, Director Mass And Brand Marketing, Amazon | Businessworld, 12 apr 2019
Opinion: Building a marketing organisation that drives growth today | MarketingTech, 12 apr 2019
8 consumer-friendly digital tools to support behavioral health | MobiHealth News, 12 apr 2019
The Customer Is Incompetent! | Customer Think, 12 apr 2019
6 Peer-Driven Tips for Improving Marketing & Sales Performance with TechTarget Priority Engine | TechTarget, 12 apr 2019
The Secret Behind Landing Better Content Marketing Clients | Small Business Trends, 11 apr 2019
How You Influence Customer Decisions | Contracting Business, 11 apr 2019
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2018
Corporations have student ambassador programs in which they hire students to promote their brand on educational campuses. These campus representatives create buzz about the companies during career fairs, work with student organizations to invite company professionals for guest lectures, talk about their internship both in-class and outside, give samples, post on social media about them etc. Adam Grant, CEO of Campus Commandos (a youth marketing agency that runs student brand ambassador programs), provides essential elements that companies should consider when hiring students to talk about their brands on campuses - (1) Compensation: Think beyond monetary compensation; Enhance their learning and skills; Provide interaction and networking opportunity with company leaders and executives. (2) A Hands-On Approach: Have direct involvement in the program; Keep interacting with students during the program; Preferably, don't entirely outsource the program to another company. (3) Future Opportunity: Provide opportunity for internship and future employment for best performers; Engage students with the company's human resources. (4) Mobile: Incorporate mobile technologies in the program; Utilize documentation tools available on mobile devices that allow student ambassadors to provide pictures, videos and notes. (5) Work Schedule: Understand student's work schedule; Work out expectations of the program around the student's educational priorities. (6) Organization: Build a program that incorporate goals; What is required by students to reach these goals; Their progress reports; Recognize top performers. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 sep 2018
Mentors are an important component of learning-based relationships. Wikipedia quotes a definition of 'mentoring' from a research published in 2007 in SAGE Journals, 'Toward a Useful Theory of Mentoring: A Conceptual Analysis and Critique' (Authors: Barry Bozeman, Mary K. Feeney - University of Georgia, Athens, USA), 'Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protégé).' On prsa.org (PRSA - Public Relations Society of America) website, PR expert Prof. John Guiniven of Elon University in North Carolina, says, 'Mentoring is all about communication and relationships, so it's natural for public relations to be in the forefront.' Over the course of learning, people can go through many mentoring relationships, brief or long. But, there are few mentors and their inspiring advice that sticks in one's memory and they often share this with others. 10 members of Forbes Agency Council share the most important learning received from their mentors about PR and media strategy - (1) Consistency Is Essential - Darryl Mascarenhas, LivelyGroup (2) Don't Send Garbage To Media Contacts - Ajay Gupta, Stirista Digital (3) Collaborate With Stakeholders - Ana Miller, Asquared Communications Group (4) Nobody Can Tell Your Story Better Than You - Alexander Yastrebenetsky, InfoTrust LLC (5) Go Big, Go All In, Or Go Home - Dan Russell, Vivid Labs (6) The Order Of Operations Matters - Jared Mirsky, Wick & Mortar (7) Create A Connection - Drew Kraemer, Marketplace Strategy (8) Depict Core Beliefs And Values - Chris Gutierrez, TouchFuse (9) Develop Insights - Julia Gardner, MAAST DIGITAL (10) Be Authentic - Mark Stubblefield, Stubgroup Advertising. Read on...
Memorable Mentor Advice: 10 Thoughts On PR And Media Strategy
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2018
Consistent communication through various channels both internally and externally is the key for successful public relations. Eileen Sheil, ED of Corporate Communications at Cleveland Clinic, shares her PR experience and suggests key elements that PR teams should be focused on. Regarding her PR strategy at Cleveland Clinic, she says, 'We are trying new communication approaches that better reach our target audiences through the media and to our key stakeholders. Sharing our stories internally and externally about patient care, innovative procedures, medical research, opinions on important healthcare issues, and breaking news will help people know more about the work we do to help patients locally, nationally, and around the globe.' Following is her advice for PR teams - (1) Be Strategic About PR: Know the organization and industry; Know the company's narrative and be consistent in your communication; Conduct reputation research and develop a PR strategy; Know your audience; Research and alter strateg as needed. (2) Go Digital: Traditional media is essential but amplify the communication through latest digital technologies. (3) Measure The Value Of PR: The Barcelona Principles (initially developed in 2010 and updated in 2015) are used to measure the real value of PR; Focus on qaulity of coverage to build better reputation; Learn to use metrics, data and analytics to drive strategy. (4) Be One Communications Team And Build One Strategy: Internal and external communications are merging; Be consistent to all shareholders. (5) Know This Is A Journey: Teams should continue to evolve, learn and make their work better together. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 mar 2018
Corporates often fund nonprofits to fulfil their commitments and responsibilities to the communities they operate in, and also to enhance their brand value and achieve a positive public relations. But, since the funds are limited and there are number of competiting nonprofits, corporates seek best value and return on their giving and investments. Nonprofits have to find ways to differentiate themselves and give an attractive proposition as part of their corporate fundraising effort whether they are considering cause sponsorship, 'pin-up' or point-of-purchase campaigns, corporate volunteering/employee engagement or cause marketing. Chris Baylis, president and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective in Ottawa (Canada), suggests ways to consider for successful corporate fundraising - (1) Corporate partnerships are not just philanthropy. Think beyond the good cause, clearly define your audience and understand the value of your brand. Determine the interest and buying power of your audience. (2) Use your cause to attract (and define) your audience and your audience to define and attract prospects. Use the cause as a valuable link to connect your audience and prospects. (3) Make your value known to the prospects and list every single asset you have to offer. Estimate the cost of similar exposure and services that prospects can avail elsewhere. Understand the value of your audience. (4) Logo placement, although more visible to the public, is just a small component of cause partnership. Think more of real value and outcomes. (5) Share fulfillment report with your partners and how it is tied to their goals. It explains the value they got in return, satisfies internal decision makers, helps in renewal of contract and build long-term partnerships. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 mar 2018
Basic principles of business success remains the same, but with time new ideas, concepts and rules become game changers and critical to its success. Inspired by David Politis's book '66 Rules for Publicity Success', Sheryl Conner, entrepreneur, author of 'Beyond PR: Communicate Like A Champ In The Digital Age' and co-creator of Content University, explains how public relations has transformed and brought in new dynamics while some of its concepts remain the same. THE NEW - (1) New publishing platforms give more freedom to publish and provide metrics and analytics about how much interest and engagement the content has created. (2) Know the rules of publishing on varied platforms and understand the difference between owned (company blog), earned (national journals and publications), leased and rented (social media platforms) publishing space. (3) Search results are the greatest ally (and one of the most significant risk). (4) Visual content is becoming increasingly important. Text content with video/audio and compelling images provides effective multimedia experience to the audience. (5) Customer feedback is equal (or more) important to purchases than traditional analyst views. THE USUAL - (1) Press releases are still important. (2) Value add educative information for your audience is more valuable than promotion and hype. According to Conductor.com, a consumer is 131% more likely to purchase from a vendor who publishes an educational article they have read. (3) Meaningful and consistent messaging is vital. (4) Authenticity is more important than ever before. (5) Earned media is important. Remember what others say about your company is more valuable and add to reputation, than what you say yourself. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 aug 2017
Businesses invest heavily on external communication and PR, but internal PR can sometime take a back seat and get neglected, although it is as important and keeps organizations focused and uniformly branded. Lindsay Nahmiache, Co-founder and CEO of Jive PR + Digital, explains the value of internal PR and provides three creative ways to enhance internal PR strategy. She says, 'Effective internal PR benefits brand identity, boosts employee retention and paves the way for a connected culture where teams are focused on common collaborative goals.' Moreover, digitally evolved workplaces and remote collaboration has brought in new communication dynamics that need to be addressed with robust internal PR strategy. She explains, 'In my experience, creating a forward-thinking internal strategy requires consistent and open two-way communication that is fueled by team cohesion and recognition.' (1) Openness: Promote teamwork; Place trust in your team; Attend outing with employees and do team oriented activities; Start hashtags that reflect your office culture and encourage team member participation; Once a month organize socializing events during office time. (2) Consistent Two-Way Communication: Encourage questions and open discussions on best practices and solutions; Consistency is key for collective innovation and individual responsibility; Publicize internal PR through multiple channels; Hold scheduled weekly meetings with all employees in one place to ensure lines of communication are open about current and future projects; Give higher-level insight into new employee hirings, business decisions, holiday news and more during weekly manager meetings. (3) Team Recognition: Team members respond positively to recognition of their work because it confirms their impact on the bottom line; Take time to reward your team through informal or formal awards; Hold innovation challenges by creating opposing teams; Focus on client wins as much as you do with client struggles. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 may 2016
Companies partner with public relations firms to build and enhance value of their brands. Chuck Cohn, Founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors, suggests identifying the right PR firm that is affordable, free of conflict of interest, have a skilled staff, understands your industry, provides the appropriate level of attention and support as you grow. He explains four criteria to consider while getting a PR agency on board - (1) Timing: Assess the need for PR; Are products and services mature enough; Is website optimized for sales; Is the content PR worthy. (2) Agency Type: Search for the right fit of agency for the business goals and desired outcomes. (3) Agency Staffing: Interact with the right people in the firm who will handle the account and not just the pitch team; Seek continuity in the team for a long-term. (4) Agency Size: Depending on the budget and specific requirements choose the optimum size PR agency. Read on...
What to Consider When Evaluating Potential PR Partners
Author: Chuck Cohn
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 feb 2016
According to a study by Prof. Sachin Modi of Iowa State University (USA) and Saurabh Mishra of McGill University (Canada), a strong marketing department is crucial to helping a firm leverage its efforts to be socially responsible. Study results show the combination of marketing and CSR can provide shareholders with a 3.5 percent gain in stock returns. Researchers defined CSR as discretionary firm activities aimed at enhancing societal well-being and analyzed six different types of CSR activities - environment, products, diversity, corporate governance, employees and community - to determine whether marketing of these efforts increased long-term firm value and stock price. Firms often consider CSR as a cost and have to make an investment and may not always see the benefits. Prof. Modi says, 'What we want to show is that if a firm is good and has some complimentary capabilities, it can gain a lot from CSR activities...The return is dependent upon the type of activity. Firms benefited from five of the six types of CSR efforts studied, with the exception of charitable giving and philanthropy...We're not saying firms shouldn't give to charity, because it is a very important component, all we're saying is we don't see a financial return.' Prof. Modi further suggests, 'Our hope is that firms see it is important to be socially responsible. It's not a choice of one versus the other. Firms have to do multiple aspects of being socially responsible.' Read on...
ISU News Service:
Marketing key to return on corporate social responsibility investment, ISU study shows
Author: Angie Hunt
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 feb 2016
Corporations can find themselves in situations where their profit seeking goals can develop conflict with their ethical and sustainability related direction. According to Wikipedia, 'Corporate sustainability is a business approach that creates long-term consumer and employee value by creating a "green" strategy aimed toward the natural environment and taking into consideration every dimension of how a business operates in the social, cultural, and economic environment. It also formulates strategies to build a company that fosters longevity through transparency and proper employee development.' Most reputed organizations now have sustainability department that manages sustainability issues and integrates them with overall business objectives. Sustainability and marketing departments are trying to develop a converged approach to influencing customer behavior and persuading more responsible habits. But it can be a challenging task to align strategy and resources of both these departments. 73% of 1000 listeners of a webinar 'Influence customer behaviour through integrated marketing and sustainability' on website ethicalcorp.com believe that their organisation has not successfully integrated marketing and sustainability to influence customer behaviour. To do so they can utilize the following tips - (1) Start at the top: Senior managers should be made aware of all sustainable efforts in the organization to drive their support and channel effective internal and external communication through them. (2) Ensure internal integration: Continuous and consistent sharing of ideas between different departments help in integration. According to Rupert Maitland-Titterton of Kellogg Company, 'Our marketing and sustainability departments report to one and other and see each other every day. This ensures that ideas are shared and a feeling of inclusion rather than "us and them" is created.' (3) Understand your customer: Customers demand more sustainable and responsible behavior from companies. Both departments should focus on customer-centricity and develop collaborative approach to fulfil consumer expectations. (4) Keeping messaging consistent: Have long-term sustainable goals, communicate regularly and involve customers in achieving them. Dr. Kirstie McIntyre of HP says, 'Companies need to make it part of the value proposition.' David Brunt of AkzoNobel suggests seeking a 'win-win' situation. (5) Make sustainability the norm: Sustainability should be integrated seemlessly into every process and product so that the overall organization is marketed as a sustainable one. Read on...
How marketing and sustainability can drive customer behaviour change - 5 top tips
Author: Liam Dowd
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 dec 2015
Public relations need to continuously evolve with the changing behavior of society, advancement in technologies, and new ways of communication and reaching out to public. The industry is undergoing shifts in business models, traditional firms are finding shrinking revenue streams and there is excessive competition along with the wave of consolidation. To navigate successfully in this environment, PR firms have to move ahead with the latest practices and technologies. John Hall, co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., explores 7 digital PR trends that firms should keep into consideration in 2016 - (1) The traditional press release is no more: Utilize social media. Develop relationships with industry leaders and influencers. Attract journalists and other outlets through quality visuals in the messages. (2) Thought leadership will become a growing PR budget priority: To position as a leader in a particular space is not an easy task. Need to build original content around the brand. For thought leadership the content has to be valuable, educational and engaging. (3) Content amplification will become (even more) critical: First focus on the quality of content. Then amplification for the targeted audience will be easier. Distribution avenues will also expand. (4) Negative brand advocates will be prevented through content: Train the PR team to handle all types of situations and experiences. Learn from the book 'Hug Your Haters' by Jay Baer where he advocates a proactive approach to handle negative people. Moreover use content to educate and engage the team. Give them knowledge to effectively tackle clients and avoid negative brand advocacy. (5) Online reputation management will be necessary: Create and publish quality content to achieve better online reputation management and getting the message to the right audience. Credible online reputation will attract publishers and journalists to use your content. (6) True influence will win over number of followers: High quality smaller network wins over ineffective large following. Focus on developing a network and building influrnce among a targeted, valuable audience and social following. (7) Use of paid promotion and social ads will continue to rise: Content Marketing Institute's 2016 content benchmark report found that more than 50 percent of B2B marketing professionals use social ads and promoted posts to distribute content. The effectiveness ratings for each of these methods have increased since last year. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 aug 2015
Consumer psychology plays an important role in influencing their buying decisions. They buy products and services from companies that they trust and make them feel good about the purchase. As brands get more connected with their customers through technology, transparency and trust become critical factors in customer relationships. Customers intend to learn and understand more about the companies and their work culture. To keep customers closer and informed, and influence their behavior, brands can integrate the following - Treat your employees better; Invest in employee's future; Aesthetics of the workplace matter. Moreover as internet presence is a critical component of today's marketing strategy, brands need to have a robust digital strategy and in addition to providing relevant and usable information about the products and services offered, they should create a section that focuses on what the market wants to see - Being honest e.g. share customer interactions, that may not always be positive, through social media feeds; Try to share work-in-progress and engage customers in the process; Get involved with customers through effective social media strategy and share relevant content and information; Include wide array of stakeholders as the innovative ideas may come from anywhere like customers, interns etc. Companies should be careful in implementing fringe marketing tactics and should not go overboard in doing so. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2015
PR is undergoing transformational shifts. In this year's Agency Business Report, the main themes are integration, convergence and the enhanced value of digital and social media. The new PR firm is highly influenced by these factors as they change the dynamics of agency leadership roles, the structure of the firms, and the talent that is recruited and retained. Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman, defines the largest PR firm in the world as, 'It's a Venn diagram where the overlaps of the four [media, PR, social media, advertising] are becoming more present. It used to be distinct valleys and now the roads are crossing. We're going to try to have stronger creative, stronger planning, and look at problems differently.' Inspite of recognition of advertising agencies for their PR work and some ad-shops 'integrating forward', most PR agency leaders still believe PR has a unique mentality and heritage to bring to the modern content marketing mix. They don't see the need to rebrand as something other than PR. According to Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick, 'Some advertising firms, like Mullen, have a strong PR capability - others do it around the edges. The key is to develop depth and have a credible, strong offering. PR has never been held in higher regard by the C-suite, and there's a lot more dimension to our business now. We've emerged as leaders in content marketing and social.' He further believes the sweet spot for PR agencies is the ability to engage multiple constituencies across different platforms and stakeholder groups. Fred Cook, CEO of PR firm Golin, says, 'It's getting harder to define what a PR agency is...We're competing with different types of agencies in different categories. You can call yourself anything you want, but it is how your clients define you. Our clients still define us as a PR agency, but a PR agency that does a lot more than before.' According to Dave Senay, CEO of FleishmanHillard, the principles of PR have never changed. He cites Edward Bernays' definition of PR as informing, persuading, and connecting people with people. He points out, 'PR is no different than it's ever been. If you take the two schools of PR, the behaviorist or socially responsible or conscious side, they are converging like never before. The wind is completely blowing into our strengths.' He believes modern marketing communications is all about how and why people behave the way they do, which requires an understanding of their culture, media consumption habits, and the global push toward shared value. Online video is at the forefront of new PR services. Although it has been mostly associated with ad agencies, but PR firms are now effectively utilizing the medium to construct engaging narratives. The change in skill sets required at the "new PR agency" is changing the people who come into the business and inevitably resulting in legacy personnel leaving at the other end of the talent funnel. It is also evolving different workforce structures more suited to the new environment. Many agencies have restructured their practice offerings and tried to inculcate collaboration across disciplines, geographies, and offices. Compensation structures are being amended to better reflect overall results at agencies, rather than being based on individual office P&Ls. Bonus pools are increasingly tied to individual objectives aligned with strategy and client goals rather than offices. Skeptics about this new age of PR and subsequent delineation for PR agencies may highlight the issue of measurement and how these new skill sets are producing return on investment for brands and clients. But in reality the payback and return on investment of content-based executions built from smart data can totally be monitored in real time, via measurement and social analytics. Effectiveness is measured on criteria such as the number of people who link to, share, view, or create their own content using the source material. Social metrics are much more powerful because they show someone is actively involved in the content and sharing it with their community. Rob Flaherty, CEO of Ketchum, points out, 'And now with the Internet of Things you can link these metrics to visits in-store and to purchases, which is the Holy Grail for every communicator and marketer - and also for the new age of PR firms servicing those clients' needs.' Real-time marketing is fueling a new range of skills, services, and ways of working at PR agencies. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 feb 2015
In today's business world driven by social media, mobile and numerous other digital technologies, to seek customer's attention and stand out seems to be a logical digital powered brand strategy. But in the process of jumping on the digital bandwagon are brand strategists forgetting the golden rules of human strategy and customer connection. Umair Haque, author and Director of Havas Media Labs, explains why digital strategy shouldn't focus too much on ephemeral customer attention but on customer relations and not only seek their loyalty but try to be loyal to them and care for them as human beings. He suggests 4 mistakes of digital strategy and how to overcome them - (1) Titillating, not educating (2) Making zombies, not superheroes (3) Infecting, not connecting (4) Communicating, not elevating. Read on...
Harvard Business Review:
Your Digital Strategy Shouldn't Be About Attention
Author: Umair Haque
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 sep 2014
Public relations (PR) is an effective marketing tool that creates and manages perception and reputation of companies, organizations, governments and individuals through the use of various media. Over the years PR has evolved as a result of technological advancements and other socio-economic drivers. So it becomes imperative for both startups and established companies to understand and effectively face & manage this ever changing PR landscape. Rebekah Iliff, Chief Strategy Officer of AirPR, identifies 7 important shifts that have transfromed PR and continue to impact PR industry - (1) Every aspect of PR is driven by data: Big data to craft a compelling narrative (2) The evolution of pitching: No more mass emailing pitches (3) The numbers rule: Measurement & analytics driven PR (4) The definition of "influence": Use of digital influencers & well-trusted & connected people on social media (5) PR's trans-functional role: Publicity is only one aspect of PR (6) Reading remains fundamentally important: Reading & research for intelligent & informed recommendations (7) Strategic content targeting is mandatory: Understand the significance of great writing and visually compelling & engaging content alongwith right placement. Read on...
7 Big Changes in the PR Landscape Every Business Should Know About
Author: Rebekah Iliff
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