MediAvataar's News Desk
Defining the value of public relations in a data-driven society
Proving the value of PR is often a challenge for agencies and consultants, especially in situations where the goal is change a behavior or raise awareness of an issue. Measurement and data analysis can solve many of the challenges we have as PR practitioners. These important points were made abundantly clear at the PR Measurement conference held by PR News earlier this year. This conference gave several insights into the tremendous value measurement brings client business.
No matter where we are in the journey – planning, implementation or evaluation – measurement is a powerful tool in showing what you’re doing and how it’s working. Here are a few tips to using measurement and analytics to prove the value of PR throughout the client’s campaign and have effective measurement discussions:
Know where you want to go first. At the beginning of the campaign, specifically define the goals of the campaign, determine where the client is in the process (benchmarks) and the metrics/indicators for how you will determine the effect of your tactics on those goals. To do that, we have to understand the client, their business and their audience. The PN+ model can facilitate this process. Porter Novelli’s SPAR group also aligns their processes with the Barcelona Principles, the international standards for measuring the impact of media on public relations.
Paint the picture. Once your program is set in motion, it is not enough to set up a dashboard and report on the typical numbers we come to expect (media value, impressions, clicks). Measurement must paint the picture for the client. How are your tactics currently working? How is the audience reacting? What are the implications of the numbers you found and how can you optimize for further success in the next reporting period? Every time you report to the client, they should understand how the data translates into success against the metrics and how the metrics translate into progress on the objective. SPAR’s Carrie Schum offers some interesting insights for this in her blog post on measurement.
If it puts you to sleep, you’re not measuring anything. Just measuring increases in followers or decreases in likes means nothing. Measure and analyze the metrics that will speak to what you want the tactics to do. For example, if the goal for the company is to increase donations or sign ups on the website, don’t just stop at clicks or click-through-rate when goal conversions will tell the story your client needs to hear. In fact there may be no need to even report on CTR in that case. Which leads to the next point…
Don’t measure too much. Probably a kryptonite for most of our superman-tactics. Many clients find dashboards impressive, this machine of proof-points for their campaign. But if half of the data points don’t actually show what you need them to, they are useless to proving the value of the campaign. As Carrie says, every campaign can be measured against 3-5 objectives, so make sure your analysis just as concise.
Always ask “what does success look like?” At the end of the day, if you never forget the main function of your campaign, many of the other pieces will fall into place. That happens when you constantly ask yourself, “What does success look like?” and how do my analytics show that success. Some call them “champagne moments,” as in the moments in the campaign where you client and his boss share champagne in celebration of their achievement. Keeping your “eye on the prize” will inform much of what you measure, how you measure and most important, why you measure.
In conclusion, measurement and analytics are both extremely powerful ways to show how PR tactics can influence the business the client is in, often times better than paid advertising or marketing. But with great power comes great responsibility. It is up to us as the practitioners to make sure that what we’re measuring directly lines up with the tactics that directly align with the objectives your clients have. At that point, measurement itself has value in addition to showing the value of the tactics.
The power of PR is in your hands, use it wisely.
Until recently, the luxury industry tended to be a bit snooty about the internet. Luxury brands lure customers with craftsmanship, heritage and beauty: all things the digital world lacks. If you don’t agree, just take a look at Google, Facebook and Twitter. They’re very useful, even addictive. But beautiful? Not really. That’s because the internet was built by technologists, not artists.
Yet luxury brands no longer have a choice. They have to go digital, or face flagging sales. The emerging younger market grew up with the internet. And in developing economies, luxury retailers often have a limited physical presence. One of the reasons luxury brands have been rather slow to establish themselves in India is a lack of premium real estate – and subsequently high rental costs.
The British brand Burberry is known for its enthusiastic embrace of the internet, in part thanks to its young designer Chris Bailey. Burberry made headlines by streaming its catwalk shows live over the internet; not only that, but viewers could click to buy the products they were ogling. So perhaps it’s no coincidence that former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts is now heading to Apple – to run its online and physical stores.
Luxury brands are well aware of the power of the store environment. When you’re shopping in a palace, it seems logical to spend a fortune on a handbag. Luxury retailers call this “the emotional experience” of shopping. Clicking an image just doesn’t have the same allure. So how do you replicate that experience online?
Among the first people to insist that the Web and luxury could be friends was Natalie Massenet, the former Tatler fashion editor who launched online shopping site Net-a-Porter in 2000. Massenet cunningly designed her site to look more like a glossy magazine. She also realized that service was a key ingredient of the luxury experience: her goal was to make her customers cry with joy when they received one of her parcels. But even after the beautiful packaging had been removed, Massenet made it absurdly easy to return items that didn’t fit.
Other luxury brands began to get the message. In 2007, Louis Vuitton took the unusual step of hiring an advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, to revise its digital strategy. (Luxury brands tend to work with fashion photographers and freelance art directors rather than big Madison Avenue agencies, which they consider more appropriate for selling detergent.)
At first it looked as if O&M had come up with another print campaign: pictures of Catherine Deneuve and – more unusually – Mikhail Gorbechev posing with Louis Vuitton bags. But on a website called “Journeys”, the celebrities described their favourite travel destinations, supported by audio-visual collages. In other words, viewers could embark on a virtual journey with a VIP companion. The project proved that online branded content could be compelling – and even rather lovely.
Since then, Vuitton has been admirably experimental in the digital field. It recruited a team of bloggers to test its “soundwalks” – MP3 files in which actresses such as Gong Li and Joan Chen narrated strolls around their native Beijing and Shanghai – and invited Foursquare users to “check in” at a revamped London store. Its site continues to feature sumptuous graphics and high quality video content.
For example, a trio of films currently showcases three different bags for men. The films take viewers on a tour of hotel rooms in Florence, Havana and Livingstone, inhabited by unseen people we might like to be: a film-maker, an oceanographer and a herbalist. Well, maybe not that last one. Anyway, by panning across the desirable objects in each room, including the bags, the films create a glamorous universe that we might like to be part of. Exactly like a flagship store.
The creative landscape has benefited from this shift of luxury brands into the digital world: along with Vuitton, brands such as Cartier, Dior and Prada regularly diffuse high quality branded content online. Cartier’s award-winning “Odyssey” and the Prada film “A Therapy”, directed by Roman Polanski, are just two examples. They are far too long and languorous to be described as “commercials”.
To a certain extent, technology has caught up with the luxury brands’ desires: today, digital can be beautiful. And when it’s backed up with impeccable service, consumers of luxury goods may begin wondering if they need to leave home at all.
Written by Philippe Paget
It's sometimes hard to appreciate the power of a historical moment. An era isn't always defined by one seismic event, but sometimes by a thousand little tremors shaking-and reshaping-the world.
We are living in such a moment, quite literally on the cusp of a new age. As futurist David Brin theorized in late 2013, each century effectively begins in its 14th year. However dominant influences and technology from the previous century appear to be, new elements come to the fore and shift the mood. The arc of the rising century becomes perceptible. If that is so, then 2014 is no ordinary year.
For those of us in business, it may well be a pivot point-a time to pause, connect the dots, gain a broader view, and align our visions and our plans with the unstoppable currents carrying us forward.
But what are those currents? Which great advances and ideas have already set the future of business in motion? That is what we are going to explore in this 2014 edition of Best Global Brands.
But, first, we need to understand the nature of the moment we sit in as well as the history that has brought us to where we are now.
Horses and cars
In the early 20th century, life was changing at a pace never-before seen. From the introduction of electricity, indoor plumbing, and refrigeration to washing machines, telephones, and life-saving medical breakthroughs, modern progress was raising the standard of living on all fronts. And then there was the development that turbocharged modern civilization's ascent: the automobile.
For thousands of years, the most efficient mode of transportation usually involved a horse. By revolutionizing mobility, the car made things possible that simply weren't possible before. People now had more freedom to choose where they could live, where they could work, who and what they saw-and how often. It ignited a desire to travel, to explore. The car moved us collectively from a limited, static state of being to a more dynamic, expansive one. It catalyzed an evolutionary leap.
But did people at the time perceive it that way? When the car emerged, were they aware of its profound implications for society? Probably not. If they weren't, it was because the transformation, though rapid from a historical standpoint, was gradual-and the new, for a time, still mingled with the old. Yet, among the most perceptive, there was surely a moment, a "horses and cars" moment, when the trajectory of the future and magnitude of the oncoming cultural shift became evident.
In this transitional space, a period when horses and cars coexisted on city streets, a torch was passed. The long agrarian epoch that had defined and governed human life for so long was coming to a close, and a completely new chapter in human experience was about to begin.
The shifting of the ages
Given the rapidity and immensity of the changes we've witnessed since the dawn of industrialization-and the degree to which these changes altered the way we began to live and do business at various points-our modern era can be divided into distinct periods of time marked by distinguishing features and events. Through the lens of branding, we at Interbrand have determined four ages that have defined and reshaped business: the Age of Identity, the Age of Value, the Age of Experience, and the forthcoming Age of You.
Many of us in business know that the term "branding" referred originally to a crude mark of ownership, literally burned into the hides of cattle. While this is an interesting bit of trivia, it also gives us some perspective and helps us realize just how far the art and science of branding has come and how sophisticated it has grown.
In the post–World War II era, this mark of ownership evolved into a powerful symbol of differentiation and identification in the period we refer to as the Age of Identity. Mass communication media like TV, radio, and widely circulated print material that characterized this age elevated the status and significance of brands among both consumers and business owners. Here is where a relationship was cemented, trust was built, and a symbiotic evolutionary process began to accelerate. In the Age of Value, beginning in the late 1980s, quantifying the intangible aspects of branding proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that brands had concrete value-and that leading companies needed to take these business assets seriously.
As products and services multiplied exponentially and businesses gained a deeper appreciation of the role brands play in delivering satisfying and differentiated experiences to consumers, a new age-the Age of Experience-was under way. But coinciding with these deeper realizations about the importance of experience was the emergence of a phenomenon that would change the world forever: the internet. Benefitting immensely from the rise of digital and, later, mobile technology, savvy brands like Apple grew stronger and new category-killers like Google, Amazon, and Facebook soon reset customer expectations and significantly raised the bar for brand experiences.
Today, the multiplication of channels has pushed brands to strive for greater levels of clarity and consistency across touchpoints and necessitated the creation of ecosystems of integrated products, services, information, and entertainment: both physical and digital. And, due to another game-changer-social media-consumers are more empowered than ever before, more influential than ever before, and expect seamless interactions, responsiveness, 24/7 accessibility, customization options, and high levels of personalization. In a sense, they increasingly expect brands to know them.
The Age of You
As digital technology continues to weave its way into every aspect of our lives, and more of who we are is captured on servers and hard drives, the Age of Experience is giving way to a new era-one of ubiquitous computing. The shift in this direction is observable nearly everywhere and virtually unstoppable. In fact, we have reached a "horses and cars" moment of our own. Think, for instance, of people casually reading in a train or in a café these days. Some are reading books and magazines, and a growing number are engaging with a device-smartphones, tablets, laptops, and e-readers. The significance of this is greater than it appears
The nearly 600-year-old innovation that kicked off the original information age, the printing press-widely regarded as one of the most influential events in human history-has surely passed its peak, and is swiftly being replaced by text via digital interface. In the way that the automobile effectively ended the long agrarian period and ushered in the comforts, conveniences, and wonders of modernity, digital technology is ending the long reign of the book as a repository of knowledge and ushering in a world of extreme speed and efficiency, instant access, interconnectedness, intelligent machines, vast data sets, and powerful algorithms.
Like the printing press in its day, digital technology is revolutionizing the way we live and process information, impacting modes of production, improving traditional work processes, and increasing the demand for more devices that can do more things for us. And the key to getting our devices to do more for us is our data.
Now that the world is filling with devices, and more people own not only one, but several (including wearables), the world is quietly being filled with something else: sensors. As ecosystems become more fully integrated, these sensors (on our bodies, in our homes, and in our devices) will be able talk to each other in new ways. Already, our devices can check our pulses, count the calories we have burned, and calculate how close we are to our personalized fitness goals; they can save energy in our homes by controlling thermostats and lighting; they allow us to pay our bills and remind us when payments are coming up; they can track where we go and make recommendations based on where we are; and they keep us connected to everyone and everything we care about most.
All this activity, of course, generates massive amounts of data, which, if analyzed properly, can reveal the insight brands need in order to understand who customers really are and what they really need. As more of us come online as data repositories, machines get smarter, and all devices are working in concert, supply chains will reorganize around individuals. Ecosystems will become "Mecosystems"-ecosystems that revolve around and cater to you.
From the way we manage our personal brands and share pieces of ourselves through various social media platforms to the increasingly personalized world of commerce-which uses purchase histories and location-based services to tailor products, events, services, and offers to whoever we are, wherever we are-our data is creating value for ourselves, for brands, and for the system at large every second of every day.
Brands that seek to lead in the Age of You, ruled by Mecosystems, will have to recognize the human in the data, uncover genuine insights, and create a truly personalized and curated experience.
To put it simply, the future of business is personal.
Authored by Jez Frampton, Global CEO Interbrand
Last year my colleague Annabel Wren wrote a paper on reputation management in a crisis that won the B2B award at the MRS Awards 2014. Unlike my posts, which have tended to focus on the communication aspects of managing a crisis, Annabel’s paper covers the whole spectrum of activities, starting with the most important: be prepared.
No one knows when a crisis could strike, but that is all the more reason to be prepared. Toyota, Air Malaysia and others have learned that a slow and confused response to a crisis can be very costly. Companies thinking about crisis management need to answer three important questions as part of their planning.
How big is the risk?
The higher the reliance on branding to drive sales, the more quickly a company needs to act to defend its asset. For many consumer-packaged goods, the majority of sales result from the appeal of the brand name, so food and drink brands are particularly vulnerable to negative consumer reaction following a crisis. However, a crisis can affect more than direct sales. Investor confidence, staff morale, talent acquisition and partner confidence can all take a hit when crisis strikes.
Is our crisis radar is working?
A crisis management plan can be effective only if it is put into action at the right time. General Motors’ 2014 ignition-switch crisis developed from over a decade of related incidents and failed attempts to investigate and remedy the problem.
Internally, company personnel must have incentive to follow escalation procedures rather than trying to deal with a problem themselves or hoping it will simply go away.
Where do we stand now?
Consumer tracking, media and social monitoring systems need to be in place ahead of time to highlight emerging issues quickly and ensure an appropriate response. Make sure you are not just monitoring the vocal minority on social media. In a crisis you need to know how all your customers and stakeholders are feeling. Once the worst is past, custom research can help refine the longer-term recovery strategy. As Annabel details in her paper, Millward Brown conducted research and analyzed tracking results to advise a major investment bank on key stakeholder opinion and inform their strategy for the following year.
No one running a large corporation can assume that it will be crisis free. Preparation is critical if a crisis is to be dealt with effectively, so why do so many corporations fail to do so?
Written by Nigel Hollis,Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst, Millward Brown
Source: Millward Brown
Star India has announced the launch of its brand new English movie channel, Star Movies Select HD. The insight for this channel comes from an extensive consumer research that highlights how people yearn for variety and great stories.
As much as viewers need their action and superhero blockbusters, they need freshness and new stories ranging from dramas, comedies, thrillers and animation. The need of the hour was for a channel that’s dedicated to showcasing select movies that breathe fresh content and promise variety that will leave everyone spellbound.
Who better to take up this responsibility than the biggest storyteller of the country – Star India - a name synonymous with introducing Hollywood to Indian television. It’s natural then that the same company heralds the evolution of English movie channels in the true sense, a feat possible owing to the exclusive first output deals with three of the biggest studios in Hollywood – 21st Century Fox, NBC Universal and Disney.
This brand new English movie channel will redefine the movie viewing experience for a Hollywood buff. The unique proposition of 365 days, 365 stories is based on the insight that this audience seeks new and enhanced experiences in life. Every day of the year at 9pm Star Movies Select HD will delight its viewers with the promise of a great story.
Some stories deserve to be celebrated and Star Movies Select HD promises to showcase stories that will mesmerize the audience with the television premieres of Gone Girl, Fault in our Stars, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Theory of Everything, Birdman to name a few. The line-up on this channel proudly proclaims to have over 30 premieres in the year, 7 out of 10 Oscar winning premieres, movies that stood out at the Golden Globes and more. To keep this experience exclusive, the channel will be available only in High Definition (HD) and the premieres and the 9 pm movies will not be screened on any of the other channels.
That’s not all; Star Movies Select HD will be the first English movie channel in the country to showcase films that were never released in India. The channel will celebrate the finest stories by creating festivals based on the strong consumer insights – movies based on True Stories, Book Adaptations, Iconic movies, Biopics and many more.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kevin Vaz from Star India said, “Star Movies Select HD is not just a new English movie channel, it’s a promise - to deliver best of storytelling from the house of Star India. We have curated content from the biggest Hollywood studios, created a programming line-up that will need no introduction to our Select audience. Movies unreleased in India, award winning premieres and festivals are just some of the initiatives that will enthrall them with the sheer strength of spectacular stories.