29th September 2014
Manifest opinion, pr
Let’s face it; Jack Bauer gets the job done. No matter what situation you put him in, no matter what setback he faces – kidnapped family members, rogue agents, dirty bombs – he always seems to achieve his objective. Watching the latest London-based series of 24 got me thinking (tenuous link alert!), what can Jack’s approach teach us about running successful PR campaigns? Whether you’re executing a creative campaign, running press office, handling a client’s social media community or creating some kick-ass video, there’s definitely a few things we can take from Jack’s approach to his working day.
1. Be able to work under pressure
Hour-by-hour, Jack faces life-threatening situation after life-threatening situation, with the added pressure of needing to solve them within a strict timeframe. Obviously PR isn’t (always) a matter of life or death, but take a leaf out of Jack’s book and learn how to juggle multiple clients, campaigns and deadlines.
2. Get creative
Faced with do or die, Jack consistently finds new ways to beat the baddies and come out on top. Over the years he’s threatened to shoot people, pretended to kill the President and even faked his own death. Equally, you’ve got an opportunity with every campaign you execute to push the boundaries of what your client, its competitors or its entire industry has done before.
3. Plan ahead
Jack always seems to be a couple of moves ahead of the enemy and knows what he’s going to do next. Having a clear plan of action means you, your team and the client understand what the end game is and how you’re going to get there.
4. Be able to think on your feet
Almost every episode of 24 there’s some sort of twist, conspiracy or double-cross yet Jack just takes it in his stride, knows what to do and deals with it. Don’t let your plan become so rigid that you can’t adapt it quickly should the shit hit the fan. Let’s face it, clients change their minds, suppliers sometimes let you down and there’s always some sort of last minute complication that hinders your PR stunt involving seven dwarves, a giant bowling ball and Trafalgar Square.
5. Don’t take no for an answer
Ok, so unlike Jack, it’s not really necessary to hold a gun to someone’s head if a journalist says no to your initial pitch (it would make things easier though…), persevere and don’t give up at the first hurdle.
6. Be relentless
Whether it’s persuading a top tier journalist that your client’s story is interesting or even just convincing your client of the merits of your latest campaign idea, sometimes you just have to keep plugging away in order to get your reward. Pistol whipping and dangling people over balconies are optional…
7. Ask forgiveness, not permission
Jack’s definitely a ‘kick the door down first, ask questions later’ kind of guy. If he stopped to ask permission every time then I’m pretty sure LA, New York and London would just be smoldering piles of rubble by now. Sometimes we have to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to turn a good idea into an amazing idea. Occasionally, that means doing things that you might not necessarily get permission for if you were to ask… For example, projecting the Brewdog founders onto the Houses of Parliament. Naked.
8. Communication is key
Working in PR we provide communications advice on a daily basis, but how often do you hear clients grumbling about a lack of communication with their agency, complaining that they don’t know what’s going on with their campaign etc. No matter what his situation – under small weapons fire or strangling the life out of another terror suspect – Jack ensures he keeps his team up-to-date with the latest information.
9. Don’t worry about a few setbacks
Just because the Mail Online decided your story wasn’t for them, you shouldn’t get downhearted. There are plenty of other options out there for you to explore. After all, you don’t see Jack giving up at the first sign of a setback, and let’s face it, he’s had a few. Whether it’s finding out the head of CTU is actually a double agent or the secret terrorist device getting out of his grasp, he just straps in and carries on regardless…
25th September 2014
In a world where social media speaks louder, truer, and most importantly faster than any magazine, newspaper or website, brands of all shapes and sizes are beginning to incorporate engagement with their online communities as an integral part of their marketing strategy.
Brand advocates are individuals (often customers) who talk favourably about a brand or product, and use their online presence to share opinions and pass on positive word of mouth messages to others. They care about keeping the brands they love on the right track, and they’ll be the first to voice their opinions if they aren’t happy with the way something works out.
With ease of access to multiple social platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for direct online engagement, the influential power of individuals as brand advocates is now greater than ever before. The opportunity for a business to build relationships with these advocates therefore provides an invaluable source of marketing, to inevitably increase visibility and awareness for any brand.
It is however important not to confuse brand advocates with social influencers. Social influencers are generally well-followed users, who are paid to share and promote content for a brand without any requirement to gain an understanding of the business values beforehand. It is often easy to detect posts from social influencers, as they tend to lack the organic feel that comes across through posts from brand advocates, who actually possess a genuine passion and interest in the business.
Cultivating a group of advocates could be the fundamental difference between obscurity and fame for any brand, so understanding the process of turning existing followers in to advocates is extremely important…
Top 5 tips to turn your followers in to advocates
With over half of the world’s population using at least one social media platform, it is important to narrow down your focus when searching for potential brand advocates. Having a large following does not necessarily mean you have any potential advocates. A good place to start is by searching for people who are already actively sharing your content through the use of hash tags, or brand mentions.
A simple tool that can help with depicting your audience and identifying individuals or groups interacting with your brand is Tweet reach.
Once you have identified your key audience members, it’s time to get them engaged. Whether this be through commenting, replying, sharing, emailing or promoting your key followers, interaction is key to getting people on side and encouraging them to continue posting about your brand.
Creating a competition element amongst followers to highlight key advocates as ‘promoter of the week’ is a nice way to show how much you really appreciate engagement from fans, and also encourage more people to do the same in future.
BrewDog is a great example of a brand that has managed to establish an engaged community on Twitter, and regularly runs competitions, events and shares interesting content on its social platforms to encourage interaction from loyal followers.
Finding out what motivates your followers will help you understand what gets them talking online. It might be that they want to be entertained… they might want you to make them laugh, or cry – So give them a meme to share every so often! If they’re crying out for information on a specific topic, craft beer for example, give them a ’10 things you didn’t know about craft beer’ post to re-tweet. If your followers want to learn how to do things, you could create short video tutorials or ‘how-to’ posts that teach your promoters new things, and encourage them to create their own content in future.
It’s all about giving your promoters what they want to see, and then providing them with the opportunity to do what they want with it.
Taco Bell is a brilliant example of a brand that uses its social platforms to entertain its followers and provide them with opportunity to communicate directly with them, and show them that their opinion and voice is truly valued.
Making sure content is easily shareable may sound obvious, but the importance of this is often overlooked. Simplifying the option to share content will mean more people are likely to do so. So make sure your social sharing buttons are visible, and don’t be afraid to ask people to share your content – more often than not they’ll be happy to do so, and will no doubt take it as a compliment.
5. Give them freedom
Forcing advocates to praise your brand is a big faux pas. Giving people freedom to be brutal and encouraging honest or critical feedback is the best way to build a loyal fan base, and also gain an understanding of what people really think of your brand.
This also gives you the opportunity to turn any negativity in to an opportunity and prove that you care about customer satisfaction.
British Gas set a perfect example of how to give customers freedom on its Twitter profile last year. Following a hugely criticised price rise in October, the brand offered up a Q&A session on its Twitter page with Customer Service Director Bert Pijls, which gave customers free reign to ask anything they wanted about why the prices had risen, or any other customer service issues they wanted to query. There’sa lot to be said about a brand that has theconfidence to expose potential conflict or dispute to the general public, but it generally works in the brands favour by building respect and loyalty.
So that’s my nifty top 5 tips list for turning Twitter followers in to advocates, but that doesn’t mean to say they’re the only ones you could be implementing. Think you’ve got some better suggestions? Let me know!
11th October 2013
The weekly round up of what we’ve been listening to / reading / loving in the Manifest office continues. Check out what’s rocked our week… Read the full story
1st October 2013
After 2 amazing years in Leeds, we’re looking to grow the Manifest family even more and have loads of new, exciting roles up for grabs. So if you fancy working for the North’s most fun-loving, award winning agency drop us a line, it’ll be the best thing you’ve done since you got a little tipsy and decided to ride that bucking bronco whilst belting out ‘Achy-Breaky Heart’. Read the full story
22nd February 2013
Imagine if someone said that they could build the shell of a house in a day – and when I say house I don’t mean a dog house, or a lego house, or the sort of house you tried to build in a tree when you were little with a mouldy old plank and your dad’s shed glue (in hindsight, that was a mistake). No, I mean a PROPER, lasting masonry building. In a day.
The obvious reaction would be to say that such an outlandish-sounding claim could only have been made by an individual a few tiles short of a roof. And yet, after an eye-opening work experience day with Manifest’s favourite construction client, Wienerberger, this notion became strangely plausible.
I was invited to attend a demonstration of Wienerberger’s flagship clay block walling system, Porotherm, and to see first hand some of the pretty special qualities that it can bring to the build process. Now, not necessarily being famed for my masonry abilities, I think you can forgive me a few apprehensions on discovering that I would be trusted, as part of a willing team of Wienerberger marketing staff, to build a 5ft wall – in just 5 minutes! It sounded somewhat implausible, and conjured unnerving premonitions of a wide variety of mortar-based mishaps.
With that very much in mind, the unexpectedly glorious wall that we produced is as strong an endorsement of Porotherm as it is ever likely to get – a testament to the special design and properties of the system itself. Needing just a cursory coat of mortar, and for the blocks to be placed so that the interlocking grooves line up, the wall in question rose from the ground faster than a hurried Lazarus.
For those who are unfamiliar... this is the magical Porotherm block! Not sure who that man is.
Okay, so even with Porotherm and an experienced builder on hand, it probably wouldn’t be realistic to expect to put up the walls of a house in a day – but they could probably get pretty close! At this point I should mention that much of my own wall-based endeavour, and indeed that of my team for the day, was precipitated by Wienerberger’s resident Porotherm master, Darren Bould, having completed the tricky technical work on the base in true here’s-one-I-did-earlier Blue Peter style.
Even so, it was still a bit of a shock to find myself and others to be so competent in building this wall, not to mention the first-hand experience of working with a system that could well herald a sea-change in the way the industry approaches everyday construction. But the day wasn’t just an opportunity for me to release my long repressed inner brickie; it also gave the firmest foundation (sorry) possible on which to build (sorry) a castle (sorry) of PR.
As any agency knows, gaining the knowledge and understanding of a client’s offering to market is simply invaluable; a fundamental tenant of effective and momentum-generating public relations work. Which is why, despite ending the day with my coat caked in clay dust, my shoes flecked with mortar like a bad attempt at Jackson Pollock-lite footwear, and having not sent an email all day, those four hours of Porotherm immersion will prove to be the most useful and productive PR outing I’ve had all year.