3 PR Lessons From the Run up to the Tokyo Olympics

By Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

It goes without saying that the pandemic still drives important messages, even though some parts of the globe are starting to get back to normal and get back into the swing of things. Keep in mind that timing is of the essence when it comes to crisis communications. Once a crisis occurs, the clarity and speed of your messaging is of paramount importance and can spell the difference between success and failure.

Now let’s take a look the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizers who, unfortunately, demonstrated how NOT to manage a highly publicized crisis ahead of the Games. By the way, its inability to adhere to the necessary safety guidelines for such an important and grandiose spectacle is quite shocking, to say the least. Not to mention the enormous backlash against Yashiro Mori, the Japanese Olympics Chief, for his highly inappropriate joke about the inclusion of women in board meetings and how these meetings take too long. I think a lot of organizations could learn from this situation and set the bar higher when it comes handling crisis.

As a matter of fact, there are quite a few blunders savvy business leaders and PR professionals could learn from.

Here are three lessons to consider:

When it comes to the news cycle, the pandemic still reigns supreme

Even though vaccinations are occurring all around the world, just a small percentage of Japanese citizens are fully vaccinated. While a state of emergency has been lifted, the 2021 Olympics has been influenced by Covid-19.

Now it’s crucial that companies keep an eye on the news cycle and make sure their response teams are well-equipped to communicate effectively and get your message across should a need arise or a crisis erupt.

Crisis PR is a critical skill your communications and executive teams should have to be successful

It goes without saying that the Olympics organizers have a history of delaying their responses to crises or scandals. These types of mistakes have a lot to do with poor timing. If a crisis occurs, make sure all your messages and communication materials are well-thought-out. A failure to communicate your activities and progress leaves your audience guessing, and as a result, building a campaign against you. It means that your PR team should be well-versed in crisis communications and make sure they release all information in a timely manner.

Long-term planning is vital to ensuring a large event

The IOC and Tokyo 2020 Olympics teams should have done proper planning, especially given the size and scope of the Games. Everyone would agree that crises like Covid-19 should have been on Tokyo’s radar right from the get go, especially considering how things were unfolding in the neighboring China. While your organization or startup may not be involved in anything remotely resembling the Olympics, you should always consider what small or big crisis could potentially occur and what steps you need to take to win the game. Are you planning to unveil an international product in the next couple of years? Think carefully about and anticipate all the setbacks and challenges that might potentially arise over that period of time. After that, try to determine if you are well-equipped to address them properly and in a timely manner. Are you bracing up for a big convention? Why don’t you take the time to figure out how accommodate the health and safety of your guests in a number of scenarios.

In conclusion, in these circumstances, careful thought and a team of skilled communicators are always your best bet to overcome any crisis and come out on top.

Ready to reignite your PR and marketing campaign? Please email: angela@kambarian.com, visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 724-4372 today. Let’s connect and find new ways to build your business. Looking forward to speaking with you!

3 Successful Media Relations Strategies for the Summer

By Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Dear savvy business professional,

When it comes to media relations in the summer, generating publicity can be tough. But after practicing PR for such a long time, I have come to a realization that it doesn’t have to be like that. Just because reporters are on vacation, it doesn’t mean results should suffer.

Let me assure you that there are different ways to combat this publicity summer slump and gain the attention, visibility and media coverage you deserve. I’ll show you how.

Below are a few simple suggestions on how to keep your PR campaign going during the hottest months of the year.

Develop guest articles and bylines to boost your reputation

With so many reporters on vacation, now is the right time to write and pitch bylined articles, which is a great way to share key messages and build your thought leadership. After all, some outlets may not be generating much content internally this time of year.

You have to dig up the outlets that accept bylines and determine whether you do it yourself or have your PR person write and pitch them on your behalf. In addition, this may be a good way to initiate a relationship with editors who not only review submissions but are also in charge of other articles. Therefore, your efforts may eventually result in additional stories or coverage at some point in the future.

Embrace Newsjacking

One of the best ways to ensure you are on top of the news cycle is to consume as much media as possible. If you run into an article or a program pertinent to your area of expertise, products or services, you may want to piggyback on that and offer your insights. By the way, the more time you spend consuming the news, the more opportunities you will have to reach out to reporters, build relationships and position yourself as a subject matter expert. In addition, this will enable you to keep up-to-date on all the new developments in your field and preclude you from falling behind.

Invest time in regular columns

Oftentimes, columns or regular series are overlooked by PR folks or business owners. Fewer staff in the summer means reporters may not have enough time to find new stories. So it goes without saying that writing a compelling pitch to showcase your knowledge and expertise could yield unexpected results as so many media outlets are trying to make it through the slow summer news season.

Ready to reignite your PR and marketing campaign? Please email: angela@kambarian.com, visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 724-4372 today. Let’s connect and find new ways to build your business. Looking forward to speaking with you!

Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021

By Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Dear savvy business professional:

Now that 2021 is in full swing, let’s spend some time talking about content marketing. Here is why I decided to devote this article to this particular topic.

Studies show that more than 24% of marketers have increased their investment in content development last year, and with good reason.

Therefore, i thought you could benefit from a few pointers below focusing on the latest content marketing trends. Some of these strategies could transform your marketing campaign and help you generate bigger and better results and take your business to the next level.

1.Putting more emphasis on comprehensive content that supports multiple channels

While repurposing content is not necessarily something new, evidence suggests that there’s been a significant increase in this activity. By the way, instead of a blog, you can run a survey and turn it into a downloadable asset, social media images, an article, podcast mentions or a recap webinar.

2.Increased reliance on independent contractors

We all know that due to uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, a lot of companies had to decrease their budgets. Additionally, many organizations started outsourcing at least one content marketing activity, with large companies being the most likely to outsource. It means that bringing many full time functions back may take some time.

3. Prioritizing original content rather than keywords

Believe it or not, some successful bloggers no longer optimize their content for SEO. It may sound incredible to you at this point, however, this may become the norm in the near future.

Here is why. Readers are usually demanding greater authenticity from content. It is difficult to be authentic and at the same time constantly worry about SEO optimization. Besides, Google should find new ways to give credit to legitimate sources that deliver interesting, compelling and informative content, as well as show their expertise and genuinely help readers. So don’t be shocked if content marketers start focusing more on originality rather than keywords.

4.Increasing expertise with content creation and website enhancements

While there were some budget decreases in 2020, this year companies are increasingly focusing on showcasing their expertise and posting informative content. In fact, many organizations will have to increase their staff to keep up with the demands of the content marketing world. With expanding budgets and growing content marketing teams, companies are becoming more media fluent and are trying to create a media brand in addition to their company brand.

5.Highlighting the importance of digital marketing

While the digital revolution has been happening for the last couple of decades, content marketing itself is really starting to boom. Furthermore, many organizations started using content creation / collaboration / workflow technologies which is not surprising, considering the work-from-home world we now live in. They started putting a lot of effort into building an online community and focusing on virtual events, webinars, online courses, livestreaming, etc. If in the past businesses primarily relied on in-person events and conferences for brand awareness and networking, now they are in the process of expanding out network via digital marketing strategies including podcasts and webinars.

Final words:

In short, if you are not investing in content creation, you are missing out on an opportunity to bolster your visibility, build your reputation and build your company. So if you didn’t have a chance to revisit or amplify your content marketing efforts, now may be a good time to bolster your strategy and further your goals in 2021. Good luck with your endeavors.

Ready to reignite your PR and marketing campaign? Please email: angela@kambarian.com, visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 724-4372 today. Let’s connect and find new ways to build your business. Looking forward to speaking with you!

How to Build Your Communications Plan During the Pandemic

By Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Now that we are marking a sad one-year anniversary of the pandemic, a lot of businesses are trying to assess the impact of the global disaster and turning a hopeful eye to the future.

Does Your Small Business Have A Back-Up Plan? - Tweak Your Biz

One thing is for sure: When it comes to communications, having a weak plan is similar to having no plan at all. In other words, the past year felt like an ongoing crisis and business professionals should think along those lines going forward.

In my experience, most plans have essentially been “best-case scenarios” where you identify and outline everything you need to do – from launching a new product to introducing a new service or organizing an event. From now on, businesses should be more proactive and ensure that their plans emulate crisis plans. In fact, they should take the time to come up with all kinds of potentially dreadful scenarios and prepare for the worst. In other words, in addition to Plan A, all organizations should develop a backup strategy which will enable them to deal with unexpected circumstances or potential disruption. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry. These are the times we live in.

As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, there are so many unanswered questions about the new normal that it seems a bit silly to start plotting out best-case-scenarios for PR and marketing, as if it’s business as usual. We all know it’s not.

As I stated above, every plan needs Plan B. The goal is to be flexible enough to change your course of action should a need arise…and as quickly as possible. You may even have to develop Plan C or Plan D, just to be on the safe side and cover all your bases. While most things remain in a state of flux, you may have to quickly change venues, recalculate your budget or alter your top-level messaging if it doesn’t resonate with your audience. Anything can happen and you have to be prepared to shift gears.

Final thoughts:

Yes, there is palpable excitement right now and we started seeing some good signs on the pandemic and the economic front. That being said, we have ways to go and we are not going to return to normalcy in the foreseeable future. It will take some time to get back on track and restore normalcy. We have to be patient. Persistent. And do whatever it takes to alleviate unexpected challenges and overcome potential issues. Our communication strategies and planning should reflect that.

Ready to reignite your PR and marketing campaign? Please email: angela@kambarian.com, visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 724-4372 today. Let’s connect and find new ways to build your business. Looking forward to speaking with you!

3 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021

By Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Let’s face it: 2020 caught even the most seasoned and well-established marketing professionals off guard. For obvious reasons…As you can imagine, advertising budgets have been slashed, sales have decreased dramatically, and the fight for brand loyalty has become so much more intense. Without a doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses of all sizes to get creative, revamp their communication strategies and develop a new perspective on things. In addition, there is a need for brands to build a community of loyal fans who will be happy to spread the word and enable companies to forego pricey advertising strategies.

Let’s take a look at the major trends marketing pros should incorporate into their services this year and beyond:

  1. Putting More Emphasis on Brand Building Rather Than Advertising

When it comes to advertising, it still works. If done correctly of course…That being said, things have changed. While digital advertising and performance marketing have dominated marketing strategies worldwide, advertising spend plummeted at the beginning of the lockdown and, as a result, exposed some fundamental flaws in the system. Competition for clicks and impressions has been fierce for the last few years leading to skyrocketing customer acquisition costs. Besides, many brands no longer see the same results for their investment anymore. Don’t forget about millennial and Gen Z consumers…They tend to be so much more skeptical about standard marketing practices including paid advertising or influencer promotions. Today’s consumers are more focused on meaning and purpose from the brands they buy from – something that has only been accelerated by the global economic, social and health crisis inflicted by the global pandemic.

Trust, credibility and authenticity are more important now than ever before; long-term brand and reputation building have certainly become more impactful than expensive advertising. Let me assure you that the aforementioned trend is here to stay.

2. Embracing Brand Advocacy as a Powerful Marketing Tool

With reduced budgets and a strong need to build a loyal network of fans, the pandemic has led to the rise of “brand advocacy”, a popular form of modern marketing where happy customers recommend a brand they love and drive growth. In other words, savvy businesses that fully embrace this concept and cultivate relationships with every advocate, are more likely to get ahead this year. In other words, if your customers believe in your vision, understand your purpose and share stories about your brand with friends, family or colleagues, they will be instrumental in helping you expand your outreach, propel your business forward and achieve greater success.

Please keep in mind that it’s not only the customers who could serve as brand ambassadors. LinkedIn recently found that the employees of a company tend to have 10 times more followers than the company itself. While only about 2% of employees reshare their company’s social posts, these posts are responsible for 20% of overall engagement.

By the way, you don’t have to limit your brand advocacy initiative to customers or employees. You can also take into account business partners and influencers who could make a difference and help you become more visible to your ideal audiences.

3. Creating Brand Networks

It appears that this year we’ll see more and more brands going beyond building relationships with customers. Savvy business owners form relationships with suppliers, vendors, industry professionals, employees and others and find ways to capitalize on these relationships. They leverage their networks to drive organic word-of-mouth growth, generate new leads and even attract strong job candidates without spending a fortune on advertising. Not only do they focus on rewarding loyal customers, but also benefit tremendously from collaborating with other brands and even competitors. Long story short, the significance of brand networks cannot be overstated and we should definitely see more companies go down that road in 2021.

Ready to reignite your PR and marketing campaign? Please email: angela@kambarian.com, visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 724-4372 today. Let’s connect and find new ways to build your business. Looking forward to speaking with you!

Law Firm Marketing & PR in 2021

By Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

If you came out of 2020 without any lessons, you weren’t paying attention. Like those in many other industries, law firm marketing and PR professionals rolled up their sleeves and quickly reacted to the global pandemic, social unrest and a tumultuous election season. So what lessons can we take from 2020 into 2021. Please take a look at a few suggestions below and see how it is going to effect your business.

Keep your marketing campaign going and maintain your visibility, no matter what

While in-person networking and conferences have long been a staple of legal marketing and business development, the global pandemic has transformed the way legal professionals are doing business and staying visible with clients. Let’s face it: attorneys have to pivot and find new ways to maintain top-of-mind visibility, no matter how bad things are. It may take a while for the pandemic to fade away, therefore, legal pros should invest as much time as possible into thought leadership that involves blogging, by-lined articles, e-books, webinars and podcasting among other things.

Engage in social listening

Keep in mind that those who are actively engaged in social listening (i.e. using digital tools to understand public sentiment) are much better equipped to tweak, shift and adjust their messaging and respond to current events, whether that means pausing planned social media posts or postponing certain public announcements that may appear to be tone deaf. In other words, make sure you regularly keep track of online mentions of your brand, as well as general client sentiment to ensure your messaging is timely, relevant and appropriate (given the circumstances).

Launch your own podcast

I am sure that you are well aware that these days podcasting is a valuable strategy allowing you to build relationships, expand your network and increase visibility while creating compelling content, all from the comfort of your home. Let’s face it, when face-to-face meetings are out of question, asking someone to chat with you for your podcast is a phenomenal way to initiate professional relationships and in-depth conversations. By the way, if you are unwilling to launch your own podcast, you should definitely target them in your PR campaign. Keep in mind that podcasts continue to rise in popularity, with many traditional media outlets adding podcasts to their mix of media platforms. You may appear as a guest on smaller, newer or less well-known podcasts, then work your way up to those with bigger audiences.

Keep in mind that brand activism is her to stay

Law firms must be clear about their values and ensure they are walking their talk. If your firm has already addressed diversity issues, you are way ahead of the game. Let 2020 be a lesson that you can’t ignore this anymore. After all…silence is now considered a statement on its own.

I hope the aforementioned tips and insights will inspire you to adjust your marketing and PR strategies, upgrade your approach and propel your business forward, despite all the setbacks.

Ready to to start the year off on the right foot and reignite your PR and marketing campaign? Please email: angela@kambarian.com, visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 724-4372 today. Let’s connect and find new ways to build your business. Looking forward to speaking with you!

A Few Smart Ways to Improve Executive Communications in 2021

By Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Let’s face it: In addition to encouraging a strong work ethic, team work, and smart problem solving, today’s executives should make an effort to break out of their silos and engage with their teams. In fact, savvy executives should PURPOSEFULLY create opportunities for their employees to voice a candid opinion, make suggestions or express discontent about a particular issue. After all, who do you think may have the answers to some of the most crucial questions in the workplace?

I hope you will take the time to review a few suggestions below briefly explaining how business leaders should connect with their team members on a deeper level, establish impactful communication channels, and create a healthy, highly productive and successful work environment.

What is internal communication? – Dora in the Communications World

Put Knowledge, Hard Work and Creativity Over Hierarchy

Smart and savvy executives are well aware that the team member with the “right” answers may not work in the C-suite…or anywhere near it. In most cases, it’s usually those closest to the process or project that have all the critical details at their fingertips. Interestingly, these folks may not be invited to weekly status meetings or feel comfortable speaking up and sharing their thoughts – even if they are in the room. Pretty astonishing, isn’t it? If you think that’s the way it is in your organization, it’s time to change this unhealthy dynamic and put everyone on an equal footing.

Ideally, when executives pose questions to the entire team, the right person should provide her or his perspective, without any inhibitors and without feeling intimidated by a higher up. It means that breaking away from the hierarchy may result in increased transparency, better initiatives, and a deeper commitment from employees. In other words, every team member should be encouraged to speak up, share information and voice their point of view which may boost morale and significantly improve team productivity.

Consider Launching an Executive ‘Ask Me Anything (AMA) Channel

In my professional opinion, every executive should establish some sort of an open forum where she or he could field questions from employees. Recently I have read an article about an executive heading a fast-growing medium size company who implemented the aforementioned suggestion and was very impressed by the employees’ willingness to step out from behind the curtain of anonymity, go for hard-hitting questions and ask something they really wanted to know…not something they thought was politically correct at the moment.

Take the Time to Clearly Articulate Your Expectations

An executive who wants to see results, should invest an adequate amount of time and effort into outlining her or his expectations. Some communication experts maintain that setting expectations is key to effective communication. You certainly don’t have to respond to all messages coming your way. Well…you don’t really have the time, do you? What you can do is ask employees to bring some of the most urgent and critical issues to your attention and tag you in the channel. If and when you are tagged, you can jump in to help. You can also set a deadline for addressing employee questions. More likely than not, you will be pleased to find out that their inquiries may be very well thought-out, so in order to thoroughly answer the questions, you need to let them know that a complete response will arrive in 72 hours or so.

Encourage Transparency

Contrary to popular belief, workplace conflict may not necessarily be a bad thing…if handled the right way of course. Disagreements and debates may be a sign that employees have the confidence to express their point of view and speak up their minds without fear of being penalized. That can be accomplished when executives put a lot of emphasis on building trust among their team members.

When an executive communicates via direct messages or through various channels, it legitimizes the form of communication and signals to employees that they don’t necessarily need to request a formal meeting to ask questions. The more emphasis executives place on open communication, the greater the trust they will build with employees.

Create ‘Employee Personas

Creating personas for employees is common practice in marketing and Public Relations, but should be part of every internal communication toolbox. Here is why. By creating personas, you begin to understand who your employees are. What do they value the most? How do they contribute to the success of the organization? How do they receive information? And what type of content they have access to? Keep in mind that personas should be created for all levels of employees and across different departments.

Results Matter

When you spend a great deal of time and effort learning what your employees want and need from their leaders, you should take the time to measure and evaluate results. It is crucial that you measure the success of your strategy and find out if you are achieving your goals. If your communication channels allow you to evaluate engagement, analyze the data and see if more employees are reacting to your content. In case you can’t see open / watch rates, I suggest you conduct pulse surveys to understand if your team members have really noticed the change in leadership communication and if the messages are truly making an impact. You may also ask frontline managers if they feel the effect of frequent and intentional communication from leaders.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, the global pandemic has changed the world we are living in, creating a great deal of stress and anxiety for so many people. Therefore, in my opinion, 2020 should be defined by the word “humanity”- it’s power, its fragility, its impact. Leaders, executives and communication professionals should step up their game and explore the behavioral sciences (i.e. psychology, sociology, behavioral economics, etc.) to ensure their actions, strategies, decisions and messages remain as humane as possible in 2021 and beyond.

Ready to to start the year off on the right foot and reignite your PR and marketing campaign? Please email: angela@kambarian.com, visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 724-4372 today. Let’s connect and find new ways to build your business. Looking forward to speaking with you!

A Few Old-School Workplace Strengths That Are Now Weaknesses

By Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

As the pandemic continues wreaking havoc across the nation and around the world, many executives started to question their existing leadership style and come up with new ways of motivating their workforce. In fact, they may have to embrace a whole new way of leading, inspiring and incentivizing employees which is no easy feat, but is worth the effort.

As you know, due to Covid-19 our familiar world crumbles all around us. Furthermore, new technologies snap up some of the tasks humans have always done. What it means is that we all need to reinvent ourselves and try to build a whole new set of skills to survive and thrive in the professional world. It applies to leaders and employees alike.

Let’s face it: The new world we are living in has flipped so many things upside down. Interestingly, the skills and mindsets that were once valued have actually become liabilities.

Now take a look at some of the skills and attitudes that need to be altered or upgraded in a new reality.

Workplace Orientation: What Does it Mean and its Purpose

A hard-driving “Type-A” work style

Back in the day, Type-A personalities used to thrive in leadership roles. The goals and desirable outcomes were clearly defined and articulated. Tough leaders were pressuring everyone (and themselves) to work hard to achieve results. However, in a global economy rife with uncertainty and unpredictability, nothing is clear. Instead of fully focusing on results, leaders should slow down and encourage employee engagement. Now it is more about team work, collaboration and working together to find solutions.

Quick decisions and efficiency

In the past, being able to make decisions and quickly enforce them was considered a strength. Not anymore. Savvy leaders should take the time to engage with team members, build rapport and listen with an open mind. They realize that the kinds of high-level conversations that are needed take time to unfold. In fact, innovation and exploring new ways of doing things is a process where the answers change as you learn, grow and achieve progress.

A winner-takes-all mindset

When most organizations were utilizing a hierarchical structure, many employees were competing for the boss’s favor. Some leaders would encourage internal competition for obvious reasons: it drove individuals to compete against each other and potentially bring out the best in each other. It was a survival-of-the-fittest environment, pitting folks against each other and expecting bigger, better and more impressive results. In the digital age, collaboration is so much more important and usually leads to improved performance. High-functioning teams usually outperform individuals. Therefore, today’s leaders need to create environments that result in caring, trusting and cohesive teams where employees are naturally motivated to work together and support each other.

An all-business mentality

Back in the day, emotions were unnecessary. Employers expected employees to leave their personal issues, troubles or concerns at the door and fully focus on work. Today the opposite is true. Smart leaders should value emotions; they need to show each employee that they see and value them as unique human beings. Positive emotions are at the heart of learning, connecting and creating. Together! They are the building blocks of trusting professional relationships. It shouldn’t always be about business and the bottom-line. Not at all times. Our unique attributes are highly dependent on our emotional capabilities.

Final thoughts:

As I pointed out above, becoming a better learner and embracing new skills, strategies and leadership styles isn’t easy. But it’s doable. It’s all about “unlearning” certain skills and behaviors that no longer serve us and creating workplaces where people can thrive, grow, safely express themselves and become their best selves. As you can see, it is worth the effort!

Ready to to start the year off on the right foot and reignite your PR and marketing campaign? Please email: angela@kambarian.com, visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 724-4372 today. Let’s connect and find new ways to build your business. Looking forward to speaking with you!

PR and Communication Trends for 2021

by Angela Kambarian, Founder of Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Let’s face it: 2020 has been a year like no other. Who would argue with that? 🙂 Even the Oxford English Dictionary is at a loss for words to describe it. We all know why… 2020 is the year of COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, civil unrest, climate disasters…not to mention a highly divisive and tumultuous presidential contest.

Some business professionals are wondering if there is a better way to adjust their communication efforts to stay relevant, reinforce relationships with their clients or customers, and move forward with confidence. Despite all the setbacks….

So here are a few critical observations on what we can expect in 2021.

5 new trends that will shake up the PR world in 2021 | PR | Features | MN2S

Keep in mind that communicating a few message points may no longer be enough

Now that we are beset with deep divisions over culture and politics, PR must clearly communicate values, not just message points. Therefore, there is continued pressure on brands to align their marketing and communications with corporate principles. 2020 is a year of “norm-shattering” and the loss of trust in institutions means that businesses should invest more time, thinking and effort into expressing brand and corporate values – now more than ever before.

Start paying more attention to new social platforms

It goes without saying that the pace of social influencer growth has accelerated; on YouTube it took up to 14 years for a single channel to reach 100 million subscribers. Yet social media usage rose sharply during the lockdown. I have no doubt in my mind that the trend will continue, and by this time next year, fresh names will hit new milestones. Remember: brands that catch rising stars as new audiences emerge, will benefit significantly.

Find new ways to connect with your audience on a deeper level

As you may already know, today’s brands are expected to do more than put out blatant sales pitches. They are expected to forge and maintain a personal connection with their target markets and keep in mind who the customers are – their likes, dislikes, thoughts, needs and desires, and constantly tweak and adjust their approach based on that. In other words, the content companies put out should be more about the customer, rather than the organization and its leadership.

Innovation rules the world

When it comes to innovation, big ideas that drive media attention, engage clients and customers, motivate employees, and extend marketing budgets will be more impactful than ever in a fractured and fragmented attention economy. So it’s high time to get your creative juices flowing and engage in some serious brainstorming.

Bland generic messaging is a thing of the past

If there is anything the Covid crisis has taught us, it’s that the days of monotonous and generic messaging are gone. Personalization is what impacts brand awareness, brand loyalty and lead generation and is so crucial for marketing and PR .

Invest more time, effort and thought into thought leadership

Now more than ever folks are craving for genuine and trustworthy content that offers value and provides some insights about the future. These thought leadership materials can take the form of brand-relevant eBooks, white papers, well-researched blog posts and educational articles, among other things.

Reveal your intentions and unveil your plans for the future

Your clients or customers are probably wondering what your plans are for the future and how you intend to move forward. Why not draft a letter from your CEO answering these questions and outlining your course of action and explaining how it is going to influence both business and client? This is a straightforward strategy to establish a deeper connection with your audience, bringing your prospects and clients into the business fold and initiating them into your activities. Interestingly, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson wrote an open letter to his employees which is a great example of leadership and understanding to “steer the ship” in a time of uncertainty.

Tweak and adjust upcoming PR campaigns

When it comes to PR in the Covid-19 era, it is essential that you adjust your communication materials to suit the prevailing trends and sentiments. Many experts predict that the virus will stick around for a while, so if you can salvage upcoming marketing or PR campaigns instead of abandoning them, now would be a great time to start adapting the messaging. By the way, Nike’s recent campaign encouraged athletes and fitness enthusiasts to share how they were keeping active at home during the lockdown. Not only did this campaign align with Nicke’s brand identity, it also provided inspiration and hope while urging people to stay at home and stay safe.

Sometimes adaptation can be as simple as changing a few words or tweaking a few sentences while other campaigns are in need of design tweaks or substantial reworks.

Final thoughts

The virus is still out there and sadly, the chaos continues to unfold all across the country and all across the world. We are in uncharted territory and some tried-and-trusted methods of brand communications are no longer relevant. There is a fine line between sensitivity and trying to generate the sales needed to keep a business afloat. We are here to help you navigate through uncertain times with a reframed mindset and come out on top.

If you are ready to start planning your PR for 2021, please email: angela@kambarian.com, visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 724-4372 today. Let’s connect and discuss your needs, goals and aspirations. Looking forward to speaking with you!

A Few Smart Ways to Strengthen Your Reputation During Tough Times

by Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Let’s face it: The way companies and brands are navigating the Covid-19 crisis varies greatly. That said, there are a couple of commonalities emerging among those organizations that are raising the bar higher and setting a good example for others to follow.

At a time when employee activism continues to heat up, the epicenter of response is employees. Some companies are successfully navigating both business and reputation challenges of the pandemic crisis. They are taking all the necessary steps to comfort, support and inspire their people and make sure they remain safe, well and healthy. After all, employees are the lifeblood of every organization.

As the health crisis continues to evolve, engaging and motivating employees should always remain a priority. The coronavirus pandemic has shown employees the power their voice has in transforming the workplace. In addition, due to the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on people of color, the focus on Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace will inevitably become more prevalent than ever before and broaden significantly. Companies that are NOT aware of it, may end up losing ground and falling behind.

Interestingly, entire industries are being carefully scrutinized for doing “a little too late” to ensure the well-being of their workers. The price to pay is stiff; and so many reputations have been damaged dramatically. As you can imagine, damaged reputation may eventually result in a loss of customer loyalty and decreased revenues. In other words, we are living at a time when the way businesses are treating employees is the single most crucial driver of reputation.

Some studies suggest that when consumers were urged to rank actions affecting their decision to purchase products from a particular company, at least 90% maintained that taking care of their employees and treating them well, even in challenging times, was very important.

Furthermore, businesses are uncovering the true power of social responsibility and address the needs of the most vulnerable including healthcare workers, those who are ill and their families, small business owners and the unemployed. According to studies, up to 72% of consumers report that it is incumbent on organizations to provide aid during the COVID-19 pandemic. It goes without saying that acting out of haste, just to impress the public, may not help at all. The best way to go is to develop a thoughtful, strategic approach that ensures their actions are aligned with their culture, purpose and values. That approach should include a clear definition of the problem at hand (i.e. loneliness, anxiety, despair, personal safety, job security, etc.) and enthusiasm that comes from helping others (as opposed to seeking recognition or positive media coverage). It is also important to plan ahead for potential risks that may arise at some point in the future.

Some businesses are showing their humanity by going beyond their economic interest and forming partnerships. Like Google and Apple hiring each other’s employees. Like Aldi and McDonald’s repurposing their plants. Like Walmart assisting with drive-through testing. Like BMS providing free medicine to those who have lost their jobs. In fact, there are three key pillars that brands need to incorporate into their marketing campaigns in this new environment – culture, purpose and risk. These should be the lens through which all marketing initiatives and campaigns should be viewed, evaluated and judged.

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