The 5 C’s of Communication Part 3: Consumer

This is part three in a five part blog series that is meant to help you better understand the communication process for marketing and public relations campaigns.

This week I’m going to focus on helping to determine which audience to target, how to best understand your audience and different tactics to create during the campaign.

Dictionary.com defines a consumer by explaining it’s “a person or organization that uses a commodity or service”. This relates to the communication process because the consumer is the main focus of the campaign. So to have a successful campaign you, the PR Coordinator, must clearly understand the type of consumer that needs to be reached and the different forms of communication that can be used.

Here are five key thoughts to keep in mind when focusing on your target audience.

  1. Determining your Audience 

    What are the campaign goals and objectives? Is the method of communication most important or can it be changed? Can you clearly explain who would want to participate in the campaign? By answering some of those questions can help you to determine your target audience. For instance, a campaign’s objective could be to increase online sales through Google ads. Therefore, you want your target audience to be active online participants.

  2. Audience Profile 

    Start by determining the audience you would like to target for your campaign. Then conduct some primary research and  secondary research, if needed. By better understanding your audience, you will be able to get create tactics that will successfully spread the campaign’s’ message. 

  3. Providing for your Audience 

    How will this campaign help your audience? Will it solve a problem or make things easier? Once you are aware of how you can help your audience, be sure to identify that issue during the campaign. For instance, if your campaign will solve a problem identify the problem and how you provide the solution.

  4. Building Trust with your Audience  

    It’s common knowledge that people are more interested in purchasing things from people they trust rather than focus solely on advertisements. So encourage your current consumers to promote your brand. This will help to grow your audience and the company’s brand through positive encouragement. Depending on your campaign’s purpose, you may want to have video or written testimonials, social media posts, or simply word of mouth.

  5. Choosing the right Communication Tactics

    Your target audience will help to determine which tactics will be helpful and which will be less successful. During this process refer to the target audience research; this will help to determine the best tactics to use during your campaign. Here is a list of possible tactics that can be utilized: social media, videos, blog posts, television and radio ads, online banners, Google ads, promotional souvenirs (t-shirts, pens, notebooks, etc.), and more. Try brainstorming with some co-workers to come up with creative and catchy ideas!

Remember that the consumer is an important asset in the company since consumers help to drive the business. Conduct research as necessary and be sure to learn from the results. The better you understand your audience, the better results the campaign will achieve.
Be sure to check out part four of my blog post focusing on crisis communications. Until the next post, have a fantastic weekend!

5 cs

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Instagram’s Newest Transformation to Carousel Ads

Welcome back readers! Today is Transformation Tuesday and I’m going to discuss Instagram’s newest transformation. Instagram is a social media website that allows users to post photos about events in their life for their friends and family. It also allows companies to better connect with their audience in a more personal and direct way.

Instagram doesn’t focus on words to capture an audience’s attention, but instead allows an image to take the place of words. For instance, Target recently posted a photo to promote the DVD release of the movie Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. In the photo you can see clothes and supplies that can be associated with the movie. Target chose this photo because it allows the user to imagine being a part of the rebellion from the movie. The image encourages users to visit Target to purchase the movie and maybe a few extra supplies. This photo is unique because it appeals to a wide range of girls and women. It allows them to imagine themselves as the independent warriors in their own lives.
target

Instagram’s new transformation will now allow businesses to promote their brand through a photo slide show. Originally, companies could only post one photo at a time on their Instagram account; but now with new slide show brands will be able to post multiple photos together. This new advertising method is called: carousel ads. Carousel ads will allow users to scroll to the left to view multiple photos. Here is a video that shows how the slideshow will work for users.

Another transformation Instagram will offer is a link to click and view a company’s website. In the past, Instagram only allowed companies to promote photos, not website links. But now with the carousel ads, the user will have the opportunity to click on a company website and learn more.

This new transformation was caused by advertisers needing more direct results with their audience. Many current Instagram business accounts wanted more successful ways of reaching their audience and have their audience take direct action (by clicking on a link and purchasing an item). So Instagram worked to create the carousel ads that will allow more direct contact with users, but also allow the users to scroll past the ad, if they are not interested.

From a PR perspective, I can see the new carousel ads becoming effective because it will offer more interaction with users and provide them with more information. I think by allowing companies to promote their message with multiple images can help to better inform the user.

However, my only concern is how accepting users will be about viewing more advertisements on their newsfeed. As a frequent Instagram user, I’m not always happy when I see multiple ads on my newsfeed; especially if I’m not interested in the displayed content. So it will be interesting to learn how these carousel ads will play an effect on the future of Instagram’s advertising.

Instagram will be releasing the new ads on a limited time frame and during that time they will try to determine which format will best relate to users.
instagram

Part 1: Rebranding as a PR Pro

Happy Thursday and welcome to another week of PR knowledge! Today’s topic will focus on the first three steps of rebranding a company’s image. Then next week I will conclude the post with the last three steps. During this post I will explain the brief concept of rebranding, also I will link other articles that will provide in depth information on this topic.

So I chose this topic because rebranding can help give a company new life, but it can be a long and difficult process. Rebranding can provide the company with new opportunities by reaching out to larger audiences and investors. However, there are risks when making these transformations. The public and company employees could rebel against the new changes.

Rebranding can be defined as creating a new image of the company through their values and logos. The six basic rebranding steps include: justification, key principles, the company’s employees, distinction, brand launch, and monitoring public perception.

Justify the Change
Rebranding an existing company’s image can be a long and difficult task, it’s important to understand the purpose behind the rebranding. Creating a list of objectives can help to understand the process because it will help to create a clear outline of what needs to be accomplished.
Rebranding usually occurs for two different reasons. One, the company may be attempting to gain a head start on a new opportunity. For instance, the purpose could be to reach out to a larger audience. A similar situation with Target occurred during the 1990’s when Target was viewed as another low priced retail store. However, to stand out from the crowd they rebranded their image to offer affordable and high quality clothing. Then they created a new logo to appeal to their larger audience base and they successfully rebranded their company.
old target

Another reason to rebrand is because the company is trying to react to recent events; for instance a merger occurring between two companies. In 2005, Sprint and Nextel merged together to offer their customers a better service. However, their networks were incompatible and their new logo, that explained the merger, was subtle and very basic. Their rebranding failed and the two companies split up.
sprint

Key Principles and Values
During the rebranding process, your company should understand their key values that will be maintained during these transitions. It’s important to explain what the company hopes to achieve during the rebranding and which parts needs to be changed or removed. During this growing process, the company values should be the main focus. Don’t get caught up in creating a new visual, or logo, for the company. Creating a logo will come later during this process.

Employees: Company’s Past, Present, and Future
Never forget about the employees. They make up a large portion of the company and can have a big impact on how rebranding is received. So don’t be afraid to bring your employees together during this transition! Explain to the employees the reasons behind the rebranding and ensure they understand. To help increase cooperation, try allowing the employees to have a voice during this process. Employees understand their company well and can help provide constructive feedback. By providing the employees a voice during this growing transition can help increase their commitment and excitement about the company.

Overall, rebranding can help a company redefine their image and build better relationships with their employees. This can be a long process, but when it’s done correctly companies can be successful.

Check out next week’s article for the conclusion of the rebranding process!
Rebranding

Maintaining Brand Loyalty as a PR Coordinator Part 2

Welcome back! Today I will explain the importance of maintaining brand loyalty and some steps that can help you to maintain it with your current and future audience. A brief summary of last week’s post explained building brand loyalty can help create a positive reputation for your client while gaining a loyal audience base, who will consistently purchase your brand.

So last time you helped Pete, from Pete’s Pets, create a brand loyalty following and after a year you are finally seeing your results! Pete has consistent customers who choose to shop at his stores because of the safe products. However, Pete’s Pets noticed they are not gaining as many new customers and are looking to you for the answer! Don’t worry there are some easy steps you can take in your Pete’s Brand Loyalty Campaign to help generate a new audience while still maintaining your current customers.

1. Consistency
Even though you are trying to reach a larger public, you can’t forget to maintain the company values of your client. You can maintain their values while still showing off a different side of the company. For instance, Wendy’s offers their customers full sized portions of their burgers by “not cutting corners”. But you can still inform the public about another positive service. Wendy’s also offers healthy alternatives for kid’s meals. You were able to maintain the company values while still reaching a new audience, parents who want to ensure their children eat healthy.

2. Customer Feedback
It’s important to listen to the public. If they are asking for “longer lasting” bubble gum or better customer service representatives it can benefit the company by trying to solve those problems.

3. Personal Identity
When you build brand loyalty, you are also building a sense of identity for your client. The audience who only purchase your client’s products will relate to the company with a sense of identity. For instance, people who only purchase Bounty Paper Towels, view Bounty as part of the family; since they always rely on the paper towels to help clean up messes. As a PR Coordinator, help your client create a personal identity through their company and it will help them to better relate to the public.

4. Social Media
Social media is a positive way to communicate with an audience, if done correctly. Don’t try to create multiple new social sites, but never update the content. It’s better to have one or two consistent social media sites than five that never receive updates.

5. Marketing Objectives
Brand loyalty customers purchase the product, not because of price but because of reliability, reputation, or commitment. So it’s important to always keep your audience updated on what your client offers. You can do this with three specific objectives.
1. Mind Awareness – Be up to date with competitors then remind the audience why your client is still number one. You can do this by showing how your client is maintaining their reputation or updating their products to fit their customers’ needs.
2. Brand Attributes – This shows how the client’s brand fits the needs of their audience. You can show this with examples through advertising, social media, or in store promotions.
3. Call to Action – This is best used when targeting an audience who is ready to purchase a new product. For instance, targeting college students in August when they are looking for the best laptop/tablets to use for schoolwork.

It’s important to remember that maintaining brand loyalty helps your client keep a loyal customer base. Maintaining brand loyalty also means keeping up to date with the changes in society and your customers. Don’t forget it’s important to always try and bring in new customers, but you still need to maintain loyalty with your current audience. So now that I provided you with the information, let’s see how you can help Pete’s Pets maintain their brand loyalty!

Pete’s has a loyal following of dog and cat owners, but they are being consistently asked about when small animals and products will be available. So Pete wants to begin expanding their customer base to small animals (hamsters, rabbits, birds, etc.). Although you will be targeting different pet owners, Pete’s values will still stay the same. Pete will continue to offer safe, American made products to large and small animals. But now you are going to inform the public about the new safe products Pete’s is offering. To better relate to the public, you create a store mascot/symbol for Pete’s Pets. You named her Safety Katie and she is a brown rabbit icon you can view online. Safety Katie will help everyone learn about all the safe products sold at Pete’s Pets. Safety Katie is all over social media and the company’s website and she is reaching out to a whole new audience while still being useful for Pete’s current customers.

Now by following those steps you were able to continue working with your client and help him reach a new audience without excluding his current and loyal customers. And if you noticed throughout your Brand Loyalty Campaign you utilized your marketing objectives.

Mind Awareness – Heard what the public wanted (small animals) and took action.
Brand Attributes – Informed the public about the positives of Pete’s Pets (Safety Katie).
Call to Action – Using advertising and social media to encourage the public to shop at Pete’s Pets.

I know I provided you with a lot of information, but if you want to learn more about brand loyalty you can read the Marketing Profs articles. Also, Retention Science posted an article that discusses the difference between Customer Loyalty and Brand Loyalty.

Thanks for reading and please post any comments or questions below for me to answer. Until the next post have a great week!
brand-loyalty

Building Brand Loyalty as a PR Coordinator Part 1

Hello Readers! My blog topic today is a two part series about brand loyalty. In today’s post (part 1) I will talk about building brand loyalty for your client and next week (part 2) I will discuss the importance of maintaining loyalty with your audience. To refresh your mind, brand loyalty is when your audience is committed to purchasing a company’s product verses other competitors. Your audience will consistently choose to purchase your client’s brand despite prices and other marketing techniques. For example, a Pepsi drinker will always choose to purchase Pepsi products despite other attempts at lower sales or celebrity endorsements.

So your challenge as a PR Coordinator is to build brand loyalty for your newest client, Pete’s Pets. Pete’s is a new company that is starting to expand their store locations and will be competing against other large pet store chains like, Pets Mart and Pets Co. To effectively serve your client, here are some marketing and PR ideas to target your audience.

1. Public Perception
This is important since it’s how the company is viewed by the public and it can determine how well they are liked. Many factors can determine their perception from customer service or effectiveness of a product. The more positive image the company maintains the better the public perception. A company that has a trusting image can better create and maintain brand loyalty.

2. Brand Creditability and Honesty
It’s important to not exaggerate your company or products effectiveness. For example, a pillow that is designed to help ease neck tension is a credible definition for the product. However, trying to claim the pillow can also solve anxiety or insomnia is stretching the truth. By being truthful with the public, you can become more likeable with your audience. Brand loyalty is built when a customer purchases a product and that product fulfills the promised made. Therefore, the customer will likely to continue to purchase from that company and creating a sense of brand loyalty in their minds.

3. Grass Roots
Even with social media influences, it’s important not to forget grass roots practices. This means word of mouth can help spread your client’s brand in a trustful way. For instance, loyal customers will usually talk about the brand they favor the most with family and friends and therefore spread a positive image to potential audiences.

4. Long Term Vs. Short Term
Be aware of the differences in building brand loyalty and increasing sales. To increase sales, usually a product is placed at a discounted price and play repetitive advertisements. However, that is only a short term goal and brand loyalty is a long term goal. By creating an honest reputation and providing reliable products, customers will likely become a loyal audience and only purchase your client’s brand. Try to remember you want the audience to continue making future purchases, this will show the effectiveness your brand loyalty campaign has provided.

5. Consistency
When starting a brand loyalty process, don’t try to provide too much information all at once. Ensure your first message clearly explains the client’s goal and there are no inconsistencies with the message you are trying to send. For instance, don’t encourage the public to visit your Facebook page if it’s never updated and there is no content.

Now let’s combine all five practices into Pete’s Pets Brand Loyalty Campaign. The long term goal of the campaign is to encourage the public to purchase their pet supplies from Pete’s instead of other animal stores. In order to gain loyal customers, social media and advertising practices should all contain a consistent message. The message should inform the public that Pete’s Pets offers safe, American made pet products. By stating they only sell American products (an honest statement since everything in their store is American made) the audience can see Pete’s honesty. The public perception for Pete’s will grow to show an honest and credible reputation, by providing their customers with safe products for their pets. Therefore over time current customers will spread their satisfaction with Pete’s Pets to family and friends.

So I know I provided a lot of information to you about brand loyalty, but I think it’s an important goal of PR to help your client achieve brand loyalty. Here are two articles from a PR Firm (Liquid Communications) and Marketing Profs, which explains this topic more in depth.

If you have an example of how you have used brand loyalty to help earn more customers or just have some ideas you want to share, please comment below! Also next week I will talk about the importance of maintaining brand loyalty with your current audience, while still generating new customers.

brand-loyalty