By Sawsan Ghanem, joint managing director and co-founder, Active DMC
With IoT and the reality of our connected world today, the pressures on brands are unrelenting and their need for a PR partner and strategic content marketing consul, is a matter of necessity. Companies of all sizes, government bodies, personalities, NGOs and more all have very specific and clear objectives when it comes to gaining mind share and building a strong brand presence with their customers/audiences especially online. The art of effective storytelling is a deal breaker, as it’s not just about writing or filming/capturing content, rather the talent is in making it relevant, true to the brand and targeted.
It follows that organizations are investing more in experienced PR consultants to collaborate closely with and design a robust PR strategy with a special focus on online reputation management. As a result of this close partnership, businesses can enjoy the benefits of an expert content creation resource that enables them to be responsive to breaking news, fake news, and ongoing conversations taking place online round the clock.
Reputation management has become more poignant over the last two years thanks to the nature of the Internet, with many big tech, social media companies and government officials coming into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The fallout was even bigger due to the way those companies and individuals handled the crisis and coming across as either arrogant, insincere, uncooperative, unwilling to talk about the issue at hand or a combination of all of the above.
Customers, followers, and other stakeholders worldwide all demand and expect transparency and responsiveness from businesses, no matter what. This level of expectation of businesses to take a position has extended to social and political issues. Silence or a neutral stance is no longer acceptable and rather considered a black mark on any brand. Fleishman Hillard global CEO John Saunders, summed up the status quo poignantly at the recently held ICCO Global Summit in Dublin, “There’s a terrific opportunity to elevate our role: we’re now brand navigators. It’s what PR was always meant to be: we’re guiding companies through how they are going to act, not just messaging and channels.”
It’s not who shouts the loudest, rather the one who creates and shares content that resonates with their audience the most, wins. Thought-leadership is critical and a priority for brand positioning (and shouldn’t be solely the job of a CEO or a senior exec rather a collective responsibility) coupled with a genuine corporate social responsibility policy and culture. Trust is a big factor in gaining and keeping a loyal customer base.
The focus on analytics and measurement will increase as more content goes online. Easy access to such data monitoring tools is facilitating the whole planning process for PR professionals and marketers by providing invaluable intelligence to create a more customer centric campaign. Tracking the success of the campaign and ROI measurement are also made easy with the use of a growing number of tools enabling the easy tweaking of a campaign, ensuring better results.