Tag Archive for technology

Storytelling at CommsCon 2018

The team recently attended Cision’s CommsCon 2018. This is the first in a short series of blogs discussing what we discovered.


Storytelling at CommsCon 2018

Cision’s inaugural UK CommsCon event was described by Steven Waddington as “more like an Adobe, Microsoft or Salesforce event than a public relations gig”. The communications software behemoth drew close to 1,000 delegates to London’s Canada Water last week and we were in attendance to see how new ideas and approaches from across the pond are impacting the world of communications.

Telling Tales

The morning consisted of a welcome address from Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd and CMO Chris Lynch giving their views on the changes happening within the media world, setting the tone for the first -and in our opinion, the highlight of the morning – panel discussion.

Industry leaders from Virgin, Adobe, Wings Creative Leadership and HSBC provided an insight to some of their past campaigns and the stories that went along with them.

Source: Katie Watts, Acting Senior Press Officer at Money Saving Expert

One of the key learnings was the need to integrate communications campaigns and eliminate a siloed approach. For public relations professionals, this is particularly pertinent when crafting compelling copy that really tells the story of a brand and its journey. According to Tamara Bennett, Head of Media Relations at Virgin, 61% of brands operate siloed campaigns, which leaves us scratching our heads as to why?

Without a holistic approach to communications factoring in paid, earned, shared and owned (PESO) media, it’s difficult to maximise the reach of campaigns and even harder to measure and evaluate them.

Take our CIPR Pride gold-winning campaign for the Fishing News Awards last year. This encompassed media relations, social media and influencer engagement to name but a few tactics and helped us share the stories of maritime heroes to a wider audience than ever before.

Technological takeaways

It was clear the focus of CommsCon was very much an always-on, tech-led approach to PR and communications. Cision’s plan to disrupt the PR industry through providing technology and software as a service (SaaS) was apparent throughout and we must admit, its story was compelling.

While “changing the behaviour of public relations practitioners is our biggest challenge” according to Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd, we must take note of the opportunities there are to enhance our offerings to clients through utilising new technologies where appropriate.

Ten years ago, social media barely existed and now it is central to most PR campaigns. By taking a truly integrated approach to PR, we can ensure we continue to tell stories and build reputations to the best of our abilities.

What does 2016 hold for PR?

It’s been so informative reading through the insightful array of peer predictions pinning down industry trends for 2016 on PR Moment. No-one in communications today can deny that there is opportunity in deep, intuitive knowledge of unmissable content, brought to life through an unimaginably diverse and perpetually changing spread of tactical approaches that clients now expect. I can’t be the only person drenched in simultaneous fright and delight thinking of the smorgasbord of widgets at our disposal as it explodes into a stellar galaxy spinning with opportunity. And then explodes a bit more for good measure.

Could 2016 be the last time we see press releases?

Could 2016 be the last time we see press releases?

From the death of the press release (I’m definitely with you on that one @AnnaPRstar) to ‘mobilegeddon’, Google’s search prioritisation for mobile friendly sites (which Jas of @VitisPR believes will ultimately morph into a fully blown propriety OS), the inevitable has come to pass – exploiting patterns of digital adoption will define our future success. Not the tech. Not the channels. But who uses them. And if they keep using them. And trying to spot who will use what, next.

For 2016, I believe technology is becoming simultaneously our greatest strength and potentially, our biggest weakness.

Our greatest strength because of the value in well-placed, enduring and high quality content in creating the sticky paths that lead to conversions and profits.

Our greatest weakness because of the sheer vastness and momentum of change – place a foot wrong and your content will be kicked to the kerb or smashed under the weight of the rest of the traffic on the information superhighway. And yes I’m showing my age there.

My two buzzwords? Adoption and aggregation. More power to the communications professional who can spot where those two are headed.

According to @richard_dobbs, James Manyika and @Jonathan_Woetzel of McKinsey, “It took more than 50 years for after the telephone was invented until half of all American homes had one. It took radio 38 years to attract 50m listeners. But Facebook attracted 6 million users in its first year and that number will multiply 100 times over the next five years”.

Measuring success is more important to PR than ever

Measuring success is more important to PR than ever

What’s remarkable is that now (mostly) everyone has joined the party, we’re at the stage of trying to simplify how people interact with full screens of information from tools and platforms as they grow more complex; at the same time a data deluge gives us knowledge like never before.

We used to log on to a branded site, read why we should get involved and buy direct. Next, price comparison sites brought us the best options from across the market. Where does this aggregation end? I know Uber ratings system for customers has given another side to that dynamic, perhaps we’ll see graded consumers getting different messaging to drive loyalty. Only adoption will tell.

Another of my favourite themes is our enduring (and now totally frantic) obsession with measurement, which according to Bryan Garvie of the BIG Partnership, should now be solid as a rock thanks to the hard evidence provided by digital. Whilst we do have a razor sharp ability to microsegment our audiences based on their behaviours, clicks, comments and tweets, @DeborahCopeland of BT hit on the theme of ‘data landfill’ that still haunts me to this day.

@googleanalytics, @TweetDeck and the measurement tools in @coveragebooks have the potential to become the next AVE if we’re not consistently testing and challenging, so a rigorous approach to data quality when measuring is in everyone’s interest.

I trialled coverage book recently and was instantly mesmerised by its beautiful magic stats, revealed like symbols lined up in the winning window of a one arm bandit.

I’d no idea what wizardry put them there, so as freemium tools nibble at us on a daily basis with their promise of an answer to our endless quest for measurement’s holy grail, we do need to be cautious in using data as they can be perceived as the new stats as far as clients are concerned, massaged to say what we want them to. How efficient we are in comparing different sets of data to build a bigger more robust picture will be an ever-evolving art for our industry.

futureproofAlso, almost overnight, tried and tested methods can be rendered useless if a feature is withdrawn from an aggregate measurement tool for example as happened with Coverage Book and Twitter.

In an industry that prides itself on being one step ahead, dealing with the creative and cutting edge ways in which to do very specific tasks more efficiently and effectively for clients can be unnerving. Yet at the same time sharing and collaborating – our own aggregation – has become essential just to make sense of the volume of information at our disposal and to navigate mutually beneficial paths through.

If digital tech is stellar, the Internet of Things is also going to send opportunity stratospheric. Think designing communications campaigns to include talking robots in people’s homes and you’ll be on the money. Perhaps not for 2016 but I don’t think we’re far off. And copies of #FuturePRoof the ICCO and PRCA’s progressive thoughts on the future of public relations management is available now to make sure we’ve an eye on 2017 and beyond.