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Communication

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 may 2024

As social media continues to grow, businesses need effective strategies to target users. According to 'The 2023 Sprout Social Index', 53% of consumers say their social media usage has been higher over the last two years than the previous two years. Business-to-business marketing on social media requires specific tactics and strategies as the sales and decision-making cycles of B2B products and services are long and have different client dynamics, engagement and relationships. Following are 5 B2B social strategy fundamentals - (1) Align goals to the business and have clarity of purpose: Create brand awareness; Build a loyal community through targeted educational content; Build credibility and trust by consistent valuable engagement; Integrate social media strategy with overall business plan. (2) Adopt a customer-centric B2B social strategy: Understand the businesses and individuals you intend to engage with; Customize commnication to the target audience; Use social data and respond effectively. The 2023 Index revealed that 51% of consumers think the most memorable action a brand takes on social media is simply responding. (3) Prioritize authenticity: Engage with authentic and human-centric content; Focus on two-way conversations; Initiate regular audience polls and surveys for feedback; Utilize listening tools to understand conversations on industry topics and engage with thought leadership; Showcase real experiences with customers. (4) Leverage employee advocacy: Today's customers rely on their peers to tell them who they should buy from, with 84% of people trusting friends and family recommendations; Employees are the best B2B influencers of the brand; Benefits of well-organized employee advocacy program includes expanded social reach, approved content mitigates risk to brand perception, improvement in employee engagemnt and drives more leads. (5) Use analytics to inform your B2B social media marketing: Sprout's 2023 State of Social Media report shows that 7 in 10 leaders agree that social is currently underutilized within their organization. And 97% of business leaders believe that the use of social data to understand market trends will increase over the next years; use analytics to optimize and advance B2B content marketing strategy; Use social data for market understanding and research; Using social media intelligence helps understand audiences that leads to customize strategies for specific channels at specific platforms and at specific stage. Read on...

Sprout Social: How to build a customer-centric B2B social media strategy
Author: Kiran Shahid


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2024

In the technology-enhanced world, information and news consumption has become more fluid and dynamic. The audience and consumers are no more captive. Opinions and views are established and shared at lightening speed on multiple devices and platforms. Reaching out to the world has barriers removed. Everyone has the power to speak out and get heard. The generation that grew up in this environment knows how to handle the fast paced world of information and communication. Public relations as an industry has been hugely impacted. Deepa Nagraj, Global Head of Communications & Sparkle Innovation Ecosystem at Mphasis, explains how the PR industry has changed in the digital era and how it can adapt to stay effective. According to Statista research analysis, 'Reading news on social is fast becoming the norm for younger generations, and this form of news consumption will likely increase further regardless of whether consumers fully trust their chosen network or not.' Ms. Nagraj provides the following changes that are happening around the PR industry - Workers Are Dispersed And Remote; News Is Digested In New Ways; Attention Spans Are Minimal; Anybody Can Be A Spokesperson; Everyone Is Watching; Noise Is A Constant. She has following suggestions for the PR professionals - Listen to what is happening around on various platforms and channels; Cut through the chase and formulate an appropriate, meaningful and engaging response; Be clear and direct in your communication and share it quickly; Communication should be directed towards a human being and should include all the elements so that it can reach the heart and mind of the consumer and should be open-ended and interactive. Read on...

Forbes: Future Proofing Public Relations In The Age Of Digital Media
Author: Deepa Nagraj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2023

Robert Rose, content marketing expert and author of the recent book 'Content Marketing Strategy: Harness the Power of Your Brand's Voice', explains an innovative model of content marketing strategy in the same line as the traditional 4P's model of the marketing mix. This model includes three core pillars of content marketing strategy - Communication, Experiences and Operations. These core pillars are interconnected and overlap, and provide five specific activities for the marketing practitioners to perform. Here are the core pillars and the associated activities - (1) Coordinated Communication: As content is communication, businesses require coordinated efforts to utliize content to acquire, keep, and grow customers and other audiences. The content and the comunication need to be consistent and relevant to diverse set of people. The first core category of activities in the communication pillar is Purpose. This is content-as-a-capability. The Purpose activity intends to develop and manage a clear set of core responsibilities and processes that build and continually assess the allocation of resources, skill sets, and clear charters that a content marketing team will need in order to become a differentiated business capability. The second activity category in the Communication Pillar: The Model, or content-as-coordinated-communications. Successful content marketing strategy would require a well-defined and well-understood governance/operating model. (2) A Portfolio Of Experiences: Experiences are the designed containers of content being created for audiences. Businesses need a strategic approach to how the content it creates will be utilized to power designed platforms such as emails, websites, resource centers, print magazines, PDF files, events, blogs, or even social media channels. Similar to the media company, businesses should think 'content first' and then how to create all the different kinds of containers to deliver that content. These should be managed as portfolio of experiences that exploit valuable content for audiences. Each container should have strategic purpose, goals, and objectives. The two activity categories within this pillar are Audience and Value. Audience is content-as-product. Value is content-as-insight. Meeting all of the designed objectives of a portfolio of experiences delivers the value of the content marketing strategy. (3) Strategic Operations: This pillar is the glue that holds Coordinated Communications and Experiences together. To achieve consistency in replicating success and become a core business strategy, content marketing must have a clearly articulated and replicable process that can flex and accommodate new ideas as they emerge. The activity in this pillar is the Frame, or content-as-standard. Getting content marketing operations right frees creative people to do creative things that enable the business strategy, and empowers the marketing teams to achieve this at scale. A repeatable set of processes must be put in place that are governed by standards, guidelines, playbooks, and technology. The third pillar includes the people, processes, and technology that help create a repeatable, consistent process to connect the coordinated content creators (Pillar 1) with the experiences powered by the content they are creating (Pillar 2). Read on...

Search Engine Land: The Three Pillars Of Content Marketing Strategy
Author: Robert Rose


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2023

According to the recent research study, 'Influencer marketing and the growth of affiliates: The effects of language features on engagement behavior' (Authors: Parker J. Woodroof of University of Alabama at Birmigham; Holly A. Syrdal of Texas State University; William C. McDowell of Texas State University; Susan Myers of the University of Central Arkansas; Sandipan Sen of Southeast Missouri State University), published in the Journal of Business Research (August 2023), traditionally major brands have embraced affiliate marketing programs, but the factors influencing engagement with influencer-generated content have remained largely unexplored. To bridge this gap, the research team applied the Elaboration Likelihood Model to investigate how the linguistic features of influencers' affiliate marketing posts influence consumer behaviors. Wikipedia defines Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of persuation, proposed by Richard E. Petty and John Cacioppo in 1980, as a dual process theory describing the change of attitudes. The model aims to explain different ways of processing stimuli, why they are used, and their outcomes on attitude change. ELM intended to provide a general 'framework for organizing, categorizing, and understanding the basic processes underlying the effectiveness of persuasive communications.' Authors of the current study text used text mining and natural language processing techniques and analyzed a vast data set of influencers' affiliate marketing posts from Instagram. The study revealed that specific linguistic styles within these posts can enhance or diminish engagement with the content. Prof. Parker J. Woodroof of University of Alabama at Birmigham, the lead author of the study, says, 'Affiliate influencer marketing is a good example of a social media marketing strategy that is evolving before our eyes in real time...now we see that the industry is maturing and dealing with new concerns around artificial intelligence, bots and fake followers, and brands are still trying to figure out how to utilize influencer marketing in order to drive value...Affiliate influencers offer companies a lower-risk strategy to partner with influencers utilizing a commission-based pay formula rather than an upfront investment, For smaller brands especially, utilizing affiliates may be the winning strategy moving forward.' Micro-influencers could establish trust with their followers and offer authentic brand recommendations, making them an integral part of brand strategies. The study represents a significant contribution to the field as it is the first to examine the impact of language cues on consumer engagement with influencer-generated affiliate marketing content. Moreover, the research helps to understand the dynamics of influencer affiliate marketing and its potential impact on marketing strategies. Read on...

UAB News: New research reveals how influencers' words impact engagement in affiliate marketing on social media
Author: Adam Pope


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2023

ChatGPT and Generative AI has already started making inroads in media and advertising industry. At present Generative AI has taken over low-risk functions like mockups and copyrighting but doubts still remain regarding strategically important channels like search ad spending etc. According to Morning Consult, just 30% of US adults have heard or read anything about ChatGPT, and only 10% regard its output as 'very trustworthy.' Moreover, 52% of consumers believe that generative AI will stick around. As Generative AI becomes more trustworthy it is capable to disrupt media and advertising, like for example, the need for intermediate agencies would diminish as platforms could use Generative AI technology to create business ads themselves. Moreover, as the technology can summarize reporting and synthesize press releases, the relatshionship between publishers and search engines has the potential to end. Generative AI could also reshape the economics of search advertising with its definitive responses to search queries. Generative AI could provide raw material, eliminate the need for advertiser A/B tests, help new brands increase output, and keep those in the industry abreast of all the notable developments. But a lot is needed for full scale adoption of Generative AI and its reaching a disruptive stage in the media and advertising industry. Read on...

Business Insider: ChatGPT and Generative AI in Media and Advertising: With Use Cases Set, the Battle for Hearts and Minds Begins
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jan 2023

Even though for founders making their sart-up known, to grow the brand and innovation are essential components, but intentionally adopting PR strategies are often overlooked. Jenna Guarneri, founder and CEO of JMG Public Relations, with focus on innovators and startups, suggests ways for founders to get involved in the PR process as they are the most knowledgeable, committed, passionate and enthusiastic about their startups - (1) Understand Who You Are: Better understand the identity of the company and its goals and communicate it effectively to the customers. (2) Understand Your 'What' And 'Why': Understand what the brand represents and infuse core values and build the messaging accordingly. This will help in developing how the audience perceive the brand. (3) Create An Impact: Proactively create a positive image and be cautious while using digital media as a communication tool as any mistake can dilute the hard work done while building the image. (4) Build A Loyal Following: Relationships are a critical component of PR. Nurture and grow relationships with customers, and create a connection and develop trust to gain loyal following. (5) Know Your Competitors: To differentiate your brand, fully understand the competition and create a unique messaging to communicate how good you are at what you do and at addressing the pain points of your customers. This make you stand out from competition. Read on...

Forbes: 5 PR Tips That Every Founder Needs To Know
Author: Jenna Guarneri


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 dec 2022

Online is a medium that is advantageous to all - sellers and buyers. Digital marketing not only brings benefits to the businesses that implement the strategies but also to the consumers who shop and buy from them. Traditional marketing practices in the technologically advance world fall short on many counts when dealing with customers that are becoming more and more tech savvy and are looking for ease, comfort and satisfaction during their purchase experience. Digital marketing adds and enhances the marketing practices. It expands marketing's reach to the global level at an affordable cost. Digital marketing provides businesses capabilities to effectively measure marketing investments and efforts. With digital marketing companies can precisely reach their target audience and also dynamically shift strategies in response to the changes in markets. Digital marketing not only provide instant connections with target audience and customers but also assists in having continuous interactions and build long term relaionships. Digital marketing involves a combined set of processes that need to be strategically designed to achieve desired results. Digital marketing strategy includes - Online Advertising; Search Engine Optimization (SEO); Search Engine Marketing (SEM); Content Development and Management; Influencer Marketing and more. Even though digital marketing strategies are different for different businesses and need to be customized as per requirement, but there are some common processes and frameworks that can be applied and implemented to ensure the effectiveness of the campaign - Identify Marketing Goals; Solidify Sales Process; Identify and Separately Group Target Customers; Select Marketing Channels; Set Clear Benchmarks and Measure Progress; Provide Relevant Content At Each Stage of Buyer Journey; Adjust and Adapt The Strategy When Needed. As digital marketing is driven by technology and consumer preferences, it continues to evolve. Marketers who want to stay at the top adapt effectively to changes in technologies and consumer behavior. Events like Covid-19 pandemic also bring shifts in business processes and customer needs, and marketers that can handle the change do much better then those who don't. Some of the main marketing themes that will be significant in the realm of digital marketing going forward will include - Multichannel Marketing Hubs; Conversational Marketing; Personalization Engine; Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; Consumer Privacy and Consent. Read on...

ilmeps/read: Digital Marketing To Connect, Engage And Serve Customers - Part II
Author: Mohammad Anas Wahaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2022

Jeff Cannon, in his 1999 book 'Make Your Website Work for You: How to Convert Online Content Into Profits', wrote, 'In content marketing, content is created to provide consumers with the information they seek.' But many content marketers still struggle to effectively accomplish this basic goal. According to the '2021 LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report', 71% of decision-makers say that half or less than half of the thought-leadership content they read or watch gives them any sort of valuable insights. So what should content marketers do to stay relevant and effective? Gavin Jordan, publishing manager of Open Mic (The Drum's self-publishing content marketing platform), provides marketers ways to approach content marketing now and in the coming year 2023. He suggests content marketers to keep up with the current industry trends and what type of content consumers are flocking to. He predicts the following content marketing trends for 2023 - (1) E-commerce: E-commerce continues to grow. According to Morgan Stanley's 2022 report, 'Stronger for Longer in Global E-Commerce', in the U.S. e-commerce could reach 31% of sales by 2026, up from 23% now, as brick-and-mortar stores close and consumers prioritize convenience. Similar upward trends are predicted in other regions of the world. Marketers should look for content that covers these topics - Hybrid shopping; Personalization; Social commerce; Live shopping. (2) Metaverse and Gaming: Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha are flocking to 'metaverse'. Chris Sutcliffe, reporter at The Drum, says, 'The metaverse ultimately represents potential.' Metaverse will grow into an US$ 800 billion market by 2024, and the number of gamers worldwide totalling a staggering 3.2 billion. In 2023 brands will be looking for actionable advice on how to enter the metaverse/hone their metaverse strategies, as well as the marketing opportunities within these virtual worlds, be it in-game advertising, audio ad opportunities or by utilizing virtual influencer marketing. (3) Data & Privacy: Collecting, measuring and utilizing audience data through cookies will become challenging. In 2023, marketers will be preparing to fill the cookie-shaped hole of the future, and content that helps them do this will reign king. Moreover, marketers also look to analyze data and now they will search for content that helps them overcome attribution challenges, or else provides a clear alternative. Data & privacy are dry subjects and marketers have to find ways to make content surrounding them more enjoyable and engaging. (4) Audio: Number of podcast listeners is rising and so is the opportunity to advertise there. Marketers have to apply effective podcast strategy. Moreover, brands are also looking for in-game visual ads and can also explore audio ads. According to a study by AudioMob and YouGov, 75% of mobile gamers prefer audio ads over video. There is audio opportunity in metavers also. (5) Influencer Marketing: As influencer marketing continutes to grow, content marketers can create quality content that can help make it successful for brands. Virtual influencers and live shopping have disrupted traditional notions of influencer marketing, and brands will be looking at thought-leadership closely to monitor these areas. Read on...

The Drum: What will be the top 5 content marketing trends of 2023?
Author: Gavin Jordan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2022

Steven R. Kovey in his book, '7 Habits of Highly Effective People', mentioned 'Begin with the end in mind' as the second habit, which means all things are created twice - first in our minds and then when they are created in the physical world. The concept is being utilized by organizations to collectively champion their efforts for larger goal. PR industry is using this concept while doing cross-agency collaboration by working together with the same client. Pandemic and conflicts have further demonstrated the significance of cross-sector collaboration. Jessica Starman, co-founder and CEO of Elev8 New Media, explains that cross-agency collaboration in PR is the way forward and can be effective in serving more clients. Traditional PR agancies are finding numerous challenges in changing environment, with large scale use of technology and social media, and one-size-fit-all solutions not much effective in this scenario. Flexible, agile, specialized and customized approaches are becoming prominent with creation of smaller PR agencies. Ms. Starman provides the following benefits of cross-agency collaboration - Wider array of expertise and more resources; Larger audience reach and exposure; More innovation and opportunities; More new and resourceful contacts for campaign acceleration. In the more digitalized and connected marketplace, the new normal for PR agencies is through collaboration to achieve common goals. Read on...

Forbes: Cross-Agency Collaboration: The Future Of Public Relations
Author: Jessica Starman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 dec 2021

Marketing focuses on fulfilling customer needs and the process initiates leads and attracts customers. Marketing involves making a connect with prospective customers wherever they are available. According to Chartered Institute of Marketing, 'Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.' Traditional marketing with outbound methodology involves various channels like newspapers, magazines, television, radio, billboards etc to reach out to prospective customers. It is static and is mainly a one-sided push communication, where these media show to the public what the brands want them to see, without any direct engagement with them. The rise of internet and consumer technologies, with large section of the public connected through computing devices, led marketing processes to evolve. Digital marketing is an evolution of traditional marketing and many foundational concepts are same. Digital marketing with inbound methodology creates brand awareness and promotes business through utilizing digital channels and internet that would include blogs, podcasts, videos, enewsletters, ebooks etc. Digital marketing process is dynamic with two-way communication and reaches out to customers where ever they are available in the digital media and serve them at different stages of their interaction and purchasing journey. Connecting and engaging with customers is not difficult in digital. What is important is how to achieve and maximize value through this engagement to better serve the customer requirements. Success of digital in marketing depends on how well marketers can understand the consumer behavior through technology-enabled interactions and analytics tools and how well they manage those interactions to fulfil consumer needs. Digital marketing channels, powered by internet, create, accelerate, and transmit product and services information and value to consumers, through digital networks. These channels include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media Marketing (SMM), E-mail Marketing, Content Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Online Public Relations, Display Advertising, In-game Advertisng, Native Advertising, Video Advertising, SMS Marketing etc. Marketers of today and future have to keep pace with technological advancements, stay informed and skilled, and be innovative and creative, to connect, understand, engage, and serve the digitalized modern customer. Digital marketing will continue to evolve, but a balanced and mix approach to traditional and digital marketing would provide better results. Mobile Marketing, Internet of Things (IoT), Analytics, Big Data, 3D Printing, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Consumer Neuroscience/Neuro Marketing are some of the most interesting and challenging domains where the future marketers are expected to deliver. Read on...

ilmeps/read: Digital Marketing To Connect, Engage And Serve Customers - Part I
Author: Mohammad Anas Wahaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 nov 2021

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is an important human resources issue in public relations field and needs consideration from various stakeholders. Recent research by Prof. Caitlin Wills of the University of North Georgia, published in The Public Relations Journal titled, 'Diversity in Public Relations: The Implications of a Broad Definition for PR Practice?', examines how the top 50 PR firms (Holmes Report) communicate about diversity on their websites. Their specific definitions are important as it showcases their understanding, policies and implementations regarding diversity. According to the research, 'Over half of the websites sampled contained definitions; the majority included expanded conceptualizations of differences, and most did not mention demographic characteristics specifically. Of the nine firms that outlined distinct activities, such as employee networks, all of the activities addressed demographic characteristics of diversity.' Prof. Caitlin says, 'The field has been slow to change and reflect the diversity of society, and fundamentally does not reflect the diversity of its audiences...The PR field is not yet diverse in traditional terms. The field needs to diversify in that way before they can move to broader definitions that ignore race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.' In the research article Prof. Caitlin made following recommendations for PR firms - (1) Develop a definition of diversity based on specific criteria that includes both traditional and broad characteristics of diversity. (2) Show organizational commitment to diversity initiatives by communicating the definition and activities across organizational communication to all stakeholders. (3) Align diversity-related activities to the criteria identified in the definition to allow assessment and ensure effectiveness. She further says, 'A definition of diversity that reflects the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) guidance might help focus policies and programs on many types of diversity and inclusion, thus, moving the field of public relations toward fuller diversification. Once a definition is identified, it should be communicated clearly to employees and the public on the website. All employees, especially CEOs, should know how their organization defines diversity and defines inclusion. In addition, initiatives should be expanded to address other diversity factors and linked to the criteria identified in the definition.' Read on...

University of North Georgia Newsroom: Wills points out diversity disparities
Author: J. K. Devine


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2021

The new study 'Why Do Some Advertisements Get Shared More Than Others' by Prof. Jonah Berger of the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and Daniel McDuff of Microsoft Research published in Journal of Advertising Research, explores the emotional triggers - happiness, sadness, and even disgust - that make people want to share advertising content. Prof. Berger is also the author of the books, 'Contagious' and 'The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind'. The study investigates the link between emotional responses to video ads and sharing. The researchers found that positive emotions resulted in more sharing, but so did feelings of disgust. Prof. Berger says, 'Everyone wants their content to be shared - from companies with their ads to 'influencers' with their videos to content marketers with their content. But actually getting consumers to share is harder than most people think.' Prof. Berger mentions that for the study they used facial expressions of participants as indicator of emotions. He says, 'It certainly seems easier to ask people how they feel or have them rate their response on scale. But there's a problem: Self-reports are often inaccurate. People don't always have a good sense of what they are feeling, and even if they give you an answer, it's not always correct. Further, people sometimes bias their responses based on what they think you want to hear. So, facial expressions can be a valuable alternative. Our face often signals how we're feeling even if we don’t realize it.' Stating the key findings and implications of the study, Prof. Berger says, 'While ads that made people smile were more likely to be shared, some negative emotions, like sadness or confusion, decreased sharing, while others, like disgust, increased it. Consistent with other research we've conducted, this highlights that rather than just being about feeling good or bad, sharing is also about the physiological arousal associated with different emotions. Emotions that fire us up to take action, like anger and anxiety (and in this case, disgust) boost sharing, while emotions that power us down (like sadness), decrease sharing. This has a number of important implications for marketers. First, if you want people to share, making them feel good isn't enough. Feeling content isn't going to make people share. You have to fire them up. Make them feel excited, inspired, or surprised. Second, you don't have to shy away from negative emotions. Because they fire people up, anger, anxiety or even disgust can be leveraged to encourage word of mouth.' Read on...

Knowledge@Wharton: What Makes Some Ads More Shareable Than Others?
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jun 2021

In today's world, social media is capable to make or break a brand. Every organization needs a well thought out social media strategy and requires a skilled human resource to deliver it successfully to enhance the value and reach of the brand. Tracey Wallace, Director of Marketing at MarketerHire, analyzes the critical role of social media managers and explain the skills they need to lead the social media strategy of the organizations they serve. She says, 'Social-media marketing has become a much more critical role within the internal marketing teams at startups as well as at Fortune 500s...modern social-media management requires a deep generalist, with charisma and negotiating capabilities, fantastic copywriting and community-building skills, and the availability and drive to be nearly always on.' Many experts believe that that social-media managers are the CMOs of tomorrow. Matthew Kobach, Director of Content Marketing at Fast, says, 'Social media professionals understand the following about your company: Marketing, Comms (especially crisis), Branding, Industry trends, Customer service, Creative (graphics, imagery, photos, video), How to create and nurture brand advocates. They are the future CMO/CCOs.' Amanda Goetz, founder and CEO at House of Wise, says, 'I can't believe people still think of social as a 'channel' or 'side hustle.' SMMs are the future CMOs. They understand user insights, positioning and brand marketing like no one else.' Ms. Wallace provide the skills to look for in a social media manager - (1) Creative strategy and channel-assessment capabilities (2) Short-form writing and storytelling (3) Community management (4) Internal communication. Read on...

Entrepreneur: Social-Media Managers Are the Next Generation of CMOs
Author: Tracey Wallace


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 apr 2021

COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous changes in how businesses go about their processes to create and deliver products and services to their customers. New trends are emerging in digital marketing too. While experts suggest to better what already exists in terms of digital marketing but they also hint at technology enabled shifts particularly with advancements in artificial intelligence. Having elaborate content strategy combined with data will remain a major trend along with focus on omni-channel marketing. Digital customer strategy will continue to be a must in the post-pandemic scenario. Here is what digital marketing experts recommend - (1) Martin Luenendonk (Co-Founder of FounderJar): Companies need to be everywhere. More businesses are focusing on omnichannel marketing and becoming less dependent on one single traffic and revenue driver. (2) Denise Langenegger (Outreach Strategist at Instasize): Focus on stories. Make use of all features of stories options on various social media platforms. The stories format allows brands and marketers to be more candid and post as much as they want. (3) Sandra Chung (Sr. Content Marketing and Partnerships Manager at PlayPlay): Repurpose existing video content for social media. Empower internal teams to create video content. Customer case studies and product tutorials can be transformed into engaging video stories. (4) Olena Zherebetska (Content Manager at Pics.io): Invest in digital asset management software. This will help you access, organize, and distribute assets easily. Some features include meta-tagging, AI-powered technology, advanced search capabilities, shareable public websites etc. (5) Lukas Mehnert (CMO at Smartlook): Focus on your own unique data for content marketing. Choose the unique content produced by the company or hire specialists who will help master this process. Make it properly distributed in the appropriate channels. Utilize industry influencers to spread the content through win-win relationships. (6) David Cacik (Head of Marketing at CloudTalk): High quality content enriched with structure data will rule search engines. Follow Google's guidelines for creating a website structure and creating content. Google assesses content according to the E-A-T methodology (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). (7) Kristina Ziauke (Content Manager at sixads): Voice search, AI and personalization will be key. Optimize written content for voice searches, implement more and more AI features on the websites like chatbots, product and content recommendations, e-commerce transactions etc. (8) George Mathews (Founder at Kamayobloggers): Artificial Intelligence will change digital marketing forever in 2021. Communication, product recommendations and personalization are all going to be more targeted thanks to AI. (9) Raul Galera (Partner Manager at CandyBar): Focus on retention. Three main risks that online merchants will have to face in 2021 are - (i) the continued growth of online marketplaces (ii) the rise of ad costs (iii) the massive competition in the ecommerce space. Explore areas like subscription options and loyalty points to keep your clients engaged with your brand. Create an omnichannel approach to connect with customers who have found about brand in marketplace. (10) Andrzej Bieda (CMO at Landingi): Continue to nurture and educate your customers. Develop well-functioning marketing funnels, lead magnets, webinars, and sales processes. (11) Maciej Biegajewski (Digital Marketing Specialist at LiveWebinar): Predefined personalization in all digital engagement. Create various patterns (they can be service patterns, advertisements, messages, or even the appearance of the entire online store) that seem to suit this one customer, but have been defined earlier, and now only substitute the collected data and present the recipient. (12) Olga Petrik (CMO at NetHunt CRM): Trust and credibility are more important than ever. Pay more attention to loyalty and retention by developing customer success program. Utilize influencers. Create offers and run campaigns for micro-segments. Address highly-targeted pain points to trigger more responses. Neal Schaffer, founder of the digital marketing consultancy PDCA Social and teaches executives digital marketing at Rutgers Business School and the Irish Management Institute, says, 'Use social media for customer and influencer collaboration, not promotion...reimagine your digital relationships with your customers and celebrate them in social media...over time companies should try their best to source the type of user-generated content from their fans and nano influencers that generates trust and credibility with the public.' Read on...

ClickZ: 2021 digital marketing trends you need to know from 13 marketing experts
Author: Neal Schaffer


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 mar 2021

According to a survey by The Conference Board, 61% of major global companies spent more on philanthropy in 2020 than budgeted, with 58% of respondents using incremental funds for COVID-19 efforts, and 54% of respondents using incremental funds to help address racism in the US. Moreover, more than 2/3rd of the surveyed companies said they plan to maintain or increase their total level of giving in 2021. A 2017 Cone Communications CSR study found that 87% of respondents will purchase a product because a company stood behind an issue they cared about. And a 2016 Cone Communications study on millennial employee engagement found that 64% of millennials consider a company's social and environmental commitments when choosing a workplace. There is a win-win relationship when corporates focus on long-term social and community involvement. This activity benefits communities and helps improve and build brand value, and also achieve business objectives. Cheryl Goodman, Head of Corporate Communications/Corporate Social Responsibility at Sony, provides key steps that needs to be taken for strategic long-term CSR - (1) Identify Causes To Support: For strategic CSR choose causes to support that reflect company's ethos. Determine tangible societal benefits of the CSR efforts. There need to be a correlation between the beneficiary of the CSR efforts and the business that company is involved in. Survey employees to find causes to support. This helps employee to be more involved and engaged in the charitable efforts as they feel heard. (2) Determine Proper Structures To Achieve Success: To determie the structure, companies should think diligently what will make a long-term impact on communities. Companies should have systems in place to measure the impact and success of their efforts. Quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) won't reveal themselves immediately, but qualitative measures are essential from the beginning. Companies should evaluate their resources and determine time and financial commitment they will be able to make to achieve desired outcomes. (3) Give Nonprofit Partners Space To Lead: Create an action plan to work with nonprofit partners. Develop trust and understanding with these partners, as they have experience working on the ground and know better how to serve communities. Collaborate early, communicate often and support each other authentically to achieve desired outcomes of the charitable efforts. (4) Get The Good News Out Without Missing The Mark: Secure strategic press coverage by involving the right internal and external stakeholders. Involve the right people from the company and nonprofit that can deliver the message right, and establish solid relationships with members of the media. Messaging should also include any relevant data points and stories that help explain why the cause is pressing. (5) Practice Humility And Transparency: By exercising humility, companies can decrease the likelihood of appearing opportunistic. Read on...

Forbes: How Companies Can Strategically Build Purposeful Corporate Social Responsibility Programs In Five Steps
Author: Cheryl Goodman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 feb 2021

For startups, often struggling with resources and looking for more funds, investing in PR is a difficult but essential decision to be made with a well thought out plan. COVID-19 has further exacerbated the challenge in this conundrum. But in the new year, most businesses are now able to adapt to the new normal and are looking towards growth of their businesses. Last year, they were more cautious towards PR as the countries were entangled in COVID-19 and most news coverage was focused towards overcoming the situation. Moreover, companies were finding it difficult to pitch brand-specific stories with a fear of negative backlash. Some companies shifted to thought-leadership approach in the PR campaigns during this period. Jenna Guarneri, founder and CEO of JMG Public Relations, shares her experience in leading a startup focused PR firm and suggests ways to effectively handle PR. She insists that startups should have PR strategy in place and good PR can help with investors, increase backlinks to the website, increase brand awareness and help companies claim the title of 'the first of their kind'. PR is important for new businesses as it helps in improving their image and facilitates products/services selling. To achieve effectiveness in PR, whether in-house or outsourced, long-term consistent approach is the key. Relationships with media are not made overnight and require time and patience. With limited resources, startups must try to obtain high return on PR investments and they can get it by leaving their PR strategy in expert hands. But founders should not totally disengage themselves from it and should continue to have strategic involvement in it through good communication exchange, building comfortable relationships, understanding the PR processes, staying accessible to PR team and making PR a strategic priority for the business's growth. Read on...

Forbes: Why Startups Need A PR Strategy (And How To Make It A Success)
Author: Jenna Guarneri


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2020

Logos are a brief visual representaion of the organizational identity and help differentiate them from each other. They assist to instantly recognize brands and over a period of time can become one of the most important component of their identity. Traditionally, organizations utilize the services of graphic designers to get their logos and the process has artistic and creative orientation. But now powered with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), there are online logo design software tools that can design logos instantly once some specifications are submitted. These tools also provide editing and customization features. Technology is transforming the creative field of logo design into a more scientific one. Research paper, 'Letting Logos Speak: Leveraging Multiview Representation Learning for Data-Driven Logo Design' (SSRN, 25 nov 2019) (Authors: Ryan Dew of Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Asim M. Ansari of Columbia Business School at the Columbia University, Olivier Toubia of Columbia Business School at the Columbia University), proposes a more data-driven approach to logo design in which the authors developed a 'logo feature extraction algorithm' that uses modern image processing tools to break a company's logo into many visual constituent parts like font, color scheme, and many other meaningful features, and a multiview representation learning framework that links the visual components to text that describes the company like industry, value propositions etc. Researchers then applied this framework to a large amount of data available on companies to predict their logo features. Prof. Ryan Dew explains, 'There are things that data and models can say about the design process that can help firms develop brand identities - visual brand identities that are doing the right things for them...we looked at hundreds of different logos, and we also looked at a bunch of textual data describing these firms - taken mostly from the firms' websites. And we also got consumers to react to these logos and the textual descriptions by rating these firms according to what's called a 'brand personality scale'...we developed an algorithm that lets us work with logos as a source of data. We call this our 'logo feature extraction algorithm'...and then we also have all this text, which can be anything...It conveys what the firm does and what their brand is...The idea is, we want to link these two domains to try to get the words to describe what the logo is trying to say. Let the logo speak. Conversely, this is actually how the design process works. You start with a textual blurb describing - 'This is what my brand is. This is what my firm does'. And then you go from that to a logo — to a logo template. This is where the concept of data-driven design comes in. We both, in the first sense, are able to use text to understand logos, but in the second sense, we're able to go from text to new logo templates that will let firms develop logos that are consistent with their brand identities...a more fundamental thing that the current paper can address is this idea of coming up with the 'right template' to convey what you want to convey visually. That is, in some sense, firms should be a little cautious when they're designing logos...understanding these templates and having this model of data-driven design can help with the creative process, to come up with new redesigns or new logos that will excel.' Read on...

Knowledge@Wharton: Why a Data-driven Approach Can Enhance the Art of Logo Design
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2020

COVID-19 has brought about new challenges for brands and businesses. Changing consumer behavior, excessive use of social media, prevalence of fake news, fast spread of public opinion through internet etc has exacerbated the problems that businesses are facing. The large amount of content that is generated at this time is filled with mixed emotions - happiness, anger, fear, and disgust. Anubhav Mishra, professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management Ranchi, provides a solution for brands to follow to manoeuver through the current marketing challenges - a simple LAC Model - that stands for Listen, Act, and Communicate. He explains - (1) LISTEN: 'Social media listening is the first step, which most of the brands regularly do as part of their digital marketing strategy. Brands collect information and do a sentiment analysis to understand the emotions hidden in those tweets or Facebook posts. Sentiment analysis reflects what consumers are feeling about that brand. A careful filtering of the information should reveal consumer's expectations and challenges from the brand.' (2) ACT: 'The next step is to act on the information collected in the listening process...Brands should find innovative ways to act on the information to ease the pains of consumers.' (3) COMMUNICATE: 'A critical aspect of communication is to gather free media and support from consumers...A firm must resist the temptation to chest thumping which can severely backfire. Many people are dying globally and there is a general atmosphere of fear and mistrust...Consumers are showing signs of distrust and skepticism toward any communication. In such scenario, content must be created to show feelings of concerns towards the severe spread. Brands should reflect that they care for their consumers in these testing times.' Read on...

Campaign India: Opinion: Marketing in the time of Covid-19
Author: Anubhav Mishra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 aug 2020

Timing, as in most things in business and elsewhere, is the key to get the most effective and valuable outcome. Public relations for organizations and brands is no different in this regard. When and how much PR is needed requires diligent research and assessment. To avoid costly PR mistakes, April White, founder of Trust Relations, suggests ways to evaluate PR-readiness of a brand. She emphasises that both clients and PR professionals should assess the PR requirement for optimum results. She says, 'A brand is PR-ready when it has a great product, service or story to tell - and assets to support them.' Following are the 10 tips - (1) Professional website providing sufficient information is a must for credibility. (2) Clear brand positioning with defined mission statement, core values, SWOT analysis, competitive landscape etc. (3) Identified target audience to achieve business and marketing goals. (4) Expertise or thought leadership of executives running the company and their credibility to provide industry commentary and insight. (5) Professionally designed packaging to match with the stories brand wants to tell. (6) Supportive research about the product or service like market data, white paper on industry topic, survey regarding demand etc. (7) Dedicated and trained spokesperson to handle queries and interviews. (8) A client representative with the capacity to effectively manage a PR team and be a communication link. (9) Relevant and compelling content in the form of professional images, videos etc to share with the media. (10) Brand's ability to scale to meet the demand after the PR efforts are done for long-term value. Read on...

Forbes: When Is A Brand PR-Ready? 10 Things For Agencies And Clients To Have In Hand
Author: April White


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jun 2020

User-Generated Content (UGC) is getting more prominence for charity marketing and communications in the COVID-19 pandemic turbulence. Charities are struggling with funds and resources and have substantially reduced marketing and advertising spends. UGC helps charities in creating content to promote their brand, do fundraising, and advertise their accomplishments. Content created by those who were directly supported by charities is more authentic and relatable. When users share their stories they connect better with potential supporters. Following are the ways UGC benefits charities - (1) Marketing budgets are shrinking and UGC can provide a practical, cost-effective solution amid cuts, through users becoming charities' ambassadors online through videos, blogs, podcasts and social media posts. Hiring marketing agency is costly and current social distancing norms are restricting professionals to do location filming. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NVCO) has estimated that UK charities lost around £4 billion in the first three months of the COVID-19 crisis. According to COVID-19 Marketing Report by Influencer MarketingHub, more than 2/3 (69%) of brands expect they will reduce their advertising spend in 2020 due to COVID-19. 3/4 say they are posting less on their social media accounts as budgets shrink. (2) Charity's frontline staff, beneficiaries and volunteers are able to enhance their digital skills during lockdown. Charities are certainly keen to empower their workforce to support users in creating content. The 2020 Charity Digital Skills Report found that half of charities would welcome guidance on helping their staff adjust to change and stay motivated and productive amid the pandemic. (3) UGC is more authentic and relatable. Last year's Stackla survey found that the public believes UGC is 2.4 times more authentic compared to brand created content. However, too often the power of UGC is not being realised by marketers. The survey showed that marketers are 2.1 times more likely to believe that brand created content is more authentic compared to UGC. Read on...

Charity Digital: How and why User-Generated Content is changing charity marketing
Author: Joe Lepper


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2020

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) spend is mandatory for certain profitable corporations in India. Most businesses are strategically utilizing their CSR funds. Moreover, Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent directive by government for corporates to participate in Covid-19 relief as part of their CSR activity, has prompted companies to innovate their CSR spends. Gaurav Patra, founder of Value360 Communication, explains how marketers are utilizing the challenge posed by Covid-19 as opportunity to strengthen their brands by strategically focusing on CSR to support society and connect with communities. He says, 'In this hour of global crisis, various marketers are stepping up and aligning their strategy in line with the announcements made by the government. Brands should take this as an opportunity to look inward and be as resourceful as possbile towards the cause. Many companies and businesses are donating certain amounts to the 'PM Cares Fund' formed by the Government of India, while others focus on facilitating vital necessities like masks, sanitizers, gloves, medicines, food to the underprivileged, health institutions, hospitals, etc. Marketers and brands are also committing a certain portion of their CSR funds towards Covid Fund. They are also placing health check-up camps in tier-2 cities in order to help migrants get tested first hand. Few brands have also come forward to manufacture ventilators, sanitizers, thermal testers, drones lending assistance to the government in combating this pandemic situation.' Companies are utilizing various media channels like print, television, social media etc to create awarenesss and educate the masses through creatively designing campaigns with Covid-19 theme. Mr. Patra suggests, 'Given the scale and urgency of the situation, brands should co-create their solutions as an effective response to Covid-19 outbreak. Together, through the right channel, one voice, we can safeguard our nation and help fight this global pandemic.' Read on...

Business Insider: How marketers are now focusing on CSR in current COVID-19 situation
Author: Gaurav Patra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2020

According to Wikipedia, 'Experiential marketing or engagement marketing is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand or a brand experience...Consumer engagement is when a brand and a consumer connect. Brad Nierenberg says that experiential marketing is the live, one-on-one interactions that allow consumers to create connections with brands.' With experiential marketing brands can develop more interest among consumers about their products and services. Covid-19 has brought new challenges to experiential marketing. 13 experts from Forbes Agency Council explain the current and future impact that experiential marketing is likely to have on the industry and how leaders can adapt to its effects - (1) Continuing To Build Relationships And Leadership (Serenity Thompson, A23 Advisors): 'To play well as experiential marketing, virtual events will include moderated group breakouts, gamified agendas and in-app click-to-share social content at a minimum.' (2) Emphasizing The Power of Shared Experience (Steve Wilson, Wilson Dow): 'When delivering a virtual experience, keep a people-first approach.' (3) Reinventing Experiences And Platforms (Lili Gil Valletta, CIEN+): 'Experiences matter; we just need to innovate in where and how they come to life.' (4) Connecting With Audiences During Social Distancing (Jon Waterman, Ad.net): 'Whether it be through VR, playing an interactive game, attending a virtual concert or a live streaming demo, experiential marketing will move towards brand engaging audiences for experiences online.' (5) Offering Consumer-Level Multisensory Experiences (Hamutal Schieber): 'Experiential marketing can benefit from emerging technologies to create personalized, multisensory experiences.' (6) Delivering Personalized Experiences To Wider Audiences (Nicolas Van Erum, Sid Lee): 'Brands will quickly pivot to digital efforts...with greater avenues to track, measure and attribute consumer behavior.' (7) Leveraging New Technologies With Social Spacing (Jackie Reau, Game Day Communications): 'Experiential marketers will need to consider how to use new technologies with social spacing to connect with consumers in an engaging manner.' (8) Growing The Number Of Virtual Conferences, Activations (Scott Harkey, OH Partners): 'As we navigate through this pandemic, brands are challenged to pivot to provide a utility, adopt new technologies and continue to provide value and insight to consumers.' (9) Helping Brands Stand Out From The Crowd (Anna Crowe, Crowe PR): It will be an important part of an integrated marketing strategy to communicate brand stories and grow awareness and loyalty.' (10) Creating A Community (Dmitrii Kustov): 'They (brands) now have the opportunity to find real connections with their audience.' (11) Providing Immersive Experiences Via Influencers (Danielle Wiley, Sway Group): 'Influencers who provide enjoyable, immersive experiences boost brand visibility, build audience connections and drive action.' (12) Leveraging Augmented And Virtual Reality (Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS): 'Every company is ready for it. Apple and Android support it.' (13) Bridging The Gap With Video Demos (Francine Carb, Markitects, Inc.): 'By promoting technical experts as the heroes, customers can gain valuable insights, and companies can more intimately represent their brand.' Read on...

Forbes: How Will Experiential Marketing Evolve? 13 Experts Share Their Views
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 apr 2020

Fake news at the time of crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic is a double whammy that further adds to confusion and creates panic. Propagation of false and misleading information through social media and other tech platforms has multiplied. It not only exploits the emotional vulnerability of common public but also impedes and hinders the efforts to collectively and scientifically fight the pandemic and minimize its socio-ecomic effects. But an evergrowing group of Indian scientists have come together to create 'Indian Scientists' Response to COVID-19 (ISRC)' that is working to fight false information. It is a pan-India voluntary effort with more than 400 scientists across more than twenty scientific and research institutes in the country. It counts among its volunteers astrophysicists, animal behaviourists, computer scientists, mathematicians, engineers, chemists, biologist, doctors, social scientists and others. The purpose of the group includes analysing all available data and support national, state and local governments for evidence-based action, in addition to verifying and communicating information. There are sub-groups working on - mathematical modelling of disease spread and transmission, outreach and communication in simple terms for the public and media, translating basic resources in local languages, developing hardware solutions and apps. Aniket Sule, a science communicator with the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education in Mumbai, says, 'Since science communication is my area of interest, I volunteered to be a part of this effort. In this crisis, everyone has a role and each person can contribute by doing what they know best.' R. Ramanujam, a theoretical computer science professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai, says, 'While people in the medical and healthcare community are doing their work, we thought, what about others like us, what can we do?' Rahul Siddharthan, a computational biologist at the IMSc, says, 'How an individual gets infected is definitely a biology problem, but what we are looking at is how an infection spreads in society, and we are dealing with large numbers of people. Physicists have a lot of experience in dealing with dynamical systems modelling, differential equations, and computer/data scientists can analyse the data that is available. It has to be an interdisciplinary approach and we need people to be talking and on the same platform.' T. V. Venkateshwaran, senior scientist at Vigyan Prasar, says, 'In a situation like this it's important to do two things, one is communicating to people that they need to be alert, not alarmed...The other thing is falling for wrongly circulated remedies and rumours. We need to counter all the misinformation going around so people feel at ease.' The group is putting together links, videos and articles in Indian languages and also working on translating others. Anindita Bhadra, an animal behaviourist and associate professor at IISER Kolkata, says, 'I am not an expert in virology or epidemiology or modelling, but I am interested in science communication so I thought I should help with that as well as translation. You need people who can transmit all this to the public.' Read on...

World Economic Forum: How 300 Indian scientists are fighting fake news about COVID-19
Author: Bhavya Dore


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 mar 2020

Global COVID-19 crisis has made content marketing vital for lead generation as all events and roundtables have been cancelled. According to the CMO Council's latest report 'Making Content Marketing Convert', only 21% of marketers are sufficiently partnered with their sales counterparts in developing and measuring demand generation programs, and most view their content marketing process as ad hoc, decentralised, and driven by internal stakeholder, rather than customer, interests. CMO Council's another report 'Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field', highlighted the critical need for marketing organisations to bring more discipline and strategic thinking to content specification, delivery, and analytics. Donovan Neale-May, executive director of CMO Council, says, 'Marketers must act quickly and decisively to increase the impact, scope, reach and return of their content marketing investments in 2020.' The report said good content is vital in the selection of vendors, and peer-powered organizations are the most trusted and valued sources of online content - 67% of respondents named research and whitepapers from professional organisations among the most trusted content sources. The report recommends the following top 10 essentials for effective authority leadership-driven content marketing - (1) Partner with credible and trusted sources. (2) Produce relevant and compelling strategic insights. (3) Add customer-contributed views and validation. (4) Present authoritative, newsworthy and enriched content. (5) Engage qualified, verified and predisposed audiences. (6) Target the whole influencer, specifier and buyer ecosystem. (7) Embrace multi-channel distribution, promotion + syndication. (8) Authenticate content consumption and buyer engagement. (9) Ensure lead legitimacy and compliance. (10) Cultivate, activate and convert prospect flow. Read on...

CMO: Why content marketing can make the difference amid the COVID-19 closures
Author: Vanessa Mitchell


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 mar 2020

Social media has demonstrated its effectiveness for B2C and it has a lot to offer to B2B marketing when done with the right audience. Social platforms are all about interacting and engaging with people and B2B customers are people too. According to Forbes, 83% of executives use social media as part of their consideration of a vendor when making purchasing decisions. Of that group 92% said that they had been influenced by social media in a purchasing decision in the last year. Moreover, among B2B marketers, 82% prioritize social media marketing among their channels. Susan J. Campbell, founder of SJC Marketing, explains the benefits of going social with B2B marketing and suggests ways to do it better. She says, 'First, remember that sales and marketing are always social...Social media works for the same types of conversations...We also see social media as an opportunity to show off what we know...We offer content that we know adds value and allow our contacts to notice that we seem to have some insight to offer...This also ties in with your search engine optimization (SEO). When traffic makes it to your website via social media, it bumps up your search rankings.' According to Accenture, 94% of B2B buyers say that search is an important part of their purchasing process. Ms. Cambell suggests - Set clear goals along with related metrics to track success; Consider social media as an add on to overall B2B marketing; Develop a social media strategy focusing on conversations and engagement with potential buyers; Be consistent and share messages that target audience expect. Read on...

Business 2 Community: B2B Social Media Marketing: Because Purchasers Are People, Too
Author: Susan J. Campbell


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2019

Visibility is critical for the success of business ventures. Public relations is what provides businesses just that when done right. Deborah A. Geiger, CEO of Geiger Communications, suggests a 3-step process to create winning pitches that provide meaningful coverage - (1) Introduce Yourself: Reporters need professional information and capabilites of those they cover in their stories. Provide them all the required details and make them confident about yourself. (2) Place Your News In Context: For the winning pitch place your news in geographical, historical and industry context to make your business and work stand out. Make your story truly unique and newsworthy. Do competitive analysis and differentiate yourself. (3) Consider The News Cycle: News cycle is predictable. Understand it and time your pitch accordingly. Select reporters who cover events and news related to your area of expertise. Keep communication with them helpful and positive, and offer your expertise for their future stories. The core of best PR pitches is simplicity and clarity in communication. 'If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.', said Albert Einstein. Keeping this in mind, with no confusion about who you are, what you do and how you can help, you will no doubt make a positive impression. Read on...

Entrepreneur: How to Write a Winning PR Pitch
Author: Deborah A. Geiger


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2019

Utilizing technology to connect with audience & customers is effective and efficient. But, bringing the human element with personalization & customization, and engaging with them to build long-term relationships is even better. Best organizations often try to do that. Gabe Cooper, tech entrepreneur and nonprofit consultant, have suggestions for nonprofit organizations to build personalized communication strategies and making full use of automation technologies available. He says, 'When it comes to marketing software, in particular, nonprofits have long tried to make square pegs fit in round holes, getting locked into software and marketing practices that are fundamentally designed for for-profit marketing or that are based on legacy fundraising practices. This has resulted in mass marketing efforts that make your donors feel like 'sales opportunities' rather than crucial stakeholders in your cause.' Fundraising is an important activity for nonprofits and considering that they lack resources, it becomes even more crucial to be done right. He says, 'In our modern world, impersonal fundraising is a wet blanket on generosity, and that's a problem when you consider that nearly three-quarters of people who give a single gift never give again. They simply don't feel appreciated. That's where personalization through marketing automation comes in. Personalization allows each and every donor feel as though you're talking directly to them...Great personalization provides every donor with the right message at the right time based on their individual passions, capacity and relationship to your organization. Personalization, in this way, creates extreme loyalty.' He advocates a 3 point approach to apply personalization in nonprofit fundraising efforts - Know; Automate; Amplify. (1) KNOW: Gather as much information about your donors as is possible. (2) AUTOMATE: Use marketing automation software to send tailored messages - at the right time - based on what you know about each donor. (3) AMPLIFY: Use data analytics to understand what the right 'ask' should be. He also provides other ways to personalize marketing efforts: Keep the new donor campaigns running to engage them, and make them repeat donors; Use persona segmentation and apply the personalized content to connect with them; Utilize personalization technology/marketing automation that is designed specifically fo nonprofits. Mr. Cooper concludes, 'Taking a more personalized approach to your nonprofit fundraising efforts can result in more donor engagement, higher average gifts, big increases in donor loyalty, and most importantly, you donors will feel that they're part of your cause.' Read on...

Business.com: Personalization Is the Engine That Drives Today's Givers
Author: Gabe Cooper


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 sep 2019

Jeff Bradford, PR expert and President & CEO of Bradford Group, suggests that now it is imperative to think about business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy the same way as thinking about building relationships. He says, 'We expect to gain something from our friendships or relationships. Potential customers have the same expectations. You need to prove your value. Tactics like targeted media exposure contributed content, influencer relations, social media, speaking engagements and website downloads invite potential customers into your company story as friends versus onlookers. A strategic B2B marketing approach builds a relationship with the customer by providing valuable, relevant and consistent content.' He provides 3 ways to build lasting customer relationships - (1) Get Social: According to GlobalWebIndex's latest report on social media trends 2019, more than one in three internet users revealed that they go to social networks when trying to find out more information about a brand, company or product; Share recent company news, media coverage and industry articles to keep a steady stream of content; Add CSR initiatives, videos and behind-the-scenes photos to enable deeper customer exploration of brand; Aim to win customer engagement and share content that encourages dialogue; Implement gated content. (2) Tell Your Story: Have a compelling story to reveal to potential customers, just as in new friendships; Each piece of content should invite customer to the brand; Highlight CSR efforts on social media and website; Welcome new faces to your brand by proving you have a clear vision and showing how they can be a part of it; Make sure to honor customer's time by using your social media, website and media exposure to explain how you can help solve your customer's problem, not simply sell your services. (3) Renew And Recycle: Extend value of content by updating and resharing to reach wider audience; Repurposing a blog post into a series of social media posts linking back to the blog, a YouTube video, an infographic or a pitch for a bylined article; Strike a balance between quantity and quality of content; Existing content can be a foundation to build more content. With all this done right will make marketing to businesses simple, making them brand friends and customers for life. Read on...

Forbes: Three Ways To Bolster Your B2B Marketing
Author: Jeff Bradford


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2019

According to Wikipedia, 'Place branding (including place marketing and place promotion) is a new umbrella term encompassing nation branding, region branding and city branding. Place branding is the process of image communication to a target market. It is invariably related to the notion that places compete with other places for people, resources, and business...A place brand is a network of associations in the place consumers' mind based on the visual, verbal, and behavioral expression of a place and its' stakeholders. These associations differ in their influence within the network and in importance for the place consumers' attitude and behavior (Erik Braun, Sebastian Zenker; 2017). It therefore aims to affect the perceptions of a place and position it favourably in the minds of the target groups. Place branding can even be considered as a governance strategy for projecting images and managing perceptions about places (Erik Braun, Jasper Eshuis, Erik-Hans Klijn; 2014).' Bill Baker, veteran place brander and author of the recent book, 'Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions and Downtowns: The Essentials for Successful Destinations', while speeking with Bobby McGill, founder and publisher of Branding in Asia, shares insights based on his long experience in destination marketing and tourism development. Mr. Baker says, 'Tourism can play a very positive role as part of an economic development strategy. However, locations around the world are recognizing that there is the need for a tourism masterplan to balance the marketing of the destination with the need for sustainable and harmonious development to meet community values and aspirations while meeting the needs of external audiences.' Explaing some of the mistakes in place branding, he says, 'The most common mistake or weakness that we see in place branding very often relates to positioning. Defining the brand position for a city, downtown or region is, without a doubt, the most important and trickiest part of the entire process. If they don't get this part right, everything else will miss its mark, since it's the positioning and its relevance to target audiences that informs and shapes all other elements of the brand. Compounding this is the challenge of dealing with the many competing voices of stakeholders.' He also cautions, 'Place branding can be a perilous journey. Some do a great job with defining their brand identity, but soon falter or fail when it comes to deployment and brand management, and the consistency needed to follow the agreed strategy. Others are unable to sustain the leadership, funding, personnel, and partner enthusiasm required to succeed...Our experiences have shown that a lack of understanding about branding, particularly among key decision-makers can be the Waterloo or graveyard for a place branding initiative. Unless staff and committees can get beyond thinking in terms of logos and taglines, or mistaking a snappy campaign theme, then their efforts to define and deploy a genuine, unifying place brand will likely fail.' Regarding the book, he says, 'The focus of my book is on smaller cities and regions, and their focus may not be on tourism alone. Instead, their brand development may be centered on an overarching brand to embrace tourism, economic development, education, relocation and inward investment. Developing an overarching brand often brings to the table many participants who may not be familiar with branding, or in some cases, marketing.' He suggests, 'A multitude of stakeholders will be, or at least should be, involved in revealing a city or downtown brand, and this will depart from the accepted path for branding corporate products and services. One reason for this variation is the composite nature of places. They are a compilation of many independent and competing businesses, products, and experiences that are owned and managed by many different entities. There's no single custodian or owner of the brand. Community leaders who are aware of the differences in branding places and consumer goods are in a much better space to adapt to these challenges when they become evident...One of the leading determiners regarding who will lead the effort comes down to who is funding the project. Place branding frequently involves a single source of funding...Economic development organizations and DMOs (Direct Marketing Organizations) are usually the best-situated entities to plan, coordinate, and manage a place branding initiative...Determining the lead organization can involve balancing acts...Hence, the calls for DMOs to broaden their roles within communities and bring all parties together.' Read on...

Branding in Asia: Q&A: Insights from Veteran Place Branding Guru Bill Baker
Author: Bobby McGill


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 jul 2019

Good content is essential for every content marketing strategy. But, getting requisite return on investment (ROI) defines it's business success. Steven van Vessum, co-founder & VP of Community at ContentKing, suggests ways to maximize the chances of success of content marketng strategy - (1) Best Content Is Not Equal To Most Successful Content: Be selective and start small; Assess competitor's weaknesses and know your strengths and leverage that; Put together a content promotion strategy that works for you. (2) Create Multi-Purpose Content: As lot of research and resources are used to create content, leverage it to create other types of content to get better ROI; An evergreen content piece can be partically repurposed as a conference talk, a support article, a podcast topic or a guest post. (3) Creating the Best Content Is Not That Hard, It's Just Hard Work: Focus on creating content that provides most value to the visitors and fulfils their search intent; Create a content piece that makes you think not to give it for free. (4) Core Content Is the Key to ROI: Core content is content that your target audience is interested in, and that's close to your products and/or services. Helps in transition to soft sale; Create core content, and build related content around that. (5) Control & Protect Your Investment: Social media and content platforms are easy to use and have large audience reach but they provide limited control. Moreover, they may shut down or modify their terms of service as per their convenience; External platforms often don't support adding Call-To-Action boxes or newsletter signup forms. This results in questionable or reduced ROI; Better option is to publish a summary or introduction on these platforms and link it back to the detailed or full content on your own website. Read on...

Search Engine Journal: Content Marketing: The 5 Most Important Things You Need to Know
Author: Steven van Vessum


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2019

Wikipedia explains 'Spin' as, 'A form of propaganda in public relations and politics that is achieved through knowingly providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, "spin" often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.' Researchers (Paris Descartes University: Isabelle Boutron, Romana Haneef, Philippe Ravaud; Hôpital Hôtel Dieu, Paris: Amélie Yavchitz, Gabriel Baron; Inspire: John Novack; New York University: Ivan Oransky; University of Minnesota: Gary Schwitzer) in their study, 'Three randomized controlled trials evaluating the impact of "spin" in health news stories reporting studies of pharmacologic treatments on patients'/caregivers' interpretation of treatment benefit', published in journal BMC Medicine, found that participants were more likely to believe the treatment was beneficial when news stories were reported with spin. Prof. Gary Schwitzer of University of Minnesota and founder/publisher of HealthNewsReview.org, says, 'This is important research because misinterpretation of the content of news stories due to spin could have important public health consequences as news articles can affect patient and public behavior.' Prof. Schwitzer says that spin can originate in all stages of the flow of information from researchers to the public. Researchers suggest that spin can be managed by taking the following steps - Train researchers to understand how the public uses the media and, in response, frame their communication to the public in a way which is truthful, relevant, understandable and devoid of distortion or hype; Train PR professionals, journalists and other communicators to detect spin and accurately convey research results; Educate news consumers on the resources available to help them critically evaluate health claims; Support research for developing ideal approaches for communicating scientific and health information. Read on...

University of Minnesota News: Research Brief: Evaluating the effect of spin in health care news
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2018

Corporations have student ambassador programs in which they hire students to promote their brand on educational campuses. These campus representatives create buzz about the companies during career fairs, work with student organizations to invite company professionals for guest lectures, talk about their internship both in-class and outside, give samples, post on social media about them etc. Adam Grant, CEO of Campus Commandos (a youth marketing agency that runs student brand ambassador programs), provides essential elements that companies should consider when hiring students to talk about their brands on campuses - (1) Compensation: Think beyond monetary compensation; Enhance their learning and skills; Provide interaction and networking opportunity with company leaders and executives. (2) A Hands-On Approach: Have direct involvement in the program; Keep interacting with students during the program; Preferably, don't entirely outsource the program to another company. (3) Future Opportunity: Provide opportunity for internship and future employment for best performers; Engage students with the company's human resources. (4) Mobile: Incorporate mobile technologies in the program; Utilize documentation tools available on mobile devices that allow student ambassadors to provide pictures, videos and notes. (5) Work Schedule: Understand student's work schedule; Work out expectations of the program around the student's educational priorities. (6) Organization: Build a program that incorporate goals; What is required by students to reach these goals; Their progress reports; Recognize top performers. Read on...

Forbes: The Top Six Elements For A Successful Student Ambassador Program
Author: Adam Grant


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 nov 2018

In today's businesses, digital is one of the critical component that defines their growth and success. With digital and related analytics, organizations can easily track and create insights to better understand consumer behavior for their benefits. Gabriel Shaoolian, founder of DesignRush, provides valuable statistics in marketing, website design and branding for efficient online strategy and subsequent online success - (1) By 2021, mobile e-commerce will account for 54% of all online sales. (2) 38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive. (3) Long landing pages generate up to 220% more leads than above-the-fold calls to action. (4) Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%. (5) Consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%. (6) 64% of consumers say that shared values help them create a trusted relationship with a brand. (7) Content marketing efforts receive three times the leads per dollar spent than paid search receives. (8) 64% of consumers make a purchase after viewing a branded social video. (9) Facebook Ad revenue in the US will surpass total print ad spending by 2019. (10) Email has a median return on investment of 122%. Moreover, he suggests the following key points to be noted for digital strategy - Create an easy-to-use website that works on all platforms and devices; Design a memorable brand identity that communicates well with consumers; Maintain an honest and transparent relationship with customers; Invest in content marketing and social media advertisements; Test video marketing campaigns to engage users; Don't forget about the power of email marketing. Read on...

Forbes: 10 Marketing, Web Design & Branding Statistics To Help You Prioritize Business Growth Initiatives
Author: Gabriel Shaoolian


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 sep 2018

Mentors are an important component of learning-based relationships. Wikipedia quotes a definition of 'mentoring' from a research published in 2007 in SAGE Journals, 'Toward a Useful Theory of Mentoring: A Conceptual Analysis and Critique' (Authors: Barry Bozeman, Mary K. Feeney - University of Georgia, Athens, USA), 'Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protégé).' On prsa.org (PRSA - Public Relations Society of America) website, PR expert Prof. John Guiniven of Elon University in North Carolina, says, 'Mentoring is all about communication and relationships, so it's natural for public relations to be in the forefront.' Over the course of learning, people can go through many mentoring relationships, brief or long. But, there are few mentors and their inspiring advice that sticks in one's memory and they often share this with others. 10 members of Forbes Agency Council share the most important learning received from their mentors about PR and media strategy - (1) Consistency Is Essential - Darryl Mascarenhas, LivelyGroup (2) Don't Send Garbage To Media Contacts - Ajay Gupta, Stirista Digital (3) Collaborate With Stakeholders - Ana Miller, Asquared Communications Group (4) Nobody Can Tell Your Story Better Than You - Alexander Yastrebenetsky, InfoTrust LLC (5) Go Big, Go All In, Or Go Home - Dan Russell, Vivid Labs (6) The Order Of Operations Matters - Jared Mirsky, Wick & Mortar (7) Create A Connection - Drew Kraemer, Marketplace Strategy (8) Depict Core Beliefs And Values - Chris Gutierrez, TouchFuse (9) Develop Insights - Julia Gardner, MAAST DIGITAL (10) Be Authentic - Mark Stubblefield, Stubgroup Advertising. Read on...

Forbes: Memorable Mentor Advice: 10 Thoughts On PR And Media Strategy
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 aug 2018

It's critical for the marketers to understand the collective habits of the customers of a particular segment they want to sell. Engineers are one such segment that B2B marketers have to deal with while pursuing their campaigns. Patrick D. Mahoney, President and CEO of IEEE GlobalSpec, explains the IEEE GlobalSpec's '2018 Pulse of Engineering Survey - The Changing Work Environment for Engineers Today' and how industrial marketers can utilize the insights to formulate their marketing strategy. The survey of 2236 engineers and professionals was designed to gather measurable and actionable insight on what they think about their industries and work environments. The survey also includes exclusive analysis on two key segments of the engineering workforce: millennials and technical professionals in the electronics industry. Highlights from the research - PRESSURES: 55% of engineers say the pace of engineering is increasing; 53% are required to do more with less; 40% say that pressure to meet deadlines is putting product quality/rework at risk; Majority also say that designs are becoming more sophisticated and that design cycles are shrinking, while time-to-market pressures are increasing; 44% of companies have increased design involvement from external partners and vendors. MILLENNIALS: Marked differences between mindset of younger engineers vs veterans regarding information. Millennials are information hungry. Concerning information access, 24% of surveyed millennials say they are more likely to use video for educational purposes compared to a much smaller 14% of veteran engineers; While the majority (53%) of all engineers are willing to register on a website for access to specific documents, only 44% of millennials indicated such willingness; Younger engineers tend to believe all content should be free and openly accessible (52%). Read on...

Martech Advisor: A Look Into the Mind of the Engineer: For B2B Marketers
Author: Patrick D. Mahoney


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2018

Nonprofits have to take the cue from their for-profit counterparts for successful implementation of marketing and technology oriented strategy implementations. Content marketing is now a mature field both in B2B and B2C aspects of business. Best practices are available. Gloria Horsley, founder of Open to Hope Foundation, explains the value of effective content for nonprofit organizations to educate, inform and engage with donors, volunteers and those the nonprofits intend to support and help. She shares her mistakes in content marketing in nonprofit realm and the learning from these experiences - (1) Transferring Existing Print Content Online: Offline content is outward-facing and telling rather than sharing or interactive; Written for entire audience and not personalized for specific segments; Online content need to be written in a way to engage audience; Interactive for audience to share their opinions; Utilizes story telling and visual content. (2) Delivering Content That Lacks Educational Value: Merely information and facts are not always valuable content; Specific content that educate different audiences is more valuable; Produce content that answers specific questions; Educational content attracts more supporters, donors and volunteers. (3) Letting Volunteers Run With It: Giving too much control to volunteers for content development risks consistency and integrity; They may create content that is not fully compliant with regulations; Specific rules and guidelines for content must be laid out; Templates and formats must be shared with temporary workers and volunteers; Provide volunteers access to content management system where content is checked and approved before being published. (4) Failing To Focus On High-Quality Writing: Emotion-based writing may not always be the best quality writing; Long sentences, grammatical mistakes, passive voice use etc leads to content exhaustion where audience lose interest; Use online tools like WordPress and Grammarly for appropriate writing; Professional writing techniques need to be adopted. Read on...

Forbes: Four Nonprofit Content Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
Author: Gloria Horsley


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2018

Implementing an effective content marketing strategy with original content that stands out from competitors is a challenging task. Online content needs to be continuously updated, should be valuable to the audience and fulfil the required marketing goals. For this hiring a professional writer, full-time or freelance, is a good option. Professional writers can ensure that the content is more engaging, informative, credible, and persuasive. Following are ways in which he/she can contribute to the content marketing strategy - (1) Improve Search Engine Rankings: Professional writers understand search engine optimization (SEO) and create keyword rich copy. They have knowledge of the latest SEO trends and ensure that content meets the standards of search engine robots. (2) Save Money: Outsourcing content can be more cost effective. Companies using inbound marketing generally experience a 61% lower cost per lead than those using traditional methods (HubSpot). The average cost of hiring an in-house writer is US$ 7221 per month (Society for Human Resource Management). (3) Save Time: Creating quality content is time consuming. Outsourcing content as per requirement assists to focus in other essential areas of business. Moreover, multiple expert writers can be hired at the same time. (4) Meet Deadlines: Professional writers can work as needed and maintain schedule. (5) Boost Your Social Media Presence: Continuous stream of content can make businesses focus on their social media strategy, share content timely and create brand awareness. (6) Increase Conversions: The average web user leaves a web page after less than 20 seconds (Nielson Norman Group). Skillful writers can write persuasively to hold audience on website and increase conversions. (7) Communicate More Effectively: Professional writers can write in conversational tone and keep audience engaged. They communicate effectively about products and services keeping in mind the audience's perspective. (8) Deliver a Wide Range of Content Types: Different experts can be hired for providing different type of content. Read on...

Business 2 Community: How Hiring a Professional Writer Improves Your Content Marketing
Author: Chris Reid


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jun 2018

Logos are a brief visual representation of what the brand is all about. They help brands connect with customers and a memorable logo make it easier to do so. According to Siegel+Gale's 2015 study, 'Logos Now', memorable logos are 13% more likely to get consumer attention and 7% more likely to make them want to learn more about the brand. Ross Kimbarovsky, founder of Crowdspring, runs one of the world's leading marketplaces for crowdsourced logo designs, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services. Following are five things he recommends all organizations to do before hiring someone to design (or redesign) their logo for optimal results - (1) Your brand has to come before your logo: 'Your logo must derive meaning from your brand, not the other way around. Before a logo can communicate anything about your brand, you will need to better understand your brand. What values, practices, benefits, products or services set your company apart and make it unique?' (2) Assess what styles you like and don't like: 'New design trends and fads in logo design appear every year and not all designers can effectively incorporate popular trends and avoid the fads...Spend some time looking at various styles and build up a list of what you like and don't like.' (3) Decide what you are willing to pay: 'Pre-made logos is a terrible idea that will actually harm your business in the long run...it's not possible for a client to get a great logo for less than several hundred dollars. There's simply not enough incentive for a designer to spend time creating a custom design unless they get a reasonable fee for their work.' (4) Write a stronger 'project brief': 'The project brief can make or break a project...Most designers have limited time to do their work, so they will be picky when choosing which clients to work with...Help designers understand how you see your company or your products...Define the problems and define your goals: designers are problem solvers.' (5) Decide who will make the final branding decision: 'One person should own this process and be able to make the final decision...Pick a group of 2 or 3 people whose opinions you trust, whether in-house or not. In fact, people outside your company can often be better at this than insiders.' Read on...

Forbes: 5 Things You Absolutely Must To Do Before You Design Your Logo
Author: Kate L. Harrison

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