Forbes has recently been espousing the importance of authenticity in connecting brands and customers "in the moment"; while they're searching, sharing, discovering or buying.
Similarly the principles of data journalism, and its application for brands, are inherently anchored in authenticity, starting with the practical but critical step of examining data quality to ensure its integrity before the pursuit of insight and storytelling gets underway.
Are we really supposed to believe that in a world where artifice and make believe are the stock in trade, that Ellen’s now-famous Oscars selfie was somehow duplicitous?
Given the scope and breadth of work involved in PR, it’s possible to find yourself doing some pretty unexpected things. Often, they’re things I never envisaged myself doing when I decided on PR as a career.
Following the launch of local versions of The MailOnline, The Guardian and most recently Buzzfeed, I’ve been thinking a lot about the changing landscape of PR.
In the last 6-12 months I’ve noticed that more and more brands are finding great success by connecting their products and brand values to bigger societal issues.
For example, Pantene’s latest ad campaign Be Strong and Shine which tackles gender bias in the workplace, has gone viral with more than 28 million views and wide-spread media attention globally. Originally launched in the Philippines, the strong response to the ad was fuelled by endorsements from Facebook CFO, Sherly Sandberg. Based on the positive feedback, Proctor and Gamble decided to run it globally to maximise its reach.
There’s been so much to indicate the death of journalism lately – so many redundancies and titles closing, as a journo-turned-PR and general media junkie, it’s been a depressing year.
Consumers, now more than ever, are demanding transparency, honesty, and meaningful conversations with brands they trust. After coming across the Honest Slogans blog recently, the value of plain old honesty from brands was highlighted.
The Festival of Dangerous Ideas wrapped up in Sydney recently.
It brought with it a series of discussions and debates on all manner of interesting topics. Among them, Hanna Rosin asked whether men are an endangered species and Dan Savage put forward the argument that monogamy is on its way out and infidelity is now a more normal way of life (I don’t want to believe it but is this a strong possibility!).
It got me thinking about dangerous ideas and how potent they can be, not just from a societal or cultural perspective but when working with clients and brands too.
On a recent Sri Lankan getaway, my partner fell ill after eating a poolside meal at our hotel.
We were in Sri Lanka for the first time and getting sick at some stage was almost inevitable.
An email winged its way to my inbox last month inviting me to fill in one of those anonymous online surveys, with the promise that if I complied, I’d be in the draw to win $1,000.
Immediately I hit the ‘begin survey’ button (the lure of a possible easy grand had nothing to do with it – I just love doing surveys. I’m odd that way...).
We’re always seeing new ways that brands are piggy backing off trending topics for their campaigns.
And why wouldn't they?
If they can make it relevant to their brand, why not get onto a trending topic?
When the Fleet Review sailed into town recently, there was an abundance of excitement around the ships and sailors descending on the Harbour city, so I decided to use the weekend to my advantage and flex my creative muscle, by pushing myself out of my comfort zone and taking an interest in something I know nothing about.
I remember in 2004 when I went to my first Cannes Lions festival, the talk was all about consumer control and compelling content.
This was a time when Facebook was taking its first baby steps and few of us in Australia had even heard of personal video recorders, let alone had them in our homes – to give us the control we were being told would be era defining.
Reuters reported this week that 19 companies would be fined in New York for posting fake reviews on social sites such as Yelp and Google Local.
SEO companies offered to outsource reviews to freelance writers and thanks to a year-long sting by the New York Attorney General’s office, those companies will now be forced to pay $350,000 in fines.
We knew it and Nielsen has again confirmed it!
If trust is key for your brand, then earned media (eg editorial and word of mouth rather than paid-for advertising) is tops.
And conversation (not just content) is king, with online consumer reviews the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging.*
PR practitioners and marketers are expected to be the valiant wardens of brand identity - the guardians of good grammar and the enforcers of clear and effective communication.
So why do so many marketers allow appalling assaults on the English language to slip through the cracks?