Hughes PR

The blurred line

Jamie Hershman writes…

If you thought the boundary between advertising, digital and PR agencies was well defined, think again.

In the last few months Hughes has developed three client websites, shot more than 20 videos, created the social media strategy and tactics for two national consumer focused organisations and written, designed and print managed the production of three magazines, an annual report and a share market prospectus – all in-house!

None of these activities would be defined as traditional PR, but with a growing team that is as comfortable with a media release as they are with design and video production, our consultancy is being asked on a daily basis to cross the divide into the traditional advertising and digital agency space.

As a result of our own experience, we commissioned research from the University of South Australia.

In an in-depth analysis of current marketing and communications trends across a range of local industries we discovered the gap between public relations and advertising is closing, with businesses trusting their PR consultancies with the majority of their communication activities – even those that were once traditionally aligned with advertising or digital agencies.

As the digital world has evolved, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the need for timely, credible, conversational, engaging communication delivery – the type of delivery for which public relations is known.

Key findings from the research included:

  • 50% + of SA businesses manage their communications needs via a combination of internal staff and external consultancies
  • SA marketers see PR as best placed to manage approximately 70% of the marketing mix
  • SA budgets are reflecting this support for PR with the PR spend now commanding 28% of total marketing budgets compared to just 16% five years ago.

How does your organisation manage its marketing and communication and which agencies/consultancies do you utilise to meet your communication objectives?

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Hughes PR

Engaging users with persuasive ‘hero image’ design

Luke Howard writes…

Print

We all know the internet is a crowded space with millions of websites, many poorly-designed, competing for the attention of users.

When people visit your website, one of the first things they see is your website’s ‘hero image’. A well-designed and relevant hero image will help your site cut through the Internet clutter and quickly win over the user, so they are compelled to keep scrolling.

Here are a few simple tips and techniques that you can apply to your website’s hero space, and some examples of sites with hero imagery done well.

High Impact
Full scale responsive images have become common place now as internet connections have sped up. Don’t be shy, and use this space to its full potential. This web site by CH Hausmann is a perfect example.

Keep it simple
Yes that old chestnut rings true again. Minimal visual elements and messages in the hero will actually raise the credibility of your brand.
The Seattle Cider Company have used nothing but a branded image, their logo and a tagline.

Great Photography
Whether it’s photography or artwork, it needs to be attractive and relevant to the user and to your brand.

Grain & Mortar have used some great personalised photography to express who they are. As you learn more about their company, you’ll discover something that’s really important to them is working with clients who get them.

Branding
This does not just include your logo. The hero image itself and all the other elements also need to speak to your brand.

The imagery used on the Adelaide Zoo website, particularly the hero images, consistently carry through a branded treatment. Light green is usually very dominant, tying in with the logo, and a spot focus is used.

Text only
These sites buck the trend by only using text in this space while keeping the large responsive image size.

See how bold this technique can be at the New Wave Company website.

Animation
Animation is powerful in telling your story, keeping the user, and helping your site stand out from the crowd.

At this point in time, animation is still a bit of a novelty in hero design. Have a look at how Dog Studio cleverly integrate it into their hero images and throughout their web site.

Bold Headings
In terms of hierarchy, making the heading stand out over your logo, main navigation and background image is a great way to maximum its impact.

Checkout how Rainmaker, a digital marketing advice website have done this.

My Predictions for 2015 web design

I believe fly-out side menus will become popular over 2015. At first you may find them jarring, as most changes to website user interfaces are. However they create a more tailored experience on mobile, not just desktop. See how the RAWNET’s web site looks on desktop and mobile to get a better understanding of this new format.

A few subtle changes to a website hero image can make a huge difference to the level trust users have in your brand and their experience on your site.

If you ever want to have a conversation about smart website design, feel free to get in contact with the digital team at Hughes.

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Hughes PR

Corporate social responsibility – Does it matter?

Jamie Hershman writes…

Yes – it matters.

How an organisation treats its employees, how it engages with local communities, and how ethical it is can make a big difference in how prospects and clients view that organisation.  It can often play a determining role in conducting business with that organisation or recommending the organisation to others in your network.

The CSR RepTrak® study released by the Reputation Institute suggests that there is a strong business case when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Seventy-three per cent of consumers across the 15 largest markets in the world were willing to recommend companies that are perceived to be delivering on Corporate Social Responsibility. The problem is that only five per cent of companies are seen as delivering on these promises.

CSR initiatives globally are limited due to poor internal communication processes and external communication practices.

Professor CB Bhattacharya, from the European School of Management and Technology said “unfortunately, corporate responsibility is still equated to philanthropy in many organisations and hence, given short shrift when it comes to strategic formulation and implementation”.

Bruce Rogers from Forbes provided further context – “The problem lies in the lack of strategic integration. The biggest challenge is to integrate CSR practices into the strategy of the company and not treat it as an add-on.  To accomplish this, CSR officers need to have their voice heard, particularly in the C-suite and at the Board level”.

Many companies don’t have a solid communications management and implementation framework to tie their CSR actions to their strategy.  Without this internal communications framework, it can become very difficult to maintain a strong investment in CSR activities.

One company that has its CSR internal practices and external communications tied firmly to its strategy is Google. Google has been successful in building a perception of caring around the world.

“They are seen as a company that treats their people well. It ranks number one in the world in this dimension. The logic is that if you treat your own people well, you are an open, honest, and caring company,” Kasper Ulf Nielsen, executive partner at Reputation Institute said.

Director of Google Giving, Jacquelline Fuller, said Google believed in the power of technology.

“Giving back is a huge part of what motivates us as a company, and as individuals,” she said.

“We invest in social entrepreneurs who are using technology to crack the code on the world’s toughest problems. Last year we invested in tech-based efforts to expand access to clean water, stop wildlife poaching, prevent the horrible practice of human trafficking and reduce poverty worldwide.”

Between 2010 and 2013, Google donated more than $353 million in grants worldwide, and approximately $3 billion in free ads, apps and products.

There is a strong business case for CSR for any organisation, regardless of the size of their budget. It can have a direct impact on business performance. According to the CSR RepTrak® research, for every five points you improve your CSR perception on a 100 point scale, buyer recommendations will increase by nine per cent. This data should make even the biggest CSR sceptic take notice.

In a world where word-of-mouth is fast becoming the number one marketing tool, CSR is a key business driver that organisations should embrace. More effective internal communications practices aligning CSR to overarching corporate strategies, combined with a renewed focus in leveraging these activities, will see a major increase in the positive business outcomes being achieved.

View the 10 companies with the best CSR ranking.

Hughes Public Relations, based in Adelaide, South Australia, is a communications and PR consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Hughes PR

Technical tips for creating engaging online videos

When it comes to online video content, execution can be the difference between a great video, and a mediocre one.

Watch Hughes PR’s Digital Video Production Unit Manager Lyndal Redman‘s latest video blog sharing her insights in to technical elements to consider when getting video content produced for your business.


Watch more of our online videos on our YouTube Channel.

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Digital Media, Hughes PR, LinkedIn, Networking, Public relations, Social media

How to score your first PR job

Kieran Hall writes…

When I got my first job in public relations, things were different. Newspapers were the primary source of daily information, fax machines had a legitimate reason for being and iPhones didn’t exist. And that was only five years ago.

The roles, responsibilities and skill set of a good PR practitioner have also evolved considerably during that time and continue to do so as digital media and social networking sites broaden the way we communicate with each other.

And yet despite all of this change, the key fundamentals of landing that all-important first job in PR remain largely intact.

So what can you do to improve your chances of breaking into the industry and begin carving out a career in communications?

Here are my top five tips:

  1. Get work experience. I know I’m stating the bleeding obvious here, but organising work experience with a PR agency is a great way to develop skills and expand your networks. And you never know where it could lead, so treat work experience like an audition, get involved as much as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  2. Finetune your writing skills. To be an effective communicator, you must be able to write – and write well. Whether compiling your CV for a prospective employer or drafting a story pitch for a journalist, the words you type often constitute the first contact you make with people you’re trying to persuade, so be sure those words are engaging, coherent and correctly spelt! So practice, and if you have to, take a writing class.
  3. Network. I know it can be daunting and sometimes a drag but giving up a night on the couch watching MasterChef for an industry networking event can certainly be worth the effort. Get out there and meet people, share your ambitions, connect on social networks and keep in touch to ensure you’re top of mind when those job vacancies come up.
  4. Build your knowledge of social media. As more companies look to integrate social media into their PR mix, a sound understanding of all things digital is valuable. Continue to learn about the latest trends and showcase your skills by being active in online conversations.
  5. Become a media observer. Listen, watch, read and learn about all forms of media, including press, radio, TV and online. Familiarise yourself with the names of journalists and the rounds they cover, as well as the way in which they report and what is deemed newsworthy. Appreciating how a journalist thinks is critical in PR.

There are no doubt many more considerations for PR jobseekers and I invite you to respond with any tips of your own.

In the meantime, remember that the best opportunities generally go to the cream of the crop so be willing to go that extra mile to develop your skills, expand your networks and build your personal brand to help get your foot in the door.

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Digital Media, Hughes PR, Marketing, Pinterest, Social media, Twitter

Are you Pinterested?

Natalie Ciccocioppo writes… 

Pinterest: it’s the new black of the social media world.

With over 11 million unique visitors per month, Pinterest became the fastest standalone website in history to generate more than 10 million page views per month.

The estimated unique visitors to Pinterest.com increased by 429 percent over a three month period from September to December 2011.

And did you know measurement data has shown that last month Pinterest drove more traffic to online publishers than Twitter?

So, what’s Pinterest all about?

Pinterest describes itself as ‘a virtual pinboard’,

“Pinterest allows you to organise and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”

Like Twitter, people can ‘follow’ users on Pinterest. Pinterest users create boards, and bookmark, or ‘pin’ the content that they like to those boards.

From a user perspective, Pinterest can be a particularly useful bookmarking tool to gather ideas, for example, when planning an event big or small, a holiday or a craft or home decorating project.

You can ‘pin’ images of a particular style or fashion era that interests you, your dream car, or it might even be the place you find the dish that will impress your friends at your next dinner party.

As it continues to grow, increasingly more and more brands are recognising the opportunities that the platform presents and embracing all things Pinterest. Pinterest provides a platform for brands to engage with followers and build brand awareness and identity, while not necessarily being a direct sales tool.

International companies that have recently established a Pinterest presence include designer brand Kate Spade New York.

On Pinterest, Kate Spade New York is engaging with its followers by sharing imagery that appeals to them, all while remaining true to their design aesthetic and Kate Spade’s fun and playful brand personality. Kate Spade’s VP/eCommerce Johanna Murphy talked about using Pinterest in this Business Insider piece.

Just last week, Tourism Australia became one of the first major Australian brands to launch a presence on the popular site and at the time of writing had over 400 followers. A spokesperson explained their motivations behind this decision in this recent Mumbrella article.

There’s little doubt that the statistics are impressive and Pinterest can be an effective online marketing tool but before brands decide to start pinning, it’s important to assess whether Pinterest is a good fit with an overall communications and digital media strategy.

Does Pinterest tie in to your communications objectives? Does Pinterest fit in with your brand personality? Are your key demographics using Pinterest? What sort of content would you share? These are all questions that should be addressed before a presence is established.

Questions have also been raised about Pinterest and copyright. Last month, attorney and photographer Kirsten Kowalski made the decision to delete her Pinterest inspiration boards due to concerns of copyright infringement in pinning other people’s work.

It’s definitely one to watch – things could get very pinteresting!

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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