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January 18, 2018. In the rhythm of tango

On January 18, with the help of Business Communications Agency, the friendly team of the Russian office of Oracle began the year with an offsite event at Atlas Park Hotel.

Colleagues not only discussed plans and tasks for the new year, but also, having broken into teams, theу passed master-class on dances. What is more lifts the team spirit better, than two hours of Salsa or Twist training with the performance before all event participants?

October 12, 2017. Rosa Khutor - definitely the best place to learn more about optimisation of printing costs with support of advanced technologies

November 10, 2017. Oracle cloud solutions for customers from cloudy St.Petersburg

In the end of the presentation of Oracle technologies blind testing of wines took place

October 12, 2017 HPE partners penetrate into the depths of digital marketing

On October 12, 2017 started first Digital Academy for HPE partners. Business and marketing moving to digital, and we could not lag. Digital marketing experts shared their experience with the participants, and explained what kind of tools the most popular for today, how to measure its efficiency, and apply on b2b market.

October 11, 2017 Learn how to save the data!

On October 11, 2017, supported by our team, LightNet and HPE held a seminar for customers on technologies of storage and data backup.

How to prepare yourself for Thought Leadership?

Now the global PR industry talks about "Thought Leadership". Let's try to figure out what this means, and whether it is possible to prepare yourself to be the thought leader.

For the first time the term ‘Thought Leader’ appeared about 20 years ago on the pages of Strategy + Business magazine, owned by the consulting firm Booz & Company. It is known this term was firstly mentioned by Joel Kurtzman, then the editor-in-chief of this edition. Thought leaders are seen as trustworthy, go-to authorities among industry colleagues and peers, according to Jake Dunlap, CEO and founder of Skaled, a consulting firm on increasing sales.

"A thought leader recognizes trends before they happen and applies that insight to achieve actual business results," said Numaan Akram, founder and head of the travel company Rally.

Thought Leadership is an element of content marketing, which is a fusion of speaker’s talent, his/her experience and business emotions in an attempt to answer the most difficult actual questions to the target audience. "Thought Leadership means you provide the best and deepest answers, to your customers’ biggest questions, in the formats your audience likes to consume," said Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group.

It is almost impossible to become a leader of opinions thanks to one vivid publication, you have to prove to your readers that your advice is extremely valuable and your opinion should be trusted. This takes time and a lot of serious articles. How to become a leader of opinions?

First of all, you need to delineate the boundaries of your competence. Do not try to comment on everything that the journalists offer, from M&A deals to the secrets of housewives. Cut off all unnecessary themes, leaving only that niche in which you really are an expert. Secondly, get off your own business problems. Think the way your industry thinks. Read industry literature, visit exhibitions and conferences, talk with your customers and competitors, i.e. “saturate” yourself with the business atmosphere, absorb other people's ideas and thoughts, to create a base for generating your own ideas.

Thirdly, create a "sandbox" of ideas. Your strong feature should be the ability to predict events in business, highlight current trends. Write down your forebodings, analyze how they become true, to find the right moment, when these thoughts need to be shared with the press and be the pioneer.

Marketers in MarketingProfs expressed a number of practical ideas for creating good thought leadership content:

  1. Conduct a research and share its results.
  2. Interview your employees, especially the sales department or customer service department. As a rule, they are aware of the actual problems that concern customers.
  3. Conduct conversations with your customers on the basis of a list of topics drawn up with your sales professionals.
  4. In your texts, add a bit of humor and a description of interesting cases in business, so your story will be remembered much better.

Press release in digital era

Press release is a main PR tool in the hands of public relations manager. Hundreds of articles both in Russia and abroad predicted an imminent death ofa press release. But it is still alive. The reason for its survival lies in the adaptability of this instrument to requirements of the day, to new communication technologies.

Let’s look first at what requirements were demanded to the classical press release. Let’s take, for example, this article on the popular business portal

The author claims the following criteria to press release:

  1. Literacy,
  2. “Pyramid” principle, i.e. to place information according to importance priority,
  3. Short headline (so called “golden six words”),
  4. Necessary lead and boilerplate (as usual, the lead is two or three sentences after the headline that describe the main news story of the press release; the boilerplate is information about the company and it contact details).

This article’s author also believes that for a success of the press release the applicability of information as well as text quality and so called credibility (it means trustworthiness and confidence that can be supported by quotes of well known persons), is absolutely essential.

But all these requirements are the press release characteristics that were useful 10-20 years ago. Nowadays, the digital technology evolution affected all spheres of our life and, no doubt, had an impact on PR instruments including a press release. Time did not abolish the traditional requirements for the press release, but added new, related to the development of the Internet.

Let’s see how Lee Odden describes modern requirements to the press release in his TopRank Marketing Blog.

Hypertext technology allows you to include into press release a huge amount of additional information available to readers by clicking on web links. You may add hyperlinks to articles, blog posts, various reports in PowerPoint and PDF formats, report on upcoming webinars and podcasts. If you are a software vendor, you may offer readers to download the test version of your product.

A copywriter of the press release should have basic skills in SEO (search engine optimization), it means to be able to define keywords in the press release and place them in the first third of the text.

Currently, many PR people have already refused the traditional way of press release distribution to journalists’ emails. They use now specialized Internet-based mailing services, such as Business Wire, PR Newswire, PR Web and others. It is important to include in your mailing list popular bloggers as they become more trustworthy sources of information competing with traditional media.

A lot of journalists have long been subscribers of your company’s pages in social media. Issuing a press release don’t forget to prepare announces for popular social media such as VKontakte, Facebook, LinkedIn and place it simultaneously with the press release distribution. In addition, journalists and bloggers can receive news of your company through RSS or news subscription by email. Offer them such opportunities directly in the press release.

New word in marketing: phigital era is coming

David Natal an author of «Consumer Engagement Trends For 2017: The Phigital Era» , thinks there is a true revolution in the communication and the relationship between consumers and brands in the marketing field – brands wants to use more localized marketing.

The use of the transmedia storytelling (a method of storytelling that presents one single story in many media platforms and digital technologies) is becoming wider. Brands need to apply in their online customer relationships a strong physical component - geotargeting. This composes the phigital era. (the term phigital is a combination of words physical and digital, i.e. co-existence of brand both in physical and digital environments).

The storytelling is clearly different from advertisement and marketing. There is no direct payment in the generation of that communication, relying on information, experiences and content of value to that final audience. This way of communication demonstrates that the communication between the brands and their consumers is becoming increasingly sophisticated and multi-factorial.

The brand is experienced live and, in a world where immediacy is everything and “live the moment”, has become the mantra of communities. Live videos are fashionable and this trend will continue to increase.

While Twitter purchased Periscope to add value to the immediacy of its platform and Snapchat championed quick videos, Facebook did not want to be left behind. After acquiring Instagram, the social network par excellence has joined this new trend with the FacebookLive tool. This allows users to watch and broadcast live videos. Facebook also created Instagram Stories, a new function where users can send photographs that will expire after seconds, and also allows adding live videos.

Moreover, we have moved from the era of transmedia to deep media, where the customers encouraged to create the story. Yes, this involves a loss of control but it is also the only opportunity to stand out in a saturated environment. The communication between brands and consumers is evolving into a “one for one” through platforms like Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger with an intimate and personalized messages. The geolocation of the messaging apps will allow brands to send messages with offers or new products to specific groups of customers.

Thus, the challenge will be to find a way into this space where the audience already feels comfortable and where brands can speak with direct messages – personalised and relevant.

The comment of Business Communications Agency: Let us to give an example how this technology can work. For example, you are browsing on your smartphone Facebook app, driving near your favorite chain store. Just immediately you are getting a message about actual offerings or watching the store advertisement in the social network news feed. It is phigital environment as a combination of digital and physical environments. Acquired information can be used right now – with benefits for you and brand.

What will be missing at a press conference organised in 3 working days?

Sometimes PR specialists receive the job of promptly preparing and holding a press conference. Whether this is due to the market situation, urgent company news, or just poor planning within the company is not important. Of course, nothing is impossible, but you need to be prepared for the fact that in this case, not all objectives will be fully or ideally resolved. Let us look at which aspects of an urgent press conference will appear worse in comparison with one organised within a standard period of time (two weeks or more).

1. Inviting journalists The first thing that the PR manager does when told the date of the press conference is look around for competing events on that day. There is nothing worse than sharing a circle of loyal journalists with a couple of direct rivals. In case of an event organised quickly, be prepared for the fact that the journalists you are interested in are already accredited with competitors or are on a foreign press tour, and the media present at your press conference will be mainly represented by advertising managers.

In addition, many major media publishing houses, news agencies and television broadcasters have a long-established procedure for accreditation. Very often, distribution of journalists to press conference takes place at an editorial planning meeting on a Monday, and receipt of applications by companies and agencies ends on the Friday.

It should also be borne in mind that inviting potential members with just one e-mail is not sufficient. Professional journalists are no less interested in a positive result (i.e. in subsequent publication) than the organisers, and therefore will want to be sure in advance that only through personal participation in the event will they receive the information they require. In addition, they would like to have confirmation that their questions will be answered. Under pressure of time, you may not be able to provide a quality response to such requests, and as a result, lose the best representatives of the journalist profession.

2. Quality event preparation A press conference is fairly similar to any public event: public speaking requires a significant amount of preparation. In particular, a proactive response to participants' questions is welcome, when the answers prepared by the speaker before the event. PR specialists help with this, as thanks to their experience, they are able to anticipate what questions accredited journalists may ask.

In addition, those without much experience of public speaking require advice – on how to form their own answers to attract the attention of those present, or how to properly respond to criticism. Good practice includes the organization of a "dress rehearsal" before the press conference, where PR specialists act as the news tribe. If preparation time is tight, "playing from sight" is required, without preparation, which certainly increases the risk of unexpected situations.

The PR agency under time pressure also sets its objectives by priority, and as a result, the press kit received by the journalists will not be comprehensive. For example, there just will not be enough time for approval of the biographies of the speakers. In this case, it should be completed after the event and the missing material sent by e-mail.

Another feature of urgent preparation of press events is the extreme difficulty (and sometimes impossibility) in organising individual interviews for separate journalists and detailed development of responses to questions.

3. Event branding We call the preparation of any visual and information products, such as stands, posters, or badges, "event branding". If producing 85x200 cm standard roll-ups in Moscow and large cities is no problem, suppliers who can make a press wall or branded badge ribbons in three business days are much more difficult to find. But these are all trivial things, you say? It is precisely such things that create the overall impression of the quality of preparation of a press conference.

The purchase of souvenirs as gifts for participants is also part of the "branding" element. The ideal situation is when a gift for the journalist corresponds to the topic of the event, and creates a united emotional background. For example, at a press conference on the topic "It's time for solution X", journalists would receive a classic alarm clock marked with brand X, and at a press conference about an Asian company entering the Russian market, journalists would be presented a useful gadget in oriental style. However, under time pressure, few such ideas can be realized – the right gift may be out of stock, or if it is, there may be no time to apply a logo.

4. Cost Be prepared for the fact that contractors will use higher rates for urgency, and this above all applies to printing services. The cost of venue hire for the event is also unlikely to be optimal as those with the best price/quality ratio are leased first.

Organisation of a press conference in 3 days is guaranteed stress for everyone involved, including the press service and the speakers of the organising company, as well as suppliers. "Recouping" this rush is only possible by means of a clearly newsworthy piece, which will hide all rough edges of the process.

But what if for a variety of reasons an event still needs to be organised urgently? Firstly, if the customer does not have its own well-prepared and large press service, it is necessary to attract third-party assistance. A professional PR agency has established contacts among journalists, always has a current media industry base to hand, and has established contacts with venues where it is possible to stage a press conference, such as restaurants or agency press-centres.

Secondly, it is necessary to set the objectives appropriately. If time is limited, do not try to do absolutely everything involved in the preparation of a "traditional" press conference. Instead, define the critical points and focus on them. Souvenirs and venues are certainly important, but more important is preparation of interesting and comprehensive information for journalists.

Thirdly, it is necessary to set the objective and plan preparation, taking into account internal rules of the company. If, according to routine, materials undergo approval by three departments and each of them take a week, it is necessary reject such materials or ensure an exception to the rule. For PR specialists to be able to do their work as efficiently as possible together with an agency, a very good understanding is required as to what data, comments and documents may be obtained, and what cannot, and focus on those things that can be realistically implemented in the given timeframe. Everything else, as we mentioned above, can be sent later.

In observing these conditions, even a press event prepared in urgent mode will justify itself, and help achieve the objectives.

14.06.16: Fujitsu, PFU (EMEA) Ltd. Press event: new scanners fi-7460, fi-7480 и fi-7030

On June 07, 2016 Business Communications Agency organized a press event for a PFU, Fujitsu company responsible for the release of scanners.

In the Fujitsu’s Knowledge Suite new models of the scanners - fi-7460, fi-7480 and fi-7030, were presented to key IT media. The new models are based on the proven superior image quality technology, combined with improved image processing and capture software, and offers everything that users need to start their digital transformation journey.

The event was attended by representatives of PFU (EMEA) Ltd. Klaus Schulz, Senior Manager Product Marketing EMEA; Sabine Holocher, PR & Social Media Manager EMEA and Denis Milentyev, Partner Manager for Russia. After the official presentation journalists were invited to test the scanners and had the opportunity to communicate with company’s representatives informally.

Business Communications Agency cooperate with PFU (EMA) Ltd. company since 2011 and realize full PR support in Russia, including consulting, news releases, texts creating and editing, interviews and press events organization, reviews of the products in media, etc.


PRESS OFFICE | №5, 2016
The challenges of PR in time of economic crisis?

by Julia Kursova, Head of Business Communications Agency

Forecasts of the second wave of the crisis in 2016 became the baseline scenario for Russia according to experts. Advertising, PR and marketing industry as many other areas are also affected by the crisis.

Read more (pdf-215.6kb)

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