The year 2020 used to sound futuristic, and exciting. Few could have predicted what this year had in store. Both our social and work lives have been turned upside down and as a result, companies have either adapted and survived, or failed and closed.
In the early 20th century, all a company needed to do to succeed was make a quality product at the right price. But, as FMCG and mass manufacturing took off through the 50s and 60s, the idea of market competitors became increasingly prominent, and competing on price and quality alone was no longer enough. According to marketing thought leader Marc de Swaan Arons, to earn customer loyalty, brands realised they needed to stand apart as something distinct. With that ushered in the Mad Men era of advertising and power suits, and the brands that succeeded in winning the loyalty of their customers were the ones creating an aspirational but relatable identity.
Despite the advent of the internet, the fundamental concept of branding remained largely the same. But the collision of a global pandemic together with social movements in 2020 has posed a unique challenge. The world simultaneously came to a standstill while dealing with important social justice issues.
As a B2B PR agency, this prompted us to ask essential questions around brands and their communication strategies. Opinion has divided on how brands should handle their marketing. Some want to see empathy, while others want business as usual. So, what do we want from brands after 2020?
Be a human
Covid-19 has created space for many brands to rethink their marketing approach in favour of something more human. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust in 2020, 80 percent of people feel it is important for brands to help solve society’s problems. In addition, 44 percent said they recently used a new brand because of the innovative or compassionate way they responded to the outbreak. And according to global eCommerce company PFS, in the UK, 52 percent of all consumers agree that they feel greater loyalty towards brands that effectively communicate with them and are showing how they are helping people during this time.
The data shows that people want to see brands contribute in a meaningful way to help people during this pandemic, with emphasis on the ‘meaningful’ aspect. Performative activism will be called out.
Be a brand
Meanwhile, some believe brands are brands and shouldn’t try to mimic emotions like empathy. A recent study by Kantar found that 92 percent of people think that businesses should continue to advertise during the COVID-19 outbreak. Similar research from Twitter found 64 percent said brands should continue promoting products as usual, and 52 percent agreed that seeing or hearing ads gave them a sense of normality.
There’s also a point to be made about convenience being the main driver behind purchasing choices from now onwards. McKinsey Global research shows that over 60 percent of consumers have changed their shopping behaviour during the pandemic in favour of value and convenience, and plan to stick to their new choices.
Ok, so where does brand responsibility lie?
For every consumer that wants the brands they interact with to hold their hand, there is another who would prefer that they don’t. Neither approach is right or wrong – instead, it is a case of fully understanding and responding to what your customer wants.
Whichever stance you take, the key to getting it right is remembering that brand starts, but doesn’t end, with your comms – a brand that behaves responsibly is one that follows through on its promises and ensures it lives up to its values, not just for the sake of headlines.
As a B2B PR agency, at TopLine Comms, we often talk to our clients about the importance of being a brand that is greater than the sum of its parts. That is to say, a brand that focuses on the benefit of its technology or service, rather than the product itself. Put simply – it’s what people prefer to read, and journalists would rather write about. Whether you’re tightening up your services or are donating in the name of social justice, your efforts must resonate across your company, from the way you treat staff internally to the messages you post on your social media. Ultimately, that is the key to getting the right brand message out there – consistency across the board.
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Writer’s block, brain freeze, lacking inspiration or motivation – whatever you call it, all of us, even in creative industries, have experienced the daunting feeling of not knowing what to write next. This is especially pertinent now, since we’re all spending a lot more time at home without much opportunity to meet with different people and visit new places, both of which are usually excellent fodder for creativity.
Whether working on a strategy or writing thought leadership, our roles at a B2B PR agency require creativity. One of our team’s core values is a quote from Henri Matisse: “creativity takes courage,” and we take that to heart. Our weekly brainstorms, for instance, begin with a warm-up to help melt away brain freeze so that we can be at our most creative. Here are some tips, resources and sources of inspiration that we at TopLine have turned to over the past month.
Inspirational suggestions to read, watch and listen to
If you’re stuck creatively, the answer may be reading. In the words of Matthew Dicks “Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain and will make you more interesting at a dinner party.” Reading – even content on another topic – is also a great way to find new angles, phrases and expression.
The team recommends The New Yorker magazine for brilliant, incisive writing and perspective, and the roundup newsletter is a great way to get a weekly dose of inspiration. We’re also big fans of Medium.com, another excellent source for in-depth opinion. At the moment, we’re paying attention to Nir Eyal – an expert on becoming ‘indistractable’.
If you’re looking for something to watch to spark creativity, the obvious choice is a TED talk. There is no better way to delve deep into insight and perspective on a range of interesting and relevant issues. We particularly enjoy the science, innovation, and communication talk tracks.
The Dots is another network with many great (virtual) talks, events, courses, and meet-ups that cater to a wide range of professional interests. Their projects section reveals the story behind some of the boldest campaigns out there, and it’s well worth a visit if you’re stuck in the creative doldrums.
There is also great inspiration available in WeTransfer’s stories of all sorts of creative endeavours on WePresent. Similarly, Motionographer.com offers an array of insightful and idea-filled clips, highlighting the best that the video industry has to offer.
For aural inspiration, we turn to the FT Culture Call podcast, which covers the zeitgeist, trends and interviews from both sides of the pond. It’s a fantastic way to get up to speed on the latest film, book or theatre reviews, and usually leaves us feeling enthused.
How to overcome creative block
The team here at our B2B PR agency does a lot of creative work, and we all have our strategies for getting over blocks.
One common strategy is to step away from the computer and occupy yourself with something else. Our senior producer, Sian Evans, recommends listening to some music to help you relax and then seeing how things flow when you start again. Digital Strategist Tom Pallot advises stepping away for a few minutes to get some fresh air. Comms Consultant Bronwen Dowman recommends taking on a practical task – she prefers upcycling – to stimulate a different kind of concentration.
Rob Hart, our head copywriter, offers a classic writer’s trick: don’t always start at the beginning of the project you’re working on. If you feel more confident about a particular section, start there – and the rest will follow. Jack Kelleher, a junior copywriter, adds that if you’re really stuck ordering your thoughts, you should try talking the ideas out with another person. He says that often the task of articulating the ideas to someone else helps you understand what’s most important.
If you want a creative PR strategy that won’t suffer from creative block, get in touch with us today.
Case study approvals – how can you persuade customers to say ‘yes’
Getting customers to approve case studies that provide third-party endorsement of your products and services can be hard. Indeed, when we meet prospective science and engineering clients they often tell us that they have tried doing case studies, but could never get them approved. So they went into the ‘too hard to do’ box. That’s a shame. Because case studies prove that you don’t just talk a great game, you actually play a great game. However, there is no need to despair. Just follow these tried and tested steps and you can significantly improve your chances of approval.
The single most common mistake is to research and draft a case study, and then present it to your customer for review. If they decide not to approve you have wasted a considerable amount of time and effort in the process. Instead, before you write a single word, approach your customer for outline approval. This should be along the lines “we would like to write a case study about the work we have done for you, would you have any problems in approving it”? If the answer is no, then you know upfront. Very little time and money is wasted and you can move on to the next opportunity.
From experience, many customers really appreciate that they have been asked for outline approval rather than assuming that it will be granted. They also like to know why you are asking, why the case study will be important for you and how you intend to use it.
Ask the right people
It is absolutely critical that you seek approval from the right people at the appropriate levels. Of course, it is important to get outline approval from the project managers and procurement people you work with on a day to day basis. Your approval will go nowhere without their blessing. But they rarely have the final say. You need to get your approval ratified by the people ultimately responsible for you customer’s reputation – which will be their communications team.
Detail what you need
Your main aim is probably to create a case study sheet that you can use on your website and as a sales aid. There are though many other ways to use case studies, possibly as press releases, as the basis for feature articles and in brochures. When you ask for outline approval, be sure to detail all the ways that you expect to use the case study in future. That saves having to go back for further approvals.
Also, you will need good images to illustrate the story, so you might need permission to take photographs. And for very important stories video will be needed. Include your needs for photography and video in the initial request.
Sometimes, you will need a case study for a particular event, such as an exhibition. If there is a hard deadline you are working to then let your customer know and they can advise you if approval by then is feasible.
Go the extra mile
It is entirely feasible to research and write a case study from your desk. But I would always recommend, where possible, going to the site and meeting your customer. Seeing the story for yourself will give you the extra detail that makes the story fly. And there is a real benefit in meeting the people who will finally approve your drafts. Once they have met you face to face, and had a coffee with you, they buy into the whole process. And that all helps to smooth the way for prompt and easy approval.
Put approval in the contract
If you are working on a project or order that is really important for you to publicise then consider making the right to carry out publicity an integral part of the contract. The customer can only say no if you suggest this. And I have known this to be a useful factor in the contract negotiation process.
Help nurture an approval culture
I am staggered at the number of companies, often large multi-nationals, who will not allow third-party case studies as a matter of policy. Yet these very same companies have web sites where they proudly feature case studies about their own customers. We live in a world where the supplier/customer role can quickly interchange. Personally, I advise our clients, where possible, to always agree to case study requests. Because you never know when your supplier might become a customer.
Gaining approvals can seem a daunting process. But they can become a joy by following the simple steps outlined above. And the process gets even faster and easier when you work with a consultancy steeped in the case study business like TopLine. Not only can we create a case study from initial research to final approval, but we will also handle the approvals from start to finish. To find out how we can help you with your own case studies please get in touch.
Written by: Andrew Bartlett, Director at TopLine Comms
We’ve been quiet for long enough: Here’s how you run a virtual event
It’s safe to say that most people’s plans for 2020 have changed significantly. Many of the summer events we were looking forward to, from Glastonbury to Wimbledon, have been postponed or canceled as a result of Covid-19. It’s not just the events industry, sportspeople or musicians that are taking the hit, though, the B2B sector is too. On average, a B2B brands spend 29% of their annual marketing budgets on events, which serve as an invaluable networking opportunity.
Big events on the marketing calendar, such as MWC Barcelona, have been delayed, while others like SXSW have moved online. At TopLine, we’ve hosted our share of media events, both online and in-person, and although our humble B2B PR agency’s events aren’t quite on the scale of MWC or SXSW, we’re pretty proud of what we’ve achieved. Our roundtables for Spencer Ogden were a huge success, contributing to 11 award nominations, and we recently ran a virtual roundtable of experts for Impero, together with TopLine Film, which produced live and on-demand content.
Our team has attended plenty of virtual events over the past few weeks, and we’ve collected some insights about what works – and what doesn’t. Here are some suggestions together for brands that are looking to reach potential leads and influencers with an online event.
Consider the audience
It may sound obvious, but it’s essential to know who you want to attend your event before you start planning. The intended audience will determine the content and format, since you need to provide something that incentivises them to tune in. If you’re planning media events, ask yourself what exclusive information or access to spokespeople you can offer. To attract prospects, consider what you can teach them. If you’re hoping to reach customers, think back to past feedback about what they want from the brand and think about how to provide it.
Once you have determined the audience, the format of the event will naturally start to take shape. The right platform to choose is the one that is most familiar and accessible to your audience, while the ideal schedule needs is considerate of their other plans. We may be working from home, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we can take time out of our day.
Get creative with the format
We’re all experiencing a bit of ‘Zoom fatigue’ with the surfeit of online events recently, so anything that you can do to differentiate your event from the painfully familiar format will be extremely welcome. Consider what your audience wants: Are they expecting to be blown away by showmanship, or would they prefer a simple but powerful discussion?
A roundtable or panel is a classic format, and it’s great for stoking debate and providing insight on an important issue. An ‘ask me anything’ is a more casual format, and by its nature it feels more intimate and personal, so it’s better suited to a smaller audience. A webinar is a great way to explore something in-depth, making it the ideal choice for a well-informed niche audience.
Content that engages
Whereas an in-person event is focused and hard to leave, people are typically at home during a virtual event. That means that they’re surrounded by distractions and they can walk away at any moment. To keep viewers engaged, you need to fulfil your side of the value proposition. In other words, you need to give people what they came for and keep everything else to a minimum.
It’s also important to consider opportunities for interaction, since this is a great way to keep the audience on their toes. There are several ways to integrate participation, from taking questions through chat, live polling, or even forming breakaway discussion groups, and you can choose whichever suits your event best.
Establish rules of engagement
Set out a clear schedule so that the audience knows what to expect and when, and ensure that everybody knows the platform, the address and password for the event well ahead of time. If the event is live, it should also be clear whether the content will be available after the fact or if it’s a one-off.
Finally, before the event takes place you should have a clear idea on how speakers and the audience will engage with one another. Establishing some ground rules helps to prevent people from talking over one another while still ensuring everyone has their say.
If you’re looking for advice on an online event – or other creative ways to keep your brand at front of mind – get in touch with us today.
Written by: Katy Bloomfield, Head of Client Relations
Digital PR Case Study: Compleat Software
Finance and budget management software specialist Compleat Software, needed to raise its profile and generate inbound leads
We quickly recognised Compleat’s website and natural expertise gave them great potention to boost their lead gen, so we recommended a PR-led SEO campaign. We:
- Identified keyword targets with high lead gen potential
- Recommended new landing pages to capture these leads and convert them
- Identified technical website elements that needed to fixing. These included internal linking, redirect chains and canonicals
Once these fundamentals were complete, we embarked on the digital PR element of the strategy, including
- PR-led followed links and brand mentions from super contextually relevant publications which we knew would associate them as an authority with search engines
In 18 months the campaign delivered:
- 20+ new keyword-optimised landing pages
- 48 pieces of contextually relevant tier one coverage (including Financial Director, Accounting Web, AAT, Accountancy Age, The Independent and City AM)
- 30 followed links from these publications with an average domain authority of 44
- Average keyword ranking improvement of 22 places
- Domain authority increase from 25 to 30
- 50% increase in sitewide organic traffic
- 93 leads
“TopLine Comms’ PR-led SEO strategy resulted in record high keyword rankings and increases in organic traffic and organic leads. We’d highly recommend them.”
Rory Forbes, Chief Growth Officer, Compleat Software Limited
Find out more about our digital PR services.Which B2B lead generation techniques are right for you?
B2B lead generation: it’s a tricky one! Much harder than bee-to-bee lead generation, which is mostly affected by ecological factors such as vegetation and local colony density.
Luckily for you, we’ve worked with over 100 B2B companies to drive leads, and we know what works and what doesn’t – and how the secret formula for success is different for every company.
Organic search engine optimisation (SEO)
Organic SEO (check out our SEO services) gives you the chance to capture prospects at the precise moment where they need your services. Do it properly, and it’ll blow your competitors’ faces clean off their skulls. If you’re ranked first (or thereabouts) for the right search terms on Google, you will see your brand grow immeasurably.
On the other hand, organic SEO is a long, lonely road (because of Google’s intermittent updates and algorithm changes, you might find what worked one day is killing you the very next – you have to keep doing it in order to see results). It also takes ages to see good results: ranking for key terms can take months, even years. Finally, securing the help of an agency that knows what it’s doing is easier said than done.
If you need quick and dirty custom, a good way to get it is to pay for it. Promoted campaigns via services such as AdWords can be organised in as little as three hours, give you microscopic control over your budget – and offer many of the advantages typically associated with unpaid SEO, where you have to work at it for ages.
On the flipside, it’s pretty hard to find a genuine expert to help you rank within the first few results, the success – or failure – of the campaign depends largely on whether or not people are actually searching for your thing, and it doesn’t get cheaper over time, so if you’re struggling to afford it and it doesn’t work, it could be a pretty costly mistake.
When content marketing works, it works like nothing else. Good content, managed well, can coax customers over the line when they need your services; it can generate leads forever (or for as long as there’s an internet, anyway), and it’s pretty good value: you’ll have to put some money behind marketing software and actually producing the stuff, but there aren’t any ongoing costs to speak of.
On the other hand, while there are some general pointers that are always useful – don’t misspell things, don’t write anything inappropriate, etc. etc. – it’s really hard to find people who know how to do this effectively, in terms of hooking an audience, sustaining their interest, and, most importantly, making them act.
Don’t let Death of a Salesman fool you: people do appreciate the personal touch, so long as that touch isn’t too personal. Charisma, an easy smile, and a bit of gentle encouragement can win the day – even if your competitor has a better or more cost-effective product.
But be forewarned: salespeople can be expensive, and if they’re not attracting and converting leads on a regular basis, they’re essentially a financial metaphorical albatross around your company’s metaphorical neck.
People really don’t like telemarketers. You almost have to admire the patience, persistence, and emotional resilience of those who do it. But there’s a reason it’s still a thing: if the outbound caller is good enough – and takes pains to do it in a non-intrusive way, i.e. following up about a gift sent in the post – they can get great results in a way that costs far less than direct sales.
With the advent of digital channels – and with daily circulation and viewership dwindling – it’s easy to assume that old-fashioned print and broadcast advertising are on the way out. Easy, perhaps, but still a mistake: TV, newspapers, and magazines boast a wide reach, and offer you full control over your messaging within the ad space.
That said, it’s still pretty expensive, and you can’t tinker with it once it’s out there: it either works or it doesn’t.
A more surreptitious version of in-person sales, but useful because you’re talking ‘founder-to-founder’ or ‘marketing director-to-founder’, removing much of the power imbalance present when a junior salesperson is trying to impress a plainly disinterested CEO.
It requires a considerable investment of time and energy from senior members of your team, and you’re not guaranteed any kind of meaningful result. However, when networking works, it works.
Generating leads is a pain. Why not share that burden with a partner? It can be difficult to find a simpatico company, of course – and because you’ll have to forfeit some of your profits to your new ‘friend’, it’s understandable if you balk at the cost. But if you’re struggling, buddying up with another business can be a very easy way to generate high quality leads.
A room full of your target audience! What could be better than that? If you can get talking to the right people, you can come away from a trade show with a barrel full of quality leads and a belly full of gratis popcorn.
Of course, yours won’t be the only booth in the hall, and people are far more likely to walk past it without a second thought than indulge in a bit of stop-and-chat. It’s also pretty expensive to set up a booth at all: you have to pay exhibition fees, you have to lose members of staff for entire days to run it, and there’s no guaranteed ROI (but if you are investing in trade shows, be sure to check out our exhibition video production services).
If you’re feeling more lost than ever after all that, don’t worry: it’s perfectly natural. Also unlike bee-to-bee lead generation, it’s more of an art than a science, and there’s no magic formula for success. To get ahead, you’ll need expert help. Luckily, we’re experts – and we’re very, very happy to help – get in touch.
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- How to pitch journalists – and get them to say yes
Coronavirus is, understandably, all that anybody is talking about, but what does that mean for pitching PR stories? For answers, we reached out – digitally, from a safe distance – to TV journalist and presenter
How has the coronavirus affected your work?
Almost everyone is working from home, and programs are operating with skeleton crews. We’re leaning heavily on Skype calls and Facetime because we simply can’t get a camera to everyone who appears on the show. I haven’t been out on a job since covering the Tenerife hotel coronavirus lockdown in late February.
However, the news won’t focus on coronavirus forever: we will eventually reach a saturation point as we get on top of the virus. Across TV coverage, we’re already seeing more creative angles as producers look for new ways to cover the virus without revisiting existing reports.
Are you still accepting pitches, and what are you looking for from them?
We certainly are still accepting pitches. We already have an excellent consumer champion, but we’re open to any stories that may currently be under the radar or drowned out by Covid-19 news. I look through the morning papers for inspiration, and where normally I’d see 30 stories we could cover, these days I’m only seeing four or five. While most of society has slowed, news hasn’t stopped happening, so please pitch any stories that you think aren’t getting the coverage they deserve.
With the focus on such a heavy topic, we’re also looking for anything that might offer viewers some light relief. We love a next-level human interest story or story about generosity. There is definitely a desire for other uplifting stories, but there are considerably fewer slots available than usual – but if you have a good one, push it hard and with confidence!
Any advice for PR people pitching stories these days?
Now is the time to be really reactive. Push your story and shout from the rooftops: “This is the leading person who can talk about this subject, and here is what they have got to say!” TV and radio have tonnes of pitches to choose from, and you’re more likely to get on a presenter’s good side by telling them exactly what they are going to hear from the people that you’re pushing if they appear on the show.
Just as in less chaotic times, it’s crucial that you have an understanding of the different shows that you’re pitching to. Watch the show, find out what they like, and then work out where your client fits in. Pitches for This Morning, for instance, must be the sort of stories that people are going to be talking about in their homes or gardens – picture parents having a G&T and a chat. And as always, your emails must stand out – particularly the subject line!
On the show, there’s the strap in the bottom of the screen. In my ideal world, emails would come through in that format with really sharp subject lines, an introduction summing up the story and the press release at the bottom.
What’s a good time of day to pitch? Is there a day of the week you prefer?
For us, there’s no bad time of day. We normally have our forward planning meeting on a Wednesday – I strongly recommend finding out when the planning meetings occur for the shows you’re pitching to. Thursday and Friday are ideal days to pitch for us, since they give us time to plan for the following week.
For social affairs issues, do you prefer a CEO or a worker on the front lines?
For This Morning we prefer people on the front lines, but Good Morning Britain like leaders who can paint a broader picture. It really depends what programme you’re pitching, watch them and find out what they specialise in.
Do you like to hear about brands and how they are helping the cause?
Yes, 100%. I’m always happy to hear about brands, and it’s a great feel-good story if they’re stepping up to help. I recommend forwarding links with your pitches, since it’s easy to miss out on a story and it helps if we can match the spokesperson with the link. If possible, your pitch should include links of your spokesperson talking to other news outlets. We don’t need lots of information, just three or four short, snappy lines that express the story in a way that will grab the viewer’s attention.
A significant PR initiative that caught my eye, although not a brand, was the clap for the NHS. Brands need to be aware of what’s popular on social media, since a lot of TV shows are just as reactive to twitter as they are to the papers. If you can demonstrate that your story is going viral and trending on social, it’s more likely to get picked up.
Are there any areas people should avoid pitching?
Consider think of the impact your story will have, particularly at a time like this. People are anxious and looking for something with a positive spin. I was pitched a story the other day that I think can work in the future. It’s a service that allows people to outline what they want from their funeral. The PR person teased the idea of quirky people with funeral plans, but they needed the one hook to make the producer go ‘wow’ – and the idea of a Star Wars-themed funeral did the trick. Coronavirus won’t be around forever, and some stories can be parked.
If your client is being pushy, take a step back. It’s your responsibility to explain that it’s not a good time for a certain story and explain why. If their pitch does make it to me, I’m not afraid to bring them back down to earth!
Written by: Ben Beckles, Media Relations Consultant
Moving office – behind the scenes
Moving office – behind the scenes
Near the end of 2019, we decided that it was time to find TopLine Comms and TopLine Film a new home. The decision was partly due to company growth, but also because our flexible working policy (which allows our employees to work from home up to twice a week, or to work flexible hours) meant that we weren’t making use of all the desks and space we had. It made sense to rethink our space, so that’s exactly what we did.
As a B2B PR agency in London, we think it’s important to be around other creative companies, in both a flexible and quirky work environment. We didn’t want to add extra time to everyone’s daily commute, so the location was crucial. Plus, the space needed to be dog-friendly and have a really good coffee machine!
Of course, moving office isn’t all glamour and we certainly faced some bumps in the road. This included things like making sure the internet speed was up to scratch in our new serviced office; adjusting to flexible desk spaces; moving furniture and equipment from one office to the other and of course, making sure it felt like home. But we got there in the end and can now safely say that we feel right at home in our new space.
Helpful tips when considering an office move
Before starting the process of moving office, it’s worth making sure that you understand how the IT system works in all the potential new office spaces you look at. This means that once you do make the move, you won’t have any delays or issues and you can be up and running straight away.
Finding a space that fit our criteria was proving to be a bit of a task, so we decided to look into the proptech market (particularly proptech in London) to find a platform that could help us. We found that the company KONTOR was well-suited to finding us a new office space. They asked for our requirements, such as the number of people in our team; how many desks we needed; what our IT requirements were and then went to work on finding us some potential new office spaces.
There are also other proptech companies, such as Hubble, which can provide help when you’re considering making the move. Have a look online at the different proptech apps and services to find what’s best for you – you don’t need to face moving office on your own!
Also, it may really help to use apps such as Citymapper when you’re trying to work out the possible new commute times for your team. It’s downloadable on most smartphones and is super easy to use and very accurate.
TopLine has now settled in at The Office Group, and we LOVE our new office. We have great views of Tottenham Court Road and Russel Square, and it’s also allowed the team to work and collaborate with people they wouldn’t usually get the chance to.
All of us here at TopLine look forward to welcoming you at our new office soon!
Written by: Michaela Lee, Office Manager
Four Pillars of Design in B2B PR
The rise of digital platforms has put even more emphasis on the role that design plays in PR. As a B2B PR agency, we have learned over the years that many successful campaigns rely heavily on a strategic design process. So, what are the key aspects to making design work for you? Let’s take a look at some great design examples and some key aspects to apply to your next campaign.
Make it user friendly
Create a seamless experience that does not confuse or mislead your audience. Design can influence trust so you should create elements that are visually friendly and inclusive. Also think about where your customers are and make you design geo-specific, as this will also contribute to the overall user experience. A recent example of this in action comes from AirBnB, which redesigned its visual identity by updating its illustrations of its community to portray a more diverse group of people.
Ensure it makes an emotional impact
There are two key questions to ask when measuring your PR campaign’s creative impact:
- How does the overall design make viewers feel?
- Does it enhance your campaign’s core message and objective?
Using certain design styles, images and colours can evoke emotion and raise awareness. Consider these design choices you make when building your campaign. A quirky illustrative style may bring across a friendly and youthful feel or you may opt for something more real and honest for greater impact. Metro Trains Melbourne recently launched a railway safety public service announcement ‘Dumb ways to die’ which captured the world both kids and adults alike by creating a catchy jingle and animated video to generate awareness.
Create content with a purpose
Your audience is receiving content at a rapid pace and through multiple online platforms, so you need to be extra creative to catch their attention. Netgear recently created a cool infographic on The History and Future of WIFI to help promote its products. If you are sharing results from a research campaign, an infographic could do the trick. Check out our video on How To Make An Infographic The Right Way.
Use a combination of mediums
New technologies and design mediums allow us to create campaigns that can be both visually engaging and subversive. Your company’s core values can spring to life through new ways of showcasing its visual identity and design. Engage your audience and take them on a journey where they are allowed to make up their own minds along the way. EXAMPLE Take a note from Sonos, which created a sound and visual experience to create awareness around the launch of Google assistant on Sonos, and use a combination of design mediums to create a more dynamic approach to your campaign idea.
Want to have a strategic design process for your next campaign? Contact us to find out how we can help.
Written by: Brent Peters, Graphic Designer