Crisis communications, specifically its recent evolution and growing need, continues to increase as a topic of interest for the marketing industry and the brands we serve. Hart’s Vice President of Corporate Communications & Content, Jeff Lutz, recently spoke at two industry events, Agorapulse’s 2022 Agency Summit and PRSA’s Central Ohio Chapter’s Modern Communicators Conference, to share his perspective on why the classic crisis plan is “dead on arrival” in today’s transparency-driven world.
Back in late 2019, just months before the pandemic, Hart wrote a piece detailing #CancelCulture and what it meant for businesses. In that article, we outlined how to understand your company’s risks and ways to mitigate the effects on your reputation. Two years later, although we are in a much different world, #CancelCulture is as active as ever. We’re continuing to see cancellation crises due to everything from updating logos and mascot redesigns to name changes. However, now we’re increasingly seeing how the actions of individuals, such as the company’s CEO, an employee or even a board member, can result in negative implications for a brand just as much as a decision made by the brand itself.
The public relations world has been debating the best way to measure our efforts for decades. While the power of PR is undeniable, it’s extremely difficult to correlate exactly when, where and at which point these activities impact the targets’ final purchasing decision.
Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” stated it best; “There are three constants in life ... change, choice and principles.”
Change is inevitable, it’s always going to be around.
We face choices every day. From what to wear to our attitude and even choosing not to choose (e.g., getting two scoops of ice cream because you can’t decide between two flavors).
Principles keep you in line when handling change and making choices. They honor company values and should be a driving force in your influencer marketing strategy.
Influencer Authenticity Builds Trust.
As communicators and marketers working in a rapidly evolving media landscape, it can seem nearly impossible to develop, execute and measure a full campaign without major changes derailing the plans. Whether it’s a global pandemic or a regrettable tweet that goes viral, brands are struggling to stay on top of trends, gauge consumer sentiment and craft strategic PR campaigns that hit on all cylinders.
The pandemic has created an uptick in social media activity, with 32% of polled social users in the United States reporting an increase in their social media activity. This added activity and attention have put pressure on brands to deliver value to followers. With the need for brand authenticity and the rise in socially conscious spending, brands are trusting the guidance of influencers for their products. In fact, 63% of consumers trust influencer opinions more than testimony from the brand itself and 58% of consumers have purchased products because of an influencer's recommendation.
Influencer marketing is not a trend; rather, a sign of a greater shift in the priorities of consumers and the direction of marketing campaigns. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, this market is expected to grow in size from $9.7 billion in 2020 to $13.8 billion in 2021.
Ideally, the use of an influencer should be symbiotic for companies and consumers. The companies create brand awareness and extend their reach while consumers gain trustworthy and knowledgeable information about a service or product. Utilizing an influencer research tool like Upfluence can identify the saturation of influencers (i.e., how many other brands are actively linked with that individual), as well as other factors like message/imagery engagement.
When assessing successful marketing, the strategies associated with influencer relations and activations cannot be ignored. Recently, Hart Copywriter, Social Media & Content, Caeli Barnes moderated a sit-down with Associate Creative Director Jeff Payden, Senior Account Executive JoAnna Sorosiak and Senior Strategist Sam Williams to discuss and gain perspective into the world of influencers and their role in advertising.
Recently, we addressed the importance of social listening – specifically, monitoring what people are saying about your brand beyond your owned social media channels – in our blog, Social Listening Part 1: Insider Tips to Get the Most Out of an Evolving World. Social listening can provide data-driven insights on your brand, competitors and industry trends. But more important, it can also alert you to a negative review, politically charged tweet or complaint about your product in a Reddit thread.
In Part 2 of this series, we continue our discussion with Digimind Senior Customer Success Manager, Strategic Accounts, Tony Calega, about the importance of adding social listening to your 2021 strategy. Hart partners with Digimind, a leader in social listening software, to provide clients with the full picture of how their brand is being discussed in the social landscape.
See a Potential Crisis Before It Hits