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This blog is about your brand.We talk about the emerging trends in the marketing communications industry.
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How PR practitioners should use social media in Nigeria

business Posted on Thu, May 29, 2014 14:11:25


Some say Facebook is just a place for status and photo updates. Recent
development notes that Facebook has admitted that some teens have started to
use Facebook less. They are saying moms are to blame; of course teens hate to
be in environments where their parents can see what they are up to. Even
employees restrict what their bosses see on their regular posts (that’s why people
now love the disappearing messages of snapchat, an instant messaging platform
which facebook made an offer to buy but was declined).

Instant Messaging is huge on mobile: text SMS, Viber, Whatsapp, kik,
Instagram Direct, Snapchat, Kakao, weChat, etc are very big platforms to keep
people connected. These apps are as sticky as email once was on the desktop.

Although Facebook has over 1 billion users, Whatsapp has 400 million
users; Twitter has 240 million, Snapchat has 30 million users.

In 2014, Facebook will become more news oriented as it battles for
relevance with Twitter. The company also announced that it will launch autoplay
video ads, promising it will reach an audience bigger than prime time TVs, but
won’t that be intrusive?

Facebook wants to be the front-runner in Artificial Intelligence,
speech recognition and machine learning. It wants to use its massive trove of
consumer data to influence intelligent search and response software that can
speak with you the way computers do on Star trek.

These are good ideas from Facebook, it would give its users more
experience with the social media platform. However, this 2014, Public Relations
practitioners should lead the way in terms of using the social media features.
There would be more demand for online PR. Thus, PR practitioners need to
increase their game. They should know that the way PR profession operates in
the online community is a bit different from how advertising is done. Because
advertisers may be looking into how many clicks and comments on their Facebook,
twitter or other social media posts, PR people should build influence and
increase positive talkability for the brand by contracting popular people with
high followership online to talk about the brand being promoted.

What PR people should also consider is how to tap into the new
frontiers of Facebook and other social media platforms. The world has moved to
the information age; and people are always searching for information and the
first place they will go is online because it is already on their hands. PR
experts should be able to tell brand owners the keywords to include on their
websites and social media platforms so that people looking for them can find
them easily.

The budget for PR is also relatively not too much, as compared with
other aspects of the integrated marketing communication. PR gives more of a
two-way communication, that’s why the use of online media favours PR.

The internet allows information to be distributed worldwide at
basically zero marginal cost to the publisher. Opportunities are remarkable;
and many companies are laying plans to create content for the internet. Anyone
with a personal computer and modem can publish whatever content they create. In
this case, the internet is the multimedia equivalent of photocopies.

With content serving the basis of online exploration, storytelling
has become dynamic and even a game changer.

Out of all communication disciplines, PR has always been the place
for content. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. In this
world, long form storytelling outperforms a clever tagline. It’s Public
relations practitioners’ time to deliver on the promise of storytelling.

The PR person thinks of creating content that rewards the reader
with up to date information they can explore at will.

One must consider whether the content resonates with the target
audience; whether the content delivers the ‘frame’ that today’s journalists
need in order to write a story.

The point is that PR can still create storytelling that causes the
large audiences to stop without tapping the heartache of failure. And the
digital dimension means we can measure the work at much greater depth than gross impressions.

Since content is the core of many digital tactics to favour customer
retention, generate leads and increase brand awareness, these are essential
component of any successful digital strategy. Content strategy builds your
brand’s identity in a personable and attractive way to attract millions of
internet users.

A good size of frequent content drives search engine optimization,
which helps businesses rank well on Google, whereas the absence of fresh
content leads to poor rankings and no visibility on search engines or other
platforms.

Paid search advertising (Pay per click ads found on search engine
results pages) is an essential lead generation tool. Display advertising also
generates leads. Search engine optimization, helps direct search engine traffic
to websites, social media marketing: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Google+
are good platforms for businesses to incorporate their plans, audio and video
marketing, blogs, webinars, training people over the internet; mobile
marketing, website landing page optimization.



USING NEW MEDIA FOR BRANDING IN NIGERIA

business Posted on Thu, May 29, 2014 13:58:25


Branding
from a business point of view should be designed to differentiate your product
from all other products. Looking at it from the new media point of view, you
have to be unique and adventurous in order for your brand to gain favourable
influence online.

A
lot of people know what new media is but some people still confuse it with
social media. First of all, new media is a generic term for the many different
forms of electronic communication that are made possible through the use of
computer technology. As compared with ‘old’ media forms such as print
newspapers and magazines that are static.
Whereas new media includes websites, chat rooms, email, online
communities, web advertising, DVD and CD ROM media, virtual reality environment,
telephony, digital cameras, streaming audio and video, mobile computing, etc.

However,
social media includes internet or mobile phone based applications and tools to
share information among people. Social media includes popular networking websites
like Facebook, Google plus and Twitter; as well as bookmarking sites like Digg
or Reddit. It involves blogs like Linda Ikeji and forums like Nairaland, with
an interactive presence which allows individuals’ ability to engage in
conversations with one another, often as a discussion over a particular blog,
post, news article or event.

In
a recent study by a reputable research company, Nigerians use social media
mostly on their laptops, desktop computers, mobile phones and on tablets.

Also
from the research, many Nigerians access the internet with their Blackberry
phones mostly; thus they make use of the social networking apps embedded on the
phones.

Using
new media for branding entails more than just social media sites. Today, brands
are born; not made. A brand must be capable of generating favourable publicity.
It goes without saying that instant access to information has fundamentally
changed the way we use the media. And the rise of smartphones allied to the
incredible popularity of social media has taken the importance of the internet
to an even higher level.

Some
of the ways you can increase your brand value using new media are: raising your
profile online, one of the websites you can be on is Linkedin, this is
professional social networking site that can open you up to many people from
different parts of the world. This is the place to tell people about your
achievements, both as an individual and as a company; regular and well informed
blogging can help build audience and increase loyalty among the people who are
interested in what you are saying, take decent photos to upload and link your
blog to popular social networking sites in order to build traffic; manage your
reputation online, this leads to success in the business world, so you should
be conscious about what you send on the internet; be up to date with new media
like websites that offer better services, chat rooms, email services, online
communities, web advertising, DVD and CD ROM technology, interactive
television, video conferencing, business applications, etc.

New
media opens up alternative forms of publication and presents opportunities and
challenges for traditional communication. The traditional mass communication
was essentially one-way while the new forms of communication are essentially ‘interactive’.

Thus,
with the emergence of new media, the old media faces the fear of being rendered
obsolete form of mass communication because of its ability to render both mass
communication and personal communication. Although, some professionals say they
will complement each other.

Companies
have to include new media use in their day to day activities and be more
creative in their communications. They have to be in the areas of online news
content creation and activation; influence relations; online intelligence, that
is, listening and analytics through news and community; and online customer
relations management. Today, we have moved from the TV industry to the digital
online industry. This has injected massive growth into all creative industries.
Companies should equip their staff to be in tune with modern technologies. In
fact, what digital content managers say is that one does not have to be a tech
guru to use the internet.

The
persistent parade of new media is unfolding on many fronts. Almost every advancement
in media is billed as a breakthrough, and ends up in the list of “next big
things” for communications. Although not every emerging technology will alter
the business or social landscape—but some truly do have the potential to alter
the way people live and work, and rearrange value pools.



What the Future Holds for Public Relations Industry, Nigeria as a case

business Posted on Thu, May 29, 2014 13:53:57


Agencies of the
future need to understand how businesses are changing and new demands for
public relations. As a young man, I knew I had to do communications to
influence people. I had dreams about agencies and corporate affairs departments
and these dreams came to reality. I have started living the flamboyant life of
the people in PR; and I also got into the nitty-gritty of the profession. I
also found out that the annual billing in the profession is shrinking.

I would like to
share some of my observations of how this has come about and the future of PR
industry. With the way PR is practised, if care is not taken, it can become
morbid. I used to have a lecturer that said PR has gone morbid. But my thoughts
and with present realities on ground, I would say it is very much alive, but
some things need to be put in place.

Structures need
to be developed to allow specialists to thrive. According to a recent survey of
top PR employers in the UK, findings show that the candidates with
certifications in PR were less attractive to employ. Bringing this to Nigeria,
how many agencies or corporate affairs departments make it mandatory for their
staff to be Nigerian Institute of Public Relations certified? Not many.

The PR industry
has been prone to poaching. As soon as new talents are discovered, you find
people from banks, fast moving consumer goods and telecommunications industry
taking away bright talents. Today, many of the marketing functions established
in telecoms, FMCGs, and banks are manned by people who have left PR agencies.
So there is huge challenge of constantly discovering new talents. Thus, if
proper structures are put in place, PR can blossom.

Agencies need to
also invest in skilled practitioners and even train students on long term basis
so they will be well equipped to practice the profession. PR schools can be set
up within various agencies to give people first-hand experience. Even if there
are schools in Nigeria, how many are there?

Today, many
companies are setting up in-house departments in order to cut expenses they pay
to agencies. Many clients now have creative and production departments; thereby
making it difficult for PR agencies to survive. So if agencies want to be
relevant, they have to add value to what they do and make sure there is return
on investment for the client.

This brings us to
the question more PR professionals shy away from – Are advertising and digital
industries eating the launch of PR and threatening its future? Well, I don’t
think so. But in looking at so many briefs from clients, I found that most
times the advertising budget is usually more than PR’s budget; if you agree
with me? But except in rare cases where the client does not have much spending
power; they tend to use wholly PR. PR people thus need to know to handle the
competition with digital and advertising. They have to know how to use digital
advertising in their PR strategies.

PR people need to
start celebrating themselves. How many awards for PR do we have in this
country? Not many. We have to celebrate our ideas, especially the ones that are
conceptualized originally by the Nigerian agency. So, if PR is to truly
compete, the PR ideas need to be showcased and celebrated. Sometimes briefs
from clients would show the advertising campaign done in other countries and
they tell the Nigerian PR agency to do media relations from the advertising
idea. By this, PR is giving so called competitors a PR platform to show their
creative brilliance. Although brilliant creative ideas can come from anywhere
and it is what you do with that idea within your discipline that makes the
award winning difference.

Here, an
integrated PR campaign is advised. With this, there will be brilliant sales for
the client and brilliant creativity. The PR industry must embrace change and
learn how to work for clients. In 2011, the total billings of the top 15 UK PR
and AD agencies: £540 million versus £3billion. Also, Stephan Loerke, Managing
Director of World Federation of Advertisers noted that world advertising spend
in 2010 was $700 billion. The figures have been rising between 3 per cent and
10 per cent in the last 10 years. Nigeria, according Media Facts, a journal
from Media Reach OMD put advertising spend at N102.75 billion Naira in 2010.
The advertising and creative industries are not going anywhere – advertising is
also not dead but very alive.

Agencies have to
include digital and be more creative in their deliverables. Where PR needs to
be is in the digital space. They have to be in the areas of social news content
creation and activation; influence relations; social intelligence, that is,
listening and analytics through news and community; and social customer
relations management. Today, we have moved from the TV industry to the digital
and social industry. This has injected massive growth into all creative
industries. PR people should further equip themselves and be in tune with
modern technologies. In fact, what digital content managers say is that one
does not have to be a professional PR person to use the internet. So, we as PR
practitioners have an obligation to put professional touches to our works using
the digital space.

The persistent
parade of new technologies is unfolding on many fronts. Almost every technology
advance is billed as a breakthrough, and ends up in the list of “next big
things” for communications. Not every emerging technology will alter the
business or social landscape—but some truly do have the potential to alter the
way people live and work, and rearrange value pools. PR professionals thus need
to use technologies to their advantage.

If I may ask, is
there vision, energy or commitment to tackle what these mentioned effects mean
for the industry? Collaboration is therefore needed to create more detailed
approach with measurable actions and outcomes. The NIPR is going to elect
another chairman and I hope they will elect the one that has vision, energy and
commitment to challenge the huddles ahead for the industry.