Tag Archive for: Kate Ward

A selfless selfie?

UK soap star Kym Marsh’s ‘no make-up selfie’

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or stranded on a desert island for the past fortnight, you’ll have undoubtedly caught wind of the newest social media trend to hit Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – the ‘no make-up selfie’.

Playing on the fact that most social media users are keen to post pictures of themselves at every opportunity, a young teenager from the UK posted an image of herself sans the slap and asked her Facebook friends to do the same, all in the name of charity.

While it seems noble, the biggest question raised when the idea really started to take hold was pretty obvious – how on earth was it actually helping anyone who either had cancer or had experienced it within their family?

It was a perfect demonstration of how quick we all are to participate in a bit of shameless self-promotion under the guise of charity. However, it angered many people who regularly give to charity without needing tens or hundreds of people to ‘Like’ a picture of them without make-up.

Thankfully, the PR machine at Breast Cancer Awareness UK quickly piggy-backed on the trend and issued a selfie of its employees imploring that anyone who posted a no make-up selfie also texted ‘BEAT” to 70099 in order to donate £3.

Suddenly, it all seemed a lot more credible and worthy – and celebrities hopped on the bandwagon. In fact, it was so popular that it made its way across the ocean to Australia, although we’re yet to see a charity affiliation with pictures. At the moment, Aussie women are doing their bit to ‘raise awareness’. The real question is, are they raising awareness for themselves or the cause?

The craze has been an eye-opener. Many people who normally don’t dip in their pockets to donate to charity did so on this occasion because they received gratification in return. Misanthropists around the world will be having a field day as it provides yet another example of our shallow society.

But on a serious note, is this the future of charity fundraising? Do we expect to be given something in return for our support? It’s an interesting question and one I am sure charities globally are asking themselves.

Small businesses giving back: why CSR isn’t just for multi-nationals

Hundreds of small businesses got behind Clean Up Australia Day last week. Image source – www.cleanup.org.au

While many small businesses view both time and money as a barrier to developing a CSR strategy, they’re merely a minor speed bump at the start of what is potentially an ongoing road of strong community engagement and brand recognition.

For years, companies have edged their way closer to customers and now – through new media – they’re closer than they ever expected to be. This means modern day consumers (and stakeholders) now have an expectation of corporate behavior and choose to engage or work with businesses that do some kind or ‘good’ work for society.

Charitable initiatives that boost a business’s profile locally and engage with the community without direct business interest can produce long term commercial gain. After all, it’s a well-known fact that consumers (read: your customers) will often choose to engage or work with a company they know have values closely aligned with their own.

For small business this could be as simple as providing help at a grass-roots level – volunteering at a local homeless shelter or aged care facility, or donating (time or money) to a cause that is close to the community’s heart such as the local school, sports club or helping a family that’s doing it tough.

To ensure a CSR strategy is successful, it should always be executed with the full support of the organisation delivering it – otherwise it will look like an ‘add on’ initiative for commercial gain. Today’s consumers aren’t stupid, and they will easily understand your intentions.

It is therefore important that CSR activity is communicated appropriately and sensitively, so as not to appear like you are ‘tooting your own horn’. Good work should be done because it will make a difference and a business should never seek thanks or expect plaudits for it.

However, that’s not to say it shouldn’t be recognised. Indeed, we work with hundreds of franchisees who get their hands dirty in their local area and we have carefully told this story to their local community without sounding ‘preachy’. We have simply narrated their contribution to the local area which has resulted in a boost of business for many.

It could be as simple as communication through social media. This small Aussie business below participated in Clean Up Australia Day yesterday and simply shared its involvement through Instagram.

So if you haven’t already incorporated CSR into your business strategy, it’s time to take action. Regardless of the size of your business you can make a real difference in your community without having to spend huge amounts of time or money in doing so. Give back this year – and it will undoubtedly give back to you, too.

Keeping the spark in your client relationships

client-engagement-slider-watirmelon(image: watirmelon.com)

As with any relationship, the one you have with your client will no doubt have its ups and downs. At the start of a working relationship both parties experience the usual emotions – apprehension, anticipation, excitement. Will the agency do a good job now you’ve committed to six months with them? Will the client always be this nice?

At Ignite we’ve had long-standing relationships with many of our clients. We’ve been Poolwerx’s exclusive PR partner for five years and looked after Hire A Hubby’s PR program for more than two years. The average tenure with our clients is three years. So, what is the key to a great working relationship?

Keeping things fresh is an obvious, yet important, factor. If you’ve been working with a company for several years it can be all too easy to settle into a ‘routine’ – and you run the risk of falling out of love with each other.

Mutual respect is also critical to a successful relationship, as is understanding each other’s needs. If you lose sight of the bigger picture you won’t be helping your client achieve their long-term goals – and you might find yourself getting dumped for a newer model.

We’ve listed out our top five tips for keeping the spark in your client relationships below.

1) Call regularly – while email is the preferred choice of communication for many these days, nothing beats the courtesy of a quick phone call once a week. It will remind both of you that there’s a real, live human being on the other end of those correspondences, encouraging a better relationship. We have a service promise of at least three contacts a week.

2) Have a date night – take your clients out for dinner/lunch/coffee when you can. It’s a chance to get out of the corporate environment and for you to both get to know each other a bit better. Many will attest to the benefits of a social outing when it comes to fostering a stronger personal and, ultimately, working relationship with clients.

3) Role play – if you’re feeling disenchanted with your client, put yourself in their shoes for a while. Imagine the workload and consider any pressure points you might know of. Are you aware of any personal issues? Be understanding and be an adult – if the problem doesn’t seem to be going away, talk about it. It’s much better to clear the air than let a relationship run into distress.

4) Show an interest – don’t just ‘do the job’. Flag items of interest you’ve seen in the news or heard through the grapevine that’s relevant to their industry. Not only will this show your commitment to understanding the industry landscape and where your client fits, it’ll show that you’re continuously on the pulse of industry news and issues. This kind of assurance is critical to engaging your clients beyond the regular day-to-day activity.

5) Make them feel special – agency PR people will know all too well the juggling skills required to manage multiple clients. However, the number one rule in client relations is to never, ever make your client feel like they are anything less than your number one priority – regardless of how busy you are.

The etiquette balance

Talking with fellow PRs recently, the subject of client relations cropped up. As agency employees, we fully understand the importance of good PR etiquette; however, the majority of us agreed this respect is not always reciprocated by clients.

Courteous, ethical and well-mannered communication is key to any relationship, as is transparency and honesty. Clients who hold out on decisions around PR plans and proposals are unknowingly causing their agency sleepless nights; while putting PR work out to tender without informing the incumbent agency is becoming all too frequent in the PR industry.

Of course, the door swings both ways. To ensure a healthy, happy working relationship, it’s imperative that both parties treat each other as they expect to be treated in return. As the old adage goes, it takes two to tango.

We’ve put together a few tips for both clients and PRs below.

PR etiquette:

1) Communicate well and often – while the PR wheels are grinding back in the office, your client might not always realise that’s the case. Not updating your client makes it look like you’re not doing much even when you are. Aim to have three points of contact with your client each week, including an end-of-week activity summary.

2) Don’t harass your client – while a client no doubt understands they aren’t your only client, equally you must realise your client has priorities other than PR. Give them plenty of time to sign off materials and respond to your questions. A little nudge is okay every now and then, but don’t bombard them.

3) Acknowledge correspondence – even if you can’t respond straight away, let your client know that his/her email has been received and noted, and give a time that you’ll get back to them.

Client etiquette:

1) Be considerate – receiving a brief and being asked for an ‘urgent’ proposal is a huge bugbear for PR agencies, especially when said proposal is then ignored for weeks or months.  We’re all for pulling out the stops to help meet a deadline, but 24-hour’s notice is never appreciated.

2) Don’t treat your PR as your PA – while you are a top priority for your PR agency, you are unlikely to be their sole client. Unless you are paying for 100 per cent of their time, bear in mind that other deadlines and clients exist. Please be understanding – we’re only human!

3) Say thanks – it’s a simple yet important gesture. Yes, we’re paid to get you great coverage, but it will only benefit the relationship if you take a second to acknowledge a great result. We’re happy if you’re happy, so let us know that you are.