Decoding data – driven stories: Dealing with data gatekeepers for an insight-driven story

Any good communications professional – whether they appreciate the fast-paced agency life or prefer to strategise in-house – will at some point push for a story based on data-driven insights. On the surface, this approach always seems like an easy and effective method to land a credible story: procure data that complements your brand narrative, and pitch it to your target audience. 

But those who have worked extensively with data will tell you it’s never as easy as it seems. 

But never fear! Here’s a rough guide to getting started on your next data-driven story: 

Start with the end result in mind 

Data-driven stories typically involve multiple parties, from PR agencies to in-house communication managers to data scientists or analysts. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to hear various forms of this frustrating yet classic exchange: 

“Could you share what kind of data you’d have available?”

“Well, we have a lot of data. What kind of data do you want and how are you going to use it?”

“Well, we need to see the data first before we know what we can do with it.”

“Well, we won’t know what’s going to be relevant unless you tell us what data you need.”

Ad infinitum, ad nauseam. 

As communication professionals, the onus is on us to put an end this conversational stand-off. Keep in mind is that while the data gatekeepers are usually specialists in data analysis, they may not necessarily know what goes into creating a story with data. As such, it should always be the communication professional’s responsibility to first outline what they are trying to achieve.

This should be done by providing a detailed overview of what the brand is trying to communicate, while giving them enough flexibility to propose what kind of data would best fit the narrative. 

For example, if a food-delivery company wanted to craft a story on how their service is helpful to F&B vendors, then a communication professional would need to construct a brief for the data specialists. That brief would include details on the general overview of the story, the kind of information would be of interest to both media professionals and F&B vendors, and other factors which would provide a well-rounded perspective. 

Value, Variety and Viability

But what actually makes a good data-driven story? First and foremost, it’s the value the data brings to the target audience. For marketing collaterals that cater to a specific demographic, this is relatively straight-forward – but content that doubles as a media pitch needs to be relevant to the target publications, too. 

It sounds like common sense, but it’s very easy to get stuck using data that is entirely self-serving or doesn’t provide any valuable insights. For example, there was a report which found that “companies that performed better in marketing metrics were more successful”. That’s akin to saying that athletes who run faster win more medals. Duh. Make sure your insights are impactful enough to provide new information and potentially affect business decisions. 

Returning to our example of a food-delivery company, instead of talking about average delivery times, why not talk about peak ordering times, trending cuisines, or other consumer behaviours? These are data points vendors could potentially use to tweak their operations, and that the media could also find interesting. 

Next up is the variety of data available. While it’s good to lead with a strong statistic (for example: over 40% of all office workers in the CBD area use food delivery for lunch), a good data-driven story goes beyond this. One way to map this out is to first start with the key statistic and expand the width and depth of the data. In the food example, depth could refer to data about popular types of cuisine, and the reasons for their popularity (price, convenience, availability) – or it could mean examining the same statistic, but from a different point of view (the percentage of people ordering food in the heartlands during dinner time). 

Lastly – and arguably most importantly – is the viability of the data. This is a little tricky as different industries and publications have different interpretations about what is considered “viable” data, but as a general rule of thumb, the larger the data sample, the better. It’s also important to note that if you start to carve out demographic insights, you don’t end up with a respondent pool that is too small. 

Collaborate and Pivot with your Data Gatekeepers

Once a solid brief has been put together, it’s time to start working with your data specialists. With a more definitive end-goal in mind, these professionals are in a better position to provide advice about the type of data which works best for the story – which is where communication professionals need to be flexible enough to pivot their perspective if needed. Another common stumbling block at this stage is working with data that goes against the chosen narrative. 

In our food delivery example, the data may show that overall deliveries are on the decline – but all is not lost, The communications and data teams need to investigate a little deeper to see if there’s an angle which aligns with the narrative of the overall story, while still providing the value to the target consumer. Perhaps the drop in deliveries could be attributed to the fact that people are looking for healthier options, or they prefer to order and collect their food.

The piece could then lead with a controversial statistic, before bringing the story back to align with the narrative. But of course, it should be noted that sometimes data can only be stretched so much, and if the picture the data paints is overwhelmingly negative, then perhaps silence is the wiser choice. 

There are of course many other factors that come into play and every data-driven story would have a different process, but by starting off with a clear objective, while balancing flexibility to shift the story where the data leads, communicators can land data-driven stories that are relevant and impactful.

Need help dealing with data specialists for a story where data is the hero? We can help: hello@mutant.com.sg

Using your Inner Cynic to Weed Out Bad Ideas

Lately, it seems we are constantly surrounded by messages of positivity, mindfulness, gratitude and good vibes. So I want you to pause, take a deep, cleansing breath and repeat a mantra that will give you clarity and focus… bah humbug!

Sound familiar? Don’t get me wrong, optimism and positivity is the fuel that keeps you going through life – but a healthy dose of cynicism is also important.

Cynicism has gotten an understandably bad rap, but listening to your inner cynic can help you screen and vet beliefs, edit plans, and even give you the courage to speak out against bad ideas before they get too far. It helps to keep you grounded, thinking critically and looking out for rocky terrain. Don’t believe me? Then ask yourself if a cynic would have allowed Magnum to think that floral ice cream was the best way to celebrate the empowerment of women.

So put the Kool-Aid down, brew yourself a black coffee and let’s explore how your inner cynic can make you a better communicator.

Finding your inner cynic

This is the easiest step, as any communicator has seen enough to develop an instinct for bad ideas. An inner critic always starts off with a gut feel – an urge to roll your eyes and go “ugh, seriously?”. Of course, as professionals we don’t always say this out loud (this is, after all, a blog post about harnessing your inner cynic) as we don’t want to be viewed as being an outwardly unpleasant or a consistently contrarian person to be around.

However, as professionals, voicing concerns about an idea we think could negatively impact a client isn’t rude – it’s healthy and can be incredibly important. After all, the biggest misconception in the “be positive” movement is that we can’t be positive and creative while being cynical at the same time. The creative process usually involves some form of evaluation and refinement, and that inner cynic can push you to abandon unfeasible ideas and clear the way for new solutions to address an issue.

Editing your inner cynic

Like most other gut feelings, this cynical voice can come from both rational and irrational sources. It’s a culmination of past experiences and industry knowledge, but it can also stem from unconscious bias and faulty reasoning. Our job is to listen to the cynic, but to also question where it comes from – in other words, you have to be cynical about your cynicism.

If that sounds a little too meta, here are a few questions to ask yourself the next time an idea rubs you the wrong way:

  • Have I seen something similar done before? Has that idea failed?
  • If it sounds like something that’s failed before, were there any other factors that led to the failure that we could change this time around?
  • Does this idea contradict something that I believe in? If so, is this belief sacred to me? Why?
  • Does this idea go against something that its target audience believes? If so, can we – and should we – change our target audiences’ belief?
  • Do I think that there is not enough time/resources/skill to implement the idea? What else does this idea need to become reality?

Most times, there is a solid justification for your gut feeling. But sometimes, that cynic speaks from an irrational place and it can hinder you from looking at the idea from all perspectives.

An experience that stuck with me was working with what I felt was an “unpitchable” client. They kept pushing badly designed products, but the client was absolutely convinced they were the bees’ knees. My inner cynic kept pushing back on a lot of their ideas, and most times that gut instinct was validated, as a lot of their products were badly reviewed and killed in a matter of months. After a while, it became second nature to find flaws in and discount whatever new thing they were sending us – but when someone new to the team asked me to pause and take a second look at a new product, I realised there was actually something unique about it. If I didn’t have that someone to remind me to check that inner cynic, we would have missed out on a great opportunity for that client.

Expressing your inner cynic

This is the hardest part – especially for people in an agency role where sometimes pushing back on a client can be complicated. But as communicators and guardians of our clients’ brands, we have a responsibility to tell them when something isn’t sitting well with us, even when it may lead to difficult conversations.

One way to do this is to justify your concerns with examples and data – this moves the conversation away from the realm of feelings and into one of facts. Another way is to come prepared with alternatives. No client enjoys being told they have a problem without being offered a solution. In terms of positioning your pushback, always be conscious about not attacking personal views or beliefs, and instead focusing feedback on solving your clients biggest challenges.

So the next time the urge to roll your eyes hit you when you hear a “bad” idea, take a deep cleansing breath, examine your feelings and harness your inner cynic to help you find the next best solution.

Have a few ideas up your sleeve but need a fresh, “cynical” pair of eyes? We can help : hello@mutant.com.sg

 

Millennial-speak: Let data do the talking

A data-led guide to marketing to millennials

They say we are prone to spending money, careless with personal data, and technology is second nature to us – well, it’s partly true. But it doesn’t mean waving your brand in front of our faces will guarantee you our attention.

Trust me, I’m a millennial and you bet we’re discerning. But I promise you that we are fiercely grounded in authenticity and self-expression. As digital natives (that’s what they call us), our cyber footprints are literally all over the internet.

But remember one thing before marketing to us: Please, get to know us first!

As we (the entitled millennials) are not all the same, you should use insights to tailor kick-ass marketing and PR campaigns to us. Here are 3 sure-fire avenues to get to know us (aka collecting data) and help your brand to zoom in on the ever so critical Gen Y:

Basic Data Analytics

Whether it’s Google Analytics, Facebook or Instagram insights, the basic level of data is easily accessible to all marketers and brands. Studying the data will reveal where online traffic originates, what posts are most popular and, more importantly, will tell you what topics drive the greatest engagement from millennial audiences. So, dive into the data and see where your target audience and millennials connect.

Social Sentiments

Social listening tools like Meltwater can help you track conversations across a variety of online and social media platforms that may not necessarily be owned by you. As the millennial world moves fast, you want to quickly pick up on online conversations and the sentiments surrounding them. Are they positive or negative? Can you use them for trend-jacking?

Third-party Research

Looking at a bigger picture, you want to get research and consultancy firms like Nielsen and Euromonitor involved. With the help of their comprehensive database, you can gain some insights into the millennial pulse.  While the free online samples may not necessarily reveal all that juicy data, they should provide you with an adequate snapshot to point you in the right direction.

Questionnaires

Scalable, easy to conduct and great for getting to know millennials questionnaires can be tailored to suit specific demographics and/or geographics. Considerable effort needs to go into asking the right questions so that collectively the responses will reveal insights that might support your campaign objectives. Using platforms such as Google Forms and SurveyMonkey make it really easy for your business to reach audiences.

Be a Millennial

If you really want to get under our skin (and into our minds), then you should behave like one of us. Get on Reddit, join Facebook and Instagram live events, and watch YouTube videos – don’t forget to read the comments. It’s the most authentic way to connect with us.  I know that millennials have gained quite the reputation for having an inflated sense of entitlement, but once you’re better acquainted with us, you will better understand our needs, concerns and priorities in life.

But just like you too – we agree that personalised treatment never goes out of style. Regardless of the generation, customising your brand’s messaging to your target audience will always be part of the right path.

You want to hear what millennials think about your campaign? Drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg.

My company is profitable! Do I still need marketing?

According to a recent report, the success of SMEs is essentially like flipping a coin – there’s an estimated survival rate of 50%. This means that establishing a strong and profitable core business is more crucial than ever before.

Since survival is a major focus for SMEs, investment in other aspects that may not seem to have immediate trackable results on business performance are often highly scrutinised. But even when SMEs manage to survive and find their stride, becoming profitable without the help of marketing, content, public relations or social media, many decide to continue without these things. Why would they need them even if they are profitable? Let’s dive right in.

Marketing

With the view that only large, multinational organisations have dedicated marketing teams, many SMEs outright dismiss the idea of hiring dedicated marketing staff. If SMEs do have a staff member focused on marketing, the scope of that role is usually tied up with additional tasks, such as business development.

Without the attention and focus of a true marketing professional, marketing initiatives usually end up in the form of more traditional activities, such as developing collaterals or organising events, which often do not drive easily trackable business results. A dedicated marketer will be able to identify broader business issues and create solutions to fix them, whether that be an online lead generation, sales team support or employer brand management to help bring in the best talent.

Content

Content is on the radar for many organisations, but often only in the form of a few commissioned articles for the company website. The truth is that content has many more practical uses for a business than most business owners realise. Content can be presented in many ways – think text, infographics and videos – and have the ability to engage potential customers across a wide array of platforms, ranging from the company’s website to social media channels to content-led PR campaigns.  

A singular piece of content, such as a research report, can be reworked into different pieces of satellite content, including infographics, toolkits and short, digestible videos that can be shared on different channels. Lead generation, client relationship management and sales support are all business-focused goals that can leverage content to deliver measurable results.

PR

Crisis management and spin-doctoring are often the first things that come to mind when thinking of public relations, but these functions are usually back of mind when it comes to successful businesses who are focused on growth.

Public relations can do much more than just clean up sticky situations. Good PR will play a key role in stakeholder management, putting the business in the midst of relevant discussions happening in the industry and the media, and positioning key people in the company as thought leaders. Strong PR can boost the visibility and credibility of the business and open new doors for the company in the process.

Social media

If you think that social media is simply a Facebook page for consumer brands to deal with angry posts, think again. Social media can act as a multi-platform ecosystem that can be used to engage with different types of audiences. By using specific targeting, businesses can reach new and relevant customers from literally all around the world.

From customer support and sales to employer branding and community management, every employee can learn to use social media in a way that influences the business, no matter if it’s a B2C and B2B operation. It’s important to establish goals and outline clear roles that each social media platform will play for the business, though; only then can a business truly start to see the benefits of a social media strategy.

Do you want to find out more about what marketing, content, PR and social media can do for your business? Drop us a line at hello@mutant.com.sg

9 Things we learned at the Asia Global Content Forum 2017

“What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” What was true for Ogilvy in the 1960s is still relevant today.

Content creators from various industries, including Mutant’s content team, gathered at the Asia Global Content Forum 2017 in Singapore to discuss the challenges in the creation and deployment of content across markets in the region.

Here are a few insights we gleaned during the forum:

1. SEO is still relevant

Although marketers have started to shift their attention from keyword to producing quality content, search engine optimisation is still crucial for content to reach the right audience. Remember that in a world where the destination is everything, we need to know how to get there. Search is a brand’s signpost.

All marketers understand (or should understand) how ‘search’ works and why certain pages rank higher for a particular keyword than others. If keyword stuffing is still your modus operandi, then you need to read more about how content and SEO can work together. 

SEO is still relevant, but it shouldn’t be your main focus. Rather, it should be one part of your content marketing strategy. Marketers can get hung up the ROI gained by SEO, but it’s the wrong question to ask. Focus instead on overall quality content and then how to get it in front of people.

2. Interactive Marketing from Stranger Things

The wildly popular Netflix series Stranger Things might seem at first glance just a sci-fi-inspired show for teens. But the series’ dark, perplexing world has captivated millions of viewers from around the globe  (not least thanks to a healthy dollop of 1980s nostalgia for the adults). The TV drama shows the unknown, and the emotions unleashed by it, appeal to audiences the world over.  

Netflix has taken advantage of this fascination and made their promotions for season 2 interactive with a free mobile game, including trailers and short preview clips. What do we learn from an old-fashioned 2D game about a strange world? We want to be part of it.

Bringing Stranger Things into daily life, Netflix also partnered with Lyft, making car rides strangely entertaining – including a vomited slug, which is something that not many brands would dare try. The promo resulted in increased Lyft requests and a spike in social media mentions.

3. Don’t neglect the notion of play

When it comes to the concept of play it’s hard to not think of LEGO. The brand has been at the forefront of playful marketing for decades. While LEGO is traditionally a toy for kids, the company has managed to get the attention of their parents (and other adults, too), by enabling them to experience and relive the playfulness of their youth.

One such example is the LEGO Kronkiwongi Project. LEOG asked children around the world to build a ‘Kronkiwongi’, not giving any instructions but letting the imagination of kids running wild. The creations were shared with parents on Facebook, resulting in thousands of further submissions and a significant uplift in brand connection to imagination and creativity.

Other reasons why LEGO is a content hero:

  • They engage adults with movies
  • They capitalise on the success of other brands (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Batman, …)
  • LEGO tells universal stories of good against evil that resonate in every  language
4.  Authenticity is key

With more than 2 million blog posts written daily and more than 1 million photos posted on Facebook every 60 seconds, it’s becoming harder and harder to get your message across. According to HubSpot, 65% of companies state that generating leads and traffic is their top marketing challenge.

Having an authentic message is crucial to catching people’s attention. But it is not all. Marketers also need to find the right channel to amplify their message. So, tailor your brand’s message for each of your marketing channels.

5. Convey value early

When Facebook decided to play videos in the newsfeed automatically, marketers saw a huge opportunity. What seemed like a mere convenience to users is a game-changer for brands. Conveying value early in videos has become crucial for companies to increase their awareness and message association.

Remember that users have an increasingly shorter attention span. So, when creating content, make sure you come straight to the point. No matter the what market in which you operate, offering readers and viewers value is increasingly important. Read more about brand video content.

6. Never be stagnant

Best practices (for writing, SEO, email marketing and more) are great. But if everyone is following best practice then no one is doing anything different. Benchmark other brands’ methods to get a better understanding of what works, but don’t copy them step by step. If you want to succeed – be creative and unique. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

7. Curate to tell a story

User-generated content can be an amazing addition to your marketing efforts. Social media makes it fairly easy for marketers to run campaigns that incentivise audiences to create content for you.

But don’t forget about storytelling. In order to tell your brand’s story, you need to curate user-generated content or risk your brand message becoming a jumble.

8. Localisation is the way to go

It might be obvious to some people, but what works in Australia does not work in Singapore – and vice versa. Each market deserves its own ideas. If you as a marketer can’t operate at market level, you are wasting your money. Spend your effort on interrogating people locally to get a feel for the pulse and speed of things.

While algorithms for natural language translation are becoming more prevalent, they aren’t at the point where niche terminology and industry terms are accurately translated and localised.

9. Market expansion with content

When rolling into a new market content is key. But it’s also a major issue for many companies. Having a well-running content platform in one market and wanting to launch it in a new market is not as easy as it seems.

Want to know where to begin? Read more about how to get your brand heard in a new market.

Need help with developing creative content – drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg

How to get your brand heard in a new market

Venturing into new markets with your brand may be a daunting task. If it’s done wrongly, you could sink vast amounts of financial capital. Succeeding with a market entry, your brand could acquire new revenue streams and new customers at the same time.  

So, what are the things you need to keep in mind when preparing to enter a new market?

Understand your market
  • Do your research. Never assume that you know what your target audience wants. You need to have the facts and research to back it up. Take a close look at the market and find out what the most pressing needs, issues and desires of your target audience are. It will help you to position yourself as the answer they’re looking for.
  • Where do they get their information from? There’s a plethora of platforms for content consumption – both online and offline. But how will you actually reach them – through blogs, newsletter subscriptions, newspapers or social media? Focusing your efforts on the appropriate channels will ensure that you get the most mileage out of your resources.  
  • Tailor your content. Something that works in China may not necessarily see the same success in Singapore – or vice versa. Localising content helps to shape your messages in a way that your customers can relate to.
Know your competition
  • Make a competitive analysis. Walking into a new market it’s important to identify the factors contributing to the success and failure of existing brands. What has the market leader done so well that elevates them to their current position? Why can’t other brands find their footing? Learn about the methods your competitors use and find out which they are not using.
  • Differentiate your brand. At the same time, there is also great value in making sure your brand stands out. But what are you offering the market that differentiates you from others? Moving into a new market and immediately trying to compete with everyone else in the industry is not a task to be taken lightly. Carve out your own niche and communicate it to your target audience. Operating in a specific niche will reduce the number of direct competitors your brand has to manage.
Have an eye on the market
  • Spot trends. Depending on what industry you are in, markets tend to move fast today. Trends are insightful and a powerful source of information. Keeping up-to-date with the latest trends allows you to understand the current interests and wants of consumers, which will help you to capture the attention of broader audiences.
  • Network the industry. Smart business leaders know to always be on the lookout for emerging trends and be prepared for what comes next, so they won’t be left behind. However, not all trends start online. Get a feel for the industry by attending networking events in your field.
Look for media opportunities
  • Owned media. Build a communication strategy for your brand. Make sure you are consistent in what you say and how you describe your brand. Using your own media channels, such as your company blog, social media or thought-leadership pieces on LinkedIn, are an easy way to spread the word. Just make sure that you are on brand.
  • Earned media. Earned media is often the aim of a brand’s PR and social media efforts, including media coverage, social media posts, reviews, and blog mentions. As the average consumer is bombarded with countless advertisements daily, earned media is one way to stand out from the masses.

The following questions will help you when looking for brand-appropriate earned media opportunities:

  1. Is there something unique about your organisation that might interest local, national, or trade-related news outlets?
  2. Do you have existing customers who are possible brand advocates?
  3. Are they willing to tell the world why they’ve had a fantastic experience with your brand?

Why is earned media so effective? It’s simple – customers trust the opinions and experiences of other customers more than any other source available. The road to success may be a bumpy one, but take these tips into account to smoothen your journey as much as possible.

Trying to break into a new market? Drop a message to hello@mutant.com.sg

 

How to determine marketing priorities as a tech startup

As a tech startup owner, you’re faced with a multitude of challenges and anxieties as you think of ways to grow your business. Budgeting, resourcing, manpower, business development are all high up on the list, but so is marketing, which often doesn’t get the due it deserves. That’s because startups don’t know where to begin and have trouble identifying key priorities. And we get it — with so many options and so much jargon thrown around, it can be a confusing.

Take a step back, breathe and focus on one thing at a time. Here’s a few tips to help you determine your marketing priorities:

Audience group

Get the ball rolling by identifying your target audience. What are you trying to sell and who is it for? Do you have a brand voice in place? If not, focus on concurrently establishing your brand voice.

Whatever your end product or service is, defining your audience group allows you to identify the best marketing and media channels allowing for a more streamlined marketing strategy. For example, if you’re in the business of developing a payroll system, consider channeling your funds towards platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter for your digital marketing, instead of consumer-facing platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

Budget

Here comes the word that no startup owner wants to hear – budget. As a startup running on a lean budget, every dollar counts, but that doesn’t mean compromising on marketing. Expensive marketing doesn’t necessarily equate to good marketing and vice-versa.  Relying solely on your product attributes sounds idyllic, but more often than not, it isn’t enough.

We’re living in a digital age and this means you should take advantage of online channels and social media – after all, it’s free to use and easy to set up. Also, explore other avenues such as user-generated content, blogs and white-papers instead of spending money on advertising.

Define outcomes

Every marketing campaign has to have clearly defined outcomes and objectives. To do that, you need to identify where your company sits in the growth cycle.  If it’s still early days, brand awareness and data generation should be part of your KPIs. The data you acquire from these efforts will help define future campaigns too.

However, if you’re startup has taken off beyond the brand awareness stage, you should focus on ramping up sales and building a lead gen pipeline, meaning it’s time to reassess your marketing priorities and make necessary shifts.   
For B2B brands this means focusing on content marketing, while consumer-facing startups may consider giveaways and social media flash deals to excite their consumers. User-generated content is a great way to create buzz around your brand — not only is it free, it also considerably improves brand engagement.

Suggested reads:

If you need help getting started with your marketing priorities, drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg 

Turn user-generated content into Digital Marketing gold

Is your social media strategy starting to feel a bit stale? Do you feel like you are running out of content to post? More importantly, are you having difficulty connecting with your audience? User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content that is created for a brand by its fans – ranging from online reviews to customer photos on Instagram. While the brand gets free content and promotion, users are rewarded with discounts or similar offerings. Consumers trust peer recommendations more than any other type of advertising, so your audience is more likely to trust your brand if the content is user-generated. Simply put – it’s marketing gold!

But how do you incorporate it into your existing strategy? Carrying out a successful UGC campaign requires a thorough understanding of your audience and a well thought-out strategy. Stumped on ideas? Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Create a buzz

If you want people to be speaking about your brand, you need to give them a good reason! From Coca Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign where they swapped their logo for random names, to Starbucks’ festive ‘Red Cup Contest’ campaign, there’s a number of different ways you can create a buzz for your brand with products. One of the more recent UGC campaigns that got everyone talking was #castmemarc

Popular fashion designer Marc Jacobs took to social media, announcing that he’s casting models for his next advertising campaign from Twitter and Instagram submissions. The campaign generated over 15,000 submissions in just 24 hours from fashionistas around the world! Needless to say, this led to a trend of ‘selfie-casting’ with companies using social media to discover the next face for their campaigns.

UGC idea for your brand: Create a campaign completely bespoke to your brand that has not been done before, think outside the box!

Suggested read: Writing for Social: Why one size just doesn’t fit all

Leverage the power of the #

A hashtags is the most popular way of initiating UGC. Used effectively, it can spread like wildfire. A brand that’s slaying the UGC hashtag game is the renowned online retailer ASOS. Creating a curated page on their website for #AsSeenOnMe, customer could submit their images via Instagram or upload them directly.

While that already created a lot of buzz, ASOS went a step further making every shared image shoppable, linking it to the product item featured in the image. 

UGC idea for your brand: Add customer photos to product pages

Offer cool rewards

You don’t have to give out discount codes or pay anyone? It can be as simple as sharing the content of users. When it comes to UGC, the smallest gesture of appreciation of a ‘like’ or a ‘share’ can go a long way. In 2015, National Geographic launched their ‘Wanderlust Contest’ campaign, encouraging users to post photos with the #WanderlustContest hashtag, for the chance to win a National Geographic photo expedition to Yosemite National Park.

The idea took flight – the campaign photos were featured on their website with their hashtag still generating over 60,000 posts. Campaigns of this nature underline the power of the hashtag, in conjunction with a creative, shareable reward.

UGC idea for your brand: Offer rewards to customers who write reviews

Make its easy for users to generate content

Having a UGC strategy is a great idea, until it becomes complex. Keep your platforms easy to coordinate, straightforward and fuss-free. This way you won’t be putting off your users from engaging. Take GoPro as an example, the GoPro product is literally a content creation machine, coming from the better-known phrase it’s a ‘video camera’. Yes, this is a given advantage, but, as much as GoPro’s product lends itself to UGC, you still need to make it happen. GoPro recognised this and made it happen, introducing their DIY product to the world allowing us to share our experiences, like those in the below GoPro user-generated clip:

Similarly, creating tools and platforms to enable your customers to share content without the fancy software makes a world of difference to encouraging UGC for your brand. Empower users to capture, create, share and enjoy their own work with others – to your brand’s benefit.

UGC idea for your brand: Introduce a platform that is easy to use with simple guidelines to follow for your users

Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg to see how we can help you create your own user-generated content.

 

 

 

More than words – why PR should embrace data

The world of PR is more than words. As data is becoming increasingly democratised, ‘big data’ buzzwords are flooding into every industry – including PR. While the days of merely managing relationships and clippings are over, data is a highly crucial factor for successful campaigns today. PR professionals are experts in creating original media angles and pitching stories. But data can help to refine and sharpen these angles even further.

Many tech companies find it difficult to justify or see the immediate value of hiring PR. However, the business insights of companies can be the missing piece that helps to showcase thought leadership, gives a new market perspective and makes stories more interesting to the media and their readers.

PR is not product release

Product news releases are a big part of the PR world, but editorial teams have taken a strict stance on not publishing anything too closely-related to product releases. In today’s world, readers are far more discerning about advertising and sponsored content, therefore it’s crucial for media outlets to be objective. This makes it even harder for smaller companies to be heard at all. So, why would companies still hire PR professionals to create and distribute product releases?

A mere product release no longer has much impact in today’s busy media world. Data doesn’t just indicate a number of PR hits – it can actually proof points. Putting things into perspective, data can offer context and new PR angles. Using simple metrics, companies can share their real success stories. No matter if it’s the launch of a new product or industry trends – all of it can easily be quantified with ROI and other gathered data.

Turning data into insights

Collecting data before the conception of the PR campaign can offer key insights, shining a new light on the company’s product release. The successful communication of new products needs not only the accurate description of its benefits but demands a wider business context and key insights from the market. For example, a company offering ICT solutions won’t receive much media coverage with a mere product release. However, paired with a survey insight, such as ‘95% of APAC CIOs are actively seeking help with the digital transformation of their companies’, a product release can become major industry news.

Here are 4 tips to incorporate data into your PR strategy:
  1. Analyse product and market
  2. Interpret data with focus on product-market fit
  3. Align product communication with key market or business insight
  4. Design PR campaign around insights and product

Once you have collated your data from your research, it needs to be interpreted. An analysis is essential in this situation. PR professionals need to be able to slice, dice, and analyse data that drives new insights and interests journalists, whilst ensuring the company is represented in the best possible way.

Need some help to strengthen your PR messages with insightful data? Drop us a message to hello@mutant.com.sg

How to Millennial-Proof your Content Marketing

Millennials are often described as confident, liberal, lazy and even indecisive. But, now more than ever, this generation of 18-34-year-olds is recognised for their spending power, which is predicted to reach about $1.4 trillion annually in 2020. No surprise then that every brand wants to catch this generation. But getting and holding their attention is no small feat – especially when it comes to online behaviour. Millennials react differently to trigger points because of the overwhelming presence of technology in their lives (think Snapchat and Instagram). It also makes them the most informed generation!

Effective content marketing starts with a great storyline, so in order to connect with this generation, you need to find a story to tell. So how does one intrigue this bunch and hold their attention?

Here are five tactics that can help with your Millennial content marketing:

Don’t curate, create original content

Creating original content gives your brand unique value online. Initiate the conversation! Original content, in the form of an e-book, infographics or blogs, also works exceedingly well as a lead gen tool, especially to drive traffic to your landing page. Better still – Google loves original content especially if it’s useful and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly!

Optimise content for social

Social is the new SEO, driving the most significant traffic back to brands. Invest a chunk of your marketing budget in optimising content for social platforms. Short captioned videos need to grab their attention in the first ten seconds. Make sure you keep it crisp, as Millennials don’t wait around to watch long and boring videos!

Lean on data

Using data to analyse the performance of your content can give you an insight into what kind of content potentially turns readers into customers. Use tools like Google Adwords keyword planner to help find relevant keyword phrases that people search for. It will help you to come up with exciting and relevant blog ideas. Similarly, use Google Analytics to track and measure whether your content resonated with your audience and how it performed.

Stick to authenticity

Millennials can spot an ad from a million miles away. So keep your communications, advertisements, and content as authentic as possible. Share real, actionable tips, be transparent in sharing and keep adjectives to a minimum. Most importantly, know your authentic voice and use it effectively to connect. Don’t just market to them.

Make it Insta-worthy

Each piece of content should be designed with Millennials in mind. Feature items that are instantly shareable – both in real life and online. Do also partner with key social media influencers (who breed authenticity) to help spread your story. Brands should prioritise influencer campaigns when marketing to Millennials. They relate to the authenticity of influencer content and prefer the no frills, real, up close and personal nature of the medium the influencers use. When creating content for Millennials, keep in mind what they value as well as where and how they consume content.

Like what you’ve read? Drop a note at hello@mutant.com.sg for a customised content marketing plan for your brand!

 

PR is evolving, and so should you

The way we communicate has completely changed over the past decade, including the concept of Public Relations and the way we do business. Recent office chatter brought up stories of how things were done back in the day. All media clippings were processed in-house and keeping a media list up to date was a job on its own. Today we outsource these services that helps us focus on what’s important.

In a rapidly evolving industry, there is no place for complacency. PR professionals should develop a hunger to learn more and become a specialist in the field. The ability to write an impressive press release and put together an amazing pitch is no longer good enough. The scope has moved far beyond drawing up a media list, writing a press release and following up. In order to make an impact across all platforms, we now have to focus and build relations with key media in the digital and social space. PR professionals or agencies that are not evolving with this landscape will be left behind.

Clients are expecting more. They want to be relevant and make an impact where it matters most. Here’s how PR and marketing can adapt to meet clients’ growing needs and demands.

Access to information in the palm of your hand

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, the way people access information has changed entirely and continues to change. Your target audience have gone from readers to users. Information is readily available to anyone, everywhere, at any time. Make sure you change with the times and keep content interesting, relevant and easy to consume. Check out our blog 3 ways to help bring your content back to life for some tips!

Find the right influencers

PR professionals and brands still dismissing influencers and bloggers as real content creators are committing professional suicide. Influencers are the most connected people today. Their devoted followers trust what they say and many influencers have larger followings than many media outlets. Collaborating with an influencer in your industry is a great way to get traction and interest in your brand or product. A word of caution though — don’t go in blind, it’s important to partner with someone who is relevant and authentic to your audience and brand.

Learn a new skill

The PR scope is getting wider and clients are demanding more. To be able to keep up with the demands, learn a new skill, understand how digital platforms work – it’s the only way to improve your offering.

Content

Content is and will always be king. Having the ability to create compelling and shareable content will make you indispensable. Learn the art of writing for various platforms. Know your audience and create captivating content that will get people talking. Great content adds value to SEO efforts and it encourages engagement, which means your content or brand will be seen.

Public Relations will always be about storytelling and being able adopt a forward thinking approach to how we achieve our targets.

Need help telling your story? Drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg

4 Step guide to defining your brand voice

When it comes to your business, your brand voice is everything (well, almost!). Your voice communicates your brand, core values and the type of relationship you want to have with your consumer. It sets expectations and helps build trust. In fact, your brand voice is so impactful – it can make or break your business. That’s why it’s important to get it right early on.

And yes, we know it’s no easy task creating a voice for your brand. It takes time to get it right so you should never rush it. Take your time and follow these four steps:

Step 1: Who are you?

It’s as simple as that. What is your business all about? At this stage, it is about defining your company values – what you stand for, what makes you unique, and why you exist? And even if you aren’t offering the sexiest product in town, it doesn’t mean you need to come across in a boring manner. Have fun with your brand and really stand out from the crowd! Suggested read: FunTech: Make that content cray

Step 2: Who are you talking to?

First, define your audience. Who is your key customer? Are they likely to respond to a very casual tone with lots of humour? Or perhaps your customers prefer a more corporate approach. Either way, you know your customers, so work out the best way to speak to them.

Get your team together and brainstorm answers to the following:

  • I want my brand to make people feel _______.
  • Three words that describe my brand are _______ , _______ , and _______.
  • I love the brand voice of _______.
  • I dislike the brand voice of _______.

Doing this will really help you define and drive your communications.

Step 3: Strip it back

Ok, so you’ve now identified what your brand represents and who you’re talking to. The next step is to create a list of brand buzzwords and as well, a banned list of words or phrases. Focus on specific things that encompass what your brand represents and decide how you’d like them to be communicated. Here’s your chance to think outside the box and really get creative.

 Step 4: Stimulate visually

Words are one thing, but a picture tells a thousand words. The imagery you use across your marketing should show a brand story and convey a strong message. Try creating a series of graphics that are unique to your brand and match this with quirky copy.

Here’s our favourite example of a brand that’s really created an amazing voice – Vinomofo. Their audience is made up of wine lovers but what makes this brand unique, is how they convey their message to their audience. From the way website looks, to the fun tone used in their copy, all the way through to culture which is clearly represented through the imagery – it all really helps differentiate the Vinomofo brand from any other wine company or distributor around.

Check out the tone of their website bio:

Do yourself a favour and scroll all the way down to the bottom of their home page – make sure you read all the text. It’s so funny and entertaining! It’s rare to find a brand that communicates this way. Reading their content makes you feel like you’re having a direct conversation with Vinomofo –  and they really do have fun communicating their message.

If you need help standing out from the crowd, drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg – we can help you take your brand tone from boring to brilliant!