Digital ThinkingInsights into an evolving online world Spring 2011
IntroductionDoris JuergensI am confident in asserting that NATIONAL’sclient base cuts across all business sectors andall types of organizations: large and small; publicand private; for-profit and not-for-profit. Therange and scope of the collective businesses ofour clients is what makes working at NATIONALso fascinating. In the same way, social mediacuts across all audiences: there is something foreveryone, from mass appeal to obscure interests,from the collective good to the good of a selectfew. And social media can be extremely local orcompletely regionally agnostic.Fortunately for our Firm and for our clients, we For this second edition of Digital Thinking, wehave a group of extremely engaged and devoted asked team members to prepare a blog postprofessionals who make social media their on a topic of interest to them as it relates tobusiness. NATIONAL’s Digital Leadership Team social media. The diversity of subject matterincludes members from all of our offices and all from luxury brands to the regulated environmentof our divisions, including NATIONAL itself, Sonic of pharmaceuticals, is truly a reflection of theBoom Creative Media, our digital media agency, limitless possibilities – and challenges – of digitaland AXON, a specialist healthcare consulting firm. communications. Feel free to contact any one of our DLT members to carry on the conversation, or follow us on Twitter @nationalpr ! Doris Juergens, Partner & Chair, Digital Leadership Team, @juergens
The future of marketing: Convenience The ability to engage the consumer on the goit’s in the palm of your is the main benefit of mobile marketing. Is yourhand website optimized to be accessed on mobile operating systems? Can relevant information beJennifer Shah found quickly and accessed in other applications (such as tapping a phone number to call a storeMobile marketing is more than the latest buzzword. location or highlighting an address to have itIt’s effective and engaging and it’s here to stay. mapped from your current location)?Gartner Research predicts that by 2014, there willbe 6.5 billion mobile connections worldwide. For Contextmarketers, this presents an amazing opportunity Context is getting a relevant message at theto reach people, drive transactions and optimal time. Context drives transactions.enhance loyalty. Location-based services are incredible tools to push messages to customers. Check outBut where to begin? First, remember that mobile McDonald’s recent Foursquare promotion,marketing needs to be integrated into your overall resulting in a 33% increase in check-ins, ormarketing communications strategy, not a distinct Facebook’s decision to allow businesses to offeractivity or ‘‘nice to have” addition. And, it may coupons through its Places feature.not be for everyone – yet – depending on yourtarget audience. Cost Every budget can accommodate mobile marketingFor maximum ROI, consider our four Cs of mobile – it’s not just about splashy mobile applications.marketing: Customer, Convenience, Context Start small with opt-in text messages or an eventand Cost. that offers mobile ticketing. Measure successCustomer and expand your mobile marketing portfolioWho are you targeting, and what are your accordingly.objectives? Not every organization has an Our advice? Use the four Cs of mobile marketingaudience glued to their devices. Perhaps you to evaluate your needs and look at mobile as a keywant to enable a mobile workforce or reach small part of your integrated marketing strategy.business owners looking to save money on officesupplies. Is a mobile application the right tool? For Jennifer Shah,many clients, simple text messages are best to Manager, Marketingpromote time-sensitive and money-saving deals. Communications, Toronto, @jenn_shah
Why we blogBruno GuglielminettiPioneer blogger Justin Hall “created” bloggingback in 1994, but it wasn’t until 2004 that theblog gained popularity as a public publishingplatform.Today, one in four Fortune 500 companiesuses a blog to share its views publicly. A blogserves primarily to position a company with itsaudiences and provides a channel where it canarticulate its corporate vision and its stance onvarious issues.Individual bloggers generally have a somewhatdifferent motivation for blogging. Many people And this is where journalists and influentialstart blogging when they feel that the traditional bloggers cross paths: both provide informationmedia have failed to represent their viewpoint. and both want to attract attention in theirBloggers are passionate about their subject and area of interest. In this context, an influentialgenerally feel that it either isn’t getting enough blogger’s keystrokes are just important as thoseattention or that the media’s views on the topic of a journalist. What they both represent isdon’t align with their own. public opinion.These failings are one of the key reasons that Bruno Guglielminetti,experts and people with a keen interest in a given Manager, Digital Communications,issue feel it is important to express their views Montreal,through blogs, so that the issue can get the @Guglielminettivisibility they feel it deserves. Another key reasonpeople blog is for recognition and enhancedself-worth.For now, more people still read newspapers morethan blogs, but bloggers can generally reach theirtarget audience more quickly.
Bloggers and journalists:toward a singleprofession?Claude ArsenaultBy now, we are all aware of the dramatic shiftoccurring in the media world. Newsrooms areshrinking, revenues are decreasing, readershipis declining. Most people agree that the Web ingeneral and online news outlets in particular havebeen a major factor in this shift. A recent surveyconducted by PRWeek in collaboration with CNWTelbec shows that journalists have seen theirworkload increase over the past year to includeonline reporting and social media presence. I think not. Why? There is significant differenceOn the other hand, bloggers are becoming more between both groups: most bloggers don’tand more influential. Their reach and exposure have to write about a topic that was assigned tohave increased exponentially – not to mention them – in fact, they don’t even have to write attheir credibility. all. Their personal interest can therefore become a greater driver than public interest. BloggersBut the word “blogger” remains hard to define: and journalists also use different sources: whileOnline journalists or citizen reporters? Amateurs bloggers rely heavily on social networks andor professionals? Credible news sources or online sources, journalists turn more frequently torumour mills? offline sources.Although both blogs and traditional outlets are The media world is undoubtedly evolving, andnow considered media by most standards, and more people are seeing their opinion publishedeven though more and more journalists also take and respected. But in a fast-paced environmenton the role of bloggers, can we go as far as to like the Web, care must be taken to establish theassume that bloggers and journalists are blending credibility of authors before giving them our trust,into a single profession? and that is especially true for public relations practitioners who must engage with bloggers for professional purposes. Claude Arsenault, Consultant, Montreal, @cl_arsenault
The new black: luxurybrands embrace digitalJeffrey SpivockThe world’s most famous luxury brands sharesimilar origins – a forward-thinking entrepreneurhad a keen insight into a unique need and createdan innovative solution for a premium price. CocoChanel created clothes for women who soughtto shed their corsets. Christian Dior sensed thehunger of post-war women for a sleek New Look.Louis Vuitton gave the first generation of globe-trotters stylish luggage solutions.Today, luxury retailers continue to set thebenchmark for discriminating shoppers, A recent study found that 71% of Canadiansincluding high-calibre design, differentiated retail visited a store website for shopping information,experiences and concierge-like service. Oddly, and 52% visited a store website before theythey lag in digital marketing as a fundamental visited that store to make the purchase.part of the customer experience. This despite Through exclusive online offers, targeted emailhigh net-worth individuals (HNWI) being among messages, mobile personalized messages, videothe first to embrace new technologies, given their testimonials and other techniques, luxury retailershigher disposable income. can embrace their HWNI audience and stay trueIt seems there’s a fear that “luxury” cannot be to their brand.delivered in a digital format, which simply isn’t the As more consumers embrace digital as a waycase. Consider Net-a-porter.com, for example, of life, retailers need to step up their game andwhich became a $600 million company in less embrace it. A simple website or a lone Facebookthan five years by making luxury accessible and page does not honour the entrepreneurial spiritdelivering its products to your front door. of the founders. Truly integrated digital marketingDigital marketing isn’t just about the transaction, enables a brand to glean further customerbut enhancing and adding value to the customer insights, provide more personalized service andexperience. When customers seek information deliver both meaningful and unique benefits.about a brand – whether via their laptop, tablet or What could be more luxurious than that?mobile device – the online experience becomes acritical touchpoint in the purchase decision. Jeffrey Spivock, Senior Consultant, Toronto, @JeffRetail
Digital ideation: sourcing The “My Starbucks Idea” is another example of crowdsourcing done well. The initiative is aimedgreat ideas from your fans at retaining customer loyalty for the coffee giant by giving fans an avenue to share their ideas forMark van Tol making Starbucks better. Everyone votes on theCrowdsourcing is one of those new digital words ideas and the best ones are implemented by theon everybody’s lips. It’s become hugely popular company.because it is cost-effective, engages your target As these examples demonstrate, digital marketingaudience and can provide a brand with a much can be a great way to engage your fans in yourneeded breath of fresh air. brand. Keep in mind that the right incentive is notCrowdsourcing is really the “outsourcing” of always money – it can be a unique experience,ideation to the general public or a specific a job, or recognition. It’s important to align theinvested community. When successful, a crowd incentive with your “ask”. The more you demandsourcing campaign can create buzz, viral content, from your community, the greater the incentiveand positive media coverage – all for a relatively should be.small investment. Crowdsourcing develops a connection betweenSo when should companies consider stepping in organizations and their audiences. By askingthe fray? for direct input from your fans and followers, it not only leads to great ideas but also a sense ofUnderstanding your audience is paramount. ownership and possession of your brand, whichWithout this your campaign will never blossom. engenders true customer loyalty and audienceYou want your crowdsourcing program to build engagement.brand loyalty and ultimately drive purchasedecision. The more engaged participants are, the Mark van Tol,better the ideas will be. Consultant, Toronto,For example, Chiquita’s Banana’s recent sticker @mvtdesign contest invited consumers to visit Eat aChiquita.com and asked them to design theirown personalized stamp on the classic sticker.Winning designs will be featured on millions ofpeels. It’s a fun and unique contest, using videoand other tools to facilitate sharing.
Digital marketing in asocial worldCarolyn RayOver the last five years, Facebook, Twitter andother digital marketing tools have dramaticallyand permanently altered the way businessesinteract with customers. Never have we had somany new and exciting opportunities to engagewith diverse audiences.But are Canadian organizations embracing digitalmarketing in a big way, or are we still waitingfor the light to go on? Recently, I attended theCanadian Marketing Association’s Digital Dayin Toronto. With speakers from Molson, HP, Looking into 2011, savvy marketers shouldIvanhoe Cambridge and others integrating digital consider integrating mobile and video into theirmarketing as part of their overall marketing marketing communications strategy. Hailed as thecommunications strategy, it’s clear that digital next frontier, mobile goes far beyond applicationsmarketing tools such as Facebook, blogs, and includes location based services, badges,micro-blogging and email campaigns are no SMS contests, mobile advertising, couponing andlonger optional. Bluetooth notifications. With its ability to stimulateFuelled by the recession, businesses are viral movements, online video marketing is anmigrating from traditional vehicles to Facebook, engaging way to create preference and affinity.search-engine advertising and email campaigns. As marketing communications professionals,In Ipsos Reid’s annual Digital Marketing study, we have an incredible opportunity to use digital66% of senior management are very interested in tools to drive dialogue and influence choice,digital marketing, an increase of 10%. and help brands become more relevant to theirIn North America, 70% of marketers use search- target consumer in an increasingly connected andengine marketing (SEM) and search-engine social world.optimization (SEO), up from 56% just two yearsago. With 89% of consumers using search, SEM/ Carolyn Ray,SEO is fundamental. Social marketing sites, Vice President,such as Facebook, have increased significantly, Marketing Communications,with 52% usage (from 35% in 2009). However, Toronto, @dialoguedivaraydespite the increase in micro-blogging and highconsumer awareness of Twitter, only 8% ofCanadians use Twitter.
Getting noticed ina cluttered mediaenvironmentNadia PaquetEven with the growing popularity of socialmedia, the so-called traditional media are still anessential news source with a decisive influenceon public opinion. Last year, daily newspapersin Canada sold over 4.1 million copies everyday. Many people still see newspapers asmore credible than their instant-access webcounterparts.But the traditional media are adapting to the newdigital reality by changing the way they do things. You can make the most of the informationThey are offering new avenues for distributing overload in newsrooms by ensuring your contentcontent, as evidenced by their websites and is carefully adapted and of the highest quality.journalists’ blogs. In this context, journalists appreciate your customized suggestions since they stand outHow do you stand out in this environment from the rest and satisfy their needs.of information overload and beleagueredjournalists? In addition, the traditional media must focus on depth and analysis to remain competitive. Let’sA recent survey commissioned by give them content they can use to put the newsanInconvenientPRtruth.com made an alarming into perspective.finding: 78% of news releases emailed tojournalists – to the tune of more than 1.7 billion More than ever, public relations specialistsannually – are considered irrelevant. need to be relevant by providing their clients with a personalized media strategy adaptedToday, it’s no longer enough to put a release on to each media outlet and a credible, availablethe newswire and follow it up with a generic call. spokesperson who understands this reality,Greater effort is required up front since, more regardless of the platform.than ever, communication is a two-way street.Regardless of the media outlet, it’s important to Nadia Paquet,be relevant and serve the needs of its audience. Manager, Media Strategy, Montréal, @nadiapaquet
Rx to communicate: the Physicians themselves are embracing social media and trusting online education and patient-e-patient will see you now support resources. Tactics like brand-sponsored patient communities (such as PKU.com and theMario Nacinovich HER Story Community), non-brand sponsoredAcross the multidisciplinary fields of healthcare, communities (such as dLIfe and Patients Likesocial media is thriving and facilitating Me) and exclusive healthcare professionalunderstanding through the availability of health communities (DocCheck, Medscape Physicianinformation sources, dynamic communication Connect and Sermo) are changing the landscape.tools and two-way ongoing symmetrical Bottom line: social media is empowering patientsconversations. Nowhere is there a greater need to to seek solutions and this, in part, is improvingmeet the demand for increased communication connections with healthcare providers online andand trust than between patient and healthcare off. While we are witnessing dynamic evolutionpractitioners and patient and healthcare brands. within many healthcare systems around thePew Research recently reported that 60% of globe with the diagnosis and treatment of variouspeople search for the health experiences of illnesses or medical conditions, the touchpoints“someone like me.” E-patients are using social and channels that are being advanced online aremedia to gain other patients’ perspectives helping provide a holistic approach to addressingon decision-making and beyond. With blogs, unmet patient needs and communicating withFacebook communities and daily tweets of health patients on their terms.status or information, social media in healthcare From physician practices to pharmaceuticalis changing the very practice of medicine. companies, we must now consider how bestWhile there are concerns across many healthcare to connect with patients and facilitate ansystems regarding legal and privacy issues, the unparalleled and ongoing engagement.social media conversation is proving difficult toregulate. E-patients are finding new ways to seek Mario Nacinovich,diagnostic support with healthcare professionals. Managing Director,And in some countries, branded and unbranded AXON, New York,product education and promotions from @nacinovichmarketers in the pharmaceutical, biotech, medicaldevice and diagnostics industries are driving theonline conversation.
Pharma goes socialElisabeth Mozel-JuryFor many industries, social media have becomea standard element integrated into theirproduct and company marketing plans. Thepharmaceutical industry, however, has laggedbehind, dissuaded by both the real and perceivedbarriers posed by the industry’s stringentregulatory environment. However, with 70% ofonline Canadians accessing – and discussing –health information online, the time for keeping ourhead in the sand is over.The reality is that even if you, as a company, arenot driving online content about your brands, Beyond ensuring that a branded or disease-the general public likely is. Patients are sharing specific campaign aligns with Health Canada’sthe specifics of their treatments, symptoms and imperatives, any initiative must also beprogress online. Regular monitoring can help monitored regularly to ensure that any UGC,marketers understand the concerns of patients as such as comments, photo or video uploads,well as the misinformation that is online. All of this or forum posts do not move the site into non-helps inform a comprehensive marketing strategy compliance. As the owner of the site or page,both on and offline. your organization maintains responsibility forOnce you have the lay of the online world, the content, even when it isn’t yours – and mustthe question becomes how and when to start remove any content that falls outside of whatinvolving social media proactively in your is allowable. Having disclaimers on the site, orplans. Recently the Pharmaceutical Advertising tools in place to allow vetting of UGC before it isAdvisory Board and Advertising Standards posted can help maintain a compliant site.Canada opened the door for those who want Our advice for pharmaceutical companies? Maketo take the plunge and start engaging online. In the move to social media, and when you do, bea nutshell, their stance is that it is possible to sure to navigate the regulations and understandcreate sites or pages that allow user-generated how to reach your audience effectively.content (UGC) but it is important to note thatany online activity related to pharmaceuticals is Elisabeth Mozel-Jury,considered advertising. Senior Consultant, Toronto, @LizMo
Garbage in, garbage out: Monitoring consumer brands is especially problematic. At least 80% of social mediathe perils of unexamined postings and conversations about most brandssocial media monitoring consist of mass-produced invitations to purchase the product. Automated filters are helpfuland measurement but still leave behind far too much unwanted and irrelevant material to take at face value.Casian Moscovici Commercial blogs, tweets and postings areNo less an authority than Wikipedia informs us so cleverly disguised as information or normalthat Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO) is a phrase conversation, it is virtually impossible for eventhat was popular in the early days of computing, the most sophisticated algorithms to filter out allbut applies even more today, when powerful the spam.computers can spew out mountains of erroneous What can we do about this deluge of garbageand irrelevant information in a short time. that overwhelms filters and makes a mockeryBlogs, tweets, forum postings and shared videos of the pretty charts and tables generated byand pictures are certainly not exempt from the our well-meaning but oblivious tools? There areGIGO disease. Loaded with rants, spam, lies two approaches.and advertising disguised as information, social One is to use monitoring tools and services thatmedia postings cannot be collected, analyzed or index selected social media sources which haveacted upon without an examination of their origin, been vetted for relevance and authenticity. Theprovenance and content. other is to manually select a sample of relevantSuch examination requires hard work and healthy and legitimate posts, tweets and conversationsskepticism from analysts, researchers, brand for analysis and reporting.managers, communications staff and anyone The choice, of course, depends on manyelse interested in social media conversations. variables, but whatever approach is selected, toWe can’t leave quality control to Google or the report monitoring and analysis results based onsocial media aggregation tools and services we unexamined and poorly filtered data is neitheremploy to provide content for our monitoring and honest nor accurate. We must provide reportsanalyses. Our clients and colleagues depend on based on legitimate sources and authenticour expertise and judgment. conversations to properly understand and measure the social media presence, reputation, penetration and influence of our organizations, brands and campaigns. Casian Moscovici, Vice President, Research, Toronto
Tweeting your way to a While social media is more than the one-way pushing of information, any IR program alreadyliquid stock responds to inquiries and engages in discussions with its investors. Just as the concern aboutPeter Block disclosing non-public material information at aFor many small to mid-sized companies, getting conference does not prevent companies fromattention is always a challenge. The historical attending, similar concerns should not barreliance on analysts and the media does not work the use of tools to reach those interested inwhen there are fewer sell-side analysts (Ernst & your company.Young estimated a drop of more than 80 per cent A good IR program informs investors about theover the last decade) and reporters. company, enhancing liquidity and improving theSocial media can address that void, but many efficiency of the market. A recent University ofcompanies have a degree of trepidation when Michigan study found that dissemination of newsthe subject is raised. It is either seen as a via Twitter was associated with lower bid/askconsiderable investment of additional time spreads, particularly for smaller companies withand effort or a significant disclosure risk that few analysts covering them.is best avoided. So let’s discuss what an Social media need not be intimidating,“integrated investor relations” program can do for excessively time consuming or a risk ofyour company. violating securities rules. Rather, it can helpInvestor relations (IR) is a two-way flow of keep a disparate group of investors informedinformation between a public company and the and engaged about what is taking place atinvestment community. Social media allows your company, allowing them to make betterusers to disseminate information using highly investment decisions.accessible and scalable publishing techniques.“Integrating” them can be done by: Peter Block, Vice President, • Posting your investor presentation on Financial Communications, SlideShare Toronto, @PeterBlock • Uploading any corporate videos to YouTube • Joining relevant industry discussion groups on LinkedIn • Inviting investors to submit written questions in advance of your next quarterly conference call via your website. Answer the questions on the call and post the transcript • Creating and keeping current a Wikipedia page dedicated to your company • Using Twitter to push corporate announcements and send links to relevant industry developments
For 35 years, NATIONAL Public Relations hashelped Canada’s leading organizations reachtheir business goals with bold thinking that drivesinnovative communications solutions. And for over15 years, Sonic Boom Creative Media has helpedclients understand, embrace and optimize themassive potential of the digital world. Togetherwe have the strategic, creative, technological andsubject matter expertise to help you seize thepotential of the digital landscape.Contact us: email@example.com twitter.com/nationalpr