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PR Trend: Influencer Marketing

“Influencer marketing” is the modern day equivalent to celebrity endorsements, a marketing tactic that’s been around for decades. These days, partnering with Instagram stars and YouTube phenomenons is a whole new way to advertise.

“Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or they may be involved as third parties. These third parties can be spotted either within the supply chain (retailers, manufacturers, etc.) or among the so-called value-added influencers (such as journalists, academics, industry analysts, and professional advisers)” –Wikipedia

What’s the Difference?

The difference between celeb endorsements and influencer marketing is the idea that the campaign is a “collaboration” between the brand and the influencer. Everyone benefits from the deal. More of the brand’s products are purchased, while the influencer gains a few hundred new followers.

“YouTuber PewDiePie teamed up with the makers of a horror film set in the French catacombs under Paris, creating a series of videos in which he underwent challenges in the catacombs. It was pitch-perfect content for PewDiePie’s 27 million subscribers, and received nearly double the views as the movie’s trailer. Everybody won.” –Influencer Marketing

Another main difference between the two is the accessibility of influencers. These social media masters can be anyone– from a makeup guru to a gaming star on YouTube, there are more influencers populating the internet than ever before, and they’re often looking to be sponsored by brands.

YouTuber Zoella

Pros:

The benefit of this type of advertising is the humanization of a brand, which leads to an increase in sales. Influencers speak directly to their fans with their content, often personalizing their relationships with followers through interactions on social media. And what’s better than buying a product that your favorite YouTuber endorses? People want to buy products that are supported by the people they admire and trust.

  • “In a survey, 82% of consumers said they were highly likely to follow a micro-influencer recommendation on a product or service.
  • 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.”

-HubSpot.

Another pro of influencer marketing is that it allows you to target the exact audience you are trying to reach. According to Grin, “This is the reason why most apparel brands prefer to collaborate with fashion influencers and beauty or skincare brands prefer to work with beauty influencers. Because it helps them reach an audience that’s likely to be interested in their offerings.”

Cons:

It’s important to find the right influencer to represent your brand. According to Brand24, “There are some rare cases when influencer marketing campaign backfired. Either the influencer profile didn’t suit the brand, the content was ill-prepared, or there was some other type of social media crisis.” If the wrong influencer is given temporary power over your brand and it goes wrong, this can be extremely detrimental to your business and its image as a whole.

There are pros and cons to everything, especially this new concept of influencer marketing. I’m curious to see it develop further in the world of PR and advertising.

Public Relations Is Not “Spin”

A Brief History of Public Relations

In the 1920s, Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee coined the word “public relations” in America. Back then, PR was considered to be propaganda, as it was used to promote both sides of the First World War and other controversial efforts. During the second half of the 20th century, however, the concept of PR expanded as various principles were established and it developed into a legitimate profession. According to Wikipedia, “In the early 2000s, press release services began offering social media press releases. The Cluetrain Manifesto, which predicted the impact of social media in 1999, was controversial in its time. But by 2006, the effect of social media and new internet technologies became broadly accepted.”

PR’s Many Titles

PR has had many different titles since the turn of the century. To name a few: damage control, image/reputation management, publicity, and the most hated, “spin.” This a dated word that gives the profession a negative connotation, its roots stemming in PR’s past in propaganda. But this no longer aligns with PR’s role in society.

What Is “Spin?”

Spin (noun): a particular way of representing an event or situation to the public so that it will be understood in a way that you want it to be understood. –Cambridge Dictionary

AKA…a way to save face and alter a story in order to avoid a negative audience reaction.

Why PR Isn’t “Spin”

“Spin is too simple a term for the work PR practitioners do. Sure, they seek to influence, but also counsel, market, promote, and advocate for their brands and clients. Simply put, PR is much more than spin.”

PR Weekly

In our current political climate, unfortunately, “the only time the average person sees a public relations professional is when they are advising a politician or celebrity or apologizing for a corporate screw-up.” (e-releases) But PR is so much more than that. It is brand development and building an image that showcases personality, values and talent. It is connecting with your audience and giving back to the organizations that improve our lives. It is remaining accountable, transparent and honest when something doesn’t go to plan. It is engaging users and producing excellent content. It is building lasting relationships.

Sp*n is a gross word. Let’s get rid of it for good.

The AM:PM PR Hall of Fame: 1D World

As a new member of the team at AM:PM, I’ve been reading up on the agency’s past clients and projects. I recently came across this fun 2013 campaign, and I was so impressed by it! So, without further ado, I hereby conduct AM:PM’s 2013 1D World Campaign into the agency’s official Hall of Fame. 🙂

In 2013, one of the most popular boy bands in the world, One Direction, embarked on a massive tour around the U.S. and Europe. Although hitting many major cities along the way, naturally the guys couldn’t stop everywhere. To satisfy disappointed “Directioners,” the 1D pop-up shop, known as “1D World,” was born. With this temporary store, super fans would have the opportunity to snag an array of  merch and immerse themselves in the 1D experience, even without the band there to perform.

Because Portland was one of the skipped cities, it was chosen as a test market for the pop-up shop that would open in June of 2013. The 1D World store hired AM:PM PR to generate local buzz among fans leading up to the opening, plus maintain interest during the two weeks the store ran.

The Band

One Direction were an English-Irish pop boy band based in London, composed of Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik. Simon Cowell formed and signed the group in 2010 after the guys competed on the British singing show, The X Factor. 1D has won around 200 awards over the years, completed four world tours, and ranked as the second highest-earning celebrities in the world. When the band announced their hiatus in 2015, they broke millions of teenage girl hearts.

In short, they’re a pretty big deal.

Photo by The Daily Mail

1D World: The PR Plan

AM:PM used a combination of media relations, social networking engagement and strategic advertising to execute this campaign.

Location: Pioneer Place Mall, downtown Portland.

Date: June 8th, 2013.

Target audience: Young females, (“Directioners”) ages 9-17.

Objectives:

  • Attract fans to wait in line on opening day.
  • Generate fan buzz on social networks before the store’s opening and through the duration.
  • Increase followers on Facebook and Twitter for 1D World.
  • Earn media coverage for the store opening.
  • Encourage fans/customers to share their experiences online.

Goal: Show fans that this pop-up store offered a special experience provided by the band itself.

Media Coverage

AM:PM invited media to attend the grand opening of 1D World to witness the remarkable reaction of fans. The Oregonian covered the announcement of the pop-up shop and interviewed fans outside of the store on opening day. AM:PM also partnered with Portland’s Top 40 radio stations to provide tickets to the 1D concert in Seattle and gift certificates to the pop-up shop. Fangirls across Twitter freaked.

Social Media

AM:PM interacted with Portland’s 1D fans on Twitter, offering early entry store passes to five dedicated Directioners with the most followers. They also mentioned the prizes fans could win while in the store, like signed merch.

In order to maintain excitement through out the two weeks the store was open, AM:PM created in-store posters inviting customers to share pictures online of their shopping experiences at 1D World. AM:PM also created a FB/YouTube contest encouraging fans to create music videos using the band’s tunes. This increased online buzz significantly as video entries flooded YouTube.

Research

  • Facebook and Twitter were the most popular social media platforms at the time of this campaign.
  • 1D regional fans on Twitter were hungry for any 1D-related news, gossip and tidbits, and were eager for 1D to visit Portland. (There were a ton of videos on YouTube of young girls begging for the boys to visit.)
  • The main radio stations in Portland for 1D fans were Radio Disney, Z100, and The Buzz.

The Challenges

  • AM:PM was contacted about this campaign in May of 2013 with a plan to open the pop-up shop the following month. This gave just 15 days of planning.
  • The opening day of 1D World was the same morning as Portland’s annual Rose Festival Parade. Media would be preoccupied, and the street in front of the mall would be closed off. Crowds would be difficult to draw.
  • Much of the merchandise sold at 1D World would be available at other stores and online for half the price.

The Outcome

The morning of June 3rd 2013 was insane. More than 100 screaming fans lined up for the store’s grand opening beginning at 7 a.m. The Rose Festival wasn’t going to stop them. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all blew up, resulting in an increase of Facebook interactions by 5-fold for the client. 1D world flooded with teens and tweens through out the day, all ecstatic to pose with life-size cutouts of the boys and buy a variety of 1D themed jewelry, hats, calendars and t-shirts. The campaign was a success.

“Being older than the demographic, I completely underestimated the draw of a 1D pop-up store. When our first tweet announcing the  store spread like wildfire, I started to remember what I was like as a super fan of Duran Duran. Engaging with these fans ended up being one of the most rewarding efforts we’ve undertaken. Their excitement was contagious, and when I saw the line of kids and their parents who arrived hours before the opening, I couldn’t help, but to adore them even more.”

-Allison McCormick, AM:PM Co-Founder

The Spotlight Award

AM:PM PR received an award for this campaign at the 2013 PRSA Spotlight Awards! PRSA recognizes skillfully executed PR campaigns locally and internationally each year. AM:PM’s viral social networking/ media outreach campaign, executed just fifteen days before the store’s opening, earned them this award.

Finding Your Creative Niche

What Is It?

Niche (noun): a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted.Merriam-Webster Dictionary

You’ve probably heard this word before. It’s commonly used in the world of ad, business and PR…but what can it mean for you?

A niche is what you do best, what you’re passionate about, and what sets you apart from the crowd.  These days, uniqueness is essential when it comes to promoting a product, business or brand successfully. A niche brand targets a specific audience or group of people, and offers what other brands don’t.

“Niche branding, also called narrow branding, is connecting with your audience (customers and prospects) in a targeted way that focuses on their needs and circumstances, not on you or your product.” Your Brand Inc

Successful Niche Brands and Products

Finding Your Niche

What do you enjoy doing? Do you write about music? Vlog while shopping for clothes? Film your own cooking show? Whatever it is you may enjoy, you can likely make a brand out of it. Want to learn how? Check out this article on Wordstream for these tips and more:

  • Know your target niche inside out
  • Solve your audience’s problems
  • Listen to your audience

My Niche

As a music blogger, I have a lot of competition. There are countless music blogs all over the internet, so it’s often difficult to produce content that no one has seen before. So, when I first started my blog in 2014, I targeted a very specific audience: teenage music/concert fangirls. I chose this audience because at the time, I was one too! I was always looking for blogs and websites that catered to my specific interests, and never found one that fit. So I launched my own.

My first few, niche posts (please keep in mind that I wrote these posts more than five years ago, haha):

Although my blog’s content has changed a lot since my fangirl days, one thing has stayed the same: I strive to produce music-related content that readers/music fans can’t find anywhere else. That’s my niche.

AM:PM PR’s Niche

Strategy is our niche. Good communicators are first good listeners. No two clients are the same. We work with your objectives in mind and build strategies focused on results. Whether you want to position your organization, connect with your audiences, sell a new product or need help managing a crisis, we believe effective communications are rooted in such timeless principles.

-Sophie

Meet AM:PM PR’s Newest Intern!

Hello!

Sophie Cettina here, AM:PM’s newest intern. I’ll be managing the agency’s blog and social media over the next few months. I’m thrilled to be here! 🙂

Bio

I graduated from the University of Oregon last month, where I earned a B.A. in Journalism/PR. When I wasn’t studying, I spent my time as a DJ at KWVA, UO’s college radio station. On the air, I played my favorite music and then discussed it as my alter ego, “DJ Vu.” (It’s a spin on the word “déjà vu”…haha, so punny!) My show, The Half Moon Tavern, was live every Thursday afternoon. My favorite part of being a DJ was receiving phone calls from listeners–sometimes, people would call to let me know how much they enjoyed the music I’d picked, or they’d call just to chat about artists and records. It’s pretty fun to share your music with the world in that way.

4 Fun Facts About Me

  1. I have a pet cockatiel named Quincy and two backyard chickens. (#PutaBirdOnIt!)
  2. My favorite movie is School of Rock starring Jack Black. (Stick it to the man, dude.)
  3. I write poetry and short stories.
  4. I have a tattoo of a chicken (that I drew myself) on my left ankle.

My Personal Blog

I’m a huge music nerd, and I love to write. My music blog, A Perfect Playlist, launched five years ago, and it’s grown so much since then! I post interviews with artists from around the world, concert and album reviews, tips and tricks on how to meet your favorite artists, and other music-related content. (Follow A Perfect Playlist on Instagram to stay up to date!)

Why PR?

I’m a storyteller with a passion for public relations, content development and music. I’m often asked, “you’re so excited about both music and PR. How do those two connect for you?” The answer is easy: I believe in the idea that songs are stories. As an avid storyteller, I know the power of words and connecting with an audience, just as songs do.

I’m so excited to help AM:PM tell their story.

-Sophie

Connect with me:

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn

Portland Business Alliance Business After Hours Hosted at AMPM PR headquarters

AM:PM PR Hosts Portland Business Alliance’s September After Hours Event

Who:

Come one, come all!

What:

Portland Business Alliance events  are among the highest-quality networking and professional development gatherings in the Portland region. Each month a different member hosts Business After Hours. These evening events offer attendees the opportunity to create new business relationships by networking in a relaxed setting that offers delicious appetizers, door prizes, and refreshments.

When:

September 12th, 5-7pm

Where:

AM:PM PR

2006 SE Clinton St.
Portland, OR 97206

Why:

Burrasca PDX Cyrkus Inc and Willamette Valley Pinot

It will be fun and worthwhile, of course. Also, this month’s raffle prizes include a magnum of Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012 Elton Pinot Noir donated AM:PM PR’s officemates/digital agency partner, Cyrkus Inc. and a $100 gift certificate for Portland’s best Tuscan soul food donated by AM:PM PR neighbor, Burrasca.

 

New Seasons and Fifty Licks Ice Cream Division Clinton

Thanks to our another generous neighbor and the friendliest store in town, we’ll be serving fresh fruit, mezze, beer and wine from New Seasons. And, just to sweeten the deal, Fifty Licks, will be sharing their famous ice cream as a sweet treat. That’s right. We like to spoil people that come visit us. It’s the neighborhood way.

Want to come? 

Learn more and register here:

 

 

Digital Detox Time

My Self Prescribed Digital Detox

Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat. Instagram. Pinterest. Facebook. Snapchat… This is the endless cycle I find myself repeating for hours every day. At 24 I am CONSUMED by media. If I’m not on my phone looking something up then I’m on my laptop scrolling through endless content. I can’t escape cyberspace. More often than not social media is flooded with either horribly painful news that makes me question the state of humanity or doctored up photos that makes me question what I’m doing with my life and how I look. It’s exhausting and draining to be consumed by such a beast, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. I need a digital detox.

“To remove social media from my life would be like cutting off a appendage that is poisoning me, I know I should do it, but I can’t bring myself to.”

I grew up in the early 90’s, which means as I emerged into adolescence and adulthood so did the monster of the internet and the boom of social media. At this point for me and my generation, social media is an extension of us and our personal brands. To remove social media from my life would be like cutting off an appendage that is poisoning me, I know I should do it, but I can’t bring myself to.

So how do you not let the internet consume your life? Digital detox.

It would be foolish to tell you to completely cut yourself off from your phone. But detoxing can be another solution. Like we detox toxins from our bodies we also need to digitally detox and clear our minds from the constant stream of information. Why? The average person spends four hours a day on their phones. Along with that shocking statistic another is that the average American checks their phone over 150 TIMES A DAY unconsciously! As someone who works in media and loves to be in the know detoxing seems like a near impossible task for me. It led me to wonder, how do you start to consciously unwind yourself from the constant need to know what is going on while still maintaining your online presence?

Some ways I try to detox social media from my life:

  • Delete negative people. Like spring cleaning your house, cleaning out your social media gives you a chance to take into stock what you really want to see and eliminate accounts that cause negative feelings.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode. By doing this your phone is still on but the need to check your notification disappears by not allowing any notifications to pop-up until you turn this mode off. This takes away the sometimes constant nagging need people have to check their phones.
  • Turn your phone off for an hour a day. By turning off your phone it becomes more of a hassle to turn it back on and check social media than to just scroll through your notifications with it on. Try doing this a few times a week and see if it makes a difference for you.

By the end of your digital detox you should be feeling refreshed and a little more at ease!

Renowned Irish Songwriter Visits Portland

During the past several years we’ve hosted Speakeasy events featuring internationally acclaimed filmmakers, Oregon Book Award Winners, journalists and esteemed editors of Portland publications. Now we can add a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter to the list.

We’re delighted to host Mark Geary on May 18th for a “Living Room” concert in AM:PM PR’s living room, located at 2006 SE Clinton.

Mark Geary RSVPMark is one of Ireland’s premier singer-songwriters and throughout the past 20 years he has toured all over Europe, the US and Australia, and has shared the stage with performers including Josh Ritter, Bell X1, Coldplay, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders and Joe Strummer. His records evoke comparisons to artists including Van Morrison, John Lennon, Elliott Smith and Richard Thompson.

Fresh off an autumn tour supporting Glen Hansard (Once, The Swell Season, The Frames) Geary is on his first West Coast jaunt since he was here with Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, and is performing a series of private house concerts in Washington and Oregon.

Geary’s AM:PM PR performance is Wednesday, May 18th with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. The event is free, but a $10 donation to the artist is recommended. RSVP required.

Again, you must RSVP with Mike Phillips if you’d like to join.

Click here to listen to Mark on Spotify.

For more:

Tesla preso chart spike

Will Tesla Become a Victim of Its Own Success?

How Tesla Can Keep Customers Happy – Even if It Keeps Them Waiting

The exciting unveiling of Tesla’s new Model3 attracted more than 325,000 pre-orders in 72 hours. The Model3 may be the first financially accessible mass-market electric car with a 200+ mile range.

But initial demand producing three times the pre-orders initially anticipated means Tesla could face production delays. Tesla’s communication team would be wise to anticipate and prepare for potential PR challenges caused by missing delivery deadlines to customers. In this week’s podcast, AM:PM PR Co-Founder Pat McCormick, shares advice for protecting a company’s reputation and keeping customers happy when manufacturing challenges delay deliveries.


The Risk of Success

In the past few years we’ve witnessed several overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter projects frustrate their backers and generate negative media coverage when the challenges to manufacturing at scale were coupled with significantly underestimated demand.

pyro pet candle Portland-based Coolest Cooler broke a Kickstarter record (previously set by Pebble Watch) raising more than $13 million from backers. Last month, The Oregonian reported that the company’s founder is now seeking a $15 million injection to help fulfill its remaining orders.

I had my own experience with Kickstarter delays after ordering this cat-shaped candle that reveals a metallic skeleton when fully melted. Fortunately, it wasn’t really a must-have item, so I had forgotten about it when the candle finally arrived, six months later. Their communication team was off the hook!

Making a Plan

For any launch, a crisis communication plan is as important as the go-to-market plan. In this podcast, Pat shares tips for preparing a crisis communication plan, and the role the communications team should have in all stages of the planning process.