This year marks for me, 20 years working in marketing, communication and PR roles, and every year I continue to be blown away by the changing technology and trends in how we both conduct business and more importantly, how we communicate our business to our customers.
In such a fast-paced world we live in, it’s hard to fathom how we survived in business before Google, smartphones and social media, but the fact is, we did! That’s because effective communication has never been about technology. It’s about the message we give (and receive) and making sure we deliver that message through the right channel to reach our target audience.
So this year, while others predict what’s going to be big in 2019, I want to instead reflect on the unwavering, age-old communication practices that never go out of fashion. Because while we may choose to communicate that message via video or Instagram stories, strategy and execution remains the foundation for Elevate’s success.
Psychology – when business communication and marketing is all about trying to get cut through, engagement and buy in from your potential audience, then psychology plays a critical role in vying for that level of connectedness and understanding. Understanding how a consumer absorbs and retains information, their motivations for buying or not buying something and their levels of satisfaction before and after purchasing a product or service goes a long way to being able to better tailor a message just for them.
Your business for example may offer the cheapest product of its kind on the market. If you market this message to an audience that values safety, reliability, quality and endurance, they are not going to think your solution is the right one for them. You have two options in such a scenario when you understand this psychology.
- Find the market that values cheapest pricing. Your strategy here will be focusing on catalogues and discount websites to align with the customer that appreciates the price point key message.
- Reposition your message – just because you’re the cheapest, doesn’t mean this is the message you have to promote. Use the words ‘reliable’, ‘built to last’, or ‘tried and tested’ when you communicate and introduce testimonials to give social proof.
Key messages and understanding audience groups – customers, suppliers, staff, government etc – are core practices in PR because they are core components in human to human interaction. And this is what underpins entire strategies and PR programs.
Relationships – people relate to people, people do business with people, and people buy from people. No amount of video conferencing, instant messaging or virtual reality can replace the power that two people can have in a room together, face to face. With the saturation of digital media these days, I would actually say relationship management or stakeholder engagement has become MORE effective or prevalent in the last 12-18 months!
Whether it’s a cross promotion with a like-minded company, an influencer or ambassador arrangement or a simple referral opportunity to tap into new audiences, building relationships has always been an effective way to promote and influence through third party endorsement. When both parties have developed transparency and trust with their own audiences, the relationship offers a much warmer introduction to new customers than going it alone.
Our stakeholder engagement strategies and meet and greet outreaches have propelled our clients into long term, lucrative relationships and I don’t see this fading away anytime soon.
Storytelling and the media – Long before blogging and EDMs existed, there were public address systems, local bulletins and messenger pigeons – so it’s not a tall tale to say humans need to consume information! That thirst for knowledge and hunger for entertainment still thrives today, we just have different channels to disseminate it.
We can tell one story – say for example, a new product or service offering – and write a media release, share it in a blog, add it to a newsletter, develop a Facebook post, create a LinkedIn article, film it being spoken and share still images on Instagram – and tell the story from lots of different angles and to lots of different audiences. PR professionals are adept at taking what you do in your business and creating a story from it that people want to hear.
2019 and beyond - It’s essential to keep up with the current technologies available to us as business owners, leaders and managers so we know where and how to communicate most effectively, so I’m not for one second saying we boycott Facebook Live videos or delete our Instagram accounts - you just don’t need to get swept away with the latest in digital marketing practices, when tried and true communication strategies will always prove effective.
Our award-winning team are ready to hit the ground running when you are, so contact us to book your complimentary discovery session and set your business up for success in 2019.