A Discussion of IMC. Why Doesn’t It Work!?

marketing
https://www.vates.fr

 

The rise of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) can be attributed to the evolution of marketing in the 20th century. IMC as a concept was originally introduced in the 1980’s and fast became a reputable planning tool among advertising strategists. According to many academics, marketing methods practiced in the mid-twentieth century have become somewhat obsolete due to dynamic changes in the marketplace. It is suggested that marketing methods today should focus on consumer relationships rather than driving direct sales and that the integration of various media channels has led to a reformed media mix, further paving the way for IMC as a concept.

IMC is commonly defined as “the integration of specialised communication functions that previously operated with varying degrees of autonomy. It is seamless, through-the-line communication”. While in this blog I will discuss how the understanding of IMC varies significantly within the UK, the practice is commonly characterised into four components; Coherence, Connectivity, Consistency and Continuity. The four key pillars infer a common understanding of IMC as a promotional planning tool whereby various media channels conveying dissimilar messaging can be logically connected through synergy, without the presence of contradiction.

The philosophy of IMC from the advertising and planning perspective has changed considerably since its origins in the 1980’s. IMC was initially a way for clients to align their marketing communications through an agency as they began investing in direct and digital marketing. However, through the increase in capabilities of advertising platforms allowing for in depth data analysis and digital measurability, the concept has developed into an important planning process led by the advertising strategist.

Further analysis of modern evolution implies that IMC in the 21st century requires more from the advertising strategist. Now, the advertising strategist’s job is no longer the integration of several media platforms to transmit one message. Clients now demand practitioners to plan around the needs of both the consumer and market and choose a media channel that will successfully be engaged with. Although this is an efficient technique when building a relationship with a consumer, it also suggests that It is possible for advertising strategist to implement an IMC plan with only one media channel present, as IMC is now a planning process, not a mass sales tactic. This observation challenges the outdated understanding of IMC as integration through multiple channels. The evolution however, suggests that if an advertising strategist chooses a media channel through a strategic communication planning process, and he or she believes that the channel will meet the brands marketing objectives, it is considered a successful IMC plan regardless of how many channels are used.

With the evolution of IMC in mind, there is no dispute that IMC can be an efficient way for advertising strategists to plan and create a successful campaign. When used as a planning tool, IMC allows an advertising practitioner to take the traditional communication mix and apply it on an integrated level. It is suggested that by integrating the communications mix, important relationships can be formed with consumers by reinforcing a consistent message. In addition, better technology has led to innovative advertising methods and consumer databases, resulting in through-the-line communication methods intended for a particular audience. More targeted advertising leads to better engagement and stronger relationships. The importance of relationship-marketing communications expresses that the long-term benefits of IMC lay in its ability to build relationships.

The use of IMC as a planning tool also allows advertising strategists to understand the consumer that they are trying to engage with. IMC has evolved into a two-way model where customers are expected to communicate directly with the brand through the media channel. This provides advertising strategists with an understanding of the customer and the content that they will engage with best. The same literature expresses that the nature of IMC has also evolved from an outbound push of promotional material, to an inbound pull of consumer data. This means that advertising and planning professionals can gain insights from their campaigns through sophisticated econometric analysis, increasing measurability and resulting in constant development of their IMC strategy.

When exploring the practice of IMC specifically within the UK, it is apparent that clients have more control in the implementation of IMC programmes, than the agency. While the presence of IMC has not fully emerged within all firms, agencies allocate 42% of a client’s budget on IMC programs; therefore it is regarded highly by senior level executives in advertising agencies across the UK. With IMC controlled by the client, it is suggested that IMC has become difficult to implement within the UK. It is thought that no single agency has the skills necessary to carry out an IMC campaign, and also that the concept of IMC gives the agency too much control.

While IMC is incredibly advantageous to both agencies and their clients, many doubt the legitimacy and usefulness of IMC due to its loose foundations. It can be argued that this doubt is caused by the confusion of IMC as a concept, leading to the miss-interpretation among all stakeholders involved in the creation of an IMC campaign. According to Cornelissen and Lock, “The difference in opinion about the historical context and emergence of IMC hangs closely together with the lack of a definition of the concept.”. Different definitions of IMC can be seen regularly amongst academics. For example, many believe that IMC is a strategic planning tool rather than the practice of multi-media communication through more than one platform. It is argued that the execution of all types of marketing within an IMC strategy is needed in order to satisfy a common set of objectives, a method of delivering a message with a consistent look and feel. This understanding is opposed with the understanding that IMC is simply understood as a way of communicating a message to consumers to drive interaction via multiple media channels.

The disparity has led to great confusion as to what IMC is actually is, resulting in many problems for the modern advertising strategist. As a planning tool, no set definition of IMC can be problematic as there are no defined processes, and therefore both the agency and the client are unclear of their responsibilities. For example, is it strategic communications planning process or is it simply the use of multiple methods of advertising? Considering its loose foundations and ability to be interpreted differently, it is understood why many businesses are reluctant to invest heavily in IMC. Not only may this result in barriers to implementation, but also how effective it is when implemented.

Although IMC’s lack of clarity is problematic, the problem lies primarily within its implementation, and the relationship with the agency. According to their study, agencies believe that an IMC campaign should be the owned by one agency as this will speed up decision making, allow for better integration and also make it easier for their clients to control budgets. However, clients disagree and believe in the use of multiple agencies to maintain as much control over their marketing campaign as possible. Clearly, there is a discrepancy in understanding of where the power lies when implementing an IMC strategy, and this is something that needs to be commonly understood when implementing an IMC strategy by both the client and the agency.

Certainly, the same confusion has led to other problems. While many advertising strategists are aware of IMC’s evolution into a planning tool, many still see IMC as a means to deliver a consistent message through multiple media platforms. Northwestern University consider this to be disparity in practise that has resulted in the incapacity to operate a consumer first approach, in contrast to a sales first approach. This is a problem as a consumer first approach is essential when creating relationships, the newfound purpose of an IMC campaign. Northwestern’s research outline that advertising and planning professionals need to analyse consumer data, understand their clients marketing objectives and understand their customer in order to create an engaging campaign. This led to the development of ‘SIVA’, an IMC planning process consisting of Solutions, Information, Value and Access. The process was intended to solidify the universal understanding of modern IMC and reiterate the importance of a consumer first approach, not sales first.

An important point to consider when discussing the effectiveness of IMC is the relationship between the agency and the client, as they are the two major driving forces in IMC practice. Many marketing departments consider IMC to be a luxury, something that is not necessarily needed. Again, this seems to be an issue stemming from the confusion of what IMC is. Many marketers will only implement IMC only when it can be afforded, and those responsible for IMC in a firm often occupy low level positions. Academics point out that miscommunication can occur between the agency and client when one regards IMC as more important than the other. When a client thinks that IMC is insignificant in their overall marketing strategy, they are not prepared to spend time and money aligning with advertising strategists to form an affective IMC plan. This makes the job of an advertising strategist more difficult as they have less of an input from their client, and the input that they have is generally from someone who has no authority in the validation process of a campaign.

Further research suggests ‘integration’ is a key component in a successful IMC strategy. It is imperative therefore, that it is commonly recognised among practitioners, particularly in the realm of marketing communications. According to Schultz, Patti and Kim (2016), there is some discrepancy in the understanding of integration. Historically, advertising strategists would consider integration as the cooperation between the advertising and sales team. Of course, this is understandable given that the aim of a marketing strategy in the mid 20th century was to increase direct sales. However, the modern understanding of integration is the unification of the traditional marketing mix, and the most common from the client is that integration is the combination of media channels to maximise return on promotion. Not only is the confusion a result of business evolution, the vagueness of the term ‘integration’ also results in great confusion between stakeholders in the marketing communications process. The way in which integration is interpreted has a direct effect on the advertising strategist. An example would be Nike, the brand has effectively implemented an IMC strategy, and they perceive ‘integration’ as the connectivity of all elements of the marketing mix. Not only does this suggest that they view IMC as a planning tool, it also requires an agency that understands IMC as a planning process, rather than just the combination of media channels.

When examining the future of IMC, interactive advertising is believed to play an important role in its evolution into a valid planning tool. New advertising methods will allow advertising practitioners to establish relationships as new forms of advertising methods arise which can be easily measured. Thus, allowing practitioners to evaluate the success of their campaign. As well as technological advancements, research suggests that IMC as a strategy is growing in importance. Integration is becoming a fundamental component of all campaigns with the development of customer databases to accommodate the client’s desire to know more about their consumers, and interact with them. In addition, agencies are investing 25% of their time making sure that their campaigns are integrated and planned accordingly through the concept of IMC (Kitchen and Schultz, 1997). The growth in perception may contribute to its validity over time.

The increase in capabilities on an agency side does not, however, fix the confusion of IMC as a concept. While the revamped philosophy of IMC supports modern marketing objectives such as CRM, it is suggested that it is not yet a reliable theory or practice, and it will not be for quite some time. Regardless of the time that agencies are investing in integration, for IMC it to evolve into a valid concept, academics suggest that the concept needs to be understood collectively across an organization and top level management need to be involved when implementing IMC as a strategy.

To conclude, it appears as though the loose foundations of IMC has led to distrust among firms as a fundamental planning tool. Although there are a number of reasons as to why a business should implement IMC, its evolution has led to many barriers to implementation due to the lack of communication between the agency and the client, the miss-interpretation of the concept, and the unclear role of the advertising strategist. Nonetheless, integration is thought to be vital in the digital era, which has paved the way for firms to implement IMC whether they like it or not. Although IMC has struggled defining itself due to it’s lack of validity, the importance of relationship marketing has helped improve its universal understanding due to the important customer relationship tool that it is. Clients can no longer count IMC out as they need it to keep up with the demands of the digital era, however, the relationship between the agency and the client needs to improve before it is respected as a common marketing concept.


Follow me on Twitter: @connorjohh

Email me on: connorwells111@gmail.com

 

 

Penetrating a Saturated Market and Winning Customers.

coffee-loyalty-cards
http://www.docksidecafe.co.uk

Coffee. Something close to my heart, appealing to my senses and something worth waking up for. I rarely write of my daily passions. Believe it or not, my brain capacity stretches further than just the cohesion between digital and traditional marketing and my determination to be controversial, relentlessly picking away at someone’s strategy.

Nonetheless, let me take you back to what’s important. Coffee. Coffee is renowned for being one of the most saturated markets in the world, tough to penetrate, impossible to compete. According to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), the average growth rate of consumption has risen 1.3% annually since 2012. The same guys tell us that global coffee exports grew 9.5% in August 2016 year on year. I agree, those stats are pretty phenomenal.

When I talk to aspiring entrepreneurs, it’s inevitable that at some point, I will slowly begin boring them with my passion for the coffee industry. Usually it sounds like this; “Yeah, I would love to own my own coffee shop when I retire, but only when I retire, I can’t compete with Starbucks!” Despite the discourage in most coffee enthusiasts dream of becoming a business owner, the market surprisingly has room to grow. There are actually many gaps to be filled in the saturated industry. Me being inquisitive, I thought this would be cool to explore.

According to Mintel’s 2016 market report on coffee consumption, nearly 8 in 10 of us drink coffee made at home, equating to approximately 78% of people in a representative sample size. According to Mintel, “standard instant coffee is by far the most frequently drunk product and the only type of coffee that the majority of users drink at least once a day”. Although there seems to be so much choice when purchasing instant coffee, it’s also where consumers are craving innovation the most. When 1,569 internet users who consume coffee aged 16+ were asked what they would like to see introduced into the industry, 24% of them answered “A wider range of instant coffees with added flavors.” Yes, there you go. Get blending before Nescafe do!

Now, I want to talk about loyalty. I have participated in lots of discussion recently where people are slating good old-fashioned loyalty programs used by small independent shops. We all know them; the old buy 6 and get one free. I wanted to explore this a little. Old-fashioned loyalty is no longer a method of customer retention. Loyalty programs are now another requirement to competing in a market. The same way that mobile networks such as EE and O2 now offer you more data, but they do not charge you any more. These things don’t make a business stand out, it allows them to target consumers at the same level whilst keeping up with the demands of society. They are competing with the external requirements, the requirements that are not controlled by the business.

Now think about this for a second, how often do you use that cardboard rectangle to collect stamps? Honestly, it’s more of a hassle for me to find it amongst the 15 I have squeezed into my wallet. According to Mintel, coffee has an extremely loyal consumer group. 53% of all coffee buyers stick to one coffee brand. This means that coffee brands are given a margin of error as far as the retention of its acquired customers. What does this mean? Well, if you were the owner of a coffee shop, hiding behind a barista bar for 10 hours a day, wouldn’t you want to innovate? Well research suggests you should. Mintel states that the most encouraging way of having you buy a new coffee is free samples. 55% of almost 1000 coffee consumers said that this is how they would like to be introduced to a new coffee.

So, here is the black and white retention and acquisition plan (hybrid loyalty scheme!) for independent baristas in 2016. Roast a new coffee blend, experiment with new tastes that your customers will dig. While you are doing this, retain stress-free your loyal 53% of customers. Live the barista dream and innovate. When you are happy, sample it to the 47% of disloyal coffee consumers who are going to the Nero down the road, sick to death with the little paper card that they have to carry around and more often than not, lose. Convert them by giving them more than Nero, better taste and service. Now they are YOUR customers, converted to your better tasting blend, cooler, stylish coffee house and collectively take that 53% to 65% and change the world. Now you are “The best espresso this side of Milan”.


Follow me onTwitter: @connorjohh

Email me on: connorwells111@gmail.com

 

The Evolution of Marketing V. The Evolution of Marketers.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaafzaaaajddmmgvjogq3lwq2zmmtndlmyy05zmqxlty5y2ewnje2mtyynw
https://laygiri.org
“Gen X, listen to your Gen Y’s. Gen Y, respect your X’s!”

The world of marketing as we know it has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. As a practice, we have studied our professions through a number of enormous leaps in the past decade alone. In order to understand the disconnect between traditional marketing and digital marketing in an organisation, it is important to understand how marketing began in order to recognise it’s great evolution.

Marketing took flight in the production era. More precisely, the time period that stretched between the end of the American Civil War and the early 1920’s. Amid the 40 years, the intention of most corporations was to lower manufacturing costs and to adopt a low cost strategy to boost profitability and market share. Needless to say, marketing was nothing but a method of mass distribution.

To help you understand this, we can look at global giant Coke. Until recently, Coca Cola adopted a mass marketing strategy and sold an undifferentiated product. Why? Well, Coke was founded in 1892 following the end of the civil war. This means that they had approximately 30 years before they were forced to consider competitive variations to compete with customer needs.

In the early 19th century, we can start to see how marketing has evolved digitally. We are now familiar with a combination of channels, which throw us real time visibility of what is working for a business and what is not. What’s the most exciting thing about all of this? We UNDERSTAND our customer!

So how has marketing come this far? Technological factors have played a fundamental role in the evolution of marketing. Marketers have become psychologist’s mathematicians and economists. The only issue that we have now is that the evolution of marketing is moving faster than the evolution of marketers. In my opinion, inefficiencies are caused when businesses employ only digital or traditional marketing strategies in an age where the two should coincide.

Now how do you determine whether this is your business? This may not be fault proof, but when I study a business I ask myself one question: Is this organisation’s marketing ‘Active’ or ‘Passive’?

This is my favourite way to assess whether the business understands how to create equilibrium between old and new marketing. I first read about Active and Passive marketing approximately an hour before my interview for a graduate role at L’Oréal. I spent a day researching to find the best way articulate how important it is to adopt both traditional and digital methods of marketing. After a while, I came across the theory that marketing is split into two active techniques and businesses should adopt one or the other in order to create an effective business strategy. According to PracticeProfs.com, Passive Marketing is marketing a product or service by “placing something out there like a page, ad, or video, and hope a prospective client finds it and contacts you.” In contrast, Passive Marketing is when a business “proactively seek out new prospective clients, placing and keeping your message in front of them in the places they go to get educated.”. Essentially, the strategy assumes that businesses are either Passive or Active, and if they are not – they should be.

I took the same idea, but played with it slightly in order to talk about something new to impress my interviewer. In order for a business to operate effectively, you should use both active and passive marketing techniques to create an effective marketing strategy, not focus on one. Birth to the all important equilibrium of digital and traditional marketing. Easy.

Let me explain my reformed ‘active’ and ‘passive’ strategy with a hypothetical example; lets pretend for a second that the luxury fragrance market is in growth and disposable income is high. Therefore, a certain fragrance brand decides to launch their most expensive fragrance extension in 2017. The brand decide to market their product so that their passive forms of advertising (traditional) will be converted by their Active marketing techniques (digital). The brand then launches billboards which will then be converted by a digital campaign by directing traffic to a website where a purchase can be made. Voilà!

We as marketers need to understand that recruiting both active and passive forms of marketing is imperative when creating an efficient marketing campaign. This will enable us to find the equilibrium between old and new marketing. This is not a permanent fix to the issue that many companies are experiencing in the 21st century. Great confusion and misinterpretation comes about due to the age of marketing, how it has evolved and how people envision it so differently.

This brings me to my final point. Is this diversity in a marketing team a bad thing? It shouldn’t be, but it seems to be. If we weren’t so self-satisfied in our own ways of working, maybe we could welcome all variations of marketing and create that necessary equilibrium. Gen X, listen to your Gen Y’s. Gen Y, respect your X’s!


Follow me onTwitter: @connorjohh

Email me on: connorwells111@gmail.com

Digital Is No Longer The Future. It’s The Now.

convergence-1024x486.jpg
http://www.cdn.business2community.com

“The era of digital marketing is over. It’s almost dead.”

Marc Pritchard – Director of global brand building at proctor & Gamble expresses that digital marketing is no longer a separate entity. Instead, it has become integrated into the building blocks of the marketing process.

Recently, I was asked to give a presentation on digital marketing at the University of East Anglia. I geared my talk around one key understanding – how Traditional marketing and digital marketing have become one with each other.

So what exactly is the fundamental nature of digital? Digital is measurability.

Henry Ford is one of my favorite entrepreneurs. Ford single handedly built one of the worlds greatest motor corporations, growing an industry that stretches globally with a multitude of assets now valued at around 200 billion. Ford once said; “Half of advertising is a waste of money, we just don’t know which half”. – Like traditional business, this quote has now become outdated. As a millennial, I was fortunate enough to be immersed in digital from my early teens. Now a digital practitioner, I understand that the beauty of digital is that everything can be measured. It can be analyzed, re-practiced, compared and most importantly, improved.

This is what we do on a day-to-day basis, At L’Oreal; I am able to compare work 3 months ago with a campaign launched 3 days ago. This year, I am responsible for both Lancôme and Giorgio Armani’s digital execution of Christmas across the UK. I plan on building a thorough analysis of revenue and interaction statistics from all emailing campaigns sent out over Christmas 2014 to set myself benchmarks. I will then execute my plan for Christmas 2015, carry out the same analysis and potentially steer the future of digital marketing in a different direction.

In essence, we are now able to identify which half of marketing is a waste of time, abolish that half and strategically replace it. Fantastique! But how exactly do we do that. Well, this is where data becomes a key component, digital and data go hand in hand. Every two days we create as much data as we did from the beginning of time to 2003. Yes, hard to believe I know. Throughout high school, I would hear my teachers rambling about the inevitable, how ‘marketing is becoming a numbers game’, little did I know, this was the birth of marketing’s 5th ‘P’, digital came creeping in.

When we talk data, we tend to split data types into two data types – categorical and numerical. However, in the modern day, data doesn’t have to be this technical; the only data that you use when working for a consumer oriented business is the single type that is relevant to making more money or brand equity.

I do not work with big data; I do not know how to algorithmically expose true data from its uncharacterized origin. I like to understand the fundamentals; however the data that I use when building customer relationships is characterised. The nature of our work in the 21st century is that characterised data is not necessarily read like words on a page, it is still stored in mass and therefore we need to know how to segment it accurately, something many companies fail at.

Now taking that under your belt, let’s explore how data is used in digital marketing – Imagine you own a coffee shop with a website. You have managed to build a database of 3,000 people that includes a variation of customers, most of which do not actually buy your coffee. This database contains email addresses, recorded on an Ipad at a point of sale or on a website sign up page. This is known as customer relationship management (CRM). The coffee shop can then use this customer data, breaking it down into smaller segments to target similar characteristics and send a personalised message that is relevant to the consumer. This is an easy example of how data can be used to increase business output.

Is the concept of building a customer relationship new? No. We have been able to record this data for decades; Business folk could probably find the earliest forms of CRM on a caveman’s wall if they were creative enough! The only thing that’s changed is how easily we are able to build a relationship now on a mass level. The concept of data driven CRM is easy; it’s the theory of understanding your customer so that you can effectively interact with them. We as the future are supercharging data, we are stretching its capabilities and we are continually wanting more from it.

Digital marketing is no longer the future, it’s the now. We work with data, we build customer relationships, we analyse the process, remove, re-evaluate, improve and do it all over again.


Follow me on Twitter: @connorjohh
Email me on: connorwells111@gmail.com

The Link Between Marketing and PR. USA Vs. UK.

tugwar_large
http://www.yokoco.com

Returning home to England has been challenging. After one week of constant sleep deprivation, it was clear that jetlag had the best of me. 5 days prior to landing in the UK, I was ready to leave Los Angeles and head to Grand Rapids followed shortly by Detroit, the heart of the Midwest. It’s not easy hopping between three time zones, especially when the finale is a 4000 mile flight back to London.

After my arrival I soon became bored, although being home was relaxing, I was idle during my transition from Gloucester to London in late June. So what did I do? I called a friend. A contact that I was able to acquire little under two years ago when I had just become an undergraduate at Kingston University, London. He is the Director and Owner of an extremely influential marketing and public relations (PR) agency in Gloucestershire. The company, Moose Marketing and PR, work alongside a wealth of clients throughout the Gloucestershire area together creating and distributing a government-funded business magazine called Punchline.

Now the reason I have referenced Moose Marketing and PR is because I want to explore with the differences between the marketing and PR link in the United Kingdom vs. the United States of America.

Following my decision to temporarily re-join the agency, I sat and spent some time reflecting on my time in America, It soon occurred to me how different the process of PR is between the United Kingdom and the United States – two well-established economic powerhouses, often thought to be the mechanical fundamentals of global business.

As a marketer at heart and in profession, I always enjoy expressing my own opinions and understanding of the link between Marketing and PR. So much so, I would always express my opinions in class, especially in the more intimate environments in the USA. I would question why in the PR practice is it understood that PR and Marketing do not work together? I would express my own understanding of how PR is a marketing process, evidently becoming more independent – but nevertheless still a marketing process. Evidently a British view.

Now in the USA, academic debates were not uncommon, in fact they would occur often in class. But it was clear, the generic and proffered understanding in the United States is that Marketing has stolen many basic and complex elements of PR – a prime example would be ‘big data’, yes – the term that intrigues me. It was also expressed that marketing is oriented around ‘selling’, where PR was oriented around ‘Relationships’. Digging deeper into the United States and their practices in comparison to academic teaching now; Alex Goldfayns, the profound American CEO of the ‘Evangelist Marketing Institute’, mentioned that when he was working for the Chicago Tribune as a technology columnist, he would receive around 300 press releases a day for him to edit into the Chicago Tribune. He would only choose 3. He later expressed why he would choose those three, and the deciding factor was the relationship he has with the business sending the press release.

Now lets track back for a second. Without further ado, it is vital to realize that it is not a coincidence that Alex, who currently operates one of the most influential marketing consultancies, was once working as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune. In the 20th Century many labeled press roles a Public Relations function. A perfect example of how marketing and PR worked in synergy to create a cherry pick marketer in Alex who now writes for Harvard Business Review. For someone with a Harvard level visual for both marketing and PR, he does well to express the importance of relationships. What’s more, he’s American who currently works in Marketing. Another coincidence? No. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a function of marketing, and an extremely important one. What Alex shows in his work is that essentially, marketing and PR should be practiced together, hand in hand. Neither focuses on sales while the other focuses on the importance of relationships.

Now for the sake of business and departmental efficiency – this should be the case. It is much easier to have a PR team located within or alongside the marketing department. Now in opposition to my academics in the United States, it seems to be common in the UK to have stronger links between marketing and PR. It seems to be a popular way of integrating a more rounded business concept, broadening the skills of an agency.

With Moose Marketing and PR, the link between the two processes work extremely well, they compliment each other to create a fantastic core product – Punchline magazine. Both Marketing through CRM and PR work together to engage a client and a reader emphasizing the importance of relationships to a business, regardless of size. I can talk on behalf of Moose Marketing and PR by expressing just how important their clients interested are to them.

Finalizing my research and opinions, we see similarities between the two countries and the disputed relationship between the two practices. Unfortunately, I believe that the controversy behind ‘PR’ stereotypes play a large part influencing efforts to drive the practice away from traditional marketing. After all, from my experience, the majority of PR professionals in the United States dislike operating under the marketing umbrella. The intensified media in the United States is always going to be an issue. I do believe this to be reason as to why there is such an extreme dispute between the two. The United Kingdom is more traditionally oriented, meaning that they will amalgamate both practices simply without worrying about the media stereotypes. This is not necessarily a good thing as it makes the profession harder to evolve. After all, status incentives are extremely influential.


Follow me on Twitter: @connorjohh
Email me on: connorwells111@gmail.com

How do investors gather information? An academic insight into investor relations.

controlling-emotions-in-stock-investing
http://www.investingstarter.com

Regardless of whether you are investing Individually or institutionally, sourcing information when investing is as complex as it is critical. With external factors influencing how investors prefer to source information, is there a set preference of information gathering? That question can not be accurately answered. But how important is investor relations? and what is more influential – content that comes from the company, the media or analysts?

Investors are a specific public because of their unique “problem” of finding information to help them make informed investing decisions. There are a mass of differing opinions. Many Factors can play more or less importance to investors, and the most important thing to understand is that every investor has their own preferences above the generalisation. A great example of this is age. Certain demographics are proven to determine how an investor formulates an investment. Generically, younger investors take aversion to loss and risk, it is a natural instinct to steer clear of something that could potentially cause them to make a financial loss in the short run, instead of looking at longer term prospects. Now as an investor, this means spreading investments over various secure industries leading to a more diversified portfolio. It means not sinking too much money into a company and basing your rationalized decisions on information that has true substance, this could be an annual report.

Now this would be more applicable to investor relations as it’s direct from the company (similar to a media kit for a press release). Statistically speaking, it would legally have to be ‘correct’. But this information can still be bias. After all, the company needs investors. Sales figures can sometimes be skewed, quarterly reports can be manipulated and boosted with inconsistent high sales forged to attract investors. Middle-aged investors tend to take a more lenient approach to decision making in regard to risk. They look at long-term factors and if the company is actually going to make money in the future.

Further exploring those important determining factors, we now have a differentiated preference based on geographical location, thus again showing that there is no preference that is ‘set in stone’. Instead it depends on determining factors. In the USA, individual investors will look at the long term factors – quality of management, future economic outlook of the company and the future economic outlook of the industry of which the organisation operate in. Individual investors in America also tend to gather their information on their own, they prefer to research independently. In Germany, studies show them to process information differently to whether financial products were framed in an aggregated or segregated manner, which is actually less risky.

We also see prospected rationalized decisions formed by investors through modern day advances in business, Which can be linked to investor relations in regard to public relations. We see that in modern day, the importance of corporate and social responsibility has had a diverse affect on investors looking favorably on corporate consideration. This is only something that has developed recently.

Following the consensus that the information preference varies on individual demographics and evolving business, studies prove that investors overlook the past, and instead are more oriented around managerial projections. This being the more popular source for of information for investors. Studies show that this information is gathered from annual reports, annual meetings and conferences. Another important source of information as a derivative of the study was the marketing area of promotion and also social responsibility. The most interesting point from the research came from a study hypothesis which implied that investors look favorably on projected performance as a whole from analysts and news media. This is most applicable to public relations as public relations practitioners can respond to this research by releasing specific information which inform the publics of their managerial projections. If the research is liable, then this will attract investors making investor relations through public relations invaluable to investors.


Follow me on Twitter: @Connorjohh
Email me on: Connorwells111@gmail.com

The similarities of lobbying and public relations as conceptual advocacy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
http://www.zatilaqmar.com

By informing people through advocacy, the similarities between public relations and lobbying become visible through the analysis of conceptual theory between the two.

After dissembling the term lobbying with the many definitions, the practice stands with tall importance as one of the oldest forms of PR in American history. Communicating for an outlet to shape legislation, lobbying as a form of advocacy helps shape the political framework and freshen the constitution on behalf of another person or organisation. It is visible that in both lobbying and public relations, there are similarities between the terms beneath the theory behind their practice, especially ‘advocacy’.

In-depth analysis of the word advocacy is portrayed to be an enactment of purposive efforts to change policy and the primacy of enacting change on behalf of others. It is also seen to be a way of publicly representing an idea to a targeted market whereby it will be implemented to look favorably upon. In my opinion, this shows that the two concepts behind the inner workings of both Lobbying and Public relations – providing the definition of ‘advocacy’ stays the same – are interchangeable. When the two concepts are broken down, they have a similar framework in regard to representation and persuasive intent.

In further analysis of linkage between lobbyist strategies to a Public relation’s practitioner, it is important to dig deep into the concept between the two practices. My first example is Broom and Smiths role models of the public relations practitioner and Burke’s seven motivational dynamics of a practitioner. When analysing both Smiths role models and Burke’s seven motivational dynamics, we see that they are enacted and personified in the process of lobbying. Visible linkages between the two are present, not only through the use of advocacy but also strategy.

My own perception of lobbying was always very simplistic. As a British student, I was not exposed to lobbying as the average American. Political diversity is so vast between the two countries, it took me two years of American politics to actually understand the more in depth process of lobbying as it is not used as much in the UK, or at least it is not as renowned by the general public. Even then, my understanding was still very condensed, therefore I would not have found similarities between public relations and lobbying.

For me, lobbying is a process whereby someone targets a particular member of governance and political policy, and tries to emit change on behalf of an organization with a particular idea. I was always led to believe that their was a financial incentive behind the process as a beneficiary to the organisation, which later when I became more educated, was not always the case. Further correlating this alongside my own view and concept behind public relations, my first thought was – How can the two be the same, when public relations has no direct audience like lobbying (Government officials) and when public relations is generally unpaid as an indirect form of uncontrolled publicity. After all, lobbying is probably one of the most controlled and planned practices when influencing a favorable opinion.

As my perception was very simplistic, I do not think that I was wrong. What I was missing was the conceptual strategy behind the two – advocacy. Now I see that both are similar in many ways. They are advocating an idea, they are advocating information that they want people to believe and associate positive connotations of. They are both creating awareness in order to influence opinion change.

The special interest group ‘mothers against drunk driving’ (MADD), will hire a lobbyist to exert influence on the government to persuade a congressman to vote or implement policy change on behalf of its members. Additional delineating of this process shows an advocacy of policy change on behalf of the members with similar interests. Now if we look at this as a corporate example by a public relations practitioner, we have British Petroleum (BP) in 2008. After a major oil spill, their ethical reputation is almost diminished. The practitioner will analyze what has happened and look at current perceptions of the public and the best way to change that perception. They will then develop a story and a media kit in order to promote why BP are not an unethical company on behalf of the organizational stakeholders. They will then use this to exert influence on the public. This advocacy will not be to implement policy or change any political framework; instead it is to change the public’s perception of the company and their ethical reputation through purposeful persuasion via a median, very similar to lobbying.


Follow me on Twitter: @connorjohh
Email me on: connorwells111@gmail.com