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Ketchum Blog by Jaime Schwartz And Lisa Bruno - 5d ago

Have you ever thought you knew someone only to realize that you’ve never actually met, and all of your interactions have been on Instagram? Or have you ever thought about a conversation you recently had, only to realize you had commented on a lively Twitter thread, though no actual dialogue was exchanged?

More times than not, our on and offline relationships simply don’t intersect—but even the most popular social platforms are encouraging us to seek “in real life” interactions out more often. Facebook’s “More Together” campaign highlights communities that have formed online, such as dog lovers and motorcycle aficionados, meeting up offline. LinkedIn recently launched a London-based pop up pub, The Linked Inn, to support networking and job hunting in the physical world.

As dietitians working in nutrition communications, where building and maintaining relationships with our peers in the nutrition community is an essential aspect of our work, this topic has been on our minds lately. So, to put our thoughts into action, we decided to host some of our registered dietitian and nutrition influencer peers for a sweatworking (a hybrid workout and networking gathering) breakfast within a conference room turned “yoga studio” in Ketchum’s New York office.

It is not only important for us as registered dietitians at Ketchum to build these IRL relationships, but also for our peers to connect with each other to discuss nutrition trends and hot topics offline. We act as the connector who facilitates meaningful moments that helps grow their network, which, in turn, makes us an invaluable relationship to them.

Some of the attendees of our inaugural sweatworking event shared their thoughts on other ways communication professionals can build and maintain relationships with media, experts and influencers offline…

I think personal interaction goes a long way! I love coffee dates and I also love when research is flagged with insights that you think I’d be interested in. You’d be surprised by how many canned email pitches I get. Dozens. Every. Day. – Samantha Cassetty MS, RD

I always try to make time to step away from my desk for a healthy activity, especially a yoga class, with my nutrition colleagues and media relationships. I guess you could say that I prefer to walk and talk in-person vs. communicating behind a computer/phone screen. Relationships can definitely grow stronger when given the right opportunity to flourish. – Keri Gans, MS, RDN

I love interactive networking that also allows me to learn something and build relationships at the same time. For instance, something like an improv class. – Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

I find sweatworking so valuable professionally because not only does it give you the opportunity to help maintain relationships you have built, but it also gives you the opportunity to connect with other professionals that you may never have crossed paths with on your own. – Nora Minno, RD, CDN, CPT

It’s always nice to have more authentic connections and build relationships outside of social media.  For example, when Facebook sends a daily reminder of who’s birthday it is, we always like to send a personalized note by email or text, or mail a card to deepen the bond. – Lyssie, Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT

Now more than ever, communication professionals are stretched for time and keeping in touch with our relationships is easier by screen. But the relationship becomes stronger when we take a moment to connect in more meaningful ways.

And, needless to say, we are planning to host more gatherings like this one to bring nutrition experts together offline. Connect with us here to learn more!

The post Building #IRL Relationships in a Screen-driven World appeared first on Ketchum.

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The tourism and economic development sector is always shifting due to political climate, natural disasters, climate change, or an increase in crime. In order to navigate these changes, you have to become proactive in your approach and put a plan in place to help circumvent unpredictable situations that might arise.

President Trump recently tightened restrictions on traveling to Cuba by halting cruise travel and group educational and cultural trips under the “people-to-people” parameters. The people-to-people sanction allowed Americans to visit Cuba without having to have direct family, journalistic, religious, or business ties to their trip. The administration’s decision to remove funds out of the hands of Cuban “military, intelligence and security services” was an effort to inhibit the growth of the communist state.

With cruise travel being the most popular forms of tourism to Cuba, it will negatively affect the government, but could potentially hurt citizens who are privately profiting from tourism. The New York Times reported that from January 1 to April 30 of this year, 142,721 Americans visited the Caribbean island by cruise ship. There were also 114,832 American tourists (not including those visiting relatives) who traveled by plane. This led to more tourist dollars being pumped into the local economy, especially with the Caribbean generating 15.5 percent more economic activity in 2017 than in previous years, according to Forbes.

To circumvent this, many tour operators in Cuba are finding loopholes within the restrictions and changing their businesses to fall under one of the 11 purposes for travel that the U.S. options, “support for Cuban people.” To be compliant with the new restrictions, they are turning to a more voluntourism approach with a potential for economic development that makes a more direct impact to the lives of the Cuban people. Under this parameter, itineraries will need to be approved by the United States government and will consist of meetings and visits to local business owners and artists, as well as participation in local activities and staying in a private home rather than a hotel.

With local Cuban tourism operators taking a more voluntourism approach as a response to these sanctions, it could directly grow that type of tourism on the island. We’ve seen travelers shifting their reasons to visit when political climates and natural disasters alter the travel landscape. Although voluntourism is sometimes seen as negatively affecting the economy, there is a potential for it to directly affect the economic development of locals on the island.

Ultimately, in the upcoming months, we will see how this will affect other destinations within the Caribbean. With major cruise lines redirecting their courses to nearby ports, we could potentially see an uptick in the economic development of neighboring destinations in the region. Destinations should continue to monitor the news and changes in neighboring countries as it could affect their tourism and economic landscape.

The post How a Shift in the Winds of Caribbean Tourism Can Impact Your Destination appeared first on Ketchum.

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Ketchum Blog by Christy Salcido And Nicole Moreo - 1w ago

The global wellness industry is, well, healthy as can be.

According to the Global Wellness Institute, the sector is now worth $4.2 trillion thanks to heightened worldwide consumer interest that is equal parts emotional and physical, driven by our need to feel better about all aspects of life.

Naturally, that robust growth has garnered the attention of many mainstream brands who are trying to wedge their way into this popular space or outright disguise themselves as wellness brands.

Here’s an example we noticed in a certain consumer magazine lately: a full-page ad that, frankly, startled us.

The product being touted is one we all know, a legacy brand that for decades has helped treat and prevent a minor skin condition. But what is startling was this: new all-natural ingredients have been added to an age-old formula that has worked just fine, thank you, for generations.

Looks like another brand has hopped on the wellness bandwagon — whether it belongs there or not!

Consumers are intentionally pursuing the virtues of wellness, via products and services designed to minimize stress and optimize happiness. And that, of course, is a very good thing for all of us eager to find peace and satisfaction as we traverse our hectic lives.

But, as that aforementioned brief encounter with one evolving brand illustrates, wellness is becoming a crowded and complicated field. How do longtime wellness brands keep from being overrun by the numerous disrupters desperate to cut their own slice of the wellness pie? And how can the newbies be sure that what they are offering differentiates itself from dozens of established brands?

They need to define, pursue and capitalize on white space in the industry. And starting today, with the launch of Ketchum’s Wellness White Space offering, we can help guide you there.

A collaboration between Wellness, Ketchum’s lifestyle and influencer marketing specialty focused on the highly-discerning wellness consumer, and our Analytics specialty, the largest research, analytics and measurement group in the communications industry, our Wellness White Space offering is a data- and research-driven competitive analysis that helps brands define their unique wellness story – and provides the insights and tools to articulate it.

With communications teams retooling and optimizing their 2019 programs for the holiday season, or knee-deep in 2020 planning, now is the perfect time to shine light on the Wellness White Space topic for your brand.

Easy as one, two…

Here are the mechanics of a Ketchum Wellness White Space project, which consists of two simple-to-understand stages customized to fit your challenge:

  • Understanding the Conversation
  • Finding Your White Space

First, we use artificial intelligence to unearth and synthesize thousands of online news stories, segmenting them into subtopics that are analyzed to determine which have the greatest social media traction – and impact — with your audiences. Next, a thorough analysis of results, using our team of analysts and our proprietary White Space Algorithm based on consumer and media interest.

By zeroing in on the most differentiating storylines, themes and topics, we will paint a picture of what the best approach might be for a brand’s near- and long-term marketing and communications initiatives – endeavors designed explicitly to drive desired business outcomes.

Through our White Space analysis, you can identify the best wellness-specific opportunities to cut through competitive noise and engage with target audiences — increasing your brand’s share of voice and sales potential.

Wellness isn’t a fad or trend. It’s here to stay. Don’t get caught up in the backlash from so-called “wellness washing,” which occurs when brands lacking authenticity in the wellness arena began to attain a toehold through unproven “facts” or wild claims.

Wellness marketing works when you have a powerful and verifiable story to tell. Let’s find your meaningful, impactful and unique wellness story together.

Christy Salcido is Managing Director, Wellness, for Ketchum. Nicole Moreo is Senior Vice President, Analytics, for Ketchum.

The post Finding Your White Space in a World Full of Wellness Brands appeared first on Ketchum.

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Ketchum Blog by James Peters And Mary Elizabeth Ger.. - 1w ago

Do you know what people think about your product or service?

What they really think?

While 80 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds have left product or service reviews online, and 91 percent of the same age group trust these online reviews when making purchase decisions, precious few marketers have a holistic view of this real-time information.

What this means is that you may not be aware of how wide-ranging people’s opinions are about your brand or company, and which comments are indicative of a broader trend or are simply one-off complaints (or kudos). Such awareness is important in all industries – particularly in the unsparing world of retail – where people use social media to make their uncensored opinions known. And not knowing what they are saying is risky and could affect your bottom line.

Remember the circle of family and friends we once relied on for purchasing advice? Well, it’s expanded exponentially to includes thousands – or even millions – of people with a willingness to comment on every attribute of your product or service.

A meaningful way to gather trustworthy intelligence on your online reviews – from Angie’s List to Zocdoc, Google Reviews to Yelp, Glassdoor to LinkedIn – is the only way to determine what feedback is actionable. And, thanks to an innovative blend of data, analytics and creativity, Ketchum stands ready to help.

Today, Ketchum Analytics – in partnership with Ketchum’s Retail sector – is launching an innovative service to capture, aggregate, segment, and thoroughly analyze company-, brand-, location-, employee-, ­– or product-specific reviews posted on relevant review websites and forums. Using sophisticated natural language processing, AI, visualization techniques, and data analysis, we can harness and parse this information to help you make more informed marketing and communications decisions.

Here’s how our process for gathering intelligence on your online reviews works…

First, based on parameters identified by your company or brand, we identify which target audience and what priorities are of greatest interest. Then, we aggregate relevant reviews – across multiple platforms – and segment the information in a wide variety of ways, such as geography, competitive landscape, keywords, and much more.

With that raw data now synthesized, we apply an analytics lens to the data, providing an in-depth look at every comment sorted by topic and ranked by whether the reviewer had a positive, neutral or negative experience. Last, pain points and growth opportunities are identified, enabling the company to pinpoint and act on the most important findings.

It’s a critical audit that would be nearly impossible to pull off manually, and certainly not in a timely fashion. Yet the human factor is what makes the difference in the end, to supplement data capture and analysis and provide the insights necessary to mitigate problems or take advantage of popular opinions.

So, it’s time for – the human factor!

Instead of your staff wading through thousands of comments and looking for trends, utilize our team of experts to process and assess the Ketchum-synthesized data. Even the best data visualization needs human interpretation. Thus, with our thoughtful analysis, communicators can apply reasoning and creativity to develop communications plans and content that can quickly be deployed to address any situation or opportunity.

By processing the data and conducting the analysis on a regular basis, insights will always be fresh and new factors or implications identified, and acted on, promptly. Plus, important data points can become benchmarks for ongoing optimization and measurement of campaign and program success.

Marketers with a keen understanding of what audiences feel and think will be better equipped to address and enhance product quality or reputational issues, and strategically focus subsequent communications to address challenges, broaden visibility and, ultimately, grow sales.

Ignoring the effort to review reviews is a missed opportunity. Ketchum Analytics and our Retail sector can empower companies to sidestep risk and amplify sales. Click here to learn more.

For more insights into retailing trends and analytics, please contact James Peters, Partner, Managing Director, Retail (James.Peters@ketchum.com) +1 214-259-3444; or Mary Elizabeth Germaine, Partner, Managing Director, Ketchum Analytics (MaryElizabeth.Germaine@ketchum.com) +1 646-935-4092.

The post Review Your Reviews to Gain Reputation- and Sales-Driving Insights appeared first on Ketchum.

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Last week I packed my bags and headed to the mountains of Colorado for some rarefied air at the 15th Aspen Ideas Festival. The Festival calls itself “the nation’s premier public gathering for influential leaders,” and my fellow attendees (an estimated 3,000) and I heard from thought leaders, scientists, authors, and CEOs about pressing social issues. While topics ranging from digital storytelling and renewable energy sources to the value of art and world hunger were hotly debated in sessions and in conversations around campus, I couldn’t help but wonder where all this was taking us. Will these words and ideas lead to actions? Here are some of the most useful and inspirational insights that stuck with me as I’ve continued to ponder that question…

From “The Surprising Power of Joy,” presented by Ingrid Fetell Lee…
Happiness is how we feel about our lives over time; joy is an intense momentary expression. Though small, joy has as mighty an impact as it can: make us feel more alive; sharpens our minds (we are 12 percent more productive in a state of joy); open us up to new ideas by increasing cognitive flexibility; and strengthen our relationships (laughter deepens human connection, and celebration increases trust and intimacy).

From “The Art and Science of Remembering Everything,” presented by Joshua Foer…
Making a piece of information funny also makes it 50 percent more memorable. Taking notes in multiple colors and including drawings (not just doodles) makes them more memorable. Having trouble remembering names? First, pay attention when they introduce themselves (but really pay attention), then find a way to make a connection between their name and their physical presence (refrain from describing that connection to the person in question, however).

From “An Afternoon of Conversation,” presented by Common…
It’s time for all of us to learn to be more vulnerable and share ourselves to reveal common (no pun intended) experiences. From the importance of love to his faith and experiences with abuse, Common laid himself bare and had the audience with him every step of the way.

From “Moonshot Thinking Workshop,” presented by leaders from X (formerly Google X)…
For a creative director, this session was the most applicable to my day-to-day world. X’s brainstorming guidelines are good basics for any of us who seek solutions to follow:

1. Aim high for innovation—don’t go for 10 percent better, go for 10 times better.

2. Always work on the hardest part of the problem first to discover if the project as an Achilles heel.

3. Make contact with the real world as you’re developing your idea to test and help identify issues/solutions.

4. Fall in love with the problem, not the technology (or solution)—this enables you to pivot if your solution doesn’t work.

5 .Embrace failure not as failure, but as inspiration. As Thomas Edison said, “I’ve not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

In Summary…

  • Make joy a daily practice and see how it positively impacts your work and life.
  • Take the extra brainspace to remember people’s names; they will feel more valued and respected.
  • Open yourself up more to people around you. Just ask professor, author and TED-talker Brené Brown—vulnerability is the new black.
  • When it comes to new ideas, aim high and learn from your mistakes.

To answer my own question about words leading to actions, I can only imagine the positive changes we could effect if every Aspen Ideas Festival attendee simply added these practices to their everyday life. My impact may be small, but I hope you find these nuggets mined from Aspen useful in both your personal and professional life.

The post The Aspen Ideas Festival: Evolving from Words to Actions appeared first on Ketchum.

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I may be in the minority by being among the attendees of last week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that has never had the word “creative” in their titles. But as the leader of a creative firm, I was reminded that creativity starts with me. As the sun set on the week, I was faced with the realization that being rundown and overly stretched has led to me to being less open to inspiration. So I came back ready to reinvest in self care, to be more open to ideas that come from anyone, to look at work through a more naive lens, and to engage in more intimate conversations.

At my first visit to the Cannes Lions Festival in 2014, I was in awe of the big stage conversations, the outstanding creative and the beach parties, and like most first-timers, I was obsessed with getting onboard a yacht. This time I left with a few budding relationships and words of wisdom that resonated in more personal moments. I put up my radar for people I truly wanted to engage with and spent less time with those I did not. My hours spent with a few people in deeper conversations left me more fulfilled and inspired than on any of my past trips.

It all started as I was changing planes in Paris when I met a talented, young black creative who led me to check out Inkwell Beach. The festival’s focus on diversity and inclusion this year was noticeable, with a new spotlight on campaigns featuring those with disabilities and an emphasis on empathy and understanding both sides of an issue when discussing diversity. My new friend and his non-traditional agency premiered “The Look” from client P&G, which had the goal of shifting perceptions of racial bias. Inkwell Beach showcased a melting pot of speakers and delegates who were truly interested in driving change. My first reminder of the week was that reverse mentoring from new, diverse inputs is key to opening your mindset, and I need to make sure I am continually exposed to different points of view.

I then attended CBS Interactive’s women’s outing, where the hours moved from afternoon to late night in a blink. The longer-form conversations inspired admiration for so many women who had climbed the ranks of media, creative and marketing companies. The event spurred new, budding friendships with people I admired, including the DJ. My takeaway here was that conversations in smaller groups allow people to be more honest, introspective and vulnerable. We all have demanding jobs and are in search of ways to decrease stress and give ourselves more bandwidth to focus on creativity, which led to me reflect on how I was taking care of myself and managing my energy. Taking time to breathe under the full moon and enjoy my surroundings grounded me for a more fruitful week in Cannes. My more positive karma also helped me attract more interesting and engaging conversations.

Watching the incredible energy of Colleen DeCourcy from Wieden+Kennedy on the big stage, I added her to my “wish list” of people I’d want to have over for dinner. Imagine my excitement then when Quartz invited me to a dinner where Colleen moderated an amazing conversation around the role creative leaders play in making space for others to thrive and create exceptional work. She displayed tremendous authenticity when talking about her challenges with burnout and shared tips for managing cocky creatives, and I liked her even more when I saw how easily she went from speaking about spirituality to swearing like a badass. The conversation reminded me that when we are grounded, we can let ourselves – and others – thrive.

Perhaps my favorite part of every Cannes Lions Festival though is spending time with Ketchum’s delegates from around the world and seeing Cannes through their eyes. It’s easy to get jaded at these events after going for many years, but my colleagues left so inspired by the creative campaigns, conversations and surroundings. They returned home this week with a fire – a fire to raise the bar creatively, to make a bigger impact on the world, and to share their learnings with clients and colleagues (check out the brilliant insights from a few of them by tuning into our annual post-Cannes webinar recording). Thanks to them, I remembered to allow myself to be inspired and to not take my time there for granted.

So maybe it was the full strawberry moon over the Cote d’Azur or just a renewed mindset that opened me to more interesting interactions, but I left Cannes this year enlightened and enriched. I am truly excited to build on my budding relationships with a few new connections, and I’m ready to work on making space for myself and for those around me to more easily enhance creativity.

The post Meeting Under the Strawberry Moon, I Was Inspired appeared first on Ketchum.

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This month, Forbes reported that JAY-Z’s fortune “conservatively totals $1 billion.” You already know the king in America’s royal couple is super rich, but how he built his dynasty is remarkable. Twenty-three years ago this week, he dropped his debut album with business partners Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs through their own imprint, because major record labels couldn’t see their vision. Today, that thought seems crazy to imagine. JAY-Z is not only “the Mike Jordan of the mic recording,” he’s a brand name with multiple business ventures, making him the first hip-hop billionaire. As we celebrate Black Excellence and Black Music Month, here are five things marketers can learn from JAY-Z’s bars when it comes to brand building.

1. If everybody in your clique is rich, your clique is rugged. Nobody will fall, ’cause everyone will be each other’s crutches. – “Feelin’ It,” 1996

This bar from JAY-Z’s debut album defined his business model. While we often hear about self-made success stories, the story of JAY-Z can’t be told without Dame Dash and Kareem Biggs. He wisely surrounded himself with a team who was equally hungry and focused. Reasonable Doubt was supposed to be While he was running an , Biggs was helping to drive Rocawear to $700MM in annual sales, and Dame was growing the label roster and diversifying the brand portfolio. While most wouldn’t give Kanye West the time of day as a rapper, . JAY-Z said “R-O-C is the strongest team.” Assembling a strong team, and outlining a clearly defined goal, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities will steer your brand towards success.

2. Show ’em how to move in a room full of vultures. Industry is shady, it needs to be taken over. – “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” 2001

While culture vultures thrive off the click-bait narrative that hip-hop is divided, JAY-Z rewrites the narrative. Not only did JAY-Z support Meek Mill through his exhausting legal troubles, but he penned an op-ed, and spent millions on his legal fees. With countless people of color adversely affected by an unjust “justice” system, he and Meek joined others to change it, creating the REFORM Alliance. He brought the story of Kalief Browder to audiences, showing the horrors of this unjust system, and will tell Meek Mill and Trayvon Martin’s story next. Lil Wayne revealed that when he was dealing with a back taxes situation, JAY-Z helped him, even though they had an ongoing rap beef. Earlier this year as 21 Savage was facing deportation, he spoke out and intervened. At his recent Just last weekend, after a video went viral showing Phoenix police threatening to kill a Black couple in front of their children, Roc Nation again stepped up. JAY-Z really does this for the culture. For brands trying to build awareness and loyalty, the focus should be on purpose, culture, and authenticity, as young people expect the brands they back to back social causes, be culturally aware, and be real.

3. What’s better than one billionaire? Two. Especially if they’re from the same hue as you. — “Family Feud,” 2017

While JAY-Z promised “we gon’ reach a billi first,” he is equally famous for putting his people in positions to profit. Kanye evolved from producer to MC to creative designer, and brought his lined up online, and on the block. Rihanna followed JAY-Z’s blueprint, proven to be a model that “will not lose,” as she is now the world’s richest female musician. Kevin Hart, named one of the Top 50 standup comedians of all time, had his first starring role in a Roc-a-fella film. Emory Jones, a day one, leads Roc Nation branding and has a successful sportswear partnership. Virgil Abloh, named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people, just unveiled his first-ever museum exhibition, and his rise in fashion has roots with The Roc. JAY-Z indeed did “reach a billi first.” Rihanna’s By building a strong team and empowering them to build their own teams, JAY-Z was able to increase his brand equity through the brands that consistently branch out from the Roc-a-fella family tree.

4. Put me anywhere on God’s green earth, I’ll triple my worth. – “U Don’t Know,” 2001

When offered a record deal, JAY-Z, Dame and Biggs instead sold 50% of their label to Def Jam for $15MM, and then sold the other half for $10MM. JAY-Z then brokered a deal that made him CEO while still running Roc-a-fella. This go-getter mentality allowed JAY-Z to grow as an entrepreneur, transitioning from music to business. While the value of his original stake in a champagne brand was estimated to be $50M, Forbes estimates that his bet on himself is now worth $310MM. His early investment in a ride-sharing service paid off with the announcement of its IPO, and when he invested in an NBA franchise and brought a team to Brooklyn, he later sold his stake for a massive return. His entertainment company has expanded to manage some the world’s top artists across genres, and top athletes across sports, and as streaming began to take over music he bought TIDAL, releasing exclusive content to compete with other services. His latest album, 4:44 saw him contemplating the future, talking generational wealth. JAY-Z knew the smart play is to think of your long-term brand strategy, control your brand narrative, and build sustainable brand loyalty. Nipsey Hussle learned much of this from JAY-Z, who was an early supporter and mentor. But, back to this bar. He really did triple his worth from 2005 to 2018.

5. I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars. They criticized me for it, yet they all yell “holla.” – “Moment of Clarity,” 2001

With his debut hailed as a hustler’s handbook, purists have criticized JAY-Z for becoming too commercial, going back to the singles from In My Lifetime… Vol. 1. We saw in this change in direction peak on Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life, when he dropped a lead single with an Annie sample. But, it was that song that propelled JAY from street fame to the suburbs, to reach a much larger audience and expand his fan base. The tour broke records in sales, and made JAY-Z a household name. As an MC admired for the intricate metaphors and wordplay he flexed on his first album, JAY absorbed the criticism to extend his reach, with the end goal in mind. He built a brand name he could stand by, and one that people would want to support and align with, from the block to the boardroom, and he’s still breaking tour records. While some purists are big mad, nobody can deny his influence on pop culture, which extends from pro sports to presidents.

The biggest lesson marketers and brands should learn from JAY-Z is how to evolve. JAY-Z is a globally recognized brand that reaches every cultural and socioeconomic demographic. He’s marketable on “any Martin Luther,” from Marcy Projects, to Middle America. His stock continues to skyrocket, making him a valuable partner for brands and businesses. He established a unique relevance that transcends cultures. JAY-Z’s brand strategy is the blueprint for the total market code that brands are trying to crack. He even decoded it, if you dudes listen to music, and don’t just skim through it.

The post Can’t Knock the Hustle: The Blueprint of a Billionaire Brand appeared first on Ketchum.

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I’ll admit it now – I’m a Cannes rookie. I was wholly unprepared for the dazzling array of opportunity, creativity and campaign brilliance at this annual gathering of creative professionals. Truly the latest and greatest in hardware, software and menswear.

What’s been most interesting, however, is the broad array of business-critical issues in healthcare that are debated and discussed during the Festival. Here’s a download on the key topics – everything from business purpose to Gen-Z, and more…

Defining Purpose in Healthcare:
Defining a business or organisation’s “purpose” is nothing new, but it’s perhaps now the hottest currency around and an absolutely crucial consideration in corporate comms planning. This is different from a vision, or mission – and relates to showing tangible evidence of being a force for good in the world. Many pharma businesses mistakenly (perhaps not unreasonably) believe their purpose is delivering effective medicines and therapies to the patients who need them. This however is the function of the business, not the purpose.

Defining your purpose as a healthcare business requires that you to look under every stone within the organisation and understand what the collective whole looks like in terms of your activity. This covers sustainability, how you treat your employees, your commitment to mental health and wellbeing, and all of the above-brand actions you take in society – whether this is charitable support, sponsoring or educating physicians, or something else. A picture will emerge enabling you to create a purpose statement that articulates why you exist as a business.

The Misinformation Problem in Health:
The rise of social has undoubtedly helped individuals with medical conditions find each other, interact and share stories. The downside is the proliferation of fake health news and misinformation that abounds across all social channels. I was reminded in a session that social media support networks can rapidly turn into misinformation echo chambers where inaccurate, potentially dangerous, information can quickly become established as fact.

The most visible example in 2019 is the spread of anti-vaccination misinformation. Those who oppose vaccines often cite mistrust in governments and the pharmaceutical industry. The biggest challenge for pharmaceutical brands – and the communicators that work with them – is whether to respond and combat inaccurate information, which can lend credibility to otherwise untrustworthy sources/stories in the process, or remain silent and risk further distrust and divide between parties?

The latter really isn’t an option. The health industry can’t be seen to stand back and distance itself from misinformation and fake news. Where it exists, it needs to be challenged. And there are no quick fix solutions – the key is establishing trust with stakeholders and working to become a credible voice and source of information without a hint of “commercial agenda” – this means looking at all of your social output at both a corporate and brand level and candidly assessing the authenticity and credibility of your brand voice in the marketplace.

Pharma has Gen-Z in its Sights:
A new generation of tech-enabled health “self-managers” has emerged, and this generation is going to live a very long life. There are moves at the senior end of most major pharma/medtech businesses to really understand the drivers and motivations of engaged Gen-Zers by commissioning insights-based research, which feeds into marketing and PR planning.

A key focus is mental health and wellbeing for this group as they are the first generation to live in a virtually stigma-free environment around mental health issues. Companies are connecting the dots between wellbeing and good management of chronic conditions – the major focus is making everything work on a phone. There is evidence to suggest health information is no longer being accessed via informative websites, e-books or lots and lots of text content – Gen-Z expect everything to be fully app-based, immediate, and rapid. And they’ll drop a health app like a stone if it isn’t updated constantly.

Clinical Data is Going Creative:
Time-poor, younger physicians and HCPs are seeking new and easy models to consume and understand clinical data. A real desire exists in the medical profession for smarter, more effective ways of communicating key phase III results and post-marketing observational data. Again, phones phones phones. Visualisation models for study outputs need to be app-based and always up to date.

This also applies to how data is presented at medical congresses and symposia – the emerging young generation of researchers and physicians want creative, visual and smart approaches to data.

So, as you can see, Cannes offers a great forum to discuss and debate key issues and trends in healthcare. And while this Cannes rookie has aching feet, it’s definitely been worth it.

Our Ketchum London Health MD Con Franklin is onsite at the 2019 Cannes International Festival of Creativity this week, capturing key trends and the latest and greatest campaigns. Reach out to him here with any questions, or register for our post-Cannes webinar where Con, and rest of the Ketchum Cannes delegation, will share what they found and how it will impact you, your business and the industry.

The post Carrying the Cannes for Healthcare appeared first on Ketchum.

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Of course, we should all be celebrating Pride—but it’s simply not enough. There, I said it.

Over the years, the meaning of Pride for me has evolved—admittedly, I’m guilty of having celebrated Pride and done nothing more. It’s important to point out that I’ve been fortunate to have not endured the same level of persecution that is the crux of why Pride is celebrated in the first place.

If there’s one thing you need to know in association with Pride, it’s Stonewall. Not the parade.

50 years ago, the Stonewall Riots took place in the wake of an early morning police raid at The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City. At that time, very few businesses welcomed LGBTQ customers, and businesses who did certainly flew under the radar.

The importance of Stonewall is both symbolic and emblematic of society today. The Stonewall Inn was a business that welcomed the most marginalized people in the LGBTQ community: drag queens, transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth. The significance here is that the very people targeted during the police raids, were the people that stood up strongest for the LGBTQ community. They are the reason we celebrate Pride today.

During the riots, it’s widely speculated that drag queens, homeless youth, the trans community, and a lesbian are largely responsible for the uprising. Two of the people most central to the riots were Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera—a duo of brave transgender women who initiated the beginnings of fighting back for what’s right.

Unfortunately, 50 years later, these same groups continue to be the most marginalized and the most overlooked.

Ketchum’s culture of always being a force for good has taught me that individual efforts, no matter how big or small, have the ability to make an impact on our communities. The responsibility I have as a marketer and communications consultant is to help brands usher in a more inclusive society. I feel that same accountability in my personal life, too.

Here are four important and worthy organizations you can get involved with—through service or donation—to make a difference in the lives of marginalized LGBTQ people who still need our help today:

Ali Forney Center
The Ali Forney Center protects LGBTQ youth from the harms of homelessness and empowers them with the tools needed to live independently. The organization’s namesake, Ali Forney, was a gender-nonconforming teen who fled his home at 13. He entered the foster care system where he was bounced around to several homes and was beaten and abused. Before his tragic death in 1997, Ali was dedicated to helping other young people and publicly advocated for the safety of homeless LGBT youth.

Hetrick-Martin Institute
The Hetrick-Martin Institute creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 13 and 24 and their families. Through a comprehensive package of direct services and referrals, Hetrick-Martin seeks to foster healthy youth development around the country.

National Center for Transgender Equality
The National Center for Transgender Equality advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people. In the nation’s capital and throughout the country, NCTE works to replace disrespect, discrimination and violence with empathy, opportunity and justice.

SAGE
SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Their mission is to lead in addressing issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) aging.

Every June I find myself digging a little deeper on what pride means to me. Today I understand that Pride has no orientation. It’s irrelevant when lending a helping hand. Pride is a time to reflect on our past, honor our differences, and fight together for our future. I also now know that if there’s one thing you need to do this Pride, it’s do more than celebrate… go get involved.

I will. Will you?

The post Pride Month 2019: Pride Deserves More Than a Celebration appeared first on Ketchum.

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As communicators, when we’re given client briefs, we have a pretty clear sense of the tools at our disposal and put together picture-perfect strategies to achieve the goals set out for us. It is also because we are communicators that we need to evolve alongside, and at the same rate as, the technology that powers the ways audiences interact with brands. Last week’s re:MARS conference convinced me even further that it’s imperative for communicators to open up our apertures and allow in more resources to elevate our strategies.

re:MARS was inspired by MARS, an event put on last year to help lead a new era of innovations in machine learning, automation, robotics and space. Here are a few of my key observations, and the impact they have on communicators:

  1. We need to think more abstractly at what “data” means, or, in other words, what it has the possibility to become in order to broaden our apertures. Historically speaking, we use data-sets like demographics or psychographics to inform the strategies that we put together, whereas with AI/ML the data you use can be facial features, like the data THORN uses to combat child sexual trafficking, or the minute attributes that make an object such as a chair truly a chair, or like a variety of new vendors do to construct 3D renders of products online, even when they only have 2D source material.
  2. Communications subject matter experts should partner with AI experts to come up with solutions in our respective domain. Andrew Ng, famous for observing, “AI is the new electricity,” pointed this out in his keynote address that a creative marriage of this type will yield impactful results because SME’s have expertise on what’s valuable to the business, whereas the AI expert can help them to articulate or express ideas by building it through MARS.
  3. People will (and already do) anthropomorphize tech and robotics. Kate Darling, Research Specialist at MIT Media Lab, noted that people treat robots like living things and brought up both the incident in 2015 when a hitchhiking robot’s beheading devastated the masses as well as her own research around PLEO the dinosaur robot. The same has also been said about voice assistants, and while we’d now perhaps deem these forms of tech as “smart,” they’re certainly not sentient. I think as communicators we need to start being sensitive to this innate human behavior when it comes to either a) the products we design, or b) how we market these products to audiences.
  4. Voice isn’t the “next” frontier, it’s the now and it’s growing. Just as the advent of smartphones built a whole market for mobile app developers, so too do voice assistants in providing the architecture for companies to build their own products and services. For instance, there was a smart bicycle built that can help you customize bike routes and even voice-activate dancing bears. On the skills side of it, brands will be able to work with voice developers to help users achieve and predict a specific goal, a night out on the town for example. Previously if you wanted to go to dinner and a movie, you’d need to open one skill to find somewhere to eat and make the reservation, then exit the skill and open another skill to find a movie theater, showtime and tickets. Now that interaction will be more seamless with cross-skill predictions based on what the end-goal of the interaction is. If we’re to think of our audience’s complete user experience with a brand, what are the frictionless ways we should be integrating across skills (or skill-sets for that matter) that’ll allow them to have the most pleasant experiences? What are some products or services that we can now provide using the power of voice?

 While the conference ranged the four core competencies that comprise MARS (machine learning, automation, robotics and space), its two key themes were most consistent throughout each presentation: the optimism and the democratization of AI. I am as optimistic about this arena as anyone in attendance last week and look forward to applying these learnings in an effort to broaden our apertures and allow new ways for thinking into our strategies.

The post A Communicator’s View from MARS appeared first on Ketchum.

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