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January 2011 Treco-Jones PR Special Newsline
The new year’s here – a time for renewal, focus and action!

The start of a new year is always energizing. We leave last year behind after learning its lessons, and move forward with a fresh slate. It’s a time when we look ahead to the next twelve months, projecting and planning what we hope will happen, professionally and personally. A sense of renewal and the momentum derived from it are critical to achieving success. So is a keen focus on our goals and desires and what it will take to achieve them.

For corporate, nonprofit and association executives, now is a great time to take a fresh look at key trends that have emerged in the marketplace and make sure you incorporate them in your strategic planning for this year.


1. Plan for problems. There is virtually no ‘down time’ in breaking news anymore. The ‘golden hour’ once available for response planning is gone. More and more news is reported as it happens via text, video or call, and the world gets to watch it unfold unedited, online and off. With social media in play, news becomes viral in a heartbeat. And that news is not necessarily accurate. It’s a costly proposition in too many ways for companies to be unprepared for problems. Being prepared calls for tactics like having a well-practiced emergency communications plan in place, proactive monitoring of an organization’s brand online and offline, and solid relationships with key media. Just as importantly, companies must have the ability to act quickly in case bad news strikes - just as quickly as everyone else.

2. Social media has value. Social media is no longer an unproven outcast or a solo communications channel. It’s ‘official’ – it is an important part of reaching, building and retaining customers and clients. It may not be sales-based, but its ‘conversations’ are worth having. Without the integration of social media in the marketing mix, today’s company is like a boat trying to go upriver missing an oar. It may reach its destination, but it may take longer, may be off course, and the journey overall will be a lot harder to make.

3. Mobile marketing is the new kid on the block. The U.S. lags behind emerging nations in mobile marketing use. It’s been a very successful tool globally, particularly in the retail and public health arenas among others, and has been shown to be particularly effective here with younger groups and Latinos. Whether texting or using apps to convey information or offer incentives, mobile marketing has a huge potential and more marketers are taking a serious look at it this year.

4. Corporate philanthropy helps build brand loyalty. Studies done this year show that many consumers will favor a company that ‘gives back’ to the community in some way over a company that does not. Corporate responsibility, coupled with good values such as integrity, gives an organization substance and credibility plus an intangible ‘good feeling’ factor that builds brand loyalty. More businesses would do well to look at sponsorships, grants and other types of affiliation with charitable causes. This type of investment will yield big returns, especially if the cause has traction with its target audiences.

5. Good reputation and trust matter. 2010 showed us that consumers do think about reputation and trust in general, and certainly when making a purchasing decision. We no longer take what authorities say to heart – organizations must ‘walk the walk’ and earn our trust. Companies that make an effort to be transparent and have a culture of strong values and open, clear communication are going to achieve a higher level of brand loyalty and success than those that do not.


I hope you found this interesting and potentially of value as you consider the year ahead. I wish you the best in 2011 and let me know if I can be of help at any point.

Best regards,

Sherry

                       
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