tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/online-pr Latest Online PR content from Econsultancy 2016-10-27T10:15:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/934 2016-10-27T10:15:00+01:00 2016-10-27T10:15:00+01:00 Digital Marketing Template Files Econsultancy <h3>Overview</h3> <p><strong>Digital Marketing Template Files</strong></p> <p><strong>Authors:</strong></p> <ul> <li>James Gurd, Owner and Lead Consultant, <a title="Digital Juggler" href="http://digitaljuggler.com/">Digital Juggler</a> </li> <li>Ben Matthews, Director, <a title="Montfort" href="http://montfort.io/">Montfort</a> </li> <li>Ger Ashby, Head of Creative Services, <a title="Dotmailer" href="https://www.dotmailer.com/">Dotmailer</a> </li> <li><a title="Starcom Mediavest Group" href="http://smvgroup.com/">Starcom Mediavest Group</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.searchlaboratory.com/">Search Laboratory</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Files available:</strong> 10 file bundles, 50+ individual template files<br></p> <p><strong>File titles:</strong> See sample document for full breakdown of section and file information.</p> <h3>About these files</h3> <p>Need help with an area of digital marketing and don't know where to start? This pack of downloadable files contains best practice templates that you can use in your digital marketing activities. Feel free to adapt them to suit your needs.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jxKmQGxspc8?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Contents</h3> <p>In this release we have 10 template bundles containing over 50 individual template files for digital marketing projects.</p> <p><strong>Download separate file bundles below:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Affiliate Marketing</li> <li>Content Marketing</li> <li>Display Advertising </li> <li>Ecommerce Projects</li> <li>Email Marketing</li> <li>Search Engine Marketing: PPC</li> <li>Search Engine Marketing: SEO</li> <li>Social Media and Online PR</li> <li>Usability and User Experience</li> <li>Web Analytics</li> </ul> <p><strong>The template files bundle also includes a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/small-business-online-resource-manager/">Small Business Online Resource Manager</a> that </strong><strong>can help you effectively manage and own your online assets.</strong></p> <p><strong>There's a free guide which you can download to find out more about exactly what is included.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68381 2016-10-14T15:57:59+01:00 2016-10-14T15:57:59+01:00 Why marketers should adjust their social media crisis response to fit their brand's identity Arliss Coates <p>These are best resolved by mixing timing, tact, and sincerity in a neatly delivered apology.</p> <p>However, standard apologies don’t always cut it.</p> <p>A successful response to an outcry should depend not only on the particular situation faced but on the identity of the apologizing company in the minds of its customers. </p> <p>A brand with a reputation for audacity should not offer the sort of grovelling apology expected from more conventional companies.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oYOZ3IzRaf4?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>Know your organization’s image - it’s critical to crafting the proper response to a bout of negative public attention.</p> <p>Most of the problems organizations encounter when attempting to deal with negative social media publicity begin with a lack of preparation.</p> <p>Whether you’re Vice Magazine or Astra-Zenica, it will pay to have formed an attitude to adversity – if not the response itself – to be applied in the event of a social media disaster.</p> <p>This will prevent the sort of scrambled response seen from companies like <a title="Applebees" href="http://gawker.com/5980816/applebees-responds-to-fired-server-scandal-claims-waitress-disregarded-a-company-policy-that-gets-disregarded-all-the-time">Applebees</a> and HMV, and will ensure a swifter end to damaging criticism.</p> <h3><strong>Know your company’s image</strong></h3> <p>And be honest. Customers confronting an erring company online do so with a slew of pre-formed perceptions and prejudices.</p> <p>A misdeed by a major bank, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68407-the-five-things-every-company-can-learn-from-the-wells-fargo-scandal/">such as Wells Fargo</a>, will be judged more harshly than a popular charity's misstep, so prepare responses and expectations accordingly.</p> <h3><strong>Don’t let them see you sweat</strong></h3> <p>It never pays to panic.</p> <p>Organizations that <a href="http://thesocialmediamonthly.com/what-does-deleting-negative-comments-say-about-your-brand/">delete negative comments</a> during a social media scandal or engage in online bickering with dissatisfied customers do not fare well, historically speaking.</p> <p>Part of the reason for this is the simple inefficiency of pursuing individual criticisms; more importantly, such behaviour makes the organization in question look defensive and childish, and therefore probably wrong.</p> <p>It has become a marketing axiom that non-apologies and outright dismissals of public complaints can cause harm to a company taking abuse online.</p> <p>This is despite the fact that, most of the time, the marketers are correct.</p> <p>Consider Nestle’s <a title="Nestle" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nestles-facebook-page-how-a-company-can-really-screw-up-social-media/">defensive bickering</a> with a Facebook critic or the now-legendary online <a title="Amy's Bakery" href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/this-is-the-most-epic-brand-meltdown-on-facebook-ever">meltdown</a> of the restauranteurs behind Amy’s Bakery.  </p> <p>In the case of the former, a prickly Nestle employee engaged several Facebook followers in an argument over a request the brand had made of posters to its page, asking that they not use an altered version of the Nestle logo to comment under.</p> <p>Though probably correct, all this anonymous employee achieved was a disavowal of future patronage by several Nestle customers, and the company was left looking both petty and demanding.</p> <p><img src="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/galleries/2011/technology/1104/gallery.social_media_controversies/images/nestle.jpg" alt="Nestle's Facebook page gets oily"></p> <p>Regardless, some leaders have built brands out of committing PR no-no’s, and it’s important to understand how they’ve accomplished this feat, and why your company may or may not be able to pull it off as well.</p> <p>In order to classify the wide world of company identities, I’ve created a simple corporate taxonomy; find out where yours lies in <strong>this three-part system:</strong></p> <h3>1. The Badgers</h3> <p>The only ones who get to have any fun.</p> <p>RyanAir and The Onion find themselves here; with an established reputation for surly indifference and good humor, respectively, they seem to get away with a lot.</p> <p>The benefits of self-reproach are not clear; quick lessons from Steve Jobs and RyanAir CEO Michael O’Leary:</p> <h4>Steve Jobs </h4> <p>Contrition doesn’t suit everybody. True to badger form, the late Jobs was known for his unwillingness to apologize for even substantial Apple mistakes.</p> <p>On the occasions when Jobs would address a complaint, such as the one following Apple’s rapid $200 price slash of the iPhone (angering buyers who felt they had overspent for their copies of the phone) the <a title="Jobs Apology" href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB118910651781519626">press</a> would note the rarity of a Jobs apology.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0375/Apple_logo.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="398"></p> <p>Confidence in the face of criticism only bolstered the Steve Jobs image, which was – and remains – one of visionary boldness, whilst imparting weight to the few concessions Jobs was willing to make.</p> <h4>Michael O’Leary</h4> <p>As the professional wrestler of the airline industry, the irreverent O’Leary has carved a brand out of foul language and a <a href="https://skift.com/2012/09/05/ryanair-boss-michael-oleary-gives-best-quotes-in-the-industry/">gleeful disregard</a> for the feelings of RyanAir customers.</p> <p>Upon reading a dissatisfied customer’s tweet objecting to having been forced to pay £350 for forgetting to print her boarding ticket, O’Leary offered to charge her an extra £60 “for being so stupid.”</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0374/ryanair.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="449"></p> <p>He’s a cartoon of the corporate badger type, and yet O’Leary’s eccentric approach to customer relations has come to define RyanAir beyond the bounds of normal corporate stricture, thereby inuring customers to remarks that would (metaphorically) sink a more conventional airline like BA or United.</p> <p>This may be called the “Donald Trump effect,” and should not be tried at home. </p> <p>It should, however, be noted that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65749-how-a-new-focus-on-digital-and-customer-experience-is-boosting-ryanair-s-profits/">RyanAir has made efforts to reinvent its brand image</a> in recent years, which has led to fewer headline-grabbing comments from Mr O'Leary.</p> <h3>2. The Doves </h3> <p>Not a bad thing to be.</p> <p>Consumers are generally forgiving of these beloved organizations, and sometimes express disappointment when organizations of this class apologize too quickly.</p> <p>A version of this mistake occurred when the Red Cross <a title="Red Cross" href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/28/health/red-cross-apologizes-for-pool-safety-poster-trnd/">swiftly retracted</a> a poster some Twitter users felt was offensive.</p> <p>The Red Cross responded with the standard prescription: Apologize and rectify.</p> <p>The Twitter response to this seemingly sensible move was resoundingly negative.</p> <p>Most expressed dismay at the knowledge that the Red Cross would be spending donation money to fix what they felt was a non-issue.</p> <p>Admittedly, the Red Cross was in a tough position in this instance, but by failing to take into account its own good reputation it missed an opportunity to disarm the anti-capitulation crowd with an even-handed response while still placating those that felt the poster was offensive.</p> <h3>3. The Vultures</h3> <p>Not a lovely category, but this is where many mega-companies (like Merrill-Lynch) find themselves.</p> <p>Unloved and hard to love, the vultures are best off <a title="Merrill Lynch" href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/banking/bank-watch-blog/article100145187.html">apologizing quickly</a> and doing their best to move on.</p> <p>Check out BP’s awful apology for the 2010 Gulf Coast Oil Spill.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_AwD_7yNzKo?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>The archetypical vulture. It repelled its target audience with an over-the-top “we’re sorry” that struck viewers as insincere.</p> <p>In this case, the public had a clear – and ungenerous – pre-existing view of one of the world’s largest oil companies.</p> <p>Attempting to persuade the world that BP felt genuine remorse by lavishing production on a YouTube video only exaggerated its image of corporate coldness.</p> <p>A straightforward, unadorned apology for and acknowledgement of the disaster would not have appeared patronising to the concerned public.</p> <h3><strong>The Takeaway?</strong></h3> <p>Marketers should craft an online persona in line with what customers expect of a company, especially for times of crisis.</p> <p>There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to crafting a response to a dissatisfied public, but customers generally prefer sincerity over remorse.</p> <p>Organizations that remember what they are know how much they can get away with (think Steve Jobs) and tend to survive these ordeals with a minimum of dignity lost in the tussle.</p> <p>Organizations like the Red Cross that forget their good-standing tend to suffer, and the Vultures that never had a good reputation to begin with… well, they do what they can.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68230 2016-09-30T10:24:54+01:00 2016-09-30T10:24:54+01:00 Two different paths to influencer marketing: Which is best for you? Nicolas Chabot <p>There have been several high profile examples of influencer marketing going awry, which has led to increased pressure from authorities to bring clarity on paid publications from influencers.</p> <p>This has also contributed to the overall noise and confusion that can overwhelm any marketer wondering how best to approach this new opportunity.</p> <p>Fundamentally influencer marketing is a suggested response to what I call the 'CMO Dilemma'.</p> <p>The CMO Dilemma refers to the staggering divide that exists between the impact of influencer content on customers compared to brand content and advertising, and the fact that brands still spend their marketing money mostly on advertising.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/8452/cmo_dilemma-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="The CMO Dilemma" width="470" height="308"> </p> <p>The CMO Dilemma therefore raises two key questions: </p> <ol> <li>How can brands have a positive impact on authoritative content (or organic content from relevant individuals)?</li> <li>How can brands optimise the ROI of their marketing budget by better aligning spend with impact?</li> </ol> <p>To put it bluntly: how can I transfer part of my huge media investments to create positive impact on authoritative content through influencers for my brand?</p> <p>Clearly such a shift will not happen overnight; it is a journey of testing, learning, measuring, optimising, scaling.  </p> <p>And that journey is paved with traps, false promises, apparent shortcuts that are dead-ends.</p> <p>Influencer marketing can be roughly segmented in two different models of business, each of them rely on a different set of technology.</p> <h3>1. 'Influentizing'</h3> <p>One model – I call it 'influentizing' - believes that the value of influencers is in their reach and that influencer marketing consists in placing advertorial in their content in the same way brands have been buying ads in magazines.</p> <p>This approach is facilitated by a flurry of tech players claiming to build ad-buying platforms for influencer channels: So-called influencer marketplaces.</p> <p>Influencer marketplaces aim to match brands and influencers based on simple criteria, facilitate engagement through standardised processes and provide consistent KPIs that attempt to mimic advertising performance measures.  </p> <p>These models provide some seemingly great benefits for brands and marketers: Implementation is easy, you can scale fast and produce immediate results.</p> <p>While many startups still try to play the influentizing game, the demise of precursor Klout with his Perks offering tells enough about the shortfalls of the influentizing model and its emanation, the influencer marketplace model.</p> <p>When not properly implemented, limited coverage and a poor understanding of relevance generate very poor targeting.</p> <p>Industrial engagement and reward mechanisms go directly against the concept of organic and authentic endorsement that is the core value of influencer content.</p> <h3>2. Influencer relationship management (IRM)</h3> <p>More seasoned brands have realised that influencer marketing’s success relies on building long term, authentic, mutually beneficial relationships between brands and relevant individuals.</p> <p>This approach is supported by a new type of platforms called IRM (for Influencer Relationship Management platforms).</p> <p>IRM platforms provide a technology to manage relationships with key influencers, activate them, and measure their impact.</p> <p>They enable brands to manage influencers in the same way these brands manage customers but looking at social data and share of voice rather than purchasing data. </p> <p>But authentic influencer marketing requires persistence, a collaborative approach and a long-term view.</p> <p>Building relationship with influencers takes time and patience and often retooling of a marketing function.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/8453/influentize-vs-irm-blog-flyer.png" alt="IRM vs Influentizing" width="470" height="523"></p> <p>Transforming your advertising led marketing strategy into a content driven engagement approach that will deliver authentic impact on social conversation is a long but necessary journey to impact audiences.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/"><em>The Rise of Influencers</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67756-influencer-marketing-it-s-all-about-the-audience/"><em>Influencer Marketing: It’s all about the audience</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3102 2016-09-26T17:03:05+01:00 2016-09-26T17:03:05+01:00 Fashion & Beauty Monitor - Social Media and Online PR <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0976/fashion-monitor-strap.jpeg" alt="" width="295" height="92"> <strong><em>Powered by Econsultancy</em></strong></p> <p>Fashion &amp; Beauty Monitor and Econsultancy team up to offer one of the UK’s most popular social media and online PR courses, now specifically tailored for fashion, beauty and luxury brand professionals.</p> <p>You’ll be able to plan and implement your ideal strategy using user-generated content, including monitoring positive and negative brand perception through tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and increasing brand engagement.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68241 2016-09-16T11:15:00+01:00 2016-09-16T11:15:00+01:00 The anatomy of a good response to a negative online review Patricio Robles <p>Here are the components of an effective response to a negative online review...</p> <h3>An apology</h3> <p>The customer isn't always right, but even in cases where a customer isn't owed an unconditional apology, it's usually not unreasonable to apologize for the fact that they were unsatisfied with their experience.</p> <p>Of course, if there <em>was</em> a legitimate faux pas, it's best to say "sorry" than to pretend that nothing happened.</p> <p>Apologies can go a long way, both in appeasing the customer and making it clear to potential customers that your business isn't above conceding that a mistake was made or that something could have been done better.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8606/yelp1.png" alt="" width="390" height="336"></p> <h3>An explanation</h3> <p>Where appropriate, there is value in providing unhappy customers with an explanation for their subpar experience.</p> <p>Many times, complaints are the result of a misunderstanding or miscommunication, so clarification can be helpful not only to the customer making a complaint but to other potential customers who might have misunderstandings about your products or services.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8608/yelp3.png" alt="" width="390" height="224"></p> <h3>Just enough detail</h3> <p>When responding to a negative review, it's important to respond with some level of specificity so that the customer and others reading the response know that you understood the complaint and didn't simply write it off.</p> <p>At the same time, there's usually little to be gained by writing an excruciatingly long response that rehashes every detail of the situation as you saw it, or worse, that disputes every point of a customer's complaint.</p> <h3>A professional, non-argumentative tone</h3> <p>Even the most scathing and over-the-top negative reviews should be responded to in a level-headed fashion.</p> <p>Unprofessional, argumentative responses rarely serve a purpose and can often have the unintended effect of making an unhappy customer's criticisms look more legitimate than they might otherwise appear to be.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8609/yelp4.png" alt="" width="549" height="145"></p> <h3>An offer to make things right</h3> <p>Legitimate complaints should never go unrectified if you can help it.</p> <p>Obviously, it takes two to tango and not everybody will be amenable, but nothing is lost by extending an olive branch to an unhappy customer and offering to make things better, even if it's just a heartfelt "we hope you'll give us a second chance."</p> <h3>An invitation to discuss the complaint privately</h3> <p>Finally, in some cases, it may be appropriate to invite a customer to discuss a complaint privately.</p> <p>A private discussion is especially warranted when additional details are needed to determine what happened or a complaint is sensitive (eg. it relates to the conduct of a specific employee).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8607/yelp2.png" alt="" width="389" height="138"></p> <p><em>Further reading:</em></p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64450-the-pitfalls-of-online-reviews/">The pitfalls of online reviews</a> </li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/">Ecommerce consumer reviews: why you need them and how to use them</a> </li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3098 2016-09-15T12:46:03+01:00 2016-09-15T12:46:03+01:00 Social Media Paid Advertising <p>Need help with your social media advertising?</p> <p>We're a long way away from the heady days when social media was 'free' (well, if significant resource and time was ever free….)</p> <p>As social media platforms evolve and 'organic' visibility decreases in our social media feeds, brands and organisations must consider ways to increase their presence and optimise goal conversions through social advertising. Fail to put an effective strategy in place and you can end up simply throwing your money away.</p> <p>This course covers the essentials of creative, successful social media advertising campaigns. We'll explore best-practice campaigns and tools and techniques for writing copy, bidding strategy, and aligning your paid, owned and earned social activity.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3093 2016-09-12T15:58:06+01:00 2016-09-12T15:58:06+01:00 Social Media & Online PR <p>This one-day course is the UK’s most popular introduction to online PR and social media marketing.</p> <p>You'll be able to plan and implement your ideal strategy using user-generated content, including monitoring positive and negative brand perception through tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and increasing brand engagement.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3091 2016-09-12T15:52:52+01:00 2016-09-12T15:52:52+01:00 Online Community Management <p>With so many free and low cost tools and channels it's never been easier to create online communities. But do you have a strategy and a thorough understanding of the dynamics of communities at the different stages of a community lifecycle?</p> <p>Are you comfortable with aligning your community to business and departmental objectives and do you have solid cross-departmental processes in place? Have you chosen appropriate tools and can your content and community engagement be described as best practice?</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68239 2016-09-05T14:47:57+01:00 2016-09-05T14:47:57+01:00 For IoT medical device firms, security issues are no longer just bad PR Patricio Robles <p>For obvious reasons, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68048-personal-data-and-privacy-in-the-digital-healthcare-age">privacy</a> and security concerns are of paramount importance when it comes to connected medical devices, and one medical device manufacturer, St. Jude Medical, is learning that potential problems with connected devices can be more than just a PR headache.</p> <p>On Thursday, investment firm Muddy Waters Capital <a href="http://www.muddywatersresearch.com/research/stj/mw-is-short-stj/">published</a> a research report claiming that a security flaw in St. Jude's Merlin@home device contained a security vulnerability that could potentially leave individuals with those implanted devices at risk to remote cyber attackers.</p> <p>In the report, Muddy Waters' Carson Block suggested that patients using potentially vulnerable devices should disable connectivity for their implanted devices and that St. Jude should issue a recall.</p> <p>Since nearly half of St. Jude's revenue comes from the allegedly affected devices, Block argued in his report that St. Jude could see its revenue plummet over the next two years, the length of time he believes it would take for the company to fix the problem and handle a recall.<br></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8787/st_jude_medical.png" alt="" width="700" height="309"></p> <p>Not surprisingly, shares of St. Jude stock dropped, and trading in them was temporarily halted.</p> <p>The company's share price recovered after it issued a statement disputing Muddy Waters' claims, calling them "false and misleading," but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) <a href="http://www.startribune.com/st-jude-medical-sharply-criticizes-short-seller-s-attack-on-its-cybersecurity/391437581/">confirmed Friday</a> that it will be looking into the matter with the Department of Homeland Security.</p> <h3>More than just a PR problem</h3> <p>One of Muddy Waters' claims, that St. Jude's implanted pacemakers could have their batteries drained by a remote attacker 50 feet away, is for obvious reasons concerning.</p> <p>St. Jude says that such claims are meritless, noting that its implanted devices only have a wireless range of seven feet after they are implanted. </p> <p>University of Michigan researchers who have tried to exploit the vulnerabilities claimed by Muddy Waters <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-st-jude-medical-cyber-university-idUSKCN1152I0">said</a> the "evidence does not support [Muddy Waters'] conclusions."</p> <p>But Muddy Waters counters that in the name of responsible disclosure, it did not release all of the details of the vulnerabilities.</p> <p><em>Two of St. Jude's pacemaker products</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8788/St_Jude_products.png" alt="" width="752" height="449"></p> <p>Needless to say, it's far too early to make a judgment here and, ultimately, the FDA's investigation will establish whether the claims leveled by Muddy Waters are legitimate.</p> <p>If they are, they could threaten the pending $25bn acquisition of St. Jude by Abbott Laboratories, so the stakes are high.</p> <p>Whatever the final outcome, the situation is a wake-up call to companies manufacturing connected medical devices.</p> <p>That's because, as <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-25/in-an-unorthodox-move-hacking-firm-teams-up-with-short-sellers">detailed by</a> Bloomberg's Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley, the Muddy Waters vs. St. Jude battle "reveals a new front in hacking for profit."</p> <p>Muddy Waters didn't identify potential vulnerabilities in St. Jude's devices.</p> <p>They were discovered by MedSec, a cybersecurity startup, which approached the investment firm and proposed a partnership in which MedSec would give its evidence to Muddy Waters and share in the profits if Muddy Waters was able to drive St. Jude's share price down.</p> <p>As Robertson and Riley note, "bringing this kind of information to an investment firm is highly unorthodox."</p> <p>Typically, security researchers make money by bringing vulnerabilities to the attention of the companies responsible for them in exchange for monetary compensation and/or public recognition.</p> <p>Alternatively, unscrupulous researchers sell the vulnerabilities they find on the black market.</p> <p>MedSec's CEO, Justine Bone, said that:</p> <blockquote> <p>As far as we can tell, St. Jude Medical has done absolutely nothing to even meet minimum cybersecurity standards, in comparison to the other manufacturers we looked at that have made efforts.</p> </blockquote> <p>So she decided not to bring the issue to St. Jude's attention.</p> <blockquote> <p>We were worried that they would sweep this under the rug or we would find ourselves in some sort of a hush litigation situation where patients were unaware of the risks they were facing.</p> <p>We partnered with Muddy Waters because they have a great history of holding large corporations accountable.</p> </blockquote> <p>While MedSec's decision is sparking debate over the ethics of security researchers, the message to companies that are involved with connected devices involving health and medicine is clear: Privacy and security must be top of mind as they have the potential to cause real wounds, not just PR scrapes.</p> <p>Interests with sophisticated tools, big bank accounts and media megaphones are increasingly going to be looking for problems, and when they think they find them, they're going to look to inflict damage, even if it's in the name of accountability.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68172 2016-08-22T11:24:09+01:00 2016-08-22T11:24:09+01:00 A day in the life of... a freelance PR & comms consultant Ben Davis <h3>Please describe your job: What does a freelance comms consultant do?</h3> <p>I work primarily with startups who are gearing up for investment or set to launch into market.</p> <p>I work with each client to identify key commercial objectives whether than be sign-ups to a platform, retaining or attracting talent, lowering cost per acquisition or driving revenue and building comms plans to meet those objectives.</p> <p>Contrary to the stereotype, very little of what I do is generating coverage or schmoozing journalists!</p> <p>The brand awareness or “fame” aspect should be a result of the commercial imperatives rather than the focus of them.  </p> <p>That being said I do have one client who is a very successful entrepreneur with various global business interests.</p> <p>He is in the lucky position of not really needing PR to drive his business goals but is keen to establish himself as a business leader and to nurture and develop other young entrepreneurs - so the brief for him focuses on raising his personal profile. </p> <p>I am lucky to be able to call upon a talented global platform of consultants via the <a href="http://hoxbycollective.com/">Hoxby Collective</a> for help on marketing, advertising and copywriting briefs.</p> <p>I also work closely with an old colleague and friend, Coard Henry, on many day-to-day accounts.</p> <p>As Hoxby’s head of PR, I vet all the prospective PR Associates to assess their suitability for the platform and field out work to the appropriate people as briefs come in from clients. </p> <p><em>The Hoxby Collective</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8277/Screen_Shot_2016-08-19_at_10.43.38.png" alt="hoxby collective" width="615" height="339"></p> <h3>Who do you report to?</h3> <p>I report directly to C-suite with clients, which helps with fast decision making but always carries with it a sense of imminent peril.</p> <p>Coard and I also “report” daily to each other on what we’re working on, updates on leads or opportunities from the previous week and ideas for current clients.</p> <p>I’m lucky that he absolutely thrives on the organisational aspect of running a business as he previously ran his own PR agency.</p> <p>Since he came on board he’s taken on a lot of that and I encourage him to “kick my a**” on admin but our complementary skills means we can both work on the areas where our natural abilities and interests lie. </p> <h3>What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h3> <p>Organisation and the ability to multi-task, commercial nous and creative flair. And resilience.</p> <p>Being your own boss can be thrilling but you need to be able to take setbacks in your stride and keep momentum going. </p> <h3>Tell us about a typical working day…  </h3> <p>I’m woken up about 6.30am with a toddler standing by my bed with his bunny, a book and an expectant look on his face.</p> <p>I will try and buy myself a few minutes sleep by sticking CBeebies on and having a snuggle but I’ll be downstairs making breakfast by 7am at the latest.</p> <p>While the kettle’s boiling I will check overnight emails from clients - I have one who travels 200 days a year so messages can fly in at any time of the day or night.</p> <p>I also check the news headlines, Google alerts and social media - Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - in that order.</p> <p>My partner will usually take our son Max into the shower around 7.30am so I fire off any urgent emails and review my to-do list before getting Max dressed and ready for nursery.</p> <p>Once he’s out of the door around 8am my day starts in earnest. </p> <p>Unless there is anything urgent needed for a client I like to spend the first hour or so setting up for the day.</p> <p>As I work from home most of the time I rely on social networks and platforms to act as a working community - the freelance PR groups on Facebook are particularly active and a rich source of support, contacts and general advice.</p> <p>I also use Slack for Hoxby work and comms and will “drop in” on the watercooler channel to say hi to new associates, check the live projects for new and interesting leads and the PR founders and “heads of” chats for any updates.</p> <p><em>Slack</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1493/Screen_Shot_2016-02-08_at_10.24.10.png" alt="slack" width="615"></p> <p>I also filter any new journalist requests in priority order to respond on behalf of clients with comments, op eds or interview pitches. </p> <p>At 10.30am I have a daily call with Coard to check in on activity and discuss any urgent priorities or emerging trends/stories that we need to jump onto. </p> <p>The majority of my working day is split between planning and strategy for clients, proactive pitching of story ideas to trade, national and broadcast press or offering comment/colour to wider industry pieces and reactive press in response to media requests.</p> <p>I may also be liaising with a marketer, editing or approving video or planning a social media strategy.  </p> <p>My partner also works from home and is a media production consultant.</p> <p>If we are both home at lunchtime we’ll sit down together to eat and discuss common projects or new leads. </p> <p>As we only moved back to Manchester in January and I still work in London with clients a lot I’ve been making a conscious effort to build up my Northern network.</p> <p>I aim to get out and meet a new contact - PR, journalist or marketer at least twice a month to get away from my desk and into the fresh air.</p> <p>The other week I went and played pool around 4pm then came home at 6pm, firing out emails on the way.</p> <p>The Metrolink has free, fast WIFI and I can get almost as much done on a “commute” as I do at home. </p> <p>Nursery pick up is 5.30pm and then I will spend time with Max before dinner then do bedtime stories and milk.</p> <p>I’m back at my computer around 7.30pm for another half hour or so to close off the day then my partner and I will start making dinner.</p> <h3>What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h3> <p>When you work for yourself you are in control of your own destiny which can be very empowering.</p> <p>Freelance life is liberating but it can be lonely which is why virtual networks and ensuring I speak to another human at least once during the working day helps keep me sane.</p> <p>I’m also free to work to my own “workstyle” which is a fundamental principle at Hoxby.</p> <p>One of my quirks is that if I’m struggling to find the solution to a tricky work problem I like to whip out the ironing board and do the laundry - I often find the solution coming to me as I’m attacking stubborn creases.</p> <p>That’s quite hard to recreate when you’re in a 9-5 office job but it works for me!</p> <p>I love to work with the entrepreneurial community and build from their inherent energy and passion for their product or service.</p> <p>It also means that decision making is fast which is a real boon after working for a large corporate. </p> <p>I also find the flexibility great with a young child. To be honest, I often find it easier to work than to be “mummy”, so make an effort to carve out family time treating it almost like another client.</p> <p>If you asked me to put together a global comms plan in 48 hours I wouldn’t bat an eyelid, ask me what the second verse of Twinkle Twinkle is I’d be lost...</p> <h3>What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success? </h3> <p>I like it when a prospect comes to me and asks for “help with PR” but I LOVE it when they come with a business problem they need to solve.</p> <p>Most clients are great at their business but don’t really understand PR and comms.</p> <p>They just know, or are told by potential investors/advisers that they need it. By focusing on the commercial outputs we speak the same language.</p> <p>Of course, there is always room for the qualitative brand piece but at its heart a communications programme needs to be rooted in business performance. </p> <h3>What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done? </h3> <p>Despite working with a lot of startups in the tech and associated arenas I can be a bit of a Luddite. Nothing beats pen, paper and ink.</p> <p>I do make use of technology that makes communication and collaboration easier.</p> <p>Slack is a great channel for communicating with remote teams, such as Hoxby, I like SkimIt for sharing content from news sites between teams and creating shared libraries.</p> <p>I use Harvest for time tracking and auto-generating invoices. Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts are great for catching up “face to face” with people.</p> <p><em>Harvest</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/8279/screen_shot_2016-08-19_at_10.49.00-blog-flyer.png" alt="harvest" width="470" height="234"></p> <h3>How did you get started in the comms industry, and where might you go from here?</h3> <p>I trod the traditional agency career path for a decade then the in-house road for three years before branching out on my own.</p> <p>So far, I’ve enjoyed 100% organic growth with work coming either from existing clients, former colleagues or friends who refer me for business.</p> <p>I’m also starting to build a wider network through the Hoxby Collective, social media groups and LinkedIn which drives an increasing volume of enquiries and prospects.  </p> <h3>Which brands do you think are doing comms well?</h3> <p>Brands that have an authentic and clear <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67268-how-to-achieve-the-right-tone-of-voice-for-your-brand/">tone of voice</a> and personality tend to be the ones that do best.</p> <p>Virgin is one that I’ve always admired as well as heritage brands like John Lewis and Mercedes. </p> <h3>Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the comms industry?</h3> <p>Get business experience or at least read up on it. Learn to speak C-suite language and don’t get caught up in PR <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66631-20-banned-words-from-the-econsultancy-blog-and-their-alternatives/">jargon</a>.</p> <p>Always remember the story and tailor everything to telling it in an authentic and credible way that is platform-agnostic.</p> <p>Accept you can’t be the expert on everything and build a good and trusted network you can call on.</p> <p><em>If you're looking for a new challenge in digital <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/">our jobs board</a> lists hundreds of open positions, and you can benchmark your own digital knowledge using our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-skills-index-lite/">Digital Skills Index</a>.</em></p>