Welcome to my new blog for KIS Communications! This blog will largely be a fun diversion from work, with a focus on fashion, food & wine and travel. However, you’ll also find the odd post about our core business: strategic communications, featuring tips and tricks for maximising the value of your communications output. I hope you enjoy!
When it comes to communications, many people fancy themselves experts – but there is much that sets true marketing communications experts apart.
In addition to the skills you’d expect, like great written skills and social media nous, here are five reasons why investing in communications will likely pay dividends for your brand or business.
As Confucius says, “true wisdom is knowing what you don’t know”. A marketing/ communications expert will create an overarching communications plan covering everything from your logo to your publications, PR and events, and social media presence, giving thought to your target audience and goals.
Not only will they ask who but also why? For instance, why do you want to have a presence on social media? And which social media channels are useful for you? For example, in my view Twitter is a great place for influencers – think Barack Obama and Emma Watson – but not worth the effort for some brands. Likewise, many brands are jumping on the Snapchat bandwagon, but if your target audience fits into an older age demographic, you won’t be talking to the right people by focusing on Snapchat.
Setting the Tone
There’s a reason why communications experts talk about “brand tone of voice”. Far from being a fluffy concept, brand tone of voice is key to building brand recognition and ensuring that you resonate with your target audience. And brand recognition is an important driver behind sales – and a major road block for many brands.
When I worked for Burberry I was part of a team responsible for developing and updating a detailed style guide for the brand. There’s a reason why companies like Burberry invest so much money in their marketing teams. For a luxury brand like Burberry, brand consistency is key. Misusing a logo or describing a product in inappropriate language may not seem like a big deal, but done repeatedly it can lead to brand erosion that costs companies in the long term.
Keep it Moving
Getting bogged down in the minutiae of wording a social media post or finding imagery for that Annual Report? Communications experts and agencies have all of the right suppliers – from graphic designers, to printers – on their teams and at their disposal. So when you reflect on the time it’s taken you to craft the wording for that brochure or put together those brand guidelines, chances are a communications expert would have done it in a fraction of the time.
Cool in a Crisis
When it comes to a PR disaster or even issues like trolling on social media, I tell my clients and the brands I work with to come to me first. Here, experience is key. There is no singular ‘how to’ guide for dealing with these types of crises in the digital age. A communications expert will work quickly, weighing up the options and the potential fall-out from each of these and hold your hand while you weather the storm. They can also act as your media spokesperson, allowing you more time to assess your options by acting as a gatekeeper to the media. This will save you being caught on the fly and saying something you regret. Hopefully they might even have a contact (or three!) in the newsroom to ensure that your side of the story is fairly represented.
The Little Black Book
Any good communications expert will have a little black book of media contacts – and they can tailor this contact list to suit your brand. Investing in PR is one of the best ways to publicise your brand and, increasingly, many small to medium businesses are opting for PR and earned media rather than paid advertising because of its reach and the fact that it is relatively inexpensive. Having someone who has built a relationship with a journalist or blogger contact them will beat a cold call every time.