Crowdfunding – A Brief Look at 6 Platforms

Crowdfunding has transformed the process of raising money.

1 Kickstarter

Kickstarter is an American public-benefit corporation based in Brooklyn, New York, that maintains a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity. The company’s stated mission is to “help bring creative projects to life”. In the world of crowdfunding, Kickstarter the tried and tested solution The idea is that those seeking funding give “investors” perks, such as products, T-shirts, or unique experiences, based on their level of investment.

Best Suited To: Kickstarter projects tend to be creative in nature, with projects raising money for items such as a bicycle made from bamboo. Projects for other categories such as food and technology do appear, but majority of projects are related to music, art, crafts, and design.

Don’t Forget: Kickstarter only funds projects, meaning you must have a deliverable, like a tool or a gadget, nothing as nebulous as “hiking in Peru.” And no charitable fund raising.

Small Print: Kickstarter adopts the winner takes all approach. If you don’t raise 100 percent of the goal you set, you get none of it. Kickstarter takes 5 percent of the amount raised, and the payment processor takes another 3 to 5 percent.

Kickstarter has reportedly received more than $1.9 billion in pledges from 9.4 million backers to fund 257,000 creative projects, such as films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, technology and food-related projects.

2 GoFundMe

GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform that allows people in some but not all countries to raise money for events ranging from life events such as celebrations and graduations to challenging circumstances like accidents and illnesses. The company is based in San Diego, California.

That said there is a business component to GoFundMe.

Best Suited To: GoFundMe is ideal for local businesses trying to rally a community to help them launch or grow.

Don’t Forget: GoFundMe allows users to create their own website to their fundraising cause, the amount they hope to raise, and upload photos or video. Users share their project with friends, family and anyone else via through integrated social media and email.

Small Print: GoFundMe generates revenue by automatically deducting a 5% fee from each donation users receive. If the user receives no donations, then no charge is made. In addition to the 5% that GoFundMe deducts from each transaction, WePay collects 2.9% and $0.30 from each GoFundMe transaction.

GoFundMe is unique to crowdfunding in that they are not an incentive-based crowdfunding website. Although they do allow projects that are meant to fund other projects for musicians, inventors, and similar causes. The business model is set up to allow for donations to personal causes and life events such as medical bills.

Leanne Brown - raised funds in 2014 to write a cookbook.

Leanne Brown – raised funds in 2014 to write a cookbook.

3 EquityNet

EquityNet is a U.S.-based business crowdfunding platform for startups and mature businesses to raise equity capital from accredited investors. Founded in 2005, the company is headquartered in New York.While Kickstarter and GoFundMe appeal mainly to consumers looking to finance small businesses, EquityNet is focused on investors.

Best Suited For: EquityNet is focused on commercial enterprises. Its target sectors include health care, industrial & manufacturing, biotechnology, and computer hardware and software, among others.

Don’t Forget: EquityNet is not a registered broker-dealer and thus is not involved in the transfer of funds.

Small Print: Unlike other crowdfunding sites, EquityNet doesn’t charge a fee for raising funds. It operates as a subscription service. Some services are free, while others are bundled into the $109-per-month plan.

EquityNet provides access to thousands of investors and has helped entrepreneurs across North America raise more than $240 million in equity, debt, and royalty-based capital

4 Indiegogo

Indiegogo, is an international crowdfunding website headquartered in San Francisco, California. The site is one of the first sites to offer crowd funding. Indiegogo allows people to solicit funds for an idea, charity, or start-up business. The site runs on a rewards-based system, meaning donors, investors, or customers who are willing help to fund a project or product can donate and receive a gift, rather than an equity stake in the company.

Best Suited To: Indiegogo is a pretty diverse crowdfunding site, with no specific sector focus.

Don’t Forget: Indiegogo does not use the “all or nothing” requirement, but it does charge a higher fee if you don’t reach your fund raising goal.

Small Print: Indiegogo offers both fixed and flexible funding. The fee for either is 4 percent, but if you don’t hit your funding goal with a flexible funding campaign, the fee is 9 percent. There’s no fee for a fixed funding campaign if you don’t hit your funding goal.This charge is in addition to credit card and PayPal charges that range from 3.5% to 9%.

Following changes in Security and Exchange Commission rules earlier in 2016, Indiegogo has partnered with MicroVentures to offer equity-based campaigns beginning in November 2016, allowing unaccredited investors to participate with equity stakes

Leanne Brown - wrote her crowd funded cook book

Leanne Brown – wrote and published her crowd funded cook book

5 RocketHub

RocketHub is an online crowdfunding platform. Very popular with musicians, entrepreneurs, scientists, game developers and fashion designers. RocketHub is considered one of America’s largest crowdfunding platforms.

Best Suited To: RocketHub is ideal for projects related to; art, business, science, and social issues.

Small Print: If the selected funding target is not reached by the deadline, the project leader is still able to keep the collected funds. RocketHub charges 4% of funds collected, plus 4% payment processing fees, if the project is fully funded, and 8% plus 4% payment processing fees if the project does not reach its goal.

RocketHub engaged in an innovative partnership with marketing agency Wieden+Kennedy and Chrysler’s Dodge Dart in 2013 allowing users to crowdfund the purchase of a car by asking friend sand family to buy certain parts, such as wheels.

6 Crowdfunder

Crowdfunder is a Los Angeles-based equity crowdfunding platform that connects entrepreneurs to investors onlineCrowdfunder aims to provide investors with the chance to get in on investment opportunities that have typically been exclusive to Silicon Valley venture capitalists or industry insiders. In addition to connecting entrepreneurs with investors, the site also offers a lot of resources to help investors raise money.

Best Suited To: Because Crowdfunder attracts accredited investors, the fundraising goals tend to be higher. Organizations in industries like high-technology and health care can raise hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. It’s also a cool place to find innovative ideas like a notary service that can be conducted via online video.

Small Print: You pay no fee to get your funding, but you do have to pay a monthly subscription service fee.

Since 2011, Crowdfunder has funded 58 deals, averaging $1.8 million apiece. The majority of those are tech startups, but others are social enterprises and small businesses. To date, $100 million in investment deal flow has come through Crowdfunder.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Startups Who Want to do PR In-house

Want to take the DIY route to creating media coverage for your startup? Read on here is some quality advice and guidance to help you be successful.

Be Honest

Ask yourself honestly what are you doing that is truly newsworthy?

The truth is, many startups simply aren’t newsworthy, partly because very few startups are truly unique or they are solving a problem in a way that simply isn’t compelling. If at the back of your mind this sounds like it might be you, then you may need to make fundamental changes to your offering before doing anything else. However, if you feel your startup is unique in some meaningful way and worthy of coverage, think about your approach to a journalist. You need an angle. It could be the launch of a new product, a high-profile hire, analysis of some original data from research that you commissioned.

Keep It Simple

Using words of one syllable and in one sentence explain what is your raison d’être? Anyone has to be able to read this statement and know with a high degree of certainty exactly what it is that you do. Try to avoid jargon if at all possible, what is familiar to you will not be to those people outside your industry.

Here are some examples to get you thinking.

  • Merck – To preserve and improve human life.
  • Walt Disney – To make people happy.
  • McKinsey – To help leading corporations and governments be more successful.
  • Marriott – To make people away from home feel they are among friends and are really wanted.
  • Nike – To experience the emotion of competition, winning, and crushing competitors.
  • Boeing – To push the leading edge of aviation, taking on huge challenges and doing what others cannot do.

Journalists receive a large volume of unsolicited pitches every single day. What this means is that you have – at best – two or three sentences to convey what is newsworthy about your pitch. The two words that always come to mind for me at this point are relevant and relative. Is your story relevant to this journalist and relative to everything else going on today is it newsworthy?

Relativity is outside your control on any given day – I was involved with the launch of a US company into the UK market. The launch date was Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.

Popular startup keywords

 

Your Target Audience

You need to decide who you are trying to reach with your message and therefore, which publications might be interested in covering your startup. Once you know the publications your audience reads you can dig around and find the journalist most likely to be interested in your story – assuming you don’t already know who that would be.

Over time you need to know who the key journalists, bloggers and opinion leaders are in your space then you need to build relationships with them. Read their articles and send an email or comment on social media if you definitely liked something they wrote. Be available to give them quotations when they are writing an article about other companies, an industry issue or even one of your competitors.

Studies show that about 80% of journalists want to receive initial pitches via email. Not via social media, the telephone or contact page. So start with an email.

Avoid the spray and pray approach. MailChimp is an awesome tool but taking the extra time to craft custom emails for journalists who have an interest in covering your story is going to be much more productive in the long run. However, writing a beautifully crafted letter to the defense correspondent at the New York Times, about your latest $500 drone, will not generate the result you were hoping for and could even tarnish your reputation.

The Press Release

You can push out a press release over the wire services and these will be picked up by robots and the releases will show up if anyone does an internet search on your company or the topic of the press release. If this has value for you then it’s something to consider.

If your company has solved the challenge of nuclear fusion then a press release is definitely in order.

Make sure the quality of what you send is as high as possible. That starts with spelling, grammar and sentence construction. But also includes getting journalists names and areas of special interest correct.

If you need to create content in a foreign language and/or approach foreign media outlets the chances are you will need to find help from professionals who understand the both cultural difference and the nuances of the foreign langue. This is not the time to use Google translate!

Supporting Evidence

Collateral. Supply high-quality images, video, samples, info-graphics or whatever else is appropriate. In the automotive world, product launch packages that go to the automotive journalists can be very elaborate. Find out what is expected and appropriate in the space you are trying to break into.

Whenever possible have product images shot professionally – it’s a subtle difference at times but the visual impact can immediately raise your credibility. At product launches journalists will shoot their own images and video – but they will still appreciate professional images to use with their article.

PR Jargon

A key term to know is “embargo.” An embargo is when you request that the information or news provided by the source (in this case you) will not be published until a certain date and time.”  Reputable publications will honor embargoes.  But embargoes have been broken sometimes by accident and sometimes intentionally.

An embargo is particularly useful if you feel that reporters will need extra time to research and accurately report the news. The embargo gives journalists time to interview sources at your company, clarify key points and create a tailored story.

Follow Up

Follow up. If a journalist runs an article as a result of your efforts take the time to thank them. Keep it simple and don’t send gifts. In the world of haute couture, it is common to send flowers to fashion editors and key journalists but that is probably not your world. If you want to send a journalist some swag do so when there is no story on the table.  If your story really is a “news bombshell” then you will need to use a media monitoring service to make sure you track and analyze all the coverage you receive.

Finally, if all this sounds daunting then you can hire an agency to do all of the above on your behalf. Selecting a suitable agency is a whole different blog post for another day.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Fake News and its Impact on Public Relations

As the adage goes, a lie races around the world in the time it takes the truth to put its shoes on.

Shortly after the 2016 US Presidential election, America’s interest in “fake news” spiked. This was fueled in part because some people believed fake news may have influenced the election in some way. People are deeply concerned about fake news, and the news media has generated a good deal of coverage about this topic.

The number of news stories about fake news.

The number of news stories about fake news.

One of the core activities of Public Relations is to obtain coverage for brands in the media. Media coverage has always had value because the public trusted what they read as independent third-party endorsement from the media. However, in the USA trust in the media is waning. What happens to the value of PR when our brands, our clients might find themselves under attack by a news story which has no basis in truth.

According to polling company Gallup, Americans’ trust in mass media has dropped to a new low in 2016, with only 32 percent of U.S. adults expressing at least a fair amount of confidence in the mainstream media to deliver an unbiased chronicle of current affairs. Not surprisingly the Gallup reports that the level of trust in the media varies considerably depending on political inclinations. In the USA Republicans have traditionally viewed the mainstream media more critically than Democrats, the divergence in how both groups assess the press has never been greater. Just 14 percent of Republicans expressed their trust in the media prior to Donald Trump’s election in November while 50 percent of Democrats felt the media was reporting fairly and accurately. Following Trump’s repeated attacks against the “failing” and “dishonest” press, it can only be assumed that the level of trust among his supporters has fallen even further since the poll was conducted in September 2016.

Trust in Mass Media

Trust in Mass Media

What can we do about it? At OOKII we devote time and effort to promote real news. We must be honest with not only ourselves, but also our stakeholders, and our clients. As consumers of news, we must support the legitimate news outlets which we want to see survive this storm and ultimately thrive.

 

 

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Marketing Cannabis

The legal cannabis industry is expected to be a $50 billion industry by 2026, according to Bloomberg. That is nearly a 7 fold growth from where it is today. In the United States alone, it is believed that over 100 million Americans have tried cannabis, with 25 million Americans having used it within the past year. Investment in the US cannabis industry has boomed over the past few years with 2015 hitting a high of over $220 million in equity financing to private companies. The uptick in funding corresponds to the loosening of cannabis restrictions. The number of verticals being funded within the cannabis sector, including e-commerce, healthcare, and information service solutions, has also increased as cannabis startups have arrived to solve problems in the cannabis supply chain. What are the challenges of marketing marijuana?

Marketing Marijuana Cannabis Bud

The majority of people with any industry knowledge are growers. Old hands in the industry talk of a 15 year learning curve for new growers. 5 years to understand how to grow high quality product, another 5 years to learn how to improve yield without compromising quality and a final 5 years to learn how to get operational costs down without compromising quality or yield. Established growers are passionate about what they do, the newcomers are in it to make a quick buck. Neither group has any real understanding of what it takes to create an integrated marketing strategy. In fact the majority of the cannabis industry lacks any clear marketing strategy.

As Michael Straumietis, CEO of fertilizer producer, Advanced Nutrients puts it. “You’ve got to remember, this is an industry of farmers, and they don’t have the business expertise the industry needs.”

Many “cannapreneurs” are smart enough to see that the super-normal margins which exist in parts of the market today are not sustainable and that prices will inevitably come down as more players enter the market. They know they need to build brand equity or risk being left in that part of the market which will become commoditized. As recreational cannabis becomes legal, a much larger and more diverse demographic can be targeted by the new cannabis brands.

Conducting research to understanding segmentation is fundamental to success. At this point the market is in transition from medical to medical and recreational, two very different segments that don’t easily dovetail together in terms of a single brand identity. Medical marijuana and cannabis derivatives are distinct segments. Each comes with its own purpose, products and potential consumers.

Retail recreational cannabis appeals to several different and evolving demographics, For example, one large group of new users are  late Baby Boomers and early Gen X (in their 50’s and 60’s) — predominantly empty nesters, they are interested in new modes of consumption such as edibles and are averse to smoking. At the same time new Gen X female consumers tend to be interested in not only edibles but also tinctures and beverages. This segment is also strongly predisposed to high quality organic products. Which immediately raises a marketing challenge – the cannabis industry can’t use the same organic label, which is familiar with consumers, as other crops can. This is because cannabis is not so much considered a plant as it is a drug. The label “organic” requires certification by the US Department of Agriculture, which is a federal agency. By the same token the use of trademarks to protect cannabis brands is blocked because of its classification under the federal Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule 1 drug. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is prohibited from recognizing cannabis-related trademarks.

Marketing Marijuana Medical Cannabis Dark Chocolate

Once the marketing strategy is defined then the design of logos, positioning statements, websites and product packaging can commence. However, there are more hurdles to overcome, legal cannabis is a highly regulated business category, just like alcohol and tobacco. But unlike those industries, cannabis is not legal at the federal level. Therefore there are no federal regulations – but there are very specific state regulations. Child safety is a primary concern wherever cannabis sales are regulated. For cannabis-infused edibles, San Francisco’s packaging rules include a “Keep Out of Reach of Children” warning, allergen warnings and opaque packaging materials that conceal the products from youngsters.

The cannabis industry must find truly qualified marketing advice from experienced and skilled companies. In such a new industry, where consumer segments are still undefined, it is tough finding experts with deep experience in both traditional marketing and new marketing channels – but we do exist.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Donald Trump and Twitter

Donald Trump’s Twitter account @realDonaldTrump hasn’t always been the powerful communications channel it has become. In the month since the election, Mr. Trump has taken to Twitter to lambast what he sees as unfavorable media coverage, rail against corporations who contemplate taking jobs offshore and defended his impromptu phone calls with foreign leaders.

Journalists and PR practitioners are trying to understand if there is any method in Trump’s Twitter madness.

For the first time, Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, spoke out saying he has “complicated” feelings about Donald Trump’s use of the social media service.

Does President Elect Trump Use Twitter Too Much

Where it all began.

In May 2009, Trump, then a private businessman, sent his first tweet promoting a forthcoming appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Then followed tweets about The Apprentice, his talk show appearances, family milestones and quotes from Donald Trump himself. The tweets directly from him were usually tagged “from Donald Trump,” but rarely veered into politics.

In the last six months of 2011, his Twitter output went from almost 150 tweets a year to more than 100 tweets a month. In 2016, he averaged 375 tweets a month through to the end of November.

Donald Trump's Twitter Followers Reach 18 Million

Trump formally announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, with a campaign rally and speech at Trump Tower in New York City. Ahead of his announcement, he retweeted more than a dozen tweets celebrating the idea of a Trump run.

Donald Trump will continue to tweet as president, according to incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who stated that Trump’s engagement with supporters via social media will be “a really exciting part of the job.”

In addition to his 18 million Twitter followers, Trump has about 39 million combined followers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which, Spicer said, “allows him to add an element of a conversation that’s never occurred.”

Trump’s ongoing use of Twitter is going to be a political/social experiment on an unprecedented scale. Where it leads no one yet knows.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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12 Days of Christmas Gifts Up Less Than 1% This Year!

The 2016 results are in and the price of True Love has increased only slightly since last year. The small price rise in the PNC Christmas Price Index® reflects slow economic growth and wage inflation caused an increase in some holiday entertainment options

PNC calculated the price tag for the Christmas Price Index at $34,363.49, just $232.50 or 0.7 percent more than last year’s cost and less than the government’s Consumer Price Index, which has increased 1.6 percent over the past 12 months

This is the 33rd year of PNC putting a price on this Christmas classic

The Twelve Days of Christmas: In most Western church traditions Christmas Day is the first day of Christmas and the twelve days are 25 December – 5 January.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” song is a cumulative song with twelve verses, each verse describing a gift given by “My True Love” on one of the twelve days of Christmas.

The First Day of Christmas courtesy of PNC

  • First Day  – A Partridge in a Pear Tree.
  • Second Day  – Two Turtle Doves
  • Third Day  – Three French Hens
  • Fourth Day  – Four  Calling Birds
  • Fifth Days – Five Gold Rings
  • Sixth Day  – Six Geese a-Laying
  • Seventh Day  – Seven Swans a-Swimming
  • Eight Day  – Eight Maids a-Milking
  • Ninth Day  – Nine Ladies Dancing
  • Tenth Day  – Ten Lords a-Leaping
  • Eleventh Day – Eleven Pipers Piping
  • Twelfth Day  – Twelve Drummers Drumming

Since 1984, the cumulative costs of the items mentioned in the song have been used as a whimsical economic indicator. Assuming the gifts are repeated in full in each round of the song, then a total of 364 items are delivered by the twelfth day.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Positive Press Coverage is Critical to Start-Up Funding

Successful start-ups get funded when VCs are excited about the opportunity, and when the partner leading your investment has checked-off all the key risk factors associated with your future. Getting those boxes successfully checked requires meticulous preparation.

stepsto start-up success

Part of that preparation involves becoming desirable to the media and that requires more than a great product or service. Truth be told, no start-up has ever developed a product or service so unique it could actually sell itself. Believing your product or service is so innovative that the media will hunt you down for a story is a fantasy that simply isn’t going to happen.

Competition in the start-up space is fierce. Not only are there other early-stage start-ups desperately attempting to capture the attention of consumers and VCs — those start-ups are also battling with mature corporations who appear in the media every day.

Success requires the persuasion of the media, potential consumers and the inevitable skeptics. Voice, positioning, and differentiation are all part of an OOKII strategic public relations plan. Start-ups need PR support to make their brand more credible, to gain trust and to start building an emotional connection with future customers. To achieve this requires expert navigation, working with PR professionals who understand how start-ups and venture capitalists function can be your most certain route to success.

Start-up founders need to be industry experts, fully aware of their competition and totally convinced that their offering solves a customer problem in a superior manner. However, founders do not have the time to juggle the challenges of strategic public relations and create a winning PR strategy while managing their critical business operations. Which is where a focused agency like OOKII Company comes in, nothing excites OOKII more than getting to work with a motivated start-up team who share common goals and together we are mutually energized to achieve what some will say is the impossible.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Personalisation

Events can be recorded as data.  Data when placed in context becomes information. Information improves the UX (user experience).

Big data therefore holds the promise of experiences personalized to the customer’s individual preferences; but how many times have you tried to clean-up your CRM to even start improving targeting?

Profile Personalisation - Create a single, actionable view of your customer

PR and social activity should be driving auditable traffic to your website (at OOKII Company we’re a bit obsessed about our clients’ Google Analytics referral reports) to demonstrate PR ROI. So once you’ve created interest, how can you improve yield?

Historically, there has been plenty of big data sizzle but not much sausage. Huge investments in data warehouses and hierarchical storage management systems still don’t really connect this data to the customer experience. The ability for organizations to leverage their information assets and deliver personalized experiences remains, for many, a missed opportunity. But the opportunity exists and there are now a growing number of systems from companies such as Hellosoda, MongoDB and Monetate who are enabling this crucial step to personalisation..

Organizations who have successfully tapped into their customer data using these new systems are claiming some outstanding improvements to their key business metrics.

>10% uplift in response rates & click-through rates

>75% of customers more likely to make a purchase

>60% of clients see increased marketing ROI

As many of our customers tell us, “We have all this data – we just haven’t been able to get around to using it properly”. Businesses that can effectively pull this data together, in a place that’s accessible for optimizing experiences, have the potential to unlock untapped revenue and deliver truly profitable experiences.

Typical information gathered on customers and used by personalisation systems includes:

  • Personality traits (male/female, millennial, CEO……)
  • Key life events such as charity fun run, or a global event like the World Cup
  • Date of salary payment
  • Best time to contact (work hours, evenings….)
  • Spending habits garnered from previous shopping cart behavior
  • Socio-demographic information
  • Geo-location for time-of-day accuracy or better localization

Whatever you try, your website can be a great place to start. Think about the goals of your site and the way your visitors use it. Then identify a targeted place where personalisation could help ease friction. Website personalisation shouldn’t be a cheap ‘Welcome back Dave’ trick. It’s important to understand the points of friction in the marketing funnel, and use a technically enabled personalisation strategy to improve the user experience, and facilitate the journey towards the desired outcome – be that a purchase or a membership enrollment – however you define that end goal.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Personal Branding

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the occupation you happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of personal branding. A well-curated personal brand is an essential part of any entrepreneur or business leader’s marketing strategy.

Personal branding is essentially the continuous process of creating and maintaining an image or perception that extends well beyond social media. In a professional context you want to be recognized as an expert in your area of competence, and you want to stand out in the minds of your audience.

Key opinion leaders have a personal brand; an interesting subject with no profile or back story is hard to pitch to media.

At OOKII Company we’re particularly fond of arranging speaking opportunities at conferences; this is an immediate way of communicating your brand and expertise among peers or potential customers.

Whether you’re a financial planner or a fashion blogger, a personal brand has become a professional requirement—the key to success is fulfilling people’s expectations by sharing unique insights and continually having new ideas and opinions to share. A good PR agency can help you with this; they still need have to have access to you regularly to stay-up-to-speed.

Step 1: Defining your brand

How do you want to be perceived? Obviously the answer to this question depends to some extent on your target audience. It doesn’t do a software guru any good to brand herself as a marketing prodigy. During this first step it is also important to start thinking about your points of differentiation—what makes you different from all the other rocket scientists out there?

Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to your target audience. To try and do anything else over an extended period of time would not only lack integrity it would be utterly exhausting: focussing on your specialism is key. Once you have identified your area of expertise, you need to think about how to make yourself memorable.

People are interested in people. So the more personal you can make this the more memorable it will be. You might, for example, want to talk about a personal achievement such as swimming the English Channel (like one of our founders).

Step 2: Communicating your brand

Your brand should be reflected in everything you do from presentations at conferences to emails. Social media channels give you an opportunity to write about yourself once but have it read many times. Here are three sites that you should consider.

LinkedIn: Helps you build effective business relationships based on the “know, like, and trust” factor. If you haven’t done so already begin by creating a LinkedIn profile. At OOKII we often manage regular updates to this channel for busy CEOs.

Facebook: Facebook helps you tell your personal brand story in ways that connect, inform, and entertain. Be selective with your friends and the communities you join. Don’t worry about Facebook if you’re a pure B2B player though.

Twitter: This social channel is easy to update and to mix together personal and business related content. Again, it’s often better to have a 3rd party PR like OOKII Company managing posts and responding to comments as it’s hard to stay on top of the volume.

Step 3: Keep a hand on the helm

Good personal brand managers, like good sailors anticipate when conditions are about to change and react accordingly. Ships don’t sail themselves and personal brands don’t manage themselves: we’re here to help.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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PESO Paid Earned Shared Owned

This week we want to focus on how PR and communications can make a real contribution to the bottom line. Perhaps the most useful framework for how we at OOKII Company think about communications is the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model:

PESO: The model developed by American PR and social media guru, Gini Dietrich.

PR professionals who adopt the PESO model can have tremendous influence in terms of an organization’s overall communications strategy. If you’re stuck in “media-relations-only” mode, you will miss opportunities. When communications is approached with a synergistic mindset, what starts as a mere press release to generate industry news can become a mini campaign that reaches your target audience where they are consuming content, at a time to suit them and in manner that appeals to them.

“If you aren’t using the PESO model for your communications work, and measuring the meaningful metrics that help an organization grow, you will not have a job in 10 years.” Says Dietrich.

The PESO model is basically about the benefits of adopting an holistic approach, by combining each of the elements (paid, earned, shared, and owned) to achieve company goals and adapting how you use the different elements based on that goal. Building brand credibility clearly requires a different approach to that of filling the sales funnel.

  • Paid media: This may include social media ads, sponsored posts and digital advertising. Also above-the-line activities such as direct mail, which still have a key role.
  • Earned media: This is achieved through persuasion. You or more likely your PR agency will convince a journalist, blogger or other online ‘opinion leader’ to write about your organization and share your content.
  • Shared media: Similar to earned but exclusively via social media platforms. This can be one of the most powerful elements for organizations when they leverage their followers’ peer review.
  • Owned media: This is content that you create, manage and control yourself. A website or a company blog, but the important part is that it is content you create and control.

For example

An OOKII client produces an informative and well written whitepaper that will be of real interest to the client’s target audience. The whitepaper is published together with a blog post on the organization’s website. This is owned media.

A trackable link to the whitepaper is then shared across the organizations social media channels. People following those social channels engage with the content and hopefully they like it and more importantly, they share it among their friends and community. This is shared media.

A specialist blogger sees the online activity and decides to write a post on the topic, citing your organization and your white paper. This is earned media.

The organization creates and runs digital ads together with sponsored social media ads that take interested prospects through to the blog where the whitepaper is posted. This is paid media.

Keep it punchy!

What the PESO model highlights very clearly is that content is king. Content is at the heart of all our efforts.

Providing high quality content is vital if you want to engage in a meaningful way with your target audience, but people’s time to consume information is greatly reducing, so keeping it punchy and to-the-point has never been more important!

PESO summary

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

Adrian G Stewart

Adrian G Stewart

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