What media opportunities can communications practitioners explore and utilise across digital media during the Covid-19 pandemic? Jason Teitler, senior vice-president of global communications and brand lead for Special Olympics International, shares his advice on how brands can continue to reach consumers and audiences.
For many in the communications and marketing fields, along with their colleagues and partners around them, the value of media relations means one thing – coverage secured through an earned media campaign, a product or service announcement, or a thought leadership initiative. Much like advertising space, there is no foolproof tool available to conclude exactly how many people have read a story, viewed a television placement, or listened to a radio hit to determine return on the investment by securing the coverage, including budget and resources, to meet public relations objectives.
Distractions such as mobile devices and their stream of text messages, or in-person conversations on the living room couch can steal attention away from a placement, a factor which makes definitive measurement even more challenging, leaving the placement theoretically unnoticeable. Conversely, should earned media coverage be a campaign’s endgame? Certainly not!
A well-thought out earned strategy is designed to secure media placements so other critical business functions have the weapons they need to make substantial progress against their objectives. It’s what executives do, or don’t do, once a placement is in-hand that’s most significant to an organization, whether they realize it or not.
Today, as many brands are struggling to navigate an unparalleled media and economic environment – the consequences of a global pandemic – brands are even more stressed to retain the loyalty and the attention of audiences. The extra advantage of a compelling earned media placement may be one of the world’s most cost-efficient sales and relationship-building tools as well as one of the most underappreciated instruments.
In a 2018 study produced by Forrester for Cision called “The Forrester Opportunity Snapshot,” 151 U.S. marketers, director level and above, were surveyed. In the survey, 77% of marketers said their organization uses earned media to build and/or sustain brand awareness, 73% said it’s used to create competitive advantages and to build and/or sustain customer loyalty, and 70% said it’s used to promote company values.
Pound for pound, an earned media effort is considerably more cost-efficient than paid media, tells a more thorough brand story, and can be a substantially more convincing internal and external sales and communications advantage. Plus, a third party sharing a brand’s narrative often has credibility built-in, which during this climate of extreme skepticism, is desperately coveted by many vulnerable organizations. At Special Olympics, we recognize the power of the placement, and we’re not alone.
Multinational brand Experian is an example of an organization that values earned media in a variety of business-building initiatives. Gerry Tschopp, senior vice-president and head of global external communications for Experian agrees. He said: “In this world of integrated communications, the earned media placement matters tremendously. While we look to surround audiences with our story through multiple channels, our executives thoroughly believe an influential media hit makes a difference in driving our business agenda. But the placement is only one step, albeit an important one with third-party credibility. It is then on us to take that story and ensure we share it in ways that contribute to the ROI for our media efforts.”
There are countless methods brands can adopt to make the journey towards an indispensable placement triumphant and have a valuable direct and indirect impact to a company’s bottom-line.
Improving employee morale
At Special Olympics, the impact of a positive story, through a credible media outlet, is a prized component of our internal communications program, especially if it spotlights our athletes in a leadership role or one of our programming units – Sport, Health, or Education – in a progressive position. Few achievements get staff to rally behind an organization and campaign like witnessing their efforts in action and being appreciated by others. Within a brand’s infrastructure, the human resources and communications departments must combine efforts to unearth additional value through distribution of an email, blog, newsletter, intranet, or another far-reaching internal comms channel.
In October 2019, Experian began a pilot employee engagement campaign, where employees were asked to share consumer education content, Experian culture stories, and Experian media coverage with their social networks. Experian found its employees actively shared media stories focused on how the company helps consumers in credit education and drive an inclusive culture – generating an additional three million impressions and nearly 20,000 engagements.
In this Covid-19 environment, it has never been more difficult for brands to explore and secure new business partners. Executive teams across the world are navigating pandemic-related issues nearly every day and many of them come with unexpected twists and turns leading to damage to the bottom line. Challenges companies face ranging from adjusting to and maximizing remote employee performance to the dilemma of establishing timeframes to open and reactivate offices and conventional business practices. These take priority and leave little flexibility to hunt and establish collaboration with a new partner, especially since all other brands are struggling through the same obstacles. Leaders at target partners seek perspectives, insights and like-minded executives, and strong media coverage highlighting these attributes can place a company in an advantageous position. This may pique the interest of such brands enough to help a company fight through the noise in hopes of establishing productive alliances.
Extending media opportunities
Well-rounded placements with distinct messages, which not only champion a specific point of view but also provide valuable tips and techniques for consumers, the corporate community, or other stakeholders, particularly during this current pandemic, can deliver many benefits. The Special Olympics movement is constantly challenging itself to extract additional mileage from critical placements, including sharing with our millions of athletes, Unified partners, coaches, volunteers, and supporters across the world.
Furthermore the Special Olympics Development team counts on the many earned media placements as an inexpensive mechanism for shedding light on serious issues individuals with intellectual disabilities face. This includes sharing and magnifying athlete achievements and struggles, and spotlighting resources required to advance the fight for inclusion globally. In an effort to seek and procure fresh sources of funding, evidence of a trustworthy third party deeming it worthy enough to cover the financial need is always a benefit, unlike a paid asset such as a print ad or 30-second spot.
Social media fodder
The seemingly infinite digital resources available today provide organizations with opportunities to extend the reach and impact of a media placement, enabling a brand to efficiently influence additional audiences. This includes elevating a local earned media victory across the world. From expanded thought leadership featuring quotes from the placement or the full story on LinkedIn to the extensive video capacities of Instagram, there are multiple ways for a brand to surround current audiences and reach elusive targets, previously unaware of a brand’s mission.
At Special Olympics, it is common practice to celebrate coverage through social media to reach audiences currently engaged in the movement as well as convert audiences into loyal supporters and champions of the ’Inclusion Revolution’.
While much of this seems logical, earned media placement ’follow through’ is more the exception than the rule. All too often, a strong media placement is circulated internally or embedded into a monthly report which will rest in cobwebbed email folders of company leaders – leading to the atrophy of a valuable asset and complete disregard for the hard work and resources of the communications team.
The power of the placement varies from company to company but ultimately, it rests in the vision and capabilities of a brand’s comms team. Boldness in educating other departments of an enterprise is essential to educate and arm associates and to unlock the power of the placement.
Saskatoon police officer put on paid leave over 'harmful and offensive' social media posts – Saskatoon StarPhoenix
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“I want to assure the public that we take these complaints seriously. We have acted swiftly to address the issue and a thorough investigation will occur.”
The Saskatoon Police Association, the union that represents police officers in the city, said it will not be commenting at this time since the investigation is active.
The board of directors of Saskatoon Pride, in a Facebook post, said Cooper personally contacted the organization to inform it about the posts.
The organization said the posts are not just hurtful to the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community, but to the entire community, and “are not worthy of someone charged with upholding the law and protecting the community.”
“It is a sad day for Saskatoon that, in the midst of outrage over the racist and criminal acts committed by police against the BIPOC community across the continent and during a month meant to celebrate diversity, inclusion and Pride, there is a member of the Saskatoon police force who would feel that they were entitled to express such bigoted views, while claiming to uphold the law and serve the public,” Saskatoon Pride’s board wrote.
Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek – Globalnews.ca
Brianna Irawan, 13, was extremely happy after finding out on Thursday that her prized underwater camera that had been lost for almost a year had been found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek.
The Williams Lake teen was visiting relatives in Kelowna last year when she lost the camera while jumping into the waterfalls at Mill Creek Regional Park.
“We were on Mill Creek, jumping into the water and I put my camera underneath my clothes,” Irawan told Global News on Friday.
“When I jumped, I forgot about my camera, so I walked back up and then I picked up my clothes and I forgot my camera was underneath and it fell into the water.”
Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek
She went back the creek several times over the next few days, but eventually had to write her camera off to the river gods.
The Fujifilm XP model wasn’t seen again until almost a year later when Calvin Van Buskirk found it caught up in some debris downstream.
“What makes it even more interesting is we found a GoPro there last year. You guys [Global News] were able to get the images and the videos off it within hours it found its way back to its rightful owner,” Van Buskirk said.
Construction crew makes unusual find near Kelowna
It took less than 24 hours for images retrieved from the camera to make their way around social media and back to their owner.
Kyla Irawan, Brianna’s mother, sent a message to Global News on Thursday afternoon through Facebook to say the photos had come from her daughter.
On Friday, Global News returned the camera — still in working order — to Brianna’s uncle, Travis Whiting, who is also Kelowna’s fire chief.
‘This is the craziest thing,’: Lost GoPro owner reunited with camera
The Irawans shared a message of gratitude with Van Buskirk.
“Thank you, Calvin, we totally appreciate your honesty,” said Kyla Irawan.
“Thank you for putting it on Global so I can give my daughter the opportunity to have all those memories back.”
For her part, Brianna said she can’t wait to see her FujiFilm XP model again.
“Soon as I get it, I’m going to transfer the photos” to a computer, she said.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Former UBC basketball assistant coach criticized for social media activity – The Province
Long-time assistant men’s basketball coach Vern Knopp will no longer work next to head coach Kevin Hanson.
The University of B.C. is distancing itself from former assistant men’s basketball coach Vern Knopp following questions about some of his activity on social media.
A Twitter account called Muted Madness pointed out on Thursday that Knopp had hit the like button on a video posted by conservative comedians the Hodge Twins on June 3 that claims the Black Lives Matter movement is a “leftist lie.”
A number of other Twitter users echoed the criticism of Knopp, who served as head coach Kevin Hanson’s volunteer assistant for the past two decades.
Later on Thursday, he shared a comment on his account, which is set to private: “So I never knew some likes to conservative posts would cause this shit storm? However my LIKES are those of mine and have nothing to do with UBC! I had told Coach Hanson months ago that I wasn’t returning to UBC but I just not (sic) made it public, only to my family.”
Reached via direct message on Friday, Knopp said he’d told Hanson about his decision in May as well as some parents on the team, but declined to make further comment.
Later on Thursday, Kavie Toor, UBC Athletics’ managing director, distanced the university from Knopp.
“Vern Knopp’s personal opinions, beliefs and social media endorsements do not represent the ideals and values of the UBC Thunderbirds. Vern Knopp is no longer a member of the Thunderbrids men’s basketball coaching staff,” he tweeted.
On Friday, the university’s athletics department declined to comment further.
The Alma Mater Society, a UBC students’ union, expressed support for the university’s position.
“The AMS is committed to supporting students from the Black community at this time, and we are actively working to develop programming to help combat anti-Black racism at UBC. The sentiments expressed by Mr. Knopp have absolutely no place at UBC, and society in general,” they said in a statement.
“We are encouraged to see that UBC Athletics and Recreation has taken a zero-tolerance approach to this issue.”
On Tuesday, the department shared a message on Twitter from university president Santa Ono.
“As Thunderbirds we join all of UBC in condemning racism in all forms. We are committed to an inclusive and respectful environment where we listen, learn and continue to grow together,” the department said in a tweet.
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