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Nostalgia for Nokia 3310 is a marketing dream

March 3, 2017 – Michael Taylor, Account Manager

Snake
There’s no doubt that we live in an age of ever-increasing technological sophistication – indeed, in so many aspects of our lives it’s hard to remove ourselves from the increasingly interconnected world we inhabit. The so-called ‘internet of things’ – that is, interconnection via the Internet of everyday objects – forms an ever-expanding core of the products and services we’re told we really want and need in our lives.

Whether it’s the smartphone in your pocket, the smart watch on your arm, the multi-functional printer in your office, or even your coffee machine, it feels like everything is moving in the same direction – touch screen, HDMI ready, Bluetooth compatible, and too clever for its own good!

It seems we can’t conceive of a product’s viability and usefulness unless it connects to everything else in our lives so that, wherever we are, we can still find that adorable video of a panda cub sneezing or a three-legged dog skateboarding – and then share it with everyone we know.

So it may have come as a surprise to many to see the media furore provoked by Nokia’s launch announcement for the ‘new’ 3310 at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s not really a new phone at all; it’s a slightly upgraded version of the same model that Nokia stopped making 17 years ago. In the smartphone world, the new Nokia 3310 has an IQ well below average. And yet, Nokia is capitalising on something that is an almost priceless commodity in marketing – nostalgia.

Doubtless the ‘younger generation’ – of which I am sadly no longer a member – will look on and wonder why such hype has been created by the launch of a product that is, quite obviously, inferior to any modern smartphone on the market today – some of which launched to far less clamorous interest at MWC despite offering truly incredible features, such as Sony’s new 4K HDR handset (that’s high dynamic resolution, or for those in my generation and older ‘an even better picture’).

You can’t easily identify what someone will feel nostalgic about. Some products are re-invigorated and labelled ‘retro’ (like record players) – and retro is effortlessly cool. But some products are just old (like an Austin Metro) – and trying to make old look cool is just sad.

Perhaps it’s just that Nokia has spotted a gap in the market – that despite the ever-improving functionality of modern smartphones, they are now all much of a muchness, with their hi-res screens, mega pixel cameras and plethora of ‘really useful’ apps. In the world of the mobile phone, meaningful product differentiation is king, and perhaps some people actually just want a cheap phone with a long battery life. Some people, perhaps, aren’t interested in seeing the panda cub sneezing in 4K HDR in the palm of their hand over a 4G network – perish the thought!

Then again, the Nokia 3310 was the first phone that many of us ever owned. We learnt to text on its clunky buttons, we stopped having to carry loose change for emergency phone calls. It brought Snake to our thumb tips for goodness sake (look it up youngsters…although you may be underwhelmed). All that nostalgia is something a company like Nokia can capitalise on – just ask someone of my generation if they remember Snake and their eyes are likely to glaze over as they reminisce about the good old days.
In re-launching the 3310, Nokia has seemingly hit on a perfect trinity of marketing essentials: timing, product nostalgia and brand recognition. Doubtless a host of other manufacturers like Motorola and HTC will roll-out ‘new’ versions of their old products over the coming months. The launch announcements will probably be made to the tops of heads, as the audience busily chase pixelated apples around a lo-res screen with a pixelated snake…

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Fake news: bad news for PR?

February 9, 2017 – Beverley Southern, Account Executive

Fake newsHow much of a problem is fake news for PR? Over the last few weeks, consumers have been forced into a position of being sceptical about the accuracy of reporting from news outlets. The increasing problem of fake news has tarnished the public’s trust in the media and has ultimately created a world of people with little faith in what is published, analysing and criticising all that they read and taking stories with a pinch of salt.

As the media is one of the key communication devices for PR professionals, it is no wonder that the scepticism coming from consumers has caused anxiety within the industry. Fake news has, to some extent, devalued PR calling into question the legitimacy of the stories that once would have been considered true and accepted.

However, the fake news epidemic could work to the advantage of PR professionals, who have an opportunity to use their relationship with journalists – a relationship based on trust – to become a reliable source of information. In a choppy sea of fake news, the PR industry could just be the lighthouse that saves journalism from drowning in waves of uncertainty and inaccuracy.

Any business could be on the receiving end of a fake news story and these stories can easily go viral through digital and social media. It is important to have a plan of action in place to ensure that any fake news issues are handled efficiently and smoothly. A crisis plan which outlines how to address false rumours could be crucial in ensuring brand reputations are upheld.

While fake news has the potential to be devastating for some, on the whole it creates opportunities for PR to shine. Not only can we build on our relationships with the media, but we can also be the white knight for brands that are in the fake news firing line.

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Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

January 12, 2017 – Sananur Meric, Senior Account Manager

Sunrise 2017Let’s make 2017 a fresh start.

Sometimes it can be hard to make a change and look at things from a different perspective. This is especially true of many marketing and communications plans where the same strategies are employed year in, year out.

Believe it or not, there are new and different things you can do – starting this year – to revitalise your company’s marketing initiatives to boost reputation, rankings and revenue.

A business can change dramatically in just one short year, through operational changes, economic climate and uncertainty as well as staff and client changes. Every one of these factors will have an impact on the way a company operates, so carrying on as usual isn’t really an option.

Being open to starting from scratch is the first step in looking at how to refresh your marketing and communications strategy. Undertake the trusted SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

  • Review what has worked over the past year and, more importantly, what hasn’t. Retain positive elements of previous campaigns and ditch fruitless efforts.
  • Assess how your business is viewed against competitors. Have you researched what they’re doing recently? Keep on top of sector developments and legislation. Commenting on topical issues and sparking discussion through blogs and social media is a good way to do this.
  • Review messaging and branding. Any changes to the sector you work in (as well as changes to your business) will alter your key messages and how the business is portrayed. When was the last time your website was redesigned, or even updated? It is good practice to review website design and functionality every two years given how quickly technology changes.  Don’t forget to cater to the needs of mobile visitors, as well as those accessing your website from a desktop PC. Research by Ofcom suggests that a third of internet users see their smartphone as their primary device for going online.
  • Content rate optimisation (improving the user’s experience on your site) is vital to ensuring visitors find the information they need and take the action you want them to. After all, that’s the primary role of your website, and if it does not function adequately then you’re missing out on potential leads or sales!
  • Take a chance and try something new. You may find adding a new element to your marketing and communications plan will help to increase brand awareness and engagement with existing and potential clients provided they are targeted effectively. E-newsletter and e-shots promoting services and products are often a good first step in widening a business’s reach to new audiences and can be developed quickly and efficiently.

If you need assistance with developing a marketing plan, refreshing an existing strategy, or just need some advice then call us today for a no obligation chat – 01233 500 200.

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Trump’s victory: It’s about language, stupid

November 11, 2016 – Michael Taylor, Account Manager

donald trumpSo the votes have been cast and counted, and Donald J. Trump, an outspoken business tycoon and real estate mogul who has never before held public office, will soon be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

The President-Elect’s victory has shocked many commentators around the world and upset the natural order of rule by the Establishment. So far then “The Donald” has achieved what he set out to – a seismic upheaval of the status quo and a massive “up yours” to the prevailing consensus. Or, to use language that Mr Trump’s supporters might understand, “He’s changed things”.

Language is at the very heart of Trump’s success. Commentators are correct that he’s pulled off what can only be described as a shocking victory, against all the odds. But if the UK’s Brexit vote taught us anything, it’s that the bookmakers and the pollsters are anything but infallible.

To dismiss Trump, as many did, as a narcissistic, egomaniacal, self-obsessed, borderline sociopath is to rather miss the point. He may well be all of these things. But an analysis of the way he has communicated with his core base of support throughout this campaign gives an insight into his appeal to his followers: the marginalised, disenfranchised, blue collar, white American workers who have become so disillusioned by continually being overlooked by Washington’s elite that they hung on his every word and carried him across the finish line of this bitter and divisive contest.

At his heart Trump is a salesman and a self-professed “deal-maker” and he recognised better than anybody that to win the presidency you have to sell yourself. His speech is often incoherent, his policy ideas bare and uninformed, his ideology an enunciation of populist concerns, rather than an overtly-Republican world view.

Trump has always understood what all the other candidates, both during the Republican nominations and the race to the White House, didn’t – that a groundswell of public opposition to the establishment could be exploited in the pursuit of power. And he did what others didn’t; he spoke to the disenfranchised on their level, with language they understood, about issues they cared about.

If you think honestly about the most convincing sales pitches, were you swayed by the product or by the salesperson? More often than not I’d argue that the personality of the salesperson, and your trust in them, is what leads most people to buy. In short, Trump sold himself more effectively and more convincingly to his target audiences; he persuaded them to buy his product, his brand, rather than his competitor’s.

To identify what makes Trump’s language different, we can look at the shape of his sentences. One analysis found that he talks at just below that of an 11-year-old’s reading level, compared with the 14-15 year-old reading levels at which his competitors speak. This may not be particularly complimentary to American voters, but his victory shows the success of this approach.

His speech patterns don’t work the way modern political rhetoric does – they work the way punch lines work: short (sometimes very short) sentences, monosyllabic words, with the most important words at the end to add extra emphasis and leave an enduring impression in the listeners’ minds. He almost speaks in Tweets, and his ability to harness the power of social media to drive his campaign forward has provided him with an invaluable platform to directly engage and communicate with his followers in real time. He often repeats key words, uses commands like “look at [this]” and consistently implies third-party endorsement and support from unnamed and unverifiable sources who have contacted him personally to drive home his message.

His rhetorical approach is rare among modern politicians, and not simply because they lack Trump’s showmanship, celebrity or comedic gifts. It’s rare because most successful modern politicians are fanatically careful about the language they use. They are keenly aware of the ways in which any word they speak may be (mis)interpreted by journalists, partisan groups, and citizens.

But Trump’s approach reinforces and retrenches his stance as the political outsider, a standpoint that chimes with his key audiences, as did his continual accusations that the political process in the country was “rigged” by a cabal of establishment politicians and their media flunkies. If Trump’s opponents can take solace in anything, it’s that his victory proves the system is not rigged in the establishment’s interests (or if it is, not sufficiently so to deny him his success).

Not only did he speak to his target audiences in a way they could understand, and which didn’t make them feel patronised, he convinced them that he was one of them, with the same shared beliefs, concerns and goals. And he goaded his opponent into further marginalising his supporters, with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton calling his followers “deplorables”. It’s no small feat for a billionaire property tycoon, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, to win over the very people who so often get exploited in the pursuit of amassing such a vast fortune.

Throughout the campaign, commentators found it easy to write Trump off as an idiot and a maniac… before he won. But win he did, and whatever partisan or personal opinions you hold about his character and policy approach, what he’s achieved in politics so far is monumental.

Far from being an idiot, Trump is a pragmatic salesman and astute communicator who tapped into the vehement underbelly of America’s disenfranchised masses and drove them to the polling booths. He had a clear plan about how to seize power and he executed it perfectly. Central to his success is his command of appropriate and effective communication tools.

It remains to be seen whether this astute pragmatism is transplanted from the campaign trail to the Oval Office and whether his promises to unify the county and “Bind the wounds of division” are sincere. To be sure, this Presidential campaign has inflicted wounds on American society that are deeper than most in recent history.

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The Quantum Apprentice: You’re Hired!

October 27, 2016 – Beverley Southern, Account Executive

Sue Buckle, Seymour Pearman, Michael Taylor, Sananur Meric, Beverley Southern, Craig FrancisWhen I began my PRCA apprenticeship with Quantum PR in July 2015, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Leaving school and walking straight into work was a little daunting, but it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Having studied Media at school, I knew that I wanted to start a career that involved working with the media and found the apprenticeship opportunity online. A career in PR seemed perfect for me because of the range of job roles involved and the variety of people I’d be working with, and I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to become Quantum’s first apprentice in June 2015.

My apprenticeship has been varied and exciting, and I have had the chance to work with a number of different people, from colleagues to clients to members of the public. I have gained experience working on different accounts and have helped to boost the output of many of our clients’ social media channels, as well as contributing to copy for newsletters, websites and reports, and helping to organise events.

One thing that my apprenticeship has taught me is that PR is definitely not all about press releases.
Throughout my 15 month apprenticeship, I’ve also been working towards a Level 4 Diploma in Public Relations with the PRCA. I’ve now completed my coursework, which has taught me lots about the background and processes of PR that I’m hoping will help me in my future career. I’ve also been involved in training sessions and online webinars which have given me valuable of information about the industry.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet regularly with my PRCA mentor, Sue Buckle, who has offered plenty of support and advice along the way, and it’s fantastic to finally see my coursework progress bar reach 100%!

My time as the Quantum Apprentice has absolutely flown by and I’ve learnt so many new skills that I’m sure will help me throughout my career. It’s been wonderful working with such a talented team of individuals and I’m grateful for all the advice they’ve given me, as well as the opportunities and experience I’ve gained from my time here.

I’m delighted to have been offered a permanent position with the company, and will be working as an Account Executive from the beginning of November. The work I will be undertaking won’t be dissimilar to the roles I have been completing throughout the past 15 months, but I’m looking forward to taking on more responsibility and learning more about industry best practice and Quantum’s clients.

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A Week in the Life: Work Experience at Quantum

June 21, 2016 – admin

NedI am 20 years old and currently studying History at Nottingham Trent University. Despite History being my chosen course, I have become increasingly interested in pursuing a career in PR. PR appeals to me due to the variety and nature of work that PR practitioners undertake, and I was intrigued to find out what it was really like.

After deciding to explore this career path further, I discovered that I had a link with Quantum PR as I am related to Charlie Vavasour, the Managing Director. After doing some research into the business and discovering that the type of PR they deliver appealed to me, I decided to set up some work experience with them.

Having no previous experience in the world of PR, I was eager to come and try it for myself and learn more about the industry and company, picking up some new skills at the same time.

On my first day at Quantum I was slightly apprehensive, but meeting the team put my mind at ease and I was ready to sink my teeth into some PR.

I started my first day by sitting in on a meeting with the team, who were reviewing their various tasks and responsibilities for the week. This gave me an insight into what everyone does individually.

After this, I was asked to draft my first press release for a small food supplier called Nifties, a social enterprise company which sells short-dated and damaged food items at lower prices for customer benefit. This was a great new experience for me and the style and format was different to any writing I had done before.

During my time at Quantum PR, I was given tasks that provided me with a great insight into the PR world and were also challenging as a stranger to the industry.

I undertook some extensive research into The Oxygen Clinic, drafting some social media posts for their hyperbaric oxygen chambers and sourcing stories which demonstrated the benefits of oxygen therapy, as well as doing the same for BlackBox Solutions, a printing and copier company. The diversity of these two businesses required considerable research to tailor the content appropriately.

In addition to this, I produced a first draft of The Oxygen Clinic’s e-newsletter, which was a great new challenge. I was also asked to type up the data received from feedback forms at a public consultation event in Northamptonshire, and transcribe a radio interview.

The feedback from everyone at Quantum was really helpful in improving my skills and knowledge about the industry. Several other skills such as coffee-making and shredding were also honed.

My time at Quantum PR has been a fantastic experience for me and has definitely set my mind on pursuing a career within the industry. I have learnt a great deal, and would like to thank everyone for teaching me the ways of the business and making me feel so welcome!

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Boost your brand: Analysing social media analytics in PR

February 11, 2016 – Beverley Southern, Account Executive

20-social-media-iconsAs a PR apprentice with the PRCA, I’ve had the opportunity to attend several webinars on a range of different topics. Recently, I was involved in a talk about measuring social media which I found very interesting, so I decided to do a little more research into some of the services available to help users understand the data behind their social media.

With a rapidly expanding digital landscape, social media is highly influential in the world of PR. Not only does it offer the opportunity to engage with consumers, both new and old, but it also allows you to grow a loyal community of followers.

As is often the case in the PR industry, measuring how effective social media is at putting across key messages can be challenging and may seem like an unnecessary waste of time when you can measure public opinion through more traditional methods. However, there are a number of tools available that make the job easier; from free programmes like Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights to paid-for services with a subscription fee, there are different options to suit all types of user.

Measuring the effectiveness of social media has become as important as more traditional forms of PR. Companies with particular audiences in mind can use social media to quickly engage with those they are targeting, with the intention of building a trusted relationship with them.

Collecting data about your social media accounts gives you a much clearer vision of how your audience interacts with your organisation, and what they like and dislike about your brand. With a breakdown of information about how many people have viewed each post and how they interacted with it, looking at social media from an analytical point of view can help you create much more effective and targeted content in the future.

Using the available statistics from a measuring tool to create better content which is targeted at the audiences you wish to engage with and issuing rapid responses to followers’ queries are likely to help your social media presence grow in the long-term. Alongside more traditional forms of PR, this will create a strong audience of followers and friends who will opt to interact with the products and services you provide over those of your competitors.

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Becoming The Quantum Apprentice

September 4, 2015 – Beverley Southern, Account Executive

B-southonI began my apprenticeship with Quantum PR in July and I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone.

In almost two months, I’ve learnt so much. In my role, I carry out routine tasks such as writing daily industry news updates and I’ve also had the opportunity to take on things that require a bit more responsibility. From writing press releases to proofreading a wide variety of copy, my first couple of months at Quantum have been very busy.

In addition to the work I am completing at Quantum, I am also doing coursework that goes towards my apprenticeship qualification; a Level 4 Diploma in Public Relations through the PRCA. The coursework looks at PR from so many different angles, covering topics such as effective communication and how to complete successful research. The theory-based work I’m required to complete can be quite challenging at times but I’m really enjoying it, and the work that I undertake at Quantum can also be used as evidence that goes towards my qualification.

One of the major perks of completing this apprenticeship is having the opportunity to participate in PRCA webinars and training sessions. I had my first webinar earlier in the week titled “Digital Landscape for PR”, all about the effect the internet has on the way people view and use news. It was really interesting to hear an industry expert discussing something that’s so relevant to me and I’m looking forward to taking part in another online presentation soon.

Overall, my first couple of months at Quantum have been fantastic. The team has made me feel more than welcome and I actually enjoy coming into work every day.

I’m excited to see what new challenges the next few months will throw at me, and can’t wait to get stuck in.

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Making the case for the case study

September 2, 2015 – Simon Robinson, Account Manager

Trumpet

Businesses looking to attract new clients should battle the British reluctance to blow one’s own trumpet. Client case studies are a great way to do so.

Simple and well-structured client case studies can provide businesses with an incredibly effective marketing tool. That’s because they enable businesses to convert the often sales-heavy information usually contained on the ‘about us’ and ‘services’ pages of their websites into real-life, practical examples.

This can help assure potential customers that the high quality services you profess to provide are being delivered as promised to other customers.

Here are five ways in which a case study can help you win new business:

1 – They allow you to demonstrate your business’ experience and USPs in a clear and concise way. By simply outlining the project brief, your response and the outcomes for each client you can give potential customers an insight into not only what your company does in terms of products/services but also how it goes about it and what its core values are.

2 – Case studies give you the opportunity to further demonstrate the intangible strengths of your business. This can be achieved through detailing how you went above and beyond or managed an unexpected issue to achieve or exceed the agreed result for the client.

3 – They provide you with a platform to maximise the effectiveness of a client testimonial or endorsement. Linking the feedback with the service you provided will ensure existing client praise resonates with potential customers much more than an unqualified ‘“Company X did a great job” – John Smith’ one-liner.

4 – By placing a range of case studies on your website, visitors will be able to quickly understand the various sectors you work in and the services you provide. This will help underpin your experience and expertise.

5 – Case studies make excellent additions to business credential documents and can be tailored for each potential new client either by industry or discipline.

To view our online client case studies click here.

Contact us today to discuss how we can turn your experience into new business wins. Call Simon on 01233 500200 or email simon@quantumpr.co.uk.

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The march of mobile – now it matters more than ever to business

August 5, 2015 – Craig Francis, Studio Manager

A major mobile milestone was passed last year when digital media consumption through smartphones and tablets overtook desktop usage for the first time.

The ever-increasing rise of mobile over desktop ‘leisure’ usage share is being mirrored in ‘commerce’ use and a second tipping point is nearly upon us.

According to an IMRG report published in February, visits to e-commerce sites via smartphone and tablet devices accounted for 45 per cent of all e-commerce traffic in the UK.

It won’t be long before mobile purchasing – or m-commerce – becomes the most popular route for online sales transactions.

Research conducted by Barclays estimated that UK consumers will be spending £53.6 billion a year using mobile devices by 2024.

This provides a solid incentive for businesses to ensure their online offering is mobile-friendly. Another comes from the potential brand damage of those that don’t make mobile a priority.

A study carried out by Oracle Mobile looked into how UK millennials used their mobile devices. It found that 48 per cent of young people questioned said a poor mobile experience would make it less likely for them to use a business’ other products.

So what can businesses do?

Responsive websites are becoming a must for all businesses. This ensures that your online presence retains its effectiveness – striking the right balance between functionality and design – across all platforms and devices.

The same care and attention should be given to all targeted e-mail marketing activities. We often find that e-newsletters designed exclusively for desktop viewing do not work effectively on other devices as text can appear too small to read and images can be displaced.

With more and more users choosing to access such marketing materials through mobile devices, this could lead to a significant decrease in previously recorded click-through and sales conversion rates.

Your customers’ e-commerce habits are changing. Mobile now matters. Our experienced team of digital designers and developers can help you continue to connect with your clients across all devices.

Contact us today to discuss your m-commerce activities. Call Craig on 01233 500200 or email Craig@quantumpr.co.uk.

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