34: Stephen Waddington: Engagement through Brand Communications

“Be agile. We have this phrase, “test and learn.” Test with a small public, small audience and modify as you go. And don’t scale anything until you’ve found something that works.”

– Stephen Waddington

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Back at the tail end of last year, I read a post on PR Predictions for 2018, by my guest today, Stephen Waddington. It rocked my world (check out the link below). His first point is that public relations is (my edit: finally!!) growing in stature to be recognized as a management discipline. I’m not gonna lie: he had me at hello with that opener.

The deeper I got into Stephen’s article, the more I transferred his predictions to how they apply to my clients, my beloved brands, and to you, dear listeners. Stephen’s outlook validated what I’ve been saying in vox humilis, and now I yell it loud and proud: brand communications specialists, like Verde, are BETTER positioned than nearly anyone working for your brand to develop the emotional connections with consumers that you NEED to stay competitive today.

In today’s show, Stephen outlines how his predictions around social media and newer technologies – like voice – will affect your strategies and implementation. And importantly, he shares how he counsels his own clients to act and react to the seemingly endless parade of changes the big social outlets roll out.

Topics covered: brand communications, Facebook algorithm change, Facebook AdPlanner, LinkedIn for business to business and brand development, voice (like Alexa and Google Home), disintermediation.

GUEST PROFILES:

Stephen Waddington

Stephen Waddington is a partner and chief engagement officer at Ketchum, one of the world’s largest and most geographically diverse PR firms. His job is to enable clients and colleagues to do the best job possible engaging with the public. He’s also responsible for driving the integration of digital and social capabilities across the agency’s international network.

 

He is a visiting professor in practice at the Newcastle University, and chairman of the Future Proof policy unit. Stephen understands how the media landscape works online and offline and champions best practices as a writer, conference speaker, and an award winning-blogger.

TOPICS COVERED:

brand communications, Facebook algorithm change, Facebook AdPlanner, LinkedIn for business to business and brand development, voice (like Alexa and Google Home), disintermediation

SELECT QUOTES:

[On fake news] “You know the filter is the audience.”

[On Facebook AdPlanner] “It’s an incredibly powerful tool to help us understand and characterize markets.”

“Be agile. We have this phrase, “test and learn.” Test with a small public, small audience and modify as you go. And don’t scale anything until you’ve found something that works.”

“LinkedIn is becoming a powerful content marketing platform now for BTB organizations. … If they’re passionate about a certain topic and are able to create interesting content that people will follow, then they’re going to develop relationship. It’s a brilliant way to do that.”

[On the hesitation to produce video/YouTube content] “The guys creating content on that platform have absolutely no fear. Maybe there’s something we need to learn there.”

“If you’re working in the B2B space, I’d be looking at [LinkedIn] and I’d be looking at blogs and podcasts as a means of content for building reputation and making connections this year.”

“All the indications from CES in Las Vegas are that this is going to be the year of home automation and voice devices.”

“Some of the skills you see emerge for a platform like Alexa could be incredibly useful from a communication point of view. Now we’re thinking about how could serve content, daily updates, channel information via this new and emerging voice channel. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity I believe.”

[On positioning your brand well on Amazon, specifically to remain visible and discoverable by Alexa] “You do it through good positioning, good tagging, good reviews, and customer reviews. We’ve got to invest effort and time into making sure our products are optimized for the new platform.”

[On Amazon and developing site-specific skills, especially for voice] “We’re very early into these platforms so there’s the first move or advantage to come from anyone that develops an offer and is able to understand – before their competitors – how to make use of these platforms.”

CONNECT:

Ketchum: https://www.ketchum.com

Stephen’s Blog: https://wadds.co.uk/

Connect with Stephen on Twitter: @Wadds

Connect with Stephen on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenwaddington/

Stephen’s books:

AS MENTIONED IN EPISODE:

Channel Mastery Episode 23: On how brand communications power multichannel business

Channel Mastery Episode 18, with Luke Starbuck: Using Tech to Get Closer to Your Consumers: Messenger Bots, AI and Voice Assistants

“Public Relations in 2018,” blog post by Stephen Waddington: http://bit.ly/2tjJBOH

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

      • “What the Big Facebook News Feed Change Means for Brands” (Jan. 15, 2018), by Shannon Tien. Hootsuite: http://bit.ly/2B4BzYF
      • “The Top 20 Valuable Facebook Statistics – Updated February 2018” (Feb. 16, 2018), by Dan Noyes. Zephoria Digital Marketing’s reporting on the Jan. 31 SEC filing reports on Facebook usage and revenue, a summary: http://bit.ly/1MsvKaE
    • Facebook Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2017 Results: http://bit.ly/2BIM30d
        • Worldwide, there are over 2.13 billion monthly active Facebook users for Q4 2017 (mobile active users), which is a 14 percent increase year over year. (Source: Facebook 01/31/18)
      • There are 1.15 billion mobile daily active users (Mobile daily active users) for December 2016, an increase of 23 percent year-over-year.  (Source:  Facebook as of 2/01/17) 
  • Mobile advertising revenue, according to Facebook, represented approximately 88 percent of advertising revenue for Q3 2017 up from 84 percent in Q3 2016.
      • According to the SEC filing, for the first time, Facebook’s U.S. ad revenue will be larger than the biggest traditional media companies trailing only behind Google.  

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