Make Google’s Latest Changes Your Secret Digital PR Weapon


Over 15 actionable tips for consumer and DTC brands

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What do Google, your PR, and affiliate networks have in common? They are the spine of your digital reputation. Consumer brands, especially DTC can no longer ignore the realities of how these once distinct digital tactics work together today.


Digital PR is real. And yet, so many PR professionals overlook the realities and intersection of Google and the media. Today’s PR isn’t really complete without Google considerations.

Many of the changes from Google are incredibly exciting for consumer brands. Those brands who understand the changes with more frequent earned media and better search results on owned and paid content like press releases will be rewarded with better search visibility and content stickiness.

Turn your PR into a revenue-generating machine with our actionable insights and tips that your competitors have probably overlooked.

From branded journalism to product reviews, and even press releases, Google’s changes and affiliate networks are essential considerations for any consumer brand that is trying to raise awareness online. These changes even impact your influencer campaigns.

Our easy-to-digest and insightful whitepaper is an at-a-glance resource every time you’re creating content for owned, paid, or earned media.

GLOBAL HYPERGROWTH STARTUP LEVERAGES TECH PR


TO CHANGE THE NARRATIVE WITH TECH CONSUMERS

THE PR CHALLENGE

A creative global AI powered content creation and niche content app seeks to create awareness around product launches and existing properties to increase consumer awareness and increase brand value to enhance investment negotiations. Our nimble team works alongside this hypergrowth technology company to create a lasting impact.

THE PR SOLUTION

We conduct a thorough brand audit to identify key messages, over-arching themes, and storylines for both a consumer PR campaign and an investor PR campaign. We align brand messages with cultural overtones line gender, and equity alongside technology themes like AI, content creation, and global access that strike a chord with journalists.

We create on-brand digital assets and make recommendations to existing assets to support the messaging and develop stakeholder engaging campaigns to launch four product launches within 8 months and pen many thought leadership pieces that appear around the globe on some of the most trusted news outlets in the world.

Our media relations strategy develops general population topics along with pitches for niche interests such as gaming, entertainment, publishing, social media, and technology.

The consumer PR campaign aligns with monthly product launches, each with its own consumer persona and niche interests. We implement the campaigns with an emphasis on technology and entertainment media relations and we implement monthly owned media which aligns with campaigns and product launches.

PRODUCT LAUNCH PR STRATEGY


We develop campaigns with owned and earned media designed to increase awareness for consumers while creating interest with journalists.

TECH MEDIA RELATIONS


Our bespoke campaigns use the cross-over strengths of the brand and its global community to leverage media opportunities. We activate with multiple in-house spokespersons and key influencers.

OMNI CHANNEL STRATEGY


We recommend and implement an owned media strategy that complements business goals. We also review branding assets including the website and social media accounts, to unify the brand, eliminate consumer confusion with unified messaging.

EXECUTIVE THOUGHT LEADERSHIP


We deeply engage with executives and technologists to create a thought leadership campaign that advances key talking points in investor-friendly outlets.

THE KUDOS


“Our experience with Avaans Media was more than we could have asked for. Not only did you blow us away with results, we learned so much from your team of experts. I know we will work together again.” 
-Brand Executive

THE CRUSHING RESULTS

68 pieces of earned media


in global news outlets, not including press releases in 8 months

5.36 Billion 


Global Audience Size

.00003


Cost per person reached 

How to get in fortune magazine
how to get featured on msn.com

What’s the difference between PR vs publicity? At first glance, they look the same. Publicity is a specific tactic to attract media coverage, it might be good or bad coverage. Public relations is a holistic brand-building, loyalty building and trust-building strategy that includes positive media coverage.

Should you choose publicity or PR?

Most brands do not subscribe to the “all media coverage is good media coverage” philosophy and want ONLY positive media coverage, which is why most brands choose PR. PR refers to the deliberate efforts that organizations make to build and maintain positive relationships with the public. Public relations will create a path toward media coverage including key messaging, brand positioning, making the news, jumping in on breaking news, and strategizing positive company announcements. A PR strategy may also include a crisis communication plan which is important for any consumer brand, but especially DTC or CPG brands. PR is an investment in your brand’s reputation. If your business goal is to be the #1 brand against your competitors or to secure investment that launches you into hypergrowth, then you’ll definitely want to choose PR.

Publicity is a narrowly focused goal, any form of media coverage or exposure for an organization or individual. And it might be OK for a brand that just wants to get into gift guides, for example. That would be an example of publicity without the added benefit of public relations. If your key messages are solid, and you don’t need any additional help building the brand’s trust or loyalty, or your long-term reputation isn’t important, then publicity may be an option for you.

Long Term or Short Term Media Coverage?

Publicity is great for a blast of short-term coverage. Something consistent with a calendar event, or a word-of-mouth campaign with a celebrity for a product launch. Publicity is also great if your brand is willing to do “anything” for media coverage. Stunts in Times Square or the Santa Monica pier often get coverage simply because of the location and the unexpected commotion. That’s publicity. Another example of publicity is an April Fools stunt.

If you’re looking for consistent press coverage regardless of whether you have a product launch or an activation, then you definitely want PR. PR will enable your brand to build trust with your audience, while also building loyalty with your existing customers.

Rinse & Repeat or Bespoke?

Publicity tactics are very similar to one another. Your publicity in gift guides, for example, will also share coverage with other products and possibly even competitors. Think of a publicity campaign as a short-term boost to secure coverage, regardless of quality. If you simply need additional exposure for a specific period of time in order to get noticed by potential customers or clients, then publicity may be a cost-effective solution.

In contrast, public relations will develop custom strategies to build and manage your reputation, reach key audiences and achieve your business objectives through strategic messaging and tailored PR campaigns. With the right PR firm on your side, you can effectively reach your target audiences, build positive relationships with key stakeholders, and stand out from the crowd in today’s competitive marketplace.

 

Many people think public relations (PR) and publicity are synonymous, but there is actually a clear distinction between the two terms. If you’re interested in discussing the difference with Avaans, please contact us, we will help you decide based on your business goals and budget, which type of media coverage is best for you.

Tech PR needs to be reinvented. Telling a great tech story today differs from what it used to be.

For the past 15 years, tech has been leading much of the conversation, so with a few press releases and a TED Talk, an upcoming and coming CEO could set the agenda. Zuck set the “let’s make an interconnected world” agenda. Steve Jobs set the “intuitive design” conversation. And while there is plenty more innovation headed our way – tech itself is no longer the story.

Emerging tech companies need to connect to the conversations their community is having or going to have in an enormous way. Why?

Today’s reporters need stories that capture the moment, not navel-gaze into the future. 90% of tech writers are curious about backend technology, but won’t write about it. Most outlets only have one tech reporter, that poor person receives over 500 pitches per day and an uncomfortable number of them are still using buzz words like “innovative”, “disruptive”, and the worst of them all, “unique.” These words now cause journalists to glaze over because they’re so overused and increasingly unbelievable. The question comes down to “WHY?”

 

So if Tech Itself is No Longer the Story…What Is?

Technology companies need to tell stories about how they’re connecting to the stories consumers are watching. Great tech stories often start with core values and it isn’t just consumers who want to know more about how you’re solving the world’s actual problems, it’s investors too – 88% of institutional investors are evaluating ESG (environmental, social, governance) with the same scrutiny they give operations and finance.

Let’s look at what people are searching for on Google:

How to Tell a Tech Story today

Look how emerging tech doesn’t even register compared to climate change and racism. There are far more reporters covering these emerging trends than the tech itself. Tying your tech story into the zeitgeist, that’s where tech companies become indelible.

Here at Avaans, we write a lot about purpose, what it is and why it’s important to fast-growing companies. Even though we are a boutique firm, we have guiding principles as well.

That’s because not only does a clear purpose give the company and the brand extra internal fortitude, but it allows consumers to connect with your storytelling on a deeper level.

Regardless of stage of growth, having purpose is the path to longevity and a connected customer base. It’s also a great launching pad for purpose-driven PR.

Digging deep to find these stories may take some time and candor about corporate culture – but these are the stories that stick. These are the stories that create memorable brands. You can’t start telling this story too early.

 

What Makes a Great Tech Story Today?

Every story needs to be:
Relevant
Inevitable
Believable
Simple

As you look at these components, you may think about how your technology fits into these buckets; resist that urge for a moment.

The first two are the lowest hanging fruit, the last two can take years. Take, for example, Salesforce. When they wanted to grow, they made a simple but audacious claim: the end of software. Establishing relevance and the inevitability of tomorrow’s cloud-based world were the simple parts. Notice how they made that claim about the user, the client, not themselves, and it was simple. The stories about how this changes business and the world are immeasurable. But, Caryn Marooney who worked with Salesforce during those early days says “it still took us years to establish true believability,”.

Set your expectations accordingly. Expect to get two to three of those messages across in the early stages. As you grow, as you show more credibility, and as trust between your company and the media increases, “Believeable” will come. Trust isn’t something manufactured in a boardroom, trust is earned.

Today, Salesforce continues to tell stories relevant to their customers and the media that aren’t about technology. Salesforce recently claimed that the “Salesforce economy will create 9.3 million jobs and $1.6 trillion in new business revenues.” The white paper is chock full of bite-sized data that an entire story can be built around the new economy, what this means in today’s labor shortage, the threads are endless and the study gives legs to talking points that can last a year.

 

The Case for Tech Storytelling Over Trade Shows

Let’s be clear – we’re big fans of tech tradeshows and conferences. Many a product has gotten media from its standout strategies at CES for example. But the coverage around CES, like any tradeshow, is diluted and noisy. Reporters at conferences are looking for clickable headlines: they want big dollars, ticker symbols, known brands.  At tech trade shows you need to stand out with remarkable, word-of-mouth activations, to give extra lift to your story – or you’ll probably share the story with 1 or 2 competitors. Sure, a trade show can give you a lift, and it can be an excellent place to connect with the media – but you simply can not rely on a trade show to do all the heavy lifting. We so often see companies make a trade show their launch or the key message for an inordinate amount of time. The fact is, trade shows give a temporary boost, but great tech storytelling goes on for decades. 

Here’s more good news: the more simple your key message, the longer your tech storytelling will last. Counter-intuitively, simple messages last longer and provide more room for interpretation.

 

A colleague of mine once asked “Why does everyone want to go viral (with their content), I want to go cancer with my content, I want it to last a long time and fight to stay,” Tech storytelling is the same, tapping into current media trends and the mindset of the customer. Core values, Purpose, a solid mission, and knowing your next 3 steps will ensure your tech story starts out great. 

If you’re looking for a tech PR agency that goes the distance with you to find the great tech stories of today and tomorrow, then drop us a note, we’d love to dig deep with you too.

 

Hyper growth DTC brands appear to have some things in common. If you’re a DTC brand or the CMO of a DTC brand, the future looks bright. We also wanted to connect a few dots about emerging industries we think are going to be increasingly important.

  1. Average Order Value (AOV) is a Key Indicator of Hyper Growth DTC

    RetentionX has discovered the fastest growing DTC brands have a 55% higher AOV than everyone else. They attribute this high AOV to customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is a holistic and multi-discipline objective.

    But this is where DTC PR really shines.

    Brand loyalty comes from trust. Trust in the product and trust in the brand values. If you’re the CMO or founder of a DTC brand, customer loyalty is your key KPI for revenue growth. One strategy for increased customer loyalty is premium branding, and PR delivers. According to Morgan Stanley’s research, Apple’s premium DTC branding came through a sustained PR campaign that helped deliver  90% brand retention.

  2.  Voice Search: DTC’s Premier Opportunity

    55% of American households own a smart speaker in 2022, according to Juniper research. And according to Navar, slightly more than half of consumers use voice-activated search for things like groceries, and by 2030, the global AI-based and voice recognition market should reach $27.3 billion (insightSLICE).

    Voice activation is likely to take advantage of a multitude of signals, just like SEO. A great start, if you haven’t already gotten there, is making sure your product FAQs include “how,” “why,” and “what” questions. The type of questions your buyers are likely to ask in various stages of product consideration.

    While you’re at it, look at Google’s Review requirements, because these types of reviews are likely to play into voice search, at least on Google. From a trust perspective, combining your owned content with trusted third-party reviews is a home run. Also, remember the added benefit of media coverage is stickiness – what Google can count on when creating its interpretation of your online reputation, which will undoubtedly play into your voice-activated reputation as well.

  3. Partnerships For the Win

    From collabs to join placement and pop-ups and the metaverse, DTC brands can double their exposure by partnering on campaigns. These campaigns can get a huge amount of lift from PR initiatives like media relations and events.

    Forgetting the PR component of these opportunities really misses the chance to secure customer retention and new acquisition. While social media, especially social advertising, is a must-have for DTC brands, DTC brands can look at the PR around partnerships as an opportunity to decouple their dependence on social media.

Cannabis PR is changing as fast as the cannabis industry is changing. Our 3 tips for cannabis brands to make news and engage journalists include incorporating larger consumer and cultural trends.

In order to secure earned media today, cannabis brands need to think competitively and creatively. In order to secure press coverage, tomorrow’s biggest cannabis brands need to think about larger cultural trends and what’s affecting society, the industry, and the media all at once. What’s more, out of chaos comes opportunity. Uncertainty makes consumers ask big personal questions – and this can be an opportune time to key into changing priorities. People questioning their priorities in light of the pandemic are a heterogeneous group, they don’t belong to any one demographic or generation.

[4 minute read]

Purpose vs. Activism in Cannabis

For consumers in a state of change, Accenture found that buying motivations have shifted. Trust & Reputation ranked over Ease and Convenience and product Origin. 66% said they now expect brands to take more responsibility in motivating them to live by their values and to make them feel more relevant in the world, according to the same Accenture report.

Cannabis has a long history with activism; it’s part of the culture. As the cannabis industry has grown, so have the causes. As a cannabis PR firm, we will never discourage our clients from activism or supporting causes.

If your customers are within the cannabis industry, you’re a B2B cannabis company, then there are some really interesting and important causes, including sobriety, equity, and racial justice to engage in to support the growth, maturity, and reputation of the cannabis industry. Some activist movements within cannabis have failed to catch fire outside the cannabis industry. While many of these initiatives are extremely worthy, few of them have caught on with the broader consumer base. And that’s OK because there are long-term advantages for the industry, but they may or may not be media-worthy.

However, if you’re looking to secure press with your brand activism, or you’re looking to engage your customer through purpose, then it’s time to think creatively about the campaigns. Look deeply at the activist causes you invest in, because consumers today expect brands to engage based on corporate values, which means the brand has to live it’s purpose, not just promote its purpose.

Cannabis consumers today are hardly a niche. Consumer cannabis brands need to think globally and be able to act consistently in order to activate on purpose. Consider these 3 tips to maximize earned media in 2022.

 

Products vs. Experience

A large post-pandemic trend continues to be consumers, particularly younger consumers, craving experiences over products. Cannabis brands should be looking at newsworthy activations that include experiences. While there are limitations for cannabis brands, this is a time to be creative in the ways you engage the press for launches and activations. Simply launching a cannabis product these days isn’t newsworthy. Attaching a celebrity is less newsworthy today than it was 2 years ago, especially as celebrities launch their own cannabis brands. In order for the press to pick up on it, there needs to be a newsworthy story.

Also, be thinking about what markets have the most journalists and editors. Creating an activation in Kansas might make local news in Kansas, but it’s unlikely to inspire NY or CA journalists. Another option is to do activations within other events, be they cannabis trade shows or cannabis-friendly consumer events or even outstanding activations around big events that get covered in the press. It’s really time to be creative.

 

Collab Outside of Cannabis

How can your brand collab with brands outside of cannabis?

There is still media appetite for interesting collabs. The recent Bic Lighters campaign with Snoop and Martha Stewart was a brilliant example of collaboration outside of cannabis. Extremely well thought out and ongoing, it’s successful because it’s cheeky, memorable, and creative. For most cannabis brands the collaboration could include an experience (like a fashion show) or they can include a purpose (environmental, for example), or they could include a special product.

The key to choosing collabs is to think way in advance and activate in a 360 way – don’t start thinking about a 420 collab in February. Major brands and outlets plan these kinds of activations way in advance, but thinking ahead will generate significant advantages.

 

2022 promises a great deal of exciting cannabis industry products and news, but in order to cut through the noise, cannabis brands need to think about what makes news, what engages journalists, and where they can make an impact on culture.