Broadcast PR – How to nail a pitch

 

Broadcast outlets communicate to engaged audiences every day and shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to media relations.

We opened our doors to some of the region’s PR community recently to host a CIPR North East event on broadcast PR.

It was great to have BBC Look North’s TV planning editor Adrian Pitches and Bauer Network’s news operations manager Matt Jones join us to shine a light on what goes on behind the scenes and the best approach when it comes to pitching a story.

Here’s what we took away from the session…  

  • Think like a planner

Put yourself in the shoes of the TV or radio contact you plan to pitch to and what will excite them. Is your story a ‘first’, will there be human interest, have you got a case study willing to be interviewed (real people preferred over celebrity ambassadors), will viewers be inspired, is there a link with a big event going on in the region and for TV – what’s the visual? Tick a few of these boxes and you have a story to pitch, but if you don’t, be honest with yourself that media relations time may be better spent elsewhere.

  • How to pitch

An email is preferred, and it’s worth putting in a call to the planning desk before you hit send, then to gauge feedback later in the day. If you have a press release include it, but make sure the first paragraph is on point. It should be concise, direct, sum up what’s happening and be jargon-free. Images and video content help to show what the visual could be, so are welcomed too. Within the email, make the opportunity as accessible as possible by being clear about things like dates, timings and who’s available for interview. News and planning teams are inundated with emails every day, so make reading yours as easy as possible so it’s not lost amongst the others.

  • Consider every platform

TV and radio outlets are multi-platform and push out news online and on social media too. Your story mightn’t get the go ahead for broadcast, but is it the right fit for another channel? More often than not TV and radio teams have people working in digital roles on the lookout for online and social content, so even if your story isn’t broadcast-friendly, it’s still worth getting in touch to pitch it elsewhere.  

  • Get the timing right

Give planners as much of a heads up as possible as they like to plan at least a day in advance, but if something breaks or it’s a reactive opportunity, still pitch it in as they can get film crews or reporters out on location quickly if the story is right. Embargo press releases if needed to help plan features in advance – all media love an exclusive including TV and radio. Anything from a first look around somewhere new to a first interview is great content. TV-wise, the Tuesday after a Bank Holiday Monday is usually a slow news day, so you might have more chance of securing a feature if you time it around then.  

  • How you can help

Newsrooms are stretched when it comes to resource, and can’t always commit to sending out a film crew or reporter. This doesn’t mean your story won’t get featured, as there’s things you can do to help secure your spot. You can record an interview for radio with a smartphone using the voice memos app and email the file to the reporter. For social media, if you have high quality video footage and imagery which could have been taken using a smartphone too, share it.

Happy pitching folks! Stay tuned on our social channels for our next event.

FINDING YOUR VOICE AND USING IT WELL

Words: Lauren Regan, Account Director

The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s indifference.

As brands we have to try every day to make our consumers feel something when they interact with us and they can’t do that if they never get the chance to know us on a deeper level.

Constantly spouting sales messages at your audience doesn’t help them to get to know the real you and you end up on the peripheries of their world, as they indifferently absorb what you have to say and fall in love with the brand next door who, like, totally gets them.

Trust in brands is at an all time low in 2019 and businesses need to be brave if they are going to continue to engage customers in a memorable and profitable way.

Take a moment to think about who you are as a company. Not what you do, not what you sell but who you really are. What do you believe in and why should your customers take the time to engage with you over your competitors? Ultimately, why should we care about what you do? Once you have this nailed, every other part of your story will naturally fall from this brand vision and voice.

Having an opinion is just as important for a brand as it is for an individual when it comes to forming relationships and affecting change. Almost every change throughout history was only able to occur because someone communicated their belief that it should. Opinions are not only a catalyst for change, but they also help in defining the kind of organisation you are. Having an opinion shows passion, determination, and knowledge. It shows that you are capable of taking a stand.

By finding your voice you can begin to shape your brand identity and align yourself with your audience in an authentic way, but that doesn’t mean making everyone like you. If you truly believe in your brand identity and voice then you shouldn’t care whether some people disagree, more often than not they weren’t the right fit for you anyway. Having strong values shows that you are passionate, curious and understand the world and your place in it, something which is particularly important to today’s consumers who place a lot of emphasis on provenance.

The world of marketing today is very noisy – brand messages are daily wallpaper as we look for that one social post that makes us stop – because we feel something. Humans get bored easily, really easily, and if your voice is consistent, relevant and authentic across all of your channels and content then they can work you out without having to work too hard.

It’s often helpful for brands to see themselves as a single person, who speaks in a certain way and has their own unique set of values, attitudes, and behaviours – if your company was a person, what would they look like? How about they speak? How would they dress and what would they like to talk about?

Ultimately a consumer should have the same experience if they speak to your team on the phone, read a post on Twitter, flick through your newsletter or browse your website. Your voice and agenda should be consistent and easy for them to understand and link back to you.

Don’t forget about your people. We like to work for businesses that have a strong sense of self so when it comes to talent attraction, you’ll find yourself building a team of like-minded brand ambassadors who believe in what you are trying to do and why.

Most importantly, think about why you believe in what you do. Embrace that feeling and take your customers on that journey with you, so they feel it too.

If you’d like some help on finding your brand’s voice, why not drop us a line on letstalk@opr.co.uk? 

WHY PROVENANCE IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR BRAND STORY

In a world where consumers have so much choice, the power of ‘Made in…’ is becoming the best way to filter through the marketing noise. With many of today’s global brands tapping into origin stories and UK firms returning to the Made in Britain message as Brexit looms, it’s clear that embracing provenance in your brand story can help you stay relevant in a challenging market.

One great example is Carling, whose latest campaign #MadeLocal includes a TV advert celebrating the brand’s homegrown roots by shining a light on the expertise of its brewers in Burton-on-Trent, while cinema adverts focus on the stories of today’s self-starters ‘making it’ in their hometown and helping their local community. Over the next three years, Carling has also pledged to make a multi-million pound investment to regional projects across the UK through its Made Local Fund, designed to get more people involved and shouting about their hometowns.

Why do consumers care about brand provenance?

Over the last century brands have played a key role in building desirable associations with countries, regions and cities. For many, provenance in brand stories adds a level of authenticity and credibility that may otherwise be lacking.

Dr. Martens perfectly demonstrates a brand embracing a powerful association with its birthplace, the original Cobbs Lane factory in Wollaston, Northamptonshire. The craftsmanship that goes into every pair of its ‘Made in England’ 1460 boots is celebrated throughout the factory, where its new apprentices learn the exact method of production since 1960.

To celebrate the iconic brand’s birthday, O arranged for selected press and bloggers to take an exclusive look inside the Dr. Martens factory and uncover more about its heritage story. This included finding out about how the infamous boots are crafted, even having a bespoke pair made just for them.

One great local brand using provenance to tell the stories of its Fairtrade products is Gateshead’s Traidcraft. As well as showing where every product has originated from on an interactive world map, each individual item has its own story describing who produced it – whether it’s a recycled jug handblown by expert glass workers in Cochabamba, Bolivia or tape measures crafted by disadvantaged (and extremely skilled) women in Southern Vietnam. The personal connection to every item helps to make Traidcraft a revered household name.

The O team recently helped another homegrown brand, Durham Distillery champion its roots and showcase how proud it is to be from Durham. In the lead-up to announcing the launch of Durham Whisky – the first whisky to be produced in the North East – O commissioned a series of videos placing Durham Whisky at the heart of the city. Following a sneak peek social trailer teasing that something new and exciting was coming soon, the launch was revealed at an exclusive press and stakeholder launch event where Durham Distillery Founder Jon Chadwick explained what his hometown means to him, how he is planning a new distillery in the heart of Durham city and why the whisky packages are named after Durham’s famous picturesque bridges.

Does it matter where a brand actually comes from?

With so many brands competing for attention, embracing homegrown stories can set you apart from the crowd and will appeal to consumers looking for brand authenticity. As consumers care more about where brands come from; their ingredients or their ethical manufacturing process – we live in an era where transparency means everything.

Millennials are using their powerful disposable income to make ethical decisions, particularly around brand provenance. They hold progressive views and are ethically-minded and brands must harness their passion for provenance and sustainability by taking the time to really understand this audience group and what makes them tick. Millennials want their brands to stand for something and this includes taking close look at provenance, socio-economic and environmental impacts of their products and services.

Provenance is simply your back story and is therefore a valuable asset to any brand, so here are some tips to creating your authentic story:

  • Roots – Your homegrown story should be real, never make up an association that’s not true to your brand or ‘create’ a story that is shallow – celebrate your roots.
  • Clarity – Avoid overcomplicating your story or it could lose focus and become lost in the sea of marketing noise. It’s usually the simple stories that end up sticking with us.
  • Connectivity – Provenance is a great way of bringing you closer to your local community and provides you with the opportunity to give something back.
  • Relevance – Your customers need to care about your origin story, so make sure it’s applicable to them. You may care, but find a reason to make your customers feel it too.
  • Consistency – The connection to your brand needs to be clear, so know what story you’re telling and stick with it. Whilst you can update your homegrown story on your journey, the overall narrative should remain the same.

Homegrown stories work when there is a reason for people to genuinely care about your brand – whether it’s local identity, personality, quality or sustainability. However you choose to embrace your roots, ‘Made in…’ matters to your community and your customers.

O celebrates Homegrown brands – so much so we have created our own Homegrown campaign telling the story of the brands established grown here in the North that we love. For a copy of our agency magazine, contact kari@opr.co.uk

 

 

INTRODUCING… HOMEGROWN STORIES

Our brand-new campaign Homegrown Stories is here!

What’s it all about?

O has been helping brands tell their story since 2005 and we are passionate about being from the North. We wanted to celebrate all of the fantastic local brands founded here and are essentially ‘homegrown’, those companies who have gone on to create national, and in some cases, global identities, firmly putting the region on the map.

‘Homegrown’ will champion some of the most exciting brand stories coming out of the region and what their plans are for the future. We will delve into why brand storytelling is such an important part of any communications strategy and offer insights, tips and taster stories across a range of industries.

“We have always been passionately proud to be from the North and have built a nationally recognised business here. O is very much a homegrown brand – we started in Newcastle and now work with clients from all over the UK, helping them share their stories on a regional, national and global scale. We are a storytelling agency, so this campaign will let people see some of the fantastic stories we get to share every day.” – Kari Owers, Managing Director

Homegrown is designed to showcase brands that you don’t typically realise are actually founded here in the North – for example, manufacturing giant Husqvarna, who are responsible for household name brand Flymo and Seven Stories – the National Centre for Children’s Books. We also want to showcase emerging homegrown brands such as Master Debonair, which is creating a lot of noise in national fashion circles.

So, grab a cuppa and get ready to immerse yourself in some really fantastic stories.

O is a creative agency, specialising in storytelling the North’s best homegrown brands to the world. To request your free copy of our agency magazine ‘Homegrown’, get in touch with kari@opr.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter to see how other brilliant brands in the North are sharing their story.  

To get the conversation started on how we can help you shape your brand’s story, drop us a message at letstalk@opr.co.uk.

CASE STUDY: POWERING UP MCCULLOCH

Is it really that time of year again? With Spring in the air and the weather warming up, many of us are preparing to tackle the garden. As the sound of lawn mowers and power tools firing up becomes a familiar sound, we’re sharing a case study of our work with McCulloch.

Renowned for manufacturing reliable, high-performance gardening tools, McCulloch asked O to help raise the profile of its brand over three years ago. Ever since, O have been ensuring that consumers know McCulloch gives them the power to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Based on our broad experience in the homes and gardens sector, we knew exactly how to target McCulloch’s mostly male audience and position McCulloch as man’s best friend when it comes to gardening.

From announcing the release of the ROB R600 and ROB R1000 robotic motors to creating content around National BBQ week, O have worked around seasonal themes in the gardener’s calendar, creating engaging content like ’10 things you need to consider when building your garden gym’ or ‘how to choose your garden weapon’ we make sure it’s a great read.

As part of a strategic PR calendar, we also go on the road with McCulloch to some of the UK’s most popular industry events including Garden Press Event and GLEE to promote the brand up and down the country.

Since the O team have been working with McCulloch, we have generated national and regional media coverage with the brand enjoying exposure in the likes of Shortlist, METRO, The Sun, BBC Gardeners’ World, Independent and This Morning’s online platform.

Aided by the development of high-impact paid and organic social media campaigns and influential blogger relations, the McCulloch fanbase has grown by 163% over a year.

The grass really is greener…

O Communications is a creative communications agency based in Newcastle. For more examples and industry insights, request a free copy of our Home and Gardens eBook by emailing letstalk@opr.co.uk.

BRAND PURPOSE: WHAT DOES YOUR BRAND STAND FOR ANYWAY?

Words by Sammy Sadler, B2B account manager

Gone are the days when dazzling global advertising campaigns embellished with high-budget TV adverts, dynamic Times Square billboards and A-list celebrity endorsements were the only things guaranteed to get your brand some customers. Nowadays we are finding that smaller businesses who are able to shout just as loud as the global brands, with a fraction of the budget, are becoming real forces to be reckoned with. Hyperlocal influencers have become a popular tool in social media marketing, strategic PR campaigns are becoming ever more crucial to craft creative ways to tell brand stories and word-of-mouth recommendations have been made easier through convenience of communication online.

This shift in the marketing and advertising world is an inevitable result of a change in audience behaviour and preference. Customers are valuing real-life connections more than before, whether that is expecting an answer to a question at the click of a button or a delivery straight to their home within 24 hours of ordering.

Through these changes, more and more tools are becoming readily available to marketeers and it’s a constant battle to see what consumer demographics prefer to interact with. This brings much more noise and competition in already overly crowded marketplaces for brands as consumers scramble to find that stand-out product. Audiences want something that tells a story, something that shares their values. They want a brand with a purpose.

It’s no secret that consumers respond better to something that they trust or have similar opinions and values to, it’s the reason we focus on brand stories so much at O. People buy from people and audiences are genuinely interested in hearing the story behind a brand. So, what story are you telling?

In the day-to-day running of a business, it can be easy to focus on immediate sales rather than the ultimate goal and why you are actually doing what you are doing. What is the value in it? What are you offering that is different to everyone else? Why should people choose you? These are just some of the questions to regularly review and ask yourself, which in turn will form the base of your communications.

Every brand has a purpose. Whether that is to help the environment, to make life easier for businesses, to offer innovative products to market or to ensure that fashionistas have a brand-new wardrobe each season – the purpose behind your brand is why you created your business in the first place and should remain at the very core of everything you do.

When it comes to communications, highlighting your brand purpose can make you stand out from the rest. By sharing your vision, your goals and essentially what you stand for, you are giving your audience a sense of transparency.

With this your audience should know three things; why your service is the best, why they should choose you and what makes it different?

Here are three things to consider when revisiting your brand purpose:

What are your core values? – As a business, what are the core values that you live by and do all of your staff know and follow them? Getting together to discuss and agree on a set of values to implement will ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

What is your goal? – Your business goal may be to make money, but what is your customer goal? What do you want to achieve for your audience? Ask yourself what you want your customer to gain from choosing your business and ask them if that’s what they get. Customer testimonials and case studies are a great way to share your goals with prospective clients as well.

What’s your story? – How did you get where you are today and why should people care? Share your story passionately across your channels and make it interesting so that people want to listen. Local brands such as Master Debonair and Durham Distillery are both great storytellers, sharing snippets across their social media platforms and websites.

If you want to hear more about how you can develop your brand story into a communications strategy, drop us an email on letstalk@opr.co.uk.

RHS 2019 Theme of the Year – Edible Britain

O is an expert in the homes and gardens sector, with our clients relying on our industry insights and marketplace information about emerging trends to ensure they make the best decision every time. Too busy to keep up with the constant feed of industry-related news and developments? Here’s everything you need to know about one of the biggest trends for 2019.

As National Gardening Week returns for its eighth year from Monday 29 April to Sunday 5 May, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has chosen to celebrate ‘Edible Britain’ as this year’s theme, calling on gardeners nationwide to get involved in grow-your-own.

Although the plot to plate mindset is not new, its popularity has grown rapidly in recent years with fruit and vegetable seed sales outstripping flowers in RHS garden centres across the country. Faced with the uncertainty of Brexit, many Brits have donned their wellies and trudged out to the long-neglected vegetable patch in preparation for possible shortages and rising tariffs on fresh produce being imported from the EU. Quick to react, one garden centre has responded by creating a ‘Grow your own Brexit’ survival kit. However alarming the thought of eating nothing but turnips, swedes and leeks may be, it is not the only thing driving people to try their hand at growing their own.

43% of under 40s are investing in food gardening compared to 32% of over 60s. 

Increased environmental awareness is high on the agenda, leading to a shift towards healthy, organic and sustainable eating habits amongst consumers. Last year, one study showed millennials are the fastest growing demographic to grow their own vegetables, with 43% of under 40s investing in food gardening compared to 32% of over 60s. For many, it’s about finding a healthy middle ground between all-or-nothing ways of eating. Being able to mix and match shop-bought with homegrown offers a great solution to those looking to reduce how much they buy from the supermarket whether it be for ethical, environmental or health reasons.

A record breaking 300,000 people signed up to Veganuary in 2019.

Grow-your-own has become a widespread movement amongst the UK’s vegetarians and vegans, with the Economist calling 2019 ‘the year of the vegan’ plant-based lifestyles are hitting the mainstream. Record numbers of people took part in Veganuary this year, skyrocketing to approximately 300,000 pledges compared to 3,300 when it launched in 2014. ‘The Plant Kingdom’ is high on the list of Innova Market Insights’ top trends for this year, coming in at number two as companies and brands race to green up their portfolios and attract more eco-conscious consumers looking for plant-based options. Vegan sausage roll anyone?

It’s safe to say the growing your own fruit and vegetables trend isn’t disappearing any time soon as the growth area continues to rocket (excuse the pun). The message behind this year’s RHS theme ‘Edible Britain’ is the idea that everyone has space to grow something – and we’ve suggested some of the ways you can get involved without joining the 90,000 Brits currently on allotment waiting lists.

One Pot Garden – Growing a few different compatible plants into the same container is a great way of maximizing their potential whilst saving on space. For herb gardens this is a no-brainer, but more daring combinations like tomatoes, chilies, chives and basil work great together and can produce an entire summer’s worth of homegrown goodness.

Hanging Baskets – According to Wyevale Garden Centres Garden Trends Report 2019, sales of the humble hanging basket have increased by 32% since 2016, with 40% of Brits proudly displaying baskets on the front of their home. Urban gardeners have added their own twist by growing ‘trendy’ veg like sweet potatoes, making both a chic and practical statement.

Balcony – You might be several floors up from real soil, but so long as your balcony gets a good amount of sunshine you can still grow your fruit and veg! Smaller produce like strawberries, cherry tomatoes and radishes are perfect for creating your own miniature garden.

Lastly, who says you have to grow-your-own at home? Schools are a great example of getting children involved with cultivating small areas of land through help from organisations like The Woodland Trust, offering free school tree packs. And why stop there? If you’re lucky enough to have a workplace garden, why not suggest growing vegetables to support a local food bank and give back to the community? Other fantastic perks to gardening include improved health and wellbeing, better levels of attention and helping the environment to name a few.

What does Mark Zuckerberg’s new privacy focused vision really mean for the future of social media?

Words by Lauren Regan, Account Director

In early March, Mark Zuckerberg announced his new privacy focused vision for social media, namely focusing on building on the functionality of private messaging platforms.

Opening his statement, Mark Zuckerberg said: “Over the last 15 years, Facebook and Instagram have helped people connect with friends, communities and interests in the digital equivalent of a town square. But people increasingly want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of a living room.”

Wait a minute, isn’t this what we have always wanted? Surely this isn’t a revolutionary step forward for the global platform, but simply a retreat to the way that humans naturally want to interact with each other; forming meaningful connections one on one or in small groups; a way of interacting that has been skewed by the advent of social broadcasting online. However focusing on more intimate sharing makes sense, it mirrors how we act in real life and gives a more authentic experience. IRL we curate the information that we want to broadcast to the world, rather than share with our best friends or groups of acquaintances – we subconsciously segment our audiences depending on how we want to be perceived or how comfortable we are with the recipient.

The social media giant is looking to give users a more rounded experience by merging private messaging features on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp into one, privacy focused platform where users can call, video chat, share stories, form groups, make payments and connect with businesses.

However in the wake of a recent Wall Street Journal report which found that Facebook is still collecting personal information from apps such as user heart rates and when women ovulate, Zuckerberg avoided commenting on the privacy practices within the core business. And this change definitely benefits Zuckerberg’s bottom line as by combining the three core messaging apps Facebook (which has 15 million fewer U.S. users than in 2017, according to Edison Research) could build more complete data profiles on all its users.

There is almost certainly a business motivation behind merging the three platforms, the most likely of which is an attempt to head off regulators in both the UK and the US to separate the businesses that sit under the Facebook umbrella, introducing some competition to the market. If Zuckerberg can prove that all three companies are so intermingled that they can’t be untangled, he might just stay one step ahead of the regulators attempts to break up the group.

Alongside private messaging, Facebook will also be doubling down its focus on reducing the permanence of posts with Zuckerberg stating that “people should be comfortable being themselves and should not have to worry about what they share coming back to hurt them later.” It’s a sensible goal and an about turn for the social networking site which has spent the last 15 years building the very opposite kind of platform.

The lengthy blog post also covered end to end encryption and addresses Facebook’s avoidance of storing data in countries that have a track record of human rights violations.

However, the post does raise more questions than it answers:

  • Advertising is Facebook’s core business – how will the company continue to effectively advertise on fully encrypted posts, if at all?
  • How will the company strip down existing products to make the user experience easier and more like a ‘living room’ than a ‘town square’? Does this mean a change to the news feed as we currently know it?
  • Will the content that is supposed to ‘disappear’ really vanish or will it be stored somewhere in case it needs to be accessed in the future, for example by the police?

While all of the changes are encouraging steps for the company and will ultimately have a positive effect for end users, Zuckerberg is a master of big ideas that take a while to materialise, so any changes to operating platforms certainly won’t be appearing overnight.

What do you think of the latest facebook changes? Let us know by tweeting us at @OPRTweets with the hashtag #OBlog.

 

 

 

Happy 30th Birthday World Wide Web: How the internet has changed marketing & communications

Words by Sammy Sadler, B2B Account Manager

The World Wide Web is celebrating its 30th birthday this week and what a 30 years it has been. Millennials and Gen Z won’t even remember a time of not being able to find information at the click of a button or chat to a friend anywhere in the world, it’s become almost a daily occurrence. The internet has changed our daily lives in hundreds of ways and one industry it now plays a dominant part in is marketing and communications.

We’ve spoken at great length here on the O blog about how the digital world is transforming the marketing industry as we know it, from the amount of people we can reach to the new creative assets that we can introduce to target audiences.

With that being said, nowadays there is so much more to consider when it comes to having the internet at your disposal, from optimising content so that it is SEO-friendly to creating content for use on different platforms. As marketers, we are becoming smarter in the way we communicate – we have the ability to create content for different individuals that we want to target and we are understanding our customers better.

To celebrate WWW.’s birthday, here are five things that the internet has changed in the marketing and communications industries and how they will continue to play their part in years to come.

Global reach

Perhaps the most important feature that the internet has given us is the ability to reach audiences on a global scale. Businesses no longer have to rely on word of mouth (although this is still a very powerful tool) as they can reach customers in all parts of the world through advertising, social media and news websites to name just a few options. This is only set to get stronger as internet speeds continue to increase and video calling platforms become more accessible on different devices, making conversations even easier between families, friends, colleagues and clients.

Video

Video has been around for many years but the internet has really brought the format to life. For example, YouTube attracts 30 million visitors per day, with over 300 hours of video being uploaded to the platform each minute and we can video call people around the world at the click of a button. In 2019, just by being online we expect to be able to consume video content, whether that is on a news site or a social media platform. And this isn’t set to slow down any time soon – in the next 30 years video will continue to play a huge part in marketing and more content will need to be developed to accommodate that, keeping audiences excited about what they are consuming.

Online influencers

We’ve looked at online influencers a lot on the O blog as they have proven to make a real difference in marketing campaigns across various sectors. Whether that’s the hyperlocal influencer making a splash in their region or a global travel Instagrammer sharing the best locations on the planet, these influencers are the trustworthy spokesperson for our brands. Making the most out of your influencer marketing campaign can be crucial in tackling platforms such as Instagram and now that blogging is becoming a popular career choice for individuals, taking content such as this into consideration in your marketing plans over the coming years will be beneficial.

Better data

Through tools such as Google Analytics, SEMRush and in-platform social media insights, we can now collect and digest data better and more quickly than ever before. We are given the opportunity to understand our customers more and reach them on a personal level rather than operating as one marketing campaign fits all. As more analytical data becomes available online over the next few years, this will only enhance our understanding of audience behaviour and personas.

Local Connection

As well as the global reach that the World Wide Web provides, the internet is also key in connecting at a very local level. Platforms allow brands to talk to customers individually, creating two-way micro-connections which is vital in keeping an audience excited and engaged.

Can you think of something we’ve missed? Tweet us on @OPRTweets using the hashtag #OBlog.

MAKING YOURSELF AT HOME ON INSTAGRAM

For most, taking an Instagram-worthy picture at home means plumping the cushions or moving the empty mug out of shot. However some users are going even further to secure the perfect picture for the ‘gram, recently highlighted when a number of Notting Hill residents complained about groups of influencers spending several hours on their doorstep, even bringing along popup tents for outfit changes.

Whether we care to admit it or not, social media is a powerful driving force behind shifting attitudes and lifestyles amongst younger people, fuelled by what has been dubbed ‘the Instagram Effect’ – choosing to do something because of the photo opportunity it affords.

Nearly 73% of under 35-year olds said they would pay more to live in an ‘Instagrammable’ area.

In 2018, M&S Bank surveyed 2,000 people and found that nearly three quarters of millennials would pay more – on average up to £100,000 extra – on a picture-perfect property, willing to compromise on other practical features such as a driveway or garage.

“Our homes and gardens, once a private space reserved for family and friends, are more visible and sharable than ever before.” – Naomi Pollard, Trend Bible

Compared to well-known hashtags like #selfie and #outfitoftheday, the recent rise in popularity of tags such as #myhousethismonth and #jungalowstyle show that it’s no longer merely our lives and wardrobes on display. This access-to-all-areas approach means that something as basic as a well organised cleaning cupboard can provide a golden Insta-opportunity. So what does this mean for brands?

While older consumers tend to prefer traditional methods of shopping in brick and mortar stores, younger generations are increasingly buying home furnishings via the Internet. Direct-to-consumer retailers like ASOS have been quick to respond, launching their own home range ASOS SUPPLY in February.

In the last 5 years, home goods e-commerce has grown by almost 89% – Euromonitor

Hot on the heels, Walmart recently launched their first web-only homewares range MoDRN in response to increasing competition from online retailers Wayfair and Made.com, explaining ”with social media, it’s now easy to visualise what you like and don’t like. However, finding and purchasing the furnishings that inspire you isn’t always easy. We want to change that.”

Encouraging visitors to follow the @MoDRNLiving Instagram, we love the editorial-style images, curated collections and design tips, the brand is already doing an amazing job of generating plenty of engagement on Instagram in their first month.

For those who would still prefer to see and touch big-ticket furniture items before they buy them, last year sofa startup Burrow showed that creating an Instagram-friendly retail experience in a physical environment can be just as effective at pulling in the millennial crowds. By setting up a green screen behind one of the sofas, shoppers could video themselves testing the item out – described by the CEO as the location’s “Instagram bait.”

From carefully chosen colour palettes to cool crisp aesthetics, we’ve selected some of our favourite and most Instagrammable brands to watch this year…

 ferm LIVING 

We are absolutely loving Danish brand ferm LIVING, representing the very best of modern Scandinavian design – a trend that remains ever popular, with its simple, practical yet warm design perfectly mirrored by their super-sleek Instagram feed. 

Oliver Bonas 

Independent British lifestyle store Oliver Bonas has exploded onto the scene in recent years, once again defying challenges facing the retail high street as they plan to open another eight new stores this year. According to Operations Director Natasha Sims, social media is at the forefront of store design, creating Instagram-worthy experiences and hosting events to keep shoppers excited all year round.

deVOL Kitchens

The number one most desired feature in a home by millennials? A kitchen island. A contemporary twist on the classic English kitchen, deVOL Kitchens effortlessly captures the modern-day consumers need for lust-worthy quality and style on their Instagram. You can’t argue with the facts – 1.5k likes on a picture of a kitchen tap…posted less than 24 hours ago.

Rockett St George

Famous for their eclectic mix of expressive homewares and dramatic interior design, Rockett St George was one of the first brands to inspire the now hugely popular dark home décor trend. Using hashtags like #darkinteriors and #darkdecor has helped boost engagement with fans of the design style, leading to new people discovering the brand and ultimately attracting new followers.

O Communications is a creative agency in Newcastle. If you need some help with harnessing the power of social media – why not drop us a message on letstalk@opr.co.uk.