When a recent study polled customers about what traits they wanted to see from big brands, honesty about products and services topped the list. People care about not only the products a company sells, but also what the company stands for. Customers want you to be authentic about what you have to offer.
This post is part two of a two-part blog series examining communication strategy through the lens of Chipotle's recent food safety crisis. Click here for part one.
In the past, Chipotle Mexican Grill has been a shining example of brand authenticity. Founded in 1993 (and having released a mission statement called “Food With Integrity”), Chipotle committed to providing quality and ethically sourced foods, and it amassed a cult-like following.
However, the recent E. coli outbreaks have shown that no company is immune to a public relations crisis or shifts in customer loyalty. As we often remind our clients, in a single day, you can go from being a darling of the media to being in the middle of a crisis.
Today’s consumers expect to meet brands, get to know them, and build relationships with them — just as they would with new people. As brands become increasingly humanized, having a clearly defined visual, emotional, and physical brand becomes more important than ever.
Topics: Mitchell Team
It’s been a long time coming, but 2015 is the year Millennials will officially surpass the Baby Boomers to become the largest living generation. This has far-reaching implications for a range of industries — but none more so than marketing.
More and more brands are asking, “How do we engage with the Millennial generation?” However, few are coming up with a definitive answer.
Effective advertising has always been dependent on connecting with potential consumers. While many brands offer products and services that are quite similar to those their competitors offer, it’s the story behind them that keeps them in the minds of the public. A compelling story has the power and emotion to start the conversation around a brand and fuel enough curiosity to get people to choose it over another — even if it’s sometimes more expensive.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity and honor to participate as a judge in the first Bentonville Film Festival in Arkansas. The event is aimed to create a positive and proactive influence in filmmaking to ensure films represent the national audience and the growing diversity of the population of the U.S. Women, after all, make up half of moviegoers and half of the U.S. population as a whole. It’s time their on-screen presence mirrored reality.
Your company could be a media darling one day and be caught in the eye of a PR storm the next. All major brands will — at some point — be in the midst of a disaster. The best thing you can do is be prepared.
Today’s fast-moving media landscape only raises the bar for authentic engagement with your audiences. Your company also needs to be engaging with the media and other important influencers. Many companies have a great story to tell, but first, they have to listen to the skeptics, engage in conversations, and ultimately nurture relationships built on transparency and trust.
Topics: Public Relations
In the age of don’t blink, it’s about the moments that make you linger.
That really hit home with me when I had the chance to hear James Quarles, Global Head of Business and Brand Development at Instagram, speak to a group of leaders from the Dentsu Aegis Network in Nashville last week. James delivered an amazing talk, chock-full of observations about using images to tell stories.
Right now, organizations are either disrupting or being disrupted. In part, because shifts, like the massive democratization of media, are accelerating at a powerful rate. Platforms like Instagram and Vimeo, and new tech capabilities like GoPro, have allowed consumers to be a part of the story and help create it. Just like everyone with a smartphone today can be a journalist, anyone with a camera can be a visual chronicler of the moments that make up a human life, and ultimately human history. Moments that are both deeply personal and as Instagram teaches us, profoundly shareable.
Sixty percent of young millennials use Instagram daily, and they are forming communities beyond the virtual. Instagram members with a common passion now come together at Instameets in the physical world. And more and more brands are using Instagram to connect with people and the things they care about. Check out Microsoft’s #DoMore everyday Instagram campaign, featuring people doing extraordinary things around the world.
What makes for successful visual storytelling?
- It’s not about selling. It’s about connecting in authentic and ongoing ways.
- It offers a solution that makes something or someone better.
- It inspires our imagination.
- It makes us look at things differently and challenges our perceptions.
- It’s universal and goes beyond border, culture or language.
Public Relations is uniquely positioned to help brands develop compelling content. We know a great story when we see it. It has always been part of our core. We know what moves people and makes them feel something. We understand the importance of authenticity. And we understand how to marry the power of words with the power of images. We just need to take full advantage of the constantly changing storytelling tools today and amplify them across channels. As we crank the content engine, what image will move us next?