office insights

Work experience blog -Becca Bateson

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Becca Bateson

While I’ve just finished my second year studying Journalism and PR I am currently at a crossroads on where my future lies within the PR industry. Feeling like I ‘mostly’ know what I’m doing I thought the best way to answer my question was to gain work experience in the global firm Grayling, starting at the top and all that.

Whenever I meet anyone in the industry they always ask me what sector I’d like to go into or what I want to specialise in? The truth is you can’t decide that in the classroom but Grayling has helped me find my place in the PR world.

During my two weeks I have been able to gain experience across various sectors so I could find out where I fit best. I have been able to see the different components which go into different campaigns and I’ve had the opportunity to work across a variety of accounts, from Retail to Banking, as well as lending a helping hand for potential new clients.

I thought I might spend the whole placement researching journalists and cold calling (the dreaded stereotypes of PR placements) but I’ve found that this is a great agency to live out my creative dreams in an office environment. What I’ve enjoyed most is creating content for various social media channels and the freedom the team has given me whilst doing so. I’ve had to learn how to adopt a corporate tone one day and a tongue and cheek humorous tone the next – all while remaining in the 140 character count!

I’ve also found the research tasks I’ve been set have helped me with my PR skills as it’s not something I regularly do at University. After it seemed there was nothing on the entire internet about a specific subject I was researching, the team were great in suggesting techniques to find relevant info which I know will last my entire career.

The Bristol team have been nothing short of amazing to me, there wasn’t the expectation that I knew everything but they gave me creative freedom on various projects, and were always making sure I was happy with what I was doing.

I’m extremely thankful to Grayling for giving me the hands on PR experience I need and not just using me for help with the photocopying! I’m sure you will all be happy to know that it has only taken two weeks here for me to finally decide that retail PR is the sector which I will be pursuing in the future!



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Woman with gifts

In the last of our 8for16 trends blog posts we consider how, in an era of instant price comparisons and product reviews, brands must foster direct emotional connections with consumers who expect consideration and customisation at every turn.

Relationship marketing has never been more important and in 2016 art will triumph over science and imagination will matter at least as much as effective data crunching. Given that it’s about five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one and that on average loyal customers make up 20% of a company’s business but 70% of sales, it’s well worth investing in cultivating and keeping them. As it becomes ever easier for shoppers to access multiple providers and switch loyalties on an hourly basis, organisations must show that they are attuned to their needs and willing to give back. In place of personalisation gimmickry will be more meaningful connections with individuals that transcend bespoke packaging options.

At the heart of this will be great customer service – which researchers have shown triggers the same cerebral reactions as feeling loved, sometimes even increasing heart rate.  Millennials are looking for a hybrid experience that combines streamlined user-friendly digital options with empathetic solution-focused human assistance on hand where appropriate. Amazon Fire users need only tap the Mayday button to connect face-to-face with their own personal tech advisor. And all organisations will need to become more proactive –listening to social complaints and checking in with customers and letting them know what to expect rather than waiting to hear from them.

Reward schemes will need to be increasingly relevant and personal to encourage consumers to spend more and keep coming back. Harvey Nichols’ new Rewards app is a fast track pass to exclusive personalized perks and stylish money-can’t-buy privileges.  As well as rewards, each loyalty tier will have its own set of benefits such as gift wrapping, express alterations and at-home styling. Companies will be looking to splice customer spending data with social media intel to deliver hyper-personalized rewards. Global travel rewards currency, Avios launched a hyper-personalized campaign, ‘Do More with Avios’ enlisting the help of customers’ friends and family to use banner ad spaces to nudge collectors to spend their Avios points on doing things together.

We’ll see Emojis pop up everywhere from menus to feedback forms as companies find more direct and intuitive forms of engaging their audiences at every stage of the purchase cycle.

Emojis are no longer just the language of teens – four in five UK adults use emojis on a regular basis and more than 60% of over 35s identify themselves as frequent users, saying they express their feelings better than words. Aloft Hotels TiGi (Text it. Get it.) Emoji Room Service is designed to meet the needs of its guests who simply have to text an emoji of what they want to the hotel’s front desk and within minutes, the delivery is made. Even Goldman Sachs recently launched its report on the spending habits of Millennials with a 22 emoji executive summary on Twitter.

Targeted experiential campaigns are also on the rise with 87% of consumers saying live events reach them more effectively than television advertising, and 98 percent saying a live event motivates them to buy a product, according to EventTrack. Mobile tours, pop-up stores, in-store experiences, entertainment partnerships and sampling events are joined by direct to consumer activities such as Uber bringing kittens in need of a home to meet stressed out workers in need of a cuddle. Gen Y and Z in particular want memorable on-brand experiences that provide them with personal content to share online. This Christmas Burberry is allowing customers to star in and share a personalised version of its Christmas ad alongside celebrities such as Elton John and Naomi Campbell via the “The Burberry Booth” at its flagship Regent Street store.

Ultimately trust – in 2016 more than ever – will be dependent on delivering great brand connections and genuinely personal experiences at all stages of the customer journey.


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man_holding_tablet466261651As mobile becomes the dominant platform for communications globally and contactless payment figures soar, 2016’s consumers will demand instant gratification and ever more frictionless experiences.

2015 was the year in which Google confirmed that more searches take place on smartphones than on desktops, laptops and tablets combined in at least 10 countries, including the US and Japan. This mobility has fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments, which Google characterizes as: ‘I want to know’; ‘I want to go’; ‘I want to do’; ‘I want to buy’.

In these moments, consumers are turning to their smartphones for real time help with information, choices and decisions, providing marketers with an open invitation to engage if they can provide the answers we need at these critical touchpoints. According to Google, 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store, and 91% of them turn to their phones for ideas in the middle of a task.

Seizing the Moment

Brands and organisations will need to be there at the moment of interest with timely information, opportunities and interactions as expectations of immediacy and relevance forever change the landscape.

Cosmetics company M·A·C is a great example, meeting popular need-to-know searches with its range of how-to beauty content and a YouTube gadget that allows viewers to shop directly from its “Instant Artistry” video series on its local e-commerce platforms.

Location-based technology and discovery apps will play a critical role in connecting people to relevant facts, advice and offers in real time. Beacons – which allow marketers to push content to mobile devices in specific physical locations – are now being used in everything from retail and transport to events and museums. An estimated 46% of retailers launched beacon programs in 2015 and in 2016 they could drive more than $40bn in sales, according to a Tech Insider report.

Audible discovery app Shazam – used by more than 100 million people a month to find out what song is playing – is starting to partner with retailers and restaurants to recognise a specific piece of music or tone as a user walks past and unlock an appropriate offer without them needing to download a specialised app.

Meanwhile visual browsing app, Blippar is working with companies across all sectors to help them unlock engaging digital experiences from their marketing collateral and events. From the Taj Hotel’s blippable wine labels to the Financial Time’s blippable poster for coverage of the World Economic Forum and the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal newspaper mastheads unlocking video stories and driving on the spot donations, we can expect to see blipping go truly mainstream in the coming year.

Increasingly, consumers will also be buying via Blippar as the ‘Buy Now’ button changes the face of retail on and offline.

Alongside a rise in shoppable billboards, delivery vehicles and windows, social media is fast turning commercial as the major platforms rush to cover their sites with virtual shops and buy buttons. Facebook’s new shopping tab, YouTube’s shopping ads and Pinterest’s 60 million shoppable pins will be vying for attention with the Buy buttons popping up on Google’s search ads and giving dedicated online retail sites a run for their money.

Deep understanding of the target audience and how their wants and needs intersect with search and discovery behaviors will be key to success. So will continuous experimentation and iteration as technology rapidly evolves new opportunities for immediacy.

Ultimately it’s all about giving consumers what they want or need in the most intuitive and frictionless way possible and being there at every stage of the journey where you have a right to play and something worthwhile to offer. Those that fail to deliver instant gratification and to seize interaction and transaction opportunities in the moment will be quickly left behind in 2016.

As mobile becomes the dominant platform for communications globally and contactless payment figures soar, 2016’s consumers will demand instant gratification and ever more frictionless experiences.