Human after all

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“Journalists aren’t interested in you or your organisation; they’re interested in covering great stories that are a perfect fit for their audience. So anything that sounds like you’re just trying to plug your company – rather than provide compelling content – is an instant turn off… tell stories, use visual imagery and anything that appeals to the senses.” – Janet Murray, The Guardian

The simplest display of humanity can spur an emotional connection. Sentiment plasters the pages of newspapers and media websites. Christmas adverts which do more than just sell products are one timely example, charity collaborations are another. People want to hear about their local heroes and journalists are keen to pitch these stories to their editors.

Journalists write stories. And what is a story if it contains no characters? What audiences really want is to get to know the people behind the brand. To understand the motivations and aspirations that drive that particular business and inspire its customers.

As a PR or marketing manager, it can be all too easy to get swept up in key messages and corporate objectives, and to lose track of what makes your target audience tick. But, no matter what your business, you should always look for a way to make your story resonate on a personal level.

Bringing the human element of a piece of news to life is the job of a successful PR. It’s what makes a good story. The sort that people can’t help but read, or watch. More and more, journalists at major online news outlets are asking for video content to supplement their articles. Whilst beautifully crafted hi-resolution images have their place, a short video clip of a store manager giving a roundup of Christmas treats to look forward to can add another dimension to a news piece. Better still if the video is pieced together with interviews and clips filmed at a customer’s local store, resulting in a multifaceted story that’s relatable to the outlet’s audience.

The Trump and Leave campaigns have highlighted more than ever that there is a disconnect between people and storytellers. This is the proof that PRs and brands need to explore and understand, leaving those that build locally relevant stories at a distinct advantage when trying to connect with the consumer. It has to be the starting place not the destination.


The importance of hyper-local communications

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Photo courtesy of Huw John

Megan Dacey comments on the need to engage with consumers on a local level and what this means for the delivery of retail PR.

The way people shop is ever-changing and that in turn changes the way we communicate with them.

Online shopping has continued to grow exponentially for a number of years but according to Mintel this growth is now beginning to slow and we are already seeing the effects of this up and down the country as stores and centres adapt to entice customers who shop online and offline interchangeably.

Retail communications is no longer ‘grab and go’ – we are reverting back to offering experiences and personal rewards to visitors as the focus shifts from footfall growth to increasing spend, dwell time and encouraging repeat visits.

At St David’s Cardiff – Wales’ leading retail and leisure destination – this hyper-local approach has seen great success throughout the year. By tapping into the pride of the Welsh, a number of campaigns have been delivered that resonate with shoppers and get tongues wagging.

The centre and cult local brand I Loves The ‘Diff have embarked on a partnership that brings the spirit of the city to life. From events that give away personalised Cardiff themed prints, to huge artwork being displayed throughout the centre, the collaboration has brought Welsh humour and quirkiness into the country’s largest shopping and leisure destination.

2016 has been the year of the Welsh and with unparalleled success in the Euros, the centre decided to close early for the semi-final to enable its 4,000 staff to watch the game. This bold decision resulted in nationwide conversation and praise – another way that the centre has placed itself at the heart of the city.

Consumers cannot be squeezed into a certain audience set because behaviours and interests are varied, and individuals are continuing to look for an experience that fits and resonates with them. Across the UK, shopping destinations are beginning to realise that it’s not all about quick transactions, it’s about celebrating the people that walk through the doors every day.

Summer and showbiz arrives at St David’s

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It’s been a very exciting week for the St David’s team here, as we helped unveil an amazing Cardiff-themed Las Vegas sign in the centre to mark the start of the summer holidays. It’ll be there for two weeks, and shoppers can come along and take a picture with the installation, which will then be uploaded to the St David’s Facebook page, for the chance to win a holiday of a lifetime to Orlando.

The sign reads ‘Croseo to Fab ‘n’ Lush Cardiff, St David’s’ and was designed in collaboration with cult Cardiff brand I Loves The ‘Diff – it really is a sight to behold. The partnership with I Loves The ‘Diff has also seen the reveal of the ‘Taffywood library’ this week, a huge piece of artwork in the centre that re-imagines classic books with a witty Welsh twist – our favourite has to be ‘Cwtch Me If You Can’!

Taffywood Library created in St David's by I Loves The 'Diff