“I am because you are.” The story behind Ubuntu Baba

Meet Shannon McLaughlin, founder of Ubuntu Baba, the company that has recently been in the news for its successful ‘David-vs-Goliath’ battle with Woolworths. Her quest to design the perfect baby carrier for her son has translated into a business that ships to every corner of South Africa and around the world.

Shannon Mclaughlin had a beautiful vision of what her life, as a new mom, would look like. However, after her son was born in 2014 she came face to face with reality – those first 12 weeks were far from her dream of baby bliss. If her little boy was not in her arms constantly, there were tears – and an equal amount of those tears were her own.

“We’d tried all sorts of colic cures and ways to calm him, but still he struggled to settle. Getting him to sleep was incredibly trying and he seldom slept for more than 45 minutes. I was desperate. So was he. Thankfully a friend came over one day and gifted me a stretchy wrap and that’s how I discovered the magic of babywearing.”

In no time her child went from snatches of sleep to 3-hour snoozes and it took at most 10 minutes to “get him down”.  Shannon could now take relaxing afternoon strolls on the beach, meet up with friends, enjoy early dinners out and, most importantly, she could get on with her work while her baby slept, calm and content, on her chest. Both were so much happier.

As her son grew, Shannon began the task of finding the perfect baby carrier – something just as soft and comfy as her wrap, but strong enough to support him. After purchasing six different baby carriers and struggling in one way or another with all of them, she set out to design and make her own with help from her dad (who’d been in the backpack-manufacturing business) and her mom (who’d been a fashion designer).

“My goal was to create an easy-to-use, breathable and comfortable carrier with a supportive waistband that was gentle on C-section healing. I wanted it to be adjustable so it didn’t have to be replaced too often as my baby grew,” she says.

Using the finished article made Shannon aware of the addedbenefitsfor both babies and moms. The interest she received from other mothers made it clear that what had started out as an answer to a personal need could become a fully-fledged business.

Shannon grew up in South Africa where she witnessed African Mothers wrapping their babies on their backs from a very young age and so she wanted an African name for her business. In tribute to these original babywearing Moms, Shannon chose “Ubuntu Baba” as the name of her new company. “The explanation of ‘Ubuntu’ – ‘I am because you are’ – evokes so well the mother-child bond, as well as the transition into motherhood and the support and comfort we receive from other moms,” she says.

Four years ago Shannon started out with just one machinist; today Ubuntu Baba employs six machinists and six in the management team. The carriers are shipped worldwide, from the most rural areas in South Africa to major cities inAustralia, Dubai, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Amsterdam, France, and the United States.

 Join Ubuntu Baba for their inspiring 4th trimesterchats. Every second Friday she invites moms to join them for a relevant talk on motherhood, a muffin, coffee and a massage.

“It’s such a lovely space for new Moms to connect and just feel supported on their journey. It’s something I really missed out on as a new mom so it feels great that I am able to now offer that to other moms.” – McLaughlin

More on Ubuntu Baba

A leading babywearing brand that knowsbecoming a mother is the start of a beautiful yet challenging journey. Ubuntu Baba is there to help you step out into the world again with confidence, freedom and style.

 

 

 

The Talent Boom: Connecting South African creatives since 2013

Home to some of the world’s leading advertising and digital agencies, South Africa is renowned for its creativity and, like bees to a honeypot, its creative talent has attracted keen headhunters. With influences from its diversity of cultures, creeds, humour and heritage, South Africa’s creative talents are widely sought after by global companies.

It’s no wonder that The Talent Boom, a global digital and creative recruiting firm, opened its first office in the creative hub of Cape Town in 2013. With talent scouts combing agencies and creative departments for people who really stand out, they’ve been making matches between advertising agencies and creative departments of large corporations with elite talent worldwide for the past six years.

Founder and CEO Emily Keyes began her career in the UK and Amsterdam, working for various recruitment agencies before moving to Cape Town in 2013 to open The Talent Boom. She sees extreme creative potential in South Africans that sets them apart, placing them in high demand with international corporates. “In South Africa there’s a big opportunity to do innovative and inspirational work that no one else has done. In some countries, campaigns are just translations and adaptations, whereas in South Africa there’s some real on-the-ground work being done,” says Keyes.

As an English-speaking country with remarkable, hands-on creatives working on projects from inception all the way through to activation and completion, Keyes believes this is what makes South African talent so attractive.

The Talent Boom is not a traditional recruitment agency; instead its boomersconsider themselves pure headhunters. By specifically targeting top talent for companies and departments by headhunting, networking, or through word of mouth, it has no need to advertise jobs or find jobseekers for clients. According to Keyes, “candidates are the elite who have pretty much come into the job market for their clients role only.”

Just as an example of the type of global placements The Talent Boom does in a three month period, since Jan 2019, The Talent Boom has made placements in roles ranging from CEO, strategy director and executive creative directors to project managers, copywriters and business directors in South Africa, Kenya, Amsterdam, Germany, Ghana, Tokyo, Dubai, Los Angeles, New York and Texas.

The Talent Boom represents key digital and creative talent across the creative, digital, advertising and sports world, such as Ogilvy Worldwide, JWT, Saatchi & Saatchi,AKQA and Adidas. Its HQ, affectionately known as The Boom House, is located in Cape Town with offices further afield in London, Amsterdam and more recently, Miami.

After signing its first South African client in 2013, a leading digital agency, the company has grown substantially and now boasts 20 Boomersin South Africa. In 2017, The Talent Boom opened an office in Amsterdam which employs four Boomers, while its new Miami office has two Boomers.

If the past six years are anything to go by, The Talent Boom will continue to grow from strength to strength and continue to search for talent scouts to meet the job demands of their global clients. As an already well-recognised company within the digital and creative recruitment space, The Talent Boom aims to continue to expand its office locations across EMEA in the near future.

About The Talent Boom

The Talent Boom partners with advertising agencies and creative departments of renowned global brands to identify elite talent for their job openings. As a global recruitment agency, they recruit talent at their finest when they work in this diverse and exciting market, thriving on different cultures, countries and challenges.

For more information visit www.thetalentboom.comor email hello@thetalentboom.com

 

Overcoming South Africa’s Maths Challenge

In 2018, less than half of South African learners chose to study pure maths for matric, and of those, only 37% passed with 40% or more. Despite much emphasis being placed on mathematics over the last few years, the recent matric results show that the majority of South Africa’s learners have significant gaps in understanding, or opt for mathematical literacy as a subject, which limits access to higher-level careers in a digital, knowledge economy.

And, in a real-life demonstration of compounding interest, each year that goes by the conceptual gaps grow as learners move up grades. So, gaps in understanding in early school years widen considerably as the learner progresses through high school, to the point that they simply can’t engage with the curriculum anymore. Research[i]shows that these gaps exist along socioeconomic lines, with the poorest 60% of schools having persistent acquired learning deficits in mathematics of, on average, four grade levels by the time they reach the end of grade 9.

This is the challenge that Reflective Learning, a Cape Town-based edtech startup, has set out to tackle with its diagnostic and targeted catch-up based approach. By identifying gaps in learning that originated in earlier grades, and then addressing early concepts with a personalised, reflective learning approach, it is possible to catch-up the equivalent of six grades in one year[ii].

“Our aim is to increase opportunities to access mathematics, open doors to tertiary studies in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields and ignite a lifelong love for learning,” says Eugene Pelteret, Managing Director of Reflective Learning. “South Africa needs to tackle the challenge of learning gaps head on. The thousands of assessments we completed during our pilots showed us that some learners are functioning up to seven grades behind the grade they are in.”

“However, with the Reflective Learning approach, it is possible for learners already in high school to catch-up and excel in maths, if they are given the opportunity and are willing to put in the effort,” says Pelteret.

Since every learner’s deficits are unique, their subsequent learning needs to be personalised. Reflective Learning helps parents and teachers to pinpoint each child’s gaps in understanding and then fast-tracks catching up on their missed learning so that learners can engage fully in class.

How Reflective Learning started

In 2014, Tracey Butchart, a maths and science teacher with three decades’ experience, and now Reflective Learning’s director and education expert, was asked to monitor Uplands Outreach’s Saturday enrichment programme, called Learners for Excellence. Using the first iteration of Reflective Learning’s diagnostic approach, she helped grade 10 learners progress by between three and six grades within a year. Those learners went on to excel in their matric maths results and the majority went on to achieve in university, demonstrating the legacy of the intervention.

Butchart realised that it’s not too late for learners in grade 10 to both catch up and to excel at maths. Also, a personalised, metacognitive approach – where the learner is taught to think about how they learn and think — helps to accelerate learning by creating self-motivated, empowered learners that take ownership of their own education – ideally for the rest of their lives.

Excited by the potential of this educational approach, in 2015 Butchart teamed up with technology company Lightswitch Solutions to form Reflective Learning, and scale the learning approach. The first prototype of the online assessment tool was built in 2016, and has since been tested it in a range of environments, from urban to rural and townships, from desktops, to tablets and mobile phones. These pilots have included more than 3,500 learner assessments in around 25 schools, afterschool programmes and tutoring centres in urban and rural areas, as well as individual learners at home.

The diagnostic tool is available online for parents, teachers and large-scale education intervention projects wanting to measure their impact. It provides immediate results with personalised feedback for every learner. Also available is personalised catch-up material for high school learners that focuses on the numbers component of maths, and takes learners from wherever they are for each critical concept up to Grade 9 level.

In 2019 Reflective Learning will release further catch-up material focusing on fractions, as well as a natural science diagnostic tool. In addition, it will work with the Telkom Foundation in seven schools in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

How it works:

  1. Diagnostics identify exactly where the gaps in learning are and how far back they go, measuring the mastery of foundational conceptual landmarks across seven threads of maths, benchmarked at three levels.
  2. Personalised reflective journalstarget the gaps identified through the diagnostic while developing metacognitive skills for independent learning.
  3. Re-assessments help to identify whether the learner has mastered each concept, as well as informing the next step in their learning.

More about Reflective Learning

Reflective Learningare experts in identifying gaps in learning acquired from early grades for targeted catch-up. By diagnosing conceptual understanding and addressing early concepts with a reflective approach, the programme has shown that it is possible to catch up the equivalent of six grades in a single year.

[i]Dr Nic Spaull & Janeli Kotze’s “Starting behind and staying behind in South Africa: the case of insurmountable learning deficits in mathematics”. See link.

[ii]Tracey Butchart, Craig Pournara, Patrick Barmby’s “Using a Diagnostic Assessment As Learning – Conceptual Thread Approach in Addressing Acquired Learning Deficits in Mathematics in South Africa”. See link.

How BODYTEC’s innovative technology is changing the fitness industry 

Over the past ten years, the fitness industry has become a force to be reckoned with. Nowadays people are taking their health and physical wellness more seriously and the increase in specialist gyms such as CrossFit boxes and HIIT facilities are creating massive waves in what has become one of the world’s leading industries.

With technology at our fingertips, such as wearable fitness trackers like Fitbit and Apple watches, the trend towards combining cutting-edge technology and exercise is seeing a considerable increase.

BODYTEC has embraced these technological advances. It uses Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) to provide a time-efficient strength workout in a contemporary environment, making it easier to fit a workout into a busy schedule. The BODYTEC franchise has grown in just eight years from two company-owned studios in Cape Town to 38 studios throughout South Africa that employ 150 personal trainers.

BODYTEC was first brought to South Africa by Frankfurt-born Boris Leyck, who holds a degree in Sports and Economics from the University of Bayreuth. He discovered EMS in a small micro fitness studio in Munich in 2010 and was immediately blown away by the efficacy of the technology. He opened the first EMS studio in Cape Town in March 2011.

Most people have become accustomed to a busy lifestyle with many struggling to find the time to work out. With BODYTEC, Leyck presents a solution to this problem by providing an effective full-body strength training workout that can be achieved in just 20 minutes a week. BODYTEC’s EMS training uses an electric current to stimulate various muscle groups, causing them to contract, creating the same of kind of resistance found in weight training.

During EMS training, up to 90% of muscles are simultaneously activated with the quality of the contractions higher and more intense than voluntary exertion. Clients can improve their strength, endurance, muscle growth, speed, responsiveness, agility and perceived physical wellbeing as well as stabilising common muscular imbalances such as back pain.

After opening his first two studios, Leyck saw not only an increase in his client base, but also interest in EMS and its benefits, resulting in his decision to franchise the concept and offer a simple price and membership system, without any hidden costs. According to Leyck, “People are looking more for interesting, niche concepts suited to their fitness needs. In addition, the international industry states that the fitness market needs to adapt to millennials and other younger generations. In the future we might see more fitness concepts moving more towards pay-as-you-go systems instead of long-term contracts.”

Many of the current franchise partners agree, as they are former BODYTEC clients who gave up careers in fields such as accounting, marketing, HR, IT and insurance to become BODYTEC franchisees. As an avid cyclist and biker, Leyck says his business journey “has been like a fantastic, off-road motorbike trip without a final destination, but with a well-prepared road plan for each day.”

BODYTEC EMS studios can be found throughout South Africa with the opportunity for even more franchises to be created.

ABOUT BODYTEC

BODYTEC® is South Africa’s premier Electro Muscle Stimulation training franchise offering a time-efficient strength workout in a contemporary environment using innovative technology.

For more information visit www.bodytec.co.za or email info@bodytec.co.za.

Print your memories straight from your phone

With the arrival of BOFT Instant Photo Printing Kiosks in South Africa, mobile-phone photographers can enjoy beautiful Polaroid-type prints of any of the photos stored on their phones, or direct from their Instagram feeds.

Boft is leading the global movement to keep memories alive through the provision of photo printing kiosks that give customers a convenient way to print great quality photos from their phones.

Simply connect your phone via Bluetooth or wifi, select the photos and print. Boft kiosks showcase first class design and build, plus reliable hardware – a 32” waterproof touch screen with HD camera displays your pictures in the brightest colours so you can adjust (for example to include your IG caption, or not) and print them.

Boft’s 4-million customers have already printed 17-million photos in 30 countries including the USA, Australia and Switzerland…  And now their kiosks are popping up in Africa! The first kiosks are located at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, with kiosks coming to Joburg’s Sandton and Eastgate malls in January.

“Boft gives people an easy way of printing their favourite memories. A print of your special moments is something that remains timeless, whether you stick it on your fridge, in a memory book, or give it to someone special,” says Micaela Einhorn, Managing Director of Zahava Prints Pty Ltd and owner to exclusive rights to BOFT in South Africa.

“The kiosks also offer great opportunities for brands to engage with their audience, whether it’s through collaborations and activations, the digital advertising on the kiosks, or at corporate events,” says Einhorn. “The kiosks have ad integration and are able to show video ads and complex advertising mechanics. Campaigns to date include well-known brands like Kinder and Yves Rocher.”

Einhorn has been living in Australia for the past 13 years, travelling back to South Africa every year to visit family. Now that she is back, she is passionate and committed to delivering this instant printing solution to South Africa. “It is truly an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in South Africa. I have been so warmed by the support of the people who have helped me every step of the journey.”

The first two kiosks can be found at V&A waterfront:

1 – Outside Woolworths on the ground floor

2 – Next to the lifts on the 1st floor near Guess

“V&A were so helpful in facilitating this launch. It has been a pleasure to work with them in finding the best possible locations for this offering,” says Einhorn.

Follow @boft.sa on Instagram.

Your Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shopping Game Plan

Research shows that the Black Friday phenomenon has grown faster in South Africa than any other country in the world. Last year, PriceCheck saw three times the number of dailyvisits to its online shopping comparison websiteon Black Friday, and twice the number on Cyber Monday, compared to its 2017 average. In addition, these visits were on average 30% longer than the 2017 average duration. See more in infographic here.

This year is likely to surpass that, with PayPal predicting that South Africans’online shopping spend will topR53 billion by the end of 2018, up from R37.1 billion in 2017. But as the South African online shopping market grows, providing more to choose from, shoppers should put a game plan in place to ensure they get the best deals from the most reliable, and secure retailers.

“I started PriceCheck in 2006 to solve exactly this shopping conundrum,” says Kevin Tucker, PriceCheck CEO. “How can I quickly and easily compare deals to make sure I am making the best decision? Then, how can I be sure I can trust the retailer before parting with my hard-earned cash?”

PriceCheck’s top tips for getting the best deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

  1. Have a plan. Know what you want, need and can afford before you get enticed by all the shiny offers in front of you.
  2. Choose a secure way to pay: credit card payments that ask you for a supplementary one-time PIN such as Verified by Visa; Snapscan; and PayPal are all good options.
  3. Take note of the delivery and return details. Will you get the purchase when you need it, and if you need to return it, will you end up paying more on delivery costs?
  4. Look out for hidden costs or additional purchases you might need to make.
  5. Compare deals: similar deals might be packaged slightly differently, so make sure you are comparing apples with apples.
  6. Only buy from reputable retailersso you can be sure you will receive authentic products.

And finally, to avoid FOMO and to be sure you get the best deals in town – often up to 80% off -visit acomparison service such as PriceCheck to see all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in one place and click-through directly to get the deal before it sells out. As an added incentive, Black Friday deals run for an entire week on PriceCheck.

PriceCheck is South Africa’s biggest product discovery and comparison platform, listing millions of products from 700 merchants including: Makro, Clicks, Yuppiechef, Zando, Superbalist, Faithful to Nature, Cybercellar, BidorBuy, Loot, The Kidzone, FirstShop, PC Link Computers, Cape Union Mart, Nula Baby, Old Khaki and more. Last year the most popular categories were tech, fashion, toys and baby.

“While we do our best to encourage shoppers, in these tough economic times, to shop responsibly, when deals are as good as they are on Black Friday, sometimes you just can’t help yourself. So as Kevin from PriceCheck I say shop responsibly, but as Kevin the consumer and online shopper, I say ‘shop like you’ve never shopped before!’” says Tucker excitedly.

About PriceCheck

PriceCheck is Africa’s largest product discovery and comparison service showcasing an extensive range of products from South Africa’s favourite and most trusted stores. PriceCheck is the only place where consumers can see all the best deals aggregated in one place. It enables consumers to easily compare products and prices and to make educated buying decisions.

More on PriceCheck here. 

For images click here.

 

INFINITY: NEW BOTTLED WATER HARVESTED FROM THE AIR

Sophisticated bottled water harvested from the Stellenbosch air has been launched in the Cape Town market.

There are many bottled waters on the market; but water harvested from the air, is unique. Infinity Air Water is a new bottled water company whose source is the humidity in the air. This special condition makes the water perfectly pure, soft and alkaline (pH8).

Infinity started its first harvest of the soft Stellenbosch moisture in July 2018 and now the company is distributing still and sparkling Infinity Air Water to hotels, restaurants, wine farms and corporates in Cape Town. The company was founded by Jacques Lubbe (South African) and Viviana Alarcon (Chilean) who met while working overseas and have just settled in the Cape.

“The availability of clean drinking water is becoming more and more scarce, not only in our country but also worldwide. Yet we only need to consciously turn our gaze to the vast and infinite sky to witness the untapped potential of the humidity all around us. We choose to be part of the solution by using innovative technology to bring clean drinking water, effectively from thin air,” said Jacques Lubbe, Director of Infinity.

In this way, Infinity is preserving ground and municipal water resources for the use of the City of Cape Town. “Due to the fact that we are harvesting one million litres of new water per year we are in effect adding the same amount to the city’s water balance over that period”, added Jacques Lubbe.

High local demand and tourism

Clean drinking water availability and plastic pollution are two topics of high concern in our local and global community. The company addresses both with its Sustainability Model.

“Our clients from the hospitality industry can rely on our product”, said Lubbe. Infinity Air Water is harvested directly from the air and never makes contact with the ground keeping it free from elements that may alter its taste, resulting in a perfectly pure water.  Additionally, multiple safeguards used in the bottled water industry are taken to ensure the quality of the water, including nine stages of filtration and the use of UV light before being bottled.

The Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) contained in Infinity Air Water are below 20 mg/l, which means only the required minerals are present. With a pH of 8, this alkaline water is a powerful anti-oxidant, helping to boost the immune system and balance the pH in your body.

Infinity supports the reduction of plastic and single-use glass bottles. They only use glass and by returning glass bottles, Infinity’s clients not only pay just for refills but also are contributing to the reduction of at least 2 million plastic bottles per year. Additionally, distribution crates are made of wood, a reusable, repairable and renewable material.

Infinity Air Water and Aquacello, Importer, Distributor and full service centre for Atmospheric Water Generators, have recently entered into a Strategic Alliance Agreement to extend their capabilities to deliver value to clients and collectively focus their marketing, sales, research and development efforts.

Such good taste!    

Imagine a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern food market… the bright colours, the beautifully displayed wares, the friendly greetings, the sound of a scoop plunging into a pile of nuts, the tempting scent of freshly baked treats and newly ground coffee … If only we had something similar in South Africa.

Welcome to the bustling treasure trove of The Good Batch!Everywhere you look, from floor to ceiling, is an exquisite array of hand-picked delights sourced worldwide. Jars piled high, sacks overflowing with treats and the best coffee in town.

Nuts, from pistachios and pecans to walnuts and macadamias, raw or roasted in-store. Truffles, pralines and chocolate salami. Turkish delight, authentic halva, old-fashioned bonbons, nougat and fudge. Delicious dried berries, fruits, seeds and biltong. Handmade, just-baked biscuits and cookies. And some of the world’s finest coffee beans, freshly roasted on the spot.

The Good Batch is a family-run taste emporium that gathers together best-in-class delicacies from the world over and from small local artisans. It is the brainchild of Alexi Hadjidakis, who began his retail journey at the knee of his father George, who started 7-Eleven in South Africa in 1967.

Inspired by the quality and displays at a food show he visited in Dubai, Hadjidakis was determined to bring that market-style experience home. “We drew inspiration from far and wide, locally and internationally, to bring the very best into one place for South Africans who enjoy gourmet snacks,” says Hadjidakis. “And it’s all under one roof so it’s easy to choose any quantity you like.”

The first store opened in Canal Walk, Cape Town, on 18 October. It is now open, 9am to 9pm daily, and there are plans to open 6 to 8 outlets in the next two years. The next store is scheduled to open at Cavendish Square in March 2019 but there may be some surprise pop-ups and openings before then.

If you love really great coffee, need a small, bespoke treat for a host or hostess or a large gift for a special client or loved one, the perfect solution will be waiting at The Good Batch.  Enjoy the age-old thrill of selecting your own items, or ask one of the experienced staff members to make up a box of delicacies – sweet, savoury or both!  Take some treats home, or pause for a coffee or enjoy them on the spot.

Each item is carefully chosen to complement the others, Hadjidakis explains. The experience is sensory and tactile with products served open and sold by weight. “Our nuts, coffee and chocolate are going to blow people away!” he enthuses. “This is a new sensory shopping experience for the South African customer – it’s unlike any they’ve had before.”

For more on The Good Batch – visit the website here.

How is PR measured?

Can you measure if your PR is working? Can you work out your ROI? Both common questions, especially when you are investing time and money in a communication plan. The answer is yes, it is. You can see if your campaign was successful, effective and where you can improve.

The process of measuring the effects of PR is simple. Compare the goals you set before beginning the campaign with the goals the campaign attained. If your PR goals are aligned with measurable business results, analysing the value of your campaign is easier. Here are a few ways that you can quantify results so that you can improve your communication strategy and determine your ROI:

If your campaign uses social media you can measure your engagement. Measurable factors include likes, views, shares, comments etc. This way you can see what content keeps your audience engaged and where they are not responding.

You can track leads and referrals who have shown an interest or have looked you up by using trackable links. You can use these to see what routes audiences are taking, if they are clicking on your link (click-through rate) and how many of them are completing an action after visiting (conversion rate).

You can also track press clippings that mention your company, products or services. The publications should be consumed by your current and prospective clients. This way you can determine media impressionsby calculating the circulation of the publication. 

From these clippings you can determine the AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent) of a particular editorial piece. The AVE indicates how much the space would have cost had the content been an advertisement. Please note this measure is taken with a huge pinch of salt, but it does act as an effective benchmark to see whether a campaign has been effective or not.

Measurable factors can be both quantitative and qualitative. By conducting a content analysis you can monitor the content and see if it matches your brand’s key message.

After a PR campaign you can measure your website traffic. This way you can determine the amount before and after your communications plan.

All these factors allow you to evaluate your ROI by taking the total returns of the campaign and dividing it by the total expenditure.

If you’d like to see some real-life examples of PR reports and results we’ve achieved please let us know here. 

What is PR?

‘Doves are just clean pigeons, butterflies are pretty moths and squirrels are just rats with really really good PR.’

But on a serious note… it is scary how many people, CEOs, Marketing Gurus, Clients etc. don’t truly know what PR is, how it works and how it can be measured. We’ve tried to demystify it for you here:

PR (public relations) is a strategic and focused communication process offered to businesses and individuals to help build a good reputation, beneficial relationships with peers and publics and attract positive attention towards a brand. The plan is implemented using various media and mediums.

Good PR includes the following functions:

  • Anticipating, analysing and interpreting existing opinions of you or your company.
  • Establishing who exactly your target market is.
  • Influencing target audiences’ attitude towards your brand using free or earned media.
  • Drafting a communication strategy to support your brand’s objectives and to solve those problems keeping you awake at night i.e. not enough customers, no brand awareness.
  • Writing and distributing content and media releases.
  • Following up and liaising with the media to ensure your media release is covered to the greatest extent possible.
  • Planning and executing outreach efforts and media events.
  • Developing a crisis communication plan.
  • Defending a reputation and maintaining credibility during a crisis.

PR can be divided into two stages, the positive storytelling and the negative damage-control. Good PR is not limited to giving client’s a voice for their brand and cultivating a story that portrays a positive brand image and product. It is also used as damage-control to alleviate negative attention. Both stages require PR professionals to help build a positive image through traditional and social media.

What is the importance of PR?

No matter how big or small, old or new your business is, your brand can benefit from having a PR strategy in place. It will ensure that your brand is viewed by your customers as credible, that your message reaches a targeted audience and gives you control over your own narrative.

Credibility:

Your audience will trust your brand and message if it is coming from third parties instead of self-promotion. PR will motivate favourable mention of your brand by word of mouth, testimonials, editorial content and private accounts. People trust more what other people advocate.

Exposure:

With so many similar businesses, there will always be competition for audience’s attention. PR offers a way to catch their attention and build awareness around your brand, product or service by finding the diamond in the rough, putting an effective spin on it and telling your unique story.

Remain Relevant:

Because of the internet, your story won’t disappear. PR can ensure that your brand or content stays visible and gains exposure over time.

SEO benefits:

PR shares positive, consistent content using appropriate search terms that will keep your brand relevant in the search engines.  This can also bring more customers and increase returns.

Crisis management:

PR can avoid and plan ahead for any possible bad publicity. It allows you to prepare for a disaster before it happens so that you can save time and position your business to save your reputation.

“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” – Bill Gates. He understood that PR is a long-term effort and solution to increase your ROI. If you want to be perceived as a squirrel you need to be a part of a long term PR strategy and work towards a desired goal. Otherwise you might end up a rat.

If you have any questions at all on how PR might help you or your business please let us know.