“I drink and I know things”: What businesses can learn from the Game of Thrones fandom
In case you’re not aware, a new season of a little TV show called Game of Thrones began earlier this month. People seem quite excited about it, which is something I witnessed first-hand when commuting home. At Liverpool Street, a rather gruff announcement came on warning about using the same card to touch in and out at the barriers. At the end of the announcement, instead of the usual bing-bong, the theme tune from the series played. Obviously, the people at TFL were excited about season seven too.
But this got me thinking, isn’t it impressive that a show like Game of Thrones can have that impact on people? Someone went out of their way to record a Westeros-styled warning for the rush hour commuters. With a station like Liverpool Street, this public service announcement had the opportunity to reach hundreds of people – thousands if the announcement was repeated.
It’s not the first-time brands have been able to influence consumers to provide free marketing, however there is usually some form of personal benefit to the customer. Whether it is receiving a personalised jar of marmite or a limited-edition t-shirt with a purchase, consumers often need some reward to promote a brand.
However, Game of Thrones is different. Customers get no direct benefit from promoting the show; they simply want to be associated with the brand. They promote the show because want to be involved in the ideas and themes that make up the programme. This creates a great promotional tool and continues to draw newcomers to the franchise.
The emotional connection that people have with Game of Thrones is a great lesson for businesses. If a company can extend its offering beyond a product alone – so that it represents the values and ethics that people support – consumers are more willing to buy into the brand. If a business can go even further and create a compelling personality, customers will engage with them on a deeper level. They will tweet, comment or talk about the business because of the emotional connection created between the company and consumer.
This doesn’t happen overnight though. Just like any good TV show, a business needs to engage with customers on a regular basis and not focus all their efforts on the first interaction. Only through consistent communication can a business ensure that its brand loyalty is top notch and that customers see the company as an extension of their life.
The popularity of shows like Game of Thrones provides a great example of how people like getting involved in a brand, regardless of their various backgrounds, experiences and cultures. If a business can replicate that appeal with its customer base, the outcome can be hugely beneficial. Engaging communication and a charismatic image are key, and these are only achieved through consistent engagement with the customer.
What do you think? Are you excited about series seven of Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments below or feel free to tweet us @RostrumAgency
Rostrum visits Valencia
For last year’s agency ‘Summer Slam’ the Rostrum team embarked on a trip to the Kent coast for sun, sea and sand. This year we went a little more exotic with a weekend in Valencia, the third largest city in Spain.
As well as fantastic nightlife, Valencia had some incredible sights for the culture vultures in the Rostrum team including performers, street art and beautiful buildings – not least of which the stunning cathedral. The Mediterranean food was delicious and across the weekend we tucked into steaks, enormous paellas and tasty tapas.
The Rostrum team is close-knit and it was great fun to travel and spend time together outside of London and our usual Clerkenwell haunts. It was a fantastic weekend and we’re extremely grateful to Mark and Nick for arranging it.
Thanks both, it was a blast!
Life as an apprentice at Rostrum
In this week’s blog, our apprentice Tania gives us an insight into what it’s like to undergo an apprenticeship and work for Rostrum simultaneously.
I’m currently two-thirds through my placement as a PR apprentice at Rostrum and I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. I wanted to be an apprentice to gain some hands-on experience in the real world, and the PR industry in particular. I’ve always loved writing and working in a team, so I was keen to put those skills into action in a dynamic workplace like Rostrum. I could see that an apprenticeship at Rostrum would give me the perfect opportunity to develop these skills, and time has proven me right – it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.
It’s great to wake up in the morning feeling positive about going to work. I honestly can’t wait to get into the office every day and see what new tasks and challenges are in store.
My first eight months at Rostrum have been so rewarding. It’s been challenging, but a great learning experience at the same time. I’ve worked on some of Rostrum’s most exciting social media clients, from EY’s UK social channels to drafting content for eDisclosure firm Consilio and designing social media friendly infographics for HR agency, JourneyHR.
At Rostrum, I’m doing work I really enjoy and learning all of the time too – which I hope will be a huge advantage for me in the future and help to set me apart from others.
Every day, I’m learning from people who have been in the industry for many years and who have developed deep expertise in PR and marketing. At the same time, I’m also focusing on the educational side of my apprenticeship by studying and working on coursework during my time off.
The Rostrum apprenticeship is teaching me valuable skills, and it’s also helped me to realise that PR is the career for me. I’m honoured to be the first apprentice Rostrum has ever had, and I’m determined to make the most of the time I have with the agency.
PRCA Best Internship Programme, wish us luck!
Rostrum is thrilled to have been shortlisted for this year’s PRCA’s Best Internship Programme!
At Rostrum, we take pride in being able to offer internships to so many talented individuals, and equally love having them as part of the team. Being nominated demonstrates that our interns enjoy their experience with us and is a huge compliment to everyone in the team. Many of our interns have gone on to permanent roles at Rostrum, so it’s a great way for us to identify the next wave of talent for the agency.
One of Rostrum’s Account Managers, Gaby Bryson, started with us as an intern in 2014 and has given us a glowing recommendation for our internship programme:
“Unlike my previous work experiences and internships, I found that Rostrum invested a lot of time and effort into the development of its interns and made me feel like it was partnership. Rostrum introduced me to the industry and ways of working and in turn I was able to support the busy and growing team. With a solid introduction to the foundation of PR and the industries Rostrum specialises in, I felt very confident progressing my career in communications and enjoyed being able to join such a supportive team.”
The annual PR Internship Awards have been launched to celebrate excellence in two categories: Best Internship Programme and Best Intern. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to culminate the end of the joint PR Week/PRCA PR Internships For All initiative in London on the 6th July. Good luck to all shortlisted in both categories. We’ll be keeping our fingers (and toes) crossed until the big reveal!
Return of the Bank of Mum and Dad
We launched the 2017 edition of our Bank of Mum and Dad campaign for FTSE100 financial services company Legal & General this week, and it made a serious impact on the news cycle – even with Brexit and the General Election going on.
The story this year was that The Bank of Mum and Dad has grown from being the equivalent of a £5bn mortgage lender last year to £6.5bn this year – putting it on a par with the Yorkshire Building Society, the ninth largest mortgage lender in the UK.
National media interest was immediate and widespread as the ‘BoMaD’ campaign trended on Twitter for the second year running and dominated broadcast, online and print media. Highlights from the launch include the front page of the FT, BBC News, Sky News, the Guardian, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, and Timeout.
Later in the week, the editorials and columnists started to delve into the issues raised by the campaign in more detail. Deborah Ross published a great piece in The Times and Robert Shrimsley’s tongue in cheek approach to BoMaD for the FT was particularly entertaining
Rostrum also produced a series of online assets for Legal & General including an interactive map where customers can look at the role of BoMaD in their region
The buzz within the agency and the positive reaction from the client made all the hard work on BoMaD worthwhile – everyone at Rostrum is delighted with another successful BoMaD campaign launch and we’re looking forward to releasing further findings from the report later in the year.
Agency Day 2017
It’s #agencyday at Rostrum today. Agency Day is a yearly tradition where we gather the team, talk about the year we’ve just completed and plan the year ahead. Each member of the Agency Management Group presents on a different topic – Nick Bolshaw on the year we’ve just completed, Michael Kahn covers HR and People matters, Sophie Placido analyses our performance levels against targets and I’m covering the targets and plans for the year to come.
It’s a great opportunity to engage the Rostrum team in the development of the agency. Agency Day is about everyone at Rostrum being involved in setting the strategy, getting everyone’s ideas and commitment to our plans and to talk about what we could be doing better, or differently.
And there’s champagne and cake involved. What’s not to like?
Happy #agencyday – and thanks to all the Rostrum team, our clients and friends.
Crisis comms in today’s business world
A lot of PR people will tell you that a successful crisis comms strategy is all in the planning, but in the real world, that isn’t always true. As a marketing team, what do you do when the business suddenly finds itself in the middle of a social media firestorm? Call the PR guys.
A huge part of our role when a crisis emerges is to question and support our clients. Our slightly ‘outsider’ status means that we can approach an issue without any preconceived notions and truly see the wood from the trees – just as the media and the public will.
For this reason, a marketing department can benefit from having a trustworthy PR consultant that it can depend on and that the rest of the business respects. After all, in addition to managing incoming media enquiries, a strong PR team can help the business to address any internal concerns and deal with queries from stakeholders.
Experienced PR professionals can also work with the press, rather than against them, to turn a negative news story in to something more positive – or at least more neutral – in sentiment. They also understand how important it is to protect these relationships for the longer term, and to manage any discussions with tact and diplomacy.
By their very nature, crises tend to occur without any warning. A crisis comms plan can often help the business to structure its response, but in the real world, it’s an honest and open line of communication that will result in success. Mock crises, elaborate pre-crisis strategies and guidebooks are worthwhile exercises and certainly have their place – but hard-won experience is still the most valuable resource in situations like these.
Navigating the Brexit media landscape
Brexit. Even now the reality hasn’t truly sunk in. Perhaps this is because most of the doom and gloom predictions from experts and politicians have yet to materialise. That said, it could also be because we haven’t left the European Union or triggered the negotiations needed for us to leave.
In any case, Brexit certainly shocked many in the media. In fact, the day before the referendum, one national journalist quipped that his paper had not written any stories that considered a leave win for publication the following day.
Perhaps it is this attitude that explains why papers are still relentlessly pursuing Brexit stories today. Brexit has reignited the curiosity in many journalists; they are desperately seeking answers. Whether national or trade, online or print, they want research, facts and figures – any evidence that shows an intention to leave or remain in the UK.
For businesses, this is of course a sensitive issue. The wrong story about Brexit can damage confidence, impact share price and ultimately harm long term sales prospects. Assuaging a journalist’s desire for a Brexit angle against what’s appropriate for the business is therefore challenging.
When the government finally triggers Article 50, the new reality will undoubtedly sink in. It will also, however, accelerate the media’s appetite for Brexit scoops – except this time they will expect news that shows how it tangibly impacts business. As such, managing journalist relations will not only become more difficult, they will also become more important.
Recruiting at Rostrum
A lot of companies claim that ‘people are their biggest asset’ – but at Rostrum this is undeniable. The quality of the people we employ is fundamental to the service we provide and the results we produce for our clients. Recruitment is therefore something that we take very seriously – which is why we’ve called in the experts to help. Starting this month, we’ll be working with the award-winning recruitment firm Reuben Sinclair to make sure that we’re finding, meeting and hiring the best and brightest PR professionals in the UK.
As part of this agreement, we’ll have a senior member of Reuben Sinclair’s PR team focusing our recruitment needs, creating and promoting our job adverts, conducting first-stage interviews, arranging psychometric and competency testing, and setting up and maintaining a comprehensive applicant tracking system. The firm’s flexible Managed Service model means that other recruitment agencies can continue to submit CVs as well.
This agreement was a logical next step for us, as Reuben Sinclair has been helping us with our recruitment for years. During that time, the firm has developed a deep understanding of our culture and is therefore well-placed to become our retained Managed Service provider for recruitment. Working with Reuben Sinclair in this way will not only help us to secure the best candidates, but will also enable our leadership team to concentrate on the growth of the agency and, more importantly, continuously improve the service that we provide for our clients. Candidates who share our commitment to quality, creativity and achieving results should contact Alex Lewington at firstname.lastname@example.org with an up-to-date CV and cover letter explaining why they’d like to work for Rostrum – and Alex will take it from there!
FT airtime for Primetime
‘Newsjacking’ – enabling clients to respond to breaking developments and industry news – is part of most Rostrum PR campaigns, and it can often generate strong media coverage. Newsjacking allows clients to be responsive, involved in the industry debate and (hopefully) insightful. It works across print and online media, and with several newspapers and publications now running ‘as it happens’ coverage of breaking business developments, there are more opportunities than ever to get your point of view across. Done right, it’s a technique that can transform a client’s profile in the marketplace.
The golden rules for newsjacking success are:
- Be quick. This really is a game of fastest finger first. You need to work with us to get a comment approved and out to the target media in your sector in minutes, not hours.
- Be bold. Journalists want interesting material. Bland, fence-sitting quotes don’t make for good copy
- Be brief. At the most, one or two lines of your newsjacking commentary will be used. Brevity and quotability is key
When Prudential announced its intention to exit the annuities market, we saw a perfect opportunity to position our client Kim Lerche-Thomson of Primetime Retirement, a retirement market guru and ex-Pru man himself, as an expert commentator on the implications. Kim argued that the insurer’s decision was simply a “sad day” for the UK annuity market given the Prudential’s history and market presence. A straightforward message, but one that resonated with the media, including the Financial Times and Professional Adviser.