May 7, 2012

Why social media shoots for the stars

copyright JörgHeinrich It’s no secret that social media has taken the world by storm. But some parts of the world seem a lot more reluctant than others to embrace this “storm”. Germany is the perfect example. Look for instance at the world of celebrities. In Germany, celebrities and non-celebrities alike, shy away from even having an online presence. Now I firmly believe in the adage, “each man to his own”. But if the rest of the world is doing it, we’ve got to ask ourselves, aren’t we missing something??

So I decided to ask an expert to shed some light on the subject… Richard Le Cocq is the director of Laughing Buddha, the social media management & digital consultancy based in London.

Richard Le Cocq, Laughing Buddha Marketing Ltd. When a celebrity approaches you to manage their online profile, what are their main requirements?

Richard: All celebrities are individuals, so they come to us with different needs and experiences of social media. Some are savvy and need tips and simple ways to improve their presence, others have no idea where to begin and need setting up and advice so they can feel confident using it. It can be a scary thing for many, what with all the networks you can sign up to and the incredibly public mistakes other public figures have made in the past. So we always try and recognize an individual’s needs first and work closely with our client so they can develop an online voice that suits them. For example, some love chatting about themselves so Twitter makes perfect sense, yet others may be more visual so a photographic platform like Instagram or Flickr might be more appropriate.

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March 21, 2012

Breathing life into our brands

One of the hot topics in the media industry at the moment is brand activation. In fact, it’s been a hot topic for quite a while, but it seems as though more and more agencies are realizing its potential. And interesting enough, new agencies are being birthed based on brand activation alone. But what exactly is it, and are we, as PR agencies in Germany, exploring this medium enough?

The reason I’m asking the question of Germany specifically, is because I think the market might be slightly more conservative in Germany than in other countries. And there might be many reasons for this. But take South Africa, for example. It’s still very much in a developmental phase, and perhaps, as a result, in a position to take more risks? What is also fascinating (and often very frustrating too) about working in the media industry in South Africa, is that we hardly ever have big budgets to play with. On the one hand, this can be incredibly limiting. But on the other hand, I’ve found that it also forces one to be insanely creative, and to think outside the box at all times. In my opinion, this is the main reason why brand activation has taken flight to such an extent in South Africa. It’s an incredibly creative activity that one can often pull-off without spending a fortune.

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November 16, 2011

A big fuss about small talk

I think small talk has been around as long as humans have. The only difference between centuries ago and now is that we’ve given it a name. But I can well imagine the kings of old having to entertain royalty from other countries, nervously trying to fill those uncomfortable silences with comments like, “So, what do you think about the weather?”… But today, I think it’s taken on an entirely different level of importance. I recently read that the success of a pitch depends largely on the first 5 to 10 minutes of the meeting. Guess what happens during these precious few minutes? Small talk! The article went on to say, that the moment the potential new client feels relaxed and comfortable in a conversation that flows seamlessly from the beginning, the more likely they are to sign on the dotted line at the end. However, this was an English article written by an American. And since I’ve been living and working in Germany, I’ve realized that over here, the dynamic of small talk is often somewhat different. So here are a couple of examples I’ve come across. I hope they shed some light on a few unexplained awkward moments.

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August 26, 2011

To Siez or to Sitz

I’m a South African living and working in Munich, and I’ve recently joined the Fortis PR team on a freelance basis. This is my first stint in a German PR company, and I’m finding it fascinating! There are so many differences between the ways English speaking countries do PR and communication, opposed to the way it’s done in Germany. Yet at the same time, there are so many surprising similarities. So for those of you who have to deal with this phenomenon, my chatter is especially for you. That means that you’re welcome to join in! Whether you agree, disagree, or have some stories of your own.

And because I find the PR industry in itself quite riviting, I’m also going to be chatting about new PR trends, developments and whatever I come across on my escapades that might interest you.

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