Why Nothing Matters More in PR than Creativity


Originally posted on D&AD.

Following the introduction of the new D&AD Professional Awards category for PR, Marian Salzman, CEO of Havas PR, offers some award-winning creative PR examples and tips. She explains why, in the ever-changing landscape of creative communications, PR matters. Continue Reading →

No Place to Hide: Three Ways Brands Can Face Fearful Consumers and Embrace Radical Transparency

O Palsson

Originally posted on Forbes.com.

In today’s world, citizens are plagued by the all-too-constant soundtrack of terrorism worries, mass shootings, and race and gender relations. This “age of the fearful consumer” has created a paradox, according to a new U.S. study (fielded by my parent company, Havas Worldwide): While people are looking to businesses to help solve society’s problems, they’re also fretting over the fact that corporations have more power than some countries.

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How Brands Can Translate Support for the Troops This Memorial Day

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.]

After a long, hard winter, we’re all especially looking forward to Memorial Day this weekend. Let’s face it: For many people today, Memorial Day is a holiday because it’s the official start of summer. It is its own reason to celebrate, and lots of Americans do, even without thinking about the holiday’s origins.
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Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 1, 2013

25 Percent of the Fortune 500 Now Use Instagram
(The Next Web, 25.09.13)

Instagram recently announced that it had hit 150 million active users and will be beginning to roll out ads in the near future. As it continues to march toward wider and wider mainstream adoption, Fortune 500 brands have taken notice and now a staggering 25 percent of have Instagram accounts, with 17 percent actively posting content in the last 30 days.

Why Agencies and Brands Need to Embrace True Storytelling
(Adweek, 23.09.13)

To build on the opportunities that today’s hyperconnected and social consumer as well as new distribution platforms offer, agencies and brands need to move away from thinking about branded content and embrace true storytelling.

Social Media Engagement: 9 Reasons Why Less Is More
(Social Media Today, 03.09.13)

In the time-crunched, information-overloaded, do-more-with-less world we work in, maintaining the right level of social media engagement is a daunting proposition. For individuals and organizations just getting started, it can be completely overwhelming—there’s so much to do! This post strives to reduce some of the barriers to social media engagement by illustrating the importance of the “less is more” principle. It may also offer an opportunity for those with higher levels of activity to reconsider and refine their own engagement.

Should Brands Better Communicate Their Sustainability Performance?
(The Guardian, 15.07.13)

Brands will boast about their performance but tend to be shy when it comes to championing their own green credentials. Is it time for them to speak up?

“The only worthwhile achievements of man are those which are socially useful.” —Dr. Alfred Adler

Corporate Branding Digest, Aug. 5, 2013

Bold Strategies Gain Audience Share in Hypercompetitive Marketplace
(PR News, 17.06.13)

As the economy slowly wends its way toward recovery, many companies are opting to focus on managing risks rather than challenging existing boundaries in their respective businesses.

For Social Success, Brands Must Ditch Corporate Jargon and Be More Human
(PRWeek, 08.07.13)

Brands need to grasp the importance of having a human presence on social media.

5 Ways Social Media Supports All Critical Areas of Any Company
(Search Engine Watch, 06.06.13)

Making social media work for your company is not a matter of “if.” It’s a question of “how.” Social media marketing affects and supports all critical areas of the organization—from sales and marketing to HR and client services.

Confused.com’s PR Chief Outlines the Business Benefits of Social Media Publicity
(The Drum, 24.07.13)

Confused.com’s head of content and PR, Sharon Flaherty, has spoken out on the impact social PR is having on the relationship between businesses and consumers.

“There is only one boss: The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” —Sam Walton

Havas PR North America: We’re A-Listers

PR News’ new Agency A-List Awards showcase the top PR agencies in the United States by practice area, and we have been named a finalist in three areas: Cause/CSR (earlier this year we were also honored, for the second year in a row, with one of 10 spots on PR News CSR A-List), Training/Education Program (for the four-module e-learning program we launched Havas-wide that draws on the impact of trends in the media and among brands and consumer demography, offering concrete tools and lessons) and Agency Awe Professional (that’s for our multi-award-winning CEO, Marian Salzman).

Personal Branding Around Communities and Political Beliefs

[Originally posted on Forbes.com.]

I recently got a humorous pitch from a real estate agent in New Hampshire, where, he wrote in his email, “there is a theme-branding wave that is part capricious, part serious business.” At first his proposal made me giggle, but then I saw how it reflects the ways in which personal branding is growing into community branding and vice versa.

People have long considered where they live to be a central part of their identities and personal brands. Being based in New York City sends a different message from being based in Connecticut, and both tell a vastly different story from having chucked it all to live on a ranch in Montana. States are part of our narratives.

The libertarian-leaning “Live Free or Die” state seems particularly suited to this phenomenon. Its population is small, its political persuasion clearly contrarian and its living conditions harsh. The realtor who pitched me, Mark Warden, had figured out how to take “Brand New Hampshire” to an extreme that, in turn, helped him build his own brand as a property broker and political candidate.

His Free State Project, he told me, has inspired more than 1,000 “liberty activists,” in his words, to move to New Hampshire. The project’s motto is “Liberty in Our Lifetime,” and its concept is to concentrate a large number of libertarian-leaning folks in a place where they can reduce the size and scope of government and improve individual freedom.

Here’s where it gets funny: The FSP mascot is the porcupine—“certainly cute and non-aggressive, but you don’t want to step on them!” says the group’s website—which points out how personal branding can require an occasional willingness to sacrifice some dignity in order to create a memorable identity. The project has spawned an array of branded events, including an annual festival that draws nearly 1,000 people from across the country, the Porcupine Freedom Festival (PorcFest for short). It’s held in a private campground, and Warden calls it “Burning Man meets FreedomFest.”

Warden built his real estate business model around this same branding and focuses his marketing on New Hampshire transplants who are drawn to the state for its ideology, telling “liberty-minded activists” that he speaks their language and understands their needs.

He’s not the first to have adopted the state’s politically oriented branding and the FSP’s particular strain of it for his own personal brand: Porc Manor is a website that caters to landlords and renters of libertarian persuasion, and Porc Therapy is a New Hampshire–produced live radio show and podcast that offers “pro-freedom relationship talk” and focuses on “happiness and freedom” and “explores an eclectic mix of topics, all of which fall under the umbrella of ways that we can all free our minds and attain more liberty in our lives.”

Using the mascot to such an extent might be borderline silly, but nonetheless it seems to be working for these porcupreneurs. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) And it’s yet another clear illustration about how branding is everything and everything is branding these days.

[photo: creativecommons.org/PorcFest]