The power of digital

The power a brand ambassador can bring to a new product can undoubtedly transform a toy into a one hit wonder or a long-standing hit with fans. Tony Norton form Norton PR reveals all.
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We have been ‘doing’ digital PR for years and in the toy industry this means using online influencers who could be brand ambassadors for a client’s product or service.

However, the challenge has become how PR agencies utilise this trusted, user-generated content and reach those consumers across a more diverse comms platform than ever before.

Today, there is a risk that PR agencies can only offer clients a finite digital PR programme; one which ticks the boxes for sending out product, getting reviews and coverage, but that’s where their role ends.

But for the consumer, this is just the beginning. It is now a question of how that review/post/blog can be amplified, re-edited, re-issued and aligned with a much bigger client brief, and translate into tangible sales.

User generated content is on the rise, predicted to surpass brand generated content by 2020. According to YouTube, video consumption grows by 100 per cent per year, with more child-directed viewing across an increasingly diverse range of comms channels.

Print media will continue to be relevant, however, the digital age has made these titles better, more relevant and more connected to their audience. Planning PR campaigns that have an element of user generated content can be utilised across a host of social and online channels, as well as provide trusted news stories that reflect real people and real brands.

User-generated content will surpass brand content by 2020.

Tony Norton, Norton and Company 

Having one million views for a YouTube unboxing via a high profile influencer sounds like a major PR win. In reality, that comes at a cost as, unless you can track a sales spike to that one moment in time where they raved about a product, it’s all fluff with no substance.

The challenge is to source those influencers on the up, not those who have already peaked. They charge the earth and there is no longevity around their review.

As more PR companies recognise the value in digital content and the social web it's not farfetched to suggest that purely PR or digital agencies will disappear or morph into something new as skill sets merge.

Digital tools, skills and knowledge have become standard practice in PR rather than the specialist skill it was. Working with digital PR practitioners guarantees campaigns reach and longevity.

PR agencies must continue to battle for the share of a client’s media spend in which there is often a chunk for digital and influencer partnerships without real understanding of how the two can be aligned.

As consumption of information becomes more focused on content and digital, PR and all its facets may be the best way to communicate your brand and product offering as they have a more in depth knowledge of your consumer and how to reach them. 

Tony Norton is the chairman of Norton and Company Marketing Communications. With 23 years PR experience, Norton has seen success with major children's brands including Thunderbirds, Bratz, JCB, LEGO and Crayola.


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