As we enter into 2020, communication practitioners and experts have been looking into how the PR industry will change in this new year. Are we continuing old traditions of managing reputation or are there new emerging tactics and expectations that will be changing the PR game?
First, let us be clear. Press release is nothing new, and the practice can be dated back to 1906 where a railroad company sent the very first press release. But now with the new priorities and expectations as the roles and goals of marketing and public relations have merged, sending business press releases is becoming more important than ever.
Though news releases, in their very nature, had been used by businesses to announce their latest updates. Until recent years, the use of press releases has changed to become a form of content creation that is valued for managing online reputations and promotion.
Press releases now play a strategic role within a larger marketing campaign. The measure of PR success is no longer just limited to the end results of clicks, shares, or the amount of media coverage generated.
A successful press release can do everything from ranking for important money keywords, earn journalist coverage, as well as lead people to feel a certain way about a brand. It can even become the nudge that gets your users to take action and buy your product or service.
This works because it can create trust. And that is why it is so powerful.
At the same time, how we write press releases has transformed as well.
It should no longer be just about your company announcements or updates. Because rather than just being the historic records of business milestones, collectively they should drive the business core message that creates a loyal customer.
Now public relations and press releases have to consider all aspects of a business’s social and digital footprint. Because though your marketing sales letter and promises listed on your social media and homepage are important, users will always Google search your business.
Jason Falls, the Director of Digital and Social Strategy at Connett told Adage, “We can’t just send press releases and assume the traditional media will cover everyone we want to reach anymore. We have to understand consumers and the direction of their attention. Sometimes, that direction is more like a ping-pong ball path than a straight line.”
If you’re not being found online or your online presence is not a splendid one, as a business owner, you lose out on potential sales and customers. Especially if a competitor is showing up for results about your business name, you are bound to lose out.
Your PR plan should outline how you are going to reach your audience and your competitor’s users to create the right message that will influence the way they think about your service or product. Then it takes consistently creating different PRs to make sure that there will be a continuous positive impact over a period of time.
So it’s important to always outline the messaging that will run through all your PRs. for example using a consistent boilerplate and branding like Next Unicorn instead of NextUnicorn.
These messages are the information that you want your audience to remember about your product or service. They should include your unique selling points or specific CTAs. Always remember a news release that doesn’t include strategic messaging is a missed opportunity and won’t yield any influence for the brand.
Audiences are increasingly becoming more wary of brand voice, rather than just believing what you say in your sales letter. In fact, research shows that brands who are actively involved in speaking out about issues are more likely to increase customer loyalty and win respect.
“Americans have an outsized appetite to take actions on issues and drive change,” states the Doing Business in an Activist World study from Global Strategy Group. “They expect brands to do the same – and to engage with them as consumers and employees.”
That’s why companies that take stances on social and political issues are more likely gaining positive publicity and goodwill.
For businesses, it has always been critical that corporate and brand decisions support your values and positions. So why not reflect this in your company communications and messaging like press releases. It doesn’t have to be controversial, just take the recent coronavirus widespread for example.
This also brings us to another important consideration and that is media placement and coverage. Because while news releases are often perceived to be trustworthy, it still really depends where the story is covered. There’s a difference between being seen on Yahoo! News and USA Today versus sites like 1888 PressRelease.com.
Reading this might make press release seems expensive but the truth is, now anyone can get decent press release coverage to notable media outlets with a budget under a hundred dollars.
Though in the past, press releases have been largely dominated by large enterprises.
The thing about PR is that it can be used by any business, big or small. No matter if it is the national favorite drink like Budweiser or the new and upcoming One Wine brand, you see all kinds of businesses using press releases in their strategy to promote their business.
This is the case at MarketersMEDIA, a press release distribution service that caters to both big brands like Evernote and Haier, as well as small and medium businesses like Surviveware which offers safety kits on Amazon.
Daniel Tan, the founder of MarketersMEDIA and SEOPressor said, “It’s not enough to have a great product or service and keep it under the bush. You need to walk the talk and talk the walk, and it’s the same for any business big or small.”
Being available to all businesses, press release seems to be the way to go in 2020 and beyond.
If there’s any way to define when public relations is successful, it is when your marketing team says your product is amazing, the media says you are amazing and results online also says you are amazing…
Your customers will agree and become an army of loyal customers that stand by your business.
In a move to bring sustainability and disrupt the current congested transportation system, the ride-hailing super app unicorn Grab on Monday launched its latest electric vehicle (EV) service, the aptly named GrabCar Elektrik, for people arriving at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which is Jakarta’s primary airport.
For its brand new EV-based service, Grab will be using its partner Hyundai’s Ioniq electric cars, which are compact five-door sedans that have been the EPA’s most efficient vehicles for the years 2017 to 2019. The introduction of an EV car service in Indonesia is part of Grab’s drive to help fulfill the national government’s agenda of an electric vehicle ecosystem as a means of improving the country’s transportation system.
The groundwork for the launch of the electric car service dates back to 2017, when Hyundai and Kia, another South Korean automobile manufacturer, invested a hefty US$250 million in Grab. This is followed up by Hyundai’s announcement that it would invest US$1.55 billion to build an EV plant in the country in 2019.
More recently, late last year Grab collaborated with the Indonesian government’s Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment to introduce its Electric Vehicle Ecosystem Roadmap for the country. As part of its efforts to develop a comprehensive electric car ecosystem, Grab has also formed a strategic partnership with Perusahaan Listrik Negara, the Indonesian government-owned electricity company that is responsible for most of the country’s electrical power, in order to build and develop a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.
Currently, the Grabcar Elektrik service only has a fleet of 20 Hyundai Ioniq EV cars to work with, though there are plans to further expand the number of cars in the future. According to Ridzki Kramadibrata, president director of Grab Indonesia, the unicorn company plans to increase the number of cars for its EV-based service to five hundred by the end of 2020. Though it is now only serving arriving passengers at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, expectations are that Grab will eventually expand its Grabcar Elektrik service to serve more locales in the near future, depending on how well its first EV car service does during its initial stage. Other factors to consider would be the availability of tax incentives for electric vehicles, the accessibility of charging stations, and most importantly, government regulations.
Budi Karya Sumadi, who is Indonesia’s Transportation Minister, said that the introduction of the Grabcar Elektrik service by Grab, which is accomplished in partnership with Hyundai, has brought the country closer towards fulfilling its goal of having at least two million EVs plying its roads and highways by the end of 2025, thus helping to lower pollution and reducing impact on the environment. The minister is appreciative of the effort and commitment shown by private companies, in this case, the unicorn Grab and automobile manufacturer Hyundai, and he hopes that the launch of the Grabcar Elektrik service would act as the catalyst for a sea change in the country’s transportation system by accelerating the development of its electric vehicle ecosystem.
Moving forward, the unicorn Grab would like to be one of the major players in Indonesia to introduce and implement sustainable and efficient transportation solutions and services that have a minimal impact on the environment. Towards that end, the ride-hailing super app company will seek to further strengthen its partnership with Hyundai, as well as to work closely with the Indonesian government in order to fully realize its electric vehicle ecosystem vision.
For the vast majority of the rural population and those living outside the dense urban cities and towns of Southeast Asia, being able to access proper healthcare is a real challenge considering that most countries in the region lack well-developed healthcare infrastructure and facilities in remote locations. Even then, accessibility to proper healthcare for urban dwellers in the major cities of Southeast Asia can be challenging too as traffic congestion and the limited number of high-quality healthcare facilities prevent them from getting the proper care and medical services that they need. Another issue that needs to be addressed in regards to healthcare accessibility is the lack of proper information and knowledge regarding health among the general populace. Enter: Indonesian healthtech startup Halodoc, which was established in 2016 with the aim of connecting patients, licensed medical practitioners and lab services, and pharmacies together on a single platform to facilitate healthcare access for Indonesians.
Halodoc operates a digital app that integrates two important and distinct businesses within the healthcare sector – the supply chain and logistics of delivering medicinal drugs and products from pharmacies to patients across a network of 50 cities, and the teleconsultation services provided by medical professionals – into a seamless whole that streamlines healthcare accessibility for both rural and urban inhabitants. Currently, Halodoc is serving nearly seven million users a month on its platform, with those living outside the big cities of Surabaya and Jakarta constituting the majority of its users. The platform also boasts a wide variety of licensed medical and healthcare professionals on its platform with more than 22,000 general practitioners and medical specialists offering their services to its users, as well as partnerships with more than 1,200 pharmacies nationwide to improve medical and healthcare access for the vast majority of Indonesians. All healthcare professionals who participate in Halodoc’s platform must be fully licensed with at least 3 years of medical experience, and Halodoc noted that a majority of them are currently working and active in the healthcare industry.
The platform enables its users to personalize their healthcare by giving them access to a wide pool of licensed medical professionals from which they can choose to teleconsult with based on their preferences in medical professionals’ ratings, bio gleaned from the ‘About Me’ section and price points. The healthtech startup has also strategically partnered with Gojek so that medicinal drugs and supplies ordered by their users on their platform from Halodoc’s partnered pharmacies can be swiftly delivered to them by the Indonesian unicorn’s drivers, typically reaching them within a time span of 40 minutes. Additionally, in order to make healthcare more accessible for Indonesians, Halodoc has formed strategic partnerships with more than 1,300 healthcare providers and hospitals across the nation in order to facilitate and refine patients’ experience of hospital visits, such as by reducing waiting time periods and allowing them to use their insurance benefits to claim their medical bills.
To date, Halodoc has managed to secure a total of nearly US$100 million in funds through its 3 funding rounds thus far. Its latest funding round, a Series B in March 2019, was led by UOB Venture Management and raised US$65 million. Singtel Innov8, BliBli, Investidea, Korea Investment Partners and Go-Ventures are among some of the notable names that have invested in the healthtech startup.
Halodoc, Indonesia’s healthtech startup that is revolutionizing the country’s healthcare industry, intends to stay its course and continue collaborating with its partners and investors in making healthcare more accessible to Indonesians and spreading healthcare awareness. It aims to emulate the best practices of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s approach in delivering healthcare solutions to people worldwide, and spread more reasonably priced and excellent health services to Indonesians across the country.
BiQ, creators behind the world’s first SEO suite that provides granular cost control to users, recently held a closed beta access program for its comprehensive next-gen SEO toolkit, which was a successful event that saw the participation of industry-leading digital marketers and social media influencers. Billed as the industry’s first SEO suite that gives users the power to manage their cost control by paying for only the features that they use, and not paying for the features that they don’t use, BiQ’s closed beta access program came about in part as a response to surging market demand that was attracted by the company’s unique proposition of price democratization. Their unique proposition allows users to cherry pick and pay for only the features that they want from among its expansive repertoire of SEO solutions. The SEO platform is designed specifically for digital marketers, freelancers, content writers and SEO agencies.
Besides raising the company’s profile, the purpose of the closed beta event was to solidify BiQ’s unique position in the market as the industry-first SEO suite to provide marketers the tools and means to empower themselves through a granular cost control approach that hands control of SEO costs back to them. Indeed, it is this very approach that is their unique selling point that sets them miles apart from the other conventional SEO tools in the market, which usually sell their solutions and products in packages of various sizes that force buyers to purchase the entire marketing suite for just one feature that they want to use.
The launch of the closed beta program was aimed at addressing several issues. For one, BiQ wants to give cost control back to users and remove cost concern as they believe that the high costs that customers need to deal with should not be taken lightly. BiQ also wants their users to scale as they grow by paying only for what they use without overburdening themselves unnecessarily. Finally, the company wants their users to leverage on their SEO Suite’s core intelligence capabilities to excel in SEO without breaking the bank.
The closed beta program was an overall success, with more than 14,500 active participants for the first batch that took place quite recently. One of the beta testers praised the direction the company was headed to and the excellent job they did at launching and handling the closed beta program, while pointing out that there were just a few bugs to iron out, which is a normal process for a closed beta. Digital marketer and blogger Haidersejjad414 said that the BiQ SEO suite worked perfectly, having helped tremendously in SEO keyword research for written content and articles that the marketer was working on. As well, WPElementalist.com was impressed with the speedy and immediate results that BiQ’s Keyword Intelligence module were able to provide, and noted that it is quite capable of analysing vast amounts of data with its rule-based machine learning algorithm that makes it easier for users to discover and understand popular keywords in their niche.
BiQ’s closed beta access program is by invitation only. Currently, many more marketers and content creators are anticipating the launch for the next batch.
Grab, the regional ride-hailing super app unicorn that is based in Singapore, recently announced that Nguyen Thai Hai Van, who is the co-chair of the Vietnam Mobile Marketing Association, has been appointed as the managing director of Vietnam. The appointment will come into full effect on the first of February, 2020. As the ride-hailing super app’s first female managing director in Vietnam, Hai Van will be responsible for supervising the unicorn’s overall growth and expansion in the country, including having oversight over its fintech, ride-hailing, logistics, and food delivery services, as well as leading the company’s ‘Grab for Good’ roadmap for the Southeast Asian country.
Nguyen Thai Hai Van comes to the position armed with the experience that spans well over a decade.
Prior to working at Grab, she was the marketing vice president at Unilever Vietnam. As the transnational consumer goods company’s marketing vice president at its Unilever Vietnam, Hai Van is responsible for running the company’s marketing operations for its myriad range of brands and product offerings, which has garnered her valuable experience in the fields of customer and commercial engagement that is sure to come in handy at her new appointment as managing director of the unicorn startup in Vietnam.
Her appointment also comes at a time when Grab is seriously considering deepening its commitment and presence in the country, as it recently announced that it is set on investing several hundred million dollars into the country.
Among the ride-hailing unicorn’s top markets, Vietnam is considered to be in the top five, and is viewed as a high priority growth market by the company. According to a data and analytics company, the most downloaded ride-sharing app for the first half of 2019 in Vietnam was Grab, which demonstrates the dominating presence that the ride-hailing super app has in the country. Grab has also expanded its range of services into fintech in Vietnam by launching a digital wallet in the nation through a strategic partnership with local leading digital payments provider Moca in 2018. As Grab’s managing director in Vietnam, Hai Van will explore and leverage new opportunities that are sure to emerge in the country’s mobility, logistics, and fin-tech space.
Hai Van takes over from Jerry Lim, who as the country head of Vietnam was responsible for the successful development of GrabFood in the country. Despite being a relatively newcomer to the Vietnamese food delivery scene, it has managed to rise up against the odds and become the most popular food delivery service in the capital city of Hanoi, as well as in the country’s most populous city, Ho Chi Minh City. With an average delivery time of around 20 minutes, it is also Vietnam’s fastest food delivery service provider. Grab’s achievements in the Vietnamese food delivery market is no small feat considering that it is highly competitive, with the likes of Lixi, Go-Food, Now by Foodie, and Vietnam all competing for a share of the lucrative market. It is understood that Jerry will assume the role of regional head of customer experience, which is a Singapore-based position.
Looking forward, the appointment of Hai Van as unicorn Grab’s first female managing director in Vietnam is a great step towards diversity and having women assuming roles of leadership and being drivers of impact and change. As Grab seeks to further cement its dominating position in Vietnam, capable female leaders such as Hai Van will be there to lead the way.