Competing for attention in the Age of Distraction

Think for a moment about all the distractions that compete for attention in your work life.

Phone calls, texts, emails, meetings. Questions from employees. Questions from clients. Unanticipated interruptions. Add to this your personal life, which has the same ongoing level of activity.

WC#1-18, Jan 25, 2018The result? Very little time to stop and ask “Where are we, where are we going, how are we going to get there, and what are we going to say about ourselves that will help us achieve our goals?”

Now, put yourself in the mindset of your target audience and your clients. They suffer from the same busy professional and personal challenges you experience.

The point? Offices – and the people who manage and work in them – are enormously busy. In short, offices are centers of multi-tasking that offer little or no time to pause and contemplate the next steps.

Working in the Age of Distraction

Cal Newport, a computer scientist at Georgetown University, is the author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.

Newport points out that constant distractions that challenge our work life tend to dominate our work life. They take away from what Newport calls Deep Work, which is the ability to focus without distraction on a demanding task.

According to Newport, Shallow Work (the opposite of Deep Work) fragments and pre-empts one’s ability to come up with one of those benchmark “A-ha” solutions that can make your unique selling proposition stand apart.

Apply Deep Work to communications and you get a sense of how important it is to think differently and clearly, without distraction, and how it can transform how you go about your business and what you say about it.

You can get learn more about Deep Work in a fascinating report that recently was broadcast on National Public Radio.

Getting your message past the distractions

So, how does Wellons Communications help you succeed in the Age of Distraction?

We adhere to the notion of keeping it simple. We develop strategies, approaches, and messages aimed at battling through the communications clutter.

When possible, we use simple, declarative sentences. And we project the same message over and over again, using consistency to ensure that once we have captured attention, our message is reinforced until our audience has absorbed and agreed with it.

What does simplicity do for your marketing?

Our “keep it simple” approach delivers three key benefits to your overall marketing approach:

1. Simple messages are easy to understand.

2. Simple messages answer “What’s in it for me?”

3. Simple messages attract attention.

The most visual example of great message-making in its simplest form is a billboard. They are quick to read, present a single thought, and tell you what they think you need to learn.

Let us simplify your public relations and communications.

If you have read this far, you’ve been distracted enough. If our message has worked, we hope you will want to learn more about how Wellons Communications can assist you in marketing your product or service. You can reach me at 407-339-0879 or by email at will@wellonscommunications.com.

Believe me, I will be happy for the distraction.

UCF Knights: Marketing and Football Champions

While people across the country held their breath watching Alabama’s last-second defeat of Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, some in Orlando slept soundly.

UCF Marketing ChampionsWe can only assume the athletic department staff at the University of Central Florida was among them. Why? They weren’t concerned with who would be named the national champion—because they had already declared themselves the true champions.

The Knights were the only undefeated team in college football this year. They took down the Auburn Tigers (who had previously beaten Alabama and Georgia) in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Without a chance to compete in the playoff, they did everything they could do.

While it’s true many have laughed UCF’s claims off, that’s not the point. Whether UCF deserves the title isn’t the point, either.

The point is that this is one of the best marketing moves of 2018 so far, and someone at UCF knows what they’re doing. With controversy comes discussion. So far, the announcement has given the school free publicity in top national publications, such as The Washington Post, Yahoo Sports, USA Today, and ESPN.

Now, the best season UCF has ever had—and might ever have—will result in obtaining top recruits, national recognition and better fan support.

What UCF does with that depends on what the Knights do next season—but they are certainly setting themselves up to have a better chance by making the most of their momentum now.

Building on momentum is something we do a lot here at Wellons, so if you have marketing questions of your own, let us help you take a page from UCF’s playbook. Don’t hesitate to reach out at 407-339-0879 or at will@wellonscommunications.com.

Five predictions for marketing in 2018

Now is the time when prognosticators pull out the crystal ball and give their best shot at predicting the future—and we at Wellons Communications are no different.Blog

We enjoy looking ahead, but what’s more, we feel it is our duty to visualize what changes in public relations are coming so our clients can prepare for how these changes may impact their businesses.

Of course, no forecast of the future is ever perfect. Nevertheless, here’s what we see for public relations in 2018:

Content marketing will begin to “shape shift”

Consumers are reeling from the amount of information they are receiving. Because of that, in 2018, marketers will start to make adjustments to both the amount of content they throw at their customers and how they deliver content. Be prepared to see more short videos and billboard-like messages that focus on brand names and benefits.

Simplicity will make a comeback

The avalanche of content aimed at consumers, combined with the onset of new products and services technology is spawning, will be confusing to many consumers, particularly older Americans (i.e. the Baby Boomers and Generation X).

Products and services that clearly and simply explain what they do and how they benefit consumers will succeed.  Marketers whose “pitch” is rooted in techno-babble will become lost a fog of uncertainty, creating an opportunity for those who understand the confusion of customers overloaded by a mountain of information that multiplies daily.

The accuracy of content on social media will attract some skepticism

Social media will continue to be a powerful influencer of how people respond to society and how they view what is happening. With the rise of inaccurate information (“fake news”) on social media, however, consumers might think twice about the accuracy of content that floats across their screens.

Generation Z will begin to overtake Millennials as a prime marketing target

Generation Z, those young adults who were 9 years old when Facebook was introduced, are now 22. They will be entering the workforce in significant numbers. Marketers, of course, will flock to Generation Z to influence their brand preferences and buying habits.

This creates another opportunity. Marketers whose products and services remain appropriate for Baby Boomers and Generation X, who may be overlooked in the rush to capture Generation Z, can retain and grow their relationships with these established, less technically savvy cohorts.

Continued economic growth will hit some bumps in the road

The extraordinary rise in the Dow Jones averages during 2017 cannot last forever. But, like past market rises, no one wants to think about a “correction” or even a decline in the market. Some of the steam will eventually run out of the extraordinary market run-up we have all enjoyed, but this leveling out may create an over-reaction in the opposite direction. That means companies need to make hay while the sun shines—and that your reputation is more important than ever.

So why are these predictions important to you?

We visualize what we think is going to happen for two reasons:

  1. To capitalize on opportunities for our customers.
  2. To protect the financial welfare of our clients.

That’s why we try to accurately peer into and predict the future of the industry—so we can put it to work for you.

Let me know what kinds of predictions you have for 2018. Better yet, contact us at 407-339-0879, will@wellonscommunications.com and see how we can help you capitalize on what you believe will be happening.

Happy New Year!

Communication is all about consistency

Website blog cartoon vertical

It’s fun to have a new toy for your business, and it can definitely feel like a win to finish a big project, like a website redesign. Knowing how you’re going to use a new tool – and how it’s going to work with your overall communications program – is half the battle. After all, what good is a new website if customers can’t find you or if your content is stagnant and stale? Communication is all about consistency, and that’s where we come in.

Social media delivers results

Social Media campaign blogMore than 80 percent of Americans have a social media presence. If you’re not using social media as part of your marketing strategy, you’re missing out.

Social media marketing can be extremely effective, and it doesn’t have to be confusing or expensive.

There are two main ways for you to use social media marketing effectively. First, there’s the organic reach.

Organic social media marketing is content you don’t pay for. If you’re in business, chances are you already do this or have at least thought about it. These posts are generally content-driven and help keep your customers up to date with company news. They can also further your company’s brand.

But because these posts are organic, they can easily get lost in the flood of things available on the internet to the point where your followers might not even see them.

Because of that, if you choose to go the organic route, it’s essential to develop a long-term plan for your posting. It’s also important to keep your audience in mind and create shareable content so you can reach new people.

Paid social media posts, however, can help you meet your goals faster. Through paid ads and boosted posts, you can target specific audiences and have a flexible budget. Money can go a long way on social media, because, according to Moz, the average cost is about $0.25 per 1,000 impressions.

To create a strong social media campaign, it’s important to take a few things into consideration.

  • Target the right audience. Paying for posts that are going to the wrong audience can deplete your budget quickly and deliver few results. Write your posts for the specific audience you want to reach and put some thought into who your ideal target is to create an effective audience.
  • Budget your campaigns. Learn from experience which posts generate more engagement and reach. See which posts have a higher relevancy in Facebook and which ones convert into paying customers. Tracking conversions over social media can be difficult, but, over time, trends may emerge.
  • Choose the right platform. Although 18- to 29-year-olds dominate social media sites, there’s a more even spread of generations on Facebook, according to Pew Research Center. Use the platform to your advantage. For example, if you have a visual product or experience you want to promote, Instagram may be the way to go.

At Wellons Communications, we have experience creating both organic and paid social media campaigns. From the beginning, we’ll customize a plan which can help your company gain new customers and grow the relationship with your current customers. Give us a call today at 407-339-0879 to see how we can help your business grow to its fullest potential.

Let’s be clear: Why clarity is essential in your communications

With a multitude of changes unfolding as 2017 moves forward, we are increasingly seeing what kind of turmoil can transpire if communications are not perfectly clear.Clarity Image

Ask yourself “How clear are the messages I am conveying to my clients, my associates, and my potential clients?”

Are your communications immediately understandable — or is your core message lost in a sea of techno-babble that few can understand?

Are your messages consistent? Are you saying the same thing, in the same way, every time you communicate your message?

Do your communications talk to your audiences…or at them?

Communications go well beyond what you may think

In business, communications start with the usual letters, memos and emails. But it also includes informative brochures, marketing and advertising materials, publicity and public relations information, websites, logos, and anything that represents or defines your product or service.

And that’s just a part of the communications process.

Business communication also includes tone and language and nonverbal behaviors. Timing, and the context that surrounds your message, can influence whether or not your audience will even see your message, let alone understand it. How you convey your message affects clarity.

Combine the complexities of communicating simply with the number of ways messages can launched — from Twitter to texting – and the importance of communicating clearly becomes even more magnified.

The seven C’s: an old idea that remains surprisingly up-to-date

At Wellons Communications, we adhere to the seven C’s, a notion originated by respected University of Wisconsin public relations academics Scott Cutlip and Allen Center in 1952. The seven C’s include:

  • Correct: From spelling and grammar to information, is it totally accurate?
  • Clear: Do you present one thought at a time?
  • Concrete: Do you say precisely what you mean?
  • Concise: Do you get to the point quickly?
  • Complete: Do you provide a means so your audience can reach you?
  • Consideration: Can everyone understand your messages?
  • Courteous: What is the tonality of your message?

Reminder: Communications are the bedrock of marketing

At Wellons Communications, we offer only one service: effective communications aimed at helping you sell products and services.

Yes, we dutifully subscribe to all the other esoteric qualities of public relations like brand reputation management, social and corporate responsibility, and organizational leadership.

But overarching those hard-to-measure intangibles is the need to generate sales. That’s where we aim 99 percent of our efforts.

We are either trying to increase sales or remove any barriers from making sales.

And that’s about as clear a message as we can impart.

If you want to learn more about how we can help you communicate – with an eye on positively impacting your marketing program, call me at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com.

 

 

Taylor Swift: Always In The Spotlight

Taylor Swift Bad BloodTaylor Swift is everywhere. She’s won countless music awards, her songs play on almost all radio stations and her photos can be found online and in magazines. Clearly, she’s hard to miss.

Now it seems that Swift keeps getting into disagreements with other fellow musicians, such as Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, although her feud with the former is ongoing.

So what’s the big deal? Why do people keeping “picking” on Swift? Are these musicians really jealous of her and her achievements? Or is there something underneath all the flustering?

Could it all be due to a typical Hollywood hoax, to stir up public attention for these artists?katy perry vs taylor swift

No information has been found to support such a theory, but the constant “hate” Swift gets seems somewhat intentional and timed.

For example, recently Nicki Minaj posted a tweet in which it was very apparent she was talking about Taylor Swift. Katy Perry decided to quickly jump in with a tweet to not so subtly offend Swift. Swift then responded by sending a tweet of her own basically denouncing Minaj for what she said. Minaj again tweeted a response to Swift saying that she wasn’t actually talking about Taylor and that she was still in her good graces, and Swift did the same. All in the same day.

These ladies all have PRtaylor vs minaj teams who monitor everything they wear, say or do, so wouldn’t these professionals stop them whenever these stars post controversial tweets or photos?

Or is it all part of the plan?

Every time a celebrity gets into a feud with another celebrity, it always becomes news. These “feuds” garner public attention, as well as admirers. Everyone loves a good show, and these situations provide just that: a good show!

If this were true, their PR teams show that they know what “sells”. They know how to get the public’s attention and keep it. This is an important skill for any PR professional. These artists’ PR teams know who they are targeting and will give them exactly what they want. Likewise, in other types of PR, it is also crucial that professionals know their target audiences and give them what they like, in the manner that want it, i.e. social media to reach millennials and younger generations.

Donald Trump: Promoting his Brand

donald trump photo

We’re all aware of the media circus surrounding Donald Trump these past few weeks. It seems that every day Trump makes yet another statement offending a specific group or person, such as those towards illegal immigrants and John McCain. Just yesterday he read aloud Republican presidential opponent, Senator Lindsey Graham’s private cell phone number. Traditional PR would condemn such practices, especially when a prospective candidate is trying to make a name for himself in the political arena; however, according to several political polls such as the Washington Post-ABC News polls, he is currently the GOP frontrunner.

People Love A Good Show

As a part of a good PR strategy, one must be able to attain and keep the public’s attention. No doubt Trump is doing that. His controversial statements seem to occur more and more frequently as time moves forward, ensuring that he is in the news constantly. All this attention is contributing to his early support.

Donald Trump is a business man. He knows how to market his products and services well. He knows how to promote his brand.  He has been able to keep himself in the public spotlight for many years, which is no small feat.

And while the Trump route is not the recommended path, it seems to be working for him for the moment.

The real question is will Trump’s recognition as a prospective political candidate for 2016 continue to increase? Or has he peaked in popularity?

PR Lessons: Ariana Grande says “I hate Americans”

Looks like Ariana Grande has one more problem. The singer was recently recorded as saying, “I hate Americans, I hate America.”

The security footage went viral, with Grande’s words making headlines.

In the video, you can see the former Nickelodeon star and her friends covertly licking a doughnut on a display counter. Grande was recorded licking the doughnuts not once, but twice. After inquiring about a tray of over-sized doughnuts, Grande was recorded saying “What the #^&% is that? I hate Americans, I hate America.”

Watch for yourself here:

As the video got more popular, Ariana Grande sent a statement to several outlets including BuzzFeed News, saying:

I am EXTREMELY proud to be an American and I’ve always made it clear that I love my county*. What I said in a private moment with my friend, who was buying the donuts, was taken out of context and I am sorry for not using more discretion with my choice of words. As an advocate for healthy eating, food is very important to me and I sometimes get upset by how freely we as Americans eat and consume things without giving any thought to the consequences that it has on our health and society as a whole. The fact that the United States has the highest child obesity rate in the world frustrates me. We need to do more to educate ourselves and our children about the dangers of overeating and the poison that we put into our bodies. We need to demand more from our food industry. However I should of* known better in how I expressed myself; and with my new responsibility to others as a public figure I will strive to be better. As for why I cannot be at the MLB show, I have had emergency oral surgery and due to recovery I cannot attend the show. I hope to make it up to all those fans soon. That being said let me once again apologize if I have offended anyone with my poor choice of words.

*Grande’s representative later corrected this to “country”.

*Grande’s representative later corrected this to “should have”.

What can we learn?

When fighting a public relations battle, apologizing is often a good course of action, but how you apologize will determine whether your apology falls flat. If your apology is not well-received, it can potentially do more harm than good.

Apologies should be sincere – In her statement, Grande never says that she is sorry for what she said, but only for how she said it. Whether her initial words were taken as anti-patriotic or as fat-shaming, no one got the apology they were looking for.

Quality of writing/medium is important – Grande’s statement had a few grammatical errors. This can be construed as a hurried, careless apology. Being thorough in a written, apologetic statement sets the tone for how your apology will be received.

Stay on topic – There was some speculation that Ariana Grande pulled out of performing at the MLB all-star game because of this incident. She says it is because of an oral surgery recovery. If the two are truly unrelated, there is no need to address the MLB performance in this apology.

New Facebook Videos Will Generate Ad Revenue

Four million users a day watch videos on Facebook. The social media site now wants to cash in and more aggressively compete with Google Inc.’s YouTube.

 

Mark Zuckerberg talks about Facebook Video and it's plan to share revenues with it's users.Facebook announced a revenue sharing model this week similar to YouTube’s where they will share ad revenue with video creators in a move, according to the Wall Street Journal, designed to attract more polished content and more ads. If successful, Facebook is a more daunting threat to the Google owned online video site.

 

While many people are mesmerized by family moments and funny animal stories, the Titans of digital media clearly see your videos as a strong revenue stream. Interesting fact to note: smart phones are the source of 65% of all video views on Facebook.

 

For more details on the changing landscape of what you’re seeing online go to Fortune.