Hughes PR

The digital festival experience – has it taken the madness out of March?

Belinda Scott writes…

Roll up, roll up! Come and see the mystical and magical city of Adelaide come alive! Watch our borders burst with performers, spectators and proud South Australians or ‘Radelaideans’ as we host a series of events and festivals throughout ‘Frantic February’ and ‘Mad March’.


South Australia’s festival season is jammed packed full of spectacular (and sometimes, not so spectacular) events which every year has me thinking, where on earth do I start?

Many conversations during this time of year quickly turn to which Festival acts are on the agenda based on the reviews we’ve seen and read online. Gone are the days where I would gather my mountain of programs and start exploring the pages to find the essential ‘must sees’ for the festival season. Now I turn to online tweeps, Instagram fans and Facebook friends to get the lowdown.

So why are people turning to digital channels for events?

The age of social media and the advent of smartphones in recent years, means everyone has the power to broadcast their real-time experiences and this is particularly prevalent in the events sector. WOMO (aka word of mouth) is huge online.

The power of word of mouth has always played a fundamental role in business, especially in show business with artists and event organisers engaging close-knit social media communities by tapping into trending hashtags to drive event numbers, hosting exclusive VIP event previews, and driving content through buzzing social media channels.

On the flip side, mobile phones and social media have drastically changed the way audiences interact with artists in the lead up to and at events, and perhaps even more importantly, with fans who aren’t physically present.  I know I’m often guilty of ‘gramming’ my moment-for-moment event experience because let’s face it, if it wasn’t on Instagram, it never happened (jokes).

Every act visiting our city this year, whether small or major, will have a plethora of digital platforms to provide a human face to meet fans expectations and help turn digital conversations into hard dollars, tickets!

Just take a look at the platforms available for the annual Adelaide Fringe  – You can Like Adelaide Fringe on Facebook, Follow @Adelaide_fringe  on Twitter and @adlfringe on Instagram (Don’t forget the hugely popular #ADLFringe), watch videos on YouTube, download the free 2015 Adelaide Fringe app via iTunes, plus get the latest reviews on the Principal Partner Bank SA’s Talk Fringe website. Not to mention the number of platforms for Fringe precincts such as the Royal Croquet Club (#RoyalCroquetClub), Garden of Unearthly Delights (#GOUD15), Gluttony (#Gluttony15), and The Big Slapple at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Each channel has its own engaged community discussing and sharing their event experiences, providing users with first-hand feedback and direct access to the event organisers and artists.

Businesses are built on word of mouth and like any good event, the better you perform online – the bigger the standing ovation!

Crisis management, Hughes PR

Act before the crisis hits…

Jamie Hershman writes…

Australian businesses spend millions of dollars every year marketing their products and services, but in comparison, how much is actually spent on “insuring their reputation” with an issues management plan in case of a crisis?

Businesses need to be proactive in taking preventative measures to avoid a crisis, and be prepared in case one strikes. But that’s the hard part. It’s a bit like writing a will or taking out life insurance. Most of us don’t want to think about it.

However, if a crisis does occur, it need not be fatal. Indeed, if handled well, it can actually enhance the reputation of the organisation.

Businesses often can’t avoid an issue or crisis, but they can plan for it.

The best thing an organisation can do is to honestly examine the way it does business – find the actual weaknesses and potential threats in the organisation and the industry. Once the issues are known, scenarios can be developed. E.g. What if our oil refinery leaked oil into the sea? What if our products were sabotaged and a customer died? What if someone was injured or killed on our manufacturing line?

While the specific responses to each scenario will vary, the strategy should hinge on being as open and honest as possible.

In a crisis there are a lot of bases to cover – and they need to be covered quickly and effectively. Having a plan, and testing it regularly, ensures that everyone knows what the processes are and when to apply them.

Building a positive brand and protecting it is vitally important for the success and longevity of an organisation. It means doing all that’s expected – by customers, shareholders, staff, regulators and the general public – so that, ideally, no issue or crisis arises. Or if it does, then there is a spotless history and reputation on which to draw for the defence and ultimate survival of the business.

Rules for crisis management communications:

1. Plan for a crisis
2. Listen for the ‘warning signs’
3. Don’t hide if a crisis arises
4. Own up to the issue
5. Offer solutions, not excuses
6. Be honest
7. Talk to employees – they are the best asset in a crisis
8. Be upfront with customers
9. Proactively inform the media before they find out from other sources
10. Create an ongoing and open dialogue with all stakeholders throughout the issue

To develop your crisis management plan, or to assist with an emerging crisis contact Hughes PR.

Hughes Public Relations, based in Adelaide, South Australia, is a communications and PR consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Hughes PR

The Intern’s view: experiencing the real thing

Tom Fitzgerald writes….

‘The power to influence action and opinion’- the first lesson of my internship at Hughes PR.

Tom FitzgeraldFor four years I have called The University of Adelaide home. As great as the years of skimming through textbooks, cramming for exams and sleeping through 8:00 am lectures were, I can now see myself moving on to greater and more exciting things.

Hughes PR has given me the fantastic opportunity to experience Public Relations from a perspective tertiary education cannot replicate. I can now safely say regurgitating 500 words on the intricacies of Pavlov’s dog will not help me with life after Uni.

Experiencing active engagement with genuine clients who desire PR and marketing assistance has been phenomenal. It perplexes me that internships are still not deemed compulsory for my university course. I have collaborated with fantastic people and learnt more than I ever imagined.

I happily propelled myself into two weeks of writing, filming, attended new product launch meetings, social media training sessions and general public relations discussions with the team. I also assisted in developing case studies and blogs for organisations, such as the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Each activity reiterated the importance of possessing a vibrant PR and communications strategy. That successful PR could not only be used to add value to our clients businesses, but it also dramatically improves the effectiveness of their communication efforts and enhances their organisation’s reputation.

PR is far more than crisis control – one of my pet peeves is the public perception of PR being the simple management of ‘when things go wrong’. A successful PR strategy must encompass the continuous monitoring and adjusting of public opinion in order to avoid a crisis and ensure optimum operation. PR is a multi-platform tactic in which one must adopt the strengths of social media, print media and promotional material.

I struggle to highlight a stand-alone high-point of my time at Hughes PR – whether it was having coffee with extravagant South Australian billionaires or accidentally procuring a ticket to the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) annual Christmas party for drinks with the Boss, I thoroughly enjoyed it all.

The Hughes PR staff have been extremely welcoming and made me feel like an important part of their team. I am certain the invaluable skills and knowledge I have secured at Hughes PR will assist me well into my future career.

Kieran Hall, Tom Fitzgerald Aaron Richards and Tim Hughes (3)

Hughes PR Senior Consultant Kieran Hall, Tom Fitzgerald, Aaron Richards and Hughes PR Managing Director Tim Hughes at the Gilbert Street Hotel for the PRIA Christmas event.

Hughes Public Relations, based in Adelaide, South Australia, is a communications and PR consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Hughes PR

Automating social media – time-saving move or time to re-think?

Did you know there are some incredible tools available designed to make managing your social media accounts easier?

You can automatically sync your Facebook updates to Twitter, or you can automatically sync your Twitter updates to Facebook. With a click of a button you can share your Instagram photos on Twitter, or use a tool to share your Twitter updates on LinkedIn.

All of these tools are created to save you time – if you post something on one platform, and it automatically goes to another, then you’re essentially halving the effort required to communicate with your two audiences.

But: if you want my advice…? Don’t do it.

Here’s the thing. Social media communication takes effort. Effort trumps all: it doesn’t matter how good your content is, or how loved your brand is, if you don’t put in the effort – you won’t effectively communicate with your online audiences.

By automating your social media communication, such as syncing one platform to another, you’re essentially saying to your audience, “you are an afterthought”.

It shows your audience that you can’t be bothered customising your message to the social media platform they are using. That customisation may mean altering your language, altering your images, or altering your use of things like hashtags.

By taking the extra time to create customised messages for each social media platform you use to communicate, you are ensuring your message is optimised for the users’ experience and therefore will be communicated more effectively.

Here are some tools and articles providing further information to assist you to create customised content for your social media platforms:

Icons for the application

Hughes PR, Marketing, Public relations, Social media

Loud and clear: fundraising campaigns that work

Natalie Ciccocioppo writes…

From Oprah to Mark Zuckerberg, Jamie Oliver to David Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow to Mark Wahlberg, then extending to your neighbours, workmates and friends, about a month ago, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was literally everywhere.

Mainstream media and social media was awash (see what I did there) with people taking on the challenge – to dump a bucket of icy cold water over their heads and nominate their friends to do the same – raising awareness for a debilitating illness that had previously not garnered a lot of publicity or widespread public thought.

As a direct result of the Ice Bucket Challenge, more than $100 million has been raised for ALS or as we know it here in Australia, Motor Neurone Disease.

There’s little doubt the Ice Bucket Challenge has been an incredibly successful campaign. This article in The Age outlines some of the reasons why the Ice Bucket Challenge cut through and went viral.

Health and cause-related fundraising isn’t new. For many years, various charities have been encouraging the community to take on a range of activities to support their fundraising efforts.

I remember taking part in the World Vision 40 Hour Famine – a popular fundraising initiative when I was in school. Going without food for 40 hours seemed like a real struggle at the time, but served as an important reminder to my 13-year-old self about children of the same age around the world living in poverty and dying as a result of malnutrition and hunger-related illnesses.

In those days, fundraising efforts involved pestering encouraging teachers, classmates, friends and family to sponsor you, and then running around and collecting money in an envelope, which you’d then exchange for a money voucher or cheque, and send off in the post to the designated charity.

Digital and social media has added a new dimension to the rise of cause-related marketing. A successful viral campaign like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge wouldn’t have been able to reach the sheer volume of users that it did prior to social media.

The advent of digital communications means that we can share updates with our Facebook friends, LinkedIn contacts, Twitter and Instagram followers, and invite them to pledge their support as we take on fundraising activities, and they can directly donate using their credit card online within seconds.

Movember, which raises funds and awareness of men’s health, is another example of cause-related fundraising done well. I lose count of the ‘mo’ updates I see on my Facebook News Feed every November! And it’s not always about asking for money – participants, or as Movember Australia calls them ‘Mo Bros’, are regularly posting photos of their moustache styling, opening themselves up for admiration (or sometimes ridicule) from their friends.

A simple fundraising idea, such as the Ice Bucket Challenge or Movember, that invites people to take action for a cause, can result in a globally successful campaign.

The calendar year is full of fundraising initiatives. In October alone, there’s Girls Night In, Walktober, Frocktober, Octsober, Adelaide Stair Climb, and Buy Nothing New Month, which all invite people to ‘do something’ for a cause.

To cut through the noise, cause marketing ideas need to:

  • Ask participants to challenge themselves or do something fun and visual, to provide a story that they can share with their friends;
  • Relate back to the cause;
  • Have a strong social media engagement element;
  • Share compelling stories of those they support to encourage others to support the cause.

Here at Hughes PR, we are committed to supporting the community. We have several not-for-profit clients that we provide our professional services to on a discounted or ‘no fee’ basis.

We also take part in fundraising events where we can. Over the past few years, our team has helped out at McDonald’s restaurants for McHappy Day, taken part in the JDRF Spin for a Cure, Hutt Street Centre Walk a Mile in My Boots, Jeans for Genes Day, Vinnies CEO Sleepout, OCRF White Shirt Day and worn red to work for Red Nose Day.

Today we are taking part in Loud Shirt Day – proudly wearing our loudest clothing to work to raise funds for First Voice to help give the gift of sound and speech to deaf children.

Who do you think is wearing the best loud shirt? What fundraising initiatives do you take part in?

loud shirt day 2