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A New Year, New Challenges, New Opportunities

BridgitWith 2011 now behind us, we have had time to reflect on what Bridge has achieved in the last 12 months and what we are looking forward to achieving in 2012.

The past year has seen some major changes in our company with the development of new products and services, and the addition of new team members to support our growth. We have also developed  our partnerships with clients and now represent customers across a wide range of industry sectors. 

This has given us a very firm foundation for 2012, and we are very excited about the coming year, especially being a Coventry based agency with all that is about to happen surrounding the 2012 Olympics and Euro 2012.   

New ways of working in PR were very much to the forefront throughout the whole of 2011.  Social media gained in popularity with the majority of our clients and we spent a great deal of time providing training support around this and other marketing communications topics.   The new raft of digital technologies certainly helped us to raise the profile of our clients, a number of whom enjoyed national media exposure.  This was underpinned by having really great stories to tell.  Content is the lifeblood of marketing communications campaigns, and every one of our clients had interesting and topical stories in 2011.

In the summer months, we launched one of our own campaigns based around, Bridgit, a rather engaging red-eyed tree frog, who became the centre-piece for a social media workshop titled “Making the LEAP”.  Bridgit very quickly took on a life of her own after a successful campaign to name her, and we then set about creating her identity as our social media mascot.  You will see a lot more of Bridgit in 2012, so watch out for her.

As we headed towards Autumn, we increased our team again and welcomed our new account executive, Natalie Hunt.   With a breadth of experience across journalism and broadcast media, Natalie is a great addition to our team, and very quickly established herself with a number of our clients as well as building relationships with editors and journalists up and down the country. 

 

Looking Ahead

 It’s going to be great to be in Coventry

It’s particularly exciting to be in Coventry as we head into 2012.  The buzz surrounding  the 2012 Olympic Games is now starting to heat up in earnest, and Coventry will be in the thick of everything with some of the major games being hosted in our City.  In addition, local Company, Imagineer Productions, has created a magnificent spectacle in “Godiva Awakes” which will shine  the spotlight on two of the city’s home grown industries:  Lady Godiva and cycling.  The bicycle was invented in Coventry so what better propulsion to use to take the enormous Godiva puppet on her journey from Coventry to London.  Another Coventry coup is the Olympic torch.  This is yet another Coventry creation that will focus attention on the region, and especially when the Olympic torch relay wends its way through the Midlands on its way to the Olympic Stadium.    In among these major events is an anniversary that also has strong Coventry connections:  the centenary of the maiden voyage and sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912. Bridge client, Titanic Heritage Trust, is hosting a series of events throughout 2012 commemorating this event (hyperlink). 

New ways to boost your business

 As we have mentioned in a previous blog  ‘Boost your Business with “Video PR’, videos are 53 times more likely to generate a first page ranking than traditional SEO techniques, which means more visitors to your website, more calls generated, and ultimately more sales.  Just a short video about your products and/or services that you offer could increase the calls generated to 18%.

Working with our partner, Whirlwind Productions, we are keen to make you aware of the benefits of Video PR and how this can move your company forward, whether it be a short, sharp video release, or a larger budget corporate video.  We will be bring you more information on how you can boost your business through video PR through our own training and workshops, e-shots, and blogs.

 Social Media will continue to grow and develop

 Building on the great successes of 2011, we will be helping more businesses to make the most of social media.  No more can businesses say “Why should we be using social media?”, and finding reasons not to engage with their online audiences.  Instead, we are now hearing “Why would we not use social media, it has so much to offer?”  We predict that the social media revolution will continue to grow, and for some of our clients it will be a case of their social media activity maturing as they reap the rewards of early engagement after spending time building their following and creating and curating great content for their stories. 

Last year was a great year for us and we enjoyed every minute of it.  We are very excited by the prospect of continuing to work with our clients, partners and suppliers. 

 If you haven’t already signed up for our e-newsletters, then please take the time to do so now, and we will keep you up to date on the latest in PR and marketing and how you can use the lifeblood of your business (your stories) to really get noticed in 2012. 

 A Happy New Year. 

Social Media Reflection

Where is social media taking business?

2011 has been an exciting year for us all at Bridge PR, with social media making a prominent presence in all of our clients’ marketing strategies, and we have seen some fantastic results because of it.

These statistics of the 3 main social media outlets illustrate the rapid growth in popularity:

  2010 2011
Facebook 500 million 750 million
Twitter Number of monthly users is up by 82% since the start of the year
LinkedIn 85 million 135 million

The business uptake of social media accounts has massively increased over the past year and the pace looks set to continue unabated. As we expected, Twitter has been the most talked about social network of the year, beating the largest network Facebook which only came fourth.

These days, businesses are questioning just how they coped without social media. Gone are the days when sending an email to a client was a novelty! Costly adverts in the local paper, sending out direct mail or purchasing expensive billboards used to be the only ways to promote business to mass audiences. However, today all it takes is 140 characters – one Tweet or one slightly longer Facebook update and you can reach no end of potential customers – FOR FREE!

According to Mediabistro, 50% of small business owners reported gaining new customers through social media indicating that it is creating leads for companies. As larger cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham continue to dominate social media usage in the UK, Bridge PR has been helping put Coventry on the social media map by getting our clients online and engaging with customers and industry leaders.

At Bridge, we have helped drive the social media presence of the Good Garage Scheme, and from a standing start they are now one of the biggest influencers in the UK social media scene for the automotive sector.  In the IT sector, our social media marketing activity for Netmetix is getting the company noticed in what is typically a noisy and competitive sector online, and we have been helping Advanced Carbon Energy Solutions (ACES) with setting up all their social media profiles ready for a relaunch of the company in 2012 (watch this space because ACES is going to be a great one to follow next year).  We have also trained and mentored quite a few Midlands SMEs on how to get the most from their social media marketing, and they are now starting to reap the rewards   Our own campaign using a red-eyed tree frog as a mascot also attracted a great deal of interest, and Bridgit, as she was later named is a favourite with our social media audiences.  Whilst other PR firms in the city continue to offer traditional mediums of PR, we have embraced new media and helped propel our clients into the 21st century.

So what’s in store for 2012?

The trend for 2012 seems to be that the market is wide open for a new social network that will offer competition to the big three.

Google Plus is seen as the network with the most potential to mount a challenge to the likes of Facebook and Twitter and as Google’s domination of the world wide web continues, the likelihood is that businesses will be able to take advantage of direct tagging, analytics, advertisements and SEO rankings within Google.

Facebook Upon their recent purchase of Gowalla and integrated timeline renovation, 2012 is all set to be Facebook’s year of dominance as it continues to be the most used social network for business and pleasure.

Ownership As arguments continue over who owns photographs shared on social media websites; the issue of ownership itself is likely to once again come into the spotlight. How far away from plagiarism is a Retweet on Twitter and how many times should you be able to edit and share content? What’s more, how much should social networking websites reflect your business’ point of view rather than your own and how deeply should we read into the concept of sharing content?

Social media has become one of the most popular and effective free forms of promotion that takes out the hassle and hours of traditional forms of PR. All you need is a push in the right direction and you are ready to allow your content to drive your social media strategy and move your business forward in 2012.

We would really like to help put Coventry and Warwickshire on the social media map in 2012 as well as helping businesses up and down the UK to make the most of this great channel for marketing.  To find out how we can help your business raise its profile with social media contact Denise, Louise or Natalie on 024 7652 0025 or email us at enquiries@bridgepr.co.uk