Author: Marketing

Mastering B2B SaaS marketing: choosing channels and media for optimal success

By Sophie Reed, Associate Content Manager

In today’s digital landscape, social media has become a staple for B2B digital marketing. However, the online space is crowded with countless platforms and an overwhelming array of content – making it tough to stand-out within the Software as a Service sphere. This makes it crucial for software companies to leverage social channels the right way and ensure efforts aren’t wasted.
Gone are the days of simply existing across every social platform. Instead, each social channel possesses its own unique dynamics, user demographics, and engagement patterns.
To maximise the impact of your social media presence, it’s essential to adopt a customer-centric approach and let your target audience guide your strategy and supercharge your SaaS metrics.

Social channels for meaningful connections

To hit the bullseye with your B2B SaaS audience, you must align your efforts with their preferences and behaviors to ensure your message resonates with the right people in the right places. If you are targeting primarily professionals and decision-makers, LinkedIn is an optimal platform to make connections.

Here, you can promote your spokespeople, showcasing their expertise, positioning them as key thought leaders in the space, and build meaningful relationships with potential customers. Through thoughtful engagement, such as participating in relevant group discussions, resource sharing, industry news commentary or offering expert advice, you can curate a genuine connection with your audience. By nurturing these relationships, you open doors to future collaborations, referrals, and increase your potential of high conversion rates.

Work smarter not harder

Less is more when it comes to selecting the right channels for your B2B SaaS marketing. Rather than a blind pursuit across a range of platforms, target two birds with one stone.

Twitter is a fantastic way to contribute to wider industry conversations in real-time, and enables wider audience reach and traction by leveraging trending hashtags and breaking industry news. To make the most of it, repurpose LinkedIn messaging to create short, punchy tweets sparking engagement. This way, you can recast, retell and replay your messaging to ensure it consistently aligns across your channels.

Amplify your credibility with PR

From a PR perspective, trade publications offer a golden opportunity to shine the spotlight on your company’s spokespersons, products and services to captivate your desired audience. These publications are read by industry professionals and decision-makers actively seeking insights on trends and innovative solutions within their field.

By targeting top-tier trade publications relevant to your niche, you can generate interest in your product and wider services. For example, if you are promoting an update to your HR software service, your HR tech PR strategy will target top-tier trade publications such as HR Grapevine, HR Magazine, The HRDirector and People Management Magazine. You can then boost engagement with trophy coverage by sharing it across your LinkedIn and Twitter.

Securing coverage in reputable publications boosts brand visibility and industry credibility, signalling to target audiences that you’re a trusted player, attracting and strengthening customer relationships. Credibility such as this paves the way for long-term loyalty.

The wrap-up:

🔍 Know your audience: inform your approach by selecting the social media channels where audiences are most present to ensure messaging gets in front of the right people

⚡ Recast, retell, replay: keep your messaging consistent and aligned across your chosen channels to make a cohesive brand presence, maximizing audience engagement and visibility

📰 Don’t underestimate the value of trade publications

Bear in mind, B2B company updates are not necessarily the tastiest bait for reeling in national headlines. When it comes securing a big tuna, PR campaigns and research are a brilliant hook. If you want to make a splash above the sea of competition, keep your eyes peeled for our following blogs in this series, covering considered creativity and data mining for national catches.

Want to step up your SaaS marketing game? Get in touch with Aspectus Group, an award-winning integrated SaaS marketing agency with expertise in B2B technology PR.

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The $4trn question: why it pays to invest in your brand assets

By Ellie Jackson, Chief Client Strategy Officer

$4.7 trillion. That’s what Forrester forecasts will be invested globally on marketing in 2025. Of course, the age-old question is how much of that will deliver the brand-building return it should. 

One way of assessing that is to consider brand distinctiveness: the extent to which the audience recognizes your brand assets or ‘codes’ (logo, colors, slogans, etc.). After all, marketing material or an advertisement that is not associated with your brand in the mind of your target audience might as well be one for your competitor. 

A recent report by Jones Knowles Ritchie and Ipsos tested five key brand assets (logos, slogans, mascots, color and product) with more than 26,000 respondents globally. Only 15% of assets tested were found to be truly distinctive. In other words, 85% of that $4.7 trillion (just shy of $4 trillion) is being invested in sub-optimal brand assets.  

How does this translate to the bottom line?

It has been said that presenting brand consistency across all platforms can increase revenues by up to 23%. Fairly logically, consistent brands are 3.5 times more likely to have excellent brand visibility than those with inconsistent branding. And perhaps most important of all, 82% of investors say name recognition plays a crucial role in guiding them in their investment decisions

What does this mean for my brand?

If you’re concerned about the distinctiveness of your own brand assets, and by extension, the impact of your marketing and advertising, read on. 

Most brands have a number of brand assets. Several brands have more than they ought – especially if they have not reviewed brand assets in several years. New ideas creep in all the time – some stay and become part of the brand language. Having too many brand assets is a natural enemy of brand asset distinctiveness – your brand will only be afforded a fraction of space in the mind of your target audience and simplicity is key here. 

While you might not have Ipsos’s resources at your fingertips, you can still make certain assessments in a structured way. 

  1. Create a list of all of your brand assets. Cast the net wide at this stage: logo, colors, graphical elements, style, slogans and tag lines etc. You might want to include historical elements too – they may be worth resurrecting. 
  1. Rate each asset for familiarity (how many people associate your brand with this code) and uniqueness (how many people in the sample group ONLY associate your brand with this code). Ideally, you would do this with independent research – and there are relatively cost-effective options out there for something this simple. If that’s not a possibility then you will need to resort to an anecdotal assessment – gather views internally and with trusted industry participants. While this is no match for rigorous third-party assessment, it serves a purpose. 
  1. Plot each asset on a grid. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute model pictured below is the standard, and it works well. 
  • Low fame and low uniqueness – ditch it, or at the very least, use in conjunction with other brand assets 
  • High fame but low uniqueness – proceed with caution and be careful of spending on something that will never be sufficiently distinctive to pay back that investment 
  • High uniqueness but low fame – worth consistent investment but monitor closely to ensure fame increases 
  • High fame and high uniqueness – this is obviously your star set – focus your attention here (before someone moves in on your turf). 

As the Ipsos x JKR study says: put your money where your mark is. 

If this has sparked any questions about your own brand strategy, get in touch

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Why the time to ignite tech communications in Singapore is now

By Isabelle Dann, Media Strategy Director

The world of venture capital (VC) is like no other. Unlike the stock market, there are no daily temperature checks, nor individual share prices for people to watch. Still, as the global VC slowdown persists, there are reasons to be cheerful – if you know where to look. Singapore attracted more venture capital investment per capita in 2022 than any other country, receiving over $1 billion, beating the US – the world’s largest VC market – which ranked third. 

This makes sense, considering that South-East Asia is now the world’s most compelling region for digital innovation, with Singapore its technical capital. Catalysts include new local initiatives such as the Singapore Deep-Tech Alliance, the Singapore-MIT Alliance, and the National University of Singapore. 

On top of this, funds from home-grown VC firms such as iGlobe Partners and Temasek are fuelling tech founders. More time may be taken to choose and close deals but, ultimately, investors must deploy the capital they’ve raised. 

Within the tech sector, deeptech – encompassing the likes of artificial intelligence, robotics, and blockchain/Web3 – is a particular strength. Food tech is another, as Singapore is the only country where consumers can buy lab-grown meat. While the rest of the world largely recognises the climate benefits of cultivated meat, it has yet to catch up with Singapore – a golden opportunity for entrepreneurs in this space.

Beyond these spotlights, the opportunity is endless. After all, these days, technology can encompass everything from building a website and conversing with ChatGPT to crafting space satellites and driverless cars. No longer is it the preserve of a select few; everyone is a digital citizen. 

Until the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, books were scarce and expensive. As they became more abundant, literacy rates soared. In 1800, 60% of men and 40% of women were literate, rising to 97% for both sexes within a century. The same story can be seen in tech now. 

In 2001, there were 500 million global internet users; in 2021, that shot up to five billion. Just as increased literacy rates kindled communities and contributed to economic growth, widening access to digital resources has granted more people the power to shape and challenge the impact of technology on society. 

So, what does this all mean? For tech startups and scaleups in Singapore, now is the time to tell your story. Competition – whether that’s for headlines, clicks, or customers – will only grow more fierce. Those who cut through the noise with compelling communications, led by tech PR, will find themselves equipped with a unique competitive advantage. Make the move now – or risk missing out entirely.

Isabelle can be reached at and @izzydann 

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5 reasons why podcasts are a powerful add to your content strategy

Maya Tan, Communications & Creative Content Director, Singapore

It’s the era of audio. Although podcasts have been around for a while, there’s been a phenomenal boom in the podcast landscape, especially in the last two years, as streamed on-demand content becomes increasingly a part of our lives, and the ease of access and richness of creative storytelling continue to appeal to millions of podcasts listeners around the world. 

With engaged audiences tuning in for a dedicated amount of time to listen to long-form conversations on niche topics – how can brands and marketers leverage this? If you’re looking for a powerful storytelling and brand-building tool that’s highly engaging, authentic, speaks directly to your audience (and isn’t AI-generated!) – podcasts might just be the ticket. 

 Here are five reasons why you should add podcasts to your content strategy: 

Podcast listenership is growing exponentially 

As of February 2023, there are 464.7 million podcast listeners worldwide, with a forecast of  

504.9 million podcast listeners by the end of 2024. The US leads with over 60% of the population having tuned in to podcasts, over half of UK citizens have listened to a podcast, while a consumer insight report by GWI states that, 66% of APAC survey respondents spend an average of 60 minutes a day listening to podcasts. 

The increase in listeners is expected to grow in tandem with the rise of audio streaming platforms like Spotify and smart devices like Google’s Alexa, as well as the popularity and acceptance of social media influencers, many of whom host widely-subscribed podcasts.  

Podcasts have also become a part of modern living. As consumers increasingly prefer on-demand content, accessible whenever, wherever, to suit their busy lifestyles, podcast consumption is a convenient way for them to build knowledge or be entertained. Research tells us that 59% of listeners multitask while consuming podcasts, e.g.during commutes, while doing chores or driving.  

Meanwhile, news media from The Wall Street Journal to Singapore’s The Straits Times are boosting subscriptions with podcast offerings of their own. With podcast publishers such as iHeartPodcasts boasting 30 million unique visitors per month, the average reach of a podcast could potentially rival that of traditional media. 

Opportunities for brand-building and thought leadership 

One of the top reasons that podcast listeners tune in is to learn something. Podcast listeners are a captive audience ready to digest information. With most episodes clocking in between 20-40 minutes (longer than most broadcast interviews), podcasts offer opportunities to provide more information and enable listeners to learn more about your brand.  

Because the shows are often delivered through casual conversation and soundscapes, audiences are more engaged in an intimate way, allowing for creative storytelling opportunities which are more powerful than static communications tactics such as newsletters, for example. 

The search for authenticity is also real. A recent Nielsen study shows TikTok subscribers around the globe value authenticity and perceive content on the platform to be ‘authentic, genuine, unfiltered and trendsetting’. There’s a high chance that the popularity of podcasts is also fueled by listeners being able to tap into conversations and to discern for themselves if a brand is genuine and authentic. 

This opens up possibilities to build trust with your audiences by shining the spotlight on your spokespeople.  As they share their knowledge and expertise, it also allows audiences to associate a human voice and personality to the organisation, while displaying authenticity and thought-leadership,  building meaningful relationships with listeners.  

Versatility, audience targeting and building communities 

The podcast is a versatile platform. Because you can target your audience with the subject category of the podcast, you can use it for external or internal communications, sparking conversations and inspiring action within communities, or to engage with a specific segment of the target audience to discuss your brand’s niche. Much like social media, each episode also provides a direct feedback loop via comments and analytics, making it easy to track audience sentiment, who your listeners are and where they’re based, what they react to and even how they react to different conversations, so that you can keep fine-tuning your show for targeted outcomes. 

Never just a podcast 

A podcast should never just be a podcast. With your key spokespeople sharing valuable knowledge and information, the conversations could be spun off into different forms of content that could be featured in other platforms within your marketing mix such as opinion editorials, short audio-visual excerpts for social media, LinkedIn articles or fodder for your e-newsletter. Tapping into the rising video-podcast trend could also be a way to create impact for your brand. 

Quick turnaround, enabling timely commentary 

Finally, podcasts can be relatively quick to launch and produce. The short turnaround time also means you can be proactive in terms of newsjacking, commenting on developments in your industry in a timely way, or to share your company’s position on hot topics in the news. With the ability to record speakers virtually from anywhere in the world, and a proactive editorial team on board, the podcast can be a flexible and powerful tool to add to your marketing or communications arsenal, to differentiate your brand and amplify your company’s messages. 

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Selling brand investment to the Board: a guide for marketing managers

By Ellie Jackson, Chief Client Strategy Officer

Earlier this month, Kantar released its annual Most Valuable Brands report, and if you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend taking a look. Although the title suggests a focus on the world’s biggest names, there are several universal truths for companies with fewer 000s on their bottom line too. 

It’s not unusual, in our niche B2B sectors in particular, for investment in brand strategy, positioning or brand assets to be dismissed by a Board or CFO as an expense rather than a strategic value-adding activity. That’s on us. Historically, the marketing industry hasn’t always done a great job of dispelling this myth, but it’s increasingly important that we do. As ever, this report does a great job of underpinning some of the key arguments with recent data. Here are some of the key takeaways: 

Businesses that invest in their brands outperform the market… and investing in your brand remains the most powerful way to grow.

This correlates with a wealth of similar research, such as that from May this year from Brand Finance, which stated in its Global Most Valuable B2B Brands Index 2023:  “Research finds that the returns of highly branded organizations (i.e. companies with a high brand value to business value ratio) outperform the S&P 500.” 

That’s all underpinned by the most recent data suggesting that the value of intangible assets in the S&P 500 has soared to 90% of the total value. While that’s not all brand, that figure has tripled over the last 30-40 years, and one of the main factors is the growth of the importance of brand value in purchasing decisions. 

Strong brands deliver superior shareholder returns, are more resilient in times of crisis, and recover more quickly.

A strong brand gives you salience, which is key when it comes to sales consideration (or getting on the RFP or tender list, for many of our clients), but it also buys you resilience in tough times. Lots of research, most recently looking at the recent pandemic-affected period, has confirmed that organizations with stronger brands are hit less hard by an economic downturn, both in the severity and the length of the impact.   

It stands to reason: one of the classic elements of the brand discussion is the price premium a strong brand can enable you to command, protecting margin when others are damaging their brand and bottom line with price cuts. 

As Paul Coxhill, CEO of  WARC says in the earlier-cited Brand Finance B2B report: “…the ability to charge a premium in price can be heavily influenced by perceptions of value; and [that] long-term sales growth – as well as short-term conversion – relies on having a clear promise across all parts of the organization, amplified by marketing.” 

The other key point here is the trust inspired by a strong brand. That is of particular value in a time of broader economic challenges, when consumers and clients are typically extra diligent in their purchasing decisions. 

And of course, it’s well-documented that organizations with strong brands recover better from self-inflicted crises than those without. Of course, the way the crisis is handled is critical, but the rebound tends to come more swiftly when the foundations are solid. 

So, how do you create a strong brand?

Kantar’s report explores this, too. They identify the following elements: 

  • “Meaningful: The extent to which brands create clear and consistent functional and emotional connections with consumers. Meaningful brands meet people’s needs in a way that demonstrates warmth. 
  • Different: The extent to which a brand is seen to offer something that others don’t and lead the way. Different brands are hard to substitute and often offer something new. 
  • Salient: The mental availability of the brand – how quickly and easily it comes to mind when choosing between options.  A brand’s most fundamental role is as a short-cut for decision-making.” 

The most important contributor of these to market share growth, is difference

(based on 1313 brands tracked over 3-4 years, in work reviewed and backed by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School). The research doesn’t stop there. An even larger study by Kantar Analytics Practice recently investigated 11,000 case studies and summarized the key building blocks of ‘difference’ as: 

  • “Category Leadership: Setting the trends and challenging the status quo 
  • Distinctiveness: A highly distinctive look and feel and a suite of assets to reinforce this 
  • Emotive clarity: Building clear and strong emotional connections with consumers 
  • Functional benefits: Superior qualities that can help to set them apart from others” 

As marketers, there is a limit to what we can do on the last bullet point (though a strong, evidence-backed knowledge of clients’ needs and wants gleaned from market research should obviously be passed to R&D teams). Similarly, the first point is broader than marketing alone, though we should be making our voice heard and ensuring that such leadership is strongly communicated to all stakeholders. 

But on points two and three, we can lead the charge. Too often we see companies with visual assets that do not reflect the brand today, or simply applied so inconsistently as to dilute their potential. Those problems do not have to be difficult to fix. Layer on top of that strong messaging, that lays the foundations to build that emotive clarity with consumers – something we argue is still important, but often underplayed in the B2B world, and you’re on the way to strengthening your brand, with all of the financial benefits that follow. 

If you’re thinking of making and investment in your brand, we’d love to explore the opportunity with you: contact our team of brand strategists

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5 ways to future proof your marketing communications strategy in Asia

Woman with Augmented Reality headset

By Louise Veitch, Head of South East Asia

Many businesses have the vision of taking their brands to the next level, especially to capitalise on opportunities in Asia, but may not always have the right strategies to get to their end goals. With continuous and rapid changes in the way media is consumed, new platforms and frequent introduction of new algorithms and technologies, companies may find themselves having to pivot and reboot their marketing strategies. Here are five ways to future proof your marcomms strategy in Asia.

1. The mobile-first society.

Today’s audience is mobile-first. Studies show that over 80% of the world’s population (6.8 billion) are smartphone users with Asian countries leading the pack. This is projected to increase to 7.8 billion by 2028 with global mobile web traffic accounting for over 50% of total internet traffic. In the APAC region, mobile penetration has also been ramping up with unique mobile subscriber penetration rates, excluding Greater China, moving from 59% in 2021 to a projected 62% by 2025. This presents a great opportunity for mobile content whether in a B2B or B2C context, and to include the UX/UI component into the marcomm equation. A future-proof plan would include content that is not just targeted and customised for mobile devices, but also able to deliver information in ways that are seamless, captivating, and compelling to influence action or induce the right perception and attitudes towards brands. 

2. Go where your target audience will be.

In terms of platforms, ‘Going where your audience is’ may be the current default position, but there may be benefits to having the foresight to ‘go where no man has gone before’, to summon a cliché. There is also merit in understanding future target audiences, how they consume media and the platforms where they will be engaging in future.

A 2022 study tells us that Southeast Asians are in favour of the metaverse, with a majority of respondents considering it ‘an advancement in social interaction’ and a mode of ‘facilitating social opportunities.’ With many of the world’s biggest brands already making waves in the Metaverse where they’re engaging with audiences on issues or causes that are meaningful to them – having a strategy and means of delivering content and engagement on these platforms needs to be considered now. 

3. Think Global Act Local.

As there are vastly different regional nuances in the media landscape of every country across APAC, having a team of marketing professionals on the ground can go a long way in building relationships with the media and leveraging cultural nuances in social media consumption, as opposed to managing your programme from afar. A physical on-ground team working in the right timezone, with fundamental knowledge of the target audience can dramatically improve marketing and communications results and drive positive business outcomes. While execution can and has been done remotely from the Western hemisphere, there is a marked difference in what can be achieved on the ground. Companies expecting to grow their business in the region in the future should consider working with on-ground agencies with experience and knowledge in navigating the landscape to maximise business results.

4. Authenticity.

The future of brand value may well lie in how authentic it is; its vision and mission must speak to the target audience now, and those that companies want to capture for the future. Gen Z, for example, the most influential generation perhaps now and in the coming years, who will be crucial decisionmakers in the future, have a high regard for companies and brands that are authentic and make a difference in sustaining people and planet. Another recent study on Asian millennials also reveals that the level of perceived authenticity associated with a brand significantly impacts ‘brand love’ which then affects behavioural outcomes such as continuous brand support and/or purchase intention. Building long-term perceptions of authenticity and sustaining trust is key for the future.

5. Always-on community building.

Many global businesses base their Asia marcomm programmes around big announcements, launches or campaigns and we’ve observed this as common practice with Asian companies, too. While the metrics may reflect on your ROI, they may not guarantee long-term brand preference or loyalty. What’s important is to ensure continuous engagement with always-on activity − building and growing your community, and engaging them with content that speak to shared causes. Apart from helping to future proof and reinforce the relevance of your brand and perceived brand value, the habit of continuous engagement can put you in good stead for the future, retaining your loyal community even if channels, platforms and mediums change.

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Step up your SaaS marketing game: top tips for knowing your audience

By Sophie Reed, Associate Content Manager

When it comes to audience growth, engagement and reeling new potential clients, fostering an authentic relationship between your brand and customers is key. To do so, businesses must interact with their target market on the ground. With an optimised communication strategy, you can engage with your customers and prospective leads to build connections that last.  

In the digital age, a wealth of platforms can assist in getting your brand in front of your target audience. With around 3.5 billion people using social media networks worldwide, you need to develop your understanding of social channels and optimise your SaaS marketing by creating a clear comms strategy to maximise your results and cut through the noise.  

Taking an integrated approach will help you communicate through different platforms and get your message out there. Whether it’s though social media, advertising, public relations (PR) or emails and newsletters, these must all work in unison to achieve the same goal.  

Here’s how you can develop a thoughtful integrated comms strategy to achieve your business goals.  

Know your audience: who, what, why

The customer is king. Evolving consumer demands determine your ongoing business developments and offerings. Adapting in response to these changing needs will ensure your B2B SaaS offering remains relevant, showcases your agility, and helps you scale up to maintain a competitive market edge.   

To create thoughtful messaging that resonates, you need to tailor it to your audience – find out their unmet needs, preferences, pain points and motivations, then position yourself as the answer. Crucially, it is key that messaging is designed to fill the ‘white space’ conversations that your customers are not currently owning and topics that are not saturated.   

Where to start: 

  1. Desktop research: identify the trends, patterns in customer behaviour, social discussions, and online reviews to get under the skin of your audience and understand what they care about 
  1. Surveys and interviews: requesting feedback is a great way to connect with your current customers and demonstrate you value their opinion. Ask about their issues, buying habits, and what they value most in a product or service 
  1. Competitor research: work smarter not harder. Analyse competitors and take inspiration from how they connect with audiences. Competitors will also open the door to other prospective leads to target – look for gaps in their marketing strategy you can capitalise on, and hone in on the whitespace to elevate your unique value proposition 

Unleash your distinctive potential

Taking the time to undertake in-depth upfront data gathering and competitor audits will enable you to make more well-informed, strategic decisions that will be truly impactful in the long run. A magnified knowledge of the market will help you understand and communicate your unique traits, differentiating yourself from market competitors and creating a brand that makes you famous for your thinking. All of this enhances your wider business strategy. 

You can revisit these methods again and again, keeping the customer feedback loop open and adjusting your messaging accordingly. This creates a virtuous circle of results In turn, you can flex your business agility and deliver messaging that will appeal to audiences and increase engagement rates by hooking readers in.  

In our next blog in this series, we will focus on the tools used to push out your enhanced messaging, with information about how to identify the relevant media and social channels so push messaging out and place you in front of your target audience.  

Looking to learn more? Get in touch with Aspectus Group, an award-winning integrated SaaS marketing agency with expertise in B2B technology PR. 

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3 top tips for developing an effective technology event communications plan

By Astor Sonnen, Senior Account Director

Trade shows are a staple of most industries. A chance to network, showcase solutions, sell, buy, and learn, brands often anchor entire marketing and sales campaigns around their appearances at events.  

Driving the most value out of trade shows is dependent on having clear objectives, defined within a strategic event communications plan. You can’t simply turn up and expect success; you need to lay the groundwork.  

While events may differ between industries, there are several key considerations for marketeers when developing marketing and comms plans. So, whether you’re planning on exhibiting at DCD Connect, Capacity Europe, SaaStock, InfoSec Europe or any other event, here are three top tips to keep in mind.  

1: Tell your audience that you’re attending and ‘stand’ out

Raise awareness of your attendance so that your audience can set up meetings at the show, while also boosting your brand by publicising what topics and events you’re active in.

Start activity 6-weeks or so out and use a variety of tactics – such as email marketing, social media and content – to increase the likelihood your audience will engage.

Conversations will also happen organically at the show, but having a stand that sets you apart will help to attract visitors. Some brands develop vibrant signage, while others may have quirks such as demos and freebies.

Ask yourself:

  • How will your target audience know that you’re exhibiting at the event? 
  • What’s the most effective way of reaching your audience? 
  • Do you have something planned that will increase the attractiveness of your stand?  

2: Train your speakers to represent your brand in the right way  

If you have a representative in a panel discussion, make sure they’re fully prepped to add insightful commentary. A true thought leader can explore industry topics, while subtly bridging back to their own messaging, so that attendees gain a better understanding. If panel participants clearly push their own agenda and aren’t in sync with each other, it can be alienating to the audience.  

Ask yourself:  

  • Are your experts fully prepared for a discussion?  
  • Do they require training so that they understand when best to engage in the wider conversation and when to be more direct with your messaging? 

3: If you want media coverage, have something new to say  

Media coverage is another common desired outcome for brands attending events, but this is dependent on having actual news. Attendance in itself is not newsworthy. Be ready to announce something along the lines of new data, offerings, customer relationships or top-level hires so that journalists have a reason to come to your stand.  

However, other brands in attendance will likely be announcing news at the same time for the same reasoning, so make your story strong. And remember, if there’s no news, you can still take the opportunity to chat to journalists on the day to build relationships – with the right preparation. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Do you have something new to talk about? 
  • If yes, to manage expectations, would you expect coverage of the news if you announced it outside of the show?  
  • What are your main goals for attending? If lead generation is a priority, your efforts may be better focused elsewhere. 

There are plenty more top tips we can give you, so if you’ve got an industry event on the horizon and want to know how to make your resources deliver more, get in touch.  

Let’s discuss your event communications plan, as well as your wider technology PR and comms strategy. 

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Why we care more about bad news… and how spokespeople can cut through

By Alex Newlove, Senior Account Manager

It is a common complaint that journalists tend to focus on the ‘bad’ stories that make us despair about the state of the world. Our clients sometimes worry that journalists’ propensity for covering conflict and mishap will lead to quotes being taken out of context and placed in an overwhelmingly negative story.

Who else subscribes to a news service where the refrain below-the-line is often “I will be cancelling my subscription to this alarmist newspaper, I expected better”?

The insinuation behind these complaints is that journalists go out of their way to irritate and alarm us, just for fun. Sometimes, the follow-up statement from commenters will be something like, “why can’t you report on some good news for a change?”.

The answer to this question is clear: editors have better information than ever about what people are reading, given that the vast majority of news is now clicked on, as opposed to leafed through. I would argue that this makes us all culpable for the quality and tone of the news agenda. You clicked on one too many articles about Kim Kardashian’s bum, and you are now living in the mean and superficial world which you helped to mould. Social media has further fueled an environment that rewards only the most extreme, black-and-white opinions.

But while I have just implied that we all have a degree of responsibility for the negative news cycle, we are also born with brains that fire up for drama and disaster; merely flicker for charming stories with a happy ending; and barely register accounts of where things have gone well or adhered to the status quo – in fact this latter group is barely considered news at all.

Excuse me while my undergraduate psychology course rears its ugly head, but this penchant for bad news makes perfect sense from an evolutionary perspective. The ‘negativity bias’ meant our ancestors were vastly more likely to put their attention towards what could be a snake in the grass, over admiring a glorious blue sky. Ignoring potential bad news (the approaching snake) was vastly riskier than not focusing on neutral or good news. Similar mechanisms are at work when we find it easier to recall insults than compliments, and why you remember exactly what you were doing when you heard a plane had crashed into the twin towers. Your brain registered the perceived shocking threat and helpfully filed the ‘lesson’ for later.

This negativity bias poses a challenge for PR people. Our clients often come to us desperately excited about a new project their team has been working energetically on for many months. We are sometimes in the unenviable position of telling them “sorry, no-one cares”. This will be translated to something along the lines of “What an exciting initiative! Unfortunately, due to the busy news agenda we cannot imagine this will get much traction with the media at this time”.

So how can firms capitalise on a grim news agenda, without coming across as overly pessimistic, or getting drawn into a slanging match with competitors?

Contrarian points of view

Restating the status quo does not get you quoted. The journalist wants colour and opinion – what is your or your company’s attitude towards a topic? Can you critique a prevailing idea or theory, or even your own industry, before covering what your firm is doing to change it? (We recommend against criticising specific competitors.)

Use their angle to your advantage

Ask the journalist if they already have an angle in mind. If you feel it is inaccurate or overly-negative, this gives you a chance to come up with a more positive counter-narrative and will help guide your responses throughout the conversation.

Move the story on

The journalist is always trying to write the next chapter on a given topic, so there is little point in extensively rehashing old ground. Give them something fresh to go on and explain how an issue is moving on. “Now the market is shifting, and our clients have started asking us about Y. This means…”

Be fearless: say what you think

A big frustration for journalists is the extent to which senior people in well-paid positions are afraid to venture an opinion, even where it correlates to their company’s messaging. The world is gasping for thoughtful, frank, discussion. Being passionate and showing personality is good.

Aspectus can help your company navigate a turbulent news agenda. Contact us.

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