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Research

No One Really Knows What ‘Engagement’ Means

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We do know what “creepy stock photo” means, though

Given all the endless talk about PR measurement and the fact that likes, shares and retweets are no longer sufficient ways to measure success for clients, you’ve almost definitely heard a lot of about “engagement” recently. Here’s the problem: no one can agree on what the word means–even the people who get paid for their expertise on the matter.

A recent survey of dozens of CMOs sponsored by the people at Thunderhead (h/t HubSpot) makes the scale of the problem clear.

Some numbers after the jump.

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STUDY: Cause Marketing Creates Brand Loyalty Among Millennial Women

Today we have yet another study–this one from AOL of all places–to convince agency executives that the Millennial generation does not mark the end of polite society as we know it, no matter what ridiculous trend hit Twitter this week.

The purpose of the survey, titled “Beyond the Selfie” and developed to celebrate Women’s History Month, is to debunk certain stereotypes that many agency folk hold about the female members of this generation.

The most important number didn’t make the infographic:

That’s encouraging; more stats after the jump.

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STUDY: Is PR’s Focus on Digital Media Detrimental to Brand Storytelling?

BPR Infographic V5 - Stories-without-borders-infographic.pdfTurns out, while managing to cram powerful, sharable, effective brand messages into 140 characters is an undeniably valuable skill, PR’s focus on digital media might be drawing vital attention away from effective storytelling.

This is according to a recent report by Berkeley 360, titled Stories Without Borders—International PR in an Evolving Media World, which explores current research and trends to discover how the global media landscape is shifting, and what that means for PR. The report states that, “the media in most countries has been transformed by digital technology, but success lies in the story, not the delivery.”

As a press release about the study explains that while boundaries are disappearing between print and digital media, between online, social and mobile channels, and between brands and their customers, the world remains a culturally, linguistically and geographically heterogeneous place—and brands and PR professionals forget this at their peril.

While social media networks remain a great way to build and engage local communities and are essential ingredients for successful PR, research shows that over half of the world’s population reads a daily newspaper, and trade publications remain the best way to influence senior decision makers. In other words: the press release is not dead, and people still want to hear a meaningful, engaging, and full-length story about the brands and companies they interact with. Read more

Brand Marketing Increasingly Includes LGBT Families & Couples, And Consumers Approve

target adBuzzFeed commissioned JWT to conduct an analysis of how Americans feel about ads that are “LGBT-inclusive.” Although they’re talking about advertising, there’s a lot that PRs can also learn from the study, which reveals some very positive attitudes about the increased diversity we’re seeing. That is awesome, BTW.

Lately, we’ve seen a number of ads that feature LGBT families and couples; from Banana Republic to Honey Maid and Coca-Cola, there’s been a significant increase in LGBT presence in marketing of late. And, according to the findings, that paints an accurate picture of life today. Eight out of 10 consumers surveyed (there were 500 total) said “showing gay or lesbian people in ads simply reflects the reality of our society today.” Another 60 percent said brands that show same-sex couples are “being appropriately inclusive” with their marketing.

“These findings suggest that when diversity and acceptance are authentic and on-strategy for the brand, LGBT-inclusive ads will be met with a high degree of acceptance and benefit the advertiser,” said Mark Truss, director of brand intelligence at JWT.

Some of the ads that have run featuring LGBT couples and families — and even those, like the Cheerios commercial, which feature more racial diversity — have received harsh criticism. And, rightfully so, people have defended the ads, the companies that stood by the campaigns, and the real people in them.

But it’s also worth noting here that brands are following society’s lead rather than the other way around.

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Here’s How to Optimize Your Charity Fundraising in 2014

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If you work with nonprofit clients, then you should be familiar with a couple of the key findings from consulting company M+R’s new “benchmarks” study on trends in fundraising:

  • Donation rates are higher than ever before, with online giving rising 14% overall in 2013
  • Social media audiences are rapidly expanding: Facebook followers increased 37% and Twitter totals rose 46% over the past year

AND YET…

  • All corresponding email stats declined in 2013: open rates, response rates and advocacy emails

What does it all mean? We’ll tell you, with the help of M+R VP of creative development Will Valverde, after the jump.

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STUDY: Your Employees Probably Don’t Like You

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Don’t take it too personally, though: you’re definitely not the only one.

CreativeLive’s inaugural jobs report should probably serve as a wake-up call to your corporate clients. The basic conclusion: Americans aren’t happy at their jobs, and they don’t much care for their employers. The reason? They want to be more creative.

Some key numbers after the jump.

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STUDY: Millennials Seek Validation About Purchases, but Not Through Advertising

Moosylvania Millennial Purchasing Study

When older generations have sought validation or reassurance that they are making good purchasing and brand-loyalty decisions, advertising has valiantly stepped in to pat them on the back for a job well done or a smart choice made. But when Millennials seek that same approval and reassurance, they don’t look for it from advertising, but from their friends and family members, often through phone calls, texts, and social media channels throughout the purchasing process.

This is the major takeaway revealed by the 2014 Moose Millennial Study Data, conducted by Mooslyvania, which showed that while Millennials identify themselves as very self-confident and independent, they seek constant reassurance from friends and family when it comes to shopping. This is true whether the individuals in this age group shop alone or together — they still remain digitally connected to the people they trust most, seeking advice, guidance and approval via text, phone call and social media.

So, if brands aren’t gaining Millennials’ trust and loyalty through traditional advertising, how are they going about it? Read more

STUDY: Everything’s Coming Up Mobile

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The fact that more people share, surf and shop on mobile devices today than ever before is hardly a revelation.

Yet we, as media fanatics, need to be on top of every trend–and a new white paper from the Mobile Marketing Association gets a bit more specific about the ongoing mobile takeover.

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STUDY: TV Viewers Aren’t All That Social

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No, we’re not talking about the Twitter deluge bemoaning last night’s HBO GO failure. (But please, no Game of Thrones premier spoilers. We fell asleep waiting for it to load.)

Despite all the talk of social media as a new way to measure success on TV, the vast majority of viewers don’t use social while watching–and most of those who do aren’t watching very closely.

Yet two competing studies on the topic show us that the future of the medium is-surprise–hardly set in stone.

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STUDY: Employees May Be the Best Brand Advocates

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See, stock photos never lie

Who can best defend a brand’s reputation on social? According to a newly published Weber Shandwick study, the answer may come from within.

The study, conducted in collaboration with KRC Research (full PDF here), concerns trends in “employee activism”, or the ability of those within an organization to become its most prominent defenders.

An online survey of 2,300 employees in 15 different markets around the world found that:

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