Brand Communication is imperative to the sustainable success of any brand. In the current competitive landscape, brands must go beyond narrating a compelling story, they need to communicate in a way that inspires and engages. Having a solid and consistent brand communication strategy allows the brand to stand  out, cut through the noise, build awareness and drive an emotional connection with the audience. The Berries interviewed Gita Ghaemmaghami, Regional PR & Communications Manager MEA of Sony Mobile , to get her two cents on how should brands communicate in 2018.

BB: Corporate communication used to be all about exposure and buzz via various media channels; With the rise of new communication concepts, brands find themselves with no choice but to adapt to change. From your opinion, what are the important new trends that corporate communication professionals should keep on their radar to lead in 2018 ?

GG: While there are so many trends impacting the way communication shapes the future, there is no doubt that social media plays a vital role, posting over 17 million* times a day on Twitter is a verdict to the importance of social media in consumers’ purchasing behavior and the great impact it has on companies’ communication strategy shift towards social media marketing as well as their heavy investment in these platforms, so we will see more and more of social media. -Seamless communication which allows you to write something on your laptop in one place and be able to continue reading and editing it on your mobile or listen to it in your car.

Visual communication (Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest…) including visual storytelling is rising. -Real-time is another important trend that attracts consumers with 5G coming to be in hand we will see more of it.

BB: For brands, fake news on social media is an existential threat. Do you think this will effect the level of online brand engagement on social media platforms ?In times of fake news, should brands remain silent, refute news or generate content in a different direction ? Please elaborate

GG: Fake news is not new and it can be traced back to more than a century ago. Fake news does have a significant impact on businesses today and it can become sometimes very difficult to manage. Unfortunately, in the race for sharing the story first, people fall for fake news and share false contents. I believe everyone, whether communication professional or not, should spot a rising fake story and stop it in its tracks.

BB: The use of influencers has been one of the dominating highlights that gained momentum in 2017 with leaning on online influencers more than celebrity endorsements. How can the use of influencers for brands evolve in 2018 for a better ROI ?

GG: Investing in social media & influencers marketing is not as easy as it seems. Companies should not feel at ease with just communicating on any social media platform as their audience demographics can change in what seems like overnight. Each business has their own unique audience identity, but that segmentation might not apply to each social media network successfully. Reaching right audiences has never been harder, and grasping up-to-date data on social media demographics helps to achieve better and greater impact hence selecting the right social influencer is extremely important to achieve planned ROI.

BB: One of the historical industry debates has revolved around whether doing PR in-house or hiring a professional corporate communication agency. Can you mention some differentiators that would encourage brands do PR with a firm instead of doing it in-house ?

GG: When I started out in Advertising, one agency used to handle all the advertising and communications needs of clients. We were the one-stop shop. Over the past 17 years, however, the marcom landscape has shifted dramatically, resulting in multiple agencies delivering on a client’s business. This shift has triggered challenges at both ends of the spectrum, with both agencies and clients needing to manage numerous relationships per campaign. Having said that hiring a PR agency/ partner it is significantly important to manage a vast number of media and influencers’ relationship. Effective public relations certainly improve business outcomes by generating new leads, and targeted media outlets will create more visibility for the company to prospects. One of the other important aspects of having a PR agency is saving costs. An integrated PR with digital and other communications approach would create more impact and will have a better ROI with lower cost. Message clarity about the company’s vision, brand identity and offerings is one of the other benefits that a PR agency can also add to your business.

BB: Nowadays, Brands are all about designing engaging experiences. How can corporate communication professionals help brands narrate their stories and create an emotional attachment?

GG: I would like to elaborate on this answer from a holistic point of view, I believe having emotional intelligence is important in any aspect of life, business or personal as Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism said: “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is a strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”

If we understand and appreciate where others are coming from—emotionally— we can have the appropriate emotion for the situation, we would be able to inspire, to motivate and better connect with those we communicate with, hence the good corporate communication professional can create the emotional connection with the consumers and that is where your success comes from.

BB: Corporate communication pros who work in the digital sphere are often faced with an all-time dilemma, Content Virality Vs Paid tools. How can they  constantly find new content niches, social communities and influencers, organically ?

GG: Many companies think they need to have a presence on every single social media channel from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram but this is not necessary, you should focus your efforts on the right channels that target your consumers.

  • You should know your audience, using an online survey or poll and asking them about which social platform is more used for your business and what content is more interesting for them.
  • You should know what your industry competitors post about to be able to create the right content for your audiences.
  • Any aspect of social media consent and posting can be better visible online by optimization.
  • Last, not the least you content should be relevant, up-to-date, interesting, and educational with a sense of humor that’s the way you can keep up with today’s fast-paced social media environment.