Why blogs are a vital tool of any customer engagement strategy

Why blogs are a vital tool of any customer engagement strategy
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Ahead of B&T’s Women in Media Awards, Lorraine Murphy, head of relationships at The Remarkables Group explores the benefits brands can gain from a relationship with bloggers, and the strategies marketers and agencies need to engage with the ‘customer of the future.’

As a 2013 B&T Women in Media Award Winner, Lorraine also discusses the value the awards provide to the industry and why it’s so important for women to be recognised for their achievements in the Australian media industry.

 

Q: Tell us a little about the Remarkables Group – how did Australia’s first blogger-only agency come about?

A: My background is PR and communications strategy.  While I was at Naked Communications, I saw an opportunity for someone to help bloggers and brands create relationships with each other – that would be mutually beneficial and would give readers excellent branded content.  I already had relationships with a group of influential bloggers, so I sounded them out on the idea.  Their very positive response and realising that this could potentially be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was the push I needed to strike out on my own.  

Q: What benefits can brands gain from a relationship with bloggers and vice-versa?

A: Bloggers have built up a high level of what we call "trust capital" with their readers over time – some of the bloggers in our group have been blogging for over seven years.  Readers trust their opinions and recommendations –  from our reader study, they see the blogger as a friend.  When a brand partners with a blogger in a relevant way, they are accessing this trust capital and the genuine word-of-mouth recommendation that comes with it.  From a blogger's perspective, partnering with brands helps them make a living from doing what they love and also enables them to bring interesting content and offers to their readers.  The key factors that apply to both sides are relevance, transparency and always always adding value to readers.

Q: How has the Remarkables Group helped brands to engage with the digital customer?

A: We connect brands like Woolworths, Samsung, L'Oreal, Schwarzkopf, Toyota and Commonwealth Bank to bloggers who already have a relationship with their target consumers.  The blogger's involvement can include branded content, content creation, ambassadorships, social amplification and appearances. 

Q: What do you think the customer of the future will look like? How do you think agencies/marketers can best communicate with them to get results?

A: I think they'll be spending less time sitting with a laptop or desktop computer and will be sourcing the bulk of their news and content from their mobiles.  The hunger for information will speed up even more, and accessing that information will be increasingly intuitive – look at Google Glasses and the iWatch that Apple has registered a patent for.  In tandem though, I believe there'll be more of a desire for frequent "digital shutdowns" where consumers opt out of being plugged in to connect more with nature and each other.  There is a rising trend of events to cater for this need in the US – for example Camp Grounded in the US, which is organised by the Digital Detox group. 

Q: Tell us a little about the Women in Media Awards last year – what were the highlights of attending?

A: It was an excellent opportunity to catch up with industry buddies, and to make some new ones.  The atmosphere in the room was incredible – definitely one of excitement, but it was also very warm and welcoming.  I also liked the pace of the awards – the hosts did a great job of keeping things moving along without detracting from the finalists and winners. 

Q: What does winning a Women in Media Award mean to you?

A: It was like the industry saying: "you're doing a good job and we recognise that".  It's a tough job starting your own gig, and to have that kind of industry acknowledgement only a year after the business launched was remarkable.  There were some seriously smart women in my category, so to even be a finalist with them was an honour.

Q: What is the importance of the Women in Media awards within the media industry?

A: I think it's vital that women are called out for their achievements.  To general quite broadly, we aren't so good at asking others to recognise our achievements and putting ourselves out there.  Having read Shery Sandberg's Lean In this year, the Women in Media awards provide an opportunity for women across the industry to stand up and be counted for their successes.  From a relative newcomer to the industry, it also allows up-and-coming talent to be recognised alongside the media heavyweights.

Q: What achievement are you most proud in your career to date so far?

A: Starting The Remarkables Group, without a doubt.  One of my favourite quotes is by Goethe – "Boldness has magic, power and genius in it.  Whatever you dream, begin it now."  Starting the business was for sure the boldest move I've ever made, and I get quite overwhelmed if I slow down long enough to absorb what a journey it's been already. 

Q: What’s next for you in the future?

A: The first 20 months have been about educating the market on the value of bloggers.  Now that we've proven that, it's looking at how else we can develop the space.  So expect some new offerings and adventures from us this year! 

Q: If you could trade places for one day with an inspirational woman (from the past or present) who would it be?

A: Oprah Winfrey.  I am completely in awe of what she has achieved based purely on smarts and strength of spirit.  I also love that she lives her own brand, and has done so much to move women forward. 

 

For more information about the B&T Women in Media Awards visit: http://www.madweek.com.au/women-media-2014

ONE Week left to go until entries CLOSE for the 2014 Women in Media Awards! Enter or nominate by COB Friday 9th May.

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