Online videos and branding, market research tips and more

How can I use online video to promote our brand?

Online video
How can I use online video to promote our brand?
"A quality how-to video can be an excellent way to meet online users' needs and promote your brand," says Kirk Barnhart, online marketing manager for Family Features Editorial Syndicate.

As print outlets expand their online presence, how-to videos can directly reach your ideal consumer. "You could pair a feature about pet care with a video that demonstrates proper grooming techniques," he advises.

The subtle use of branding should keep consumers informed while not pushing a product. It will also keep Web publishers from wanting ad dollars to run the video.

The branded product should help consumers finish a task, Barnhart adds, but shouldn't be the main focus.

Remember to limit mentions and references to the brand or product. "In a cooking demonstration," he says, "avoid having the demonstrator wear an apron with the brand's Web site address."

Market research
How can I use market research to support PR efforts?
Google offers a quick solution. Search "cell phone usage among teens" and you'll certainly get just that.

"Get permission from the research's author before using it and cite the source in your campaign," says David Reeve, manager of marketing and PR at WebVisible.

Alternatively, he suggests, think bigger by commissioning your own market research project. For instance, Nielsen Online does custom surveys of their mega-panel online audience.

"Make sure to tailor survey questions specifically to get lean, media-friendly answers," Reeve says.

The survey responses provide original content for press releases and sound bites, and can quickly make you an authority on the subject.

"Doing your own market research study can be exciting, but you must live with the results," warns Reeve, "even if people don't give the answers you want to hear."

Crisis comms
What steps should I take if my company faces a crisis?

When unexpected crises hit a company, executives can find themselves rudderless in a sea of media calls. Negative news coverage can hurt a company's stock value and jeopardize its reputation, says Patricia Thorp, president of Thorp and Company.

Some simple steps can help PR executives lead their companies to high ground when crises happen.
Draft message points that specifically address the key issues of various stakeholders, she recommends. You should also assign one executive to be spokesperson. In addition, utilize Web tools to your company's advantage, and issue news releases selectively and strategically.

"Know when to initiate calls to reporters and be sure to be responsive to journalists," she adds.

Use crises to showcase your company's honesty and integrity. Doing so will help you build stronger bridges with the media and key stakeholders for years to come.

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