Comprehensive Strategies: Communication’s New RuleBy Andrea Villar | Mon, 04/12/2021 - 13:31
Q: What is Neuma's hallmark in the public relations market?
A: We want to professionalize communication in Mexico. PR agencies today are sluggish. They all work in the same way; they communicate in a similar fashion and this has slowed the industry’s growth. Overall, very larges PR agencies dominate the public relations market. On the client side, due to internal policies, some companies hire external PR agencies out of need, then many agencies have become lazy because their clients often are there out of obligation instead of being there out of choice. In this context, Neuma seeks to innovate, integrate, generate alliances and provide clients with much greater value. We want to be a partner, offering them quantifiable strategies and measurable results. There are clients who need a strategy, others who need us to do the monotonous work and others who just want one thing to be done perfectly, we seek to identify and adapt to the needs of each one.
In the last two years, our team has grown from seven to 25 people and our number of customers has increased. We have been able to make a significant leap forward by working with transnational companies that have realized the added value we provide. We have experience in the corporate area, in the health sector and energy, among others.
Q: What is the advantage companies get by hiring a PR agency instead of doing this work in-house?
A: The needs of a large company are not the same as those of a startup. I belong to the board of directors of the Mexican Association of Entrepreneurs and I have noticed that entrepreneurs believe they are communicating their message well even though that is not the case in reality. What startups need is to generate confidence among investors and consumers, who will then make a bet on them.
Said that, having an external PR agency depends on the needs of each company. Some companies need to increase the visibility of their products while others, such as those focused on explosives or oil and gas, will never go out and communicate anything to the public. They want to have a communication area ready to manage a crisis so their company can continue operating. We recognize that communication serves to generate confidence and to enable companies to transmit what they really are. The value that a PR agency can provide is an external perspective with a consultative approach.
Q: As a result of the pandemic, what needs to change in companies’ communication strategies?
A: Nowadays, there are still companies talking about the offline and online world. This is nonsense. Communication is one regardless of the channel used to deliver the message. Companies need to migrate from a public relations approach to a comprehensive communication approach. Today, more than ever, teams of people with integral knowledge are needed because companies are living through a digital revolution while also dealing with budget cuts. Moments like the COVID-19 pandemic are ideal to demonstrate that the value of a good idea is greater than any budget.
Q: What challenges do companies face after adopting comprehensive strategies?
A: Users are overwhelmed today. People are already tired of webinars and videoconferences and companies are still doing them. The challenge is to know where the user will be in eight months' time. The user will no longer be attending webinars, watching a company's social networks only or attending Instagram Live. After eight months, the user will want to leave their house to have contact with people and will already know that it is not necessary to go to a mall or a supermarket to get a product. The challenge will be to generate engagement at a time when thousands of brands can be seen on social media and in the market.
Q: What is the upside and downside of working with influencers on advertising campaigns?
A: Influencers are overrated and that is down to the brands. Companies have formed a bubble of influencers who are overpaid and rarely show measurable results. No one can deny that they are a platform for exposure and they work if they are coupled with a good communication strategy. However, this bubble has also caused that many companies in the market use this strategy, which is not ideal because this is only a short-term approach. In short, working with influencers must be complemented by a complete and good communication campaign.
Q: How can companies stand out from their competitors in the communications world?
A: You need to be provocative to generate reactions from the public. Either use your competition, a well-known personality or talk about current trends. Today, the focus is on transparency. Consumers are not stupid. Things are different now and information is available everywhere. Companies need to see their consumers as adults and get rid of the idea that they can control their thoughts on a mass scale. Effective persuasion today requires a much smarter approach.
Neuma is a consulting company in the field of communication and public relations. It works with clients like Pfizer, Hogan Lovells and Sanofi.