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The Basics on Thought Leadership

The Basics on Thought Leadership

There are always buzzwords floating around the business world: productivity, transparency, ROI (just to name a few). And while thought leadership might be a topic you’ve seen, it’s so much more than just a buzzword. It’s essential for the growth of your business. So let’s dive into the basics. Thought leadership is being an expert on a specific topic or in a specific industry that people and publications can rely on to learn the newest trends. It’s a simple way for your business to reinforce your expertise on a given topic or industry.

So what’s the big deal? Well, other than the obvious fact that every business wants to be an expert in their field, it’s crucial to position yourself as an expert in front of your target audience.

How does one become a thought leader? By creating timely, knowledgeable and expert insight on a subject through branded content. Here’s how:

Long-Form Written Content

Blogs are a major player in helping your brand become a thought leader. They engage your audience and they offer up an easy way to get across expert information. After reading your posts, your audience should leave knowing how to do something new or with valuable knowledge they can apply to their life, business etc. By integrating a robust, knowledgeable blog presence on your website, you’ll not only reinforce your authority to website visitors, but you’ll also increase searchability and have the functionality to share across digital channels such as social media and newsletters.

Visual Content

As we mentioned above, relevant content is key to a successful thought leadership campaign, but it isn’t just enough to write blogs. You need visual elements to capture your audience’s attention and relay key points of information. Not everyone has the time or attention span to read blogs, so utilizing visual content like infographics makes your expert information easily consumed by social media scrollers. According to Facebook, on average, most audiences spend about 1.7 seconds on a piece of content. In order to get the most out of this very short amount of time and hopefully capture someone’s attention, a strong visual presence is key.

 Publicity

Another great way to increase brand authority is through publicity. Once your business has scored a media hit due to your excellent thought leadership content, you can not only expect a wider reach to your target audience via the media publication you’ve landed, but also increased credibility. When the media is relying on you as a source of expert information, this will solidify your status as a thought leader among your target audiences as well.

Stay tuned to receive additional blog posts as we take a deeper dive into the elements that lead to a successful thought leadership campaign. 

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PR Council Awards Fellowship to Fetch IMC!

Fetch is honored to be one of five firms selected to receive a fellowship from the PR Council. The PR Council is a trade association designed to connect the present and next generation of PR professionals, industry innovators and business leaders. The PRC has active members from over 108 leading US agencies.

As part of our fellowship selection, we will receive access to the organization’s resources and programming. “Diversity and inclusion are core to the mission of the council and its members,” said Weber Shandwick president Gail Heimann, chair of the PR Council board. “I know that what we learn from the impressive leaders of these firms will add enormous value and meaning to our efforts and help to accelerate the change we need in our industry.”

We can’t wait to dive into the council’s business-building, talent development and networking initiatives as well as participate in committee work to further the organization’s agenda on behalf of the PR industry.

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Meet the New Faces of Fetch IMC

We’re pleased to welcome two new members to the Fetch IMC team! 


Name: Matt Watson
Role: Account Executive
Alma Mater: Columbia College Chicago

Q: What is your favorite part about working with SMB clients?

A: My dad and grandfather were small business owners, so it’s always been in my DNA. I love working with other small businesses, learning about their pain points and helping to solve them through the creative process. You can really appreciate the impact our work has on these types of clients.

Q: What TV show are you currently addicted to?

A: Right now, it’s a tie between American Horror Story: Apocalypse, and re-watching Game of Thrones for the third time as I count down the days until season 8 premiers.

Q: What’s your favorite place in the world?

A: Obviously Chicago. I moved to San Francisco for four years after college, but missed the deep dish pizza too much – so I’m back! Hawaii would be a close second.

 


Name: Spencer Hopkins
Role: Digital Specialist
Alma Mater: DeVry University

Q: What is your favorite part about working with SMB clients?

A: When I think about a strong community, I envision small- and medium-sized businesses contributing to the community and feeding the economy. That can be measured on a small scale all the way to a global scale. There is also a lot to learn from watching the life cycle of a business and seeing it grow.

Q: What TV show are you currently addicted to?

A: Honestly, I am addicted to a few TV shows. I recently started watching TV again and I can’t get enough! Some of the shows I’m currently watching are Shameless, which is shot in Chicago; Insecure, with Issa Rae; Atlanta, directed by Donald Glover; and a few animated series.

Q: What’s your favorite place in the world?

A: My favorite place in the world is anywhere I haven’t had the chance to visit! There is much to experience in the world, rather than being comfortable in places I’ve been already. Some of my favorite places that I’ve had the chance to travel to are Montreal, New York and Japan. I plan to grow that list.

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Fetch Named One of the Best PR Firms in Chicago!

For the second year in a row, Fetch has been named one of the top public relations firms in Chicago! Expertise, a platform designed to locate local experts, surveyed 706 PR firms that serve the Chicago area to select the top 18 to feature.

Firms were scored on more than 25 variables across five categories, then analyzed the list to hand-pick its recommended companies. Fetch also received this honor in 2017.

 

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Welcome to Fetch IMC

Every time someone asks me how things are going at Fetch, I give the same reply: “The marathon continues.” Being a small business owner is one the of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I have had in my life. The one constant in the marathon of entrepreneurship is change.

When we started Fetch PR nine years ago, we had a very clear mission. Deliver meaningful results for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Over the course of the past decade, that objective has remained our focus and has helped guide us and our clients to new heights. However, times have changed. PR, marketing and the trajectory of small businesses have changed. We will never detour from our path of delivering big-firm results for SMBs. That being said, we’ve evolved how we go about doing it.

Our rebrand is more than a name and logo change. We’re staking a claim in the SMB space. We know what small- to mid-sized businesses need to grow their brands. We are laser focused on leading the industry in delivering unmatched results for entrepreneurs who need it most. While PR will always be part of what we do, we are now partnering with our clients to be their go-to marketing resource.

Welcome to Fetch IMC

Erryn “EC” Cobb
CEO
Refuse To Be Ordinary

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Pay Attention to Your Employer Brand

Just when you think you have a good handle on how your brand is perceived by your target audience, we’re here to throw you a curveball: how does your brand look to potential recruits? If you find yourself just trying to fill open positions instead of recruiting top talent to help grow your company, it’s time to take a close look at your employer brand.

Recruiting is Marketing

Ten years ago, most of the workforce was simply happy to have a steady paycheck. Companies didn’t have to offer fancy amenities and perks, because they had the upper hand. Fortunately, the economy has recovered quite well, and unemployment has dropped to its lowest rate since 2000 (as of June 1, 2018). This means employers need to put forth effort to actually attract the type of employees they want.

Understand Your Brand

Just as you would conduct an external brand audit, you need to take a hard look at your employer brand. As you evaluate your recruiting assets, make sure your brand voice and feel is weaved through every piece of collateral. The same is true for the onboarding process, a new employee’s first true interaction with your company. Every member of your team – from customer-facing positions to the person processing payroll – should be able to explain your company’s culture. Word-of-mouth endorsement from your employees is just as good as any lead generation initiative.

Look from the Outside In

Once you’ve examined your company culture, take a look at how (or if) you’re promoting yourself as an employer. It might seem self-serving to talk about all of the wonderful benefits you offer your employees, but that is going to be one of your best assets when it comes to recruiting the most qualified talent to join your team. Applicants want to know these things, and not sharing what sets you apart is actually going to hurt your chances at recruiting.

Recruiting top talent to work for you is a plight understood by every company, but the ones who get it are the brands that treat their recruiting process the same as their sale process. Click here to read more about how to improve your internal and external brands for overall success.

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Your Brand Has Changed, Whether You Know it or Not

Are you the same person you were 10 years ago? Neither is your business. Chances are, if you’ve been around for more than a few years, something about your company has changed. This might be a slight tweaking to make your business more competitive or a complete shift as a result of industry changes. No matter what has changed or why, your brand should reflect that.

Core Offerings Are Huge

It’s easy to disregard slight changes to your products or services because they might not seem like that big of a deal from the inside. (Especially if this was a gradual shift.) However, from a potential customer, that small amendment could be just what they’re looking for. Take a step back, and look at your core offerings with a fresh eye. If someone you did business with on the first day you opened your doors approached you now, would you offer them the same service?

Company Culture is Key

Too often, company culture is overlooked when it comes to selling a brand. However, your culture and your brand cannot be separate. You’ve probably worked hard building a strong internal system of communications, employee engagement, general workforce bonding, etc. Sharing that with your target audience adds to your overall brand equity. Additionally, promoting your strong culture will help attract top talent that will drive your business forward.

Brand Equity Needs Attention

Speaking of brand equity, have you measured yours? Establish how much value your brand has within your target audience, and how recognizable it is among those in your network. Your customer might have a general idea about what you bring to the table, but the strong key points may have become muddied as your business has changed. A rebrand can be a fantastic way to reestablish your messaging and give your hard-earned brand equity a boost.

As you’re taking a look at how your brand has changed for your target audience, remember that it’s important to actually define those target audiences. If you’re still not sure whether or not you need a rebrand, take our quiz!  

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Consistency in Brand Messaging is Key

If you want to find out how consistent your brand messaging is, ask three people to describe your business: a customer, an employee and yourself. If your company has been around for while, you’ll most likely get three very different messages. No matter who the public face is for your brand, it’s important that everyone involved be able to distinguish the key points that set your offerings apart from the rest.

External Branding

Once you’ve identified your target audiences, think about how you want people to interact with your business. Whether a potential client is holding your business card, using your website or reviewing a sell sheet, the essence of your company should be there and be familiar. If you want them to walk away feeling confident, work backwards and decide what your business can do to instill that emotion.

How did a boring yellow ‘M’ become one of those most recognized logos in the world? Consistent branding. You might not be as big as McDonald’s (yet!), but presenting a unified look and feel across every single marketing channel is crucial in communicating your value to your target audience. Part of your rebrand should be to decide how this will spread across every platform.

Internal Branding

Depending on what type of business you’ve built, there could be multiple internal audiences – from support staff who keep the company running to client-facing employees who interact with your target audience on a regular basis. However, when it comes to brand messaging, everyone needs to be on board.

A good analogy is how restaurants work with their serving staff. When a new menu item is released, a good restaurant will have everyone taste the item while they explain the flavors behind it. That way, the servers can make recommendations to the customer and be able to describe the dishes before placing their order. Now, ask yourself how your employees would be able to explain your offerings to your target audience. Can they describe your services? Do they know the key differentiators of your brand? Would they recommend working with your company to their own networks?

Strive to have every single person who interacts with your brand come away with the feeling and knowledge you want to communicate. You may never reach McDonald’s status, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strive to instill that same recognition among your target audience.

Still not sure about a rebrand? Take our quiz!

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Quiz: Is It Time for a Rebrand?

Brands grow and change over time, morphing from the humble beginnings of an early stage startup to a full-fledged business. You’re proud of your success story, but how well are you sharing it with others?

From subtle changes in your core offerings to complete shifts in products and leadership, a rebrand will let your customers and network know who you are today as opposed to who you were before.

If you’re unsure whether or not your brand could use a refresh, fear not! We have put together a quick quiz to help you think about the different aspects of your business to assess whether a rebrand would be beneficial.

1. Do you have a clear target audience
You may have known who your customers were when you launched, but now it’s just….everyone?

a. Yes
b. No

2. Is your brand consistent across all channels
Think about whether or not someone who looks at your website will have the exact same impression as someone who is holding your business card.

a. Yes
b. No

3. Has your brand changed over time
This can mean a shift in product offerings, culture or even leadership.

a. Yes
b. No

4. Does your brand look attractive to potential recruits
Consider how you’re attracting top talent to keep your business growing.

a. Yes
b. No

5. Have you updated your marketing materials
Take a look at all of your marketing materials, starting with your logo.

a. Yes
b. No

5. Is your website working for you
Ask yourself whether your website is an asset or a liability.

a. Yes
b. No

Answer Key:

Mostly A’s
Congratulations! Your brand is in great shape, demonstrating all of your core values and offerings to the appropriate target audiences. Have you thought about how to expand your reach even further? Check out a few suggestions on how to boost your email marketing campaigns or launch a social media ad campaign.

Mostly B’s
You already know what we’re going to say. You might have spent $10,000 on a website eight years ago, and now you’re afraid to touch it. Maybe you have your 18-year-old niece making “graphics” for social media that aren’t quite aligned with your messaging. No matter what your reasoning, it’s never too late to refresh your image. Stay tuned to the Fetch blog for our series on how to make your brand work for you.