Understanding the Difference: B2B vs. B2C

As we begin a new year, we’re incorporating many new yearly public relations plans for our clients. Those plans vary from client to client, especially depending upon whether the client is considered business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). Today we focus on the differences between the two and how that impacts marketing and public relations efforts.

 

B2B

B2B marketing involves the sale of a company’s product or service to another company. Typically, the marketing techniques of a B2B plan focus on relationship-building based on logic with the goal of developing prospects into customers.

Plans focus on the features of the product or service to educate the target audience. This can often include many different steps, involving in-depth marketing materials. For example, in an attempt to reach out to a target customer’s sales representatives, we may incorporate a photo gallery that showcases the product that our client is selling. Through that gallery, the target audience is able to view samples of a product and learn more about how that product can be implemented for their own use.

B2C

B2C marketing involves the sale of a product or service to the end customer. While the marketing techniques of a B2C plan focus on relationship-building, too, the plans are often based more on emotion with the goal of developing a shopper into a loyal buyer.

Consumers don’t necessarily have to always spend a lot of time to understand the benefits of a product or service, so they expect those benefits to be presented in a clear and direct manner. Rather than a photo gallery that showcases just the product that our client is selling, we might suggest implementing more techniques through social media, which is a great way to connect and continue to build a relationship with the target consumer. For example, a Pinterest board is a great resource to connect with a target audience while sharing valuable product information and driving traffic to the website and other social networks. A client can share a variety of visually-friendly information such as infographics, videos, articles, and possibly even coupons and contests, with its target audience.

As you can see, B2B and B2C marketing techniques are certainly based on the same principles, they are just executed in different ways.

Four Ways Public Relations & Social Media Should Work Together

It’s no secret that public relations and social media are (or should be) a crucial part of a company or brand’s strategy for success. Though both areas are different, they share the common goal of positively communicating on behalf of a company or brand, and both are becoming more and more intertwined.

Here are a couple of ways that they can work hand in hand:

  • Public relations professionals work hard to pitch ideas and content to media outlets on behalf of their clients. If pitches are successful and clients/products are featured in a news article, magazine, TV spot or blog post, share those successes on social media. Not only do you maximize exposure to that content, but it’s a way to make a connection with the media outlet that published it.
  • If your client has an online newsroom, share links to distributed press releases on their social media profiles. If you want to take it a bit further, repurpose the content in the press release. For example, if you distribute photo caption sheets, take some of those stellar images and post them on Pinterest while linking back to the release.
  • If your client is hosting an event, chances are that you’re distributing press releases, fliers and calendar postings to alert the masses. Consider creating an event on Facebook and inviting fans. You can gauge how many people are interested based on the RSVPs, and it’ll give your client, as the host, an opportunity to engage with the audience and answer any questions people might have. If your client is gearing up to attend an important industry event—like a trade show or expo— your press release might announce their attendance, but this is a great opportunity to make the announcement on LinkedIn or encourage them to join an existing event/thread on social media to make connections before they even get there.
  • Great engagement on social media profiles can lead to amazing public relations opportunities. Having a real conversation with someone and creating a relationship is what public relations is all about. These days, reporters and other media outlets can generate an entire story based on the conversations and communication they see on social media sites. Don’t be afraid to issue statements on your profile, and don’t be surprised if a media outlet highlights it in an article.

How else do you use public relations and social media together? Feel free to share in the comments section!

Yearick-Millea Acquires SWZ Design, Adds Design Capability

Yearick-Millea is pleased to announce that Kristi Schaefer and Scot Wallace, formerly of SWZ Design, have joined our staff following our acquisition of that firm.

As long-time collaborators and neighbors in our building, Kristi and Scot have furnished their creative talents to several Yearick-Millea clients, and independently to Eat ‘n Park Hospitality Group, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, DRS Architects, Cleaveland/Price Inc., Elliott Group, the American Heart Association and other well-known organizations.

Over the next few months, we will be working with Kristi and Scot to integrate their design, creative and strategic capabilities, as we chart an exciting new direction for our firm.  We’ll post more news to our social media feeds, website, blog and e-newsletter as progress continues.  In the meantime, we invite you to see samples of Kristi and Scot’s work at their website.

Our Favorite Super Bowl XLIX Commercials

Super Bowl XLIX is in the books, and though the New England Patriots came out on top, so did a lot of the commercials.

The Yearick-Millea staff has compiled a list of some of our favorites. Here’s a look:

Budweiser’s “Lost Dog”

Lauren: I enjoyed the Budweiser lost puppy commercial – for the way that it evoked emotion. It was obviously pretty cute, too!

Stephanie: A cute puppy works every time.

John: You can’t go wrong with the puppy and the Clydesdales.

Esurance’s “Say My Name”

John: As a “Breaking Bad” fan, I got a big kick out of the Esurance commercial starring Walter White (Bryan Cranston).

Discover’s “Surprise”

Heidi: I’ve watched YouTube videos with screaming goats because they’re so funny! Even though this commercial aired pretty early on in the night, it was definitely my favorite.

Loctite Glue’s “Positive Feelings”

Ian:  I liked it because the last thing I thought I’d see on Super Sunday was a hilarious glue commercial with a catchy beat and fanny packs.

NO MORE’s Domestic Violence PSA

Jay: This is a sensitive subject, but it was very well done.

However, not all commercials–serious or funny–are getting the thumbs up from viewers. Nationwide Insurance’s “Make Safe Happen” spot has received a lot of criticism for being too dark and depressing for the Super Bowl, and some viewers were confused about the insurance company’s intent. What do you think?

In your opinion, what were the best and worst Super Bowl XLIX commercials? Let us know in the comments!

Confused About Using ‘Further’ and ‘Farther’?

Today, we are talking about the differences between further and farther, as we continue our series on commonly confused words.

To be fair, both words mean “at a more distant place” and are commonly used interchangeably in most English-speaking countries, with farther being rarely used. However, if you’re a stickler for grammar, they should be used in different situations, at least in American English.

Fear not though, there’s a simple distinction between the two words. Further is used when talking about figurative or metaphorical distances (more time, more effort, etc.), while farther is used for physical distances (more miles, more inches, etc.).

Need a tip for when to use farther? Take the stem word—far—and think about the opening line of Star Wars IV: “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” Here, this imaginary galaxy is farther—not further—away than the coffee shop down the street. Why? Because we are talking about the physical distance to the other galaxy, whether it is 100 feet or 100 parsecs.

If you’re in a pinch and can’t decide which word to use, go with further.

Are there other grammar questions that you’d like us to explore further?

The Importance of Accuracy in Public Relations

As public relations and marketing professionals, we spend a lot of our time distributing information to the public on behalf of our clients—whether it’s via a press release, print collateral, website content, social media or other outlets.

But it’s important for that information to be accurate. As we’ve covered in a previous blog, accuracy is a crucial aspect of ethical behavior within the industry, and distributing false information could ruin the credibility of your firm or client.

In 2010, BP’s credibility took several blows as statements issued to the public addressing the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill were challenged and proven to be wrong.

However, the distribution of false information isn’t always an intentional action. Working with clients in a variety of industries, public relations and marketing experts are tasked with learning about those industries—whether or not we’ve had previous experience with them or knowledge about them in the past—in order to assist with communications efforts.

If you’re working on a project for a client and you don’t understand something, ask them for clarification. For example, if you’re working on a press release about a new product launch, but you don’t comprehend what the product is or what it does, reach out to the client before you start writing. If you don’t, you might be sending the client a draft of copy full of inaccuracies, and you’ll have to start from scratch once they’ve reviewed it. The client should appreciate your desire to get the information right much more than your ability to “wing it.”

Similarly, your relationship with journalists could be negatively impacted if they discover multiple inaccuracies in your content or if they publish the wrong information directly from the release you sent—even if the mistakes were not intentional.

Luckily, most organizations have an approval process in place before any type of information is distributed or published on their behalf, but there’s always a chance for incorrect information to slip through the cracks.

Avoid making careless mistakes by proofreading your content, asking the client for clarification if you need it and checking your facts—especially names, dates, statistics and even basic facts. Remember that not all sources are credible, reputable or up-to-date when you’re verifying information online.

Do you have any other tips that help promote the distribution of accurate content? What tools do you use to check your facts? Let us know in the comments!

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: The Peoples Gas Holiday Market

If you still have to buy some holiday gifts for your loved ones, there’s time to head over to the Peoples Gas Holiday Market in downtownone of our favorite Pittsburgh things!

Located in Market Square, the Peoples Gas Holiday Market was inspired by the original German Christkindlmarkts. Vendors are housed in Alpine-style wooden chalets, offering ethnic and local gifts such as jewelry, ornaments, artwork, winter accessories and many more handcrafted items.

After shopping, take a break and visit Santa Claus, catch some live performances and entertainment, or grab a bite to eat from the Yule Hause presented by NOLA on the Square—featuring bratwurst, crepes, strudel, haluski and more treats. If you want to experience holiday lights, stick around for the BNY Mellon Season of Lights, a choreographed light show in Market Square that occurs every half hour after dark.

The Peoples Gas Holiday Market is open through Tuesday, Dec. 23. For more information and a complete list of vendors and performances, click here.

The Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Pittsburgh.

The Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Pittsburgh.

Social Media Trends to Explore in 2015

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 2015! Here at Yearick-Millea, we’re starting to think about trends we should be exploring for our clients in the new year. The following are a few trends we think will be important on social media in the upcoming year:

  • Instagram – If you have clients in retail, beauty or other visual industries, it’s time to make sure they’re on Instagram! Instagram continues to grow—it just surpassed Twitter in users—and it is the most popular visual social media network. Also important to remember is that unlike Pinterest, Instagram’s user base is more diverse.
  • Facebook – Unfortunately, being successful as a brand on Facebook in 2015 will mean paying more for ads and even post views. With post views continuing to drop as result of Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, brands will need to be creative with their ad spend. Good content will remain a must, but it’s looking more and more like paying to play is, too.
  • Ello – Keep an eye on Ello in 2015 – the newest social network is still in beta, but it continues to grow each day. However, before you consider it for your brand, remember that Ello is meant to be the “ad-free” social network to counter Facebook. A careful strategy with a focus on conversation and engagement, not selling, will be vital to any brands trying to use Ello.
  • Customer service – Social media has been the go-to option for customers for some time now, but in 2015 expect customers to want faster response times and more personalized responses. It’s important to map out your response procedures and determine who is responsible for customer service to be prepared for this. As you know, a negative customer service experience gets more press than a positive one.
  • Analytics – Social media analytics will continue to grow and delve deeper into customer behaviors online, allowing brands to better target new customers and retain old ones.
  • E-commerce – With the development of “buy” buttons on Facebook and Twitter, social buying is something retail brands should monitor as they become available. It’s not yet known if these buttons will be popular and seen as an even easier way to purchase items or as an invasion of privacy that people will be uncomfortable with.

What are your predictions for trends in social media during 2015? Let us know in the comments!

2015

5 Grammar Tips to Keep in Mind This Holiday Season

We’re almost through the first week of December, which means holiday-related content is being published everywhere! Whether you’re writing a holiday-themed press release, article, blog post, brochure or just signing your annual cards, here are a couple of tips to help you with your holiday content:

  1. Capitalize words like Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Kwanzaa, Yule, Yuletide, North Pole, Jesus, Jesus Christ and Feliz Navidad. Because a Grinch derives from the proper name of Dr. Seuss’ famous grumpy character, it also is capitalized. Though Champagne often is widely used as a generic term to describe what one drinks during a holiday celebration, the term actually refers to a specific type of sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France and fermented in the bottle to create carbonation. Because of this, Champagne should be capitalized and other sparkling wines should simply be referred to as sparkling wine.
  1. The jolly guy who brings toys to children around the world is Santa Claus, not Clause, unless you’re referring to the movie, “The Santa Clause.” While we’re on the topic of movies, holiday movie and song titles should be placed inside quotes—“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Silent Night,” “White Christmas” and “Auld Lang Syne.”
  1. The eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights is spelled Hanukkah, according to AP Style. Another popular, traditional way to spell it is Chanukah.
  1. Only the first word in Nativity scene is capitalized. Unless they’re included in titles or headlines, other words/phrases that should not be capitalized include: noel, gifts, poinsettia, menorah, dreidel, mistletoe, happy holidays, season’s greetings and hallelujah.
  1. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day have apostrophes. This season, the new year refers to only 2015—Dec. 31, 2014, is the eve of the upcoming new year, and Jan. 1, 2015, refers to the first day of the single year that has just begun. You can always write, “Happy New Year,” without the apostrophe. However, if you’re referring to the new year in general, don’t capitalize it: “We will discuss marketing strategies for the new year.”

Feel free to regift (one word) these pieces of advice, and share your own with us! You can also check out the AP Style’s 2014 Holiday Style Guide.

A Thanksgiving Thank You

In 1621, the Pilgrims gathered in Plymouth, Massachusetts, with members of the native Wamapanoag tribe to celebrate and give thanks for that fall’s bountiful harvest.

Tomorrow, as we convene with family and friends to share the generous blessings bestowed on us, the staff at Yearick-Millea wishes to express its gratitude to all who have made our good fortunes possible, from our husbands, wives, and moms and dads, to our dedicated vendors and suppliers, and, of course, the extraordinarily loyal and talented friends we have the privilege of serving as clients.

We also are grateful to the countless people who will volunteer their time and labor tomorrow and throughout the year to food kitchens, shelters and other charitable activities, and to the thousands of military service members around the world who are sacrificing time with their loved ones to make sure we have the freedom to be with ours.

Together with the Pilgrims and Native Americans assembled on the shores of Massachusetts nearly 500 years ago, these individuals represent the best of an American spirit that was born a century-and-a-half before the Founding Fathers signed our country into existence.

To all of them and to all of you, we say, “Thank you.”

Do you have someone you’d like to thank or acknowledge?  If so, we’d really like to hear from you.  Please do so here.