//Green Card Activism: how to get involved as an immigrant

Germany. The Philippines. Vietnam. Guyana. China. USA.

These are the countries represented in our office, this diversity is what makes us stronger, and it’s what gives us the foreground to engage in conversations that matter – we inspire each other with our unique perspectives and we challenge each other to look through different lenses.

In our COVID-19 world of virtual meetings, we’ve also opened more doors to discuss what matters to each of us. The passion for social justice that started with just a few expanded to the rest in our open online office setting.

As a team, we are comprised of six immigrants and the rest are ‘Born in the USA Americans. That being said, all six immigrants have been calling the United States their home for quite some time – this country isn’t just one of their stops along the roadway of life, this country is their home and they care about what happens here. They care about who’s in that big white house, they care about equal rights, they care about the fight for justice, and they wish to see success for this country they now call home.

With non-US citizens, permanent legal residents, and visa holders on our team, we asked ourselves: How can you help make changes when you can’t vote? How can you protest with your neighbors without risking confrontations with law enforcement that could affect your immigration status?

How can someone actively push change when restricted?

I’ve got two words for you – mutual aid.

The Climate Justice Alliance describes mutual aid as the collective actions it takes to support community well-being and reaffirm that all lives have inherent value. With the main mutual aid principle being “Solidarity Not Charity“, this leans into the sentiment that charity plays into social and systemic imbalances.

Dean Spade, who taught a course at the University of Chicago titled “Queer and Trans Mutual Aid for Survival and Mobilization,” further states that charity differentiates those who have from those who need and puts those who have in a position of power to make decisions about how to meet other’s needs. Mutual aid emphasizes working cooperatively to meet each others needs.

Charity addresses the symptoms of systemic issues, while mutual aid analyzes the causes of issues and aims to boost a community through relations and long term societal support. Mutual aid is a pure, genuine, boots-on-the-ground way to support your community – so participate in mutual aid funds! Contribute to boosting the longevity of your community.

Now that mutual aid has been broken down, I can reel it back in a bit and divulge into what exactly can be done when a compassionate activist isn’t a citizen.

Donate!

If you want to spread some monetary love, do it purposefully. Make sure you know where your money is going. Look into mutual aid funds relative to the causes you’re passionate about. Below are just a few ideas of where to start:

Sign petitions!

As a non-citizen, you can sign unofficial petitions, such as those on Change.org, since they don’t have any direct connection to the government. So if these are unofficial, why sign? Signing shows solidarity, helps grow the numbers in a big picture sense, and you are able to share the signed petition to further spread the voice for change across your own social platforms. Some petition starting points below:

Protest – but do it right!

Protesting can be risky. But if you want to protest anyway, make sure you do it safely and know your rights. Real Simple and The North Star highlight peaceful protesting tips and lay out your rights – we’ve summed them up for you below:

Tips for safely protesting:
  • Know the logistics. The protest organizers often share all of the details you need including the route, timing, and speakers. The more you know, the more you can anticipate the outcome.
  • Use the buddy system. Don’t attend a protest alone, attend with a friend or two and coordinate a meeting spot in case you guys get separated.
  • Have emergency contact info handy. It’s recommended to write this info on your arm with sharpie just in case you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have your phone.
  • Be mindful that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Social distancing while protesting is kind of difficult, so make sure to generously, and frequently, sanitize your hands. Also, wearing a mask goes without saying, but you should pack a few extras in case the one you’re wearing gets too sweaty or damaged.
Understand your rights in case you do have a run-in with law enforcement:
  • You have the right to remain silent. If you do choose to remain silent, say so out loud. 
  • You may refuse a search. You don’t need to consent to being searched, but an officer can pat you down if they suspect you have a weapon. 
  • You have the right to speak to a lawyer. You can refuse to sign any and all paperwork until you have the chance to speak to a lawyer. 
  • Do not lie about your immigration status or provide fake documents. You can refuse to show documentation that says what country you are from.

So I think we can agree

Immigrants have limitations, but options, too. Even when feeling stuck in a room of locked doors, there’s bound to be a window or two that can be pushed open.

//A Houseparty everyone is invited to

Social distancing and quarantine are our current reality. People are working from home and meetings have been moved online. In our social life, virtual happy hours have basically replaced all other forms of social interactions and the platform options are plenty – from FaceTime and WhatsApp video calling to Zoom and Teams.

The current talk of town, however, is Houseparty. An app that has seen a surge in downloads from 130,000 a week in late February to over two million a week in late March, right after social distancing and shelter in place orders have been issued around the world.

Houseparty has been around since late 2016 and back then, Forbes has hailed it as the latest teen hangout rivaling Snapchat by offering “spontaneous togetherness.” However, the app remained mostly in the realms of Gen Z. Four years later, Houseparty is now getting attention from all sorts of demographics given the newly gained free time and also the need for an engaging way to digitally connect amidst the Covid 19 pandemic.

Be prepared for people to pop onto your screen

One of Houseparty’s features that sets it apart from other video chat apps: Games

The concept is simple: Houseparty is a video chat app for friends. But how does it differ from other video chats? The idea is that when you are “online” (= you’re actively using the app), your friends can automatically join you. Meaning, they will pop right onto your screen without you having to accept the call. You should therefore be prepared whenever you open the app, because at any time a friend could appear on your screen and your camera would automatically turn on.

Your friends will be notified that you just “entered the house” when you log in. The app allows you to turn off those notifications or alternatively, “lock your room” which then requires you to invite someone for a conversation. That would, however, neutralize Houseparty’s unique proposition of spontaneous connections. The idea is that being notified of a friend entering the house will prompt an unplanned conversation, therefore leading to increased interactions.

Up to eight people can join one party which allows you to meet friends of friends by spontaneously joining their ongoing conversations as long as they didn’t lock the room. Houseparty also offers a gaming feature that clearly sets it apart from the competition. Currently, you can choose between Pictionary, trivia quizzes, a game called ‘Chips and Guac’ that resembles a simplified version of Cards Against Humanity, and Heads Up.

An ad-free oasis or the next marketing channel?

Given its surge in users, the question right now is how much longer Houseparty will remain an oasis for private conversations between friends before it turns into another marketing channel. Co-founder and COO Sima Sistani told The Verge that the company “hopes to profit by selling products that enhance the time people spend together in the app” instead of selling ad space. They do that by offering paid-for gaming add-ons such as packs of words for the Heads Up game.

Brands are, however, trying to find ways to join the party. Just this week, Chipotle is running a promotion offering free food for people’s next Houseparty. Even though Chipotle is not using Houseparty for the promotion itself, but Instagram, the fast food chain is aiming to exploit the current popularity of Houseparty.

Marketing website ‘The Drum’ predicts that traditional ads won’t work for the app but formats need to be bespoke. Suggestions include brand-sponsored games or influencer campaigns that offer exclusive video chats with brand ambassadors.

Will it outlive the virus?

The app offers a fun way to spontaneously connect with friends and will probably initiate more face-to-face interactions, which is important and helpful in our current situation where social distancing is key. It will be interesting to see, though, if people will keep bouncing between houseparties once we are all out and about again in real life with less time and most likely with texting returning as the main form of digital communications.

//Livestreaming 4.0: Why video alone is not enough

multiple screens

The cancellation of major trade shows, conventions and events has prompted companies and brands to switch to a digital presentation of their newest products. Many of those brands have turned to live streaming in order to deliver the “live experience” to their audience’s homes or to editorial offices. However, an online press conference or web-based product launch should offer more than just a simple broadcast of moving images. This is particularly true for special and demanding target groups such as media, investors and also generally for B2B communications. 

The cancellation happened at very short notice. Only two days before the first press day, the organizers of the Geneva International Motor Show announced that one of the most important trade shows of the industry would not take place. As a result, many car manufacturers moved their product presentations and world premieres online. They presented their latest models via livestream.

In general, livestream formats are a good way of providing media and other stakeholders with content and information they cannot obtain in person. However, demands of modern digital PR and communications won’t be satisfied by simply showing videos and presentation slides. The quality of information, the experience of that content, and the framework for its presentation have to perfectly fit together – just like at a physical event.

Rule of thumb: A digital premiere does not necessarily have to be expensive. However, it can only be effective if you give it as much attention to detail as you do with a conventional product launch. This applies to the preparation, the content, the protagonists and the “information logistics”. Only a true multi-faceted digital experience can come close to an in-person experience – a plain broadcast of images will certainly not.

Diversity is king

A modern and powerful tool for live PR offers professional users additional and in-depth information in a wide variety of formats. And it presents this information in context, on a proprietary platform with a proprietary setup, in a multimedia manner and in top quality. In addition, there should be download and magazine areas, high-quality photos of protagonists and products, video clips, prepared quotes (or even entire transcripts) as well as detailed fact sheets. 

The diversity of the content not only provides a wide and ideal working basis, but also takes into account the native integration of the content on the stakeholders’ individual communication channels.

UX is queen

Apart from the content aspect, modern PR platforms convince by providing an intuitive and compelling user interface. The decisive factor here is a visceral experience – regardless of whether users access the platform on a desktop or with their phone or tablet.

Interactive elements are equally important. Is it possible to show individual subtitles in the livestream? Is there an additional level of information that allows users to learn more about the product and the formation process?

Further usability criteria are multiple viewing angles in the livestream, search and filter options as well as the possibility to share content to other platforms by simply clicking a button.

Best practice: Mercedes me media

A modern PR tool for live communications can be compared to a digital content hub. While visitors at a classic trade show have to take notes and photos themselves and look and ask for additional information, the content hub is a place where all these assets are provided as a package.

A prime example is “Mercedes me media” – the digital media platform that has been developed by Mercedes-Benz in close collaboration with OSK. It is currently the most powerful tool for live PR and it offers journalists and other users a comprehensive service package, from speech transcripts to a snapshot function for generating high-res images. The application includes the audience authentically into the digital live event despite spatial separation. While some manufacturers simply posted pre-produced videos online after the Geneva Motor Show was cancelled, Mercedes-Benz used the “Mercedes me media” platform to vitalize a digital live press conference with appealing video sequences, engaging interviews and, last but not least, a real product presentation.

Mercedes-Benz is using the technological possibilities of this innovative communications platform even beyond Coronavirus-impacted situations. Early December 2019, the brand presented their latest compact car model, the new GLA, in a purely digital world premiere for the first time ever. The audience watched the product launch with augmented reality, had the possibility to switch between different camera angles, take snapshots of the livestream and turn on the speech transcript. 

This first digital world premiere of the Mercedes-Benz GLA on “Mercedes me media” accurately underlines the digital transformation the brand is undergoing. It moreover showcases the vast possibilities the platform offers for modern digital PR.

//CES 2020 is over. It’s time to start planning CES 2021.

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (Photo by CES®)

4,400 exhibitors, almost 2.9 million square feet of exhibition space, 175,000 visitors – the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was again a must-attend for anybody interested in tech. But now is not the time to reminisce about the many highlights presented this year. The next CES from January 6th to January 9th 2021 will once again transform Las Vegas into a gadget wonderland and if you want to participate as an exhibitor, you need to start planning well ahead of time. Here are some key facts you should know in advance and deadlines that are quickly approaching.

Robots that make pizza, glasses with integrated displays, self-driving cars – CES was once again the launch pad for a plethora of new products that could significantly change our lives. Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things were hot topics this year, so were 8k TVs and 5G technologies. The automotive industry also contributed a fair share to the line-up of innovations – from ever-popular autonomous cars and electrified engines to vehicles that present a new way of interaction between humans and machines.

Mid-size businesses next to global corporations

At CES, products will be seen by a wide range of international, tech-obsessed audiences with a high reach in social media. The show is also highly covered nationally and internationally by both general and trade media. It has moreover evolved into an effective B2B platform with an impressive potential for sales. Technology and mobility representatives, who want to present their product innovations to a big audience, will find that Las Vegas is their perfect stage.  An appearance is well worth it for mid-size businesses as much as it is for global corporations.

The ZF Press Conference at the Mandalay Bay hotel on the CES media days (Photo by CES®)

CES offers almost three million square feet of exhibition space between the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and various hotels. The show is even expanding: The new West Hall will offer as much space as ten football fields upon completion in 2020. Whoever wants to expose their products to as much foot traffic as possible should plan to have a booth at the LVCC. Exhibition spaces at the various hotels are more suitable for exclusive events and meetings with selected and invited guests.

Which size fits best?

As a crowd pleaser, CES is very popular with exhibitors, which is why you have to be quick: The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is assigning a majority of prime spaces at the LVCC already in February.  If you are not a member of the CTA, one square foot will cost you 46 USD. Members will receive a discounted price of 41 USD per square foot. Looking at booth sizes, this means that the smallest booth space (approximately 100 square feet) will be available for a fee of 4,100 USD for the duration of the show. On the upper end of that spectrum, some of the biggest spaces with approximately 10,000 square feet will cost you around 410,000 USD.

The Siemens Mobility booth at CES (Photo by CES®)

Apply for keynotes now!

If you are interested in giving a keynote, get on it now. Keynotes that are happening on the big stage at Las Vegas Strip locations such as the Park Theater or the Venetian Hotel and Resort are in high demand. However, you cannot simply book a slot but have to actually apply for it. The unofficial deadline for keynote applications is March and applicants are being selected based on the variety and appeal of their program.

Speaker diversity plays as big a role as the content and entertainment factor of the presentation. In order to be selected, it is not enough to simply launch a new product. Guests are expecting something visionary that is packed into an appealing narrative and presented in an exciting way.

Mercedes-Benz’s keynote address to present its new concept car included Hollywood director James Cameron whose Avatar movie inspired the vehicle (Photo by CES®)

Keynotes are therefore most suitable for high-profile companies with well-known brands and relevant products or services for consumers all around the globe. If you decide to go for it, you have to bring your A game. It is important that a company’s CEO takes the stage and tells a genuine story. Yet, CES is not just in its name a show, but in quite a literal sense as well. After all, the show is taking place in Las Vegas, meaning visitors are coming to see an impressive performance. Entertainment is key and it needs to support the message both creatively and authentically. Last but not least: Keep your keynote short and to the point!

Press conferences and panels before and during CES

Speaking of keeping it to the point: This rule also applies to other appearances such as smaller press conferences and presentations on the two media days prior to the opening of the actual show. At Mandalay Bay, an array of press conferences follow one another which is very efficient and convenient for journalists as they can get and create a lot of content without much effort and travel between locations. And here is some good news for short-term planners: You don’t have to plan far ahead of time as you can book small press conference slots relatively late in the year.

Over the course of the four CES show days, a multitude of panels take place discussing various topics (Photo by CES®)

During the four show days of CES, you can also hold a press conference at your own booth. I would recommend this option for brands with a less recognizable name – the hidden heroes of the show whose products and services are relevant for niche audiences. Exhibitors can also participate in panel discussions or even host them. These discussions are a good opportunity to position your company as an expert in specific topics. Each press conference and panel is promoted through the CES app and website, which is very helpful and convenient as visitors use these platforms to find and mark interesting and relevant events for their individual CES schedule.

An event outside of CES

Thinking in terms of efficiency, you might wonder: Your target audience is in Vegas already, so why not make use of it and invite them to your own separate event outside of the show? But beware: It is not always recommendable to throw your own party only because you have potential guests present in the same city. Whether or not to have your own outside event should be carefully evaluated. Those extra events are not officially part of CES, meaning they won’t be listed in any type of CES program or communication for visitors to discover. Side programs are therefore only feasible if you have invited and brought your own guests to Las Vegas and want to provide them with a deep-dive into your topics through workshops or additional presentations.

At the end of the day, one can say that CES is the perfect platform for technology providers to position themselves as innovation leaders and present their products and services to a global audience. Las Vegas is worth the trip for every techie. Just don’t wait too long before deciding to attend.

//Wine, perfume, and a good time – our first Creative Talk

On December 4th, 2019, we hosted the first event of our new event series Creative Talks which deep-dives into one topic pertaining to one of our key expertise areas: Design, Communications and Events.

Our inaugural Creative Talk revolved about the transformation of retail spaces from point of sales to storytelling platforms. We invited industry leaders and opinion makers to participate and share their insights and perspectives on the topic of the day.

Our guest speakers were Nick Arauz, CEO of Caswell-Massey – the oldest personal care product brand in America that more or less used George Washington for its first “influencer” campaign – and Tyler Balliet, CEO and Founder of Rosé Mansion – one of New York’s most popular pop-up experiences that combines wine tasting with relevant stories and instagrammable moments.

Check out the highlights here:

//VIDEO: The Future of Retail

The apocalypse, robot people and brandscapes: Our Creative Director Scott Faucheux answers questions about the changing retail landscape and what he thinks the future of retail will look like.

Watch the highlight video below that includes impressions of our tour of the latest experiential stores in New York City and read the full interview here.

PS: What is continuity? 😉

//The apocalypse, robot people and brandscapes: OSK’s Creative Director Scott Faucheux on the Future of Retail

Scott Faucheux, Creative Director at OSK New York

Do you remember the last time you went a day without going online? Nowadays, everyone is perpetually connected to the internet through smaller and more personalized devices. This new way of life has also largely changed the way people consume and purchase things. Bloomberg recently reported that online stores have gained the second biggest share of the U.S. retail market, surpassing grocery stores and restaurants. With the rise of E-Commerce, many feared that physical retail stores would disappear. Yet, in an increasingly digital world, brands have the chance to make use of people’s craving for physical experiences to prevent the so-called retail apocalypse.

OSK’s Creative Director Scott Faucheux has almost two decades’ worth of retail design experience for clients such as Samsung, Urban Outfitters and Kiehls. Alum of Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture and Urban Studies, he calls himself a designer and brand thinker who creates innovative combinations of brands, people and places to turn them into compelling experiences. Over the course of his career, he gradually evolved into the world of experience design and has been refining and redefining the role of experiences in the built environment.

At the Timberland store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

Scott, you have been working on retail design projects for the last twenty years. Recently, an increasing number of retail stores are closing, which many attribute to the rising dominance of online shopping. Looking back, how would you say retail has changed over time and how is it adapting to the digitalization of life?

One of the biggest conversations right now is around the retail apocalypse. Why are all these brands failing? I like to think of the main factors as the four horsemen: Bad product, bad service, bad spaces and most importantly bad stories. There is an evolved sophistication that is happening and technology really has enabled it. More and more retailers are using data to understand what people are doing, which is kind of a paradox. Twenty years ago, if you said data is going to run the stores, people would freak out and say “Oh my god we’re all going to turn into robot people!” But the reality is that technology is enhancing personalization and understanding of how people shop, and also how a particular person shops. We can actually track and personalize experiences and build around an individual, which is a pretty fantastic change from just putting a commodity on a shelf and promoting it. Instead, we can build a story and create emotions around a product.

You have to reconsider what the purpose of the store is. In the past, the store has always been the transaction point and that is not true anymore.

“Experiential” has been one of the key words for a while now. How does that specifically affect retail design?

You have to reconsider what the purpose of the store is. In the past, the store has always been the transaction point and that is not true anymore. If we think about a store as a mere commodities point, it represents a very a different value than if we consider it as a communications point or as a brandscape to tell a story. Brands now are telling their stories in stores through sensory experiences that are multi-dimensional. Some incredibly rich and layered things are happening in new stores right now because the focus is not around the product anymore. Stores are taking consumers on journeys and telling them focused and curated messages that they can take on and add meaning to. People are no longer shopping for mere objects, but are finding cultural artifacts. Stores now have much more power as a story-telling platform than they do as a transactional platform.

What other societal trends are affecting consumer behaviors? How do you translate those into store design?

I think there are a couple societal shifts that have radically altered the way we think about communities in general as well as brand communities. One is the level of social sharing and the level of reach that each individual has into their network. The other is their ability to share their own ideas. It is really amazing to see brands which embrace that and invite their audiences to actually co-author an experience with them. What in the past may have been a brand just saying “Here is what we are, you take that message,” now, is a conversation around “Here is what we have to offer, what do you think?” This way, you can change opinions and create a much broader, more meaningful and relevant idea about what a brand is and what it means to a larger audience.

Are shareable experiences and moments the key to retail success?

There are definitely brands that are simply manufacturing moments that are meant for sharing, and I would say with a wide variety of success.  The authenticity with which you create an experience should be natural and not forced. You see a lot of cool pop-ups with things like Instagram walls – that is manufacturing a moment to be shared in a very specific way. Instead, you should rather create environments where people can explore and find their own moment that they share because they want to and not because the brand says “Here is the format, go share it.”

Now, retail design is only one small portion of the design work that you do. Can you apply your experience from the retail world to other areas of your work?

The approach I use for my design work is one of really looking empathetically at what the visitor journey should be:  What happens along the way? Where are the actions and where are the emotions that need to happen? All of those little cues and moments that make up a journey can be scripted not just in a retail environment but in hospitality and events as well. If we remove the words retail, event or pop-up from the discussion and completely do away with the labels that set boundaries around our work, and begin to think about it just in terms of the visitor’s journey, we can improve all experiences because we are no longer constrained by what we think needs to be. If we eliminate the automatic programing, there is a lot more opportunity to create more impactful and compelling experiences. We can actually innovate by looking at other formats and creating the right impact, the right sensory cues, the right drama.

How does the future of retail look like? And are there examples of brands that are already offering those experiences today?

I think there are three main divergent paths for what the future retail experience will look like. The easy answer is of course big technology with seamless interactions and all kinds of user-generated elements. Those immersive theaters of amazing technology are easily predictable. At the opposite end of that spectrum are brands like Urban Outfitters and Anthropology that are art-driven, completely unique and that are very tactile and sensual. You explore and discover that no two stores are alike and it is up to you to come and find what is cool and what works for you. I think it is that level of personal discovery that is really going to drive the future of retail – whether it is technology-aided or anti-tech. Those possibilities exist anywhere along that spectrum.

The third one that is also really fascinating is demonstrated by Intersect by Lexus here in New York: a brand world that is not necessarily about your product. It is about attention to detail, the appreciation of craft, and what you and your brand really stand for – all coming to life through a whole series of experiences that touch different parts of what we are interested in as people. I think those brandscapes coming to life have huge potential for the future and are something that we are going to see a lot more of.

What do you think will be the next big thing in retail?

I think the next big thing in retail is going to be human-centered design. We have to keep in mind that because the POS can be anywhere, the store itself becomes a story-telling environment and the level of service that you get along the journey is way more important – that really is becoming the transaction rather than the actual exchange of money for goods and services. Retailers who are not investing in understanding how to speak more meaningfully to customers are limiting themselves and no one is going to come to their stores because there is no value. Looking at how our understanding of a person, the data we collect around that person, and how that data creates tailored experiences is really going to be transformative in shaping the future retail experience.

//Taking a detour: Reaching your audience away from the jammed content highways

By guest author Benjamin Brueckner.

While marketing focuses on reaching the end consumer, PR is mainly communicating with media representatives. Naturally, there are overlaps between these two communications disciplines. But one challenge, in particular, is uniting the two departments:

The classic communications channels are as packed as JFK is on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. However, the difference is that the content traffic jam is not only happening around holidays, but has become a permanent condition. One has to ask the question: How can companies reach their audiences in spite of these communications traffic jams? Which detours are available?

The direct way is not always the shortest

Mathematically speaking, the shortest way between two points is a straight. But client acquisition or media relations is not following those rules. Marketing and PR professionals do not operate in a vacuum but often find themselves stuck in overwhelming waves of content rushing towards the audience. Press releases, pop ups, and all other content formats – the predicted information overload caused by too much content is real, not only for consumers on the receiving end but also for communications professionals who are sending the messages.

The consequence is that people start to automatically filter their media consumption, which makes it harder for companies to reach clients and journalists. Nevertheless, it’s not impossible.

No cutting through on highly-trafficked communications channels

Resembling a highway in LA, communications channels now often have to deal with miles-long traffic jams. Participants in these traffic jams are numerous publishers that try to get as fast as possible from Point A – their channel – to Point B – their audience, may it be a client or a journalist.

But what happens when communicators don’t follow the mainstream but make a turn to take a detour to get to their destination? With respect to communications, the question is: How can you reach your audience in a different way to avoid the content traffic jam on the major communications highways?

Targeting the personal environment

The importance of the personal environment is often underestimated, even though communications professionals mostly agree that word-of-mouth plays an important role in terms of buying decisions. A study showed that every third personal recommendation has led to a new sale. But not nearly all PR and marketing people make use of this fact to create campaigns that target the social environment of their clients.

When looking at the customer journey, people often focus on online and offline touchpoints with the brand. What is often neglected is the value generated by social interactions: a happy customer telling her friend about the new hair saloon; the employee who tells the CEO about a production company whose website he visited a couple of weeks ago.

Both examples show that the brands did not personally convince the friend or the CEO, but their social contacts did. Such recommendations can happen arbitrarily. Or they can be created.

The same applies for journalists. In this case, companies should focus on their own story and mission statement: An exciting founder’s story on the company website can inspire people to tell their journalist friends about the brand. Or it can inspire the journalists themselves.

Avoiding dead ends

To prevent detours from becoming a dead end, companies need clearly defined secondary target audiences that are in close relation to their customers and have certain level of influence. It is not effective to target a huge corporation’s interns with ads or PR pitches if their opinions are never hear by upper management.

A more goal-oriented approach is to target the levels below top management. There, you are more likely to find employees that can influence decision makers. A senior team member could, for example, convince the marketing director to work with a new innovative company by giving his or her recommendation.

However, with small businesses that have flat organizational structures, even a new and young employee could influence the owners by telling them about his or her recent experience with a new payment method, which can inspire the owners to implement it in the store.

So the question is: How can companies define which secondary target groups are right? The answer is: They have to analyze the social connections of their primary target audiences.

Three steps towards a clever communications detour

Three steps have proven to be working well for B2B as well as for B2C when it comes to defining your communications detour:

1. Define your primary target audience: Each service and product has to focus on a primary target audience. Marketing and PR have to focus their campaigns clearly on these targets, which is the normal practice.

2. Target the social environment of customers and journalists: Many advertising and communications professionals stop strategizing after this first step and move on with implementation. However, it is advisable to plan various side campaigns in support of the main campaign to target the social environment of the primary target audience.

3. Identify further social contact points: If you have done a thorough analysis of your primary target audience, you should know their hobbies: Which sports do they do, which cultural interests do they have? Based on these answers, you can create your supporting side campaigns that target additional potential social contacts.

An example: A granola bar brand sponsors a discount for a local gym membership. Automatically, trainers at the gym who recommend a membership will also promote the granola bar with it. In addition, the gym can also sell the granola bars at its locations.

The granola bar brand thereby achieves multiple communications objectives: Brand awareness, reputation management, customer engagement through secondary audience and increased sales. The gym can increase its membership numbers and new member benefit from a discount – a win-win situation for all participants.

// About the author

Benjamin Brückner is a journalist, blogger and founder of the online platform Freelance Start. After years of working in the editorial teams of radio and television stations, he published two books and is now working as an editor and newsletter director at Zielbar. On his personal blog, he regularly writes reviews, book tips and analysis of social topics. In his private life, he is interested in philosophy, history, sports, digital news and creative writing.

//Welcome to the world of OSK New York!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the world of OSK New York! You might have seen our website where we showcase our best work and talk about our impressive skill set – but this is not the same thing just in a slightly different format.

Our blog will introduce you to our micro cosmos, the world of OSK New York: NYC agency life meets creative/fun ideas meets relevant topics of local and global scale.

Expect to see impressions from the latest and greatest of our travel and adventures, our thoughts on new trends and cultural issues, topics that are of interest to us due to our work or personal backgrounds, and simply fun stuff. We will touch on anything from experiential pop-up spaces, flying cars, and PR stunts to food halls, the curviest roads to drive on, and the environment.

Our team consists of highly organized and wildly creative individuals who have lived and worked on four continents. With our different backgrounds, we complement each other in the work we do. On a personal level, we have grown into a multicultural family.

We hope you enjoy our stories!