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Walkie Talkie awarded ‘Specialist Agency of the Year’

We’re thrilled to take home this prize awarded by Media Marketing & Pitchpoint. This is truly the cherry on the cake for our amazing team that keeps bringing it year after year! 

Why a specialist? Because everything we do originates from creative PR concepts aimed at earning the attention they deserve. Impact without media budget is our main goal, via creative PR campaigns and influencer approaches. 

Our philosophy is that brands these days need to entertain and facilitate in finding solutions for their clients rather than interrupting their consumers with unfitting and out of touch campaigns and PR approaches.

At Walkie Talkie we encourage our clients to prioritise PR within the marketing mix, creating relevant PR concepts, as this is the way to win hearts and minds. 

And looking back on 2021

🤝 Over 80 clients in 17 different industries serviced
🌱 6 new hires in 2021
🧠 1613 hours spent brainstorming & researching
💌 867 press mailings in 2021, 17/week on average
🥳 0.2% unsubscribe rate on our press mailings
🍾 For a bunch of brands we were best practice within the EMEA markets
🏆 Walkie Talkie contributed to the work of numerous award-winning agencies
👊 And we only worked for clients of which we are true fans

More exciting things to come in 2022! 

And in the meantime we invite you to discover our services & work

WHAT’S NOW 2022

SAME SAME, BUT DIFFERENT.

This Thai saying pretty much sums up this year’s trend report, compared to last year’s. Following the initial shocks of 2020, the impact of the C-word continued to be felt across the world in 2021. Despite that, life went on and people and markets adapted in the best way possible. And Walkie Talkie, once again, scanned a series of (inter)national trend reports and bundled the most interesting takeaways and stats in a snackable format for you to digest.

The common theme throughout our 2022 trend paper is undoubtedly self-awareness. Individuals are becoming more woke: conscious about society and its lingering issues and inequalities. People are well aware of what they want, value and oppose. The latter sparking the so-called cancel culture – the phenomenon of promoting the boycotting of people, brands and objects due to offensive or problematic remarks or ideologies. All this leads to an all-time high coverage of mental health, inclusivity, sustainability – and hybrid forms of communication, events and jobs. How companies like yours are – and perhaps should be – reacting to these turn of events?

You’ll read it right here.

Listen up: audio content is booming in a media landscape dominated by visuals

Rumour has it that audio is to the web what the web is to print: an emerging successor. But while content for both senses will likely continue to peacefully coexist, it is remarkable that multiple forms of lengthy audio content are thriving in a world where snappy visuals – preferably short videos – are more present than ever before. The latter is particularly the case in the life of Gen Z-ers who have a reported average attention span of just eight seconds – down from twelve seconds with Millennials.

Regardless of whether this content led to the shorter attention span or vice versa – being a chicken-or-egg-story, a March 2021 TikTok study found that one third of its users watched videos at double-speed. Half of TikTok viewers found videos longer than one minute stressful. Not because of a time issue, but due to lack of concentration, one of the participants said. So with youngsters seemingly preferring short and visual content, why is long-lasting audio content on the rise, even within those same age categories? 

Radio: a safe and personalised haven 

In the latest annual imec.digimeter from 2020, that charts the trends on the use and attitudes of media and technology in Flanders, 79% (up from 73% in 2019) of all Flemish people listened to the radio on a monthly basis. The biggest jump (13%) was noticeable in the age category 16-24. Today’s youth clearly digs a return to the classic news channels for their news consumption. The Centrum for Information on Media (CIM) showed that in early 2021, even 92.4% of the Flemish listened to the radio on a weekly basis

Why the jump in recent years? ‘Due to a combination of clear disadvantages of modern communication such as fake news, privacy violations and risk of addiction’, according to Prof. dr. Lieven de Marez, professor of media at the University of Ghent. On top of that, radio is a real-time medium that does not require your full attention as you can combine it with an automated task such as driving. Upcoming hyper localized and personalized playlists in radio  apps add to the image of radio as a safe and personalized medium. 

Podcasts are reaching the unreachables

By giving a brand a voice and providing a human connection and involvement in a snackable and accessible format; podcasts are possibly the best thing since sliced bread. Podcasts create enormous engagement as 88% of people starting a podcast, listen to the whole piece. And whereas the average reading time of an online news piece is one minute, a podcast lasts 25-30 minutes. Plus: they tend to be enjoyed by groups of people not easily reached through other media channels. 

Numbers don’t lie: 60% of the audience of the Dutch newspaper NRC’s podcast for instance are aged 18 to 35. And while the New York Times reached two million people with its print newspaper at its peak, four million people listened to its podcast ‘The Daily’ already back in 2019. Closer to home, the podcast from De Standaard had 100.000 unique listeners and downloads at the end of 2020, compared to 75.000 at the beginning of 2020 – and only 1.500 in 2017. 

How come? Podcasts do not simply carry voices and stories into our ears, they bring in the outside world. Take KLM for example, whose podcast ‘The Journey’ tells true stories about people whose lives were changed by one journey. Or Reebok’s ‘Flipping the game’ – about the world’s first sneaker for women – on innovation and gender. Decathlon shares audio content on sport – on its advantages, how to bounce back from injury etcetera – as well its business transformation to inspire entrepreneurship. All three podcast examples tickle listeners’ imagination with timeless and intense personal stories – free of charge and marketing. 

Audio books: listening is the new reading

In a world in which we’re consuming more media and screen time than ever before, immersing yourself in a lengthy paper or digital book – and not getting distracted by notifications – can be a hard task. A recent study by Storytel, one of the world’s biggest subscription services for streaming audio books, showed however that 15% of Belgians listened to an audio book in the last twelve months. 

As Storytel and Spotify are teaming up this year in the Netherlands and with the earlier this year hyped social network based on voice called Clubhouse – where people come together to talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time – it is safe to say that listening is the new reading. A global forecast predicts that the value of the market for audio books will multiply by no less than five between 2019 and 2027. This indicates that the European audiobook market will grow by 25% each year, compared to just 4% for the overall entertainment sector. 

Key factors for this whopping growth? Increase in younger listener inventory and easy accessibility of copies –  Storytel for instance offers a library of 300.000 audio and e-books – according to the global study. 

Hear, hear: audio content and influencers from a PR perspective

As an industry, it’s our job to create, predict and adapt to new trends in consumer habits and demands. The rise in consumption of audio content has presented us and our clients with the opportunity to explore extra ways of communicating with new audiences – or former ones, such as the ones lost touch with due to the changing media landscape. Creating an own audio product or working via renowned audio influencers might do the trick. 

The latter are a vital part of the phenomenon of social audio; where people connect through conversation and chat rooms – providing great opportunities for companies to share and extend thought leadership. Just imagine reading this article and being able to hear industry experts discuss the content in real-time, or hearing opinions recorded from your most trusted circle: resulting in a one-of-a-kind immersive audio experience.  Interested in finding out more about how Walkie Talkie can help your company stand out and effectively reach Gen Z-ers and Millennials with tailored content? Please reach out to us via walkie@talkie.be or +32 (0)9 391 60 63.

Beyond the numbers: why local data matter to media

In today’s world, we are online more than ever with an almost 24/7 global news stream within reach. This has ups and downs: e.g.journalists don’t always have the time or means to dig into the amount of handed information and look for story angles that match their audiences’ interests. As every cloud has a silver lining: brands have the opportunity to offer media the tailored and tangible content pieces they are looking for. How? By committing to customized surveys for local data. 

Thought-leadership, broader media scope and more  

Those studies are the bread and butter of market research companies such as Ipsos, InSites Consulting, GfK and iVOX. In combination with a partner like that – Walkie Talkie manages and consults clients from A to Z, brands can offer media valuable content. News pieces with a touch of local numbers and take-aways that transcend your everyday product launch or business news announcement are appealing both to journalists and consumers.

Brands benefit from surveys too, in more ways than one, by:

  • Positioning themselves as thought-leaders in their domain to Belgian media, by providing valuable insights unknown to or unthought of by competitors.  
  • Addressing other media types than a brand’s usual suspects, broadening their scope. 
  • Hitting two birds with one stone by distilling multiple press releases from one survey.  
  • Seizing the moment by communicating in periods with few broad news stories such as during the summer. 

It is safe to say that local data and take-aways are attractive formats for both journalists and consumers, and a must for brands to consider. Take it from our close contact Rik Hannes, Insights Sales Officer at iVOX Leuven: ‘Surveys create powerful consumer insights, newsworthy branded stories and media campaigns driven by a strong focus on connecting with consumers. Its power lies in the fact that it provides a multitude of interactive conversation and feedback channels with brands and media.’ 

Tangible cases

As actions speak louder than words, here are some examples of our clients:

Interested in finding out how Walkie Talkie can help your company to offer media tailored and tangible content pieces, address other media types and position your brand as a thought-leader all in one? Please reach out to us via walkie@talkie.be or +32 (0)9 391 60 63. We don’t bite.

LET’S GET VISUAL

Why the right photography is so important for your brand?

When you think of your brand, is it more feminine or more masculine? Is it minimal or is it a bit moodier and dramatic? Photography tells the unique story of a brand. Essentially photography determines how people see your brand. It grabs attention, or not…

Picture this for a moment…when you are glancing through a magazine, do you actually read every page? Most likely not. Do you actually read the text that’s on the advertisements? I doubt it. If the photo draws your interest, then you will take the time to read the article or click on the Instagram post to discover the brand. This is why photography is so important. Photos grab the viewers’ attention, they tell stories & set the mood and tone.. The photos will help to bring the readers to your site and compel them to read your posts and stay longer.

As PR professionals, there is no bigger frustration when clients don’t have decent images to accompany their stories or content – it really does make or break a story. Sounds really superficial, but it’s reality. It’s not sales talk, It’s reality. Whatever platforms you use for your content – blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest,… – images are vital. There’s lots of research out there to show how images can help increase engagement. But let’s skip that part, we want to focus on why you should invest in photography. 

1. Get your message across

Ask yourself, if someone knew nothing about your business other than what they could see from a single photo, how would they describe you? Yes, it’s true, a picture is worth a thousand words. Photography is a much quicker way of getting a message across to your customers. Text is great and needed, but it takes more time to read a caption, an about page, or a pretty Instagram quote. Images take milliseconds. Think about it…the last time you heard of a new brand, I bet you grabbed your mobile, had a scroll on Instagram, maybe looked on their website, and in no time you had an idea of what kind of brand it is.

2. Media coverage

Journalists are being seduced by inspirational imagery too. Especially lifestyle journalists often select content based on the visuals, with the underlying idea of “what could convey an emotion amongst our readers”?  In some cases – such as announcing a new product – the media won’t even publish the story unless there’s a decent image to go with it. In other cases, having a good photo or collection of images can make all the difference between a small, text-based story and an elaborate feature. 

3. Maximise the value

Get some good images and you can use them across all your content platforms and marketing collateral.  Just think how much use you’ll get out of your photos.

This is what the experts say:

“In lifestyle photography, we bring the brand story to life by choosing the right props, the right styling, the right mood, the right angle… From my experience, the audience doesn’t look for images of products, their interest needs to be caught by showcasing the brand or the product in an inspiring or relevant setting. Throughout the years, I’ve seen the great impact good lifestyle photography has on brands and their sales. I’ve also seen how low quality photography and dull images can put off media from talking about a brand.“ Marta Majewska, stylist & photographer, co-founder of Studio Bun Bun production company 

With the explosion in the use of social media and remote interactions, photography became an essential communication medium. Photography is the best way to give a product fame, to represent a brand image and to capture the audience’ attention. Hence the extreme importance of the quality and creativity of imagery. This is why we are constantly working on unique and different images that capture the viewer’s eye. Arnaud De Harven,  founder & photographer We Are Oskar, a proudly independent photographic duo & a pair of brussels-based creative with an expertise ranging from photography to art direction, styling & production.

So in food styling and food photography, creating the right atmosphere is primordial. You want to tell a story and that story has to be right. It’s a cliché but one good image says more than a thousand words! By using the right props in the styling, you can reinforce your story. The light also plays an enormous role in a good photo. Is it that first spring sun or just that dark winter evening? Food styling and food photography are therefore inextricably linked. A beautiful synergy between the two ensures a beautiful end result.

Feel free to choose the path that best fits your needs and budget. And we are happy to help when needed!

WHAT’S NOW 2021

Trends that will define 2021 and beyond

Few events have ever caused all of us to drastically adapt our behaviour as the pandemic that set foot in Belgium in 2020. Just like that, working from home became the norm rather than a privilege and video calls and long walks replaced face-to-face encounters in public and private spaces – to name a few. While not all of these shifts are permanent, some might trigger people to think, act and buy differently than before.

And while it’s not possible for most of you to check multiple trend reports predicting human behaviour and wishes in 2021, some are worthy of your time. That is why we scanned a series of (inter)national trend reports and bundled the most interesting takeaways and numbers in a snackable format for you to digest.

Want to discover our full report?

Follow this link, register for our newsletter and you will receive a download link while staying updated with all future news from us.

3 reasons why internal communications will matter more than ever in 2021

Like for many sectors, 2020 was a peculiar and challenging year for internal communications. But while social distancing measurements will eventually fade out, some shifts originated from last year are likely here to stay – and heavily impact the importance of internal communications. Hence, here are 3 reasons why in 2021, internal communications matter for both your employees and business.

Mood management in unprecedented times

Lack of private and professional face-to-face interactions and long-term perspective caused mental health to – on top of physical health – quickly establish itself as one of the main trends in internal communication. Belgian research by the KU Leuven and IDEWE showed that just one month into the lockdown installed in March 2020, no less than almost half of the Belgian employees already struggled with anxiety and depressive feelings. 

That’s why opening up feedback channels has never been more important. Regardless of whether you send out an extensive internal communications survey or check on your employees via separate video calls, it’s vital to know how your employees are feeling. 
Our colleagues at ECHO like to practice what we preach and go the extra mile. Right before the end-of-year holiday period, several clients of ours like Partena and OZ – check out ECHO’s case (NL) – organised digital events like a Secret Santa or a quiz during an informal and digital afterwork drink. A virtual afterwork event like this can brighten everyone’s mood and give your employees something to look forward to.

Word of mouth leads to brand awareness and smooth recruitment

Last year, more people than usual were looking for a new job as the VDAB website showed an application increase of 15%. A couple of the main reasons employees mentioned for switching were dissatisfaction with the way their employers dealt with the corona crisis – potentially linked to the mood management mentioned above – and more consciousness regarding their job content and commute. 

It’s crucial to take in mind that besides employee retention, internal communications play a big role in attracting new talent as well. The only source people trust more than (public relations generated) media (60%)  are acquaintances, friends and colleagues (92%). Excellent internal communications are in a company’s own interest as the stories and recommendations from its own ambassadors can lead to a higher chance of attracting new colleagues – and new employees proactively reaching out to your company, too. Just let the word of mouth do its thing.

A paved way for efficient crisis communications channels

Belgian research conducted from March to September last year, revealed that 40% of our public institutions and social-profit organisations do not have a crisis communication plan. This could be problematic in times like these where enterprises rethink or reshuffle their core business, implement a working from home environment from the ground up and sometimes have to size down. 

It takes an open and transparent communication culture, where information can be freely shared within an organisation, to guarantee a strong and fluent internal communication flow when a crisis occurs. Companies that have their employees accustomed to a number of fixed internal communication channels, have a significant advantage when it comes to handling a crisis. 

Interested in finding out how, together with our colleagues from ECHO, we can help your company regarding internal PR, creative activations or ambassadorship? Please reach out to us via hello@weareecho.be, +32 (0)9 391 60 63 or this contact form. We don’t bite.

GOODBYE PRESS DAYS, HELLO PRESS DAILY

Forget Press Days, Walkie Talkie presents the “Press Daily”. Neither physical nor digital, this year we organised our Press Days in print. We ventured on a mini-magazine to keep our press contacts informed about our portfolio. In our Press Daily journalists got to know our clients through short interviews, background and visual stories.

Old ways won’t open new doors, with this philosophy we looked for an alternative to the physical press days,” says Andrew Vassallo, managing partner Walkie Talkie. So we teamed up with local independent publisher Subbacultcha Belgium for the development of a catchy pocket magazine with short but powerful (visual) stories. From the many enthusiastic reactions we can definitely conclude that this initiative has been appreciated”.

This is what media thought of it:

The Walkie Talkie Press Daily is truly inspiring! It is pretty, ‘cosy’, pleasant, refreshing and full of great discoveries! Beautiful and good work! – Emilie Sadre, Femmes d’Aujourd’hui

“Well done! Beautiful design, clear presentation and message. To be honest, I looked at it more attentively and with more pleasure than the online versions. Good alternative to catch media attention in an original, offline way! – Els De Ridder, Libelle & Libelle Mama

“Very nice and useful initiative. The magazine certainly made me look at the content differently. Where I usually quickscan my mails for relevancy, I took the time to read the magazine accompanied by a cup of tea all stretched out in my sofa. I have been able to take time for it, which is pleasant in itself and which also made me feel more inspired”. – Sandra Rosseel, Editor in Chief De Zondag


Also interested? You can browse our Press Daily here.

NEW CLIENT: VINTED

Don’t wear it? Sell it! A slogan that sticks and captures what Vinted exactly stands for. Vinted gives clothing and accessories the second life they deserve. The Lithuanian company lets you sell and buy second hand clothing in a few efficient clicks. 

Today Vinted is is one of the most successful applications when it comes to selling and buying second hand clothing. With the acquisition of Dutch competitor United Wardrobe they now have a community of 34 million buyers and sellers in 11 European countries, making them Europe’s largest online marketplace for second-hand fashion. In Belgium alone Vinted has more than 1 million members.

As of this week the integration of both platforms will start, whereby United Wardrobe members will be asked to switch to the more international Vinted. This will allow them to buy and sell on one combined market place.

PR APPROACH

Walkie Talkie supports Vinted by getting their story out there in the Belgian press.  Our PR approach is tailor made and consists of sending out press releases that connect with the Belgian market. We will plug the right story to a key selection of corporate and lifestyle media.

Voka Open Bedrijvendag

The first Sunday of October traditionally marks the biggest single-day event in Belgium: Voka Open Bedrijvendag! A day where entrepreneurs far and wide, small and large, are celebrated; interest is piqued; and jobs are found.

This Sunday – October 4th – they’ll blow out 30 birthday candles for what will become a truly special edition, in this current pandemic. Of course the necessary measures are taken to insure the health and safety of visitors and participants. In the current pandemic Voka Open Bedrijvendag therefor became a fully digital event this year!

But that surely won’t spoil the fun, as presenter Xavier Taveirne is ready to guide the visitors/viewers through five amazingly interesting companies all over Flanders. Flemish minister Hilde Crevits will kickstart the day at Roularta Media Group, for what promises to be a day full of interesting visits at noteworthy companies such as Skeyes, Belgische Marine, Politie Zone Rupel, Stokerij Rubbens, Bellewaerde and Belgisch Centrum voor Geleidehonden.

The visits can be followed through a livestream on www.openbedrijvendagvirtueel.be, where viewers can also ask questions during the virtual tours. In parallel with the Virtual Day, some fifty additional companies will be permanently open for a virtual tour on the website, which will stay online for at least one more year. What’s not to like?