Five ways to successfully use news hijacking

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Five ways to successfully use news hijacking

Increase your brand awareness; everyone wants it, but actually achieving it is not that easy. You can approach this in different ways. One of them is news hijacking, tapping into news that is relevant to your company. It basically means that you create a media opportunity by linking it to current events, providing a way of getting your message in the news. But how do you do it? As a client, what can you expect from your PR agency?

Here are our five tips:

#1 The impact of an event
The most obvious way is to come forward as an expert. For example, this can be done by talking about the consequences of a specific event based on your expertise. A recent example is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Besides the physical war, there is also a risk of a cyber war. How big is this risk and what is the possible impact? Cybersecurity specialists from CrowdStrike and P-X Systems discussed this with various journalists from, among others. By doing this, they positioned themselves as an authority in the field of cyber security. Another recent example is the Suez blockage, to which we linked up with a blog from logistics service provider Descartes Research also lends itself perfectly to hijack current events. Visma | Reat did this by doing research on how professionals in the Netherlands think about the increasing energy and fuel prices. This resulted in coverage in many publications, including NRC, De Telegraaf and Business Insider.

#2 Opinion about current events
Another way to hijack news is by sharing your opinion about the news or event. Please note: if you want to get successful coverage, you should not be afraid to take a stand. By being critical, you increase the chance of actually getting your opinion published. Editorials are flooded with proposals, so it is crucial to stand out and really add something to the debate. By giving an opposing opinion, you catch the eye. Some successful examples are the opinion pieces of datacentre BIT in the NRC about the arrival of Facebook’s datacentre and transport management service Wuunder in the Financial Times about the rise of dark stores.

#3 Share experiences
What if there aren’t any hot topics that are related to your business? Don’t panic! Events or news that are not directly linked to products or services can still offer possibilities. For example, take opportunities in the field of labour market communication. Keep in mind: the more original the approach, the greater the chance of success. This can be seen in practice in this interview with RTL Nieuws in which three of our clients shared how they handle the return to the office. This interview was not only broadcast, but also published online.

#4 Be creative
The key to success is creativity. The trick is to frame an event in such a way that you make yourself relevant. For example, we achieved two successful hijacks on the Dutch cabinet formation. Yes, really! We linked B2B IT and tech companies to politics. De Ondernemer wrote an article about what CEOs of our clients would do if they were ministers, taking into account the fact that there were many new ministers without any political experience. We also seized our opportunity with the arrival of secretary of state for digitization. What do experts say she should address first? AG Connect published an article in which you could read the opinion of nine of our customers.

#5 The early bird gets the worm
With news hijacking you bring your client’s company to attention in multiple ways. This may have to do with your client’s expertise or core business, but it doesn’t have to. There are also plenty of opportunities to appear in the news playfully or creatively. However, what always applies with news hijacking is that there is a need to act quickly. The faster you respond to something, the better. Before you know it, the opportunity is gone. This means that you have to continuously monitor what happens in the news and have an opinion or reaction ready to be published in no time.

As PR specialists, that’s exactly what we do! Now, we’re off to scan the headlines.


By Maartje Grossouw, MD of Marcommit

CSR & business: it’s time to take action!

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CSR & business: it’s time to take action!

Faced with the unprecedented tensions generated by the health and economic crisis linked to the coronavirus, organizations must now urgently question their purpose and their way of operating. This is important not only so that they can prosper, but also so that they can be prepared to face future challenges and crises that we can already anticipate (climatic, economic, etc.).

But how can organizations restore meaning to their actions and bring confidence to their stakeholders and to society as a whole?

Compliance with CSR is not enough. Far from it.

The first major lesson to be learned from this crisis is that respecting a CSR commitment is not enough to ensure that organizations are prepared for the problems that may affect their activities and society in general.

For years, companies have complied with CSR constraints in an opportunistic and cosmetic manner without necessarily adhering to them or devoting much effort to them. Some have been forced to develop CSR policies and reports because of anti-corruption or local laws. Others have done a kind of “CSR washing” by communicating on basic initiatives far from having the real impact that real fundamental changes and investments could have on society and the environment.

And it is clear that these “small measures” are showing their limits today. Even companies practising what is called “flexibility at work” have found it difficult to set up fast and functional teleworking mechanisms, because they have not really invested in the adequate infrastructures. Only a few have been able to anticipate and react to support their workforce and maintain their supply chains.

This shows how organizations must go much further than what is recommended, required or dictated by law. To truly prepare for the changes in our world (global warming, biodiversity crisis, social, health or economic crises), they must do more and be prepared to absorb greater impacts. It is crucial to allocate more resources to identify risks, but also and above all to have open and transparent discussions with all stakeholders and to build a relationship of trust.

Companies also need to be more resilient and adaptable. To achieve this, the resources and decision-making powers allocated to CSR managers must be increased so that they can develop projects with a high impact on the organization’s core business rather than superficial actions.

Workplace flexibility is not just an “employer brand” argument

The other big lesson of this crisis is that emphasizing flexibility in the workplace should not just be an excuse to attract talent or get a good reputation. Many companies’ efforts to build an employer brand are exposed as a false nose if they are not supported by a true CSR culture.

For example, the coronavirus crisis shows us to what extent it is companies that have really adopted home working arrangements that are well thought out and take into account the human impact on the quality of life at work and also the environmental impact within the framework of a global CSR policy that has fared best. These companies had the time to learn what worked best and to set up control and production processes that not only guarantee optimized business continuity but also have a positive impact on the environment, which is at the heart of CSR concerns.

Because even if this is not replicable for all positions and all activities, the current crisis is proving to us that our company is able to function without having to drive to work and without the associated carbon emissions. It is regrettable that it has taken this “health incentive” to force the hand of many companies, but we must also hope that these companies will finally adopt genuine mobility policies that will, at last, make it possible to reduce our CO2 emissions, relieve transport congestion and improve the quality of life of the millions of employees who want to reconcile their professional and private lives.

A responsible corporate culture is not a luxury

“Thanks to” the coronavirus, we were finally able to measure the extent to which corporate culture was fundamental in reacting to a crisis.

Employee engagement and the creation of a strong corporate culture are key to demonstrating the value of its organizational ecosystem. Fairness, pay equity and management practices based on trust are founding elements in creating a culture of tolerance, openness, solidarity and resilience.

It is therefore obvious, in the light of current events, that a CSR policy can no longer be a posture but a reality because, once the crisis is over, we will have to take stock and, hopefully, based on the observation that the most virtuous companies have been better able to face the crisis, rethink their operating methods in order to instil more responsible cultures. To prepare managers, define an ethical charter or create fairer internal practices, organizations will have to be rebuilt from within and in-depth. And at the centre of these changes, CSR actors will have a central role to play.

by Alexis Noal, Senior Brand Strategist, Oxygen