Unveiling tomorrow: Natasha Hatherall-Shawe on TishTash's 2024 vision

Abha Garyali Peer |

In an era dominated by digital channels and social media, the role of public relations has evolved significantly. In this interview with Adgully Middle East, Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, the Founder and CEO of TishTash Communications, shares insights into the agency's journey and strategies for embracing new communication technologies by 2024. As the founder of TishTash Communications, Natasha Hatherall-Shawe has been a trailblazer in recognizing the evolving landscape of communications. With a keen eye on the future, Natasha discusses the agency's digital prowess, its foray into new territories, and the strategies in place to navigate the dynamic digital landscape of 2024. Excerpts:

With the growing importance of digital channels and social media, how is your PR agency planning to leverage new communication technologies and platforms by 2024?

In my opinion, no agency can solely focus on public relations in this current era. Eight years ago, my agency, TishTash Communications, began diversifying its service offerings within the communications space. This strategic decision was driven by a clear understanding of the industry's trajectory and future direction. Today we’re a fully integrated communications agency offering traditional PR, influencer engagement, events, digital marketing, social media and content creation and design/branding under one roof. We pride ourselves on innovating; we’ve won a lot of awards which we’re proud of, and I believe our agency, TishTash Communications, stands out as one of the most robust and comprehensive integrated service providers in the region.

Our agency boasts a high level of proficiency in digital and social platforms. Even within the realm of traditional PR, we've formulated a robust digital PR strategy. Constantly, we emphasize the significance of a strong digital footprint to our clients, actively educating them on maximizing these opportunities.

In the contemporary landscape, more than 80% of the PR coverage we secure for our clients is online. This strategic shift aligns with the belief that bolstering online presence is paramount. Unlike print coverage, online features tend to endure over time, contributing significantly to a sustained and lasting impact.

Next year I’m focusing on creating a strong affiliate offering for our agency, as this goes hand in hand with digital marketing and influencer marketing and our market is very behind compared to other global markets. I’m determined to be at the forefront as our region plays catch up. I’ve hired some brilliant talent from the UK, and we’re working on some pilots as we speak for key brands in the e-commerce space.

Also, as traditional media outlets dwindle, we will see more brands and companies launch their own media outlets and content platforms so they can choose to become their own distributors. This is an area we are working on ourselves with the launch of Raemona.com and one we plan to drive forward in 2024.

What strategies are in place to enhance client visibility and reputation management in the evolving digital landscape of 2024?

Transparency and authenticity are the backbone of all our communication strategies. Social proof is everything, and earned media opportunities are key in reputation management. Proactive reputation management is about clear and consistent storytelling, news and commentary that cement a brands credibility with the public. We advocate this and a strong digital and digital PR strategy with every client we work with to drive positive results. This will come from a blend of communication tactics, including traditional PR, owned social channels and content including LinkedIn and Wikipedia, third party collaborations and also a supporting paid for strategy.

With the rise of influencer marketing, how is your PR agency incorporating influencer partnerships into your communication strategies by 2024?

Influencer marketing is no longer new as it’s been a part of our ecosystem for a while now, gaining in appeal after the launch of Instagram in 2010. Whilst we’ve seen its popularity explode, for our agency I’d say it’s accounted for 60% of the work we do for clients for the last 7 years. If anything, I’d say there is some movement away from influencers now after a bumpy few years with trust and ethics in this sector and I am interested to see what the next 2-3 years has in store in this area as I expect a lot of changes globally and regionally.

How and what brands use influencers for is definitely changing and it will continue to evolve. As ‘influencer fatigue’ sets in, genuine customer content (User Generated Content – UGC) is a vital preponement and endorsement for social media campaigns with consumers wanting and demanding authenticity. I expect to see a lot of development and interest in this area, as I’m already having a lot more conversation about this with clients.

What metrics do you prioritize to measure the impact of influencer collaborations on brand perception and audience engagement in 2024?

Measurement and impact of influencer campaigns (and PR/comms as a whole being honest) is always a hot topic and one of much debate. The lack of agreed reporting and ability to assess ROI has always been one of the biggest sticking points our industry has faced and the metrics our clients required varied greatly and were largely dependent on whether a paid or barter campaign.

Finally clients are looking at and listening to advice over and above follower numbers alone. We have tools and the degree of insight we are able to provide clients with today is significant and we find more want this degree of detail and want to look at engagement levels, audience insights and more.

We’ve believed in the power of the micro and nano influencer for a long time and we truly are getting the best results from those with 3,000 – 30,000 followers. When it comes to the large macro influencers not only are they expensive to work with, but there is a lot of wastage in their audience in terms of hitting your target audience and their engagement levels are typically lower than that we see with the highly bought in audiences micro and nano influencers have.

For many clients now it’s not about numbers at all. Unique content is what they need as it costs a lot of money to create content for them to utilize across their channels, as well as to support their messaging being out there with their target audience, and working with influencers can be a cheap way to create content. Hence, this explains the rise in User-Generated Content (UGC) we’re seeing and will continue to in the year ahead. Aligning with those who create content that represents a brand in the way it wishes to be seen is extremely important.