African PR and Tech Company Plaqad To Launch First Of Its Kind Global Communications Platform
Plaqad, a marketing and public relations software company, is set to release a proprietary marketing platform that lets brands advance an affordable, data-driven campaign from start to finish. The platform, which automates the entire campaign workflow, gives users the ability to find and hire talent and service providers, launch a campaign, track and measure campaign performance and process vendor payments — all in one place.
Plaqad launched its initial offering, SocialCred, a free influencer and social media ranking tool, in June.
SocialCred is a free influencer and social media ranking tool that leverages non-traditional metrics to measure influence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. It provides social media users with actionable insights to grow their influence, while also providing brands with sufficient data on influencers to make informed decisions on which creator to partner with. The tool, by downplaying traditional metrics like reach and impressions, also helps to counter influencer fraud and measure real engagement.
Plaqad, first established in 2017 as a startup within BlackHouse Media (BHM), one of the most successful PR companies to come out of Africa, was built to connect brands and individuals to bloggers, news websites, publishers and social influencers.
Today, Plaqad, strengthened by a community of over 15,000 influencers, creators and publishers, has successfully placed over 25,000 pieces of content on social and web platforms across four continents. It has paid out over $1 million on hundreds of campaigns to members, in effect helping its program members monetize their content, platform and influence.
“Plaqad, a contorted way of spelling the word ‘placard,’ is a protest against the norm,” said BlackHouse Media and Plaqad Founder, Ayeni Adekunle. “In line with our mantra ‘Make Your Voice Heard,’ we continue to live our mission to help businesses irrespective of their sizes, location or budget, reach and effectively engage their audience. We conceived the idea for Plaqad to help democratize an important aspect of modern communications.”
Amplifying Your Brand’s Message
Plaqad houses two broad products: PlaqadM, an online freelance marketplace that connects brands to thousands of freelance service providers, and PlaqadIQ, a robust set of social media tracking and analytics tools, to measure and optimize the performance and impact campaigns.
While both products sit on one platform, brands do not have to utilize or pay for both. For example, a brand can pay to track a campaign using PlaqadIQ without having to hire service providers on PlaqadM. This flexibility is also reflected in the platform’s payment models. Plaqad users can choose to pay a monthly or annual subscription, depending on their needs and usage frequency.
“Our platform gives every individual and brand a voice in the marketplace by opening up access to quality talent and tools and automating the entire process of executing PR and marketing campaigns,” said Plaqad CEO Gbenga Sogbaike. “Plaqad levels the playing field, giving SMBs the ability to connect to quality service providers regardless of budget, while also tracking their campaigns real-time all in one place.”
The Plaqad platform is the result of years of industry experience, active listening, data and insights gathering and solution-driven engineering to uniquely solve age-long PR and marketing issues.
Brands and agencies still grapple with challenges relating to limited access to quality talent, poor attribution, opaque agency and influencer practices and a largely cumbersome and slow engagement process. By providing brands, agencies and individuals with the tools and resources they need to effectively engage their desired audience in a seamless and measurable way, Plaqad is helping to address some of these issues.
Plaqad’s history is rooted in innovation, from being the first to create a content trading social network for bloggers, news websites, publishers and social influencers (micro-bloggers), to launching Africa’s first Influencer Compensation Report.
Its parent company BHM has been named PR Agency of the Year for three consecutive years and has published the continent’s only PR report since 2015. BHM built Africa’s first PR app and was named the Best PR Agency to Work in Nigeria in 2017. Its roster of blue-chip clients includes Heineken, ViacomCBS, Coca-Cola, Reckitt Benckiser, MTN and Multichoice. When BHM rolled out its U.K. operations earlier this month, it became the first Nigerian PR firm to go international. Founder Ayeni Adekunle is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA).
“We are driven by innovation and it is reflected in the solutions we bring to the market,” said Ayeni. “With Plaqad, our goal is to build the most convenient and efficient community-led marketing platform. We want to build communities that give people the power to directly collaborate and exchange value on multiple levels, and ultimately give everyone — organizations and individuals — the power to make their voices heard, without barriers.”
SocialCred is Plaqad’s response to the mushrooming issue of influencer fraud and fake news. Its algorithm measures real influence and minimizes influencer fraud by downplaying traditional metrics like follower count, reach and impressions, focusing instead on engagement rate, audience sentiments (positive, neutral or negative), content quality and the creators’ ratio of original to shared posts within a 30-day window.
While designed as a tool for influencers and the brands that want to engage with them, the free app is available to all social media users. Individuals are awarded badges — titled A-Lister, Big Shot, Socialite, Trend Setter, JJC, Superstar, and Learner — based on their rankings.
Beyond the fun factor, SocialCred’s badges serve an important function, helping brands assess and select influencers based on their influence quotient across Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. The platform makes it easier for brands to find genuine influencers who can drive real actions.
It also helps influencers to get better — and acquire bigger and better badges — by offering tips and tools to boost their visibility and social credibility.
“Influencer fraud is one of the biggest threats to the success of brand campaigns,” said Sogbaike. “SocialCred is our first step to promoting greater transparency and accountability in influencer marketing, thereby helping practitioners to counter influencer fraud. SocialCred separates real influencers from those simply faking it. We will keep adding new features to improve the app and expand its use cases.”
SocialCred is available now.
The Plaqad platform, including PlaqadM and Plaqad IQ, will be in full release beginning today. From November 30 through December 15, Plaqad is offering brands, agencies and individuals the opportunity to test drive the game-changing platform at no cost. For more information, visit plaqad.com.
Plaqad sits at the intersection of technology, marketing and PR, bringing together the people, the tools, the products and the resources required by businesses to run successful campaigns on a single platform. Plaqad is an emerging global tech brand and Africa’s first-ever end-to-end marketplace and analytics platform.