How to craft a PR plan to include in a brand marketing strategy
Public relations experts give us their hot takes on using PR in brand campaigns.
How to use PR in your brand marketing campaign
The Drum recently published a story about how a relatively unknown brand called Lyma got 30,000 people on a waiting list for its £500 skincare product. But how, you ask? Through PR.
For new brands, public relations can be an important tool for building an industry presence, and for established businesses, it can help keep them competitive and fight off negative backlash.
The growth of digital marketing and the influencer ecosystem may have pushed the consideration of a full PR plan further down the pecking order, but if done well, PR can be essential for building a brand identity.
Clavin Klein’s chief marketing officer recently revealed he is going back to basics by investing time in regaining editorial influence, not just selling the brand through influencers and celebrities.
We asked leading PR agencies how to craft a PR plan to include in a brand marketing strategy.
Charlie Tarr, founder Woodrow (clients include Proper, WaterBear, Choose Love): “PR, by its very nature, is wielding influence and winning arguments. Unfortunately, some of the PR industry has gotten caught up in delivering fame rather than influence (be wary of case studies with ‘2bn views’ as an outcome). This means that brands often only associate public relations with tactics – a viral moment or front-page splash – rather than strategy.
“A strong PR strategy starts with understanding what you want to achieve. Is your goal to simply sell as much as possible? You might need PR. But I’d prioritize a world-beating product and a superb sales team.
“Ask what your PR team – in-house or agency – can do for you outside of getting your name in the paper. Communication is influence, so decide who you need to win over. The rewards are enormous.”
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Holly Bray, senior account manager at Ketchum (Booking.com, Iceland, Activia): “Building a successful PR strategy is grounded in three key components: know and understand your audience, establish what it is you want to communicate and be bold and creative in your execution.
“Start by identifying your audience and what they want to see from your brand. Your goal is to consider how everything you do will land with your core demographic. You have to think, ‘What does my audience read? What social channel do they spend the most time on? How will this specific campaign impact the way they see our brand?’
“You then have to establish what it is you are trying to communicate. From the outset, strategically map your key messages and incorporate them into all your PR assets. Key messages form the building blocks of your story. If you can’t explain what the story is and why it exists in a couple of lines, it’s probably too complicated.
“Finally – regardless of your communications objectives – you should never be afraid to explore areas outside of your comfort zone and be bold. For example, it’s never been harder to engage with media, so put yourself in their shoes when building your strategy. They see thousands of stories a day so build in your X factor early and think about how you can stand out from the crowd.”
Serge Vaezi, co-founder and creative director of Seven Communications (19 Crimes, Fortnum & Mason, Global): “First, insight-driven ideas. Grounding a story with genuine insight is key for an impactful and more memorable story, guaranteeing to connect with consumers on a deeper level.
“Second, no one likes comfortable. A story needs to push boundaries to stand out from the crowd – whether that’s challenging societal norms or sharing powerful assets that trigger emotion.
“Third, context is everything. If a brand wants to talk about something, it doesn’t mean that the world is ready to hear it. Timings are as important as the activation itself. Wait for the right moment and your idea will have relevancy and purpose.
“Next, disrupt the category. Find creative ways to break out of your ‘vertical’ – technology can be featured in beauty media and food can land on the fitness pages. Be creative and devise stories that appeal to new audiences.
“And lastly, join the conversation, don’t try to start one. Make the assumption that nobody cares about your brand. Find conversations that are already happening, and be part of that conversation.”