Digital Transformation Agency

Why creative PR is the savvy marketer’s channel of choice

By Lucy Porter | Head of planning



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July 13, 2022 | 7 min read

Amid a global economic crunch, budget holders everywhere will be looking for more effective ways to market their wares. Lucy Porter, head of planning and innovation at agency group PrettyGreen, tells us that they need look no further than creative PR for a cost-effective and impactful way of achieving cut-through.

Prettygreen on how to transform PR and use it in a more creative way. Image credit: Pavan Trikutam/Unsplash

PrettyGreen on how to transform PR and use it in a more creative way / Pavan Trikutam via Unsplash

As the cost-of-living crisis escalates, UK consumer confidence has dropped to its lowest level in nearly half a century. Authentic comms cut-through has never been more essential for brands that empathize with and prioritize their audience.

While instinct might suggest marketers throw the weight of their budgets into functional above-the-line or paid media to land brand messaging, there’s a risk that doing so will blow your budget entirely, or miss out on important brand-building work. You could miss out on the formative, meaningful stuff that provokes conversation, builds wider brand consideration and ultimately (re)builds trust.

While PR has always been a channel for brand-building, when dipped in creativity, it catches fire. For savvy marketers looking to make their (now-reduced) budgets work harder, creative PR offers a solution that resonates with consumers and aligns with your bottom line. Here’s how.

PR is best at brand-building

Good PR can drive reach. But good creative PR turns that reach into unprompted awareness, advocacy and reappraisal with authentic messaging that builds brand trust. With the current backdrop of declining consumer confidence, trust is a precious commodity that brands cannot afford to lose.


Creative PR is proven time and again to be highly trusted by consumers. It’s one of the most effective channels for building brand equity, even more than above-the-line ads. Whether brands want to reconnect with their audience, or (re)launch into a tough climate, creative campaigns dispersed through channels that speak directly to their audience drive greater cut-through.

Add an emotive PR layer, and see the campaign drive up to 22% more brand fame than rational counterparts. That’s why many of PrettyGreen’s purpose-led campaigns are so well awarded, from driving awareness of ‘Hidden Black Stories’ with Snap, to championing accessibility with Pantene and ambassador Lucy Edwards.

Capturing the right hearts and minds

Now’s not the time for shouting into the wind and hoping the right audience picks up on it. Creative PR allows brands to connect with audiences authentically, with targeted comms that tap directly into audience interest. With media consumption more fragmented and dispersed than ever, particularly among gen Z and millennials, creative PR straddles print, digital, paid, earned, owned, shared and experiential like no other channel.

The creative PR arsenal of driving awareness through content, influencers, social media, events, media partnerships and earned media means that brands can show up exactly where their audience is – and where you’d never expect them to be. It’s Three hosting a virtual 5G London Fashion Week catwalk; the RNIB popping up at Glastonbury with ‘eye-test karaoke,’ or PlayStation taking over the London Underground.

Creatively-awarded campaigns drive greater growth

Savvy clients know that for PR to drive results, it needs a creative lens grounded in cultural relevance. While now might feel like the time to hold back and land with conservative campaigns, the Warc/Lions Creative Effectiveness Code proves that an insightful strategy combined with the most original execution will always be most effective. Brands bold enough to address issues head-on with spikey, culturally-relevant campaigns will reap great rewards.

Creative PR pulls through on this promise. Creatively-awarded campaigns are 11 times more efficient in driving share of market growth compared to non-awarded campaigns. A well-awarded agency is a sign that it will deliver a real business impact.

Better bang for your budget

According to Warc/Lions, high media spend is essential for creative campaign effectiveness. But what about when budgets are pinched?

Creative PR thrives on a budget, because a good PR agency can deliver what an ad agency would charge 10 times the budget for. For one PrettyGreen client, earned media accounted for 67% of impressions from 12% of budget. Imagine what the other 88% could drive. While being cost-effective at attracting more eyeballs, effective PR can also make your budget work harder than other channels. One of our clients saw PR drive the highest return-on-investment (ROI) at 10:1, versus an average of 2:1 ROI across all other channels.​

Fame-driving campaigns out-perform others on all business metrics: sales, market share, customer loyalty, market penetration, profit and, importantly, price sensitivity. And nothing says fame-driving quite like a man freefalling from the edge of the atmosphere.

While it might feel like the time to hold back and land with something safe or throw caution (and budgets) to the wind in the form of impressive above-the-line ads, hold off. Creative PR is that effective sweet spot where brand fame meets budget-friendly. It’s a thrift store full of gems that have the potential to hold value, create conversations and invite intrigue in a world of loud, fast fashion.

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