Tag: budgets

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROVIDING A BUDGET

The true potential of a strategic PR programme can be transformational, but only if the target audience is communicated with in a way that will resonate.

In this digital age, there are numerous ways that organisations can engage with customers, so knowing which approach will work best is critical. With so many options to choose from, it is equally as important to allocate an appropriate budget.

Setting the programme of activity   

At Open Comms we collaborate with our clients to understand their business and industry, whilst also showcasing how our PR expertise can help them achieve their goals and ambitions. Whether we are supporting a client launch a new service or product, increasing their brand awareness or creating new marketing material, our role is to ensure that the relevant messaging reaches the right audience.

In order to create the right programme of activity for each brand, we need to identify the most relevant channels for each brand. We then allocate a certain amount of time to manage each. This then gives us an indication of the resource that will be needed to deliver results.

The recommendations we then make should be reflective of the client’s proposed budget.

A targeted approach

As there are many strands to a bespoke PR strategy, it is important to access industry insight to analyse and establish whether we are better targeting vertical or horizontal markets. This will then determine the most effective way to secure coverage in relevant media.

Although the securing of earned news coverage, whether it’s through print or online, still remains an extremely successful approach to get in front of the largest audience possible, every PR campaign should allocate time to owned content too.

This again will impact the budget and will require the client to understand that a balance of earned and owned media will deliver the best return on investment over time.

Working in this way will help an organisation to create personality which reinforces the distinction between themselves and competitors. If  managed correctly, with the right thought given to key messages, it will also attract and engage with the intended audiences.

Putting theory into practice

We have recently completed work for one of our clients that specialises in managing critical communications for some of the largest utility providers in the UK.

As they operate in an increasingly competitive sector, we were briefed with promoting a particular service which would ultimately help them to reinforce their market leading position.

We initially created a strategic plan to showcase how our support would help increase the awareness of the company as a whole and also the service it was wanting to promote. As with all successful PR campaigns, we targeted the media first through industry-led comment pieces, which positioned the client as an expert in this field. Furthermore, this also showcased their ability to roll out this service in practice.

Not only that, but we also uploaded the content to the client’s website and also across social channels to extend audience reach.

Following on from our initial market research, we realised that there was a strong opportunity to connect with existing customers and potential new business leads by drafting an original piece of marketing material.

Given the objectives, the most effective way to do this was through video marketing.

In order to make this happen, we demonstrated to the client the long-term benefits of this approach, as well as the costs. Afterall, the ROI is essential to any piece of business activity.

Delivering results on a budget

Needless to say, we got the greenlight.

Calling upon our expertise, the Open Comms team transformed the client’s service offering into a visually dynamic and engaging video.

This was then shared across all of the client’s social media channels, implemented into their marketing packages, sent to new prospects and shown to existing customers.

Within a few weeks after posting, the video had been viewed more than 800 times on LinkedIn alone, with followers increasing shortly thereafter.

Not only did this approach help enhance our client’s audience reach, but it also improved their perception within the marketplace. Because we were able to demonstrate the impact of budgeting for bespoke digital assets, our client has now shown a commitment to adapt and evolve as their industry does.

This will achieve two objectives; to reinforce a sense of satisfaction and trust among current customers and acquire new leads.

If you would like to know more about Open Comms and the services we offer, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

REDIRECTING BUDGETS TO PR FOR SUSTAINABLE RESULTS

For many of us, it is human nature to invest in those areas that reap immediate rewards. Depending upon a business’ objectives and the tactics being used, PR isn’t always one of those things. This can lead companies to allocate their budgets elsewhere. However, with a little time, patience and expertise, the benefits achieved through a sustained programme of activity, can elevate an organisation to levels which far outweigh financial spend.

That’s not to say that PR isn’t a specialism with the potential to provide results quickly. Campaigns are a great example of how tangible outcomes can be achieved within a relatively short period of time. However, to deliver sustainable results which benefit the long-term success of a business, PR should be considered an investment for the long-haul.

The true power of PR

Some consider it to be a ‘dark art’, but this is based on outdated perceptions. Actually, put quite simply, public relations does what it says on the tin. It helps a company relate to the public, forming an important interface between an organisation and its customers, employees and stakeholders.

It allows a business to share whatever it needs to say, in a way which is authentic to the organisation. These communications are managed, from start to finish, by specialists who know how to craft a message in a way which will appeal to each unique audience.

The best channels through which to share news are carefully considered, and timed, so that developments are received positively – both by the media, and by the intended audience. Ultimately, PR professionals increase awareness while managing the reputation of a business. This allows brands to reach new levels of love and a position where they can be considered ‘well-known’.

A team that can be relied upon

A good PR agency will become an extension of their client’s teams. A service that can be relied upon during times of uncertainty, and a sounding board for trusted advice and guidance.

Most businesses will endure a crisis at some point during their journey. Depending on the nature of the industry, some will weather a number. However, having a reliable PR team on board, who already know the company and its systems and processes, really can be the difference between a make or break scenario.

The truth is that when a crisis hits, it can often be the first time that a company has considered PR. If you do not have a team in place, it is most certainly a wise move. However, getting to know a brand-new agency, sharing the ins and outs of your business, its culture and the crisis itself can be a time-consuming process. All at a time when moving cautiously but quickly would be the best plan of action. Food for thought which comes that little bit too late for some.

A wise investment

If PR is something that you’ve been considering, chatting this through could be a great way to determine whether it is the right route for your business.

As an agency, we would never take on a client if we didn’t genuinely believe that we were right for you. Our passion and enjoyment comes from securing results, so we firmly believe in being honest and upfront about what we can offer.

For most organisations, PR is a wise investment. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it could, quite possibly, be the best investment your business will ever make.

If you’re interested to learn more, have a glance at our ‘what we do’ page. Read a little more about our team.  Or hear about a few of our clients, past and present, on the ‘work’ page. Or simply give us a call on 01924 862477 – we love to chat!

Get better results by being honest about your budget

Budgets are always difficult when it comes to PR, not least because although we believe in the service that we offer and the results that we deliver, there are very rarely any guarantees. It’s not like advertising where you can give a publication, a date and a cost, PR is different.

There are so many nuances with our specialism, not least the changing media agenda, which let’s be honest, just lately, no one could predict! Then there’s measurement, which is an ongoing debate in the wonderful world of PR.

As an industry, we used to rely on advertising value equivalent (AVE) but that’s now considered to be too subjective, so we are left trying to find other measures such as audience reach. This is all well and good, but if you don’t set defined KPIs at the start of a campaign, the numbers are still more vanity than they are sanity.

And so, we come back to budgets, because the return on investment that you are able to achieve from a PR campaign, like most other disciplines, is often directly comparative with the investment that a brand or business is willing to make.

PR has never had a reputation for being the most expensive of the marketing mix, in fact, it’s often the poor relation as far as budgets are concerned but despite this, PR should not be underestimated. Managing your reputation has to be a priority for any business and as it is arguably the biggest asset that a company has, I’d suggest it’s worth taking seriously.

This is why allocating the budget that you have – and not the budget that you can get away with – is essential. If you trust your PR agency, which you should, then you will know that they will provide recommendations that make the most of every penny, so there should be no need to be anything other than honest.

I do appreciate that some agencies have a terrible reputation for mark-up and for allocating unreasonable fees, but again, it goes back to relationships. Make sure from the outset that you completely trust the agency that you are working with to deliver against the objectives and within the allocated budget.

What’s frustrating is when you are working alongside other agencies and you come up with some great ideas that deliver against objectives and within the restrictions of a budget only for others to completely ignore the brief and present something at twice the cost!

How can that be right? It hardly gives us all an even playing field to work from. We’ve done what we were asked – we can all go out and spend money and make recommendations on a budget that we didn’t feel was feasible, but is the point of a brief not to provide the guidelines?

This is a further reason why it makes more sense for brands to give a realistic budget, so that we can all give the very best ideas that we have, not just those that are being cheeky.

We have delivered some amazing campaigns (if I do say so myself) and they don’t have to cost the earth. There is clearly a budget requirement if you want to spend a week at a festival, sampling thousands of products and engaging with hundreds of families, as an example, but sharing the costs from the outset and being transparent means that there is no reason why it can’t happen and deliver against KPIs.

It’s a commitment by both parties, agencies and brands, to put their cards on the table. If we know that we have a given budget to work with, we can come up with some fantastic ideas that not only meet with our objectives but often go way beyond the expectations of the client.

Having the opportunity to come up with some really creative campaigns and plans is what we do, it’s just one of the many reasons we work in the industry and with the brands that trust us to deliver for them time and time again.

So, the upshot is, if you want to get the most from your agency, choose someone you trust, position them as a genuine extension to your team, give them the budget that you have and ask them to come up with a plan that will meet and exceed expectations.

All you then have to do is wait to be blown away, and if you’re not, perhaps it’s time for a change?