Tag: campaign planning


First PR Campaign

September marked a memorable milestone in my career; I was given the opportunity to work on my very first PR campaign.

Entrusted with the responsibility of bringing a client’s vision to life was undoubtedly a daunting one, however seeing my plans put into action was a truly rewarding experience. My contribution to the campaign not only improved my knowledge on how the process works but also public relations overall.

Here is what I learnt –

Research is the unsung hero of PR

Press releases, content writing and social media maybe pillars of Public Relations, but it is research that lays the foundation for everything we do.

From initial planning stages to execution, every effective PR campaign must have research at the forefront of all decision making. Overlooking the importance of it can lead to unwanted repercussions and essentially damage a brands reputation.

In contrast, when done correctly, research provides countless benefits. It is not only a vital tool for targeting the right audiences, influencers and journalists, research also helps to prepare for all eventualities that may or may not occur.

Every decision in PR is accompanied with better and worse options. Research is what helps to determine which approach is most appropriate.

Ideas are always welcome

Regardless of how big or small a campaign may be, new and creative ideas are always appreciated.

Although expressing ideas as a PR newbie was slightly intimidating, I soon recognised that the team at Open Comms encouraged original thoughts and valued all suggestions. The philosophy here is that no idea is a bad idea.

PR requires out of the box thinking and notions that gain attraction. Ideas can be expanded, reduced and inspire other ideas. So, simply because a suggestion may see farfetched or perhaps not big enough, are not reasons as to why it should not be expressed.

Expect the unexpected and prepare for the worst

While no one wants to fixate on all the things that could go wrong, an effective campaign is one that evaluates all negative possibilities and is equipped to respond accordingly.

Operating in an especially unpredictable world, it is essential to prepare for the what ifs. Without correct preparation and planning in place, a campaign cannot cope or adapt to challenging situations. Whereas covering every outcome (with a HEAP of creativity) has the potential to minimise any negative impact on a client.

I have always known that a client’s reputation is the number one priority in PR but now I also understand that for this to be true, risk management and robust scenario planning are key.

Why PR is about more than ‘fannying around with the press releases’

The Devil Wear’s Prada and Bridget Jones’ Diary didn’t really do a great deal to raise the profile of the PR industry but I have to admit that the stereotype that comes with this job isn’t entirely unwarranted, so I would just like to set the record straight.

Not all PR people giggle in high pitched tones and understand this seasons fashion, we don’t all totter on high heels and we don’t all wear perfume that is too strong and lingers after we have left bright stains of lippy or your cheek – post air kiss ‘darling’.

There are some of us who work in PR because we want to plan campaigns with interesting and exciting brands that ‘nail it’ and attract media attention, which in turn raises the profile of the business and encourages consumers to buy their products and services.

Yes people, this is exactly what floats my boat. Since day one securing good quality coverage has made me go all warm and fuzzy inside. Knowing that a campaign you are working on will be shared nationally and possibly even internationally sets butterflies a-fluttering – it’s what we do and it’s what we love.

PR isn’t just about writing or media relations it’s also about understanding the brands and businesses you work with and that is why every morning we read the papers. We’re not taking time out or having a leisurely start to the day, we’re working. It’s important that we know what’s going on so that we can work with the media agenda and react accordingly, whether that is by statement, comment or by building on a strategy.

We live in a very different world to when I started in PR and in some instances it’s easier – you can find out what is going on using RSS feeds, google alerts, twitter or web searches, you don’t have to run to the shops to buy the nationals – just log on!

Some of the best coverage I have secured has come about as the result of piggybacking on the media agenda, using it to the advantage of the brands and businesses we work with. It’s not difficult but it does take time and also understanding – you have to know what you are looking for.

PR as a specialism has evolved so much over recent years it’s difficult not to get excited by it. Content is one of the most valuable tools available to a brand and that’s what we do – we create content that can be distributed to the media, shared online or used as a policy, comment piece, brochure, blog, website, leaflet… content is valuable, it’s strong and it delivers.

Just some of the services we offer as an agency at Open Communications are as follows:

–          Press office

–          Blogger engagement

–          Content management (social media)

–          Copy writing

–          Campaign planning

–          Communications strategy sessions

–          Crisis management

The list goes on but it gives you the general idea.

It’s all about reputation when you work in PR and that means your own, as well as your clients. It’s important to be personable and approachable – that doesn’t mean air kissing clients at every opportunity, it means working with them and being knowledgeable about their business so that you can give them recommendations they know will deliver results. We are PR experts and it’s our expertise that sets us apart, it’s what our clients pay for.

I am very proud of Open Communications and of the campaigns that we deliver for the many brands we work with. I don’t always agree with the PR industry and the image it portrays but I hope that through this blog, you get a little insight into what it really means to work in PR and that there are some of us who simply want to do a job and do it well.

Now, where did I put that press release!

Does celebrity endorsement really add value to a brand?

Having worked in PR for more years than I care to remember, I have had the chance to work with a number of celebrities who have supported clients with the launch of new products and services – I think my claim to fame has to be having the mobile number for Mr Motivator at one point!

Now there is no doubt that with celebrities come press coverage but when does the battle to land column inches or secure air time discredit a brand rather than adding value?

It was when watching the TV last week that I noticed Myleene Klass is now working for Littlewoods… erm, I thought she was one of the many celebrity faces of M&S? It is examples like this that make me question the value of celebrity associations.

In contrast, you could argue that Gary Lineker is synonymous with Walkers and that the brand gets great value from the long running relationship but perhaps that’s the key; when choosing a celebrity you have to know that they are going to be a genuine brand ambassador and not just show up, smile and leave never to mention your product again.

As far as I am concerned you have to choose very wisely when you are considering which celebrities to work with. You don’t have to look far to find some horror stories about sponsorships and endorsements that have led to brands pulling the plug and quickly disassociating themselves because one celebrity or another has been caught doing or saying something they shouldn’t.

Then there are the celebrities who will go to the opening of an envelope. They mean well and support several brands with the launch of anything from baby products to trainers, food supplements to charities. I can never really see the point in using someone who has no affinity with the brand that you are trying to promote, so this is something that I think needs a great deal of thought. It isn’t good enough to simply look for the latest King / Queen of the Jungle (groan!) or someone who will sit within the limited budgets that you have.

Perhaps times have changed but I think the value of a celebrity needs to be considered longer term. What will the benefit be to the brand once the photocall is over and how will that association build over time?

The strongest associations are those which develop organically but you cannot always rely on the fact that a celebrity will tweet about a product because they genuinely love it. Unfortunately when well-known faces are being paid to tweet about products it becomes all the more difficult to identify what is real and what is forced.

So, to conclude, for all those brands who are considering celebrity endorsement, I would advise that you think beyond the photocall or the product launch and think more about how longer term you will get continued value from the association. The most important question is to decide if you want a genuine brand ambassador or just ‘hired help’ for the half day you’ve budgeted into your campaign.