What Makes a Successful PR / Marketing Program
A brand typically decides to work with a public relations company such as Konnect Agency when they are looking to introduce their services or products to a wider audience. This can span from an established brand which consumers are already familiar with or a brand new company that has yet to make its mark in the industry. As publicists, it is our due diligence to share our knowledge with the brands we have the privilege of working with and advise them on the best methods to reach their target customers. To be the best advocates for our clients, it is essential that we understand how the media landscape works and have a pulse on best practices. Below is a small sampling on our approach when it comes to building a killer PR campaign:
Earned Media Approach
This approach is considered to be traditional PR and what most of our clients expect when signing on with us. As publicists, it is expected that we have created a roster of media contacts in a given field (food, lifestyle, kid, franchise) and that we are able to tap into these outlets with news from our clients. Whether it’s a new product launch, a funding announcement, or an event, we are the experts when it comes to the best outlet and editor to reach out to. When done effectively, this process results in great placements such as a Good Morning America placement related to National Avocado Day or an Eat This Not That piece which talks about the best cold remedies. Sometimes the best way to earn these great placements is when we tie the products into a timely event like a season, specific pop culture movement and so on. Our public relations agency is always aware of the latest themes and important days happening throughout the year. With this information, we are able to develop a PR plan that best addresses ways to insert the brand into editorial coverage. However, an important thing to note is that although we put the best efforts into securing these wonderful earned media opportunities for our clients, it is at the discretion of the media outlet whether they will include the brand in their editorial coverage. Unfortunately, when you go the “earned media” route, nothing is confirmed until the story is published.
This program by itself is effective, but it is also important that both the public relations company and the client are aligned on the objective of the campaign. One way is by wanting to spread brand awareness, which can be accomplished by ongoing coverage. For example, if you are a brand that develops baby safety products, your brand recognition will be increased by having your products continuously featured as a “must-have, best, most functional, most favorited” products by and for parents. Another way could be to make a splash and do something noteworthy that will create a buzz about your brand and position the service, product or event as a cool/trendy company that offers something unique to consumers. This can be accomplished by an activation. For example, Chosen Foods, a brand known for creating avocado-based products, did an activation for National Avocado Day. They received great media exposure by conducting a fun giveaway associated with a very popular food item: avocado. The giveaway allowed the brand to connect with their (potential) consumers through a fun and engaging way, thus creating new relationships with the public.
Paid Media / Sponsored Partnerships
If you are looking for a program where you can have control over the messaging, adding a paid media collaboration into your PR plan might be a suitable option. We usually advise on doing a paid media program when a brand is looking for ways to amplify the success they are seeing on the earned media front. This opportunity usually presents itself when the client has a new product they want to share and has the funds available. Konnect has coordinated multiple sponsored partnerships between a client and media outlet: eg. ONE Brands’ recent partnership with MindBodyGreen to promote their recently launched plant-based ONE PLANT protein bars. These collaborations give the brand control over the messaging in the article, as well as an opportunity to cross-promote on the media outlet’s social channels. Depending on the level of partnership, brands can also provide ads for sponsored content, which gives them the ability to track engagement. The success of the program is measured by the numbers that are shared following the paid activation as these indicate the engagement the brand has received with their target audience through clickable content in the paid/sponsored placement.
Being in a digital age, it’s probably no secret that influencers play a significant role in today’s promotion of products. When you go on your Instagram, you will probably be flooded with posts of former Bachelor(ette) contestants talking about the “latest and greatest” with the hashtag, #sponsored or #ad. With the help of publicists and digital marketing experts, brands are starting to recognize the power of social media influencers and adding it to their overall PR strategy. A handful of Konnect clients nowadays have a PR program that encompasses a traditional media component with a focus on earned media placements, and an ambassador program. The latest statistics show that over 1 billion people use Instagram per month, with 81% using the platform to research new products and services. The ambassador program comes with an additional price point since being an influencer is considered to be an actual career these days and the well-established ones have large rates to show for that. If a company has the budget and chooses the RIGHT group of influencers (with the help from a strategic PR agency), the program can truly serve as a powerful extension to a PR program, solidifying existing relationships and creating new ones via ambassadors. Additionally, influencers truly create the best #content, and every brand loves new content!