Be PR Smart: 7 Mantras for Effective PR

By Pallavi Walia|12th Mar 2012
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Recently a well acclaimed international designer of a luxury clothes line brand was to talk about dressing right for occasions and showcase it with the latest collection. The brand also included a segment on styling of Audrey Hepburn, the well known Hollywood actress from ‘breakfast at Tiffany’s’. To enhance the setting and complete the look of the event it approached another international brand known in its league for accessories, fragrances and bags. It was an ideal opportunity for them to present their latest collection at no cost to the right media and importantly be associated and seen with another premium brand which complemented it so well. To many of you this might seem like a good idea and platform for what otherwise wouldn’t have been so easy to do and more importantly for free! Well, unfortunately, the brand’s marketing head took forever to revert and was more concerned about the coverage his client would get out of it. Perhaps he didn’t understand the worth of what his client was being offered. So let’s capture it again:

  • Association with a brand which is recognized internationally as No.1 player in its market
  • An entirely well planned, conceptualized event
  • A direct endorsement by the designer himself on how well the bags complete/enhance the look of the dress you choose and importance of carrying a right bag
  • A display of brand’s latest collection to the media/target audience at one go
  • Put up branding at the venue
  • All this at no cost

Short sightedness of not able to see the benefits or perhaps pressure from the client to extract more resulted in lost opportunity. Don’t let this story repeat with you. Keep a look out for associations and partnerships that would enhance the brand image, create recall value. Evaluate opportunities to your benefit. In fact be a step ahead, you too can drive such ideas. Do remember, everything may not be free for some you might be required to spend rather invest, would be an appropriate word.

7 mantras for effective PR

Opt for quality over numbers- It should not be about number of stories you get, instead about placement of the story in the right media and medium to reach out to the target audience. For example- latest collection of a luxury watch brand featured in vernacular papers is of no use; in fact it will perhaps dilute its image. Target media has to match the brand requirements. Focus on the ideas and methodology for execution than mere media mentions.

Reaction Time: Acknowledge if someone approaches you with a proposal. It’s critical to the ethos of your brand. Be it media or prospective partners, whether your answer is a yes or a no or you want to discuss it further, always do respond. Don’t sleep over the matter!

Response: If you read point 2 again, it asks you to only acknowledge! Consider what has been offered, it is alright to ask questions and then take a decision. Some, in excitement of it all, are known to ask questions like ‘what will be the size of my company logo?. By response, I also mean if someone writes about you or sends in a positive feedback, do appreciate it. A blogger may write about your brand on his/her personal blog. Set a Google Alert to know who’s saying what about your brand in the online space and make it a point to respond, with a note of gratitude or a clarification.

Analysis: Do a check: does the event or the campaign capture your interest? Is it just average or above it? Thumb rule for any PR activity is that it should capture and convey the brand message of the product. Anything which pushes it to the last priority clearly isn’t the best option.  You could even consider doing a dipstick survey to understand the market and consumer perceptions before making a plan.

Attitude: Should be smart like your service is and should connect with the audience. Every activity should be relevant to your product, nothing should be ‘for the heck’, else no one (including your clients/consumers) will take you seriously.

Style & Presentation: From putting up a display to setting up a counter where you will stand and interact with the audience: everything should be done tastefully. Understand the people you are addressing and do things accordingly. If you are doing a CSR activity in a residential colony- you can't go in a business suit. The presentation of the brand and that of its carriers should be positive and wow, must carry a human touch, and should be personalized and crisp! Let your competition sit up and take notice and if they did, you have succeeded.

Don’t cut corners: You should never compromise on quality of what you do or organize, be it online or on site/ on ground. The idea is not to go over-board but to do things in a proper manner.

Assume you are doing a campaign to promote an online shopping brand through promotional contests at multiplexes in the city. I suggest you give a smart card which is likely to make to a person’s wallet over a paper voucher. Perhaps it will get you not just one time registrations but also win you a few repeat clients.

Drop in a line if you need to give shape to an idea.

Keep an eye on this space, as we roll out interesting articles on Do-It-Yourself PR for entrepreneurs every week.

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