It is easy to think about branding from a purely traditionally perspective. However, when it comes to digital, it creates a new dynamic where various entities have different communication styles and perspectives. For example, a brand may choose to have a television commercial and brand launch on the same day, but their digital ad campaign may not engage its audience. Thus, the incremental impact of a single day launch falls flat. In other events, PR turns into a nightmare, when a digital ad doesn’t reflect the brand’s true messaging or offends a certain group of people. Pepsi and Kendall Jenner had the very same problem over in the US.
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Often, the communications officer isn’t in tandem with the digital officer in the same organisation. This is especially true in larger organisations that make daily decisions without having a single reporting mechanism or a unique message. When the digital marketing manager, the PR head, and the brand consultant sit in the same room – the message is loud, but it’s not clear. Often, the CMO is the last point of contact for these heads. Therefore, there needs to be a clearer line of communication and reporting for all departments in the marketing hemisphere, to report in a singular fashion in the organisation and be more transparent about each’s objectives and goals.
Here are some simple steps to ensure that your digital marketing programs are being supported and enhanced by PR:
At the ground level, execution is sometimes difficult. Influencers from across the demographics have varying contracts and levels of agreements. It is digital’s job to employ PR activities whilst partaking in influencer marketing and vice versa. A digital first campaign won’t have wings if PR doesn’t follow through. Even for an SME, PR is the bread and butter, and digital is the daily coffee. Both are needed to fuel the organisation. Influencers that are utilised for digital marketing, must be utilised for PR as well
The level of impact that loyal fans can have on your brand are yet to be explored in India. There are brands like Xiaomi, which have revolutionised marketing in a single launch in India, and there are brands like Samsung, which have faced the backlash of bad PR and marketing. Thus, in order to truly engage all stakeholders, companies must involve the media in the on-goings of what is happening via digital. Consumers interact with brands on social media every day. However, their impact is limited when it comes to reaching the masses, i.e. the crowd outside of their own niche. For example, I love shoes, and I can like a small upcoming brand that I follow on Instagram every day. I share their content and it reaches my 200 friends. However, if I see a print mention, or their founder being interviewed, or their new launch being covered by multiple newspapers, the conversation that I can have with my friends about the brand is immediately intensified. The community of your demographic is excited.
There are numbers on digital (although sometimes fudged) and there aren’t on traditional PR. However, we can gauge the response of either by the number of mentions v/s the typical brand’s release via print. The more mentions that reflect well on PR as well as digital, the more reliable the figures are in general. Therefore, the more reliable the marketing campaign as a whole.
Things don’t go viral on YouTube. Things go viral via PR. It is only when the PR side of the media takes over that any digital property goes truly viral. When brands want to create virality and forget about reaching out to the influencers that control the space, they fail miserably or rely upon instant recognition as a community-based outreach. One of the best examples of last year is Finolex Fans.
PR is the lifeline of any good brand. However, when it works symbiotically with digital, it creates a multi-fold effect that lasts a lifetime. Brands become synonymous with legacy and companies change their fortunes overnight. That being said, bad PR and bad digital can become their own worst nightmare. Hire a good agency and the rewards can be greater than expected.