The Four P’s of PR

The Four P’s of PR

When you speak of Public Relations, it’s such a vast subject that it’s not easy to try and fit it into tiny containers. Good PR is all about building a favourable brand image for a brand or individual. An image that will be trusted and respected. This does not happen overnight and has to be well-planned and strategized.

The Four P’s of PR are Protect, Promote, Perform and Prove.Following these four faithfully will make every PR campaign a huge success. The top PR campaigns have used this formula successfully.

Protect

Building a good reputation is not easy, so every brand must invest time and money towards building trust and goodwill. Once the brand begin to occupy a particularpositive space in the customer’s head, it’s important that this remains sustained. Therefore, all efforts to protect the reputation gained must be taken in terms of carefully articulated press releases and information that reaches the public.

Crisis management is one of the most challenging situations that PR faces. When a company or brand finds itself embroiled in scandal, this could directly impact its stock prices and sales. The information being passed about the situation may or may not be true. It’s up to PR agencies to keep their eyes and ears open for any negative reports about clients and either pro-actively kill the stories or instantly go into damage control mode and attempt to sort things out. Failing to do this can be detrimental to the future of the brand.

Promote

Once press releaseshave been drafted and everything set to connect with the media is ready, the PR agency must notwaste a single minute.  Connecting and promoting the newswith something newsworthy enough to hook them is the key. It could be an innovation, a new product launch, a piece of information that’s completely fresh.

To make this truly effective, it’s important to truly build bridges with reporters and editors. Personal relationships with them takes patience and persistence but this is a key factor in getting the news you want disseminated.

Perform

Earlier PR used to be an activity delinked from the rest of a company’s marketing activities. However, modern PR is completely different and is expected to align and contribute to the profitability of a company.  Today, the expectations from clients are very different. PR cannot succeed to its fullest on its own. It must properly integrate with marketing, social, digital, IT, data, insights, and /customer market intelligence.

Prove

Giving clients effective proof of the efficacy of a PR campaign will not only keep them happy but bring in repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. The impact must be measured using metrics and this will help the brand gain customer insights and correct any wrong assumptions that might have been arrived at. The insights provided must be data driven so that customers can tweak their offerings based on this. To be taken seriously, PR must deliver tangible benefits that reflect in improved brand perception and in increasing sales.

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Technology, the new hero of PR!

Technology, the new hero of PR!

Who ever said that press conferences need to be a series of boring speeches and PPTs? To grab the attention of the press and engage it, use technology and you will be surprised at what a big difference it can make. Why send out printed invites? Watzapp a gif invite or an interactive invite, saves time and gets attention.

There are many new innovative ways that technology can be used topep up press meets. Interactive touch kiosks can add an element of novelty to the venue.

 

VR & AR Conferences anyone?

 

Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the technology trends that are sure to be used in a big way in the press conferences of the future. The advantage is that brands can save a lot by hosting virtual conferences. Instead of having to fly in journalists and reporters from all corners of the globe to attend a press conference, all one needs to do is just get them to attend by slipping on a VR headset. This will not only save huge amounts of money but also create a real experience.

 

One of the most amazing ways in which VR was used was at the 2016 Olympic Games which was held at Rio de Janeiro.  At British House, the U.K.’s official residence at Rio 2016, Olympic gold medal-winning rower Helen Glover created history as she took part in the first live 360 VR press conference. This was a completely new experience for fans who felt like they were in the same room with her as she answered questions.

 

 

VR is ideal for occasions like brand launches where these can wonderfully demonstrate product attributes, features, functionality and more. This allows plenty of scope for creativity.It helps you gain a wider audience.

 

Holograms of brand ambassadors are a great way to engage the audience especially when the person is unable to come. This also provides plenty of photo-ops. India’s PM Modi successfully used his holograms to script a win.

 

Augmented Reality (AR) like VR is another emerging technology. While VR needs headsets, AR does not need any. It blurs the gap between reality and a computer-generated environment. Graphics, sounds and smell to the natural world can be added making it virtually come alive! This should create a very exciting experience at press conferences.

Using visual language for better impact

Did you realize 90% information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60000 X faster in the brain than text? This is the reason that making high impact presentations that harness the advantages of the latest technology can make a difference.

Interactive Infographics is an emerging area and can provide information to people using infographics which are more easily understandable. The interactive component can be created with embedded questions, embedded youtube videos and so on. Live chats also help.

Creating a mobile app for a brand helps in delivering customised content updates on the product, offers and more. It also helps in improving brand loyalty.

Technology is growing every day. It’s up to each brand to become an early adopter and reap the benefits.

BUSINESS HOURS ARE PUBLIC RELATIONS HOURS

“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations,”

~ Bill Gates

Jim was visiting a foreign country. He was walking leisurely on a nearly empty street. When he passed a store, he saw to his horror a fierce Rottweiler attacking a baby. Without a moment’s hesitation, Jim rushed forward, grabbed the dog with his bare hands, and wrestled it to the ground. After several bloody and terrifying minutes, Jim managed to kill the beast and rescue the child.

Jim was bleeding. People, who gathered by then, took him to a nearby hospital. Later that day, a city reporter came to the hospital and met Jim to report what had happened. When he learnt about Jim’s brave and selfless act, he exclaimed: “What a story!”. Even the title for the story flashed in his mind: “Local Hero Saves Child”.

But the reporter came to know that Jim was just visiting the city, and not a local.
The reporter thought that the story is even more interesting. He only had to change the title to:
“Visitor Risks Life to Save Child”.

Finally, before leaving, the reporter asked: “By the way, what do you do Mr Jim?”
Jim replied: “I am the chairman of a listed company.”
The journalist noted down and left.

The next day the story appeared with the title:
“Corporate Fat Cat Strangles Family Pet to Death”.

Nowadays relations between media and corporates are not something great to write home about. Journalists don’t believe what companies say. The bigger issue is that people do not believe what is reported. This affects public relations building.

We all want public relations – because public relations brings us new customers, new investors, new employees, new partners, and so on. But we end up killing public relations when we pay too much attention to public relations at the cost of customer relations, investor relations, employee relations, and community relations.

Public relations can save startups, grownups, granddaddies of all industries from failure. It is the first and only button to press when things go wrong. But it is often the only button that never gets pressed – at least not in the right way.

We can rescue our business and put them back on the growth trajectory. It all begins with the clear understanding that what we are doing in the name of business is building relationships.
Mr Roger Dickhout, a management consultant, explains this aspect in this thought provoking article he wrote for McKinsey years ago.

He says that the role of business is about maintaining “Constituent Balance”. “When the constituent interests (interests of shareholders, employees, customers, communities, etc) are out of balance in a large corporation, the gloves come off as shareholder groups rebel against complacent management, or customers punish a company for poor quality,” he writes. The way to bring back the balance is by maintaining good relationship with all the constituents – which is what is the means and ends of true public relations.

The role of leadership in the words of Roger is to maintain constituent balance by making sure that “customers are satisfied, talent and investment flow in, and management, employees, and shareholders feel adequately rewarded.” If this is what leadership in business is all about, then our working hours should be considered public relations hours. Sankar, Management Author and Consultant.

How to combat fake news through PR

How to combat fake news through PR

Today fake news is on the rise. The reason being that news sources today are no longer exclusively the mass media but social media too. Mass Media has always had gatekeepers like Editors and Publishers who do take the effort to verify the credibility of news. Social Media though is a completely different ball game. Facebook and Twitter have played a big role in the dissemination of fake news. Watzapp forwards too have become a menace when it comes to passing around fake news.

What is fake news?

Fake news can be defined as blatantly false or misleadingly exaggerated information presented as true through a trustworthy media source. It’s very easy and cheap to create fake news and distribute it through social media. Many of these go viral and in many ways unfairly damage the reputations of people brands and organisations.  It can be so powerful that it can damage the image, lead to a drop in sales or even destroy the brand.

How can PR combat fake news?

Keep your eyes open for fake news about your brand or organisation, at the first signs of it, work must be undertaken on a war footing to stop its spread.  Immediately, get into damage control mode and provide timely and accurate information through PR. Have an identifiable source.

Tell the truth

The most powerful armour that you have to combat fake news is the truth. Be transparent. Provide facts to back up what you say. Craft a clear message without being ambiguous and keep the channel of information flowing. Appoint a one point contact inside the organization that the media can reach.

Create the right team

Stemming the flow of fake news is also about sending the right kind of signals and right news out. Form a team of responsible thinkers who can handle this and put in the right kind of thought process.

Fight it with fire

Create powerful releases and keep regularly releasing them. Try and create something sensational so that gets into the news. Speed is of essence, so don’t hesitate, the minute fake news hits the brand, fire the cannons. How your write the release is also important, use straightforward headlines and simple language that conveys the content quickly and effectively.

Have a crisis plan in place

It always helps for brands to be prepared for crisis. There must be a kind of scale crafted to assess the impact – moderate to severe and different plans to deal with each contingency. Being prepared always works the best.

Use technology

Facebook has a feature that allows alerting objectionable news. Ask as many users as possible to do this and it could help get the offensive post taken down.  Getting the brand’s FB page to be a verified one goes a long way in helping disseminate proper news.

Keep your ear to the ground. Build a good network in the media and among others in different walks of life. This will help you sniff out fake news faster and react quicker.  Use these valuable tips to weed out fake news and bring back the trust factor to your brand.

How a PR Campaign can help a brand launch

How a PR Campaign can help a brand launch

In today’s increasingly competitive world, consumers are being bombarded by information and marketing from all sides. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to grab the attention of their target audiences. However, the world’s top brands have always been innovative in their marketing and ensured that when their brands get launched, they get the big spectrum attention.

Most brands cantake a leaf out of Apple’s book. After all, it’s one that has very successfully used PR to create a buzz. If you scan the media, before the launch of any new model of Apple iPhone, you will find the hype building around it. It keeps the target at the edge-of-the-seat in anticipation. The result is that there are long queues for it immediately after launch. The products get sold out like hot cakes. Now, isn’t that the dream of any marketer?

Define your target audience well

A clearly defined target audience is what sets the tone for a successful brand launch. This also helps in selecting the media that you want to reach.

How will PR tie in with the brand launch?

PR will build up the anticipation for a product before its launch. This is to similar teaser campaigns that brands use before a product launch. The product launch event will also be covered by the media and this will generate the much needed hype. This initial aggressive thrust will increase brand awareness and build credibility.

Should you have a soft launch?

Sometimes brands want to get a feel of the market before going all out. This happens with a soft launch where not much media hype is created. This could be done with a small By Invites only launch with the press and few guests. They could sample the product. This will get a preview of the market response and in the case of some products certain features could be tweaked if needed.

Get your product reviewed

Favourable product reviews can create the curiosity about your brand. This plays a big role in influencing brand opinion. This works especially for consumer durables and electronics.

Keep the message straightforward and clear

The ad agency and PR agency need to stay aligned so the same message goes out. If the advertising campaign follows a certain line of thinking in its message and the PR campaign contradicts it, this will affect  the brand as consumers will get confused.

PR helps humanise your brand

The personality of your brand comes through with a well-planned PR strategy with regular updates. The brand launch through PR shows its human face that the target audience can relate to.

Like all other promotions, plan your PR strategy for your brand launch well in advance. Maintain a clear line of communication. Besides the information, provided to the PR agency, depute one person in the company to handle any queries from the press. Make sure they are friendly and accessible. The better your homework and the better your planning, the greater your reach.

Meet the Father of PR

Meet the Father of PR

Edward Louis James Bernays is popularly known as the Father of PR. Though he was born in 1891 at Vienna, Austria, he grew up in New York. The Austrian-American was a master of propaganda and had crafted many highly innovative and effective PR campaigns that made a big impact during his time. He was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine.

He was instrumental from separating PR from the realm of advertising and give it the recognition and position that it truly deserved. He said, “Public relations, effectively used, helps validate an underlying principle of our society — competition in the market place of ideas and things.”

He had an impressive line-up of clients   ranging from manufacturers such as General Electric, Procter & Gamble, and the American Tobacco Company, to media outlets like CBS and even politicians such as Calvin Coolidge.

He had a list of rich and influential clients who came to him for advice in creating a positive impact on the public. These included Presidents Coolidge, Wilson, Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower besides Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt and the dancer Nijinsky.

He also rejected some notorious clients such as  Adolf Hitler, Gen. Francisco Franco, and former Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Somoza. Hitler had approached him to create a campaign for the German train system.

Some of his ideas were nothing less of sheer genius.  When he found there was “sales resistance” to cigarette smoking among women, he came up with an ingenious strategy that caught the imagination of the public. He went ahead and staged a demonstration at the 1929 Easter parade, where he made fashionable young women flaunt their “torches of freedom.” This was instrumental in taking away the taboo associated with women smoking.

Another of his brilliant campaigns was for Procter & Gamble. During that period, kids just hated soap because it got into their eyes and irritated them. What he did was to persuade schools across the country to participate in soap sculpture contests. This transformed the way kids looked at soap, from being a much hated product, it turned into something that they started loving.

Bernays was constantly working throughout his long career to make a difference in what he did. He raised the benchmark and standards of his profession. He gave many lectures on public relations in 1923 at the New York University. These had the distinction of being the first on that subject at a major university. He has authored a wide range of publications in the PR field such as Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923), Public Relations (1952), and The Engineering of Consent (1955). These classics are still read by PR students.

Bernays after a fruitful career retired in the early 1960s. However, he continued as a consultant and advocate of public relations well into his 100th year. He was also known as a philanthropist. He served on numerous boards and committees in various fields, and received honorary degrees and many awards for his work. Truly a life lived to the fullest!

Media Partnering is the hot new trend in PR

Brands have mushroomed and everyone is fighting for the limited space in the media. Getting your brand in the news has become tougher. However, PR has found a new way to get its foothold in the media through media partnership. This works best for events, co-branding, social causes and so on.

What is media partnership?

In simple terms, media partnership is a collaboration between your brand and a media house. This exclusive cooperation will generate mutually beneficial publicity.

Why choose media partnership?

Media partnership helps you enhance your marketing and promotion activities. It’s a win-win situation for both as it brings credibility to efforts of both partners’ efforts through a ‘third party endorsement’. This is an ideal solution for organisations with a low campaign budgets. For instance, a publication that has a media partnership contract will be more likely to publish your news and articles. This extends your reach in a big way.

Identify your media partner carefully

Before you approach your media partner, there are a few things that you must think through. Choose a media house that will reach your TG effectively. The media vehicle, television, print or radio may differ depending on what kind of brand campaign you are planning to roll out. If your campaign is highly visual, a TV partner would work.

How to work it out

Successful media partnering is all about coming up with something they want and getting something in return. You could offer exclusive content and photos or videos, photos with your brand ambassador, display of the partner’s logo on your promotion materials and websites. In return, you can ask for an interview, series of articles, mention in your partner’s social media posts and so on.

Don’t just think editorial, think advertorial

An advertorial can help as much as an editorial mention. A media partner can help you get a  solid advertorial space that brings trust and credibility for your brand.

How to promote your event through media partnering

Whether you are planning a show, a conference, exhibition or any other event, media partnering can work wonders both in terms of reaching numbers and also creating the hype needed. While you could include your partner in your promotional material, provide stage mentions, provide space for their banners and publicity material, allow them access to exclusive content and so on. In turn, they will help create a buzz around your event. Make sure you get the message right, focus on the uniqueness of the event, its features and more.

Co-branding can work wonders

Other ways to get into media partnering are through co-branding, crafting a campaign or activity for a social cause together for instance. This will bring both partners better visibility and reach.