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.

How customisation in PR can be a game changer

How customisation in PR can be a game changer

PR is a skilful game where each move has to be calculated with precision to win. Here’s a look at a challenging assignment that came our way and how we made this a national success for our clients.

Since 1995, Chennai-based Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation has been giving away the Mahaveer Awards to outstanding individuals and organisations. The concept was to recognise their excellence in propagation of `Non-violence & Vegetarianism’, `Education’, `Medicine’ and `Community & Social Service’. Recently, the 19th edition of this was held.

 

The Foundation had so far identified, recognised and honoured over 60 individuals and institutions doing selfless service for the welfare of the needy, the weak and the voiceless.  They had been continuously giving away these awards, yet wanted to reach out even further. Their goal was to reach out to individuals across India and secure nominations. However, this was not happening despite their best efforts. It’s then that they approached us.

We analysed their target group and came up with a Pan-Indian strategy. We took a three-pronged approach. We created Regional Content, translated it into Regional Languages and had Regional Partners to disseminate this.

We understood that there was a lack of awareness about these awards. We needed to not only build awareness but also whip up the enthusiasm for this so that there were a larger number of nominations.

We first looked for Local Partners in every nook and cranny of the country and tied up with them. They became the torch bearers of our mission to spread awareness and garner nominations.

We also realised that the one-size-fits-all approach would not work with the content. We did not want to take te esy way out and use a single release for all regions. We went through the award lists and state wise looked at the winners. We customised every single press release that went out depending on the region. For instance, the Kerala press release went with the names of previous award winners in the region. This created the connect.

The press releases were translated into vernacular languages  ranging from Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Hindi to Punjabi. This brought in the local flavour and multiplied the reach exponentially.

After the PR campaign which was run in newspapers across the length and breadth of the country, things changed dramatically. Nominations poured in from all quarters, from Punjab to the North East to South India. This provided greater choice.

The Mahaveer Awards also got a greater audience and platform across the country. It drew in a lot of recognition and respect for the good work they were doing.  Besides the publicity they gained the good will that it brought and the dissemination of their noble  ideals.

Smart ways to increase the news value of your brand!

Smart ways to increase the news value of your brand!

PR is all about getting your brand the mileage you want in the media.  To achieve this goal, the news you want carried must offer better news value than the millions of pieces competing for attention. In short, it must have an attractive hook for the media to bite. This calls for a PR strategy that can create this buzz for you.  Here are a few smart ways of doing this.

 

Go topical

Topics that are trending are hot! They are the flavour of the day and if your brand piggybacks on them, you are likely to get the mileage you want. Spinning a brand story that touches it will give your news a greater chance to get published.

For instance, the recent demonetisation was a big opportunity for bank and financial brands to cash in and get featured in the news. Bank officials shared their views and this received a wide reach. The response was naturally higher.

If you have noticed, during festivals, special days and seasons, you will find articles dedicated to them. For instance, around Diwali, magazines and papers will have special recipes for Diwali, Diwali fashion etc. Exploit this to your advantage.

 

Photo Opportunities

News need not always be in the form of news articles or snippets. It can also be in the form of photographs. This is a quick way to get mileage. Say for instance, you are a cosmetic brand, you could create a photograph featuring a model with a special look for New Year. This is likely to get published far easily than an article. The reason being that the media also needs attractive images to dress up its pages. Creating interesting photos of your event or pictures that in some way depict your brand so that it relates in a wider way with your audience will world.

 

Share it with news agencies

It’s not just about getting a great photo or having an exciting piece of news to share. How and where you share it also is an important part of PR strategy. One of the most effective ways to share it is with large news agencies such as UNI, PTI and IANS. These disseminate information across India and the world, if your news or photo gets there, the chances of it getting picked up increase exponentially. The news could get carried anywhere in the world.

Reach out, reach smart!

Why use influencers in PR?

These days a word that’s much in vogue is ‘influencers’.  Who are these influencers?

To put this simply, they are people who have the power to affect the purchase decisions of others because of their real/perceived authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. For instance, fashion bloggers have greater influence over buyers than even A-list celebrities. We talk about the relationship they have built that we could leverage.

Social media has increased the power of these influencers and leveraging them for PR is a smart strategy. They are subject experts and so every word they speak counts. A simple tweet on how good a product is can get the twitterati excited and transform this into sales. A blog mention, a FB update, all this can make the product sell like hot cakes.

How to identify the right influencer?

Influencers in a particular segment are not necessarily celebrities. They may be well-known only within that sector and this makes it all the more tougher to identify who they really are.  The best way to find out is to ask a few people from your TG who they follow. You can run a Twitter or Hashtag search on the topic to identify who is really trending there.

Build an influencer strategy!

This is a strategy that’s built over time through creating a relationship. Make a list of the top influencers in a particular category. Send them regular updates. Sweeten this with exclusive new product variant previews invites before it hits the market for instance. Pamper them with a few freebies and exclusive tip-offs. When you prepare to send out the news, make sure that this hits the targeted influencers first.

Why are influencers able to make an impact?

Unlike the mass media and marketing promotions, influencers enjoy a greater level of trust and credibility. Since they are from within the industry or industry experts, they are trusted better. When they provide product reviews, these are product-centric rather than promotion-centric. They have many different ways of expressing themselves, they can share an opinion, share an experience, get into the small details of the product and entertain the audience too. These influencers can be paid or unpaid.

For certain brands, youtube videos by influencers can work really well. For instance if a famous chef has a Youtube recipe channel, using a particular brand of masala will push it.

Paid influencers

The major paid influencers are brand ambassadors who are usually movie stars or celebrities. The product can piggyback off the news that appears surrounding their activities.

How to achieve success with influencers

A successful influencer campaign will not happen overnight. It involves working closely with influencers to consciously create content that will seamlessly integrate the brand message to appeal to the TG without appearing obvious. Since they understand their audience and have built them from scratch, they would never do something that will alienate their audience.  Align with influencers and watch your PR activities achieve maximum impact.

PR for Start-Ups

Start-ups are the name of the game today! Even 20-somethings are no longer in search of their perfect job, they are keen to turn entrepreneurs. They have brilliant ideas but transforming these ideas into big businesses needs good PR.

With the financial landscape of India changing and people being more open to innovation and new brands, this is the right time for start-ups to take the plunge. PR not only generates publicity for the brand but also push sales and attracts new employees and investors.

Whenever a new business is started, there’s always a burst of enthusiasm and a rush to get the brand publicised. Brand awareness is important but it’s important to use every penny wisely. Did you know that a good PR campaign can get a brand up to ten times more publicity than an ad campaign with a fraction of the spend? It’s true.

PR is a great way to get the word out about the brand. A well-crafted PR campaign can be very effective in getting the message across and reaching a wide cross-section of the target. PR can also be evoked to create a buzz about the brand and make it a talking point.

Advertising is about directly promoting your brand whereas PR is a subtle way to persuade. It creates a channel of communication, instead of merely aggressively pushing the product. It gives the buyers, the target, and relevant information and facilitates the buying decision. It’s also about creating a sustained flow of information that may directly or indirectly impact a brand. For instance, for a beauty cream, a PR campaign on the benefits of night creams where the brand is mentioned will help. If the product is a bore well pump, building a human interest story about how the brand has donated a pump to a remote village and how the life of the villagers has changed post that will work. Such information creates interest in the brand. Where advertising lacks credibility, PR makes up by being a third party endorsement of a brand.

A good PR campaign generates a positive brand image. It helps investors see the potential of the brand and encourage investment. A well-targeted PR campaign can have a great reach amongst them.

Catalyst PR is a specialist in crafting PR campaigns for a wide range of diverse clients ranging from start-ups to large corporate houses. The team consists of specialists who share a strong rapport with the media. They draft press releases that have laser like focus and communicate powerfully. The PR campaign would be the first impression about the brand and multiple factors such as the market trends, TG, potential and so on are analysed before creating one.

Catalyst PR has successfully molded PR strategies for start-ups and put them right on track. Its expertise can help any start-up put down its roots in the industry and grow.