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.

Use Disruptive PR to deliver dramatic results!

Disruptive communication is the new buzzword around and it’s taking the PR world by storm too. Large established brands tend to settle into a comfort zone without doing anything that’s too innovative. Smaller ones try to ‘Copy’ the success of these big brands hoping it will make them successful too. However, whether it’s a start-up or an established brand shaking up the pattern of PR can create exciting results.

Why does a brand need disruptive PR?  Today, media channels have expanded like never before. Everywhere you turn, you find a brand trying to grab your attention. This has resulted in a kind of ‘numbness’ among consumers where brand messages are either being ignored or have stopped making any impact.  This is where disruptive PR can make the difference.

The element of the unexpected, that surprise is what makes this so effective. Disruptive PR can work in two ways, the first is that the brand gets disruptive and generated enough material for PR activities or a disruptive PR campaign is developed for a brand.

Disruptive PR functions in close connection with brands helping them reach new markets. Nike, the iconic sportswear brand disrupted the entire sporting category through its Nike Fuel Band. This moved it from being merely a sportswear brand to tracking people’s fitness and lifestyle. This generated a huge amount of sales. This is an instance where the brand went disruptive and PR was just the messenger.

It’s not always that a brand gets disruptive with its product offering, so there is a greater challenge for the rest. One of the very successful disruptive PR campaigns took place at the Tour de France’s Grand Départ event in 2014. They had an out-of-the-box idea of dying a herd of 150 sheep yellow. This was the colour of the race’s yellow leader’s jersey. These sheep were placed in a field enroute the race. The event was further enhanced by making sweaters from the wool and the proceeds donated to charities. The resulting PR campaign generated enormous interest on social media and there were 290,000 results for “yellow sheep tour de france”.

Creating a successful disruptive PR campaign is all about looking at the brand differently. BTL activities offer greater scope for creating disruptive communication. The media is always looking for something that’s new or has a shock or surprise element and naturally these get snapped up. Photo opps also create scope for the media to feature these campaigns.

Be a disrupter and create a new pathway for success!


Print is not dying, it’s changing avatar!

For years, there has been talk about how the future of print is at stake. The naysayers have been calling it a dying medium. However, we beg to differ, print today has changed, rather transformed to accommodate the tastes of the new breed of readers.

The style for one has changed. Instead of verbose, content heavy editorials and articles, we now have articles with simple writing that one can breeze through. There is a greater focus on layouts and images than ever before.

Newspapers have started bringing out supplements on fashion, wellness, careers or seasonal specials. These value adds are almost micro-magazines of their own. They inject the spirit of freshness into the life of newspapers and readers look forward to them.

Another trend that’s being seen in the print media is that general magazines are slowly giving way to niche magazines. The one-size-fits-all approach to a magazine is shifting to domain specific magazines.  Some magazines target hobbyists such as yachting and art magazines. There are others that target communities specifically or a lifestyle such as luxury magazines.

A successful PR campaign is all about identifying the right target magazines for each brand and promoting it there. This creates true value for all the stakeholders involved. Today, the name of the game is not about badmouthing print but rather finding the best setting for a brand.


How technology has transformed PR

In every sphere, technology has been a game changer and PR is no exception. Firstly, the whole process of dissemination of information is changing. Emails are still the preferred mode of communication when it comes to press releases and briefs. However, with today being a generation on the go, information such as videos, images and content are also being share via other platforms like Watzapp, chat messages in FaceBook and so on.

Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter are now a closer means of engaging with clients. It also helps PR agencies identify journalists in a particular segment and reach them. It’s easier to stay in touch with them and quickly share information.

Today every brand has an online presence. Managing the online reputation has become a specialist entity by itself. Social platforms like FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest and blogs have to project the right image and maintain the consistency of brand positioning. A diversion from the overall brand approach can be catastrophic as the brand would then either get diluted or lose its brand equity. One the positive side, getting this right can mean generating a great deal of publicity and even going viral with posts.

Technology offers many creative new ways to create brand awareness, brand launches and press briefings for instance can use virtual walkthroughs, 3D kiosks, experiential promotions and so much more. After all, normal is boring

Today, technology is making brands a part of people’s lives. The onus on PR is to harness this the right way by planning a strong strategy and implementing it.

Advertising versus Public Relations

– By S. Sridevikripa

Though Advertising is one form of Public Relations exercise, today, advertising is seen as an independent and vibrant discipline as most corporate houses give a great deal of attention to advertising. The instant visual impact it creates, outreach across different strata of the society beyond language, age and literacy barriers, and the inherent brand recall pull are some of the attributes that distinguish advertisement from other forms of publicity.

That is why almost all the top corporate houses allot 70% of their annual business promotion budget towards advertising and the remaining 30% for Public Relations.

Though a costly affair, businesses are ready to invest millions in advertising. The news story cited below will be an enlightening material to know the extent to which companies are ready to spend for advertising to reap fortunes in the business.

But it is to be understood well that not every organisation can spend such a huge amount, especially the start ups and small and medium-scales. As mentioned earlier, Public Relations is a low cost, potent marketing tool distinguishably with the power to reach the target group with more information on products/services that will help boost company’s corporate presence and in a sustainable way.

Even in the case above and in the case of big corporates, advertising alone will not give the desired results as people can know more about what the company is into, developments and details of its offerings only through the PR, which will earn the company a good mileage and credibility.

The information that the media considers as newsworthy for publicity

– By S. Sridevikripa

The key to media publicity is the newsworthiness of organization and its activities. There is no business that does not have any newsworthy information. Things that might seem ordinary to a firm may interest certain sections of the media as being important and newsworthy. The events that will immediately grab the interest of the media are:

  1. Opening a new business
  2. Launch of a new product
  3. Information regarding new tools, machinery or technology
  4. Future plans of an organization
  5. Information pertaining to tie-ups with foreign firms or with regard to signing up of agreements
  6. Information regarding big-league business orders worth more than a crore from within the country or from abroad
  7. Information with regard to a firm’s expansion or diversification
  8. Information with regard to receiving or presenting awards
  9. Information regarding things that are done for the first time in the state or in the country
  10. Information on appointment of franchisees, traders or dealers
  11. Information relating to the problems in the industry
  12. Information on the functions relating to commerce and business
  13. Information about a trade fair or a fashion parade

Be it the organisation looking for publicity or media itself, the ultimate aim of both these set ups is to reach out the public / target group with the information that interests them and that they are eager to know about. Information as said above will create an impression about the organisation and help it have a branding edge.

– By S. Sridevikripa

Functions of a PR agencyIndividuals and organizations wishing to build their image need a public relations agency’s help as it implements its expertise to enhance clients’ reputations through the media. PR professionals have the ability to analyze the organization, identify newsworthy developments, and can translate them into substance for publicity. The functions of a public relations agency include some or all of the following:

    • Identifying newsworthy information
    • Formulating suitable PR strategy and chalking out target-oriented media plan
    • Preparing and disseminating media releases
    • Arranging and fixing the schedule for press meet
    • Designing invites for the media
    • Arranging for photographers and videographers, if necessary
    • Sending reminders for ensuring good media turnout at the press meet
    • Preparing clients on expected questions and effectively fielding them during press meets
    • Providing valuable inputs of the company to the media at the press meet
    • Following up with the media for news coverage
    • Tracking and mailing the published news clippings to the clients
    • Creating and conducting special events for public outreach and media relations
    • Writing pitch notes about individual/firm and sending them to media
    • Responding promptly and efficiently in times of crisis situations

Such analytical evaluation of the information and transformation into a communiqué that is of interest to the media and easily understandable by the target audience will aid right projection.



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