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!
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.
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.
– 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.
– 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:
- Opening a new business
- Launch of a new product
- Information regarding new tools, machinery or technology
- Future plans of an organization
- Information pertaining to tie-ups with foreign firms or with regard to signing up of agreements
- Information regarding big-league business orders worth more than a crore from within the country or from abroad
- Information with regard to a firm’s expansion or diversification
- Information with regard to receiving or presenting awards
- Information regarding things that are done for the first time in the state or in the country
- Information on appointment of franchisees, traders or dealers
- Information relating to the problems in the industry
- Information on the functions relating to commerce and business
- 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
Individuals 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.
– By S. Sridevikripa
As we all know, the proverb `Practice makes perfect’ holds good for Public relations too. PR agencies have to constantly ‘exercise’ basic PR skills in order to be successful. The basic PR skills a PR specialist needs are excellent writing and verbal communication abilities. Over and above, a PR specialist also must know to work under pressure and be able to answer a variety of questions including unexpected ones.
In many cases, this requires a great deal of flexibility in terms of both working style and schedule, especially in times of crisis situations. For example, when a negative news about the client gets into public or when media pose unpleasant questions, PR specialist is expected to respond promptly and efficiently in order to help the client retain their good reputation. To cope with such demands agencies need to ensure they have a top strategic PR person handling the account.
Sometimes, new challenges may demand for a change in the approach to reach our goal. Changing when things change and acting accordingly will only help in achieving our targets.