Jacob Metcalf, Account Manager, BIG Partnership
Earlier this year ITV brought a groundswell of attention to its landmark ‘A Year on Planet Earth’ series with an ambitious PR campaign which harnessed the creativity of some of the industry’s brightest minds.
Marking the start of its new natural history programme, the campaign saw a frozen billboard appear at Westfield London. Pulling intrigue from onlookers, the billboard gradually thawed to reveal a stunning visual of a grizzly bear atop a mountain range.
Beautifully designed, the billboard achieved that ‘stop and stare’ outcome which is so valuable in PR, but it went beyond this too. As well as bringing attention to the series, it gave a poignant reminder of the melting ice caps and humanity’s impact on this planet. Meanwhile, the innovation and striking visual the billboard provides is something which will live long in the memories of those passing by.
As ITVC’s executive creative director outlined, it was designed to showcase the ‘constant and magical transition’ within nature that the changing seasons bring, and this is what their creative strategy looked to tap into.
The notion of changing seasons is something which can be directly applied to the PR sector. The things which matter to a target audience can change from day-to-day. What was front and centre of peoples’ minds a year ago may be a distant memory now, and so PR professionals are constantly adapting to a rapidly changing environment to deliver campaigns which truly leave a long-lasting impact.
Gone are the days where a client will be content with copious amounts of media coverage. While that plays an important part, customers want to feel the true value of their outputs. They want campaigns which hit at the heart of what they are trying to say with a creative and clear approach which will captivate and intrigue people. Simply put, they want campaigns which will be remembered for years to come.
As a result, it has never been more important for PR professionals to keep abreast of the trends driving the industry forward which allows them to tap into what truly matters to their audience and empower themselves with knowledge to drive their campaigns forward.
Quality Over Quantity
In 2023, success is being viewed differently by clients and their target audience. Quantity, while important, is not the be all and end all of the success of a project. For example, a single thought-provoking, engaging piece, which truly conveys a client’s message, delivered in a title of key strategic importance is far more valuable than a reactive comment which is featured in multiple titles.
PR specialists are abandoning the traditional outreach strategies that depend solely on press releases, and are instead looking to create a range of bespoke, intriguing and thought-provoking materials that are customised to appeal to a wide-ranging audience.
Resurgence of In-Person Interviews
With the pandemic behind us, media outlets and reporters are placing a greater onus on in-person interviews. Face-to-face conversations are far more fruitful and yield more in-depth insights as the client and journalist physically react to each other. This PR shift can be particularly applicable for critiques and discussions of sensitive matters.
While phone calls and Zoom meetings may still be used, it is becoming increasingly likely that journalists will want to sit down in front of their interviewees. The whole experience too creates huge value for a client, who will feel the worth of sharing their time with an individual interested in what they have to say.
Alliances with influential people are proving to be increasingly fruitful for PR experts within the industry. Word-of-mouth and contacts matter more in business, and the PR industry will likely continue to focus workstreams through influencers.
Influencers have an extensive reach and a ready-made audience who trusts them, shares their values, and crucially, their interests. Finding an influencer who speaks to a client’s target demographic can boost an organisation’s exposure and website traffic. Furthermore, the use of influencers can bring increased brand credibility.
The Value of Owned Media
Free media exposure is often the bread and butter of agencies, however a clients messaging need not end there. PR professionals’ plans should include more than just gaining earned editorial publicity in the press. Putting in the long-yards to support a client in creating original content that they own from start to finish can pay dividends.
Crucially, it allows the client complete control of their story. Putting energies into producing media such as blogs, emails, and social media content allows clients to reach their intended audience without resorting to overpriced promotions. Combining this with other forms of marketing can allow a client to create strong messaging which delivers their ambitions.
The Fine Line
Brands are having to tread a fine line between action and inaction on issues which matter to audiences. This can be particularly true with subjects such as the environment, diversity, and inclusion. Tread too far and criticisms can emerge that a company is acting solely because they feel like they are being forced to by society rather than wanting to help. While too little can result in brands coming under fire for not doing enough.
Understanding the fine line between action and inaction will be vital for PR professionals as they develop campaigns around areas such as the above. Knowing what is too little or too much when championing a brand will help organisations communicate sincere actions on potential issues which will leave a brand’s target audience content that they are doing their bit.
At BIG Partnership, keeping on-top of the latest industry trends is something we have hardwired into our genetic makeup, and utilising creativity alongside insights such as the above is something which guides our outputs, allowing us to create engaging stories which resonates with clients and their target audience alike.
It is an approach which has served us well. By putting what matters to people at the heart of what you do, you can create powerful branding campaigns which create memories which will last a lifetime. At BIG, this is something which we strive to achieve day-in, day-out.Back to blog