THE FIVE KEY INGREDIENTS TO A SUCCESSFUL PR CAMPAIGN

Ella Stanbrook

By driving forward campaigns for leading brands on a daily basis, it is clear that while PR campaigns come in many shapes and sizes, every successful campaign contains the following five elements:

1. Simplicity


People need to quickly understand the campaign and its aim. According to a recent article by The Telegraph, the human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds. Overcomplicating things will alienate potential supporters and run your campaign into the ground. Royal Mail’s Golden Post Box idea aimed to celebrate the success of Team GB as well as to gain greater positive coverage for Royal Mail, and is a great example of a simple but effective way to secure positive coverage. The post boxes became tourist attractions, with people queuing to take photos beside them. Subsequently Royal Mail were the only non-sponsor invited to join the victory parade in September, and they also received a higher volume of mentions during the Olympics than many of the global sponsors. Nicola Green, Telefonica O2’s Director of Communications and Reputation said: “The campaign was beautiful in its simplicity. Sometimes the simplest ideas, well executed, are the best ones.”

2. A call to action


Demanding too much involvement from the public in a PR campaign can quickly work against you. However, done in the right way a call to action can make your campaign go viral in a matter of days. The example that springs to mind is the Ice Bucket Challenge that was splashed across our screens in 2014. It was described as the world’s largest global social media phenomenon, and involved over 17 million people uploading videos to Facebook of them having a bucket of ice water thrown over their head. Since the start of the campaign, over $115 million dollars has been raised to find a cure for ALS.

3. Be unique


The same rules of normal news stories apply to campaigns. If your campaign is not unique, innovative and exciting, then it’s unlikely to be successful and secure the coverage needed to get it off the ground. A great example of being both unique and simple was Coca Cola’s “Share A Coke” initiative, which saw names being printed on coke bottles. The campaign aimed to take a global brand and make it more personal to customers. The idea was simple and not something that had been tried, to such an extent, before. As part of the campaign in 2014, 235,000 tweets were sent from 111,000 fans using the #ShareaCoke hashtag and more than 150 million personalised bottles were sold. After all, seeing your name on a product is unique and bound to grab your attention!

4. Explore new media


Gone are the days where newspapers and websites were the only places to generate support and coverage for your campaign. Many organisations have taken to Facebook and Twitter as places to launch and focus their campaign efforts, and both platforms are now the norm for any campaign. However some are taking this one step further and using other platforms such as Instagram, Vine and Snapchat to further push out their message and to reach new audiences. Habitat for Humanity’s Photo Contest did just that as they asked contestants to post photos that captured the mission of their Habitat for Humanity project with the hashtag #HabitatPhotoContest and follow @habitatforhumanity. This has seen Instagram flourished with heart-warming images demonstrating the work that the charity does.

5. Be visual


Without images, a PR campaign will not get far. According to Inc, an American business magazine, videos are shared 12 times more than text or links on Facebook. Striking images evoke emotions, and increase chances of support for your campaign. The examples are endless, but include the range of posters from Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement advocating for stronger gun laws in America. The adverts highlight bizarre items that have been banned in the US – including Kinder Eggs – while guns are still freely bought and sold.

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