Strategic PR can be a powerful tool for building brand and reputation. It gives you a voice and opinion outside your organisation, enables you to better engage with your audiences and allows you to add value to debates and topics relevant to your sector and the wider world. But in a noisy, busy, crowded space how can you use PR to help you meet your strategic goals?
As a well-known, popular and innovative brand, this British food manufacturer received regular requests from consumer and trade media titles, asking for samples, interviews, comment and press information. Before we developed its strategic PR and media approach the company responded reactively to fulfil each and every request but lacked the time and opportunity to follow each one up to evaluate the quality of the coverage or whether any was secured. It was also regularly approached for ‘freebies and giveaways’ for celebrities, influencers and television programmes, and was unsure about how to deal with the growing number of requests, and how this activity could affect the reputation of the brand.
With this in mind we focused marketing and strategic PR around the following:
Focused PR strategy
In line with its overall marketing strategy, our media approach enabled the creation of a full target press list for both trade and consumer press with ‘top titles’ identified as the prime target for placement of company and product news and information. In addition to proactive management of outbound activity, a decision tree was created to handle inbound requests from target and non-target press, television and the growing number of influencers keen to feature the company’s products. The strategy helped to raise the profile of the company, manage product launches in a timely fashion, reduce press sampling costs by two-thirds in the first year and improve relationships with key media allowing proactive and exclusive story and feature development.
Online Press Centre
We created and managed an online media centre with press access to enable requests to either be self-fulfilled by journalists who were already familiar with the brand, and quickly by those who needed access to the right image or background files in the format needed.
Endorsement with Integrity
We pro-actively leveraged available authentic opportunities, tracking and sharing celebrity and influencer endorsements from those who spoke about the brand without incentive.
Niche audiences growing into mainstream territory
Over time one of the brand’s key audiences grew from a niche area into a mainstream demographic. This enabled us to leverage a shift for some of the product ranges from highly specialist media into more mainstream and consumer press without compromising the brand’s heritage and ethical values.
Shift in PR Focus
Part way through our engagement the decision was made to alter company strategy with regards to exit. At the outset the company had expected to build the business to pass down to family or position for a management buy-out. With these options less likely the decision was made to look further afield for exit options. As a result we shifted PR focus to more of a trade and national business emphasis, securing profile pieces in national Sunday supplements and top target vertical press. A majority stake sale in the business was secured within 18 months.
Adopting a flexible approach to PR, which shifted in focus in line with the brand’s overarching business goals and strategy, and with market trends, ensured a successful campaign over the long-term, with audience reach topping 50 million in the last 12 months.