Upgradation in strategies leads to successful PR campaigns

A few years ago, when I was asked about the strategies to target the digitally viable communities for one of the pivotal projects, I argued why strategies, can’t we just simply reach certain influencers, seek their agreement and make a deal. Is it required to prepare a plan of action and delve into the complexities, like always?

In return, my senior said; don’t go by the term or how it sounds to you, go by the impact it makes to the project. And today, I couldn’t agree more.

Strategy may be defined as “the art of planning an action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim”. The Cambridge Dictionary defines strategy in a somewhat different way, but more broadly and with certain cases. Professionals have more likely been exposed to strategy in the detailed planning of long-term projects. The renowned Merriam Webster.com, on the other hand, defines Strategy as a method of complex adaptations (as of behaviour, demography, perceived patterns, and taste & preferences) that serves or appears to serve an important function in achieving success. There have been other definitions that have broadened the definition’s scope. However, the Strategy of any project, movement, or campaign is, without a doubt, a significant part that requires the thorough study of various dynamics and constant upgradations.

Say you need a mobile. Would you go to a vendor who hasn’t updated his store for the last 10 or 15 years? Of course not! New, better, and advanced techniques have since come out and we want someone familiar with those. The same is true with the Public Relation (PR) strategy. In today’s globalized and ephemeral world, we want to be at least sure of using the latest techniques and trends.

The field of Public Relation is anything but static. It adapts and evolves as new technologies and tactics emerge. PR professionals have widely embraced developments like artificial intelligence and influencer marketing with great results, and today we are face to face with new developments constantly on the horizon.

Needless to say, that the impact of strategy in the media and advertising industries does not happen overnight. A good publication or a good campaign, on the other hand, is insufficient to raise public awareness of brands, let alone to paint them in a favourable light. When enterprise leaders take a seat down to devise a campaign, they usually envision the best scenario for their company such as, what narrative perspective would best position them, what number of clients will they convert from the exposure, and what credibility can they get from it? While those are all desires that want to be defined, the exceptional campaigns construct on preceding fashions that have unfold throughout the country (or maybe the world).

When ‘Dove’, a cleaning soap business enterprise determined to construct their brand on self-love and trust, they created a marketing campaign called “Real Beauty.” First was a short commercial displaying how perceptions of beauty are distorted. A “normal” girl walks into a studio, fixes hair, and places on makeup, after which her image is dramatically Photoshopped which finally ends up on a billboard. This video hit numerous points along with its sinking truth, and the powerful message that you are as beautiful as you are. This commercial was only a part of the campaign. Later on, Dove hired real women rather than models to represent the real & bare faces. And it worked. A PR Week report found that the brand’s annual sales nearly doubled over the ten-year campaign.

In the recent years, 2019 was eventful for almost all industries. The industry witnessed better strategic planning from clients and brands and several requests to drive integrated communication through PR. Sadly in 2020, the pandemic, with its deadly claws has profoundly changed the lives, causing tremendous human suffering. Beyond the immediate impacts on health, jobs, and incomes, the epidemic has multiplied existent poverty and worsen several small businesses, communities, and regions.

Timing is everything. Just over the pandemic, many businesses attracted PR attention for their response to unforeseen needs. One significant example of the robust strategy was Amazon; an online shopping platform. The e-commerce giant, committed to making resilient efforts to help small and medium businesses of India, launched a new campaign video #BouncingBackTogether that depicts the same. Picturing the troubled owners, the video takes you through numerous small businesses that faced the heat during this time. Amazon being their aid, the video takes a quick turn where businesses start receiving orders. With over 1,35,772 (approximate figure) sellers launching their businesses on Amazon after Unlock 1.0, it paints a crystal-clear picture and the key role of strategy that works wonders when aligned with a certain objective.

Additionally, the felicitous concept of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) represents a vital part of any campaign. From ancient to modern times, the concept of KISS has held a higher position. Despite the geography, researchers have found that clear, crisp, and entertaining campaigns attract more attention and are remembered for longer times. For instance, everyone appears to don’t forget the famous #ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that had all of the additives of a marketing campaign on wheels. The ALS Association wanted to raise funds and awareness of the fact that ALS is not just an elderly person’s disease platform and the Ice Bucket Challenge helped them to drive traffic to their website where visitors could learn more about their other endeavours. The ALS Association attracted hundreds of thousands of new and potential donors, receiving $41.8 million in donations from July 29 until August 2 in 2019, compared to $2.1 million during the same period last year. According to Facebook, in only two months, over 28 million people have joined the conversation about the Ice Bucket Challenge including posting, commenting, or liking a challenge post and 2.4 million videos related to the ice bucket challenge have been shared on social network.

Isn’t that huge? Such is the blessing of evolving with time!

The campaign should essentially align with the client’s goals and needs. Gradually as we move into 2022 and beyond, it is imperative that we embrace the latest public relations trends, essentially updating our strategies to compete for the best results and the best ways to improve our strategy is an understanding that a campaign should be an inspiration more than anything else.

They say employees are our biggest client and so is witnessed several times. Active participation from them can truly prove to be a game-changer. There are many fun challenge ideas that one as a team can brainstorm from funny dares to opportunities to share one’s story, aiming to bring laughter or inspiration, and that connect to the brand mission.

Merely talking about something worth listening to is important. However, if we allure our audience based on a compelling message, the advertising becomes implicit.

From working with customers and personnel to corresponding with key media contacts, the ability to effectively communicate and manage these diverse relationships is the basis of our careers. In addition, emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in our internal relationships, determines our achievement and the way we represent ourselves and the brand to others.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Malika Kulshrestha
Malika Kulshrestha is an Advisor - Corporate Communication and PR expert. In the course of her six years of internal and external communication, she has worked on a variety of projects in the Corporate Communication domain - conceptualizing and implementing & sustaining communication practices. Her experience ranges from subjects related to effective communication, public relations, social media management, and collaborating and networking across geographies. She also serves a position of business partner for the profiles of promoters.

She holds a Bachelors in English Literature from Dayal bagh Educational Institute (DEI) Agra and an MBA in Public Relations. She is also a certified digital marketing consultant and a recognized business communicator from IIM.

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