What makes a successful PR campaign?

With growing awareness of PR and advertising among brands – old, new, and even upcoming several campaigns get launched daily in different parts of the world. However, not every campaign rings a bell or sets a connect. Many go unnoticed, while several others fail the make the desired buzz.

A campaign is successful when the masses or a certain section of people (which could also be the media) start talking about it. Nothing works better than word-of-mouth marketing. Here are tips on how to go about doing a successful PR campaign.

  • Lay down PR objectives clearly – It’s important to have clarity on its success metrics before launching a PR activity. Defining the core objectives or results that the brand seeks from a certain campaign helps in structuring it well, right from classifying the target group to the line of communication, and planning the various steps or phases involved in it. To say the least, a campaign aimed at the elite won’t find its customer base in a remote village.
  • Be original – Copying a successful and famous campaign only guarantees minimal buzz, both in media and public. No matter how small a campaign – to get heard, you need to say something unique, creative and engaging.
  • Interest the masses – An issue of common interest works best. Either pick an issue of mass concern or interest, or conceive an idea that will have people talking about it. Not just sensationalism or provocative campaigns – more often, pure wit, smart humour or impressive creativity does enable a campaign garner public interest.
  • Spokesperson branding is as important as company branding – While a brand campaign idea can be duplicated, the brain behind the brand can’t be. The owner is the most unique and pivotal asset of the brand, and his share of voice in media goes a long in building the brand’s reputation and making every following campaign more impactful.
  • Send out targeted press releases and media communication – It’s important to understand the vastness of media today. The same set of communication may not necessarily appeal to every set of journalists. It’s important to narrow down the broad media fraternity into smaller sections, take a closer look, and formulate different news points and conversation topics for different media groups and publications.
  • Build strong media relations – Always work on creating “friends of the brand” in media. A small-time campaign or a campaign with low budgets can also make ripples if it manages to reach out to media and news influencers. Masses tend to talk about campaigns that media talks about. And a decent media coverage does ensure some impactful communication and discussion around the campaign. Also, good media relations help evade a crisis situation. Hence, build a great rapport in media.
  • Take the campaign to the right platforms – It’s important to promote a campaign right. Look beyond paid and organic media promotions in print, electronic and online publications, and take your campaign to other communication platforms. Broaden the buzz by building communities and groups on social media, reaching out to influencers, creating YouTube videos, sending out a few (and not too many) newsletters, doing on ground activations (where necessary) and creating blogs around the campaign.

There exists no “one size fits all” policy in the field of communications. A successful brand campaign doesn’t mean every following PR campaign would be a success. And a series of failed PR campaigns doesn’t mean that the brand lacks what it takes to bring about an effective campaign that goes viral overnight!

Be original in every campaign, but draw lessons from every successful and failed campaign – be it yours or your rival’s. Communications is an evolving process and it’s important to keep experimenting, keep learning and keep ideating on fresh ideas.

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Reputation Today is India’s only print magazine for Public Relations and Corporate Communications professionals. It is the official magazine of PRAXIS - India’s largest offsite summit for Public Relations and Corporate Communications.

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