Category Archives: Public Relations

Once Upon a Time: Storytelling in Campaigns

Storytelling in an important part of any campaign. However, nailing the perfect angle for your story can be daunting.

Luke Mackay, associate director at PR firm Edelman said to PRmoment.com: ‘PR is all about looking for the story that will bring a brand’s messages to life.’ The messages help to spark conversation and inspire sharing amongst the target audiences. These stories are ultimately what helps your stories get sold to the media.

Nike has a model that is the centre of their campaigns called the ‘Fairytale Model’:

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This model helps to outline the overarching story of the brand as well as the idea behind the campaign. Elements of the model can  change depending on the product.

Red PR has outlined a few storytelling formulas that have proven to be successful in their campaigns as well.

History– When Cadbury wanted to launch their new Bassett’s Red Liquorice Allsorts, they turned to their mascot Bertie Bassett. Red PR created Betty, Bertie’s new sweetheart, to be the face of the new candies. The challenge was to make Betty just as popular as Bertie and to get people to associate her with the Red Liquorice Allsorts. How did they do this? A wedding to remember. Betty was introduced to the world as Bertie’s sweet bride at a celebration attended by Cadbury factory workers and their families.

How– McVities were launching their new Milk Chocolate and Orange Digestives they took a more how-to approach. There was an old saying that the best biscuits make the most crumbs, so they wanted to see how they stacked up against the competition. They did this by ’employing’ a Crunch Test Dummy who ate biscuits with simulated human chewing. McVitie’s discovered that their Digestive range alone – Britain’s best-selling biscuits – produced an incredible 127.8 tonnes of crumbs.

Who– It’s obvious to tell target audience who the product is for, but sometimes it’s more intriguing to position the product with an unlikely client like Persil did. They sponsored the British Naturist Petanque Team to launch their new washing powder. They provided the team with sweatbands, towels, and hats. A spokesman for Persil said: “People might ask why a washing powder company is working with people who don’t wear clothes. However, even naturists have washing machines.”

Of course, as with all stories, there can be setbacks. You need to think critically about the medium through which the story will be presented and about the audience who will be receiving it. If thought isn’t put into this part of the campaign, then the story will render itself ineffective.

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Check your stats: Increasing Blog Readership

I always check out my blog statistics. There are several reasons why it’s good to have a look at these: it’s free, you get instant reader insight and you can see how readers are utilising your blog.

One stat I find particularly interesting is the ‘Referral’ section. This lets you know how readers came to your blog. Usually this is through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn if you’ve posted about it, but sometimes readers find you from different places.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post called ‘Public’ relations or just relations?: Social media & PR‘. As usual I sent out a tweet about it and tagged some prominent PR organisations and agencies to get them to retweet it.

The PRCA retweeted about my blog. This is great publicity for my blog because their followers see it and even retweet it too. When Ogilvy PR retweeted it, I was estatic. It definitely feels good to know that a well-known agency has endorsed your blog.

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Is ‘poo’ viral enough?: bowel cancer screening campaign

This April, the Scottish government along with The Leith Agency created a new campaign to promote early detection of bowel cancer. It is the third most common cancer in Scotland and effects mostly older adults, however 9 out of 10 can survive this cancer if it’s caught early enough.

They released this video in order to bring awareness of the issue to the public:
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Now on sale: Choice architect & Nudges

supermarket-aisle-grocery-store-shopping-cart-Favim.com-475341When you walk into the grocery store, everything seems to have a place. Think about the shelves or bins where you grab your groceries from? What do they look like? Where are they placed? Do you notice the colours of the labels and packaging?

If you think about it end caps usually have special items, often at a discounted price. New products always seem to be at eye level in order to grab our attention. And of course, candy always seems to be on the lower shelves for the little ones.

This isn’t by accident. 

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There’s an app for that: Creating Your Own App

conduitIn a 2011 article in The Guardian, they reported that half of the UK population were smartphone users. There’s not doubt that this number has gone up as more and more smartphones saturate the market.

What’s the allure of a smartphone? Google CEO Eric Schmidt says, “Phones are so much more personal and satisfying.The phone is no longer just a phone, it’s your alter ego–it’s fundamental to everything you do.” In one device that responds to the touch of our hands, we have the capability to call, text, check emails, post a Facebook status, take a picture and use a multitude of apps.

If you’re like me, you have pages of apps on your phone that you never even use, but the ones I do use are highly important to me.

More often, businesses and organisations are making apps, not only for them, but for campaigns as well. While apps may seem complicated, they can be very easy to make. Of course these are basic versions, but can be starting points for app creation.

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R.I.P. press release?: Tips for a Winning Press Release

110214immediate296A press release is a staple of any public relations work. However, no matter how important press releases are to us an astounding number of them are never read. There are a number of reasons why this happens; a press release is unclear, journalist receive to many to read in a day, and most recently the rise of social media.

According to one PR practitioner, journalists are skeptical about PR-generated press releases because they may be bias. However, she feels it’s worth it to keep writing them as long as you have a good grasp of what is newsworthy and what isn’t coupled with knowing your target audience and journalists.

The CIPR put out a skills guide on writing a solid media story. Their clever acronym RUTH helps PR practitioners make sure that their press release gets read.

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Going to war: PR and Spin

aban1396lThe cliché goes ‘actions speak louder than words’. But is this the same in times of war?

War and PR have an interesting history with each other in that some of the earliest forms of PR came about during WWII in the form of propaganda. However, at that time it had less of a negative connotation. Propaganda then were leaflets, articles and posters aimed at drumming up national support for wartime efforts. Modern day propaganda is seen as manipulative and bias information that serves to persuade people to think or act in a certain way.

In arguing whether wars are spun and not won, some thought-provoking arguments came about.

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Awareness, Accesss and Subconscious Bias: Lack of Diversity in PR

From the CIPR’s report on student perspectives of the profession, we learn that awareness of PR is very low. Only 9% of BAME students said they would consider a career in PR. Other students (37%) stated they wanted a career in an established, well-respected field such as science, medicine, banking or law. Another interesting statistic is that 80% BAME students are likely to be influenced by their family on career choices.

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‘Public’ Relations or just Relations?: Social Media & PR

Our Contemporary Theories and Issues class recently had a debate on whether or not we felt social media put the ‘public’ back into public relations.

It’s an interesting concept. Social media and web 2.0 now provides everyone with the power to connect on a different and more intimate level than previously seen before. This emergence lets us engage what Dozier, Grunig & Grunig call the two-way symmetrical model of communication, characterised for its use of communication to negotiate with publics, resolve conflict, and promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and its public(s).

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From AIDA to ADIA: Targeting Audience Messages

As public relations practitioners, when we think about getting our messages out to the public we usually refer to AIDA;  raising awareness, holding interest, creating desire, taking action. This concept to drive messages towards an audience in order to raise awareness of issues which would, hopefully, lead to action.

If we look critically at the model, we see that this is more of the blanket method. The message is targeted at a general audience. In this way, we try to insure that everyone who sees it will resonate with it thus giving the message power. What we don’t realise is that by not customising our messages to a specific segment of the audience, we are sending out a broad message that may not have the desired affect.

But what if there’s a different way of making sure our messages go farther?

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Brett Ashley Bridges

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