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How to run a successful PR event: top consumer PR tips

How to run a successful PR event: top consumer PR tips

SWS_Jeans_for_Jeans_3291Press events are an excellent way for companies to raise awareness of their brand or service amongst consumers and relevant journalists alike. If done well, an event provides an incentive for journalists to leave their desks to come and engage and directly interact with the brand, providing money can’t buy exposure!

It is really important that consumer PR events are done right as all eyes are on the brand. Hosting a press event is a common part of PR agency life, and over the years we have organised hundreds of events for brands ranging from Jeans for Genes to Brand Alley. Take a look at two examples of successful events we have hosted here: Booby Birds Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Disney’s Share the Magic Campaign

We believe a successful event is down to four main components; planning, timing, theme and follow up – execute these well, and you will not only deliver a successful event, but you will get great exposure for your brand.

 Here are our top fours ways to make your consumer PR event deliver ROI:

 Tip 1: Planning the Event

It is important to remember that although the event is naturally important to the company, the journalists who are being targeted are inundated with invitations to events on a daily, if not hourly basis. For this reason, it is crucial to identify what it is that you are offering which will give journalists a valid reason to attend. Whether it is a live demonstration of a revolutionary treatment, an unveiling of a new clothing collection or a performance by the hottest new talent act in town, all successful events must contain a component which makes journalists think ‘I’m going to ignore all of my unanswered emails and make time to go to this’.

Tip 2 Timing

One of the first things you need to think about when hosting a consumer PR event is the date and time of when you want it to take place. There are certain times in the year which should be ruled out as journalists in the Lifestyle sector are likely to have commitments and therefore attendance will be less than it otherwise would be. The more ‘obvious’ key dates to steer clear from include: London Fashion Week (February and September), the key summer holiday period of July-August, plus all public bank holidays when journalists are likely to go away.

 Tip 3 Theme

It is important to have a ‘vision’ for your event so that you can ensure that all marketing material – invitations, follow-up press material and collateral on the day – is in sync. This helps to create a streamlined and professional impression from the moment the journalists receive the invite, therefore securing their initial interest. When sending the invites, it is good practice to send both an e-invite and a hard copy in the post, to ensure that one way or another, journalists hear about the event in question and take the time to attend!

An example of a well-themed event is our SS14 press day for Kaleidoscope. We chose the theme of Around the World because we identified a lot of world influence in both the fashion and home collection. We carried this theme throughout the décor, food, drink, and journalist gifts. Have a look at the pictures here

Tip 4 Follow-up

To ensure that a client’s brand or product remains forefront of a journalist’s mind, it is crucial to follow-up with them after the event – either by email, over the phone, or in person if possible – to ensure that the messaging is not forgotten. To assist with this, it is also a thoughtful touch to provide a goody bag which the journalist can take home after the event. This could include informative press releases or details about the company, a product from the brand, and some nice treats such as a mini bottle of champagne or chocolates always go down very well!

How to make headlines with a great survey story

Image Courtesy of Survey Human,

Image Courtesy of Survey Human,

Survey stories are a great way of ensuring a brand is at the forefront of the news agenda, but also – if the results are ground-breaking enough – setting the wider news debate. Furthermore, they are a really great tool for driving awareness and with the increase of quality digital media channels, it can help brands ‘go viral’, meaning audiences across the globe can now be reached.

For consumer brands, surveys work particularly well at elevating them as a leader in their industry, or moving them beyond their natural comfort zone, tapping into wider topics of both human and public interest.

An example of a survey story elevating a brand as a leader in their industry is one we did for HELLO! Fashion Monthly looking at British women’s biggest celebrity icons – have a look at one of the pieces of coverage here.

Brands today churn out a high proportion of surveys in the bid to get their figures noticed, however, the reality is very few of these grab the attention of journalists and most are ignored.

Take a look at some survey coverage we generated in the Independent for Purple Bricks Online Estate Agents that identifies the top life pressures people face around the country.

So how can you get your survey noticed? Below we have listed our top six PR tips for turning for a survey into a news story that will get your brand name out there.

Tip 1: Topic – Is the subject area of interest to the public? It is vital that the survey looks at a topic that will be of interest to many if not most readers. If the subject is niche, or too brand focused, it will not have the desired media traction you would hope for.

Tip 2: Results – Have the results been produced before? It’s important to keep ideas and results new and exciting. If a survey has been done before, there is no point in doing it again or ‘rehashing’ the idea to generate the same or similar results. Furthermore, will the results produced be ground-breaking, insightful or indeed useful to the reader? If not, then it’s time to re-think your idea. Newspapers like to feature surveys which will inform their readers of something original, unique, new and even novel.

Tip 3: Sample – Do you have valid and reflective respondents? More often than not, newspapers will need surveys to have a large number of respondents – often 1000 people or more. The larger the sample size, the more valid the results. Furthermore, samples need to be reflective of the population as this will allow newspapers to confidently report that, “X % of British people do…..” or “X % of UK Women are…” for example. Without a representative sample, a survey will lose its validity, and subsequently hinder the amount of coverage achieved.

Tip 4: Split – Can you break down your results? It’s important when producing a survey that you not only get a representative sample, but that you can also break down results by region, gender and age.  This will allow you to craft specific releases which engage with different audiences. Having the different splits will also enable brands to generate the best news angle, since each spit will produce different, and hopefully, interesting results.

Tip 5: Support – Would your survey have more weight to it if it had an ‘expert’ backing the results? In answer to this question, most likely yes! For the most part, successful surveys include or incorporate quotes from an expert in the field/area the survey is covering. Be that a dieting expert, behaviour psychologist or even a life coach – whatever ‘expert’ fits – backing up results is a big must. It’s also important that any quotes used add value and insight to the survey, and don’t just repeat what the results say.

Tip 6: The List – Can you create a top five or a top ten? Newspapers cherish the opportunity to visually showcase results. The simplest way of doing this is by producing a top five or top ten list – it’s simple for the reader to digest, but also visually engaging as it helps break up the editorial copy.

How to find the right celebs for your consumer PR campaign

We all know celebrities are a powerful tool when it comes to promoting a consumer product or service. When it works, having a celebrity photographed with one of your brand’s products or services can be the best form of advertising, and in many cases can be much more cost-effective than an advertising campaign within a glossy magazine. When it doesn’t, the celebrity and the brand could be on the end of some tough criticism!

A prime example of this is the Kate Middleton effect. The second Kate is pictured in an outfit from the Great British High Street it is guaranteed to sell out within hours. Zara, Reiss and Whistles have all benefited from the Kate Middleton effect and even better, at no cost to the brand given Kate’s support of the High Street and insistence on paying for all her clothes and not accepting freebies. Take a look at some of her most popular outfits

So given the power behind a celebrity endorsement, it is really important for consumer brands to get it right and make the most of it to ensure it is of benefit to the brand. We are very accustomed to sourcing and working with celebrity endorsements, so here are our top tips to making it work:

Choose the right celebrity

Many brands don’t have the luxury of Kate Middleton walking into their stores so in these cases, an approach to a celebrity’s agent will be the foot in the door. When approaching celebrities to gift them products or a service it is important to ensure the offering is beneficial to both parties. For the celebrity, if they are going to be talking about a product or service, it must be something they like and believe in so they can talk genuinely about it. For the brand, it is key to ensure the celebrity is right for the brand and is influential to the target market.

A particularly successful celebrity project we ran was with LighterLife. We sourced and appointed Pauline Quirke as an ambassador to the brand which achieved more than 30,000 new clients leads for the diet company. This was so successful because Pauline was the perfect fit for the brand, she ticked all our boxes of a high-profile celebrity with weight to lose and who was well-known amongst the LighterLife demographic. Take a look at our work here.

Make the most out of their support

Maisie Williams

Image Courtesy of Nickleby1453,

For brands that succeed in gaining celebrity fans it is important you use this as a promotional tool. Strike up a conversation with them on twitter about their favourite products, promote via the brand’s online platforms and customer newsletters. Tapping into their fan base is likely to generate new fans for the brand and in turn, lead to further sales of the product.

An example of this is the work we did with Red Driving School with Game Of Thrones star Maisie Williams and sing-songwriter Nina Nesbitt.

Be careful

Over recent months it has become apparent to the media and public about brands who gift celebrities or pay for their endorsement but do not share this information publicly. When gifting a celebrity and using social media channels to promote this, it is important to be honest about where the products were bought by the celebrity.

A good way to highlight this is through social media, a simple tweet to the celebrity asking if they received their gift or if they liked their gift means it is clear that the product is not something they have paid for. For those under contract as an ambassador, introduce them to fans and followers as the new ambassador.

How an internship kickstarted my PR career

You devote three years of your life studying, partying and allegedly ‘finding yourself’ at university, spending a decent chunk of your parents’ hard-earned cash… but hurrah, you earn yourself a solid degree and the world is now your oyster, right? Wrong.

With greater competition for jobs than ever before, it will lead many of us to undergo internships. The very word has mixed connotations depending on your experiences; for some, it can bring back harrowing memories of receiving no pay and performing horrendous tasks, yet for others, it can be the gateway to a full-time job that they have always craved. I am fortunate enough to say that I am in the latter.

I began my PHA journey back at the end of February, lending an extra pair of hands for the UFC Fight Night in London. A baptism of fire, you may think, but one that I enjoyed immensely. My two weeks came to an end, I thought I had done everything asked of me with perhaps a dash of aplomb and received those dreaded words that have let me down before from companies and women alike; ‘I’ll be in touch’. Safe to say I wasn’t taking anything for granted. Low and behold, I received a phone call on the Monday afternoon asking me to come back, this time for a month’s paid internship. Happy days!

An internship gave me a way in to the world of PR.

This developed into a further three month’s paid internship, all the while being made to feel extremely welcome and a part of the PHA family. The culture and the people of the place meant that I quickly knew that a full-time job here was my aspiration and made sure I did everything in my power to make this happen. Graduates on internships are certainly a two-way street. There will be organisations out there that are merely looking for free labour but on the other side, candidates have to show competency and more importantly enthusiasm to convince that they could be a long-term fixture.

The Times’ this week in their University Guide highlighted the importance of internships and their ability to increase employability and they’d be right. All the way through your studies achieving good grades is constantly drummed into you as an absolute must, yet the minute you graduate, employers are hammering on about having suitable work experience. There doesn’t appear to be enough guidance at universities to help graduates overcome, what can be, a substantial bridge between education and employment. While it is extremely tempting to enjoy the rigours of Jeremy Kyle, Philip Schofield and co during the four months of summer you enjoy while at university, I would advise to make the most out of your time off in the form of internships.

I believe it speaks volumes for PHA when nearly half of the workforce began as interns, many of which are now in senior and management roles. It provides excellent motivation and inspiration that it could perhaps be me in that position someday and also gives those members in authority a sense of empathy, with the likes of myself, who are on the first rung of the ladder.

The journey from internship to a fully-fledged member of the team is not always an easy one but I must admit mine has been quite serene. Engaging with colleagues in more social settings has been crucial and has helped me feel truly part of a developing business. It may have taken me longer than I initially imagined finding suitable employment going via telesales and packaging women’s underwear, but in the danger of sounding hugely clichéd, it has been worth the wait!