Since we have about a second to get someone’s attention, we need to truly earn it. The best way to achieve that, however, depends on who you ask. At PR agencies it’s all about the importance of earned attention, at advertising agencies it’s more about the bigger concept and at media agencies it lies with the strength of bought media space.
But the true greatness lies in the combination of the three, where PR is at the core of the creative concept and becomes the nerve centre for the entire process. Creating a story that hooks into what your audience is already interested in and talking about. This allows the campaign to become completely independent of output channels and appealing to traditional media hubs, while building relevant stories in social media. But it all needs to be tied together by a distinct and direct concept, so that it can also easily be portrayed in bought channels for increased reach and awareness.
If you activate your audience on a scale that broad, it will lead to more than a purchase. It becomes an emotional story, scoop or discussion point they want to share with their peers no matter forum, which in turn has created the first step towards a long-term relationship between a brand and the people surrounding it.
In recent years we’ve seen many prize winning campaigns where PR is at the very core of the idea, for example The Swedish Number by The Swedish Tourist Association, Oatly’s Googla Mjölk and Ikea’s Retail Therapy. They’re all newsworthy thanks to a relevant PR hook, and if you have that and mix it with bought media and coordinated outputs, you can get a hugely successful impact.
The most interesting brands today differentiate themselves by creating and maintaining commitment and participation. That is nearly impossible to achieve without an effective PR perspective. Because PR is all about understanding what goes on around you, what people talk about, what they’re interested in, what upsets them and what satisfies them – and then use that knowledge to create truly engaging communication. Because if we spark engagement, we earn attention. And if we earn attention, we slowly start to create fans of our brand. And I think that should always be our ultimate goal.
Martina Larsson, Head of PR