PR can be a brand’s most effective marketing tool. But for a PR story to really fly it has to be underpinned by a solid idea. That idea needs to be something remarkable - something that gets people talking and makes them want to pass it on and tell their friends. That’s why PR has often been described as the ultimate word of mouth marketing tool - because the best PR ideas always get shared.
So what makes a good PR idea and how do marketing professionals come up with them? It might help here to consider a recent example which I’ve seen shared widely across social media in the past couple of weeks. Mars, makers of Celebrations, have achieved massive media coverage and tons of social coverage, with a simple press release saying they aren’t going to remove the tiny Bounty chocolate bars from their Celebration tubs. They’ve produced a small run of limited edition ‘no Bounty’ tubs but apart from that nothing is changing. Yet they’ve achieved a huge amount of free publicity for essentially not changing a product. Click here to read what The Guardian had to say about it.
It’s an idea which works well because of brand recognition. Pretty much all of us will have had our hand in a tub of Celebrations at one time or another. And it seems many of us hate the little Bounties (I cannot relate as I love them).
The idea is clever because it’s self-deprecating. The brand is admitting a lot of people hate this particular sweet but we are going to stick with it anyway. It’s similar to Marmite’s famous love it / hate it campaign in that regard. But by admitting some people hate these Bounties it’s guaranteeing sharing. It makes the reader want to forward it onto their friend / partner / mum who hates Bounties. It’s real, honest, authentic and relatable.
How did the Mars marketing team come up with this idea? It had to start with them really knowing and understanding the product and the market. Understanding how a product is perceived creates opportunities for marketing professionals to respond and influence that perception. In the case there would have been data from customer surveys and focus groups. The popularity of each sweet is ranked and customer feedback is carefully considered. At some point someone in the team (or perhaps their PR agency) realised they had an opportunity to ‘do a Marmite here’ and create a PR story around the UK’s love / hate relationship with the Bounty. The rest is all brilliant execution.
Of course not every brand has the product recognition of Mars or Marmite. But that doesn’t mean they can’t come up with something creative in their marketing which encourages people to share and pass on for free. This is something we do at Motive day in day out. The idea needs to be strong enough to offer journalists a real story while also giving the brand an opportunity to get its key messages out there and win backlinks too.
If you’re seeking inspiration try following Mars’s example and start with a sound knowledge of your product and market. What data do you have which illustrates your brand’s place in the market? Is there anything surprising about the data? Is there a negative in there somewhere which you can stand on its head and turn into a positive? Can you find an angle which would be repeated in the pub? Example, we won coverage and links earlier this year for our garden shed client Garden Buildings Direct, when we described how to deter spiders from mating in sheds. The headline Sex Crazed Spiders Set To Invade UK Homes, won coverage and links across national and regional media sites. Click for example.
It’s a good example of how taking a creative angle can help a brand get noticed. A press release saying shed company has a sale on sheds, will never win media coverage. But a shed company protecting you from sex crazed spiders just might. Which of those two headlines would you be more inclined to tell a mate down the pub? The pub test is a good way to gauge an idea. If you wouldn’t tell a friend over a drink then the idea probably isn’t strong enough.
If you’d like Motive to work up some PR ideas for your brand please do get in touch today.