"Mass Collaboration, Trust your gut, grab a drink" and "Keep it weird": Some fantastic quotes and insights brought on by the amazing speaker lineup of Paul Wilke, Shira Abel and Rich Harris who got together with me last week to host a talk, "Getting Creative with your PR: Leveraging Creative to Make Better Pitches" in San Francisco.
Hey we’re living a busy world. With all the noise across both PR and Marketing, it’s tough to get heard, and getting your pitches picked up and your campaigns heard is becoming increasingly difficult. For example, the 2019 Cision State of the Media Report found that journalists are overworked and overwhelmed so creativity becomes a factor in achieving success with your campaigns.
Brands and Agencies alike both have to stay on top of relevant trends and technologies, while becoming more and more creative in the way they deploy their campaigns just to get noticed.
With that industry-wide challenge in mind, we partnered with the Bay Area chapter of PRSA and the San Francisco chapter of AMA, with the intent to host an open discussion with an audience of around 100 PR, comms and marketing professionals about the latest creative and/or new trends in the marketplace. We wanted the perspective from the agency side- what are our speakers telling their clients to do or not do creatively- and maybe also look into what brands should be cognizant of and getting at the data to prove out ROI.
Here's what we learned.
First, companies are in the business of entertainment. They are balancing their own culture and styles with a new tolerance from audiences for quirkiness— but some of the "old school" best practices are still in play. For instance, getting to your audience’s pain points and collaborating on how you can creatively go about something. The diversification of content has to take center stage when deploying a message into the marketplace. Short-form video, snackable content, and Instagram’s business focus are all playing their part in pulling people into the funnel. For the agency, the practice of convincing "shot callers" to try some out-of-the-box ideas is key.
Second, Mass collaboration when game planning your campaigns is still a strong suit. Iteration is ok and testing is important, but a bottom-up and top-down approach where everyone in the room (grab drinks, snacks, and settle in!) is providing the most mindshare and ideation to successfully pull off your campaigns. . .and definitely involve your sales team as they are the people on the front lines. Create a "cult of personality" in your creativity and that should ensure success.
Finally, everyone loves cycle time and getting to market quickly but don’t wing it! For example, traditional cold pitching isn’t working. Showcase the strength of your team, not just the CEO. Be mindful of who really is an influencer- large numbers aren't everything; ROI is important (especially if you want to keep your job).
A challenge companies currently are dealing with is that they are missing that key person in-house who can use the data being collected and turn into what to do next; the days of just blindly collecting data without knowing its final purpose are long gone.
The bottom line?
Creativity is notoriously tricky to define. When defining creativity in PR or marketing, what we’re really trying to define is how we measure the ideas we produce and implement for clients and stakeholders and the influence they have on business objectives.
What’s become increasingly clear is how valuable storytelling and honestly just "getting real" is, as organizations strive to evoke an emotional response from customers so that they can develop a relationship with the product and story being told.
Thank you to our Panelists:
- Paul Wilke, CEO at Upright Position Communications
- Shira Abel, CEO at Hunter & Bard
- Rich Harris, Creative Director at Ruckus Networks, an ARRIS company
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