We saw the future of comms at PRSA ICON 2019

November 1, 2019 Jenn Deering Davis

Last week, we spent a few beautiful days in sunny San Diego at PRSA’s 2019 International Conference. One of the highlights of the conference was a session we participated in with Jackson Family Wines, a Cision client.  

The session, titled “Next generation comms: How Jackson Family Wines rosé to the challenge of going beyond traditional PR in a very traditional industry,” focused on how PR teams can move beyond simple earned media tactics to truly understand their audiences and what happens after they engage with media about a brand.  

We learned how Jackson Family Wines – which includes the Kendall-Jackson and La Crema wineries - thinks about the strategic role PR plays in growing a brand, reaching new customers, and staying at the top of a highly competitive industry. Kristen Reitzell, Vice President of Public Relations at Jackson Family Wines, shared how her company integrates earned media and marketing to better understand their customers.  

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the session. 

The power of PR and marketing combined 

Kendall Jackson is the #1 selling wine in the US - and it’s a white wine. But why isn’t there a white wine emoji? Emojis are the fastest growing language in the world, and currently there’s no representation of white wine. The Jackson Family Wines marketing and PR teams collaborated to kick off a huge #whitewineemoji campaign to raise awareness and hopefully convince the unicode committee to add a new white wine emoji. It’s a fun and modern campaign and you can read about it everywhere – it's been a huge success. When PR and marketing work together, they can both do better.  

Forming a close partnership with marketing also means the PR team can be sure earned media is contributing to more targeted ads. Third party endorsement is generally more credible than most other forms of media, and using paid media to amplify those voices has a huge impact on conversion and other ad metrics.  

The importance of really understanding your customer 

Customer data is an extremely important tool for PR professionals and provides a reality check on whether you’re talking to the right people in the right ways. It’s essential for you to know the answers to questions like:  

  • What are our customers reading?  
  • How are they engaging with industry media?  
  • What do they after they consume a piece of relevant media? 

Third party tools (like Cision Impact) can verify your beliefs about your customers, leading to a better understanding of who is consuming your earned media and what they do after. Use data to validate different publications and channels to see where your message has the biggest impact. Once you know who your earned media audiences really are, you can make more informed decisions on future campaigns to better reach the people you want to reach.  

Finding your true brand voice  

The session discussed the importance of leading with authenticity, and not trying to be something you're not. Some stories or campaigns will make more sense for your brand, and if you stray too far from those, you may see no or even negative results. So, what is authentic for your brand? Get to know your values, what sets you apart, and the qualities your customers believe in, and use those to tell the right stories for your brand.  

For a traditional industry (like wine), it’s important not to chase fads. Take the time to decide if a trend works for your brand and your audience before jumping in. This is also true for many B2B brands. 

If you’d like to learn more about how you can incorporate these lessons into your own PR strategy, let’s talk!  

About the Author

Jenn Deering Davis

Jenn Deering Davis is VP of Corporate Communications at TrendKite. Previously, Jenn was co-founder of Union Metrics, which merged with TrendKite earlier this year. There, she was responsible for ensuring a consistent and excellent experience for Union Metrics audiences. She holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from the University of Texas at Austin and has more than 15 years of experience in corporate communications and social media, spending her career turning data into stories and helping stakeholders understand new technology.

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