PR can sometimes be perceived to be an activity for the big fish of the business world, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, sometimes, a little PR goes a long way.
If you think about it, securing coverage for a local business may make more of an impact on its audience than that of a larger firm as they’re unfamiliar with the context. Why? They may not necessarily be used to seeing the brand exposed in print format or online, and therefore as a consumer you would naturally be drawn to it, whereas another big brand advert or editorial piece may not pique their interest as it’s the norm.
Similarly, entering a competition for a smaller company versus a larger one may elicit different emotions from the entrant. Yes, the prizes may be bigger but what is the likelihood of winning a nationwide competition? You may enter anyway, but soon forget about it, whereas entering a competition with a smaller reach or geographic region may leave you excited for your chances.
We wanted to give life to this theory by detailing one of our recent PR projects for a luxury travel accessory company, Dom Reilly.
With luxury or high-end products, it can be difficult to find your place in the market; for quality, and therefore more expensive stock, you need wealthy consumers. For consumers with an extended budget, the choices can be limitless therefore it is paramount that your brand stands out, piques their interest and excites them.
In addition, the distributions and avenues you’re likely to want to be placed in generally reflect the brands within, i.e. plush, lavish and costly. For these reasons we knew we needed to get creative and think outside the box with our six hours a month budget.
For Dom Reilly we needed to make the most of the time and budget we were given to make the investment worthwhile for the client. Creating competitions for your loyal customers as well as your potential ones is a great way to create engagement online, and it can be done with a small budget.
We focused on engaged couples about to embark on their luxury honeymoons; how great would it be to enjoy your dream wedding then win a competition worth £250 too! Even better if you could give your winnings to your new husband or wife.
The great thing about competitions is that the investment is minimal; you can offer stock, services or time instead of monetary amounts, costing you little but gaining not only the engagement, but the PR and content opportunities afterwards also, i.e. “Catch up with the winners of…”, testimonials and reviews.
Another competition example where we set up a prize giveaway was in partnership with the soft drinks company, Belvoir Drinks. Dom Reilly exchanged products, two lady’s purses, in return for data capture and a reader offer. The discount was published on the Belvoir website and remains online. (great for SEO) Over 500k people visit that site each month and over 400 people opted in to receive further information from Dom Reilly, that data was then added to the Dom Reilly database.
As you can imagine, getting a celebrity to endorse your brand is not easy, but we managed it! Dom Reilly are an online luxury brand specialising in travel accessories; their inspiration came from years of experience travelling the world as part of a Formula One team and therefore their products radiate style and class. This line of products screams for an endorsement from someone of similar calibre.
Celebrities obviously want to represent high-end brands as it reflects massively on their personal brand, but they do need to genuinely like the products they’re fronting. Otherwise why would they bother? They have plenty of options.
Dom Reilly have a wonderful blog on their website called A Travelers Tale; the blog posts contain interviews with the likes of Will Greenwood, Martin Keown, Michael Johnson and Sir Clive Woodward. Each post is written like an interview and asks the celebrity some fun questions around their life and travels, and to say thank you we gift them with a Dom Reilly product which they will hopefully then post across their social media channels. Through our PR contacts, we have secured interviews with several high-profile sports personalities. We can't take credit for Michael Johnson but we have been able to find coverage locally for the endorsement.
As Dom Reilly is firmly based within the travel sector, we knew we needed to hit the travel and tourism industry. What comes to mind - Airports? Resorts in tropical locations? Hmm pricey, how about some of the beautiful, local hotels and spas we have on our doorstep?
Our PR would often secure meetings with hotels and travel press bringing along a bag of samples to show the various contacts. Here is a snap of our Dom Reilly products at Stoke Park, a Luxury Hotel, Spa, Golf and Country Club in Buckinghamshire, only 35 minutes from London and 7 miles from London Heathrow. This is a prime spot for product placement, a subliminal nudge in the Dom Reilly direction.
Gift lists and round-up opportunities are always on the top of our agenda when we are working with clients that have giftable items such as Dom Reilly. We formulate a press plan that highlights all the key gifting dates such as Valentine’s Day, Mother and Father’s Day, and Christmas. We start pitching in products to journalists 2-3 months in advance of the event date.
Publishing opportunities are scarce as competition is high but when they come about, and the product is published, it benefits the brand hugely as exposure is what all brands need to make sure they are at the forefront of the consumer’s mind.
Round up pieces
Reciprocal marketing is when two businesses promote each other to mutual benefit. To give an example, we met with the founder of Latin Odyssey, Mark Rolfe. Latin Odyssey is a high-end holiday company that creates luxury, tailor made holidays to South and Central America. In the digital world, reciprocal marketing is also known as reciprocal linking: the most common application involves placing links on another company's web site.
Although there are plenty of paid avenues you can take to get featured in print, if you’ve got the time and enthusiasm there are also plenty of free, editorial opportunities out there. By speaking to the right people, with the right press releases there is no reason why you can’t receive just as much PR for a fraction of the cost.
PR is about relationships, with your customers and audience, but also your brand managers, and as you know, the press can either boost you or beat you.
We won’t detail all our tricks of the trade, but what we will say is that a lot can be achieved from a little if you a) utilise what you have, and b) get creative. It may take time, but that investment could return to you tenfold. Take a look at your current marketing strategies; what’s working, what needs tweaking and what could be replaced with some creative PR?
Tania Reilly, Managing Director, Dom Reilly: “I have worked with Samantha and Push Start Marketing for a couple of years, Samantha has generated some wonderful press coverage for us but what I have been most impressed with is the wide range of ideas that she has come up with to raise the profile of Dom Reilly. Our budget for PR spend has been very small but I believe that we have gained such value from Sam’s hard work and creative thinking as well as her huge network of contacts”.
Still confused as to what PR actually means? We’ve got your back. Our blog: What exactly is PR? will enlighten you – quick, scan read it before anyone finds out!