The new reality of "Internet time", where markets move faster than the speed of light, demands a new level of creativity from all of us. Call it "out-of-the-box" thinking: how do you spice up that press release to make it grab the editor by the throat? How do you break through the clutter of noise that journalists are dealing with at every level - print, online and broadcast? Most importantly, how do you present technology in a way that is personal, compelling and exciting?
Here are some simple ideas to think about.
Integrate your PR more closely with other marketing activities - advertising, direct mail promotions. Shared thinking usually results in a higher quality marketing plan for everyone, with messages that are more consistent and innovative tactics.
Consider inviting new participants to your "no holds barred" brainstorming sessions - the accountant, a friend from the fast food industry, your cousin in media, a brother involved in sports promotions, etc.
Read and learn from marketing and PR activities from outside our industry. Pick up trade publications from other industries and learn about new and exciting promotions and campaigns that might be applied to your business and segment.
Visit a few sites on the Internet of master marketers for new approaches. For specific public relations ideas, take a look at the way various companies are organising and presenting their press materials via their Internet sites. Check out the approach of www.cadillac.com and www.washingtonpost.com.
Circumstances for success
PR will deliver a far more detailed and stronger message from within the news media.
However, it won't work for every product, all of the time.
Success requires discretion and skill.
Circumstances are ripe for effective PR results when:
- a product or service is a breakthrough -that is, it is newsworthy- the company is too small or new to affordadvertising- other strategies are out of bounds, cigarettecompanies cannot advertise on any medium - there is cynicism or hostility towards eitherproduct or company-a product or service is complex and it takestime to explain its value-a product is mature and interest in it is flaggingMost trade exhibitions form a below-the-line advertising medium, since their objective is to make known in order to sell. PR must play a leading role in exhibitions.
Exhibition promoters use PR on behalf of their shows - to inform potential exhibitors and visitors and to support participants - and the press office is an important service to both exhibitors and the media. Exhibitors can extend the value of their stand or booth by taking advantage of the press officer's services. Advance publicity and further stories and pictures published during and after the exhibition can attract visitors in the first instance, and spread the word to the thousands who do not attend. This service is especially valuable to small organisations who do have a message to deliver but do not have the staff or expertise for self promotion.
Where the larger, more well-known players in the marketplace spend hours deliberating the value or otherwise of exhibiting, small companies gain real value by taking out limited booth space and promoting themselves as best they can.
ATUG '97, held in Sydney's Darling Harbour from 12Ð16 May, proved to be an interesting exercise for the organisers and promoters of the yearly telecommunications conference and exhibition. In addition to the Networld+InterOp extravaganza competing for companies' exhibition dollars, this year's ATUG has seen vendors and resellers holding off, until the last minute, their commitment to participate due to the uncertain telecommunications deregulation scenario being faced by all. This has placed pressure on ATUG's PR delivery prior to the event, though it has concentrated sharply on the deregulation issue itself which has generated a great deal of interest by the business community as a whole.
Capturing this momentum, my organisation, Datacraft, is holding a senior executive level luncheon four days after the close of ATUG '97 with guest of honour being the md of ATUG. This is timely PR activity and has produced an excellent response from the invited organisations. As we all know, timing is everything!
In summary, I want to underline two points. PR happens, reputations are created and impressions formed whether or not it is managed. When one decides not to manage one's PR one does not simply miss opportunities to enhance reputation but also risks avoidable damage.
Dolores Diez-Simson is business communications manager at Datacraft, and has held senior marketing and communications roles with UB Networks, Sun Microsystems and HP. Diez-Simson tutors at Monash University on marketing Planning and Implementation and Issues in Competitive AdvantageDatacraftTEL (03) 9690 5300FAX (03) 9690 0779