By Elinor Tyler, Head of Consumer at Storm Communications
When on 23 March Boris Johnson announced a UK lockdown, many PR budgets screeched to a halt. Well-considered marketing strategies, crafted from extensive and expensive research insights, became irrelevant overnight. Many tactics used to generate loyal brand fans became immediately redundant. Experiential sampling campaigns? A nonsense! Sending products to journalists? Logistically challenging! Media events? An impossibility!
But as the dust settles and brands quickly adjust to the new status quo, PR remains as relevant to the marketing mix as ever. While 2020 PR plans written at the end of last year are now out of touch and impossible to execute, the malleable nature of PR means that the discipline can and should still be used to support food and drink companies – it is just a case of knowing which tactics still have merit and which are superfluous.
We’ve created a list of the top five PR campaign elements that brands should still be investing their time and money in, in order to get meaningful cut-through…
No.1: Proprietary social media content
Social isolation means that we are being increasing drawn, like moths to a flame, to social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have literally become our windows to the world, and it is a rare millennial who isn’t spending lockdown manically twitching between social media apps. Our screen time has increased dramatically, and consumers are looking to brands to provide them with useful content.
Therefore, now is the perfect time to invest in social media, both from a content point of view to help create a loyal and engaged fan base, but also from an advertising perspective to ensure you are reaching a wider, yet targeted, audience.
No. 2: Influencers
While not on the frontline in the same manner as doctors and nurses, some (namely the Finnish!) deem influencers to be key workers. As mentioned above, we are digitally connected more than ever before, and social media influencers can play a valuable role in talking to previously unreached consumers. Find the right influencers who have a genuine love for your brand, and any monetary investment will pay dividends when it comes to converting their followers into fans of your brand.
No.3. News generation
If you have a genuinely PR-worthy story that is pertinent to the current Covid-19 dominated news agenda, then tell it. The media is crying out for feel good news stories and with decimated news teams that are working in a more fragmented style than ever before, a strong, interesting story, that is hand delivered to them, could be gold dust.
No. 4. Commentary and case studies
News outlets are actively looking for case studies to bring a human element to the headlines, so if your business or brand perfectly illustrates a news story, then reach out to the media. This might be on a local, regional or national level, but offering a case study or commentary on elements of the virus – or the Government’s response to it – could be valuable to the journalists and provide positive exposure for you.
No. 5. Crisis management
Regardless of what is happening in the world, every food and drink brand should have a crisis management strategy in place. This is no less true now. With pressures put on businesses from every direction currently, brands should be prepared for any other crises that could destabilise them further. Put the work in upfront to create a crisis management plan and ensure everyone relevant in the business knows the procedures outlined in it.
For advice on how to activate any of our top five PR elements, contact Elinor.firstname.lastname@example.org.