PR from the Pass by @Ben_Mulock
Up until two years ago, I had no real idea what the hell PR was – apart from something that was paid for to make you notice something and buy it. Simple? As it transpires floating two tennis greats down the Thames, on a boat, while they play a match, whilst also getting couples from around the globe to meet in a certain romantic Mecca (and basically shag whilst having their heart rates monitored) – doesn’t “just happen”.
So how it starts…
A big company approaches a number of agencies, who then have to come up with a new and exciting way to sell their brand/product. Now the agencies have really got to get a wriggle on. Not only have they got to deliver what the client has asked for, they actually have to deliver a lot more, as their idea has to stand out against the crowd.
Cue brainstorms and silly ideas.
This is where the crunch comes, just how wacky does something have to be for us to notice it and give it that “front mind thinking” status. I still think that’s a terribly wanky phrase. Play it safe with a great simple idea you can deliver easily, or go maverick think outside all the boxes and have an idea that may work… or indeed may fall horribly all around your arsehole and probably get you fired.
I now only know about such things after dating a “PR girl” for the last two years.
So the next step you pitch you WIN! Go You! Double amazing! High fives and a boozy night out in Soho!
Now all you and your team have got to do is deliver this baby. Deliver this baby, on time and on budget. That’s the next biggie: What’s your big idea really going to cost? How many hours a day are you going to be servicing your client? (I personally love all these double entendres)
Anyway, so your big idea is “signed off” and you’ve got “a face” (someone the public trusts and will lend credibility to your campaign) and then I begins. Simple! No chance.
They almost certainly have a… wait for it… “Rider”. This is what your “face” needs to get them in the comfortable and happy place that you need them to be in to deliver what you’ve paid them for. Items on such lists can range from multiple phone chargers for your mega star and their entourage – to pot noodles and can even include makes and models of cars, ones that are “allowed” to move them around the city in rarefied style. Oh, and also there’s something on the rider about who is and who isn’t allowed to look them in the eye (probably).
Right. The event is ready. “Face” is in the zone.
Hold on, who gives a shit if nobody knows about it? You got to have the media there and that means enticing newspapers, bloggers, news agencies and celebs. In short you’ve got to sell this puppy to them – just as much (if not more) than you did to the client in the first place. And if you don’t – YOU. HAVE. FAILED.
And there it is. For me, PR is all about being noticed. First by the client you want to service. And then by the media. To make the client happy in the hope that they will look upon you favourably the next time they have something to promote.
However, how to you measure your successes? Mentions in the dailies, the broadsheets and online – that’s how. And if you’re really whizzbang and all the planets are in alignment – the front pages.
Is that it? Course it isn’t! We have social media now dahhhhling. A place where people in the real world gather their news and “social snacking” is engaged in (I didn’t make that up).
So, with my new found knowledge I now know that none of this is easy and it takes whole teams of people… very clever people. It’s sure as hell not the industry I thought it was. It’s far more bonkers. There are people in agencies called “creatives” who are paid to think up the shit that nobody else would. How cool is that!
So as I said at the start, here is my view of your industry. Not quite from the outside anymore, but maybe from reception – hanging out with that leftover giant tree frog from a campaign long ago…
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