It’s difficult to come up with great ideas sometimes. Other times, the ideas we come up with are unimpressive.
When company leaders sit down to strategize a PR campaign, they usually picture the best-case scenario for their business.
What is Creativity PR?
Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness. Often in PR, we are looking for both creative ideas to inform media relations, social media, and content and a broad creative theme that helps us build a wider strategy.
A creative theme in PR is an overarching “big concept” that captures attention and communicates a message in an original way. It is a unifying theme that can be used across all propositions, campaign platforms, marketing disciplines, and a wide variety of audiences.
Creativity is a problem-solving tool to help PR professionals achieve their communication objectives. Many a time, what our clients try to set out to achieve is very similar. “Sell more widgets” or “drive more footfall.” These message needs to be communicated in original and new ways that are linked to the values and purpose of these organizations and their target audience.
What story angle would position them in the best light, how many customers will convert from the exposure, and what credibility they’ll be able to garner as a result? While these are all objectives that should be defined, the best campaigns are modeled after previous ones that swept the nation (or, even the world). There’s a blueprint for PR campaign success, and that blueprint is evident in the most successful PR campaigns that we can collectively remember.
How do we then achieve creative PR? Below are five secrets to a creative PR;
1. Shock appeal with a heartfelt message: when soap company Dove decided that it wanted to build its brand around self-love and confidence, it created a campaign called “Real Beauty.” First was a short commercial showing how beauty perceptions are distorted. A “normal” woman comes into a studio, gets her hair and makeup is done and then her photo is photoshopped dramatically before it finally lands on a billboard. This video hit on multiple points: shock value, a sinking truth, and the overall powerful message that is as beautiful as you are, and the marketing images that we’re usually surrounded by are simply fake. That commercial was just one installment of the campaign. Dove hired real women instead of models to represent the face of their campaign and booked these women on shows like Ellen Degeneres and Oprah. And it worked. A report from PR Week noted that the annual sales for the brand nearly doubled over the decade course of the campaign, from $2.5 billion to $4 billion.
2. Read, watch and follow: Encourage your team to read case studies, to follow smart and creative people on social media, read the newspapers daily, and share best practices with each other. The Cannes Lions Awards website is a great resource that offers a whole host of great content from previous winners. Often the best ideas are not just plucked from mid-air. They are based on a pre-existing campaign that can be adapted to a different sector or market.
3. Work with creative suppliers: Surround yourself with creative suppliers, freelancers, consultants, and industry experts. Providing your team with access to others can bring a fresh eye to any project, helping to drive new ideas and concepts as a result.
4. Fun and viral consumer participation with social impact: Now that social media dictates what’s important to us as a society, it should be looked at as a resource for real campaign exposure. Nothing spreads like wildfire more than a good challenge, down to the step of nominating three friends at the end. Everyone seems the remember the famous #ALS ice bucket challenge, which had all the components of a campaign with wheels. First of all, it was fun to watch. It didn’t matter if it was from celebrities like Lady Gaga or just someone from your high school. Watching someone get a bucket of ice-cold water poured on them was just good entertainment. Of course, the good fun was exacerbated by the fact that the videos were for a good cause: raising awareness and money for the ALS Association. And that, it did. According to Agent99, the overall campaign raised a whopping $115 million for the association and cumulated over 2.4 million online videos with people of all ages and backgrounds wanting to participate.
5. Be aware of your surroundings: You can’t expect your team to come up with a genius idea while sitting at the same desk, staring at the same computer, day in day out. Encourage employees to take regular breaks and get some fresh air before coming to any brainstorming session. Even better than that, take the whole meeting outside.