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PR tools and tactics to include in your strategies

With more and more clients turning their focus to PR as a communications tool on its own and as an important part of the overall mix for marketing their brands and businesses, I thought it's about time to share with you the latest PR strategies we're making use of in the PR space at Gullan&Gullan.
PR tools and tactics to include in your strategies
Don't get a bad rep
In today's Internet age consumers are empowered with information and have the tools to spread their opinions faster than the proverbial bush telegraph, which left unchecked can cause immense damage to a brand's reputation in a few hours. Also, the number of influencers that PR agencies need to manage has increased exponentially as anyone with a Facebook page, Twitter feed or the inclination to comment on forums and blogs is potentially an influencer. This means that your brand's reputation is at greater risk today than ever before. Gullan&Gullan make use of Online Reputation Tools to monitor, assess and - where necessary - respond to negative brand mentions in the online space. The practice of monitoring your brand online also provides valuable research and insights into your target market and their feelings about your brand.

Take better measurements
Social media platforms offer excellent analytics in terms of demographics and usage. Measurement of engagement, sentiment, relationships and brand awareness is becoming more accessible empowering marketing professionals to further demonstrate their PR ROI.

Have phone must travel... and shop
Foursquare, Facebook Places, Groupon and the evolution of location-based social media platforms that go beyond just the check-in offer incredible opportunities for travel, restaurants and retail brands that can create awareness and engagement in fun and innovative ways, such as providing on the fly special offers for unsold inventory. The sky's the limit.

PR and advertising integration
For agencies that do not offer the full 360º communications services, including PR, I predict there will be more opportunities for PR specialist agencies to partner with above, below and digital agencies on projects, on an ongoing basis. This to better ensure that communication strategies are integrated across all traditional, digital and social media platforms, that brand messaging and consumer engagement and sentiment remains consistent and importantly, ensuring that creative executions are excellent quality. The end result: better ROI on communications investments. In addition, as the disciplines of marketing, advertising and PR continue to converge, more clients will be looking for complete solutions from one 360º service provider.

Not the same old story
Writing beyond the traditional media release has become the bare minimum for PR agencies. At Gullan&Gullan the writing team is as important as Accounts and Strategy. Compare this to traditional PR agencies that often outsource their content at the last minute. We do this for good reason. Firstly, good content and fresh story angles break through the wallpaper and this is becoming more difficult as consumers are sourcing their news and information from so many competing sources. Secondly, PR also encapsulates a range of digital content, such as websites, newsletters, white papers, case studies, research, journalistic-quality articles. Also, the social web is growing by the nanosecond that requires writers who have an understanding of different platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and how they can be effectively applied to PR. And lastly, content is no longer words and pictures, but involves rich media with sound, movies and brand experiences, all of which require innovative creative ideas to engage.

Transforming audiences into customers
As more marketing professionals turn to PR to meet their communication and marketing objectives, pressure is on PR agencies to develop innovative strategies that work harder to make more than just news for their brands, but transform audiences into customers, and customers and into brand advocates who significantly influence the buying decisions of other consumers.

Smarter use of resources
Public Relations has always been a profession built on prudent use of resources and boxing smart with tight budgets to achieve outrageous objectives. PR agencies are never the ones given the multi-million Rand budgets, so we know how to get results with less. However, as more marketing professionals see the value of PR and place more spend in the PR space, we can expect to see better innovation, smarter integration and greater returns than ever before.

24 Aug 2011 12:04


About the author

Michael Gullan is the Managing Director and founder of Gullan&Gullan Advertising (Pty) Ltd. He has more than two decades experience at creating value for brands on client accounts from food and beverage, to cosmetics, mail order, medical, publishing and financial services. Gullan&Gullan's propriety brand-centric™ methodology forms the basis of every communication service Gullan&Gullan offer their clients, ensuring that the brand's core values are expressed in a congruent, consistent manner at every touch point. Visit www.gullanandgullan.com or contact Michael directly on or 011 887 6591.