Public Relations (PR) that gets the best Return on Investment (ROI)

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There’s no point in PR if it doesn’t make money, being creative is all well-and-good, but it’s the results that matter at the end of the day. Effective PR work should always deliver strong ROI against smart objectives. Otherwise, what was it for? Being results-focused isn’t the enemy of creativity and ambition. Instead, the emphasis should be on original strategies in well-planned campaigns, aligned with the overall client goals and captured in meaningful, measurable objectives.

Having implemented a number of PR strategies I have noted that it is vital to add value, not just deliver a reasonable return on investment and same applies to PR Agencies where the real ambition for a PR consultant today should be to think about not just hitting rational ROI targets, but to look at how to add and create value through PR work. It’s incumbent on the agency to be as smart, ambitious and original in what they do to get the results that make a difference for a client. Going further to add true value is the type of PR work that will always, always deliver the very best ROI.

Not a simple one, but in order to meet, and overshoot targets, first of all you have to work out what these are. What does the brand want to achieve?  What do you (the client) want to change, and how can we make that happen for you? So if a client asks to be in women’s consumer titles or in-flight magazines, and then ask why… trace the brief right back to the ‘problem’ and work out how to solve it simply because  it is important to focus on achieving the ultimate business goal.

Once you know what the message needs to be, the key to success is to broadcast it using the best medium in helping build a brand if it starts off with the right goals; Every client has different expectations, so it’s vital to view and judge each project individually. In some cases brand awareness is the most important factor, whereas in others, it’s that crucial information is widely shared. The key is messaging and it is our role as PROs to identify them and the best means of conveying them. Innovate, innovate and innovate means……..

In his book, The Meaningful Brand, Nigel Hollis describes how strong brands make more money. Here are five principles he lists to help drive financial growth:

1. (Re)-discover and stay true to the brand’s purpose. Sometimes this means finding out what the brand originally stood for and going back to this, sometimes this means changing the brand’s purpose.

2. Critically examine the experience the brand delivers. Profitable brands meet people’s expectations.

3. Make sure the brand resonates. The sweet spot for any brand is found at the intersection of what the brand stands for and the motivations and desires of its target audience.

4. Make a difference. Don’t be different for difference’s sake, but give customers a reason to choose the brand and justify its price premium.

5. Amplify across all touch points. Work to build a consistent impression of the brand across every point of contact between the consumer and the brand.

Drawing from the case study of the highly attended Monitor Publications “Thought Leaders’ Forum” that is a brand for Daily Monitor Newspaper in Uganda under Nation Media Group where corporates are an audience to prominent speakers and having observed three annual events of the same:  Speaker opportunities can be a great return on investment and all PR practitioners can borrow a leaf.

For such events, start by establishing clear objectives for what you would like the output to be, understand the audience you wish to target and then source and brief your relevant company Chief Executive or spokesperson who fits the bill. Many events can be free of charge, yet offer a platform to communicate to potential customers, media and business partners. At Cooperative League of United States of America (CLUSA) International – Uganda, we are always on the lookout for exhibitions and conferences with specific focus on sectors that are relevant to our brand as we want to feature in these spaces.

Having been part of an audience several times, I realize that I want to learn rather than get a hard-sell, so while you plan to present any brand try to be as creative in approach to the presentation as possible. The effort to plan for such a speaker opportunity in this way is necessary if it is to be successful and resonate with the audience. It is important to plan ahead and execute them properly on the day.

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