• Dilip Gopinathan

PR Strategy Not Working? Here is the Fix!

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

Digital PR for new-age businesses

In my experience handling PR mandates for clients across sectors for almost a decade, it was not uncommon to witness a total lack of sync between PR Strategies with that of a clients’ Business Objectives. While some could be attributed to the lack of a mature market for a product or service (such as implementing face-recognition software at key centers), others could be purely attributed to a lack of insight into the world of PR and how they function across geographies.

Instead of taking a preacher’s position of what works & what doesn’t, I would rather share real-time scenarios on appropriate ways to implement communication strategies for clients across sectors. Read on to gain some insights 😊

A client in the Healthcare space invested in a hi-tech equipment that ensures error free diagnosis. The mandate was to increase footfalls using this information

What Doesn’t Work: Issuing a press release and bombarding it to the media

Suggested Approach:

· Educating the Audience: The first step is to identify the end-users for the brand – them obviously being patients. Using communication strategies such as webinars and visually-aided information through digital platforms, craft the right messaging to educate the brands’ audience.

· Research Based Announcement: If the hospital has invested in a costly equipment, it would usually mean they have a strong research report backing this investment. The PR agency on-board to help craft a research-based announcement and issue it to the media covering the relevant beat.

· Establishing Thought Leadership: A senior doctor to contribute his/her perspective in key publications on the need for timely diagnosis of a particular ailment and the repercussions of failing to do so. The same to be backed by industry data on the prevalence of the ailment.

· Quantifying the Success: Over a certain time-period, establish the fact about the number of patients diagnosed and cured. This could be in the form of interviews and yes, press release 😊

A FMCG client recently changed the design of their biscuits to promote itself as a “Happy Product”

What Doesn’t Work: Pitching for interviews to mainlines stating the complexity of the machinery and the outcome of the end product

Suggested Approach:

· Campaign Led Ideas: A FMCG brand usually engages in PR activities to enhance the brand image. It is about crafting a certain image about the product. One way to do it is to create a campaign around spreading smiles and having the brans’ audience to participate in it. This will also double as quality content for the brand’s social media posts.

· FAM Trips: To give this a more corporate twist, identify media writing about the sector and invite them to a familiarisation trip to the facility. This will give the media a perspective about the production capacity, the units of economics and the likes.

· Targeting the relevant outlets: If the brand has engaged with celebrities, it will provide additional leverage in terms of making the celebrity directly communicating with the audience through digital platforms. This will be a great opportuning to engage the “Advertising & Marketing” media too.

A Power Tool company wants to promote Its range of hand-held devices

What Doesn’t Work: Exhausting the marketing budget on getting a celebrity onboard for the launch. More often than not, it will be the celebrity who’d get the maximum spotlight over the brand

Suggested Approach:

· Identifying the audience: A round table at the company’s facility with architects & builders to be organised that will also give them a hands-on-experience using the tool. Video testimonials of the audience to be used for sales-pitch and social media.

· Targeting the trade publications over financial & mainlines: The audience for these products voraciously consume information on trade platforms. The objective here would be to draft a formal press-announcement in such publications.

· Product Reviews: Another effective way to garner attention is to get the product reviewed by leading online portals & publications relevant to the brands’ audience.

An enterprise IT client wants to build its brand image while at the same time generate quality leads

What Doesn’t Work: Issuing a press release for every bit of internal announcements and pitching interview opportunities to media without willing to reveal key facts

Suggested Approach:

· Case Study Placements: Identify publications relevant to the clients’ audience and pitch for case-study opportunities. This is a sure-shot way to establish the clients’ potential among its target audience.

· Research based press notes: To craft infographics along with pressing needs of the industry. This could be survey-based release on the rise of cyberthreats or corporates incurring losses due to downtime. The information source should however be as a result of the client’s findings.

· Participation in industry events: The key public for an enterprise IT client usually take part in industry events. A PR agency should help identify such platforms for its clients to take part in. In the process, pitch for exclusive interactions with key media.

While these are just snippets of my experience that worked well for my clients, there were other sectors too that leveraged from implementing a strategic-approach to their communication strategy. Notable ones include my agency – Brand Cocoon, implementing PR plans for start-ups to garner investor attention to helping an International AI firm influence the stakeholders in India while driving website traffic while some of our clients leverage PR & digital plans to generate leads for the National & International markets.

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