It is not uncommon for large organisations to have an in-house marketing team and a number of external agencies, including a public relations (PR) consultancy, operating side by side. Your marketing team will set the direction – identifying target audiences (current and new) and agreeing new offers for them. A good PR consultancy will then work closely with your marketing team to help refine and understand these audiences, and agree a communications strategy to get them talking about – and eventually buying – your products or services.
Good PR works within a marketing mix to create a healthy environment for a company’s key messages and brand reputation to flourish, something that becomes particularly important in the event of a crisis. This is where the relationships fostered by strong, sustained PR really come into their own, as they lay the groundwork for a productive and successful crisis communications campaign. But this cannot happen if the two teams don’t work correctly with each other. Here are our three top tips to ensuring an effective relationship between your marketing and PR teams.
Understand each other’s role
Your PR consultancy will be highly experienced in reaching audiences via channels, such as media and social media, as well as directly through events, while your other agencies will have different areas of expertise such as advertising or website creation, for example. By having a clear idea of the roles and remits of the central marketing team and each agency, the marketing team can ensure best value for money and avoid overlaps.
Set clear measurable goals
There are many ways to measure the success of a media campaign, but some of the most common are the number of placements, total circulation or the advertising equivalency of the coverage. Such methods can help to quantify media exposure and place a monetary value on your communications efforts.
However, this form of measurement can tell you nothing of the quality of your campaign. A two-page spread in a newspaper not targeting your key audience, for example, is of less actual value to your brand than a short piece on a website that is read by the people you are trying to reach out to. It can also tell you very little about public sentiment regarding your brand, particularly in the aftermath of a crisis.
From the beginning, your marketing team and PR consultancy should discuss what a successful campaign ought to look like, and set defined, measurable goals accordingly. These might include a certain number of features published in a list of key publications, growth in website hits, or a percentage increase in positive sentiment in a consumer survey post-campaign. Whatever you decide, make sure everyone is aware of the targets to ensure success.
Above all, make sure to establish honest, direct and frequent communications between your marketers and your PR consultancy. This doesn’t just mean having a discussion at the beginning regarding the direction of the campaign, but also ongoing contact to keep the PR consultancy up to date on your organisation’s performance and throughout the year, so that, if necessary, they can help realign your marketing and media strategy.
Not only can a close relationship and regular communication between the two teams make your media relations more responsive to changes in the market, it can also ensure you are able to react quickly to any media crisis that could affect your brand image and damage revenue.
Whether you are in the middle of a crisis or not, having both marketers and PR experts on your side can be invaluable in creating an effective marketing and communications strategy that directly benefits your organisation. However, unless everyone understands the purpose of each team, the success of your media campaign will be limited. Following these three simple tips can clarify things, ensuring both teams pull together to the advantage of your brand reputation.
If you have any questions or would like more information please contact Sandy Lindsay at Tangerine PR.This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.