Business Development in Public relations is an integral part of any organisation and works more or less in a similar fashion everywhere. In some Public Relations firms, leads for new businesses are generally brought by the people heading the company or senior members. In others, there is a separate team that works on business development and their sole responsibility is to accomplish their targets.
Whether you are a part of a specialised team or not, as a PR Professional you ought to understand the business of PR thoroughly to get new business. Having been a part of pitches for Business Development in Public relations I feel the following are important points to be kept in mind while targeting new businesses:
It is important for a PR firm to be well-versed with the industry of the company they are pitching for. For example, if they are pitching for a company like Monsanto, they should be well versed with the agricultural industry, Monsanto’s competitors, latest news, upcoming products and technologies etc. This knowledge helps a PR firm understand what their existing strategy lacks, if at all, and how it can be improved.
A PR firm usually receives a brief from the client after which they make a sales pitch. It is critical that every member of the team pitching for a client reads and understand the objectives of the client in detail. If these are not well understood then one may prepare a pitch which does not support the future objectives of the client.
In spite of being satisfied by their existing PR firms, a lot of companies look for new PR firms to bring freshness to their campaigns. Hence, it is very important that your pitch must portray new thinking. Even if the company does not eventually adopt those ideas, they will be happy to see that the minds are at work.
One must not forget the work that has already been done by a brand. They should see how they can add value to the existing work. A lot of campaigns have the potential to be built upon and that aspect must be fully explored.
A firm must be able to showcase the additional value they can provide as communication partners. They must be able to depict how they will move the needle, and will not be mere mediums of passing information to the media. The PR pitch should showcase how their storytelling will build their client’s brand.
It is common to see B2C brands linking their PR strategy to experiential marketing. The two are becoming closely connected and are leveraged for the common purpose of engaging with the consumer. We often see beverage, airline and lifestyle brands clubbing experiential marketing with Public Relations. The brands which are successful thoroughly understand how to engage with their key stakeholders – consumer and the media. If the campaign is successful it is (almost) always able to create a huge impact on both the stakeholders. A few things in my opinion that make experimental marketing a PR success are as follows:
Engagement with Target Audience: Engagement is the most important part of any experiential marketing campaign. If you (as a brand) cannot engage with your target audience then the campaign implemented is of no use. The element that makes experiential marketing a success is the two-way communication versus a one-way dialogue.
Excitement: An experiential marketing activity engages with the audience in the best manner if it is able to generate excitement. When your target audience is attracted to know and experience what you have; that is when your creativity has made an impact.
Relevance: What is a fruitful activity if it is not done for the right people? Hence the relevance of the campaign to its target audience should be on point. If a product is targeted at mothers and the marketing attracts grandfathers then it is not a good use of effort, time, money and resources.
Emotional: Brands are often able to create an impact on their target audience if they are able to touch them emotionally. We have seen airline brands and also beverage brands do that very successfully in the past.
Social Media: Social media is a big part of what we do today. While offline engagement is important, online engagement has become equally essential. With the inclusion of social element one may reach out to a much larger set of audience in no time.
Got any other ideas for Business Development in Public relations? Share them with us!
– Radhika Nandwani
Radhika is the Corporate Communications Advisor at Dell’s Performance Analytics Group. She started her career in 2011, with one of the leading public relations firms of India – MSLGROUP, specialising in technology brands. The campaigns executed by her while at MSL, have won several public relations industry awards including SABRE and PR Week Asia. In her last role, she was the founding team member and the marketing communications manager at SCoRe. Radhika is an English graduate and holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She loves reading and is passionate about gender equality, food and Bollywood. She can be reached at @RadhikaNandwani on Twitter and here on LinkedIn.