As we observe in our Public Relations tutorial, PR is probably the least understood form of marketing promotion and, because of this, many marketers do not consider it when crafting a promotional plan. The problem with PR is that there tends to be two very distinct tasks that are performed. One task is primarily concerned with providing corporate communication, such as talking with news reporters about a company's latest quarterly financial report or addressing an serious issue that is of interest (e.g., explaining a product recall). For many marketers, corporate media relations efforts are often what they believe PR people are best equipped to perform.
But another side of PR is much more involved in promoting a company or its products among a marketer's target audience. To achieve this, PR professionals try to develop a unique plan that will capture the attention of both the target market and the news media. The typical approach is to directly contact members of the news media and convince them to write or broadcast a story about the company.
Another approach for capturing media attention is to bypass direct contact with the news media and instead direct attention at the target market. The idea is that if the target market gets excited about something offered by a company then the media will want to report on this. While this may seem like a sound approach that most companies could follow, in reality executing such a plan is quite challenging and often requires the plan be extremely creative. Such a creative PR plan can be seen in this story from USA Today. It discusses how the Breathe Right brand of nasal strips is using a creative PR idea to capture attention at the upcoming Belmont Stakes horse race. The PR people are hoping their plan, which includes distributing 50,000 nasal strips to attendees, will lead to news media coverage, particularly since Breathe Right is telling attendees to wear their strips while watching the race.
Some may wonder what exactly the connection is between Breathe Right nasal strips and horse racing. Many horses, including California Chrome, which is racing for the Triple Crown, use a version of nasal strips (though not ones made by Breathe Right) and Breath Right hopes that television, social media and other media will see the connection and actively pick up on this through videos, photo and messaging.
Image by Colorado State University News