-cultural design experience focus
Planning is central to any Public Relations campaign. Design a fresh campaign and you’re looking at loads of exposure for your brand, often in ways more effective than simply advertising. A public relations campaign brings together the forces of design and creativity within a marketing based approach. Many PR agencies these days join forces with graphic design companies to give them an extra edge when it comes to the design of more exclusive ideas. Often the concepts are unmatchable, exposing a new brainchild to represent the brand. They can print on-demand, eliminating the hassles of having to find the most desirable design company. For example, Public Relations company Zing Australia internally contract their own graphic designers. The basic principles of design can be employed in campaign development. When multiple mediums are implemented, the message will be further understood, for example, visual metaphors utilized for a more rounded user experience.
Research is the backbone of any good quality campaign. Decipher the market, the target audience and know the current situation behind the client’s need for a campaign. Decide how you will go about doing the research; your methods, timeline and what you wish to achieve through this research. You may even find a niche audience you didn’t know you had. Swarovski crystals merged with Revolution Eyewear to keep their ideas fresh and in turn, adopted Revolution’s audience. When IKEA furniture needed legitimacy in the design world, they targeted bloggers. Not only was this a cheap method to place editorial content, but the World Wide Web provided IKEA with a whole new audience.
When designing a PR campaign you need to establish your intentions and define your objectives. Knowledge is also the key to a successful campaign, so learn all you can about your client and the brand that you will be designing the campaign for. Discuss the history of their business, their goals and the message they wish to portray in life and through the campaign. If you understand the client’s message, the intended audience will understand the message. One objective of sandwich chain Subway’s 2006 campaign was to firmly establish them as owners of 'Subs'. Just as McDonald's had a Big Mac and KFC had the Bucket, they needed a product or language that was theirs (McGhee 1). However, you may recall that McDonalds released their “healthy” Deli sandwich range; suspiciously resembling a Subway sandwich, followed closely by KFC Subs. Another innovative idea was needed. In design terms, the new brief called for an instantly recognisable Subway product and needed to be seen as fresh and accessible. The new look and language formed the beginnings of their brand personality (McGhee 1). Subway began with its original black logo and changed to its current recognisable green logo to create a more “healthy and fresh” approach. They also partnered with Coca-Cola, who assisted in the growth of their brand identity.
”In any design thinking, resolve what message you want to send out to your public, and incorporate this into the campaign strategies” (Dugan 1). The President of the Nike brand once said, “Focus on saying less, but say it really well to generate more excitement than you might otherwise around a product. IKEA's message was that their product designs could make everyday life better. So they staged an outdoor exhibition throughout New York City, and placed their designs in everyday places; cushions on park benches, a couch in a bus shelter, hammocks strung up between trees on a street corner. This made it fun to wait for a bus, whilst also defining and promoting their key message.
In putting together a campaign strategy, the campaign director is seeking to construct a complex meta-narrative that sends a multiplicity of variations on the key campaign message to a variety of targeted audiences in various configurations by assorted media over the length of the campaign Is this a quote? (Johnston 411). Develop an exceptional insight into the brand, to outshine its competitors. If the brand has been around since the fifties, a campaign can be designed to re-launch it to show off its new packaging. You need strategies to promote and represent the brand. Make the promotion of your brand into an event. If you think you have a good idea, stick by it even if it’s deemed “crazy”. However, think about dropping it if it’s considered “insane”. Basically, just don’t be a toothless tiger when it comes to design and creation.
Find ways to turn your brand into art, as visual stimulus often provokes more attention than simply a bland media kit. Create more than just a funky logo. Breathe an identity into the campaign; give it a name. Design an event to be the climax of the campaign, and give it a catchy name. Turn Centrepoint Tower into a banana if need be (and if budget be). This will help when pitching your ideas to the media. Journalists feed off wild and fanatical names such as Ryvita’s “Big Taste, Mini Waste” campaign. Give out more than just a media kit; furnish a treasure hunt and you are bound to get more editorial content in major newspapers.
When you’ve completed all the previously mentioned groundwork for the campaign, analyse it. What are its strengths and weaknesses? What opportunities does it provide, and what threats need to be considered? What are the health and safety risks involved in putting a couch in a bus stop, for example. Make sure you have a clear timetable for the details of the campaign. When will brochures need to be sent out, what night is the launch; don’t leave room for error or memory wipes. Once the campaign is over, the work still isn’t finished. Evaluate the campaign and its effectiveness in relation to the original goals. This gives you the opportunity to improve the design for next time.
For a campaign to be successful, thoughtful design must be considered, whilst also using effective visual communication. The elements of planning and research must be applied carefully. Once the client’s goals and objectives are defined, a decision of what strategies and tactics will be used is in order. If designed well, campaigns will improve brand perceptions, give a little joy to jaded folks and cut the time they spend trying to outwit their neighbours.
Dugan, K. Nike’s Impactful Approach to Media Relations. September 20, 2007 http://prblog.typepad.com/strategic_public_relation/2007/09/nikes-impactful.html
Johnston, J & Zawawi, C. Public Relation Theory and Practice. Allen&Unwin 2004
McGhee, G. & Kiely, D. Subway: On a Roll: how the regional trial of a repositioned and re-branded existing product for UK sandwich chain Subway led to a fully integrated global communications success story. Frame Agency 2007