Siddhartha Mukherjee: Rare but True – PR Led Marcomm

23 Feb,2017

By Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

Not sure if Indian or even Global PR Award Juries have come across such case studies. Conventionally, in Marcomm PR, typical approaches we see are advertising campaign starts and then PR follows or advertising and PR communication walk hand in hand.

Very few Marcomm plans have demonstrated that a brand launchor even sustenance for that matter, can actually start with PR. Not only that, it then even sets a base for the Advertising campaign to subsequently follow through and fortify the brand’s recall &disposition scores.

One such interesting case study is that of Godrej’s Good Knight brand. Not only that, it has also shown decent totality comprising research (and listening), scientifically arriving at the big idea, setting a measurable plan, creating buzz across print, TV and online mediums and finally measuring the business impact of the entire initiative. It’s great to note that the campaign kickstarted with a PR blitz followed by an effective ad campaign. Research-based PR was the key for this success.

Good Knight’s two separate communication campaigns – Subah Bolo Good Knight and BaharBolo Good Knight (for launch of GK Fabric Roll-On)are strong testimonies to what New Age PR can be but also that it can plank the subsequent advertising push.

 

Here are some key pointers why award juries in India and globally should take note of this campaign:

1. Letting PR open the IMC innings: Godrej’s marketing management, in this case, must have developed impressive faith on this tool called Public Relations for letting its PR Machinery lead the IMC mantle. Not an easy task for the PR Machinery to achieve this feat.

2. Healthy use of Listening: PR, in general, is not synonymous with the use of research, especially listening. In this case, however, understanding the data and extracting the communication peg that will not only be used for PR launch but also subsequent Advertising blitzkrieg is not a very common feature one gets to see within our Industry. Case in point is the “Bahar Bolo Good Knight” campaign where based on insights the campaign was sustained for a longer time with many more contextual campaigns (e.g. “#Childrensplayday, #Gifttheoutdoors) launched basis the listening and insighting process.

3. Before execution, setting clear measurable PR Communication Objectives: Seldom does one get to see that the PR Machinery is clearly laying down what it wishes or targets to achieve. In this case, the Godrej team clearly defined the blocks of Input (Ideation & Planning), Output (Quantity & Quality of News Exposure expected to be achieved) and finally, Outcome (the value – not advertising value, mind you) it intends to bring to the brand and business).

4. Executing a PR Plan spanning Print, TV, Online/Digital: In true sense, it was an IMC initiative. The launch and sustenance of the brand spanned across both conventional and the digital platform. More interestingly, Digital PR played a wonderful media partner for brand sustenance as well.

5. Clearly measuring what was targeted Vs what was achieved: After the campaign was over, the Godrej team very diligently worked towards a report card compilation exercise across – Input, Output and Outcome. An examination of what they had set to target vs what they had actually achieved is itself a very meritorious task. This very effort shows intent, transparency and very importantly, defines the winning streak in a case study presentation.

6. Finally, handing over the relay baton to advertising machinery: With brand campaigns getting launched and sustained through PR, it was now time for the Godrej’s paid initiative to take over the baton and continue with the relay race. Few weeks after the PR buzz, Advertising initiatives were launched using the messaging and the brand recall base PR had already established.

 

It is time that award juries up the bar of entries and judgment parameters. Godrej’s case study is an indicator that if one wants, one can raise the bar. I am aware that such rarities are across other sectors too. TV Broadcast, as an example. It is time that more such New Age PR case studies come out of the closet.

My years of appeal to the Industry that “PR needs PR” gets only bolder with such case studies as talk points. PR Award programmes can go a long way in establishing PR within the minds of the CXOs. For this, the role of PR has to be looked at in totality and not the conventional count of clips, advertising value and the moronic,self gratifying yard sticks used by the case study presenters these days.

 

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a senior PR industry professional and currently Senior Vice President, Eikona – Earned Media Planning, Audit and Advisory. The views expressed here are his own.

 

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