2 minute read

Do shock tactics in PR really work?

We know all too well; the same generic type of careers pages can sometimes fail to engage and attract the best individuals which can result in top-talent going amiss. For many businesses and marketing teams there is the challenge of being tasked to regularly provide informative, creative and attention-grabbing PR campaigns. And while this will often be tailored to certain objectives or showcasing new products which can affect how the campaign is executed – there are still key strategies to bear in mind.

Recently we have seen things going awry with big brands under fire for their somewhat suggestive adverts. For example, Heineken being called out for its low-calorie beer advert labelled as “terribly racist” and the question is…could we be seeing a new trend of businesses deliberately choosing to cause uproar and conflict in order to raise their profile in the media and create a stir around their PR campaigns?

Being controversial is not always a bad thing, and sometimes a great talking point, but you have to be practical and avoid causing offence at all costs. Therefore, it is imperative to have a PR agency or team of marketers who understand the customer demographic and audience and can connect with them. Thinking ‘outside the box’ for campaigns can be a great way to get on the radar of potential candidates and help you stand out in a crowded market, however it needs to be relevant- so what are the steps to create a winning campaign and avoid a PR nightmare?

1. Stay relevant

There’s no point creating a PR campaign that your target audience can’t relate to or engage with, so it’s key to ensure you are keeping relevant with what they find interesting and subjects or products they want to sit up and take notice If you can connect with your audience and understand what their pain points are, it’s easier to get messages across to them and open the lines of informal communication.

2. Competitions

Fun and lighthearted, these are a great way to spur on enthusiasm and appeal to the competitive nature of clients and candidates. Online contests can spread fast across social channels and increase your reach. Take MasterCard Canada which used the hashtag #internswanted with a competition for people to compete for a social media internship - they received 532 qualified candidates and expanded their program to hire more individuals, so it does work in practice!

3. Raise awareness

Raise awareness of not only business updates and new launches in your organisation but also tap into political and social issues in the world that your audience can identify with. It’s a key way to gain their interest and encourage more people to find out about your company once you have got their attention.

In sum? Perhaps shock tactics don’t work, and maybe to have a great PR campaign it starts with a few key essentials instead.

For more advice on how to create an integrated campaign for your audience then get in touch with BlueSky PR today.

Author: Zahra Abedi

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