By Stephanie Hyde
COVID-19 has forced us to re-think many elements of our day-to-day lives; it has shifted entire business processes; and has certainly altered our public relations strategies.
To be noticed and remembered, it’s critical that we think outside the square and develop engaging digital initiatives that will keep brands top of mind. Tactics should be developed with the overarching objective being community brand engagement.
The rise of live cooking classes, workouts and tutorials are allowing brands to connect and engage in open communication with their followers. Conversations can begin and evolve and it’s these brands that will be remembered post pandemic, for adding value.
Here’s how we are adapting our public relations strategies during COVID-19:
We’re generating positive news stories
Whilst the press is understandably filing COVID-19 stories by the minute, journalists are also looking for news stories that will add light and provide hope or distraction to their readers.
As always, we continue to keep in close communication with our press contacts, offering considered news angles to support during the current climate.
Rather than coming from a promotional angle, we are offering news to inspire, educate and build on brand values. We are sensitive and kind in our approach, (like everyone should be – pandemic or not) and understand that just like ours, media resources are also limited, so we do our best to go above and beyond providing as much information and assets as needed. Press and PRs are in this together and we’re feeling the unity.
Our outgoing content for our clients and the agency has been adapted. eDM or pitch angles that once read, ‘Friday Night Glam’ being are being changed to ‘Zoom Date Night’, remaining newsworthy in the current climate.
We’re developing digital event concepts
We are reworking event strategies and focusing our efforts online.
We’ve developed an IGTV series for the Witchery White Shirt Campaign Launch in lieu of an event to promote the initiative. Complementing this revised approach with widespread and targeted influencer seeding alongside strategic press relations, ensures the campaign is widely seen and remains top of mind, while socially distant.
As an agency, we’re continuing to brainstorm a variety of digital tactics, from Instagram and Facebook Live ideas; creating branded Spotify playlists; considering how our clients can partner with other likeminded, non-competitive brands and planning online styling workshops, interviews, workouts and the like.
We’re exploring new channels
TikTok had 113 million downloads in February 2020 alone. Now is the time for brands to recognise the huge impact and potential of the app and consider how it can be a useful part of the marketing mix. We’re working with our clients on developing challenges and gifting head-to-toe outfit looks to TikTok influencers.
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ZOOM’s active users also grew from 10 million to over 200 million in April 2020. We’re utilising the platform to host meetings with press to stay connected and to host private events such as Studio PP pilates sessions.
We’re working with influencers to drive awareness, and in turn, sales
With all the time on everyone’s hands, it is no surprise that social media and online usage is going up.
We are liaising with influencers and distributing packages daily to drive brand awareness and in turn, online sales through influencer relations. We’re considering our brand’s target consumer and briefing on content that will add value and offer support to their followers.
We’re keeping brands prepared
The COVID-19 situation is changing daily.
We are working with our clients to review and update the crisis communications strategy, update issues procedures and ensure all relevant spokespeople are properly media trained to face a variety of situations. It’s our job to keep an eye on the ever evolving news, and develop potential proactive and reactive statements in order to manage press enquiries effectively for our clients.