Claudia Macdonald ,Managing Director, Mango Communications

The relationship between public relations and advertising can be fraught. Many PR people believe that making an ad is pretty one dimensional and that public relations is the discipline that truly works at the coal face of helping an organisation communicate with its publics.

After 18 years working as part of an advertising agency, I’d be the first to admit there are days when I think my colleagues on the other side just don’t get it. But more often than not, I am envious of the depth of their understanding and knowledge of consumers and what makes them tick.

Anyone who attends my PRINZ Marcomms course will hear me bang on about insights.  Because to me (and my colleagues at DDB), the number one essential to getting the right solution to any problem is understanding the audience.  And that requires insight.

Typically PR insights come from being a well read chappie – news, current affairs, blogs  – and having a good understanding of what is current and happening in the world, particularly the world of your client or organisation.

But that is only half the story.  For marketing PR – or brand engagement PR as it is also known – you need to understand your consumer almost as well as you understand yourself.  And then you need to work out how your client can help that consumer.

Too often PR people, especially the young ones, tar everyone with the same brush. But as we know, it takes all sorts to make the world go round. So how do you go about getting great consumer insights and then working out the ‘tension’ your client or product can resolve?  Here’s how to start – and yes, generalisations are allowed:

  1. Identify the ‘bullseye’ target – 18 – 25 year old boys; teenagers; young mums; active older people 50+ etc etc
  2. Give them a name, a home address and an occupation
  3. Now have some fun – decide on their hobbies, marital status, weekend activities – just don’t get too weird
  4. Work out their media consumption – based on an informed understanding of different media targeting
  5. Map their touchpoints – where you can reach them at any given time of a weekday or weekend

Now you have a picture of your main target and an idea of how or where to reach them.

Next, determine where your organisation, product or service fits into your target’s life. For instance, is your new car going to save a young married couple fuel costs because it is so energy efficient; or provide the young professional with a sense of status as they make their way up the corporate ladder.

These insights can help you develop your plan – because you have worked out what triggers will actively engage the target with the brand. That’s the easy bit because next you have to come up with the ideas! And how to do that will need to be the subject of another blog.

Claudia Macdonald’s upcoming courses;

Brainstorming – a vital tool for successful X-factor PR
Christchurch – 6 September, 9.30am – 12.30pm – register now for the early bird
Auckland – 20 September, 9.30am – 12.30pm – register now for the early bird

Successful Marketing PR – the perfect blend of insights, brand and creativity
Christchurch – 6 September, 1.30pm – 4.30pm – register now for the early bird
Auckland – 20 September, 1.30pm – 4.30pm – register now for the early bird

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