With the rise of social media and self-serve online ads, it feels like traditional PR and communications have been largely forgotten, yet they remain a crucial part of every business’s marketing strategy.
This is why we’ve spent the last few months developing our own PR offering, which we are delighted to announce is in full swing, with clients across a range of sectors already benefiting from having us as their PR agency.
We are now delivering PR and communications strategy and execution led by an association public relations director with more than 25 years of experience.
It is a really exciting time for Knapton Wright as we continue our growth from the social media consultancy which began in 2014 to a creative marketing agency offering the full range of marketing and communications services.
Our focus remains on using creative ideas to generate exceptional results and build strong, long-lasting relationships, of course – only we now have more options in the team to deliver those successful campaigns and solutions.
What is PR? And is there still a need for PR agencies?
Over the past five and a half years we’ve focused our attention on digital marketing and seen fantastic results. And, whenever a client has needed PR support, we’ve brought in a trusted PR professional, partner or agency to deliver that element of the campaign.
This collaborative approach certainly won’t be changing – it’s key to our ethos of providing the best results for clients by working with people who complement the expertise of our team – but we’re forging ahead with our own in-house PR expertise.
The recent events surrounding the spread of COVID-19 has shone an incredibly bright light on the need for proactive and reactive crisis management and communications. In turn, it has highlighted the importance of skilled professionals creating carefully planned, delicately worded, quality content to ensure brands’ reputations remain intact, and even grow in some cases.
Strong, effective PR can be the glue that holds a marketing strategy together, and agencies that can deliver that will continue to build ever-stronger relationships with their clients and other businesses across the creative sector.
Many PR agencies in recent years have expanded into the world of digital content and advertising to complement their services, but they have retained PR and communications at their core because they recognise the importance of it.
I have to confess, PR is a dark art to me; I’ve worked alongside some exceptionally talented professionals and have an understanding of it, but it’s something that needs to be honed over years of experience and relationship building, which is why we’ve brought in an expert to lead our PR function.
Marketing or PR… or both?
In the early days of social media, all of 12-15 years ago, it would often fall to the PR intern to manage Facebook and Twitter accounts, even of large brands.
I saw this when working with Samsung on their phone launch programmes in 2009, when their creative agency put such a low value on social media that it was very much an afterthought, until Facebook ads helped them sell millions of phones, of course!
This disconnected approach to digital and PR working together soon became a thing of the past, in the most successful businesses, at least. It’s now widely recognised that for businesses to succeed, they need an integrated marketing and communications strategy, taking into account quality content and advertising all underpinned by fantastic creative thinking.
Whether it’s a press release raising awareness of an issue, product or service, or a digital PR campaign to increase brand awareness and secure media coverage, the platforms and objectives for the delivery and consumption of brand messaging are always changing, and should be used together as part of a full offline and digital PR strategy to give people the experience they need.
From websites to social media, video platforms and TV, radio and outdoor, everything has its place, but it needs the right people to put the brand there.
That can be in-house marketing teams working on their own or with agencies, or agencies working on their own for brands. We’ve found both approaches work really well, it really depends on the size of the business and the resources available.
Successful PR activity from our team
I began writing this piece as the COVID-19 restrictions hit; “perfect!” I hear you cry, “what an opportunity to get stuck into some crisis communications for clients”.
Yes, that may be true, and we’ve been fortunate to be given the opportunity to guide the businesses we work with through the rollercoaster of the past few weeks; however, this is a delicate time for everyone, the right tone needs to be hit, the right topics tackled and, above all, relationships must be put at the forefront of everything we do.
Our clients need to reassure their customers that they are there for them as appropriate. Those supporting the NHS and other key sectors are, generally, too swamped with work to answer questions from us.
Fortunately, we have a very talented and incredibly bright team who have taken it upon themselves to work closely with and for businesses such as myenergi and Braun and Co, to enable them to reach their respective target audiences with pieces that reinforce their values and generate awareness in a way that suits the mood of the nation.
We’ll be publishing case studies in the next few weeks to share our take on tackling public relations and communications in a time of a global pandemic.
Our agency, as with the vast majority of businesses (particularly in the SME category), needs people to understand why we do what we do. Now that we have resources dedicated to doing just that, you can expect to see and hear more from us in our usual understated way. Our clients can now benefit from our experience, knowledge, thought leadership, and results-first focus on an even broader scale.
Finally, we would love to work with businesses who are keen on promoting Brigg, North and Northern Lincolnshire locally and to a wider audience. If you’re interested in being a part of this, please do get in touch. We’ve got some fun ideas in the melting pot; perhaps now isn’t the time to execute them but it’s certainly the time to plan ahead.
If you would like to discuss a project or simply to know more about us, we’d be delighted to hear from you.