Kyla has experience with investor relations companies in South Africa and internationally. Moving from IR to PR was a natural progression, as the reputation management of brands, along with the communications strategy seemed a logical step.
1. What is your view on the evolution of PR?
Gone are the days of pure publicity – what is needed is effective communication strategies for clients which, in turn, positively impact on their bottom line; only integrated communications brings a focus on meaningful, relevant and strategically placed messaging to benefit organisations.
2. Give us an example of an online campaign, that you thought broke the barriers of tradition.
Marmite have announced a limited edition “clear Marmite”
A spokesperson said: “The psychological benefits from eating a clear or lighter coloured spread simply cannot be ignored. Fifteen years in the making, Marmite Clear is our most innovative new product development to date. We are delighted to bring it to market this April and hope all Marmite fans will be utterly transparent in their feedback of this exciting new variant.”
Tweeting: Proud to introduce the newest member of the family… Say hello to #MarmiteClear everyone!
Marmite has developed into a fun brand with the ‘’love it or hate’ it campaign resounding with many. The brand has also indicated that having seen how successful the experiential activity has been, in terms of getting consumers to engage with the brand and adding a real ‘talk-ability’ element, they will definitely continue this thread.
FYI, As a Marmite lover I did enjoy the April fool’s joke that Marmite did this year. It was catchy and had a high talk-ability influence.
3. How can businesses use PR to drive demand and ultimately revenue growth?
Providing clients with integrated communication strategies linked directly to achieving their business and marketing strategies has resulted in high return on investment figures. Very few businesses seem to share their business strategies with their agencies. Without the business strategy whether it be quarterly / annually or even a three year plan, I don’t believe that PR can do its job effectively.
Additionally, understanding the relationship between a company and its external stakeholders is part of the key, BUT internal stakeholders (as per King III) are becoming increasingly relevant. Engaging with internal stakeholders (often one of the most difficult audiences with whom to communicate) using a variety of tools to significantly improve the effectiveness of communication of the brand / organisation and its culture, can certainly have an impact on the bottom line.
4. What are the typical mistakes made when choosing a PR partner?
Most clients employing PR consultancies on a retainer basis, usually sign up for something along the lines of two press releases a month and one status meeting. The consultancy then simply produces the requisite amount of articles, pops along for the meeting – so there’s regular “coverage”.
Clients need to think about WHAT they want their PR to do, after all PR is a tool, just like a sales team. If one of the key objectives of your marketing strategy is to impact directly on sales and your PR consultancy’s initial engagement doesn’t require the presence of your sales team or asking for key information about sales, maybe you need to re-think your supplier. Similarly, if you’ve hired them specifically to assist with stakeholder relations and they don’t start off wanting to do some sort of climate survey, you’ve not got the right team on your side.
The key question to ask and assess is the value gained from PR investments that the PR partner strategically recommends.
5. Please share your predictions on the evolution of PR.
We are all bombarded with information constantly, whether you request it or not! I think that not only is the message becoming more important, but the timing of your information is also becoming of vital importance. I also think that marketing (all types) and PR need to become more integrated and aligned. I think the more aligned or integrated, the more powerful the communication becomes. Of course, strategy and tactics are the backbone of any communication strategy.
As communication evolves particularly within the digital area, content also becomes strategic. The effective use of content, whether this is sharing ideas or stories from thought leaders or personal interactions, is paramount. It needs to be carefully selected to reflect the brand/organisation. This way each interaction becomes meaningful and each conversation becomes an opportunity to actively re-inforce or maintain the brand.
YOU need to be the custodian of your online content. By showing that you are engaging your market with valuable, meaningful and on-message subject matter you can make an impact. Communicate with passion and purpose and your voice will be heard.
by Kyla Derrick, as interviewed by Emiryl Paul