What’s the old saying? Adversity is the mother of invention? Necessity is the cousin of innovation? Did we make those up? You get the gist.
Our point being, since we started Bope, we’ve seen a gradual shift in the focus of our PR efforts. From clients once requiring us to ‘drive footfall’ (we hate that expression) to traditional bricks ‘n’ mortar outlets (that one too), we saw a gradual shift towards PR that drove people to direct purchases from client’s websites. The keyword there of course being gradual. And then the virus that shall not be named reared its ugly head, sent the world into a tailspin, retail fell on its arse, and the UK went all 28 Days Later. Only it didn’t. Well, not exactly.
We’re not going to downplay the severity of the virus (that job belongs to the Cheeto in the Oval Office), but what it has shown is the sheer flexibility of both retail and PR alike. According to a recent report by McKinsey (A ruddy good read, right here.), e-commerce has seen 10 year’s growth in three months. That shift in retail we saw creeping over the highstreets of the UK has leapt forward a decade, and if PR companies do not acknowledge those changes with immediate effect, more fool them. So, what would Bope PR recommend? What should PR teams do? How should we react?
Firstly, crucially, and most simply – double check client URLs in any comms. Sounds like PR for beginners, but if you’re going to send out any messaging (especially at the moment when online is booming and Jeff Bezos is Scrooge McDucking-it in a pool of gold coins), for goodness sake link it back to either the client website or better still their online store front. And make sure it’s for your market territory too. Grandmother, get over to them eggs and do your thing! Ok, next.
Discuss with your clients why they should be driving people to their online portals. We’ve just under-taken a highly successful tech PR launch for Disney Pebble Gear Kids’ Tablet, garnering rave reviews in everything from The Metro to Glamour Magazine. Loads of juicy press quotes, the kind of thing sales teams go nuts for. Will we be repeating this for the new Mickey Mouse SKUS as Christmas approaches? Hell no. We’ll be ensuring we drive people to the Pebble Gear website. It’ll be a subtly different approach to our sell-in, but it’ll make a huge difference to the client. The same goes for another client, the retailer GAME. We’ve undertaken a huge push to get people engaging with them on the high street, but for the short term at least, we’re now seeing people flocking to their website, and our messaging has reflected that. Which leads us to our third and final point.
Have an eye to the future. Covid-19 will one day be a memory. The pendulum will swing back slightly. Covid-19 has pushed us all into a brave new sphere of how we deliver PR campaigns, and how we engage with people, but there will once again come a time where clients want PR stunts that enthrall and capture headlines. Plan for those. Plan for the days when people can gather and marvel at some nutso stunt, or flock to see some highly instagrammable insanity. It’s what got us all into PR in the first place, and on the horizon is the next big PR idea. And hell, it might be far enough away that floating something down the Thames seems fresh again!
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