2 Advertising Tools PR Pros Should Have

January 4, 2010 · 7 comments

toolsIf a brand invests in advertising, there are two tools of the advertising trade that its PR pros should have at their disposal.

1. Media Buying Plans. They go by a few names – media plans, media flow charts, media buys. These outline where and when advertising for your brand will show up in the marketplace. This is helpful for a couple of reasons.

First, check to make sure the media outlets on the media buying plan are part of your targets in your media relations plans. Advertising dollars are spent on outlets that most effectively reach your brand’s key consumers. If the outlet is valuable enough to advertise in, chances are good you should develop a targeted pitch for it, as well.

Second, if it’s a long-lead print publication and you’ve been working with a reporter on a story, let the media buying team know about it. They can work with their ad sales rep for the publication to try to get your brand’s ad positioned adjacent to the positive story.

2. The Creative Brief. Creative briefs are what the advertising account team use to brief creative teams on a new campaign. Once it’s been approved, it should be in your hands, too. They contain interesting insights that you may be able to use in your upcoming efforts, like current consumer mindsets and behaviors, the desired behavior you’re hoping to achieve, and other insights.

Also, they’ll give you a heads up on what advertising messages will be in the marketplace in the short-term. Where appropriate, knowing these insights can help you shape your key messages, as well as the efforts you plan to deliver them. Creating more consistent messaging is a good thing for brands.

Do you see any other ways these tools can be helpful. Have you found other things helpful when working across integrated teams?

*Image by batega.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Veronica January 4, 2010 at 11:19 am

Thanks for the post, David. I very much agree that PR pros should have these resources on hand to help coordinate efforts. What worries me, though, is the implication that advertising/marketing messaging comes before PR/news messaging (alluded to in the Creative Brief section above).

Coordination across communications functions often seems to be a challenge for brands and organizations. That is why it is so important to pull together key members of each communications function before final messaging documents are created – and, preferably, from the very beginning. Combining the varying expertise of marketing/ad pros, PR pros and corporate communications pros ensures all of the brand or organization’s communications priorities are being considered and addressed in the overarching messaging.

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2 David January 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I always appreciate when smart folks share their smarts.

I wholeheartedly agree that overall messaging is best developed with a cross-functional team. Unfortunately, some organizations still operate in silos. For example, I had a PR client several years ago who only found out what was happening from a marketing/advertising front in her company when we shared details we found out from our integrated team at the agency. There were lots of internal issues at that company that kept people from sharing information and fostering collaboration. Definitely not ideal, but it’s still a reality in some places.

The real charge in that statement was for consistent messaging. If you can’t be there for the initial development, you should know what it is so you can decide whether or not it’s useful for your PR efforts or if there are any issues/concerns with some particular messaging that would be worth raising with the client or internal colleagues.

Thanks again.

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3 Brad Mays January 4, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Great idea to share this kind of thing with the PR set. This is the kind of information that will help start discussions between advertising and PR teams that will lead to much-needed coordination. On the flip side, things that advertising teams may like to see is a list of the top outlets for the brand that the PR team sees as the most influential. Also, often times announcements are planned and timed to hit at certain times. Look for opportunities around trade shows, product launches and the like to get coordinated. It seems like a simple concept, but all to often we see cases where the two teams aren’t connecting on the most basic levels.

And, as more time is spent in social media, I’ve found that this is fertile ground for collaboration across other areas of a business to bring all of the best content to the wall or the feed where customers can find value in being the brand’s friend or fan.

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4 Keith Trivitt January 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Spot-on post, David. And actually, something I had not really thought about much before. I think the media plan idea is the best, and frankly, every PR pro should be listening to that. Knowing when and how a client’s advertising efforts are going to impact the brand is vital to knowing where you, as the PR pro, should be focusing your efforts.

This also demonstrates to your clients that you don’t just view your work, and subsequent success, as a one-off proposition that is solely confined to your work. You are willing to collaborate with others that the client is working with, which in my mind, shows a lot more value for your PR efforts, as it demonstrates to the client that you have a full working knowledge of everything about their company and their brand, which almost every PR practitioner professes to in new business meetings, but honestly, how often does this really happen?

I think PR reps having a better understanding and collaboration with the advertising folks would go a long toward making this promise a reality.

@KeithTrivitt

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5 Natalie Friton January 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm

David, I think you’re great at sharing various tools and resources that PR folks should have on hand and the best part is that you also discuss why we should know how to use these tools. I do agree with Veronica though that these tools have to be used correctly and in cross-coordinating consistent messaging. And as Brad points out, the more places a brand puts its messaging, the more important it is to have that consistent message.

I also think this post brings to mind the importance of relationships. As a PR person my main relationship tends to be with the editor or blogger but that doesn’t mean I don’t also reach out to the publisher, marketing manager, etc on occasion to make sure we’re all on the same page.

Thanks for the post!

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