Sunday, 6 December 2009

How important is it to define your target audience?

We are constantly told that in order to reach your audience, to get your message understood by them, and to change their behaviour, it is imperative to know exactly who they are. This knowledge is likely to shape your message and dictate the channels through which you communicate with your target group.

We are also taught that defining your target audience as ‘the general public’ is blasphemy in PR. How then is it possible that a PR agency that didn’t define its target audience or even see it as a priority was so successful in its PR campaign?

Watershed PR was given the objective to increase the number of visitors to the Bath & West Show 2009 and more than achieved this by targeting national newspapers and drive-time radio shows. Is communicating via mass media enough guarantee that your message will be received by potential audiences? Or is this case a one-off?

Friday, 4 December 2009

Social Media - a necessity or an accessory?

Surely everyone will agree that social media can give a PR campaign an extra push. But as part of an integrated campaign which is largely offline, is that all it can do?

Watershed PR targeted online news sites with their smelly cheese campaign for the Royal Bath & West Show. They managed to secure a considerable amount of published online content, so there is plenty of access to the campaign available online for those interested in the client, which will be archived for the long term and appear in search engines.

However, in terms of updating their client website, using sites such as Twitter and Facebook, blogging, youtube, etc, they did nothing. For a campaign that managed to secure more than 12 stories in national newspapers, feature on BBC and ITV News and get a feature in a national magazine, is it possible that they could have utilised the online space available to further promote a campaign that is evidently interesting and newsworthy?

An important point to keep in mind is that the target audience for this campaign is national. The Royal Bath & West Show is one of the largest agricultural events in the UK and attracts visitors from even further afield.

In terms of time, they only had 3 months. In terms of budget, they only had 5k. Social networking is free and instant. Do you think it would have been worthwhile for Watershed to use social media or would it have just been like an accessory to the campaign that wouldn’t have added any real value?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Britain's Smelliest Cheese Championships

I have been looking at a campaign that was put together by a Dorset PR agency (Watershed PR and Marketing) for their client (The Royal Bath and West Show) and I’m trying to figure out what made the campaign ‘best practice’. Apparently the CIPR were ‘crackers’ for it.

Watershed organised ‘Britain’s Smelliest Cheese Championships’ which was to be held at The Royal Bath & West Show Ground in order to publicise the show. The agency cleverly drip-fed the media information, cheesy facts, and even sent some smelly cheese to local and national radio stations to get them on the air. They had to concentrate on short lead and online media because long-lead print titles were not available to them with the short amount of time they had.

In terms of measurable success, they exceeded their targets. Watershed was brought on board with The Royal Bath & West Show only three months before the agricultural event took place. They were allocated a budget of £5,000 and the main objective of getting visitors through the gates in spite of the recession. Not only did they manage to attract the second highest number of visitors to the show since 2004, they also managed to secure over 160 pieces of coverage in both national and regional media.

It’s hard to believe that such a successful campaign could be both created and executed within three months. Perhaps the fact that they had such a limited time scale meant that the campaign was more cohesive and driven.
In your experience, is it more or less effective to have shorter timescales for large-scale tasks?

Do you think the short amount of time Watershed PR had to create and execute the PR campaign might have affected the success of the outcome? In what way? Could they have been even more successful given more time?