The 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament heads toward the Final Four this weekend. But consumer brands have been scrambling to align their messages with March Madness since it started nearly two weeks ago.
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Spring is in the air, and so are significant changes at some of the most popular brands. These are not marginal changes where a press release and a few media hits will suffice to get out the message, though. They are major breaks from the branded past that require long-term communication strategies and a sustained effort by PR pros.
Unlike some audiences that brands and organizations cater to, influencers are not monolithic but are a loosely affiliated group of individuals who can have a pivotal influence on PR’s ability to drive conversation and spread the word. But getting people online to share information about your company’s products/services or values requires a different mindset than blasting a press release to a similar demographic or giving a presentation to like-minded people.
When PR takes a backseat to lead generation efforts in an organization, the strategic value of communication is masked behind a larger marketing umbrella. Don’t let this happen. PR needs to bridge what is a chronic disconnect and take its seat at the revenue table.
Kelly McGinnis became executive VP and CCO of Levi Strauss & Co. in 2013. The move came 18 months after Levi Strauss hit the reset button following years of no growth. From the get-go McGinnis—who reports directly to Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh—instituted four principles that have guided communications strategy and enhanced integration.