As PR pros, we know it’s our job to find creative ways to help brands and clients break through the clutter. As such, it’s crucial to show we can walk the talk. We often hear that the PR industry needs to do better PR for itself. In addition, PR needs to take its own PR more seriously.
With that in mind, several years ago our company decided to take a non-traditional route with its holiday cards. The tactic we use employs an entertainment-themed card that we believe demonstrates the creativity and fun of our brand. The effort has become the company's largest marketing initiative of the year.
We start brainstorming during the summer, and nothing is off the table. We watch for trends in media, and figure out what might work for us as a brand. As the unveil of the card approaches, we post teasers on social media about the chosen theme of the card and drop hints to clients during meetings.
As with any initiative, you must do your research. Luckily, we have a number of TV junkies on staff, including The Bachelor loyalists, so we are well-prepared to get the details correct. The location (this time, a local spa) is chosen, gowns are rented and hair and makeup are booked.
Then, one morning in late October, with mimosas and fake eyelashes in hand, we set out for the shoot, which usually takes less than one hour.
Between the photographer, editing, location, hair and makeup, dress rentals and sending about 1,000 cards (we label, stuff and seal them ourselves), costs are typically a few thousand dollars.
And, we’ve seen results. Hundreds of comments come rolling in via social media and email, including new business prospects.
Our yearly greeting cards embody the creativity we believe is a hallmark of our firm, as well as the sense of fun that helps unleash creativity. This sense of fun helps generate ideas, gain and retain clients and keep employees happy. Here’s how it can be done:
1. Write, write, write. Writing is time-consuming. And it’s tempting for PR pros to avoid those opportunities, whether it be ghost-written articles for a client or contributed pieces in industry publications. You probably often find yourself thinking, “I just don’t have the time.” But, you have to make the time. I’ve found there is no better idea generator than putting pen to paper. No matter your role, take the time to feed your creativity through the written word, even if it’s just publishing a blog post every few months or writing out your to-do list on paper.
2. Work together. The power of a good brainstorm is undeniable. Sometimes, all it takes is talking through a problem or campaign idea with colleagues to get it just right. Next time you’re looking for a big idea bring in your whole team. You might even rally the troops with cookies or cocktails—it tends to do the trick for us.
3. Have fun. Put simply, people like to work with colleagues they like. And believe it or not, most people have a sense of humor. Not every day is a party, and it’s important to recognize when the time for silliness is right. Such as when the whole team is on tight deadlines before the holidays … maybe not the best time. But, the atmosphere in the office can always be made a little lighter with just a bit of fun.