5 Ways to Get Big PR Results With a Small Budget

We’ve all been there: You need to achieve terrific results but your client just doesn’t have a big budget. Can you reap a six-figure return on a four-figure investment, or less?

Nikole Flores-Savage, who started her career at a boutique agency in Beverly Hills 10 years ago, set up her own Miami shop, Savage Collective, in March 2018, focused on hotels, spirits, lifestyle and consumer products. A new client is BrightLine, a luxury private inter-city rail service in Florida, for whom she does PR directed at Hispanic audiences. Her previous accounts include Johnnie Walker, Bacardi and Relais and Chateaux.

“Most of the tactics I use now are the same ones I used in 2011,” she said. “Some are tried and true practices that still work. It’s all about setting expectations.”

Influencers and elaborate events are low-budget no-no’s. “I always immediately ask the budget, and if it’s ‘slim to none’, those are off the table,” she said.

Desksides and media happy hours

Journalists covering the food and beverage industry will usually make time to come to a media happy hour, Flores-Savage said, even though it demands more time and planning than a deskside. “People welcome the idea of stepping away from their desk to try a new product. It doesn’t cost very much—you set it up and the client supplies the product.”

Play matchmaker

A smart and strategic partnership between two complementary brands doubles exposure and ROI.

In Miami, Flores-Savage matched BumbleBizz and BrightLine, both aimed at affluent successful consumers. “I reached out to one of Bumble’s community managers and now we’re creating a panel and an experience to meet local female leaders and learn how they met their challenges,” she said. “By partnering with another brand, you’re creating something new.”

Would you attend your own event?

Flores-Savage, who’s Hispanic and 32, knows what sort of events and messages excite and intrigue her. “Do I think this is cool? Would I go to it?” She’s lived in Florida since she was 14, and as a millennial and Latina, “I’m the target for a lot of brands.”

Craft a terrific pitch

The math remains the same when it comes to time versus money: If you’ve got less money to spend, you’ve got to invest more time and talent in creative, targeted pitches, Flores-Savage said. “You have to get really granular and bounce off the news. Keep an eye on what’s trending on Insta, Twitter and Facebook.”

Plan much further ahead

What's going to happen in six, eight or 12 months from now? "All the big plans are submitted already for next year so you’ll have to out-think them when you can’t outspend them," Flores-Savage said.