Crossover appeal can help a brand succeed

One of the fundamental principles of PR that was ingrained in me since my early days in the business is the need to think beyond the core group of beat writers that cover your client's industry.

One of the fundamental principles of PR that was ingrained in me since my early days in the business is the need to think beyond the core group of beat writers that cover your client's industry.

While beat coverage is undoubtedly important, what truly moves the needle and takes a brand from relevancy to leadership is often its crossover appeal.

Getting an airline covered by an airline reporter is important and essential; getting the product covered favorably by a dining, fashion, or lifestyle reporter can be transformational.

As consumers have become increasingly savvy and discerning amidst a flood of communication, brands know that in order to really stand out, they need to expand their appeal beyond their primary offering. It's why Ford today can be considered a consumer technology company, and Starbucks a player in the music industry.

From a PR perspective, what can we do to help these brands take off?

A comprehensive knowledge of the news and media landscape is essential. The more we can connect our clients to news and trends that are off the pages and sections where they are traditionally covered, the more we can reach new audiences and reshape perceptions about these brands.

In addition to tactical expertise, strategic vision is key.

More than ever, brands are looking to agencies to conceive initiatives that serve as the foundation for their larger marketing activities. A smart agency will craft programs that are designed to tap into a variety of interests, be it sports, fashion, or art. Creativity and the ability to forge strategic partnerships are the ingredients for success in this process. 

The upshot is that branching out in this way allows for a much broader spectrum of unique stories to be told, providing an even greater number of opportunities to engage target audiences.

At its heart, broadening interest in client brands comes down to the basics of PR – know your clients inside and out, and be devoted to news of all kinds. The rewards of doing so are substantial.

Sean Cassidy is president of DKC PR, Marketing & Government Affairs.  

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