What is a PR Campaign? {And Famous Examples}

Public relations is a critical part of any company, brand, organization, and for public figures. The way PR works is by initiating and releasing campaigns to build the reputation of those entities. But what exactly is a PR campaign? There are many details and features to a successful PR campaign, which need to be considered in order for it to be a hit and meet objectives. In this article, we will go through everything surrounding PR campaigns - from a public relations campaign definition, its aims and goals, the measure of success, and some PR campaign examples, which have stunned the PR stage.

March 25, 2022

What is a public relations campaign?

A PR campaign can take on different shapes and forms - as a result of the different objectives that brands have.

Essentially, the definition for a PR campaign is a combination or collection of practices that have specific objectives and share the same goals for a business.

Public relations in its meaning is rather self-explanatory. The practice of public relations manages a brand’s reputation - what a brand does, what it says, and what others say about it. PR overlooks the image of the brand, and all values associated with it in the eyes of the public.

A campaign is the action of keeping that reputation, and maintaining a good relation and understanding between the brand and its public. It is not just content that is released to the press. Campaigns have many aspects, including content, public speeches, engagement with the audience, feedback, communication of values, etc.

Public relations specialists take a company’s idea, and expand its application, turning it into a success for the company and for the eyes of the public.

Simply put, a PR campaign is the combination of different practices with specific objectives, which share the same goal and within a fixed time frame.

What are the objectives of a PR campaign?

Despite the different formats that PR campaigns come in, they all have common, or shared, benefits that will positively impact your business.

To begin with, they increase the generated interest in your brand, which in turn opens up more opportunities for development. Consistent campaigns with consistent values are certain to build a sense of loyalty in your customer base, thus impact sales and revenue, and gain the attention of investors.

On a more long lasting note, they establish your brand’s identity (ideas you put forth, values you back up, etc.) and establish your brand in the industry by increasing your credibility. Inevitably, this helps to educate the public about your brand as well as the industry you’re involved in.

Here are some objectives that PR campaigns have in their pursuit of success.

1

PR campaigns can increase brand awareness

Consumers have an overwhelming choice of content in the form of TV, outdoor, online, and radio ads, so it’s increasingly hard for brands to cut through the noise. PR campaigns focusing on the public will drive awareness and attract stakeholders (customers, the media, and investors). Through well-devised PR campaigns, companies can take their content to the next level and use it to increase online presence and drive traffic. Campaigns can get people genuinely interested in what you say and encourage them to subscribe to your news channel to learn more.

2

Identify target audience

One of the main objectives of PR campaigns is to target the right people. As with any other company, yours also has a preferred public group that it needs to favor. In this regard, PR campaigns aim to identify the proper target audience for your brand.

This includes categorizing them based on interests, online platforms, social media involvement, timing, etc.

Using data-driven approaches is the most effective method of identifying the perfect target audience for your brand and is a goal for every PR campaign to have the success it aims for.

3

Raise your brand’s reputation

Reputations are built through effective PR campaigns. A campaign aims to show you enacting your brand’s values and what makes you unique. In other words, to highlight your reputation - what you say and what you are. The purpose is to give people a favorable impression of you and influence people to take positive action surrounding your brand.

4

Grab the media’s attention

Like it or not, you’ll need to engage in media outreach. A well-run campaign can turn heads and help you stand out. This is one of PR’s ultimate goals. Media attention can amplify your message to the right audiences, letting you be seen by those that matter and giving you credibility. Use for lead generation. A good piece of media coverage will inspire your company's blog and social media channels. Your site's SEO will benefit from all of these factors, too.

5

Stakeholder relations

PR campaigns can lift you above the pulpit by highlighting why you’re a good investment. Publicizing your company's successes helps generate interest, demonstrates your commitment to your customers, and promotes your brand image. Investors love to see this.

Use press releases, thought leadership, and tailored media engagements to garner attention from future potential venture backers.

6

To provoke a reaction

PR strategies can create bonds between a brand and its audience. An emotional connection is the holy grail of a PR strategy. People repeatedly use brands they feel connected to and talk about them to friends and online. Brand mentions across social media will reinforce your online presence.

7

Providng cost-effective marketing

PR goals always has a specific objective and often a given timeline. This is due to KPIs, resource spending, and ROI. This is where PR campaigns come in useful. PR campaigns are a cost-effective way to get your message across. This is because online content can be shared far and wide and stays in the digital universe for a considerable time. You can use content generated from a PR campaign across your channels and use previous campaigns for new creative ideas.

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How to measure the success of a PR campaign?

You might think that measuring the success of a PR campaign is rather difficult since the metrics can be fluid and hard to put into numbers. After all, how do you measure reputation, trust, loyalty, credibility, etc.? There are many different variables in action when it comes to brand awareness and sales growth, which makes it difficult to directly link a company’s success to the promotion of a PR campaign.

There are, however, certain metrics that can tell you how successful your PR campaign is.

PR metrics are a compilation of measurements that indicate the performance of specific PR projects. They are quantifiable, and created with the objective of securing the overall communications goals of these projects.

To put it simply, metrics in the form of numeric values exist that can indicate how successful a PR campaign is, whether business growth is achieved, and the extent of that growth.

But in order to put the theory into practice, we will discuss some metrics that can help visualize the measurement of success. In the following sections, we will provide 7 different metrics for success. These metrics reflect on business performance and growth in relation to a PR campaign that has been released to the public in order to generate positive reputation.

Learn more about PR metrics

1. Website visitors

A good way to measure the success of a PR campaign is to keep track of the numbers of your website visitors. Depending on the immediate increase or decrease in your website traffic right after a PR campaign’s initiation can be informative about the success in affecting the public with the campaign.

2. Domain authority

Domain authority of a website evaluates the website’s relevance for a specific topic or industry. Search engines calculate your score depending on the likeliness for your website to appear higher in a search engine results page, with an average domain authority being between 40 and 50. It is a good numerical way to measure the influence your PR campaign has had on the target audience.

3. Engagement

Engagement is rather self-explanatory. The metric tracks how engaged your audience is with your brand and your campaign. It can be identified by the likes, comments, shares, etc. on online posts regarding your company. If that number increases, then your campaign is doing well. Additionally, engagement is evident in the number of people that interact with your contact (divided by the number of total people) as well as organic mentions of your brand.

4. Press articles

The number of press articles your brand secures in media outlets is precious for the success of a PR campaign. Securing publications on various platforms, and by different media outlets and journalists might not have a numeric equivalent. But the mere number of articles in existence can show that a campaign is doing well. After all, an abundance of articles means that the reach is increased and the more people see it, the more likely it is to be engaged.

5. Sales figures

Sales are affected by other variables than just PR campaigns, and can increase or decrease with time. They will certainly not boom overnight, but a steady increase directly after the wrapping of a PR campaign can tell you that people are persuaded by that campaign and it helps guide them in their consumer decisions.

6. Media content evaluation

It is important not only to have a lot of media articles, but also to evaluate their impact. If you have a large number of actionable content, that can benefit your company in a more indirect way. Actionable content is knowledgeable and provides brand awareness, which can affect your target audience in a positive way that can increase sales steadily. Positive content simply increases and betters your brand’s image and reputation. That affects the mindset of potential customers in a way that makes them more affiliated with your brand.

7. Mentions

Mentions include any occasion where your brand is mentioned in the media or online. It is a rather informative and data-driven metric that helps you establish brand visibility. It is a good way to know that your PR campaign is being seen, not only by customers but also journalists, online bloggers, etc. A good way to measure mentions is with software available, e.g. Google Alerts is a good starting point, but there are many other media monitoring tools.

Learn more about media monitoring

How to create a PR campaign

Research

Which outlets are most appropriate for your needs and to reach your intended audience? Where do they get their information from? What sort of outreach is resonating with them? Research could also involve looking at competitors. Work out how you can differentiate yourselves from them.

Set goals

You cannot get to your destination if you don’t know what it is. Similarly, you cannot conduct a PR campaign without specified goals. So it's important to set some. These could be any manner of things. Increased sales and higher brand recall to secure ‘x’ investment. The point is it needs to be measurable. How will you know if the campaign is having the desired impact? It’s important to set realistic goals and timeframes.

Remember to stay results driven! A goal can seem abstract and far away. By setting objectives, deliverables, KPIs, and check-in points per goal, you enable yourself to measure progress and performance - a.k.a., determining if the goal/s are going to be met within your set timeframe or if something needs to be altered.

Decide on your audience

One size does not fit all. You may find it helpful to segment your audience based on data. Who is visiting your website? What are your demographics? This can impact your strategies and the type of publications you contact to share your message. Think about it. If you want to advertise a luxury car brand, doing it in an outlet whose readership is mainly students would not be a good investment.

The ‘how’

This is where you decide on the tactics. An important part of any PR strategy is knowing how and where to deliver your message. If you scan your environment, you can find suitable inspiration for inserting yourselves into the conversation that aligns with your goals, such as newsjacking or making the most of a current topical discussion to show your relevance and expertise in a given area.

Get started

Time to begin. Whatever tactics you decide on in the above step, it's time to implement them. Make sure you’re on brand with your communications. Don’t hit send without double-checking everything. A typo can undo all the hard work of an otherwise relevant and engaging press release. Don’t fall into the trap of overdoing data usage; fact-check everything.

Follow up

Follow-up with journalists. Give it 2-3 days before you do so. Ask if they need more information.

If you are unsure how to follow up, check out our guide here for expert tips. Remember that you may need to work a little harder to convince them of the newsworthiness of your content. So be prepared to show them why it is just that.

Measure

The moment of truth—time to measure the efficacy of your campaign. Based on the first step, this should now be possible. Check media mentions, social media engagement, sales inquiries, and conversions. Work out what went well and what could be improved. Then, get to work making adjustments.

Remember that point about being results driven? If you had continuous measurement systems in place, the final ‘moment of truth’ shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. You’ll know what to expect from the measured data and how to proceed with your next steps, hopefully without any major shocks.

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Tips for a successful PR campaign

1

Set clear objectives

It’s not enough to simply say that PR campaigns have objectives. They also need to be set in stone. A part of the work of PR specialists is to define these objectives. In doing so, aspects that can affect the size of the objectives need to be considered.

For example, restraints on budget and time can be a cause for a more realistic approach. A good PR campaign does not set itself to achieve something impossible but establishes reasonable expectations for its impact.

With the resources each PR team is given, their job is to set clear, reasonable, and achievable goals for the campaign that is in the making.

2

Analyze context

Analyzing the context in which the campaign will be released is essential to its success. An important objective of that campaign is to analyze the environment. A campaign’s activities vary. It can include working with media outlets and journalists, holding speeches at public events, maintaining reputation, crisis communication, public engagement, etc.

What needs to be assessed is the context in which the campaign will take place. This includes thinking widely about your industry of influence. What are some issues within the industry that you can address or ideas that innovate the field that you can spread? These are the foundations of your PR campaign. The context shapes the type of content the campaign will contain.
This is why it’s an important objective to analyze and define the context to have a relevant and successful campaign.

3

Right place at the right time

The time and place to spread positive information about your company can greatly improve the brand's reputation. Attending events focusing on positive activities is a great opportunity to share how your company has contributed to the industry. Each activity the company has participated in needs to be shared, and an objective of PR campaigns aims to ensure these activities are spread through various channels.

Additionally, it is important to sync your timing with events within the sphere. Holding events right after a major crisis in the field can separate you from the negative associations with that event. Sharing achievements shortly after other news can be beneficial, too. It all comes down to PR specialists maintaining the right timing for the campaign.

4

Dynamic content

We can use Digital PR for SEO improvement. A good online reputation can get you some strong backlinks. If you stay consistent in your PR performance, it can easily result in obtaining some links from authoritative sites in your industry - Google loves this. When digital PR and SEO work together, your communication goals will be within reach. You must pay attention to the quality of your backlinks- always ensure they are valuable for your business.

Depending on the expectations of your digital PR campaign, the goals you set will either look similar to the above-mentioned or a little different. Overall, no matter the goal, the aim is to grow the business (depending on what that may look like to you) through the power of PR.

10 examples of famous PR campaigns

Of course, we can go on and on about PR campaigns and their objectives. But it is also important to show you some of the most unique and innovative ways that companies and PR teams have found to create PR campaigns.

The following section will introduce you to 10 examples of famous PR campaigns. They have managed to wow the world with their witty innovation and creativity. The successes are mostly due to the professionals in PR, which were able to combine important topics with their brands.

That is mainly why campaigns succeed. They take a social issue, industry issue, or other type of obstruction, raise awareness, and do so in a way that makes them connect to the company initiating that awareness. In doing so, companies cement their values and that they care about the community and the public.

But enough about how it’s done. Let’s get into the most interesting ways PR teams have managed to create campaigns, and see how those campaigns have succeeded in raising awareness, generating a positive reputation, and increasing their growth exponentially.

1

KFC campaign

KFC’s globally famous slogan “It’s finger licking good” received an increased backlash from the public in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The uniqueness in this example is the way the PR team handled the complaints and negative comments.

Instead of replying in a cold manner, generally associated with large corporations, the PR professionals at KFC played around with the slogan to make it a little more interesting. They blurred out the middle words (the source of backlash) in order for the slogan to read “It’s ****** ******* good” as a way to eliminate the negative reactions, while maintaining a harmlessly humorous approach.

2

The Heart Truth

The Heart Truth campaign launched in 2002 was aimed at spreading awareness about heart disease - the #1 cause of death among women in the US. At the time of the initiative, very few people knew about the dangers and seriousness of the topic.

The campaign (including the word play Heart-Hard) revolved around an evidence-based approach, while still managing to create an emotional connection with women in order to stimulate heart health. In the process, women were exhibited wearing red dresses as a symbol of heart disease and stroke, which should not be associated only with men. In the span of 10 years, approximately $800,000 was generated in addition to the awareness and engagement of women with their healthcare.

3

Dove’s campaign for real beauty

A research in 2004 showed the heartbreaking results that only 2% of women find themselves beautiful. As a response, Dove initiated a campaign using women who are not professional models, but everyday normal women. The goal was to bring a wider mindset to the idea of beauty standards within society.

The campaign had a huge success in bringing down the huge expectations for beauty, bringing awareness to the public, both in terms of the brand and in terms of the issue at hand. Statistics showed that the annual sales for Dove rose from $2.5 billion to over $4 billion in the first 10 years of the campaign.

4

Breathless choir

This campaign featured 18 people with breathing difficulties (cystic fibrosis, COPD, asthma). The major company Philips showcased these people getting over their fear to perform The Police song “Every Breath You Take” on stage in New York City.

The focus of the campaign was not just brand awareness, but more importantly awareness about the conditions that people suffer from on a daily basis. Philips had major success when placing people as the real heroes instead of products. They recorded their highest quarterly revenue increase of 14%.

5

Man lives in IKEA

This breakthrough in PR campaigns was an innovative and fun way to promote a brand’s story. Comedian Mark Malkoff was given the opportunity to live inside an IKEA. He uploaded short episodes of his experience and engaged with customers and IKEA fans alike.

The campaign created a unique and different way to tell the story of IKEA, and in a way that associates IKEA with a home. The campaign’s success was marked by judges of PRWeek, which found it deserving of three awards: Corporate Branding Campaign of the Year, Best Use of Online Media, and Campaign of the Year.

6

Doritos and the Super Bowl

Doritos had this idea in 2006 to utilize the power of social media to its fullest. They gave the ability for fans to be able to create their own customized Super Bowl ads.

They added a prize of $1 million if an ad were to rank #1 on the USA Today Ad Meter. This fresh and dynamic method to create a PR campaign was a huge success. The idea was to engage the audience as much as possible, making sure that they feel heard. Doritos then reported a 16% rise in sales just the week after the Super Bowl.

7

Barbie’s new career

The worldwide famous Barbie doll made a hit campaign in 2010 when the company Mattel asked the public to choose her next career after 125 career changes. Millions of people voted for a geeky barbie that had the profession of Computer Engineer. It was an innovative and new idea at the time, which supported the growing movement to empower girls, and added it to every girl’s most favorite and lovable doll.

The campaign increased brand awareness, as well as awareness for women being underrepresented in many careers at the time. It reached out to girls globally, and spread a positive message that they can be whatever they want.

8

Small business Saturday

In 2010, American Express had this idea to launch a campaign called Small Business Saturday. In practice, the company supplied 200,000 cardholders with $25 and simultaneously gave small businesses the opportunity to promote their company.

In collaboration with Facebook, the company showed that a large corporation can be locally beneficial.

The success was marked with public opinions stating that Small Business Saturday greatly improved the community and had a positive impact on small businesses. 90% of consumers were satisfied with the campaign and its effect.

9

Back to the start

Chipotle launched its first national TV ad in a unique and innovative way. It created a short animated film about a farmer who realizes he should farm with more sustainable and ethical methods.

The campaign brought awareness to the food production industry, as it preached that integrity and morals are essential to the practice of serving food. They did so in a fun way, and even featured Coldplay’s “The Scientist” to engage the public with entertaining and relatable content.

10

Mission to the edge of space

For the year 2012, Red Bull Stratos launched a very peculiar campaign. Instead of saying they launched a campaign, it is more accurate to say that they launched a helium balloon, because they did. Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from the balloon from a height of 127,852 feet.

This campaign was groundbreaking (no pun intended) as the skydiver became the first person to break the sound barrier in freefall.

The success of the campaign was marked when 8.3 million people watched this event live on YouTube, and Red Bull sales increased by 7% in the following six months. They generated $1.6 billion, marking the undoubted success of the campaign.

Now that you have a PR campaign definition, and are more familiar with PR campaigns, and seen some famous pr campaigns, and learned why they are important for the success of your business, it is safe to say that you would need one to craft the perfect campaign for you.

Even though we showed you the importance of PR campaigns, and all the details surrounding one, it is worthwhile to have experts guide you on your way to generate your reputation.

Campaigns are a steady process, with a lot of consistency, thought, and creativity put into them, and each is unique in its own way.

The perfect campaign for your company is the one that will be tailored to match your aims and objectives, your company’s visions and values, and the audience that you desire to reach.

Lastly, consider PRLab on your journey to set yourself on the map and apart from your competition, as you become an innovative and progressive thought leader in the industry you want to impact.

What makes PR Campaigns different at PRLab?

At PRLab, we pride ourselves on crafting PR campaigns that defy convention and deliver exceptional results. Our approach goes beyond the traditional playbook, blending creativity, data-driven insights, and a relentless pursuit of innovation to create campaigns that leave a lasting impact.

1

Strategic storytelling

Central to our approach is the art of strategic storytelling. We don't just disseminate information; we craft narratives that resonate deeply with our target audience. By understanding the unique essence of each brand, we unearth compelling stories that captivate, inspire, and drive action. Whether it's through captivating visuals, emotive messaging, or immersive experiences, our PR campaigns are designed to leave a lasting impression.

2

Integrated approach

Unlike traditional PR agencies, we take an integrated approach to campaign planning and execution. We seamlessly integrate earned media, owned media, and paid media strategies to amplify our reach and maximize impact. From securing media coverage to leveraging social media platforms and influencer partnerships, every element of our campaign is strategically coordinated to ensure cohesive messaging and maximum visibility.

3

Data-driven decision making

At PRLab, data isn't just an afterthought; it's the cornerstone of our strategy. We leverage robust analytics and insights to inform every aspect of our PR campaigns, from audience targeting to message optimization. By harnessing the power of data, we continuously refine and optimize our approach, ensuring that our campaigns deliver measurable results and drive tangible business outcomes.

4

Agility and adaptability

In today's rapidly evolving media landscape, agility is key to success. Our team at PRLab is agile, adaptable, and always one step ahead. We stay abreast of emerging trends, anticipate shifts in consumer behavior, and pivot our strategies accordingly to ensure our campaigns remain relevant and impactful in an ever-changing world.

Looking at our client, Smart Robotics

One unique aspect of Smart Robotics' approach to PR campaigns with PRLab is their commitment to strategic storytelling. They understand that effective communication goes beyond simply sharing information – it's about crafting narratives that deeply resonate with their audience. By uncovering the authentic essence of the brand, Smart Robotics develops compelling stories that captivate, inspire, and drive action.

In addition to traditional PR channels, Smart Robotics recognizes the integral role of LinkedIn thought leadership in their overall strategy. Through thought-provoking content and engaging interactions on LinkedIn, they position themselves as industry leaders, build credibility, and establish meaningful connections with their audience. By leveraging LinkedIn as a platform for sharing insights and expertise, Smart Robotics strengthens their brand presence and enhances their overall PR efforts.

March 25, 2022
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