With the exception of crazy PR stunts (think East Coast Radio’s live billboard, Bacardi’s ‘Back to the Bar’ and the #Budget2019), no one ever really associates PR with creativity. However, as any good PR professional will tell you, creativity is an integral part of the job.

According to the Creativity in PR 2017 study by The Holmes Report, 54% of clients said that creativity ranked as a nine out of 10 for importance when considering whether to hire a specific PR agency. However, the same study also revealed that 71% of PR professionals or agencies believed that client feedback or risk aversion was the biggest barrier to creativity.

So what does this mean?

Clearly, there is a fundamental disconnect between what clients and PR professionals want to be delivered and what is actually delivered. However, there is a way to combat this disconnect — by better understanding the importance of creativity in PR!

PR professionals (and clients) — here are three reasons why creativity is key in PR:

1. Creativity cuts through the noise

The digital age has brought with it numerous possibilities for innovative PR, but it has also brought with it masses of mundane, uninteresting content that people simply don't want to engage with.

So with all the content out there, how do you make sure that your PR efforts are not falling on deaf ears? You have to get creative!

For example, instead of another message with someone telling us that water is precious and that we need to find ways to reduce our usage, Sanlam created the ‘2-Minute Shower Songs’ campaign.

In an effort to get South Africans to cut down their water usage, Sanlam worked with some of the country’s most popular musicians, encouraging people to keep their showers to two minutes or less.

Artists like Mi Casa, Kwesta, GoodLuck and Springbok Nude Girls re-recorded their top tracks, cutting them down to two -minutes long, making it easier — and more fun — for people to have short showers. Simply download the playlist and switch the water off once the song has ended.

Serious message — creative execution!

2. Creativity can express values in a distinct brand voice

Every brand has (or should have, at least) a distinct brand voice, and a creative PR campaign can be just as effective as an ad campaign if done right.

Any good PR campaign needs to have a clear link between the brand and the message being put out.

For example, take the Nando’s ‘#RightMyName’ campaign. The campaign linked the fact that the brand kept getting the dreaded ‘red line’, which highlights its name as a spelling mistake, with the fact that many South Africans had the same issue because their names were not recognised by computer software.

The campaign expressed the company’s values and its love for diversity in a way that was succinct with its brand voice. And without advertising any of the products that Nando’s sells, it created a campaign that was true to the brand.

Creative PR campaigns are JUST as effective as adverts.

3. Creative ideas align a company’s mission and market

Wondering how to take your brand message to your audience — and make them care about it? A creative PR campaign can do just that! With a good idea and careful execution, you can use your PR strategy to show your audience that your brand aligns directly with their needs, wants, thoughts or ideals.

Wondering how, exactly? Well, let’s take a look at Sanlam’s ‘Conspicuous Saver’ campaign. The campaign, aimed at encouraging people (particularly the youth) to save money, showed that the brand understood a few things about its audience, namely:

  • Young people generally don’t see saving as ‘cool’
  • Social media is an important part of youth culture
  • Celebrities are incredibly influential, particularly to the youth
  • Young people want to emulate the celebrity lifestyles they see on social media

With that in mind, the campaign used two of the biggest celebrities in South Africa — Pearl Thusi and Cassper Nyovest — to make saving look cool. The celebs flooded their social media pages with money-savings tips and showcased a less expensive lifestyle — without mentioning the campaign!

Viewers speculated as to whether or not the celebs had run out of money due to the fact tha they were posting photos and videos of them shopping at second-hand stores, providing fans with money-saving tips and even a music video that appeared to mock other high-budget music videos.

With the digital sphere alight with speculations, Sanlam released the purpose of the campaign — and it was a hit! Sanlam was viewed as the leading voice in saving, particularly within a market that traditionally does not save.

Creative PR campaigns can bring your message right to the audience — and make them hear it.

Are there any other ways that you think creativity can improve PR strategies? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Now that you know you need to up your creativity by a notch or two, why not check out these Six ways to use media intelligence reports for better PR strategies.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy