The seven steps to better campaigns

Campaigns based on great creative ideas may lack purpose or good execution. Conversely, you can have fantastic purposes and processes but could still be missing that vital spark to inspire your brand supporters.

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Here are seven simple steps that will help you harness both pzazz and process in your PR or marketing campaign:

1          Mission

The first question to ask is: ‘what do we want to do?’ Or if we already have a great idea, we need to ask: ‘why would we do this?’ Some campaigns can rush into action too quickly, a bit like the army captain who shouts: ‘ fire, aim, get ready!’

2          Magic

This is what we used to call the Big Idea. It’s the creative crux of the campaign. Like the premise and plot in the screenwriter’s pitch to film producers, if it’s not compelling it will not sell. No matter how slick your planning and evaluation systems are.

3          Messages

It was in 1984 that Grunig and Hunt sang the praises of the two-way model of organisational communication as being top-of-the-tree PR practice.

So two-way is not a social media age invention. The social web just makes the need for mutuality with our would-be brand supporters unavoidable. We can’t just spray them with top-down, one–way messages and hope some will stick.

Yes, we still need core messages. But, especially in digital communications, we need to be able to sustain a conversation over time with our audience.

4          Market

Be clear on the ‘who’ as well as the ‘why’ behind your campaign. Are you trying to reach 22-35 year old professionals in London or early-adopter gadget enthusiasts across Europe? The more than you can pin down your niches, the more likely you are to strike a chord with people who need what you have to offer.

5          Media

In the social media gold rush it’s tempting to thrust our pans into all the social streams. We can have unrealistic expectations that those nuggets of customers will leap instantly into them and stay there. The reality for most organisations is that a cross-media approach is needed, embracing traditional and digital media.

6          Methods

These are the tools and techniques of the campaign. It is crucial to weave together all of the various strands with consistency of brand and content. Whether you’re including online banner ads, a twitter hashtag campaign, magazine editorials or product sampling, think carefully about the call to action in each case. What is the desired next step you want the target market to take?

7          Measurement

Customer engagement specialist Peter Smith – – tells of a B2B marketing director he knows who pays a digital agency £10,000 a month to optimise its website and promote LinkedIn conversations. The company hasn’t generated a single lead in a year in return and is in fact losing business at above-average rates.

He rightly suggests that the company should invest in measuring customer satisfaction to find out what’s going wrong and adjust its strategy.

If they follow Peter’s advice, maybe the evidence will show that some of the above steps were missing in the campaign strategy.


Question: How do we get the right balance between the creative and process-driven aspects of campaigns?


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