Let’s get this straight. No matter what’s the purpose of a public relations campaign, or the brand behind it, awesome PR initiatives have 3 essential ingredients: a great — or even controversial — idea, eye-catching creative, and good timing.
We bet you had also been amazed by the great Netflix PR campaigns for the release of Stranger Things Season 4. These are among the top PR campaigns, in our opinion of course.
Now, are you ready to create a successful PR campaign? Here you’ll find everything you need.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What is a Public Relations (PR) Campaign?
A PR campaign is, theoretically, a sequence of well-thought and planned actions that have a specific objective for a brand, like publicity, and a fixed time frame.
The planned actions could be from launching out-of-home ads (OOH) to brand activations. In addition, the objective could be raising brand awareness, gaining publicity, enhancing brand reputation, and others.
The desired outcome of every public relations campaign is to put your brand in the spotlight and spark conversations around it, both online and offline.
We gathered below the 5 most common categories, based on what is the aim of the public relations campaign and the type of PR it serves:
Types of PR Campaigns
- Product Launches
- Awareness Campaigns
- Corporate Social Responsibility Campaigns
- Internal Communications Campaigns
- Digital PR Campaigns
Why are PR Campaigns Important?
There’s no doubt that PR campaigns are essential for your brand communications and PR strategy. Each campaign has its own, very specific goal. Although, here we explain the most important reasons why you should run such campaigns.
Reason #1: To Increase your Brand Awareness
PR pros, like you, use awareness campaigns when their brands have done something new.
Companies with good PR run such campaigns for raising awareness around the rebranding of a famous and well-established brand. Also, they’re a good way of getting people’s attention on newly-launched products, and brand collaborations.
Reason #2: To Improve your Reputation
Improving your brand reputation is the perfect reason for a PR campaign. In fact, there’s no better way. This kind of PR campaign focuses on the uniqueness of your brand and its singular identity.
It’s not about launching products. It’s about creating or maintaining a good impression on the audience’s mind, which in turn will help you build a united brand community.
Reason #3: To Drive More Engagement
Engagement is mostly associated with digital marketing campaigns.
However, a PR initiative that aims to get more people to interact with your brand’s online channels, or even in the physical world, for example in pop-up events, can skyrocket your engagement metrics!
After all, it’s no secret that “90% of marketers and PR experts think the two are integrating and will eventually become intertwined”.
Reason #4: Change Public Perception
A crisis can happen when working in PR. That’s why after dealing with a backlash or a reputation crisis, a PR campaign can help you get back on the horse. We mean showing that your brand is still trustworthy.
Furthermore, public relations campaigns can help connect your brand again with people at a human level, with products and sales aside.
Reason #5: To Reinforce your Brand Online
Lastly, you can leverage a digital PR campaign to boost your brand’s online presence and drive traffic to your owned online media.
Of course, traditional PR campaigns can also help your brand online, especially if you incorporate dedicated hashtags and QR codes in your creatives.
7 Examples of Famous PR Campaigns
Read this section carefully. You’ll get much inspiration from these recent PR campaign ideas of well-known brands.
1- Netflix Stranger Things Season 4 Release Campaign
We made a brief intro on this but now it’s time to take a closer look.
Netflix skyrocketed the anticipation of Stranger Things Season 4 with an experiential, full-of-surprises PR campaign launched a couple of weeks before the release date.
The campaign was packed with OOH posters, activations, events, short series, and more! As a highlight, we shall mention the amazing event when famous landmarks around the world were lit up in Upside Down colors and some gates opened up!
The result: Stranger Things broke the Nielsen Streaming record, as people watched 7 billion minutes of the series in only a week after the release of its fourth season, according to Forbes!
Also read: Top 10 Social Media Search Engines to Try in 2023
2- Spotify Wrapped Campaign
Every year, Spotify creates a fun and colorful wrap-up for its users with their personal listening choices, according to usage data. The app encourages people to share their Spotify wrap-up on social with pre-created stories and GIFs.
And it becomes viral every year! That’s because it’s easy to share, creative, cheerful, and most importantly, personal.
For example, for 2022 Wrapped, Spotify created 16 different Listening Personalities based on how you listened to music throughout the year and revealed which of them you are in a story you could share on social.
3- Iceland’s “/OutHorse_<Your_Email>” Campaign
The “out-horse your email” campaign must be one of the best PR campaign examples of all time.
What did Iceland’s tourism board do? They built a massive but functional keyboard and taught horses to walk on it! So, you could go to visiticeland.com and choose which of the 3 gorgeous horses would respond to your work emails, while you were enjoying the beauty of Iceland.
The idea behind it was that people should take some time in the Summer of 2022 to disconnect from work and satisfy their wanderlust. After all, wanderlust is one of the main reasons why travelers choose Iceland for their vacation.
4- Dove’s #TheSelfieTalk PR Campaign
Dove has been intertwined with body positivity and self-esteem. #TheSelfieTalk campaign is one of the social PR initiatives that support Dove’s mission for young women.
In a nutshell, #TheSelfieTalk is about educating girls to stop hiding their true beauty behind selfie filters that distort their natural selves. That way Dove tries to reverse social media’s negative effect on young women’s self-esteem.
The campaign was promoted via social media with the dedicated hashtag, OOH posters, TV spots, a special page on dove.com, and more.
5- CPB London’s International Women’s Day Campaign
The creative agency CPB London honored the 2022 International Women’s Day with its amazing OOH campaign combating common gender biases that people have, but can’t quite realize.
CPB London started by polling children on how they perceive men and women professionally. Then, the agency made some eye-catching posters based on the children’s insights that were displayed across England, posing questions like: “Imagine a CEO? Is it a man?”
These questions were aimed to get people to reflect upon their own gender biases, realize them, and start fighting against gender pay gaps, and gender discrimination in the workplace.
The results were impressive with 4.7M+ impressions and 250K+ engagement on social media!
6- Greenpeace’s “Plastic is Back” Campaign
“Plastic is Back” is among the best PR examples for raising environmental awareness.
The NGO launched a vintage online store where it exhibits a collection of old plastic packages that were floating in the ocean for more than 50 years. Seeing those long-forgotten packages is a strong message for the longevity of plastic.
This campaign, created for Greenpeace by Ogilvy included billboards, videos, and a real exhibition in the Netherlands.
7- Asics “Before & After” PR Campaign
For Mental Health Day, Asics decided to touch upon the mental benefits of exercise, instead of the too-much-advertised body transformations.
The brand launched a series of “Before & After” images, highlighting how happy you can feel after having some exercise, as opposed to the dramatic physical transformations that usually such comparisons showcase. People simply seem to have a mood boost.
That was our selection of great PR campaigns and successful PR examples to inspire you.
Nonetheless, if you feel unsure why you should go through all this stuff, keep reading!
9 Steps to Create Effective Public Relations (PR) Campaigns
Are you wondering how to create a PR campaign? Then, follow this easy, step-by-step process.
Step #1: Set a Clear Goal
The success of a PR initiative lies in a well-defined objective.
Perhaps, you need to raise awareness for a newly-launched product, or you want to reinforce your brand image. It doesn’t matter what the objective would be, as long as it is specified.
Pro Tip: Set your goals to be SMART, ie. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. For example, a good SMART objective could be to increase awareness of your new product from 5% to 15% among your target audience, within 2 months of the campaign launch.
Step #2: Choose the Target Audience
Defining the target audience of your campaign is fundamental for crafting your campaign’s message, selecting the right wording that speaks to people’s hearts, and choosing the best media for them.
You should look at audience intelligence and demographics and try to define your campaign’s targeting based on facts and figures.
Step #3: Come up with the Campaign’s Idea
Organize a brainstorming session with your team. Pencil down your ideas and thoughts. Find connections between them and evaluate the outcomes based on your ultimate goal.
Then, take a step back and sleep on it. Come back in a few days later. Make the final tweaks and you’re ready to go.
Step #4: Spy on your Competitors
Another important step you should take before creating your own campaign is to do some research on your competitors. You should see how the competition has handled the same situation.
Spying on your competitors’ PR efforts and their performance can give you invaluable insights.
First, you can make sure that your idea is original and that no other competitor has done something similar. Also, you’ll figure out if your idea is aligned with industry trends. Then, you’ll understand how the media perceived previous PR initiatives from brands like yours.
Bonus: 20 Best Competitor Analysis Tools (for Various Use Cases)
Step #5: Select the Best Channels
To select the most impactful channels for communicating your campaign, you have to think broadly. Channels aren’t only social media, TV, and billboards. Events, advertorials, and PPC ads could be great for certain campaign goals.
So, what should you do? Understand your target audience’s media habits, like the news outlets they prefer and the social networks they spend their time on.
It’ll be even better if you know some general info and habits of those people, like their age, what’s their favorite out-of-home activities, and any information that can help you shape a better perception of your target audience.
Step #6: Ask for Early Feedback
Once your PR campaign is almost ready to go live, early feedback is very important to avoid obvious mistakes, possibly offensive aspects of your message, or even an unsatisfied client.
Present the final campaign to your clients, do some AB testing with your audience on different visuals, slightly different wording, etc, and ask for feedback from journalists.
Step #7: Run Your PR Campaign(s)
Now, you’re all set to release your campaign to the world! Before hitting the live button, make sure that every little detail is perfect, and go!
Step #8: Do some Follow-Up
In case you don’t see your PR campaign in the news for some days after launching, don’t be scared. Media and journalists get bombarded with press releases, pitches, and emails, which is hard to keep up with.
To make sure that your campaign will get the proper media coverage — that is one of the ultimate goals of PR — just send a follow-up communication to the cooperative media outlets you work with. It’s always good to include some juicy stats, like the number of people who have already interacted with your campaign — FOMO is real!
Step #9: Measure the Results
After the end of your PR campaign, it’s time to create a detailed report of its performance. But this is a critical step, that’s why we analyze it further in the next section below.
How to Measure PR Campaign Success?
What is a good PR campaign and how can you know if yours was, indeed, a success? A full and thorough PR campaign report will give you the answer.
In this report, you can include KPIs, reviews, PR clippings, and literally, anything that can demonstrate how well your campaign went.
Here are some metrics that can help you showcase your campaign’s success:
- Media inquiries
- Media coverage
- Share of Voice
- Attendance numbers (for in-person and online PR events)
- Social media and web mentions
- Website visitors
- Sales data
- New marketing leads
- Brand impact
Instead of diving knee-high into all this data and finding yourself lost in tones of heterogeneous information, you can leverage a media monitoring tool, or a social media tracker to do the heavy lifting for you.
Brand monitoring tools, like Mentionlytics, can help you keep track of your campaign’s media coverage, Share of Voice, brand mentions, engagement and reach data, and more! Such tools can make your life easier and shorten the time needed for a media monitoring report.
Best PR Campaign Tips, Tactics & Strategies in 2023
Here, we explain in a few words some of the most helpful PR campaign tactics that you should follow to launch awesome campaigns and get astonishing results.
Embrace Digital PR
Adding digital PR efforts to your campaigns can work miracles for your brand. Start leveraging hashtags, user-generated content, and even a press campaign to create more publicity.
After all, PR agencies benefit from social media as they can get more visibility for their clients than most media outlets could ever give them!
Participate in PR Events
Conferences, summits, and events give you chances to build relationships with journalists.
But PR events aren’t just for networking. You can also stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends in your industry and even spy a little on your competitors.
Pro Tip: Find the best PR events and decide to attend at least 2 of them. It’ll open up your horizons!
Dive Deep into Audience Demographics
Every PR and communications pro must know deeply the target audience of their campaigns. Understanding the audience is critical for crafting a relevant message and displaying your campaign at the perfect spots.
So, make sure that you have sufficient data on audience demographics, like age groups, gender, nationality, religion, etc. The more, the merrier!
Extent your Effort by Running International PR Campaigns
When a campaign is doing good at a national level, it’s only logical to consider extending it. Especially if you work for international clients, with products or services offered in many countries, you should reach a larger audience indeed.
But remember: The key to successful international public relations campaigns is localization!
To Sum Up
Effective public relations campaigns are valuable for the awareness and reputation of a brand.
Unfortunately, there’s no PR campaign template that fits every purpose and strategy. You have to follow the steps, tactics, and tips we explained above to create your own campaign.
But that’s the beauty of creative PR.
How Much Does a PR Campaign Cost?
The cost of a public relations campaign varies based on different factors like the PR agency you’ll choose, the media channels you’ll use, creative costs, placement locations, and many more.
What is a Good PR Campaign?
A good PR campaign should have a great idea, creative visuals, and good timing. Also, it should bring back important results like increased publicity, brand awareness, and others.