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PR departments and agencies looking for great cross-promotional opportunities in the fall have an ace in the hole: In many parts of the world, it's the start of a new school year. The back-to-school experience is relevant across a huge range of geographic and cultural divisions, and with the right campaign, a promotion can turn this annual tradition into an attention-grabbing jumping-off point.
Becoming part of an overall conversation bring eyes to a company in an organic way, especially if the brand can come up with a hook that matches the rest of the coverage. In 2008, the year PR Week spotlighted, the focus was on brands lowering prices in the face of the oncoming recession
Every year and region will have a dominant tone to back-to-school coverage. Brands that keep a close watch on the media in their targeted markets will likely be able to place their stories more effectively and receive the type of coverage they're
after. Those with good media monitoring or media intelligence operations will be able to perform these actions more effectively.
One of the most exciting parts of back-to-school season from a PR perspective is that with the right angle, a huge variety of campaigns can get a boost from a tie-in. From the most obvious items to more ambitious options, anything can be the subject of an effective pitch. If you are monitoring trends and identifying hot topics, you can make your pitch highly relevant and timely. Here are a few examples from this year's crop, each spotlighting a different approach:
PR departments looking to launch the perfect back-to-school campaign will improve their effectiveness if they have a clear view of the rest of the industry. What kinds of messages are competitors sending? Which news sources put a special emphasis on the back-to-school season? What local micro-trends are particularly relevant in the regions they're targeting? Departments and agencies with effective media monitoring are able to answer these questions, then carefully monitor the reaction to and spread of their back-to-school campaigns.
It's up to leaders to decide whether their products can tie into the themes of back-to-school season. For an overwhelming number of companies, the answer will be a resounding yes with the right campaign. Once the choice has been made, it's simply a matter of choosing an angle and monitoring the results carefully. The annual ritual of the new school year can become a periodic way to grab headlines. Now, how do they keep the attention?