Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Guerrilla PR

A form of ‘guerrilla warfare’ against big budgets and larger brands, ‘guerrilla PR’ is an effective tool to combat peer group branding activities.

The concept of guerrilla advertising and guerrilla marketing has been around for a while now. The practice essentially comprises of targeting specific focus groups through a controlled effort by initiating spurts of high intensity campaigns sporadically keeping in mind the industry scenario and peer group activities.

The result in terms of brand association and end-customer engagement has been encouraging. This is music to the marketers in a sluggish economy that a broader impact can be achieved with a minimal budget!

We see examples of this on business pages everyday where a small banner of a capital market listed company is placed in the centre of the article which talks about biggest stock gainers of the day with associated tag line ‘Biggest gainers choose …’

Contextually placing ads to leverage content for a brand is a common practice in the digital space. Google along with many Social Networking Sites (SNS) have monetized their business and made a fortune by offering user profiles and activity details which help in placing contextually relevant advertisements.

Public relations thrives on user connect and third party endorsement which makes the maxim ‘influencing the influencers’ a functional necessity. In PR target audiences and media based on client brief are defined at the strategy and planning stage.

Niche audience targeting is a more specific and precise science than the general ‘spray and pray’ method generally practiced. Can traditional PR practitioners develop messages and campaigns which can be leveraged at key moments in a company’s business cycle keeping in mind the organizations environment and arrive at a viable business proposition viable to the company?

Here, social media can be a handy tool to conduct sporadic campaigns which are targeted specifically and engineered towards maximum consumer engagement. Brand building and sustenance of perception through consumer engagement has become a flatter process for organizations as they can initiate contact with a consumer directly rather than relying on an influencer to carry forward their messages.

A form of ‘guerrilla warfare’ against big budgets and larger brands, ‘guerrilla PR’ is an effective tool to combat peer group branding activities.

The nature of the medium aids in implementing simple, tactical digital media practices to leverage a brand for a short-term and long-term, as well. For instance, during crisis when a negative link to a company appears on the first search page on Google, a new positive release is disseminated online to bury the link in older pages. This is just indicative of the broader possibility and is already practiced by many traditional PR firms.

Guerrilla PR can bring about a sweeping change in traditionally accepted PR practices and redefine the communications business. In times of an economic slowdown where advertising and PR budgets are taking a hit across the board, can the business offer customized solutions which are cost-effective and help the company to achieve its branding goals.

The change is just around the corner. Are we there yet?

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