A taste for fusion marketing

As with fusion food, when marketers combine the best of disciplines to create a co-ordinated approach, the outcome is exciting and original - and PR's the ingredient that makes it all work

I’ve always been a fan of fusion food. Successful chefs have reaped rewards by mixing different flavours and ingredients from around the world. Their emergence has sparked a trend for mainstream chefs to break free from the confines of one country’s tastes or flavours.

Have we as marketers shared in this trend? As consumers have changed and developed a better taste for marketing, have we fused disciplines to provide the best possible ‘flavours’ for brands to experience?

A historical culture of putting disciplines into silos means we have found it hard to do this, mainly for organisational reasons.

But in the future the best marketers will fuse disciplines to best effect for their brands. And the reason they will be able to do this is the increasing recog-nition of the most important ingredient in this recipe, PR.

Public relations is the ingredient that makes everything work. It’s the yeast that makes things rise, the salt and pepper that brings out the flavours.

At Frank, we have recognised this earlier than most and have been creating campaigns for clients to match.

Adding proactive PR to the advertising model is incredibly powerful. Traditionally, the ad agency makes the ad and the PR company aims to get column inches for it. It can work out well doing it this way round, but only occasionally.

More often than not, PRs find themselves having to take a just-finished ad, limited access to the talent, and IP and ‘make it famous’.

But getting PR involved at the same time as the ad agency means that a brief can be adapted to have maximum PR value. Having PR consultancy input at this level brings inherent thinking that gives the ad an innate newsworthiness for media. And then there’s the opportunity to create, at the outset, collateral around the commercial that can make the coverage work harder.

We believe in this approach so much that we have even given it a name: PRadvertising™. Yes, we even trademarked it, too. Our PRadvertising™ methodology has been applied in successful campaigns for Kit Kat and Hovis.

Nestlé had never previously gone down the ‘face to launch a brand’ ad approach. After showing it how such an approach, if truly thought through and connected together by PR, could work, we signed up Girls Aloud to launch Kit Kat Senses and used the group in an ad campaign to kick off a raft of PR-led communication.

Girls Aloud’s impending involvement in a Kit Kat Senses ad, even before the ad was cut and edited, made major headlines.

As part of the deal, Kit Kat Senses was the sponsor of the band’s ‘Tangled Up’ tour, and an on-pack promotion mechanic involving the girls added to the mix. PR brought it all together.
For Hovis, and its recent 122-second ad depicting life over the past 122 years, we built anticipation by communicating its epic proportions. For the media, this made it more than ‘just another ad’. We gave them a ‘proper’ story so they didn’t feel like they were just promoting an ad campaign.

Before it had even aired on TV, the epic had featured in double-page spreads in all national media. With Scottish media we made Brian, the boy who stars in the ad, a mini-celebrity.
We are going to see a lot more PRadvertising™ campaigns over the next 12 months, partly because good marketers get it and partly because greater financial pressure from clients will demand it.

The same goes for PRexperiential™ (by now, you’re probably asking ‘What is it with all these trademarks?’). To many, unfortunately, ‘experiential’ is just another word for sampling. That misses the point. Done well, good experiential activity gets consumers feeling part of a brand and builds long-term loyalty.

PR becomes a key ingredient in the recipe when you take something that is experiential by nature and turn it into an activity that gets in the papers, on radio and TV.

Similarly, digital marketing works better when PR is there at the start. Online campaigns that cross over into offline media and get written about sometimes happen by chance, but the involvement of good PR from the outset means that you don’t have to rely on chance.

There are many opportunities to apply the fusion food principles to marketing, with PR central to the mix. Chefs have taught us a lesson. The potential is evident and I hope marketers are hungry for change.

Graham Goodkind is chairman and founder of Frank PR


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