Never Mind The Horlicks: diversity and inclusion in PR campaigns

Guest post from Mario Ambrosi, Head of Communications at Anchor.

Diversity and inclusion makes business sense. That was a key message in a session at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ Equal Access Network last night.

James Ford, MD at Grayling, and I presented our top ten tips for a winning campaign after our Anchor Community Band clinched the award for best inclusive campaign at the CIPR Excellence awards earlier this year.

As our campaign was music-themed, so are our tips – apologies for some of the dodgy tracks!

Close to Me (The Cure): Ensure your campaign is completely aligned to your brand. If it’s tied to your purpose as an organisation it will resonate with staff and be easier to win over internal stakeholders.

A Very Good Place to Start (from The Sound of Music): Plan with clear targets and focus on achieving them. Have measurable objectives, involve key audiences throughout, benchmark start and end and constantly remind yourself and others why the campaign delivers the organisation’s objectives.

Emotions (Samantha Sang – feat. The Bee Gees): Keep it simple and appeal to people’s emotions. Make it something you can be passionate about. If you’re enthused others will be too.

Something Stupid (Frank & Nancy): Ask stupid questions. A great campaign is likely to take you into territory you don’t know much about. Milk every contact you have. Find experts who can give you advice. Don’t be afraid to ask them to explain things. If what you’re doing is for a good cause, people will buy into it.

Word Up! (Cameo): Word of mouth is crucial to build up advocates who will spread the word locally about the campaign – and reach target audiences more effectively and persuasively than you could yourself. Use that to drive social media, which will give you metrics to persuade national media they can’t ignore you.

See Yourself (Anchor Community Band): Follow the local paper principle: the more faces in the newspaper, the more people that will buy it. The more people involved in your campaign, right from day one, the better the chance of success.

What Can I Do? (The Corrs): Think like your target audience. How would you want to be communicated with if you were them? If you don’t know, ask them. Listen to people. Don’t put them in boxes. And recognise that whatever you do to be inclusive won’t be enough. Do as much as you can and explain why you can’t do more.

Only the Lonely (Roy Orbison): Be decisive and prepared to make decisions that not everyone will like. A successful campaign is about more than comms. It should change the way people think or act.

Can We Fix It? (Bob the Builder): Accept that things won’t always go to plan. A powerful campaign will often result in things happening that you didn’t expect but are better than you could have thought of yourself. Have a plan and be prepared to change it.

Gold (Spandau Ballet): It’s crucial that you’re genuine. The Anchor Community Band was successful because the whole team believed in it – and that gave the impetus to push it extremely hard to the media. Tell your entry like a story… not an award entry. It’s the passion and enthusiasm – as well as the results – that will persuade judges your campaign is award-winning.

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