Creativity: The Lifeblood of Good PR

by Amber Bemis, PR and social media intern

After returning from my 5 day trip to sunny Orlando for PRSSA National Conference I am actually excited to be back at school and of course SPARK 🙂  Why, you ask? Because I couldn’t wait to get back and share what I learned and my ideas with the SPARK team. My favorite session Creativity: Innovative Ideas Generate a Receptive Public really opened my eyes to the importance of using creativity in PR campaigns.  I think this session clicked with me because of the simplicity of the campaigns he used as examples. I left the session filled with ideas. I am very excited to share them–I hope they will inspire you as much they did for me.

Case One: Return of the Penguins

This story was inspiring and powerful. We are all well aware of the devastating effects hurricane Katrina had on the gulf.  The first case study used caught me off guard a little because it was about penguins. After Katrina hit, the New Orleans Aquarium was badly damaged causing all animals to be evacuated. Only one animal survived. New Orleans residents and aquarium workers were devasted. When it came time to bring the famous penguins home, the New Orleans Aquarium planned an unforgettable homecoming. Partnering with @fedex they held a welcome home event just in time for the aquariums reopening. Fedex built special airplanes and trucks to transport the penguins back to the aquarium. When they finally arrived home the penguins walked a royal purple carpet to their new home.

What did I learn from this case study? I learned that even simple campaigns like this can produce awesome results. I love that this was a creative take on something PR professionals do all the time.

“Avoid being creative for the sake of being creative, keep the purpose in mind” said speaker, Duncan Wardle. This point really hit home for me. I think sometimes we get wrapped up in producing a super creative campaign but often end up losing the true purpose. In my opinion the New Orleans Aquarium and Fedex hit this one dead on, I mean…who’s heart wouldn’t melt watching those adorable little penguins waddle down a royal purple carpet? Genius.

Case Two: Queensland Tourism ‘ The best job in the world’

I think this campaign is brilliant! As a PR professional I would consider myself pretty well educated on PR tactics but this one completely got me. Queensland Tourism wanted to improve their website traffic so they decided to put out a job posting for ‘the best job in the world’. Watch this video to see some of the job duties.

New stations covered the story across the country! The island received tons of free publicity. During the session I turned to one of the girls in my chapter and said, wow what a neat job! I was completely oblivious to the fact that they were trying to promote the island, all I could think about was the awesome job. Now that is good PR if you ask me.

What did I learn from this case study? I learned that it is important to remember 4 steps when designing a creative PR plan.

1. It takes risk- Queensland Tourism probably had no idea if their plan was going to work but they took a risk and tried it.

2. Relevance- the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

3. Impact- you have to find a way to break through the clutter. They definitely did.

4. Originality- fresh new ideas that your audience won’t expect.

Queensland Tourism’s goal was to increase web traffic to 400,00o for the year, and they reached 6.3 million in 3 days! I would say it was a success.

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