Pressies convenor Katharine Broughton on award-worthy PR campaigns that stand out on the page

Convenor of Judges at the 2021 Pressie Awards, Katharine Broughton chats to StopPress about the recent rise of PR, how the industry is evolving as brands become more conscious of community and what makes for an excellent awards paper.

Katharine Broughton says that being selected as this year’s Pressies convenor is a great opportunity for her to inspire agencies to enter. In her role she’s looking to guide the judging panel and ensure that the great work coming out of the PR industry is given the recognition it deserves.

Here’s our Q&A:

In recent months we’ve seen PR campaigns/ companies getting recognition on the global awards stage, rivalling their creative counterparts – why do you think this is?

Clients want talkability and PR has always been about telling stories and creating conversations that are engaging and enduring. With COVID there has also been a greater desire for brands to really connect with their audiences, and articulate their support for communities and the environment, through purpose rather than profit messaging.

PR has played in this realm for some years – a driver of behavioural and societal change, so it really is no surprise to see PR getting recognition.

You have been in the comms/ PR industry for a number of years; would you say we are seeing resurgence in the industry?

PR has evolved over the years and now incorporates disciplines beyond media relations, to social media and influencers, content creation, activations, and experiential. This has given a greater scope for creative led PR campaigns to be fully integrated across multiple channels with specific messaging that is targeted at key audiences.

As we move to make information more local and targeted, PR is well-positioned to continue to work with brands to create content that appeals to specific audiences.

Brands love talkability and PR delivers this in high doses!

I also think there is an even bigger movement around brand trust. Brands want campaigns that show empathy and understand customer values. PRs are well positioned to build on this and to ensure brands articulate how they are contributing to society and purpose not just profits.

What value should brands be looking for in their PR activations/ extensions?

A little bit of humour and a lot of gratitude. Brands should be connecting with communities, compassion, giving back and making a difference by putting people, purpose and planet before profit. By asking what you can do for your customer and the community rather than what can the community or customers do for you, will lead to long-term brand love. 

What makes for an impressive PR campaign?

Those campaigns that have clear insights and purpose, identify the problem and then address with solutions that make a substantial impact and difference to people’s lives. These tend to be the ones that are impactful and resonate with respective audiences on an emotional level.

Can you give an example of such a PR campaign?

I thought Metlifecare’s Virtual Village campaign was a great example of a campaign that had a clear purpose, identified a problem and delivered executable solutions that clearly impacted the targeted audience. What was also impressive was the time line – from conception to execution in less than two weeks, and during a lockdown! The campaign was an online hub of activities and interaction for its 5,600 elderly residents, and all elderly Kiwis. Virtual Village was a response to widespread concern about the effect of physical and social isolation on our elderly population.

You can read more about this Gold-winning entry from the 2020 Pressie Awards, here.

What makes for a well presented, award-winning entry?

Those entries that simple language and answer questions with as little jargon as possible. Get straight to the point.

For those entering the 2021 Pressie Awards, keep your entry simple – be clear on insights, strategy, solutions creative, and execution and include REAL and impactful measurable results. If it’s good work it should stand out naturally – remember you are story tellers so your entry needs to tell a story about your campaign. You don’t need a hype reel to show how great work won the hearts and minds of audiences.

What do you look for when judging an awards paper?

Great insights, clear strategy, best practise execution with measurable results. Great work that won the hearts and minds of audiences. And entries should be a good read – I want to be envious that I didn’t work on that campaign.

Entering Pressies? Read and Learn from the 2020 Gold Winners.


About Author

David Nothling-Demmer is Editorial Director - Business Titles at ICG Media. Titles include: StopPress, NZ Marketing magazine, Idealog and The Register.

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