A week or so ago I wrote a piece for the Metro about the most useful piece of clothing I’ve ever bought – and how I used it, inadvertently, to shape the course of fashion history. Those who know me appreciate what a stretch this is. My approach to fashion has always been more Eeyore than Dior.
The item of clothing is a suit – a replica Apollo 11 model – which cost less than low-end bespoke suit from a tailor. It has opened countless doors for me and helped encapsulate my approach to PR (ie, considering the unorthodox first) in a way that words on a news site or the pages of a paper won’t always fully convey.
PR has sometimes been called ‘adventure capital’: an investment in new approaches to marketing and communication that can can take a brand on interesting and inspiring journeys and deliver substantial returns on investment in the process. It doesn’t have to be uncomfortably unorthodox; it might just be a new way of framing a benefit. When I worked for Virgin Money on a new life insurance policy, for instance, I looked for exclusions in the small print. What I couldn’t see anywhere was an exclusion for cover against Dalek invasions, being squashed by a giant Stay-Puft marshmallow man or flattened by Godzilla. As a result, I was able to promote the first life insurance policy to protect against sci-fi risks: a shoe-in for the newspapers read by Virgin Money’s target demographic.
The good news about the unorthodox is that it doesn’t have to come at a significant cost. I have serially conjured stunts that have had a huge impact on awareness and sales with set-up costs of less than £100. In Virgin Money’s case, the operational cost was zero because it was just a reframing of what they already do.
These are tricky times for all of us – and many brands will be thinking about ways in which they can improve the effectiveness of their marketing. If you think there’s scope for an adventure capital investment in PR that might transform fortunes I’d be glad to have a conversation about ways in which we can help.