Sunday, August 9, 2020

Guilt free chocolate – well, almost: by Greg Simpson, founder of Press for Attention PR

Greg Simpson, founder of Press for Attention PR and Enterprise Nation Champion for Nottingham, offers some advice on standing out to the media.

“Guilt free chocolate – well, almost.” Grabs the attention doesn’t it?

It sure worked for Jo Fairley when she launched Green & Black’s back in the early 1990’s. Now, bigger than Marmite and cooler than Prada, Green & Black’s is a truly iconic British brand.

Like me, Jo Fairley is a former journalist who switched to the ‘dark side’ to run the marketing and PR for what in 1991 was a start-up and is now one of the great success stories of British business. You can imagine my excitement when I got to meet Jo and ask her a few questions at a business event I attended recently and especially when she gave her top tips on generating PR….

Jo has a few very clear rules for business and works on a group of key factors: Product (including branding and innovation), PR, Customer Service, Ethics.

You can see how they all work together but Jo was very keen to share how crucial PR was, especially in those early stages and as a former journalist, Jo again kept things very simple. Here’s how she launched her first ever story, the press release headline grabs the attention right away… “Guilt free chocolate – well, almost.”

Make no bones about it, Jo sent that far and wide to every conceivable contact she knew from her journalism career but also to new contacts focusing on branding, ethics and sustainability. Ahead of her time, Jo also went after the celebrity chefs and writers or what we would now call ‘Influencers’.

Pretty soon, Green & Black’s was in every glossy magazine and frequently becoming an essential cupboard staple for aspiring foodies. However, Jo didn’t just rely on her skills with the written word or her contact book in the media, she did what we can ALL do if we think creatively but so very few of us bother with.

Jo sent samples. Lots and lots of samples of chocolatey goodness. Having something to look at, touch, feel or in Jo’s case, taste, makes a HUGE difference.

Now, I know that not everyone has samples, especially if you are B2B or a service business but Jo had a great reply to that, testimonials. They are a ‘flavour’ of what you do and how you do it. They give the media extra colour and an insight beyond the branding.

So, if you’re planning a launch or looking to reach out to the media, think about how you can play the media game with some samples of your own, whether edible, audible or visible.

Just ensure you stand out.

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