Once upon a time….……
Some people believe that PR is simply storytelling. In part this is true, the stories behind a brand immerse a stakeholder into a brand and gives them a positive association with a brand which improves brand equity. However a PR consultant is strategic with the stories they share about a brand. They know which stories have news or media value and they know which stories will enhance a brands equity. They also know that timing is crucial to sharing a story.
When I worked at a beauty company in London, we represented over 35 perfume and beauty brands at the same time. Each brand was different and each required its own PR approach and unique PR messaging. Luxury Swiss skincare brand La Prairie PR messaging was around brand efficacy, scientific proof of performance, pioneering ingredients and how they were delivered to the skin. PR events were luxurious, clean lined and scientific like the products. In contrast, we were also promoting boutique Parisian perfume house Annick Goutal. Telling the story of the Annick Goutal brand was very different. To know that Annick’s father used to run a very beautiful sweet shop in Aix-en-Provence and that Annick would spend long hours tying ribbons around little bags full of chocolate was to understand why each Annick Goutal perfume bottle was so beautiful and tied with individual beautiful ribbons with luxurious tags, oblivious to any current design trend. For journalists to know and understand that was for them to understand why her perfume bottles were beautiful and why her brand had such a unique point of difference. For each perfume Annick Goutal and later her daughter launched there was always an immersive story for each perfume and the luxurious ingredients contained within them. Annick Goutal perfumes were not significantly advertised. However the brand received significant media coverage in the highly competitive beauty pages because the journalists loved the brand stories and they loved the way those stories were told at intimate press events in Paris or London. Some of the Annick Goutal perfumes have been available for over 30 years, which is incredible given the overcrowded fragrance market.
To represent these two very different brands was an immense privilege. To have inspired and delighted journalists with the relevant stories and the appropriate time was strategic public relations, not just storytelling. Being a passionate story teller is a great attribute for a PR consultant but being strategic with the stories is arguably more important.