Thursday, November 19, 2009

PR Ideas Are All Around

A good PR firm looks for inspiration everywhere. The best communication or marketing concepts can come from any place, and often from people who are not primarily focused on promoting a client. I like to look at the greater creative world for ideas that might be repurposed for the people who hire us. When I stumbled on this (, I immediately asked myself why I liked it so much, and what it can teach us about PR.

Here’s what I like about it:

  • It incorporates out-of-the-box thinking. We all know the directive to “think out of the box,” but that’s easier said than done. It takes real thought and mind-bending to come up with something truly creative. Christoph Niemann, the Berlin-based artist of this piece, clearly had a million original thoughts when he conceptualized this project. Not only did he imagine simple leaves into new shapes, but he played with the words (“Birch and Ernie,” “Poplar and Un-Poplar”), and used inventive pairings of subjects.

  • It’s playful, poignant and full of personality. Oftentimes, our clients need advice about very serious issues. In those cases, of course, it’s not effective or appropriate to be playful. But part of good PR is recognizing when to bite your tongue and when to put it in your cheek. Many companies have turned to humorous viral videos to promote a new product or get the word out about their services. Humor is a universal language, and if you know when and how to use it effectively, it can do wonders for getting yourself noticed. If not humor, why not tell a poignant story, or otherwise lend original personality to your message?

  • It’s simple and aesthetically pleasing. Cleverness aside, Niemann clearly has an understanding for what draws the eye. This can be easily overlooked by a company eager to produce a message full of information. But sometimes simplicity says it best, and sometimes keeping the images and concepts clean will create a more compelling final product.

  • It’s not what you think. Personally, I don’t like to be tricked. But I do like to be pleasantly surprised. Here, you expect to see pretty leaves, and upon closer inspection you see they have been altered. That is a fun revelation, and whets our appetite for more. Just as Niemann viewed an everyday object through the lens of an artist exploring all its possibilities, a company wanting original PR can think about how to reinvent everyday concepts for its own purposes. What will make your constituents, clients or customers chuckle? What will make them think in new, inspiring ways? What will make them remember you and want more of what you have to offer?

Posted by Hillary Rhodes