Over the past few years, we've seen the power and success that PR has brought to fresh produce brands. We’ve seen consumer placements in publications like Rachael Ray In Season and Better Homes & Gardens, along with our trade placements in publications like AndNowUKnow or Fresh Plaza reaching retailers and directly leading to sales.
While more and more fresh produce companies have started to embrace this facet of marketing, there are still a lot of questions we're asked about public relations. We've rounded up the most common questions and explain the benefits of effectively using PR in your marketing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Public Relations
What is Public Relations, anyway?
Ask 10 people what their idea of public relations is and you’ll probably get 10 very different answers. What sets public relations apart from advertising is that public relations is considered earned media, not paid. Public relations is forming relationships with key media influencers to increase awareness about the industry, brand, and products you represent. PR is all about storytelling and our role in PR is to tell these stories.
Why do we need PR?
Most marketers in the fresh produce industry focus on PR during the good times (new products, promotions, etc.) or in times of crisis (food recalls, lawsuits, etc.). What we don’t consider is that this only contributes to a fraction of the total PR needs and opportunities.
The saying is tried and true - "PR is a marathon, not a sprint," which means there is a lot of work behind the scenes before you see a win. Let’s say you have a major announcement that needs to be told to trade media but you haven’t done any of the PR groundwork beforehand. When the time comes, who is writing your press release? Who will you be sending the release out to? Will they publish the release? At DMA, our public relations team does the groundwork for you - we write press releases daily and distribute them to our list of over 250 trade media contacts to make sure our clients see the "win."
For one of our clients, Good Foods, we created a graph of just what it took to see the results we experienced in 2020. We didn’t just snap our fingers and reach 551 placements - we sent over 2,500 media pitches, distributed 42 product requests, sent five wire releases and two media mailer packages.
So why do you need PR? Because you can’t get to the 551 placements by just wishing for them.
Does PR drive Marketing, or does Marketing drive PR?
A long-debated question! We believe that both drive one another in different situations. Marketing drives PR strategy when there are set promotions or content that PR is able to support through media awareness. At DMA there are few marketing plans that PR doesn’t support. We believe combining all components of marketing (influencer partnerships, public relations, social media, etc.) is the best way to see results. PR, on the other hand, can drive marketing strategy by identifying stories and content relevant for pitching and then driving marketing efforts to support promotional elements.
How can we effectively measure PR?
We use tools like Cision and Hubspot to help us measure impressions as well as direct traffic from placements to a company’s website. While high impression numbers are great, they’re only telling part of the story without being able to tell how many referrals were driven to your website.
If we could give one piece of advice for anyone who is unsure about PR, it would be this: we know that the top driver of brand purchases are referrals from a friend/trusted source, and each brand’s number one goal is to increase sales. So, why aren’t we investing more in the marketing tool/people who do exactly that?