We Aren’t Psychic: 5 Things PR Agencies Need to Know from Clients

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On a regular week, three out of five inquiries we get from brands and companies don’t come with a creative brief. It’s almost like the norm, and it shouldn’t be.

While we appreciate that you see the team as a potential partner, we need a brief to guide us and give us an idea on how we can work together to achieve your communication and business objectives. Project briefs tell us what we need to know: the facts, insights, and inspirations. These details would help us craft the right strategies to put campaigns into action.

A lot of companies often ask PR agencies for a pitch without providing enough details. This means we often end up pitching ideas that turn out to be off-strat—wasting time not just for us, but for the client as well.

To cut the guesswork, here are five things that would help your agencies pitch better ideas:

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The Big Problem

Consider the following scenario: Your company just recently rebranded following an acquisition. Now, you’re looking for an agency to help promote your products under the new brand name. Before we brainstorm for ideas, there’s one thing missing: the problem. This not-so tiny detail is essential because it gives us the context of your PR needs. Was your old brand a well-loved household name? Is the new brand suffering from stigma because it comes from a country associated with poor-quality products? Whatever the problem is, it will help us come up with a more accurate step-by-step plan for your campaign.

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A Plan with Purpose

The problem is one end of the campaign. The purpose is the other. The end goal provides us with a focus not only on how we should design and manage the story of your campaign, but also on how to determine its success. For example, your objective is to raise awareness on your new product. We can draft a better publicity plan recommendation by involving feature articles and blogger reviews. The team then can pinpoint specific measure of success such as the number of pickups as well as the type of media outlet that publishes the story. For the reviews, we can look at social shares, reactions, and comments as campaign metrics. These recommendations would only be possible with the campaign goal in mind.

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Bottom Line

Putting plenty of details on the creative brief is good. Not telling us what all these sum up to is, well, bad. A short and sweet summary of what you want the campaign to communicate—ideally in one or two sentences—makes it easier to draw out insights for your brand’s overall message. For instance, the gist of your campaign is the following: “We want consumers to know that our global partnerships allow us to offer quality yet very affordable products.” This simple summary makes it clear that your international partners allow you to create better products. That means, the team can focus the central narrative on the brand’s global quality . Without this information, the team may suggest messaging that doesn’t fit the end goal. The team will end up giving you off- strategy recommendations.

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Client-Agency Expectations

PR success not only relies on the agency. We also need to know how we distribute roles between us and the client for projects to work. Otherwise, miscommunication and delays might happen once the campaign starts rolling. One example is a company hiring an agency to handle media relations for a small press conference and launch. Close to the day itself, the client, it turns out, is also expecting the agency to set up the event—a task requiring at least a month of pre-event meetings to coordinate not just with venue staff for the table layout and arrangements, but also with suppliers for the décor, AV equipment, and food. Such mishaps can be avoided if tasks and expectations are clarified from the get go.

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Budget, Budget, Budget

It’s understandable that some clients aren’t sure how much they should spend for a PR campaign. As a general rule, companies should allocate only five to 10 percent of their gross revenue on marketing. Of course the number varies depending on how big the company is. To be on the safe side, just stick with the general rule as your starting point. Remember: Your budget will determine what the agency can realistically achieve for your campaign. This is why it must be included in the brief so we don’t end up proposing too many activities and overwhelming you with all the possible costs that come with our suggestions.

Drafting your own creative brief can be tedious if you don’t know where to start. To make things easier, just fill out our creative brief for any inquiries about our PR services.

 

Your Bug Out Bag for Stormy Days

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5 of the 20 tropical cyclones that visit the Philippines each year are greatly destructive. On monsoons’ peak, we experience strong winds and heavy rains that lead to severe flooding. Last month, classes and work were suspended in some areas, with experts advising us to stay home. But in the worst cases of calamity, not even the comforts of our homes will be enough to protect us. Having a bug out bag ready will make sure you’re prepared for any situation.

Here are some items you need in building your typhoon emergency kit:

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Food and water

non-perishable food, ready-to-eat food, and bottled water/drinks to keep you nourished and hydrated.

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Electronics

Cellphone, charger, powerbank, a portable radio with extra batteries to reach out for help and keep you updated on the state of your area.

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Clothes and protective gear

Jacket, umbrella, blanket, and extra clothes to keep you warm and comfy.

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Non-negotiables

Whistle and first aid kit with necessary medicines in case of serious accidents or injuries.

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Light sources

Flashlights with extra batteries, candles, matches in case of a power outage.

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Important documents

Valid ID’s, medical records, emergency contact numbers, bank account and insurance records, and birth certificates for safekeeping in waterproof containers.

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Basic Tools

A hammer and nails, a screwdriver and screws, and the ever-reliable duct tape for quick repairs.

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Other valuables

Cash, keys, Credit and ATM cards, and other valuables you can’t afford to lose. 

Looking for these items at the mall can be tiresome and time-consuming. Now that you have your bug-out bag list ready, try completing your checklist at www.shopee.ph. Check out if these items are on discount at Shopee's 9.9 Sale and have these items delivered right at your doorstep!

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6 Storytelling Lessons from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Creating Tension

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As moviegoers, we tend to focus on a film’s production value and characters -- the same way many Marvel fans raved about their favorite superheroes in its most recent sequel of the Avengers. We’re moved by the tear-jerking scenes in Star Wars: A New Hope. Remember when Obi Wan Kenobi died?  Or maybe you remember the action-packed, fight scene in the Karate Kid movies that pushed us to take Martial Arts lessons when we were kids.

But, more than the characters, the fight scenes, and special effects, what really makes a great story is tension. Would there even be a hero without the antagonist? Would there be an adventure if there was no villain to slay? Challenges for the protagonist is the key to keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. It makes a novel a page-turner and a movie a blockbuster. Obstacles make a good story, outstanding.

Matt Reeves, Hollywood screenwriter and director and the man behind Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, has perfected building tensions in his movies. The trilogy has become a blockbuster, simply because Reeves kept moviegoers wondering what would happen next.  Critic David Blaustein of ABC News described the film as “a tension-filled movie that’s as smart as it is entertaining.”

For storytellers like us, here’s a short checklist to guide you in perfecting the art of creating tension in your stories:

 

Create dynamic characters that thread the grey areas

  Photo from: planetoftheapes.wikia.com

Photo from: planetoftheapes.wikia.com

The first step in creating tension is to get your audience invested in the characters. We usually find ourselves attached to heroes with flaws and problems. The protagonist in the film, Caesar, was a former test subject whose goal is to build an independent and self-sustaining family of apes. But, Koba, his nemesis who also experienced abuse from humans, wants to destroy the species who made him suffer. Emphasizing morally gray areas highlights the characters actions, motives and beliefs. Audiences tend to relate even with characters like Koba. We empathize with him because of his horrible backstory. Some of the best struggles draw from characters threading grey areas.

  Photo from: www.inverse.com

Photo from: www.inverse.com

 

Develop a central conflict

  Photo from: www.herocollector.com

Photo from: www.herocollector.com

When creating stories, identify a central conflict. Is it a quest for something greater than the main character? Is it an underdog story? Is it a story of rebirth of a hero defeated and being reborn like a phoenix, rising from the ashes? The struggle needs to have grave consequences for the character. It’s not just about them winning. It’s about going through the journey and witnessing the victory of the heroes in the story.

‘Are humans friends or are they enemies?’ The central conflict in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, for instance, doesn’t root from a choice between good or evil, but from the perspectives of both characters – Caesar, who was raised by a kind and caring human, and Koba, who grew up heavily tortured by humans.  Conflicts caused by the main characters choices, makes audiences become more invested. In the movie, audiences see how much Koba and Caesar can lose and gain when humans die. 

 

Let the protagonist fail

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In the film, Caesar’s biggest mistake was trusting Koba. Unfortunately, Koba took charge of the apes and started war with the humans – the exact outcome Caesar was avoiding. Audiences were left with how’s and whys. How will Caesar stop the war? Why did he even trust Koba? Answers to these questions kept the audiences glued to their seats.

Failure is part of life, but the common pitfalls of some stories is the fear of losing -- at least on the part of the protagonist. Great stories allow their champions to fail. If we knew they would win from the start, why do we even bother to watch the whole movie? Knowing that even our favorite characters can still be defeated allows us to empathize with them. We’re able to relate our own experiences with their downfall. The more anxious the viewer feel, the more tension there is. 

 

Build internal conflict

  Photo from: planetoftheapes.wikia.com

Photo from: planetoftheapes.wikia.com

Creating an internal conflict for the characters gives them depth and dimension. His personal dilemmas appeal to our emotions. Is Koba right that Caesar is choosing humans over apes? Will Caesar’s attachment to his human owners overshadow the need to protect his family? Will trusting the humans finally restore peace between the two groups? We asked these questions with Caesar as he examined his motives for his actions throughout the movie.

It’s crucial to allow these conflicts to manifest in the character’s action. When Caesar beat Koba, we saw how he stopped himself and say, “Ape no kill ape”, the mantra and the very foundation of the family he built. To create similar tension in stories, make your characters face moral dilemmas. Force them to choose between two important things. Test their principles. Make them question who they are.

  Photo from: planetoftheapes.wikia.com

Photo from: planetoftheapes.wikia.com

 

Draw tension from different sources

  Photo from: tallwriter.wordpress.com

Photo from: tallwriter.wordpress.com

Not all tension has to come from the main conflict. Smaller struggles can help develop both the plot and the characters. There could be rivalry between friends, allies, or other encounters that can contribute to the complexity of the story. Koba, for instance, was not the only villain. What kept a tiny part of our hearts believe that he may be right, is that some of the humans in the movie were as terrible as he remembered. Audiences were struggling internally, wondering if the humans who were at peace with the apes would attack Caesar and his family too.

 

Allow small encounters between characters before the big confrontation

  Photo from: Youtube.com

Photo from: Youtube.com

Let the opposing characters interact before they duke it out in the climax. In the film, Caesar and Koba had several arguments about what direction they should take in dealing with the humans. These seemingly small disagreements turned into physical fights, and ultimately, into absolute betrayal and battle. Tension existed between the two characters in small increments early on in the movie, cluing in the audience on a bigger tension brewing in the story.

  Why watch the movie? Super intelligent apes... on horses. With machine guns .     photo from: giphy

Why watch the movie? Super intelligent apes... on horses. With machine guns.  

photo from: giphy

“I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.”

– Stephen King

 

Where to Go: 6 Best Places for the Titas of Manila

Where to Go: 6 Best Places for the Titas of Manila

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3 Must-Visit Inflatable Water Parks Near the Metro

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