Why Do Some Publicity Campaigns Have Greater Success?


In an article published by The Straits Times, Why Some Causes Resonate, Ms Carol Soon, a senior research fellow from the arts, culture and media research cluster of the Institute of Policy Studies, sheds light on the success of Pink Dot.

A highly controversial event which began in 2009 with the aim to promote understanding and acceptance for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, Pink Dot increased its attendance from 2,500 people in 2009 to an estimated 28,000 in 2015, according to media reports.

Publicity for the event has largely taken place on social media and, in recent years, religious conservatives have come out to campaign against it online. With amendments to the Public Order Act which bars foreigners from using assemblies and processions in Singapore to promote political causes, Pink Dot was faced with greater challenges than before but managed to garner the support of 50 Singapore sponsors and reportedly raised 70 percent of the 2016 sponsorship amount even before official fundraising began.

According to Soon, messaging and targeting are two main reasons for Pink Dot’s success. This comes as no surprise. Events which enjoy greater success – usually measured by participation numbers – tend to have varied yet aligned messages that their target audience can identify with.

As the public relations agency behind 5 installations of Southeast Asia’s largest and most premium whisky and spirits show, Whisky Live Singapore, our work behind the success of these events was hardly considered a breeze. How did publicity and active partaking in the conceptualisation of the event take Whisky Live Singapore’s inaugural number of 800 guests in 2010 to 3,000  in 2016? Here’s our learning points:

Different platforms speak to different audiences in different ways. The assumption of homogeneity in the target audience and failure to frame and align diversified messages are many organisers’ Achilles’ heel.

Long gone are the days when one size fits all.  Even high-budget communications can slip up and backfire if social trends and information consumption patterns are not thoroughly analysed. Take Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad for example. No such thing as bad publicity? Think again.

The trick is to gain an insight into how information is received by target audience and the relevance of content. From there, formulate the communications strategy.

A press release may seem archaic to the uninitiated. However, it has certainly not outlived its usefulness. It is one critical tool that outlines and puts into perspective the key highlights of an event.

Think of it as a cheat sheet. It must cut through the clutter, and get to the point. If you have a seven-page press release (trust us, we have seen it before), we suggest to look through it again and craft a succinct story.

Here are our PRotips:
1. Develop aligned communication framework.
2. Create different targeted messages for different audiences.
3. Use a press release to share succinct information and insights to media and influencers.
4. Use social media to reach out directly to end consumers.

Many inexperienced publicists also overlook the importance of visuals. Pictures speak a thousand words. Social media have time and again released data of how relevant visuals capture attention and increase traction. On the same note, videos are on an upward trend. Our data shows that videos at 20s to 30s have the highest viewership. And nothing is better than capturing the atmosphere of a successful event than real footage. Below is one on Whisky Live Singapore 2016. Enjoy.