you want campaign success –then take a risk or be prepared to fail

We really enjoyed our first Masterclass event last week. But what did other attendees think...

by Nicky Speed

I had the great pleasure of spending the day with lots of creative peeps at the comms2point0 Campaigning Masterclass. It’s probably worth saying at this point that I almost didn’t make it  after being rudely woken at 3.30am by a collapsed ceiling in my kitchen due to a leak and having to phone the fire brigade (yes, bizarre I know!) to come to the rescue.

Despite the very, very early unexpected start to the day I just knew I had to be there – and boy was it worth it. The organisers Darren Caveney and Dan Slee really know how to throw an event that gets the creative juices flowing.

The focus of the day was all about campaigns and it’s definitely true to say that despite the changing face of PR and the digital era, you still can’t beat a well thought out, targeted campaign. If anything, the age of video, social media, infographics and other wonderful online tools gives us more opportunity to extend our reach than ever before  by using digital to the max.

So what did I learn from the day about successful campaign planning?

Take risks – all six campaigns were bold, had very strong messages and all had an element of ‘will it, won’t it work’? If these comms professionals hadn’t taken a bit of a risk they wouldn’t have been standing up there on the stage giving away their secrets. 

The DVLA’s infamous video on #no moretaxdisc was one of those videos - you either loved it or hated it but - either way, it got people talking and that’s what counts. It also got picked up by the media and sited as one of the worst videos ever but as a result of this negative coverage it worked in the DVLA’s favour. The hits on YouTube rocketed and ultimately helped to achieve the campaign’s key objective. Result! And even if it didn’t quite work out that way…what’s the worst thing that could have happened? Sometimes that risk is well worth taking.

Trust your instinct – okay, so the there are no textbook answers to communications challenges, it’s not an academic subject, but sometimes you just know it’s going to work. Usually your gut instinct is right so just go with it. In communications, we’re not always right but having that gut instinct about an idea is always a good start to go with

Persevere – sometimes when you have a bright idea that’s a bit off the wall it can be really difficult to persuade senior management to go with it. But if you do your research to argue the case and keep chipping away it is likely to pay off. After all, we’re supposed to be the experts, this is what we’re paid for. Right? So our managers need to trust our judgement.

Nicky Speed is Senior Communications Officer at Mersey Travel.

Picture credit.