Southern PR's savvy blog is a multi-author, multi-purpose playground: you'll find news and thoughts on the latest issues affecting the sectors we work in, current news stories, and practical communication and social media tips.

     

Sharing the Process – A Story About Southern PR’s Re-brand

So, you’re thinking of a company re-brand? Well done, you’ve taken the first step – The Decision.

Here, at our little Southern Public Relations office in Queenstown, we were slowly but surely thinking the same thing.  Even though it was an allegedly monumental task, it was also a story that needed to be told in all its glory and shared with you all.

“What’s the ultimate definition of ‘brand’?” we hear you ask.

A ‘brand’ is one of those words that’s widely used, but not always fully understood. Over time, the word has gone from its more literal meaning of a trademark used to identify a product or service to encompassing everything that identifies as that company, including the relationship it has with its customers or clients.

A brand is a promise a company makes to its customers. It exists only in someone’s mind. It’s everything the public knows about your brand offering – both tangible and intangible.

Because we’re a caring, sharing kind of company, we’ve decided to share our story and process with you. It’s in sections so you can easily digest our entire rebrand story from beginning to ‘Launch Day’ in a nutshell.

 

THE DECISION TO RE-BRAND

The initial decision came out of left field, with the sudden realisation we’d exponentially evolved to a point where our branding didn’t fit anymore – we had outgrown it! Some prevailing questions shaped our focus. There was a digital shift in the industry. Were we growing with it? Could we offer a more robust service to our clients, both current and new? Was our communications outlet a creative space offering where our clients could come for reputable connections and communication support? These were the foundation questions to taking the next step – The Story.

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE COMPANY RE-BRAND

First up, we decided to reflect to the foundations of Southern PR and review the initial inspiration behind the company.

Before diving headfirst into our backstory, we needed to pin down the main protagonist to shape the story around – Southern PR director Fiona Woodham.

Note: We strongly recommend this exercise when telling your brand story as every business has a start-up story, giving it more dimension and becoming shareworthy.

Southern PR was founded with an adventurous spirit and a lofty objective: to offer honest and authentic connections to a curious, yet hungry audience. We’re proud to say that much of the essence of that objective still stands true today.

Most companies start the same way – with a challenge or struggle that needs to be fixed. Fiona had just started working for a brand-new radio station in Queenstown and was constantly receiving bad PR pieces. Fiona knew she could do it better. There were big businesses doing good business happy to use a professional service. Within three months Fiona had kicked all her goals, had all targeted clients locked in, and behold! Southern PR was born.

 

INSPIRATION FOR THE RE-BRAND

We drew our visual inspiration from a blend of different aspects and avenues nationally and internationally. These included emotive and descriptive words that were significant to the team, their perspectives and personalities. Our SPR team plays an extremely important part in how we operate each day and so it was a no-brainer to incorporate everyone’s ideas and tell the world a little bit about ourselves through our new brand. Let’s understand our vibrant and enthralling colours and the meaning behind each:

Pink – Calms and reassures. Pink is supportive, compassionate, nurturing, thoughtful, caring and understanding. Pink is intuitive and insightful.

This is particularly relevant to when companies reach out to us for crisis communications assistance. We’re a trusty source for advice and an authentic safe haven to turn to when things get a little tricky in the business world.

Green – The colour of life. Green is renewal, energy and freshness. Green is balance, harmony & growth.

News must be current otherwise it’s not news. We broadcast your message to the world in a way that’s always fresh and full of energy. We like to think we’re always growing with and helping our clients to grow, so green encompasses all that we do with our public relations services.

Black – Powerful and elegant, yet a bit mysterious. Design-wise, black gives the feeling of perspective and depth.

Now, it’s common to associate this colour with negative emotions and descriptions, but we see black as our solid foundation. Black is our contrasting element of the company, promoting power. A good communications story is powerful.

Stripes – Clean, easy-going, straightforward communications and clear distribution channels.

The stripes represent the clear and pragmatic approach Southern PR has towards any challenge big or small. We needed to capture that somewhere and stripes just seemed the best way to do it!

We know that we’ve got a reputation to uphold in Queenstown as we’ve helped many businesses along the way to launch, grow and get where they are today. We think we’ve earned the right to say we’ve “earned our stripes” by being a loyal and available support when required.

 

THE DESIGN PROCESS 

The actual process was a big hairy audacious experience uncovering some interesting and fun points, so we’ve attached an infographic to illustrate some facts and figures about our re-brand process.

  • Meetings 56
  • Ideas brainstormed 219
  • Doodles and scribbles 152
  • Design concepts 7
  • Tweaks and changes 402
  • Copy writing marathon 1
  • Chocolate bars eaten 46
  • Coffees drunk 560

 

LAUNCH

This is the nail-biting part. The day we’d been working towards when all our hard work pays off – fingers crossed! This is when Southern PR’s brand becomes recognisable.

With our social media channels loaded up, introduction newsletter ready to go, everything organised and planned from compelling copy to customer service, we pressed the big (we imagine ‘green’) ‘Launch’ button!

3…2…1…GO!

All big projects, design or not, re-brand or not, start with a desire to change. The hardest part is already done! Drawing on the backstory of why your company initially came to life is a crucial element of the planning process. This is where your story stems from and what fuels your inspiration for ideas. Multiple brainstorming sessions are highly recommended and make sure to jot down every idea at first no matter how silly it might seem. You’re just pouring out information for now and you can streamline the ideas later.

Record the process while you’re going through it. You never know exactly how many ideas you have or absurd amounts of coffee you drink over those months if you don’t record it! TIP: Then you can make cute little graphics to showcase your hard work and it doubles as content.

Remember to enjoy the process. It’s not very often you’re with a company long enough to go through more than one re-brand. Some say it’s life-changing!

Please excuse us as we relish in the experience of our new brand and reminisce on how far we’ve come to get to this point.

If you’ve got any questions on our brand launch or our services, then please drop us a line to see what we can do for you and your business.

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6 Must-Know Facts About Southern PR’s New Website Launch

We can’t keep it quiet any longer, the secret is finally out – we’ve rebranded! After months of sweat and creative ideas, we’re so excited to announce the launch of our fresh, refurbished and a little bit wild SPR brand! Here’s some of the treats you’ll find within our new site:

  • New look and feel that encompasses everything we are as a Queenstown public relations agency
  • Big, bold and vibrant graphics
  • User-friendly interface focusing on visitor experience
  • Responsive and mobile-friendly
  • Section designed to showcase clients and their triumphs
  • Blog section dedicated for updates, top tips, Southern PR news and insightful reads
  • A revamp of our services, plus a few newbies dropped into our client toolbox

 

1. New Look and Feel

As Southern PR Queenstown is such a big personality with a quirky culture we knew we needed an authentic brand to match. As the website’s often the first place of contact, it was imperative we made an enormous first impression. We’ve gone for a look that’s full of motion, interactive, and encompassed in bright colours, shapes, and fonts. Pair that with big, bold, and vibrant imagery and you’ve got yourself a don’t-hold-back style and vibe that deserves a damn good pat on the back! So get curious, be nosey, and make sure you check out every nook and cranny of our new website.

2. Visitor Experience

Our overarching website focus has been on visitor experience to encourage our new visitors, but also inspire them to stay longer, check everything out and familiarise themselves with our tools and services – this means you! We’ve amped up the entire customer process from your initial contact to publishing your news to the world. We’re with you every step of the way to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

3. Responsive and Mobile-friendly

Ok, you’re right, we’ve come out of the dark ages and transitioned into the digital imperatives of responsive and mobile! We know the world of news and communication never sleeps, so you need to have access to sites ‘on the go’. Mobile has overtaken desktop as the device of choice when it comes to internet usage. In fact, since April 2015, having a website that’s not mobile friendly now affects Google’s search engine rankings for mobile searches – shock, horror!

All that aside, please take the time to check out our functionality on your mobile device — we assure you won’t be disappointed.

4. Client Showcase

Our new-look client section is driven by the design idea of a client ‘show reel’ to fully showcase latest news, and well-deserved triumphs.

We love our clients — they’re the reason we do what we do, and why we’re here today so it’s a chance to celebrate their remarkable feats along the way. Our client relationships are mutually beneficial, it’s something we pride ourselves in creating and will continue to nurture into the future of our business.

Check out our clients and what they’ve done

5. Interactive Blog Section

At some point, everyone needs an extra perspective when making decisions and we’ve provided a portal that does just that; it has its own voice. Our ‘savvy’ blog is an interactive outlet that’s bursting at the seams with helpful tips, tools of the trade, and thought-provoking information right at your fingertips, just like your personal advisor. Our clients and website visitors can provide feedback straight to our hot little hands and get the answers to any lingering questions.

See what goodies we’ve already got in store for you!

6. New and Updated Services

We’ve also updated our services and added in a social media element to further enhance our clients’ ever-increasing needs for positioning in the digital realm.

We know our clients need a more robust package to ensure that they get full coverage on the media and communications spectrum, getting their news and ideas into the hands of their desired audience.

As you’re no doubt aware, social media is here to stay and we reach our audiences where they are. Did you know your number of fans is irrelevant? It’s all about engagement. How are you connecting and interacting with people and how are they engaging with you?

Businesses that are local, regional or just too small to have national recognition benefit greatly from social media. By creating amazing content and targeting it at an expanded audience, the world is your oyster! Make sure you check out our social media services and if you want to chat to us about this further then GET IN TOUCH.

Thank you for following us and our journey so far. We’d absolutely love to hear any feedback you may have so please feel free to comment if you think there’s something else we should know. Also, if you enjoyed the post and want others to know about it then please share the love!

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And the Winner for Southern Public Relations’ New Social Media Role is…

Sarah Vujcich is our newest creative recruit here at the Southern Public Relations embassy and we’re super excited to welcome Sarah to the ever-expanding Southern PR team!
Sarah hails from the land of adventure tourism and joins us to help with public relations and social and digital media communications. She’s actually writing this blog post (Hello guys! Sarah here…)

Her sass, pragmaticism and ‘can-do’ attitude is why we asked her to start creating with us in the Southern PR realm.

In true PR-style, we cornered Sarah and asked her a few questions in an interview…

1. Who are you and what’s your role at Southern PR?

Sarah Vujcich, PR Account Manager with a focus on social and digital communications and strategy.

2. What did you do previously?

Sales and marketing coordinator for adventure tourism businesses Thunder Jet and Queenstown Water Taxis, and before that I was in a similar role for world-renowned tourism leader AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand.

3. What are you most excited about here at Southern PR?

Having followed Southern PR’s journey closely, I’m now super excited to join the creative team and be part of turning our clients’ digital ideas into living, breathing, world-class communication assets.

I am also keen to continue expanding my knowledge of emerging technologies and contribute to Southern PR’s future successes in the digital space.

4. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Would you use it for good or evil?

I’d have telekinesis, most definitely – the kind you can choose when to use it, though, as it would be great for all aspects of life, not just work! Good will always prevail over evil – watch this space.

5. What can we find you up to when you’re not working on a client masterpiece?

I pair my love of good food (including chocolate, of course) with an active lifestyle and can be found dreaming about my next adventure – Queenstown is such a wonderful place to be exploring!

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The Power of Public Relations

 

What’s the real value of PR?

PR can work for any and every industry, from tourism jet boat companies, to wineries to commercial developments. A company with a message to deliver or a goal to achieve can benefit from PR. All you need is a creative idea that’s newsworthy and communicates your marketing message.

Why do PR? It’s a question that a lot of people ask, and it’s the least understood of all marketing tools. But while it’s possible to operate a business with little or no PR spend, it’s unlikely that your company will gain traction in your industry.

PR is about building strong relationships, media exposure and maintaining a good reputation.

 

Here’s our four ‘savvy’ reasons to do PR

1. You’re a little fish in a big pond

Beating someone else’s ad campaign with your own paid advertising can be difficult if your competitor can afford to outspend you. PR levels the playing field.

In advertising, money buys you more media space. In PR, creative thinking wins you media space. As a small to mid-sized business you often have the advantage here as you can often move quickly on creative ideas, while bigger businesses can run into a hamstring of sign off processes.

If you’re creative, most PR ideas can be done on a shoestring budget. If you craft a good pitch and media release for your desired outlets, your return can result in a primetime TV interview, a front cover feature on your local paper, or a national business story.

 

2. Effectively deliver your key messages

Communicating with your target audience is not always an easy task, particularly if your inexperienced in talking to the media.

Key messages are the core messages you want your target audience to hear and remember. They allow you to control communications, enhance relationships with your target audiences and are an important feature of a PR campaign.

A carefully crafted public relations strategy produces clarity about your company’s key messages and brand identity. Make sure it’s in sync across all of your marketing communications channels.

 

3. PR builds credibility

As Jean-Louis Gassée once said – “Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.”

People are often sceptical of advertising however as PR is promotion in the form of news, editorial or a feature people so your audience believes it. PR professionals build relationships with the media and liaise with editors to publish and distribute news that promotes clients’ goals.

 

3. Prepare for a PR Crisis

When things go wrong, you need to manage the media storm and protect your well-earned reputation. A crisis can strike any company at any time, so planning for possible crises helps employees know what to do should a crisis hit.

Handled incorrectly, a crisis can cause far-reaching damage. We’re experts in guiding you through the dark days and helping you get back on your feet so get in touch if you’d like to be proactive about crisis planning.

 

At Southern PR, we help your business shine whether you’re a start-up or established business.

We do that by developing a tailored and relevant PR and marketing strategy that delivers on your business goals. We’ll help develop that content or fine-tune that story so you talk to your audience at the right time, with the right message, through the right channels.

To find out more about the services we offer, head to our Services.

 

PR terminology glossary – the basics

Boilerplate – a short company description used at the end of a media release

Embargo – the sharing of unannounced, relevant information from a PR to the media that cannot be published before an agreed time and date

Exclusive – Offering first-look information to your desired media outlet. In offering a media outlet an exclusive the information can’t be shared between other outlets until the story is published

Hook/angle – a specific emphasis you chose for a story that you’ll pitch to the media

Launch – The official announcement of your new product or service. This is usually crafted in a media release.

Lead time — The amount of time needed by reporters to gather information for their story. An online story is instant while most magazines have a long lead time (sometimes even three months!)

Pitch – A crafted note to a particular editor to gauge their interest in your client, in addition to a media release

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