How Consumer Brands Can Mimic the Netflix Approach to Crafting a PR Campaign

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

You have 5 seconds to capture an audience in a Youtube ad. Instagram posts need to start and end with a bang. How can your brand create content like production studios for PR success?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, as a marketing leader you know how much that we live in an increasingly visual world. Unfortunately, this has created intense competition to capture consumer attention almost immediately upon pressing "play."

Netflix, Hulu and other likewise streaming services have taken a brilliant, multi-faceted approach to creating winning content that advertisers love by hedging their bets, spending on quality, and partnering with the right influencers.

Your brand can take a similar approach to these content giants when building out your next PR or marketing plan. We've listed a few considerations our firm takes when working with a client to strategically plan their next video-driven content campaign.

1) Casting calls: place an industry influencer in your content from the campaign planning stage.

When a producer is looking to make a film of any sort, the budget is always a key focus. Spending on the right talent can make or break a film's box office success and likelihood of distributor pickup. Similarly, there are influencers in your industry who have cultivated a relationship with your key demographic that your brand could never truly mimic on your own -- after all, people trust other people more than they do brands, even if that person is a paid spokesperson.

When a studio pitches a show to a network, it's often with talent already attached. If you're a marketing leader pitching an idea to your CEO, this is a great approach to validate the potential success of a video concept prior to shelling out the money for it.

2) For small brands, stick to one campaign at a time. For medium and larger brands, consider co-current campaigns to hedge your bets.

Not everyone will agree with this point. This advice depends largely on your internal capacities to produce, your budget, and your overall strategic business goals. However, it's worth mentioning since it works so well in the traditional studio production world.

Each year, just like venture capitalists, streaming and otherwise TV networks hedge their bets by purchasing multiple show concepts with the understanding that only one or two may be a breakout success. It can be worthwhile to consider the impact of co-current or complimentary campaigns, since the more successful one can often be built upon for years to come, (examples include the Geico gecko ads or Progressive Insurance's Flo character.)

If it's feasible, a good approach to this is to map out your strategic business goals and create content around each one in a way that addresses different demographics, different marketing channels, or different, however related, messaging.

3) Always hire the highest quality production studio you can afford.

This is a no brainer. If you're going to do something like a creative marketing campaign, do it right. That means investing enough money into your promotional channels like paid ads or TV spots, and ultimately paying for high quality production, (spoiler alert: it's usually not cheap.)

It's important to remember that good quality production pays off. If the campaign is evergreen, meaning you can use it again and again, this is especially important. Even if it's a short lived campaign, you still want to present yourself to the market in the best light possible, literally.

Also remember: influencers and talent who are more established will only work with you if they trust the production will live up to the quality that they are used to creating. After all, they're putting their personal brand at stake.

4) Integrate live events into the kickoff or tail end of your campaign.

An integral part of TV publicity includes a promotional team. Sometimes that translates to a street team stirring up buzz, and other times it's a more calculated approach in the form of an experiential event or screening.

For consumer brands, live events are the best opportunity to directly interact with your target audience. You can utilize it as an opportunity to test new products and get feedback, invite influencers to share #sponsored posts while at the event, and activate new customers on the spot.

It's a great idea to pin this event to the beginning or end of a campaign as a means to secure media placements and interest in your overall campaign.

5) Consider brand collaborations for creative exploration and impact.

Netflix teamed up with Lyft to create an immersive promo for Stranger Things, and it worked well because it was unexpected, timely, and intriguing. Lots of organizations find success in one another by accessing each other's audiences in the right way.

Start by looking for crossover messaging opportunities: what sort of organizations speaks directly to your target audience but is not a direct competitor within your market? Non-profits can be a great consideration since their altruistic nature appeals to most people, and they may be more likely to let your organization take the creative lead as opposed to another company with a strict set of branding standards.