Public relations is about creating a narrative through positive storytelling for your client and influencing their target audience. Sometimes, this requires doing something daring, something that has not been done before and something that challenges the status quo. But how do you convince your client to take such a risk, especially when there is no data to back up your idea?

Discover the “Why” through Deep Research:

Begin the journey by delving into research that uncovers the core of the client’s purpose and the evolving dynamics and nuances of their industry. Many clients fixate on data or statistics from the past, which is quite common, especially with the enormous boom of artificial intelligence. Instead, align your campaign with emerging trends and consumer behaviours. A great example is Apple’s “Think Different” campaign, a nod to innovation that not only disrupted the tech landscape but also resonated with a generation seeking purpose in their choices.

In the case of Apple’s campaign, the deep research was centred on understanding the shifting landscape of consumer values. Apple recognised a growing desire among consumers to align themselves with brands that celebrated innovation and individuality. The campaign resonated with the ‘why’ by portraying iconic figures who defied norms and revolutionised their respective fields, tying Apple’s products to a broader narrative of creative thinking and non-conformity.

Craft a Compelling Story:

Embrace the power of narrative to captivate not just the client, but their audience. Build a story that echoes the brand’s values and aspires to make a meaningful impact. Take inspiration from Nike’s “Dream Crazy” campaign, where the story of Colin Kaepernick not only challenged conventions but aligned seamlessly with the brand’s commitment to social change. A daring campaign, when rooted in a compelling story, becomes a catalyst for connecting with the audience on a deeper level.

Nike’s campaign stands as a testament to the power of storytelling. By featuring Colin Kaepernick, a controversial figure in the realm of sports and activism, Nike aligned the brand with a powerful narrative of social justice and empowerment. The heartfelt story tapped into the emotions of the audience, portraying Kaepernick’s resilience and determination. Nike’s ‘why’ became synonymous with standing up for what one believes in, creating a profound connection with consumers beyond the realm of athletic apparel.

Competitive Advantage Through Boldness:

The most common objection to bold campaigns is risk. Find ways of shifting the conversation from risk to opportunity by showcasing how a daring campaign can set the client apart in a saturated market. Consider the case of Burger King’s “Moldy Whopper” campaign, a bold move that communicated a commitment to freshness and quality. Positioning the brand as a trailblazer and industry disruptor adds a layer of authenticity that resonates with modern consumers seeking more than just products.

Burger King’s campaign showed how boldness can translate into a competitive advantage. In an industry dominated by visuals of perfectly presented food, Burger King’s willingness to showcase a decaying Whopper highlighted its commitment to using preservative-free ingredients. The bold move distinguished Burger King from competitors, positioning them as a brand that prioritises transparency and freshness, ultimately appealing to a consumer base increasingly concerned with health and quality.

Incremental Boldness:

An easier way to convince someone is by suggesting a phased approach to alleviate potential concerns of being too out of the box. Netflix’s interactive film “Bandersnatchrepresents a masterful example of introducing incremental boldness. By experimenting with viewer choices and creating an interactive narrative, Netflix tested the waters of a novel storytelling format. This phased approach allowed audiences to engage with the content in a new way, providing valuable insights for future productions while minimising the risk associated with a complete shift in content delivery. With your campaign, find a way to propose a controlled risk that not only mitigates objections but also provides valuable insights for refining the strategy.

Influence and Authenticity:

A great way to amplify your message is going to where your audiences are, and today that is social media. Harness the power of influencers who authentically align and social proof your message. One great example is UAE-born Careem – they launched a campaign in 2019 called “Be Careem”, which aimed to celebrate the diversity and individuality of its customers and drivers. The campaign featured real stories and testimonials from people who use Careem, highlighting how the app helps them achieve their goals, express their identity, and overcome challenges. The campaign resonated with a diverse community by showcasing the authentic voices and experiences of people from different backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles, and by promoting a message of empowerment, inclusion, and social impact. The campaign boosted Careem’s brand awareness, love, and loyalty.

Set Measurable Goals with Purpose:

Define measurable metrics that align with the overarching ‘why’ of the client. Establishing clear goals inspired by purpose can guide the campaign’s measure of success. Think of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a daring initiative with a clear mission: to raise awareness and funds for ALS research. The success lay not just in the metrics but in the profound impact on a cause larger than the campaign itself.

The challenge’s success was not only measured by the number of buckets dumped but also by the unprecedented levels of engagement and funds raised. The specific, purpose-driven goals turned the daring initiative into a global movement, showcasing the transformative impact of aligning measurable metrics with a meaningful cause.

In the world of public relations, persuading clients to embrace daring campaigns is not just about taking risks—it’s about embracing the ‘why’ that fuels these bold endeavours. By uncovering the purpose behind a brand and aligning it with the desires of a changing audience, PR professionals can lead clients towards not just innovative campaigns but movements that resonate on a human level. The secret lies in starting with ‘why’ and allowing the daring journey to unfold organically, bringing about transformative change for both the brand and its audience.