The analytical PR approach that is winning awards
MVF is a new style of marketing and lead generation organisation. Their unique content platforms generate marketing and sale leads which means they provide growth and a strong ROI to clients.
When we noticed their PR team’s wealth of coverage being generated every month we just had to find out more about their approach.
This week I caught up with MVF head or PR Grace Garland to find out more...
What does innovation mean to the MVF PR team?
Innovation is at the heart of everything we do. Have you ever tried to publicise a business that specialises in card payment systems and franking machines?! Expert Market is one of our key brands and does just that, but we have managed to make national newspapers on a weekly basis through thinking cleverly outside of our direct brand offering and thanks to the creative genius of our teams.
Getting coverage for consumer brands with great product imagery is a walk in the park in comparison - our amazing outreachers secure global coverage each week for brands that specialise in things like air source heat pumps or photocopiers - if that isn’t innovative thinking I don’t know what is!
Instead of trying to get people excited about the latest franking machine model, we have positioned our brands as data and research specialists, finding out things like which countries have the most determined entrepreneurs or which country will close the gender pay gap first.
Creative break-out area
What is the creative process for some of those campaigns?
We have big brainstorms across our teams - there are around 15 people creating outreach content for our 5 key in-house brands and we have regular ‘brand swaps’ so that people get the chance to generate ideas for brands they don’t work on and we can all benefit from our collective brain power. These sessions have brought us some of most successful campaigns such as ‘Putting MoveHub on the Map’ which won us a Drum award, or our video of kids learning about the gender pay gap.
We are now introducing cross-departmental brainstorms too as we have found there are some great ideas from other teams - including several from our CEO.
Some of our best campaigns are data-led so analysis is a big part of our campaign development. Once we have our creative concept we then back up with data.
We use nearly-all publicly available research and then cross-reference it to get a new finding, such as average earnings around the world against the price of a one day travel card in each city to get the cost of commuting around the world. It means our campaigns cost are very low-cost to create, they just take a bit of number crunching.
What are the skill sets behind your team's success?
Because so much of what we do is data-led they need to be analytical, which is perhaps not a skill everyone would put at the top of the list for traditional PR. Also having an understanding of the business strategy is key, so that we are driving traffic and awareness to the right things at the right time.
This, combined with creativity, and a willingness to try concepts that might fail make for a perfect PR.
MVF comms team
What tools could you and/or your team not live without?
CoverageBook.com - This is not sponsored! It has literally changed the way we report and is especially good for collating the top-line information for stakeholders. I’m not sure if everyone reads our reports but at least they may well read our overall metrics and CoverageBook.com makes that really appealing.
What PR measurement is important to your business?
PR sits within a wider publishing team here which includes Search Engine Optimisation specialists so we are lucky that we get lots of information fed back to us about traffic and the impact our coverage has had.
Just this month we were able to see the direct effect of coverage on a new site - MoveHub France. With just one campaign which is out now (The Top 10 Cities to Live in in France) we have seen visits to the site go from 49 to 1,568.
I like to rave about traffic increases direct from coverage because it's something everyone in the business can understand. So often in PR, even though you know you are having an impact, it is hard to prove it, so things like this reaffirm the importance of what we do in a tangible way.
The other essential that will never change is access to contacts. We use Gorkana as our database but also build a lot of targeted press lists - as a PR contacts and measurement will always be your most valuable assets.
Grace Garland, head of PR
What book has inspired you?
Most of the books I read to do with my profession are about women in business, rather than the profession itself. I am currently reading Dawn Foster's Lean Out which has lots of really interesting comments on the undervaluing of jobs like PR which are so attached to relationship building and emotional labour.
For more positive inspiration Sheryl Sandberg and Tina Fey's books are wonderfully empowering - I have them on audiobook as the central line does not allow you to have arms.
Step inside other innovative PR teams:
Read our interview with Johan van der Zanden, Communications Director at ING Bank and hear how Agile transformed their global PR.
Gisele Navarro, head of media relations at Neomam Studios reveals the tech secrets behind her team's success here.