As a man, I've never said this before, so deep breath... here goes:
In my experience, women are naturally better PR clients than men.
There, I said it.... cancel me, call me anti-men or accuse me of favouritism, either way, I'm still right.
So, what do I mean by "better PR clients"?
To answer this, let's consider the below observation by clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson. Discussing trait differences between men and women, he notes that:
"[there is a] male proclivity to be more interested in things than people, compared to women."
Watch the exert below.
Reflect on that assertion for a moment. According to Dr Peterson, broadly speaking, men are interested in things whereas women are generally more interested in people. Consider your friends, family and professional associates, does his theory resonate? I'm guessing it rings true in some instances, but there are notable exceptions, right?
Pleasingly, the merits of Peterson's generalisation aren't the subject of this blog post, rather, we're going to explore 3 reasons why being deliberately and consciously interested in people rather than things helps brands build traction for their PR campaigns and stunts.
When assessing creative PR ideas for your brand (arguably the toughest bit of the PR puzzle) here are 3 people-centric questions you should consider.
1: IS THE IDEA CULTURALLY RELEVANT?
Whatever your product or service, consider how you can integrate it meaningfully into ongoing cultural conversations. One of my favourite recent examples of this came from budget SIM-only mobile network SMARTY, who, early into the UK's cost of living crisis, commissioned research to find out what Brits were doing to reduce their household expenses. The findings were then seeded to influential media publishers — winning the network a landslide of high-profile coverage from The Sun, The Mirror, The Express and more.
Why did this approach work?
Simply put, the study leaned brilliantly into the UK's biggest cultural conversation at the time: money. More critically, SMARTY contributed meaningfully to the conversation by encouraging people to review their outgoings while offering practical ways to lower them.
Naturally, across all earned media coverage, SMARTY was namechecked, so this was far from an exercise in altruism, but the point here is that the focus of their PR was economic difficulties for people rather than affordable SIM cards (things).
NOTE: Don't worry, you don't have to undertake research to be culturally relevant, instead, simply monitor cultural and topical conversations across mainstream media and when one breaks that aligns meaningfully with your product or service, capitalise on it by offering useful comment to key media publishers & journalists.
2: IS THE IDEA PROVOCATIVE OR CONTROVERSIAL?
To be clear, within reason, provocative and controversial ideas are highly conducive to effective PR.
Non-binary British singer Sam Smith, for example, has enjoyed ongoing media coverage this year — in part thanks to some extraordinary wardrobe choices, but mainly because of his inclination to 'de-gender' words. In an interview for BBC's The One Show, asked about his love of fishing, Smith said: "I'd love to be a fisherthem" — shunning the more commonly accepted 'fisherman'.
Some days later, capitalising on the media furore generated from 'fisherthem', Smith is alleged to have insisted that Manchester rename itself 'Theychester' ahead of his gig there.
Sales ultimately dignified this provocative PR manoeuvre; because during the first week of release, Smith enjoyed his fourth No.1 album.
Why did this approach work?
Frankly, the release of a singer's album is an unremarkable thing, but the de-gendering of a noble profession and a British city is an unusual move that people wouldn't expect, thus, the latter spotlights the former by proxy. Write it down... people first, things second.
3: DOES THE IDEA BRING JOY & PLEASURE TO ORDINARY PEOPLE?
Often overlooked, but stunningly powerful, joy is a potent PR tool that we leverage for our clients at every opportunity. Whether it's creating the world's most comfortable train station platform or inviting random shoppers to paint David Beckham, the PR stunts we devise that are rooted in joy and happiness routinely help our clients attract high-profile media coverage and reach their key audiences.
Why does this approach work?
Well, let's consider the proportion of daily news stories that are either tragic, unfortunate or plain depressing in nature... a leftfield story that reminds people of the world's glee offers welcome respite from the gloom.
Moreover, consider the word news — it contains the word new, right? Stories that are fresh, innovative and contain new ideas are highly-prized among media publishers, especially if said story depicts ordinary people in a state of happiness or surprise. Why? Because these are the stories people most enjoy sharing!
In my experience, the toughest part of building a successful PR campaign for a client is defining the hook or angle i.e. figuring out why anyone should care about their product/service. This is the most critical question you should ask yourself when trying to engage audiences with PR.
To improve your odds of finding a viable answer, I recommend switching your focus from "How do we get our product/service out there?" to "How do we engage the people out there?" The distinction between these two questions is one I've noticed female clients assimilate quicker than male clients. Men are more inclined to want to 'sell' to people whereas women are more inclined to want to initiate a conversation with them.
Of course, this sweeping generalisation is not absolute, I encounter exceptions all the time, but broadly speaking, it is a truism.
Now, if anything I've written here offends you as a man, well, if POINT 2 of this blog post is correct, I'll not only enjoy a little media fame as a result, but by the end of the week, I'll be a big deal on Spotify, too, so not bothered.