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CPG product launch media coverage is vital to successful CPG product launches. A product launch is an important event for any company – and even more so for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. Successful product launches can result in increased market share, brand awareness, and sales. And while there are many different ways to execute a product launch, using public relations (PR) is often a smart strategy. Here are three great ways to use PR for a CPG product launch.

One key strategy regardless of how you product launch: for consumer products, it’s exceptionally important that your consumer product launch media coverage and marketing stand out in the competitive environment for consumer attention. 

 

  1. Secure Early CPG Product Launch Media Coverage & Stay Consistent

For any new CPG, consumer trust is a prerequisite for great sales. Consumer PR leads in trust, so it’s important that consumer packaged goods companies secure early coverage to build consumer trust, awareness, and excitement for their cpg product launch PR. 

Traditional tactics would include samples and a press release. A more modern PR approach is a well-developed, and SEO-optimized media sample kit and specific information a journalist needs to write a winning review of the new product. If you’re pitching digital outlets or podcasts that aren’t generated months in advance, another approach is pitching consumer reporters on-trend stories that will include your product as an example. Securing coverage in the early stages of a product launch will help to set the tone for the campaign and generate excitement among consumers and retailers.

Plan on aggressive PR focusing on earned media throughout the first year. If you’re satisfied with market share after the first year, you may consider moving to more brand awareness PR vs. earned media CPG PR

 

  1. Execute A Distinctive Social Media Strategy

Social media is a key channel for consumer packaged goods companies to reach their target audience. Think about how your target demographic uses social media, especially their interests. From there, think of content your target audience would particularly appreciate and where the content will work best. For example, you may have a video for Facebook and YouTube because the content is best suited to the ways your customers use those platforms. On the other hand, you may do something different from Instagram and TikTok. It’s truly time for CPG companies to think beyond the traditional influencer campaign. Be creative. For example, Bounty towels recently hired influencers to put Bounty in the background of their videos – this is a twist on product placements. P.S. be sure you stay out of hot water with the FCC and be sure to disclose the relationship. Always consider how your content can create newsworthy buzz to get extra mileage and earned media. Contests and giveaways can also be incorporated to generate consumer interest around the product launch.

  1. CPG Product Launch Media Coverage Boost: Leverage Paid Media

 

While there are many other strategies and tactics that consumer packaged goods companies can use to support a product launch, these three strategies are a good place to start. By executing a solid consumer packaged goods PR strategy and supporting it with paid media, consumer packaged goods companies will be well-equipped to win the consumer product launch battle.

Since our inception, we’ve been helping consumer packaged goods companies win the launch of their new products. In that time, we have learned many critical elements to a successful consumer packaged goods PR campaign. While there are many strategies and tactics, here are three simple things you can do for your next CPG product launch

 

BONUS: Rethinking Media Placements

Modern PR content strategies take digital media into consideration, and media placements are no exception. For both consumer PR and B2B PR, there are considerable opportunities for media placements – from thought leadership to affiliate marketing on media sites. There are a multitude of great opportunities to consider within the context of media placements.

 

For product launches, Avaans Media has decades of experience from consumer to B2B.Read more about our previous work here.

What Should You Really Be Look For In A PR Firm?

Whenever I talk to someone hiring a PR firm, I really have empathy. We know, hiring a PR firm can be daunting. With increasing frequency, we’re hearing stories from clients who have experienced “bad PR.” We hate to hear that, because we know it’s important for our entire professional to provide exceptional services. More importantly, we know it’s important to you when making a PR investment. What should you ask before hiring a modern PR firm?

We truly believe many of these stories are because of client and agency being a mismatch rather than a “bad PR firm.” Taking a deeper look at PR before hiring a PR firm can save you money, and time. We can attribute much of this to the vast distinctions between how PR agencies operate and handle their clients. The intention of this piece is to provide you with questions we would be asking OUR PR firm before we hired them, and why those questions are important. Also, consider these “6 great questions you can ask us before hiring Avvans PR”

6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Next PR Firm

Do You Understand Our Product?

Ask yourself how important a baseline understanding of your product or industry is to your communications. We’ve heard story after story of people unhappy with their PR firm because their PR firm doesn’t understand an emerging industry’s regulations or technology. Understanding the industry isn’t just important from a regulatory and technical perspective, it’s also the ability to monitor relevant news, understand what’s relevant (and what isn’t) and move quickly. Now, that’s not to say that a beauty PR can’t handle B2B PR for the industry, but expect to educate your firm.

What tradeshows and conferences has your team attended?
Does your PR firm understand what makes your product distinct within your industry?
What publications are writing about your vertical?

Before Hiring a PR Firm, Establish Clearly Defined Ways of Measuring Success for PR

Most companies today want consistent placement, strategic oversight, and outstanding communication. But what else? In a mature, less regulated industry, a PR firm typically works with multiple other firms from branding to experiential to an ad agency.

PR is THE leading brand trust and awareness tool.

In addition to earned media, companies should be looking at additional metrics for PR, such as SEO value. Website traffic, brand mentions, brand name reach, and even share of voice are all KPIs that are relevant, depending on the overall strategy. Your PR firm should be ready and able to provide those kinds of metrics to you every month. Changes in public perception or decreased sales cycle are also metrics with which PR can support. If you’re measuring your PR firm against KPIs like this, work with your PR firm to set a baseline and a reasonable timeframe.

To really maximize your PR, look to incorporate your content, whether it’s through your PR agency’s content services, or your own, be sure to align the key messages and the topics.

Is the Fee Structure Fair & Does It Make Sense?

Most PR firms work on a retainer, so make sure you have an understanding of what’s included in your retainer?

Does the firm charge for wire releases?
Is branded content included, and if so, does that extend to graphic design?
Is there a markup on expenses incurred by the PR agency and if so, what is it?
Are off-site activations included?
How are hours tracked?

There’s no single way to manage a retainer, so asking questions like this upfront will give you a deeper understanding. Be fearless about asking these questions, after all, you’re the client. You should expect a rationale that isn’t arbitrary. While you may view this as a negotiation opportunity, be wary of cutting the budget to the point where your brand isn’t on the radar daily. You want your PR firm engaged with your brand on a daily basis – make sure you’re getting that because the alternative often provides unsatisfactory results. A great PR firm will be transparent about their billing methods.  Financial terms form the foundation of your relationship with your PR firm. Get that right and find a balance that works for you and your PR firm.

Look for Good Personal Chemistry in Your PR Firm

While this one is tough to put on a spreadsheet, asking some tough questions will often reveal the quality of the chemistry. As an engaged client, you should be working with your cannabis PR experts regularly and you REALLY want that process to be enjoyable. Make sure your company culture meshes well with your cannabis PR firm’s value system.  Teams who like one another, work better together. If you’re not gelling with someone in the first call, chances are, that’s not going to change.

Compatability breeds productivity and results.

Before Hiring Your Next PR Firm, Consider: Location, Location, Location

Before you start narrowing down your PR firms, decide how important location is to you. We think having account presence in major journalism markets, like Los Angeles and New York is a priority, but if you’re the person who needs to meet face-to-face once a week, acknowledge that and find a firm close to your base of operations and hire a PR firm that’s near by.

Flexibility AND Systems

Pay close attention to the systems your PR firm uses and also take notice of their flexibility.

For starters, there should also be a clearly defined exit clause in the contract.

Who owns content?
How will the PR firm handle future press inquires when/if the engagement ends?
What is the cancelation agreement?

Your PR should have systems and processes in place, but those systems and processes should also be nimble enough to manage the PR world. For example, getting a press release right is exceptionally important, but it shouldn’t take your PR firm a week to write it. You should be able to review the first draft within hours on an emergency or breaking news circumstance. On the other hand, there should be a consistent drum beat and strategy behind media relations.  Which bring us to:

A Strategic Approach That Makes Sense

Before hiring, your  PR firm should be able to articulate an approach and strategy that makes sense to you. While credible PR firms won’t reveal details about clients, they should be able to articulate some case studies of  PR strategies and why they worked. For example, provide an experience that required a decision to respond to industry news. When, where, and how you respond to breaking industry news is determined by your brand strategy, BUT your PR should be able to articulate a strategy and when/why it worked. Your PR firm should have some strategic storylines and outlines in mind for your brand, which proves they’ve done a little research. Even if they aren’t perfectly on-brand, at least you’re starting with a strategy that is better than starting from zero. Avaans takes a slightly different approach by providing strategic research and competitive analysis before you even work with us.

Public relations isn’t new, but cannabis PR hasn’t been around very long, relative to PR. You’ve probably heard that PR is an excellent investment in your company, particularly because of limited advertising options. But maybe you’re still wondering what you should expect from cannabis PR.

Here are 9 reasons every cannabis company should invest in cannabis PR. 

  1. Great content inspires trust, creates credibility, and increases brand value. 
    There is no greater content than an unpaid third party. Cannabis consumers today are hip to the fact that influencers, affiliates, and advertising are all getting paid to say what you want them to say. But journalists remain independent and adhere to a code of ethics and that’s exactly what makes their content so trusted and valuable.
  2. Allows a company to own its own story.
    Cannabis companies who fail to invest in cannabis PR are basically allowing everyone else, from media to competitors to customers, to create your brand story. Why not author your own brand’s story? That’s what PR allows you to do.

    “PR is not something a CEO can do herself.  PR is a highly specialized vertical with a distinctive set of talents, relationships and experience, plus, it takes an exceptional amount of time away from running the company. An agency allows CEOs to get back to their highest and best use of time.Tara Coomans, CEO, Avaans Media 

  3. Cannabis PR outlasts advertising and social media.
    Unlike advertising which turns off the minute you finish paying, PR sticks around indefinitely. We’ve placed pieces which continued to drive traffic and conversation 3-4 years later. What advertising or social media has that kind of longevity?
  4. Amplify and maximize your cannabis message.
    A strong cannabis PR program typically involves media relations. Media relations means your PR team is working with journalists who are interested in the verticals your brand best fits into. For example, if you’re a cannabis beauty brand, you’ll have stories you want to tell to each vertical.
  5. Building community capital. 
    As we’ve discussed previously, crisis and downturns happen. Having relationships in the media is particularly important when you need support. An ongoing media relations campaign provides trust both with journalists and the public which you can put in the bank and earn interest on for a rainy day. Plus, if you have a crisis, which is all too common in the cannabis industry, then you having a PR firm on retainer could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in brand value, wasted time, and crisis PR fees. A PR agency you’re already working with knows you best, and knows how to handle your crisis in a brand consistent way.

    “When we discuss the value of PR, we often forget about the sales, M&A and partnerships that come more easily because PR drives trust and shortens the sales cycle,” Tara Coomans, CEO Avaans Media 

  6. Compliments sales efforts. 
    Ask any salesperson, distributor, or business development executive what happens when they can reference a piece in major industry or national publications. Suddenly, people start paying attention. Adding your coverage on your website, sales materials, and other external communications amplify your cannabis PR.
  7. Creates an opportunity to consider your cannabis company’s impact.
    Ongoing PR makes a company and it’s stakeholders consistently aware of its impact on people. This is important because it’s those same people who have perceptions that shape the company’s values and builds (or damages) its reputation.
  8. PR IS content. Content is a big buzzword today, but PR has always been about content, the only thing that’s changed is that there are more avenues to share content. That’s why so many cannabis PR firms also offer social media and/or event marketing services. PR’s perspective provides a well-rounded point of view that makes content more accessible, shareable, and timely.
  9. Enhances digital efforts like SEO. 
    Online earned media is usually chock full of relevant keywords and known publications have strong SEO signals. Consistent media placement helps with organic search results and the best part is, the efforts pay increasing dividends over time.If you’re ready to invest in PR to get all these benefits and more, why not find out more about whether you’re a good fit for Primo PR’s services? 

Plan for public relations success with these critical 3 tips

A little advance planning can make all the difference between public relations success and public relations frustration.  Public relations is increasingly important for companies and there’s nothing like a new year to give your brand and company a fresh image. PR firms are here to be your partners in success. As you pull levers for world domination next year, lean on your  PR firm so that together you’re on the same page about how you mutually define success, this is especially important for emerging industries and fast-growing brands. Here are 3 tips for working with a PR firm or formulating your in-house PR plan.

1.Determine Your Measurable PR Goals for Public Relations Success

PR success comes when there’s absolute clarity about goals. Your PR goals should match your business goals; make sure your PR firm knows how you’re REALLY defining success. Don’t hide your perspective from your PR firm and expect that the results you want will magically appear.  Make sure your  PR goals align and support your activations, product launches, and partnerships.

PR and marketing goals and KPIs should be:

  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant

The two most important considerations when defining your goals is ensuring that they are measurable and ambitious enough to be significant but attainable with your budgets and efforts.

Measuring your PR and marketing efforts should include a baseline so you can track improvement. If you don’t have a baseline, you may need to evaluate how you will measure success and it may require something like an industry average or an industry survey. At Avaans, we include a number of KPIs during our monthly reviews, these KPIs are tracked the same way every month, so over time, we can really pinpoint what works and what doesn’t for each brand. We’re completely transparent with our clients about how we came to those KPIs and why they’re essential for us to track internally for cannabis PR success.

Attainability is an important KPI. If you’re shooting for the stars, make sure all your assets are in place to support that goal. Assets also include time and brainpower.

There should be KPIs for marketing and KPIs for PR that have crossover. For example, new website visitors, inbound links to your website, both of those metrics will be impacted by both PR and marketing initiatives.  Sometimes we hear people say that they don’t want to give PR and Marketing joint KPIs because they feel it reduces responsibility, but when your KPIs are aligned with your overall business goals that encourages your PR firm and marketing agency to work together to accomplish the company’s mission-ultimately it’s not about pitting one set of KPIs against one another, it’s about achieving success and measuring respective impact.

2. Define Your Target Audiences

As a PR firm that works with highly ambitious brands, we often hear goals like “We want to be featured in XYZ publication.

When a single piece of press helps secure millions of dollars in funding, throwing all your efforts at securing that press is worth almost any PR and activation fees. That’s a great goal, so consider who your ultimate audience really is for any publication so you can set yourself up for public relations success. Many times, public relations success is defined by a share of voice within a specific audience.

Your audiences may be in the B2B space; they may be consumers, they may be investors, or partners. Be clear on who you’re trying to reach with each KPI and objectives-share your objectives with your PR firm, so they’re clear on where you REALLY want to be.

Sometimes earning national press, even when you’re only in a few markets, is strategic as the audience is potential investors or industry partners who like knowing that the brands they’re partnering with have enough clout to secure national coverage.  Alternatively, you may want to show that your brand is well received by multiple consumer types, in which case you may wish to have press in particular interest verticals.

3. Plan for Public Relations Success and Budget Your Activities

Public relations is an incredibly broad level to pull. Within your budget, you should be allocating events, sponsorships, social media, media relations, and asset/owned media development.

Chances are, in order to reach your pr and cannabis marketing goals, you’ll need to execute on some initiatives.

And, you’ll need a corresponding budget for these activities. A good marketing and public relations firm can help you allocate your budget to match your objectives.

At the very least they can tell you how to best allocate an over-all budget or at least inform you of best practices and first steps. A great example of this is events – events can be held for all sorts of objectives, from customer appreciation to media awareness. While both of those objectives MIGHT turn into earned media, it’s important you consider what it will take to earn press coverage on an event, before you spend the money on an event. Sponsorships are another area where the activation is an important marketing objective, but PR may be able to help you define some ways to use your sponsorship in a way that improves your industry image or earns you media coverage.

Need Some More Direction? Give Us a Call

The cannabis industry is growing rapidly, and with that growth comes an increasing demand for cannabis conferences and events, like the granddaddy, MJ Biz in Las Vegas. Obtaining media coverage at a crowded conference is almost never an accident. Maximize your event budget with these 3 strategies that will get you PR at MJ Biz.

Think Like a Journalist and Plan Ahead

When you think about your cannabis marketing budget and calendar, you probably think about your needs or your customer’s needs, but for effective press coverage, add journalists and their needs. We’ve helped our clients stand out from the competitive cannabis show floors like MJ Biz with ideas that make the lives of journalists easier. When you think about what the day is like for a journalist who visits the trade show floor, you’ll get some empathy for their jobs. They’re looking for trends readers will click through to read while also looking for a distinctive point of view that will be different from every other journalist’s article. Ultimately, the journalist has the same challenge as you: standing out from the very crowded field.

Look at the trends impacting the cannabis industry and ancillary topics for ideas that will get you ahead of the competition on the expo floor. Think about how these trends are impacting the larger economy or general public and think about how you can talk about that trend in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the conference. A well-oiled cannabis industry expo PR campaign will include social media, direct media outreach, and perhaps even a press release.

Double Down on Expo Activations

From sponsorships to events, to stunts and ambassadors, the reason everyone loves a cannabis conference is there are so many ways to elevate your presence and raise awareness when there’s a captive audience.

While cannabis samples aren’t allowed on trade show floors, many cannabis companies get around this by hosting private events – at MJ Biz in Las Vegas, there are literally 10-30 private cannabis events every night. Given the saturation of these events, many companies look to stand out in other ways.

Think about guerilla marketing campaigns that leave an impression by following the event attendees around the city. This could include everything from subtle cues to flash mobs. A treasure hunt that rewards attendees and drives them to your booth is a good idea. This kind of word of mouth can intrigue cannabis journalists and give them an incentive to learn more.

Invite Cannabis Journalists

Before the MJ Biz Conference in Las Vegas, think about what scheduled activities will happen in your booth. Having a schedule of appearances, activities, or activations at your booth gives everyone an incentive to be there at a certain time, and who doesn’t love a crowd?

Then, give journalists a sneak peek. Reach out to journalists who will be covering MJ Biz and give them the schedule of events, activations, and on-trend topics your company is talking about at MJ Biz so the media knows where to find you and what’s interesting. Consider providing assets like quotes, images, and/or b-roll videos to journalists in advance. Being a resource to journalists is always a great way to make in-roads with media.

MJ Biz is one of the biggest and best-attended cannabis conferences in the U.S., but it certainly isn’t the only one. We keep an updated list of cannabis conferences available for download.

If you’d like more on-brand and tailored ideas that will maximize your cannabis expo investment, contact us directly. But don’t wait – the best campaigns come from thoughtful planning.

 That’s a question that many business owners and CMOs are asking themselves in today’s digital age. The answer, unfortunately, is not a simple one.

Before we talk about press releases, let’s take a step back and look at some basic PR knowledge and when and where press releases do work. 

Pros and Cons of Press Releases

On the one hand, press releases can be an incredibly valuable tool for getting your story out there and reaching a wider audience. They can help you build credibility with media outlets and create a positive image for your brand.

On the other hand, press releases can be quite expensive to produce and distribute, and they may not always be effective in reaching your target audience. 

Given the state of the press in today’s media-saturated environment, press releases do this: more people see them than they did years ago when people actually opened their mailboxes to find physical press releases with paper clips on them! Today’s press releases aren’t exclusive to journalists. In fact, most PR experts agree: press releases do little to gain earned coverage. Direct pitching an inside scoop is much more effective. 

But, press releases are still an effective way for organizations to disseminate news to journalists, media outlets, and bloggers in a format that is easily digestible by search engines. This allows for wider distribution of your message, which will eventually lead to backlinks and press mentions. However, if you’re looking for tangible ROI from press releases, you might be disappointed – press releases are not the silver bullet for marketing success.        

9 Reasons Why You Should Issue a Press Release

Whether or not to issue press releases is a decision that should be made on a case-by-case basis with your PR agency. If they recommend press releases, there may be a few reasons why: 

1) Well-written press releases are an effective part of an SEO strategy and improving search engine rankings. 

2) Press releases help to establish your company or organization as an authority in your field.

3) Issuing press releases can help you to build relationships with journalists and bloggers.

4) Press releases can enhance the all-important trust factor.

5) Press releases can be a way to spread the news about your company’s products and services during slow news periods.

6) Issuing press releases is a great way to stay connected to journalists and bloggers who might write or blog about you in the future.

7) Press releases can serve as “proof” that you are actively involved in your industry if someone were to call out of the blue for this reason.

8) Well-written press releases can establish thought leadership, which may help attract new clients down the road.

9) In today’s world, press releases can be powerful social media content tools — if they’re written well, quickly go through press mentions and social sharing.

A modern PR agency can help you determine whether press releases are the right tool for your organization and, if so, how to write them in a way that will garner the most attention. For more information on press releases and other aspects of effective PR, please contact us.