- November 26, 2013, Mark Lusky
Okay, this is going to sound really “old-fashioned,” so digital snobs may want to hold their noses. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, PR people used to send (yes, gasp, via snail mail) novelty pitch pieces and items to media they wanted to court.
Gadgets and trinkets have ranged from bobble-head dolls and bottles of wine to elaborate “media kits” designed to entertain and wow the media. Given that digital communications have largely replaced face-to-face contact, mail, and the like, this could be a great time to pitch the media using product containers and packaging with clever, avant-garde labels.
That said, let’s get decidedly low-tech for a moment and play with how product labels can encourage positive press. Here are some starter ideas:
- Thought-provokers. Make the label pose an intriguing question relevant to the product in the bottle or container. A QR code on the back can send the reader to information/answers. For example, a nutraceutical manufacturer can challenge “western medicine” with a query about a specific condition that ties to the product. This can be a series of deliveries featuring different Q and A. (Don’t make this a direct pitch for your product. Just give the media some food for thought, the best way to contact the manufacturer and let the process unfold from there.)
- Education. Target appropriate media with noteworthy factoids about the product. For a hot sauce manufacturer, this could be a series of statements about hot sauce quality, including quantity of heat via a discussion of Scoville units and the greening of the hot sauce world. This can be a series of deliveries with labels on featured products.
- Expert advice offer. Invite the media to reach out to a particular manufacturer that can offer insightful, authoritative news and views. As part of this label invite, make it clear that the primary purpose is to establish a meaningful, mutually beneficial relationship—and not just to snare some quick coverage. Just as the public at-large, media folks like to do stories about people they like. Give them good information and a reason to develop a relationship. Ultimately, this can prove far more beneficial coverage-wise than all the blatant media pitches in the world.
- Mutual influence. In today’s digital environment, anyone can become a publisher. For product manufacturers that have established strong center-of-influence presence, there could be mutual benefit to promoting each other. While this likely will carry more weight when approaching more grassroots-level media (e.g., an influential blogger versus a major trade publication), use labels to ask the following question in some form: How can we help each other?
- Direct pitch. When the topic is strong enough, using a product label to make a direct story pitch can have merit. Just be sure the idea will appeal, in concept at least, to the media being targeted. Do not make it a blatant, self-serving pitch. Do make it something enticing enough to recipient(s) to spur some positive response.
As most of the world concentrates on digital communications, consider using product labels and traditional delivery systems to make a novel statement.
Mark Lusky is president of Lusky Enterprises Inc., a marketing communications and content development company. Since 2008, he has worked with Lightning Labels, a Denver-based all-digital custom label printing company, as a content developer specializing in expert advice articles. Lusky presents common-sense ideas grounded in doing what’s real and right for managing and enhancing public image.