Crafting the News, with an Eye on the Future

Posted on April 15, 2015 by Marian Salzman

PRWeek

[Originally posted on PRWeek.com.]

Everybody in PR today is so preoccupied with social media strategy and digital platforms that it borders on the obsessive. At Havas PR North America, we get close to the core of what PR is all about through newscrafting—surveying the landscape and identifying microtargets that spell growth for the brands we shepherd.

Feeding into our newscrafting expertise is our other specialty as dedicated trendspotters. We’re always keeping our eye on what’s next and playing to the strength of passionate populations. As a result, we often see a now-and-next thread that we can weave through the stories we tell for our clients.

Right now, for instance, we’re seeing a strong, compelling thread emphasizing gluten-free eating. Based on our holistic sightings—and backed up by evidence such as 3.6 million results when you Google gluten-free—Havas PR has carved out a portfolio with a cutting-edge niche: the gluten-free movement, which we’re packaging into the first-ever dedicated PR practice in the U.S. for gluten-free products.

It’s a story resonating across the country for us. In the Southwest, as part of our assignment as AOR for the quickly growing Fox Restaurant Concepts, Havas PR nailed the launch of Sam Fox’s first stand-alone Juby True, a cold-pressed-juice bar. We certainly juiced the market, too. Our careful crafting of the news for a small local opening scored 4 million–plus media impressions in print and on screens of all sizes. It felt like it was raining juice in Phoenix with all the broadcast clips.

From a Northeast base, we support B&G Snacks as its popular Pirate’s Booty keeps growing and expanding its line, highlighting the fact that it is—and always has been—gluten-free nirvana for moms and kids (and, OK, the rest of us).

The company had its first branded float in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last year, and our media push, with an assist from a very animated pirate mascot, resulted in huge coverage ranging from national morning shows to regional mom bloggers.

We also helped B&G Snacks launch its new gluten-free CLVR bar from Rickland Orchards, and we’ve been the driving force behind the meteoric rise of Ruby Rocket’s. Those fruit-and-veggie frozen snacks made with all-natural ingredients have one of the lowest sugar counts of any frozen ice pop. Havas PR has driven a hyperlocal approach with the brand, facilitating its introduction to schools through healthy-eating assemblies and orchestrating appearances at healthy-foods expos, among other programs.

Our chief strategic officer, who on her own time got certified in nutritional counseling, lives a gluten-free lifestyle, and so do others on our team. So what I’m saying is we don’t just live our work; we eat it, too.

In other niche news, we recognized through trendspotting, client experience, and research that Hispanic marketing isn’t just a “nice to have” but a “must-have.” Now Havas PR has a burgeoning Hispanic practice; what other agency alerted a client about Antonio Banderas’ comings and goings on Easter, for example?

Through our new Phoenix office, we’re also growing a Native American specialty, supporting the Navajo Nation and University of Arizona law professors defending sacred land now being sold as a ski area with greywater.

By identifying what’s driving the future, we gain direction for piloting brands with smart, insightful strategies focused on long-term success. Weaving those future-centric, on-trend elements into the stories we craft for clients makes sure they own the trends that others are just following.

Our motto for our clients and our agency sums it up: Don’t just be in the news; be the news.

[photo: Thinkstock]

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