Embarking on the second session of Coopr Academy held on Tuesday the 18th of February at the Stroom Hotel in Rotterdam, the team of ten students spent the evening engrossed and intrigued by the presentations held by Jos Govaart and Monique van den Berg. Provided with creative, innovative and practical knowledge the presentations about strategy, insights and media relations definitively pointed the students in the right direction for the upcoming assignment and Pitch.
The evening began with Jos Govaart, the co-founders of Coopr, providing strategies and insight into the world of Public Relations and Marketing. Throughout Jos’ presentation we were kept engaged by utilizing the website www.menti.com where we would provide out opinions on a topic, then discuss and assess the answers, which were then followed by further insights provided by Jos. The questions of ‘what is strategy’ was firstly posed to us and after some discussion the ‘strategic ingredients’ were demonstrated in order to help give us the foundation and direction needed to create our own campaign strategies. The strategy ingredients included noting the hierarchy of the company’s statements, the strategic principles, elements of marketing strategy, the core competences and value propositions. It was interesting to discern the impact that a strategic principle can have on consumers as an example like Nike’s “Just Do It” was a significant principle that we all noted that we were very familiar with.
After a delicious snack break, we returned back to the presentation and learnt about strategic communication, and Jos introduced to us how the first four phases of the Coopr Model which are utilized to create strategy. These four phases included knowing the organizations objectives, know and understand the target audience, how to look for the principle insights and decipher the rationale behind the campaign’s strategy. Putting this into practice, we gained valuable insights from various original executions of campaigns including “Poo-Pourri”, “Hands off!”, “Volvo: Eva”, “Dollar Shave Club”, and “Burger King: Burn that Ad”. After learning about each campaign we had a chance to share what we had perceived were the key insights and effectiveness of each campaign on www.menti.com and it was interesting to thereafter discuss our views.
Each campaign was very entertaining and used different approaches which all proved to be successful. More importantly, it was made evident that most of the cases were skillful in ascribing to the emotions of the consumer, mostly in the form of humour. For example, the Burger King “Burn that Ad” campaign used McDonalds bigger budget of advertisements to their advantage by creating an interactive phone application that ‘burnt’ the already existing McDonalds advertisements and hilariously replaced them with a Burger King advertisement. Therefore, the major success of this campaign was not only due to their clever and humourous attack on their competitors, but also the added incentive provided of gaining a Burger King award which the customers received when using the application. It was interesting to note that there are really many creative ways to create successful strategies and most importantly it was also evident that it is vital to keep the needs of the public in mind.
Moving onto the second part of our evening we had Monique van den Berg, the Coopr PR consultant and account manager who has expertise in media strategy and relations, share her own knowledge and practices. Monique spoke about news and the importance of a PR agencies creating this news for their clients and so the relationship between journalists, clients and PR agencies was further discussed. Stressing that companies tend to believe that their product/ story is always of interest to everyone, we learnt how content and distribution is an intricate and purposeful process. In order to create news, it was emphasized that there are things to consider, such as the relevancy, angles, insights, current public opinions and trends. Monique showed us that as a PR agency you want your story to be featured in all three news phases from breaking news, to added facts news and finally the further details to the background of the stories news. The platforms where the news is exhibited was named the “PR news materials” and we delved deeper into understanding how to choose them strategically. In an activity, we took a look at an example of the launch of the Royole flexible smartphone, and so working in groups we deciphered between what we thought would be the best media channels in offline, online, RTV and social media. This activity demonstrated the value of discerning how and what you should distribute to the news.
Once harnessing the various importance of the media universe, the current buzz word over the past few years called ‘storytelling’ was discussed to be a crucial contributor to creating an effective news worthy story. Insight was gained from the cases of the event “Riot Games” and the new release of the game “Ready Player One”. Thereafter, we then put the learnings from these cases to use by creating a story for either the products of the new Mirage Smart Speaker or the RoWrite 2. Within our group pitches it was evident that the choices and directions that each group made in this activity in creating a story for these products and supporting it with PR materials. This activity proved that establishing and supporting the creative story and choice of PR materials are strategies that can vary substantially.
After a delicious dinner and much engaging discussion, we turned our attention back to the presentation in order to learn how to carry out a media strategy successfully, Monique taught us the rules of the ‘media game’, relating it to the dynamic relationship between the PR agency, client and media. Being alert and prepared were noted to be crucial elements and in order to illustrate these points we learnt about three cases where Monique herself had dealt with and had to negotiate and utilize ‘the rules of the game’. The first case was an interview with Netflix – House of Cards that didn’t go according to plan, the second case study was a news article for Pathe All Stars where the report was altered to the client’s initial dissatisfaction and the third case was the issues Netflix faced after being slated for glamorizing suicide in the series “13 Reasons Why”. These cases taught us how Monique negotiated through the issues faced, and in particular, we learnt how to use the Triple R of regret, reason and remedy in order to resolve and turn around the media issues.
Overall the evening presented itself with engaging presentations, several interesting cases and many key take aways. Discovering the intricacies of PR agencies insights, strategies and media was fascinating and we now know which steps to take at the first stages of working with a client. The practical activities that Jos and Monique challenged us with as a result invited us to delve deeper into the subject matter and look at the practicalities of such campaigns. It was a very thought provoking evening and the learnings will definitely be put to great use when we tackle our own strategic proposal for Chaudfontaine!