Invention in PR Makes Media “Go Bananas” for Savannah’s Bananas
Over the last two years, Savannah Bananas CEO Jesse Cole and his team have earned coverage on ESPN, CBS Sunday Morning and HBO Real Sports, and in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times based on a simple, but much-needed idea -- making baseball more fun for the fans.
Image source: FOX 55
Yesterday, he posted about a topic of importance to us here at MGH -- the number of times people have asked him which PR firm he’s using to earn that coverage. He immediately acknowledged that he doesn’t use a PR firm.
And that’s ok. Because it isn’t about who does the PR work. It’s about doing the PR work the right way.
His post ends with this:
"The key for us wasn't bringing on a PR Firm to help promote us and generate media attention. The key was creating the greatest show and fan experience possible. The key was becoming the ONLY in our Industry and differentiating our product and experience every step of the way. We all can achieve that and everything else will take care of itself."
Too often, PR firms and in-house PR team members are asked to earn media coverage or generate compelling content around products, services or concepts that just aren’t that interesting.
The result is a belief, held by some of the people who hire PR agencies or who manage in-house PR teams, that PR practitioners should just leverage their contacts or ingenuity to magically make something out of nothing. Sometimes this approach will work. But most of the time, it won’t, leaving all parties frustrated and disappointed.
The most effective way to earn media coverage is exactly what Jesse and the Savannah Bananas did when they reinvented baseball to have dancing players, a two-hour time limit and a rule where batters are called out when a fan catches a foul ball in the stands. This baked the “media hooks” right into the product at its creation.
Image source: GoadNews
It’s why PR should always be at the table when it’s time to make something new…or make something better. It’s something my long-time friend and communications pioneer Adam Ritchie calls Invention in PR, and it's the best path to sustained PR success.
The Savannah Bananas changed what fans could expect when they went to a game, and that became the news.
I will disagree slightly with Jesse on his final statement that “everything else will take care of itself” once you have a solid invention that opens the doors for PR success.
This is where having solid media contacts, knowing how to package a media-friendly pitch, and working through the details that come with a large on-site TV package makes all the difference. And it doesn’t matter if that work is done by in-house PR staff or a PR agency.
The key elements to PR success are this:
Give PR practitioners a seat at the table for product and service invention/creation. Their knowledge of consumer and media trends, market research and what’s newsworthy is a major asset that will pay off in the end.
Have a PR team -- in-house, agency or a combination -- that’s adept at key message development, media training, media pitching and media relations, allowing your organization to take your new product or service to market.
THEN, everything else will take care of itself.
Keep these helpful tips in mind the next time you want to earn news coverage that makes people “Go Bananas".