So much of PR is about timing, and over the course of a year it is common practise to launch campaigns during hooks in the calendar.
While across the rest of the year we celebrate days like women in tech and international productivity day, in the summer season all we seem to celebrate are days dedicated to ice cream, doughnuts and hugging your cat. It’s all rather silly.
So why is this? It could be simply that the heat sends us all a bit barmy, the hot weather takes many of us away for holidays and that ice cream is simply too good not to have a whole day dedicated to it.
Many of our clients will avoid launching anything during the summer months in case they flop, or because they don’t feel they’d have a particularly captive audience. However, launching in the silly season can be advantageous as there is less competition for share of voice, although of course it does depend on your audience. For example, if you’re launching a behaviour change campaign for school children, aimed at their parents, then the summer holidays might actually be the best time to reach them.
Another advantage of the silly season for PR professionals is that it can be a slow time for journalists. Quite often those talking elephants get a little too much press attention, and the media are on the lookout for something more credible and tied to the hard news agenda. In some cases, you can achieve greater cut through by giving the journalist the exact content they need when no one else is.
After the silly summer comes the even sillier September, when frantic action mode begins. Many brands want to launch campaigns, new products, propositions or generally use September as a time for refreshed thinking or approaches, which means it’s a busy time for comms agencies.
So, what can you do over these hot summer months to make sure they’re not wasted?
- Plan! If you know you’re likely to be deluged with work and campaign launches in September then maximise any ‘downtime’ to ensure you have everything in place, content approved etc. ready to go live once things kick into action mode.
- Don’t see the silly season as ‘off limits’ entirely. Often journalists are looking for credible and impactful content when there’s a real lack of it, but do consider what the objectives are and how receptive your audience will be.
- Spend time reviewing your assets. As things ramp up for clients in September it’s useful if you’ve made sure your shop window is looking the best it can.
- Map out events you (or your clients) plan to attend come September, when typically awards and events season starts… Better to take time prioritising the best ones now while you have the time.
- Review the performance of your campaigns and consider any necessary changes to strategy and approach so you’re ready to activate changes in September. What suppliers do you need to support you?
- Equally, think about any compelling strategic recommendations you could make to your clients in September, bearing in mind the earlier point that they will be looking to start Q4 with fresh ideas and approaches. Don’t wait for them to ask you for your thoughts, proactively share them so they can see how immersed you are in their business.
And lastly, enjoy the summer!