Making a PR U-Turn

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You know what they say about best-laid plans – not everything works out for the best, no matter how hard you try. You could literally come up with the best PR idea in the history of the known world, and due to any number of factors, it might still backfire at some point. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault, times change and good ideas go bad.


In this case, it’s smart to think how you can make a U-turn with your campaign. If you’ve ever caught yourself going the wrong way down a street, you have two options: flip around or find some side roads to sneak down. Often, hitting a U-turn is easiest, although it means covering old ground. The same goes for your PR strategy.

When It’s Important

Generally I’m all about making little changes to a strategy to fix it – giant leaps usually aren’t the best way to go about things. But once in a while that’s exactly what you need to do. If you find your current PR strategy just isn’t doing it (or worse, actively chasing people away) it’s time to switch things completely around.

Of course the first major thing to do is isolate exactly what’s going wrong with your strategy. It could be anything from the medium you’re using to the entire focus of the thing – whatever it is, try and narrow it down to one or two key points. Perhaps it’s something as simple to identity as the pop star who endorses your brand taking a nose dive in popular opinion. This can give you a much easier time deciding where to pull that U-turn.

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After that, it’s time to figure out exactly what your 180 will be. If you’ve primarily focused on an online presence, going into the real world might be better. Maybe you’ve focused too much on the “healthy” aspects of your new food product – could it be your audience really wants to know how delicious it is?

Audience Expectations

One major thing to consider when thinking about pulling a U-turn in the middle of a campaign is the expectations of your audience. While your current PR strategy may not be working, some of your fans have undoubtedly noticed what you’ve been doing. When you pull the ol’ switcheroo they’re bound to be a little confused and shocked.

This could lead to some of them bailing on you altogether. It’s a risk you have to take when you switch directions – people generally like things the way they’ve “always been,” even if “always” hasn’t really been that long!

If that formerly healthy food suddenly goes “delicious and bad for you,” you’ve immediately lost a large subsection of your audience who did care about their health. Their expectations have not only NOT been met, they’ve been completely knocked over with an uppercut. This is precisely why you have to be careful with pulling such a large move; if you don’t think it’s worth it to risk your entire audience, it’s not worth doing.

Have you ever pulled a 180 on a campaign?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free 160-page copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here:

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