From the B-word to the M-word it has seemed impossible to get any other word in edgewise for some time now.
Brexit, Megxit.….dominating the news agenda with one story has never been so trend-setting.
No doubt there will have been many a PR who red-penciled January in the diary for a well-planned push or two post-election, post-Christmas, supposedly post-almost everything and then Meghan and Harry dropped their bombshell announcement.
Thousands of column inches later and frankly getting any journalist to take note of anything other than the Royal crisis is ten times harder.
When almost every print and online publication both sides of the Atlantic are devoting pages and pages to such burning issues as whether or not Meghan’s dogs have a new address then there’s not much room for anything else.
Both Brexit and the departure of brand Sussex from the senior tiers of the monarchy have all the elements of a great story – we know that as journalists.
It’s naive to think they wouldn’t gatecrash the news agenda and take it hostage and possibly for months on end. Make that years in the case of Brexit.
So where does that leave the brands that don’t have a departing duchess to whet the appetites of a media landscape which is fiercely competitive?
They have to look at things differently and get way more creative and imaginative to stand out from the crowd.
From a PR point of view Brexit and Megxit raise slightly different challenges. Brexit has on the whole forewarned us when it is going to get interesting and create a hashtag frenzy. From key votes in parliament to the date of the election we have known the flash-points mostly in advance.
Whereas it wasn’t just the Queen blindsided by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex having their “F**k this” New Year moment.
In terms of PR there are key things to remember in both situations. If you know an event is coming which has the potential to have every journalist and influencer tied to the keyboard 24 hours a day for the foreseeable then it may be best to avoid that time for any kind of publicity push. Diary is king here. Alternatively if you can’t move your timeline make it work for you. Can you say something about the biggest talking point of the day? Say it differently and you will be heard. We have secured numerous slots on national television for clients by finding out what Brexit means for them and offering that opinion in a journalist-friendly package knowing that’s all they want to talk about but need unique and ever-evolving takes on it.
Constantly assess the mood too – we have again bagged thousands of pounds of publicity by pin-pointing that time when the mood changed and Brexit-boredom set in. Do you have a light-hearted take on the most politically divisive issue of recent times? Get your timing right and papers will lap it up.
With something sudden like Meghan and Harry it may be that you have to regroup but don’t lose heart. Even with a runaway train like this there is potential to steal back some of the limelight. Launching a new business – has it come after a family split? Mention that in passing and a journalist is much more likely to sit up and take notice.
The Nathan Rous PR team has also worked it to a client’s advantage by acknowledging the elephant in the room and tackling it head on.
One of our pitches in the thick of a key Brexit vote was praised as the PR pitch of the day by a leading BBC Journalist. While the story we were telling had no connection to Brexit the imaginative pitch lifted our client out of the mire with a clever take on it. Get creative, get clever, even a little cocky and rise above the noise.