Brand Newsrooms

by Philippa Brown

Public Relations is a consistently evolving industry, due to its need to stay up to date with present and relevant occurrences. So, it’s no surprise that because this fast-paced environment it can be easy to get left behind and lose touch with the current trends. Whilst some of these trends explode onto the scene and dominate, there are others that slip under the radar and subtly develop. One of the latter is the emergence of ‘brand newsrooms’ that serve as a new type blogs. These are content hubs of high quality and often rivalling journalistic media outlets.

One brand embracing this trend is Nike, creating ‘Nike News’. which serves to offer product news, company news and an explore option. These areas cover all product ranges, such as Nike SB, to Nike’s community impact and sustainability, to broader themes such as sponsored athletes and activities. This approach means Nike can put out relevant stories to the brand and they are reaching a focused target audience, as those reading will have actively sought out the information.

Why are brands creating these newsrooms though?

Firstly, there has been a shift in the way brands are communicating with their audience because of an increased focus on storytelling, as stated in PR Week, something at the heart of any good PR campaign. This concept of telling a story to an audience has proven more successful and favoured than a simple ‘hard sell’ of a brands product. Linking back to Nike News, the blog has a narrative approach that delivers engaging content that enables the audience to live out ‘brand experiences’, something defined by the Journal of Marketing as:

“experience is conceptualized as sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments.”

This also relates to the growth of social media, brands need to communicate stories and create a culture surrounding the brand. Through doing this, consumers then often share their own brand experience on their personal social media platforms, ultimately raising awareness of the brand.

Not only this but David Brain of Edelman states:

“They can be very effective tactical ways of solving an immediate marketing or sales problem and equally, some sort of creative newsroom approach is required for brands to properly manage their communities and create engagement and loyalty.”

But with this new concept of producing content, companies must be careful to not just ‘add to the noise and clutter’ of online news, advertising and marketing, and ultimately damaging the brand image. However one way to tackle this is with the use of analytics, another emerging trend in PR. Analytics are being used more than ever, and in much smarter ways to determine such things like content is gaining organic traffic for example. Reach, engagement and results are easier than ever to measure in PR. This new data can be used to inform but also problem solve, with Ben Levine, Research Director at Ketchum stating analytics should be used to inform the process of PR, allowing companies to:

“Identify your audience, figure out the best way to reach that audience, interact with them, and share the information to communicate with your target audience.”

Ultimately though, brand newsrooms allow companies to create strategic narratives that suit the brand, and deepen brand loyalty, they can push content and conversation and stop relying on traditional media outlets to carry their message. This trend will only grow as agencies have also started to adopt newsrooms for their clients too, driving this trend further into mainstream PR methods.

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