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March Madness isn’t exclusively about hoops

By Wendy Bulawa Agudelo

It’s prime time to ‘bracket’ your public relations efforts

26735029_sHere we are mid-March and mid-NCAA Tournament, which we affectionately call March Madness. College basketball fans (myself included – go Syracuse!) complete brackets in the hope of seeing their favorite teams earn a spot in the Final Four. I’ll admit it: I’m regularly glued to the screen during these few weeks. In watching the start of the Madness though, it occurred to me that the timing aligns well with the end of the first quarter, when many companies begin to consider forecasts, budgets and expectations. The first 90-day overview outlines successes, patterns, challenges and even opportunities.  

Sixty-eight teams stood shoulder to shoulder at the start of the NCAA Tournament. Yet only one will rise as the victor. What will differentiate them on the court? Will teamwork, showboating or strategic plays set them apart? Similarly, what do your first quarter results tell you? Are you making progress towards your public relations goals or stalling at center court?

Should you have plans to earn a spot on the Big Dance, consider these tips in order to make game-stopping plays.

  1. You don’t have to be big to dominate.

The announcement of this year’s brackets surprised many. Plenty of those teams that made the pool felt like relative unknowns. And those who follow the NCAA Tournament know all too well that these Cinderella teams frequently deliver big on surprises and often make for the greatest headlines. Whether lobbing a buzzer-beating 3-pointer or earning Sweet 16 for the first time in 30 years, the lesser-known teams can demand attention. The same is true for companies that may not be as recognizable. All it takes is one play, one post, one viral video or unexpected meme to breathe new life into your communications efforts.

  1. Creativity earns extra points.

After watching at least 10 games, what immediately comes to mind? Is it the strangely designed uniforms the players wear? The randomly placed advertisements (top of the backboards)? The insane behind-the-back layup that won the game? Making your communications effort memorable takes creativity. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Jazz up your social media with funky Boomerangs. Tour the inside of your four walls via a “corporate walkabout” video. Seize opportunities to highlight your uniqueness through imagery and storytelling. Consider how you can profile every asset to draw greater attention to what you do, how you do it and, most importantly, why you do it.

  1. Remember that players make the plays.

Any NCAA Tourney viewer can attest that 10 players on a court can do amazing things. Back-to-back slam dunks, dribble skills and out-of-bounds saves prove that while coaches outline the plays, the players are the executors. C-suite executives may set the tone, yet talented employees are the backbone. Share insider viewpoints from employees (your favorite players) in interview format. People today want to feel connected to the companies they work with. They no longer want to feel sidelined. Capture unexpected quirks and humanize the playmakers in your company to highlight what makes it great.

Similar to filling out a bracket, pondering how to best communicate the uniqueness of your company is important for achieving communications success. Ask yourself what makes your company or products different. What assets can you leverage? How can you share with key stakeholders the uniqueness of what you do and how you deliver? To maximize your PR and communications efforts, download this complimentary e-book from Axia Public Relations to determine how else you can convert the play, move the ball and ultimately shoot and score!

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Wendy-color2Clients love Wendy’s compelling writing. She has nearly 20 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and nonprofit public relations. She serves on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force and is a culinary enthusiast and champion for the special needs community. Wendy has worked with Axia Public Relations since September 2014. Learn more about Wendy.





Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: earned media

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