“Advertising and public relations are emotional businesses.” It is not enough that viewers like the ad, they must experience/feel a connection with the message (Jugenheimer et al. p.297 ). In the latest product of Vytar, the ”ultimate basketball shoes for women” the company’s PR team works closely with the Vytar research and development department to effectively market the product using the least cost. In the next six months the promotions team will launch specific activities that are not only cost effective but are expected to persuade more customers to patronize this latest offering from Vytar.
Vytar’s Basketball shoes for women are the latest offering of Vytar Corporation, a fast-growing manufacturer of athletic goods and sports apparel. Despite being relatively new in the sports market compared to Nike, Adidas, and Reebok, the company led by its CEO Rachel Tyler is slowly gaining ground in the customer share for men’s sports equipment and ladies apparel. This basketball shoes for women is expected to gain ground through less paid promotions and more public relations. This is a strategy that responds to the present economic crisis affecting big and small market players.
In identifying the target consumers, the different market segments can first be enumerated. This would be similar to the process presented in the Market Segmentation Study Guide website wherein there were four market segments: elite, keeping fit, daily comfort, and fashion. In the case of the Vytar shoes, there are three main customers in mind. These are female high school students, college athletes, and adults/professional players.
Basketball is part of the school’s fitness program therefore; every student is expected to purchase a pair of basketball shoes during her years of basic education. The product comes in vibrant colors and trendy designs making it attractive to teenagers. The target customers in this particular segment would be preteens and teenagers. The majority of this population are those attending school aged 12-17. They would be in the lower and middle class in terms of economics.
At the university or colleges, there would only be a select number of individuals who would pursue basketball as the demands of college life would demand a greater focus on their studies. For women, it would be the more athletic types who would continue with the sport. This is another niche that the company intends to tap with the release of the product. The age range of these customers would be 18-23 years old. Many of them would either be in scholarship or having their own part-time jobs. Thus, all of them would have their own means to purchase the product.
Adults and professional players
They are the ones who are playing basketball as either a fitness regime or as a profession. They would have already reached a certain economic level wherein their focus is more on the performance of the shoes and not the price. This is a very good market to tap because they are constantly under the radar of media organizations. A published picture of any of them wearing the shoes is already free advertisement.
For the next six months the PR team will launch the activities enumerated in the following sections to promote the product.
Month 1: Pre-Campaign benchmark study mini-survey (malls, online)
The object of the study is to ask both men and women about their perceptions on fitness and women’s basketball. The questions would include items pertaining to appropriate attire and ideal shoes to wear. In the questions about shoes, the choices would always be Adidas, Nike, Reebok, and Vytar. The reason for putting the name Vytar next to the other shoe manufactures is to give the message to the respondent, that Vytar products can compete with the other big names. This survey would also indirectly introduce the company as a fierce competitor when it comes to sports shoes and apparel.
The pre-campaign benchmark mini-survey will be used as a reference point with regards to the market’s knowledge about the product. The data it provides will be compared with the results of the campaign assessment at the end of six months.
Month 2: Disseminate survey results through pamphlets about the benefits of proper sports attire and equipment. Mention the product in the pamphlet.
The results of the survey would feed into the promotional material for the new product. As the mini-survey would be asking questions like what features of a shoe are most important to you then, the pamphlet should present that the characteristics of the new product respond to the expressed need of clients for a particular kinds of shoe. The importance of using proper attire in sports need to be highlighted as well. Pictures of the shoe and of it being worn by a fitness enthusiast will also be included. The pamphlet will also give a teaser about the scheduled release of the new shoes.
Month 3: Launch the social media campaign
The information collected from the mini survey serves as an initial feedback from current and potential customers. The respondents would also be the first ones to be invited in facebook, twitter, and Instagram together with the company staff and their circle of friends. Details of the social media campaign are given out in the sections further down.
Month4: Initiate community presence
Company sportsfest, school sporting events, basketball tournaments, even trade fairs are local events that can become opportunities to promote Vystar’s latest product. We can arrange for students to interview Vytar’s CEO about her career as a basketball player. There is just a need to ensure that interview questions would include the company profile and the latest product—the Vytar shoe for women and teens. These interviews can be broadcasted in local networks, uploaded over YouTube and included in the Vytar shoe webpage and facebook pages.
Members of the PR team will scout the area for other community events. If a town is celebrating its 25th, 50th or 100th foundation day wherein commercial products throughout history are being exhibited we can also add our product as an example of modern day innovations. If there are forums about gender issues or women’s rights then we can include a booth of our own that highlights women’s fitness. That our company has focused on the needs of the modern woman who requires equipment and apparel for her own sports needs.
Month 5: Launch the product
All previous activities build up to the launch. This takes place on the 5th month to have substantial time to get the feedback from the new users. The actual launch would be shown live on-line with lots of opportunities for interaction with the PR team and the potential buyers. In addition to the release of the Vytar basketaball shoes for women, the PR group will be formally acknowledging all groups formed during the entire campaign.
Month 6: Post-campaign measurement
A quantitative study will be conducted to assess the success of the campaign. The lessons learned from the weaknesses and mistakes of the campaign will be a good input for future PR activities. The different areas to be assessed would be the initial mini-survey, community presence, social media campaign, and the actual launch. The evaluation will be done a month after the release of the product in order to assess the sales figures for a period of one month. The discussions, learnings, and identified weaknesses of the campaign will be recorded as these will become the basis in the improvement not only of the product but also on how to handle the public relations campaign.
Primary Media Targets
Promotion is the means by which a company communicates with its customers (Burrow 427). It is a critical element in the marketing of a product. A product can be promoted through any of these four means: advertising, personal selling, public relations, and sales promotion.
Advertising has the widest reach and most consistent in terms of the message. A commercial can be played over and over again in many different states even at the same time. However, it can be the most expensive promotional activity.
The news media is an effective way to promote the product. It has a medium reach (can even be high). A press conference is an example of this, even a news release. News media tactics is defined as by Smith (159) as “opportunities for the credible presentation of organizational messages to large audiences” and also the “dissemination of organizational messages through news media channels” (Stoldt et al. 154). To be able to maximize the news media, the PR person has to be proficient in the preparation of news releases that can be given to reporters when they cover events initiated by the company or participated in by the company
Among all these, public relations is the least expensive but very effective. Public relations or PR is the promotion of a company’s product but being done by a third party. Thus, it is more effective than a commercial because of the trust factor added by the third party. For example, the product and its features were mentioned in a news report. The viewers or listeners would be most likely to believe the good things about the product when it comes from these sources rather than when it is being described in a canned commercial.
The PR person and his/her team can take advantages of available resources to disseminate information about the product. There are existing directories which provide addresses, description, and contact numbers about many groups classified as marketing groups, examples of which are children and youth, ethnic communities, among others. Diamond and Oppenhei listed down directories and groups that can be provided with materials about products. These authors believe that a good public relations can prevent a marketing disaster (190).
Promoting products through the social media is gaining ground by the second. Today, there are many businesses that are involved with networking sites like Facebook and Twitter either as service providers or participants (Chen 523). These social networking sites have been recognized by manufacturers and one that can be tapped to promote and market the Vytar athletic shoe for women. According to Blakeman and Brown (47), social networking tools are extremely useful in gathering feedback, tapping new customers, as well as in raising funds. These days, the traditional way of selling products do not work anymore because buyers are already very much in control of how much informed they want to access and want to be given. In the case of Vytar shoes, there should be a lot of data in different form that can provide the buyer with information about the features of the shoes. “Producing a lot of good content is one of the most effective ways to market” (Borges 18).
Social Media Campaign
Facebook would be the initial platform to be used in online the campaign. A facebook page would be created through which individuals can access information about the Vytar shoe. The members of the PR team shall identify how to spread the information using this platform. Twitter and Instagram will also be utilized to reach more people in a short amount of time. One member of the PR team shall be in-charge of answering queries and relaying more information about the product.
Twitter will be used to send updates about the shoes. This will be particularly useful in instances when the PR team is involved in community or school activities to promote the product. Short interesting facts about the product will be tweeted regularly to the followers of Vytar shoe. This is launched to maintain and heighten the interest on the product. Messages may be written in formats like “welcome to the 5,000th new owner of the Vysta shoe” or “Celebrity ___ just commented that the Vysta shoe made her day.”
Instagram is another application that will be utilized in the campaign. There are many different ways by which Instagram can be used in business. Ten ways are enumerated by Vanessa Au in her online article where she cited photo-sharing as an effective business strategy to promote a company’s product. In the case of the Vysta shoe, the PR team shall encourage the million users of Instagram to share their experiences about the product through pictures.
Feedback about the performance of the Vysta shoe will be collected through online surveys. The PR team may also begin online networking activities like “A trip around the world with my Vysta shoe” or “Follow my shoe prints around the world.” These can be online contests where teenagers meet more friends and discussions can range from keeping fit to staying positive. The mechanics of these games would still be threshed out by the PR team. The goal of both games is to promote the product and to widen the reach of the Vytar company.
The entire social media campaign is based on the marketing principle of exchange. During the whole process of the company promoting the Vytar product and the customers providing feedback about their experience either as actual or potential buyers of the shoes, there is a relationship being formed between the company and its customers and other stakeholders. Something of value is being exchanged between the buyer and seller (Pride and Ferrell 8). The relationship is expected to go beyond the purchase of the current product. Customers would then be awaiting further product releases. This is beneficial to the company because they have made their products known to the public. The customers too have provided feedback. By making known their perspectives they contribute to the formulation of future products.
The preceding sections traced the different ways in handling public relations as a strategy to promote Vytar basketball shoes for women. PR activities may be way lower than advertisements in terms of cost, but this strategy require commitment and creativity from the PR team. A strong teamwork, an optimistic attitude, and an eye for identifying opportunities at every turn are qualities that are most useful in the PR team. Armed with these traits, the PR team will be able to effectively promote a quality product such as the Vytar basketball shoes for women.
Au, Vanessa. “10 Creative ways to use Instagram for business.” Social Media Examiner. 3 October 2012. Web. 16 December 2012.
Blakeman, Karen and Scott Brown. Social Media: Essential for Research, Marketing and Branding. ,37.1, 2010:47-50.
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Diamond, Wendy, and Michael R.Oppenhei . “ Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship 9.2/3 (2004): 189-202. The Haworth Press. Web. 16 December 2012.
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Pride, William and O.C. Ferrell. Foundations of Marketing, 4th edition. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.
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