Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: February 5, 2019

How your business is perceived by the public has a major impact on sales and customer retention. A well-planned public relations campaign can rally brand supporters together and promote a positive public image. However, a poorly executed publicity stunt can destroy your business’ reputation.

Publicity Campaign

If you’re itching to make a PR move in the near future, consider these tips from Forbes Agency Council before you plan and launch your campaign.

1. Ask Yourself If It’s Worth The Risk

Start by asking yourself two questions. What is the overall intent of your publicity stunt? Awareness? Happiness? Shock and awe? This needs to be considered first and foremost. Second, if your “stunt” goes sideways and backfires, is it worth the risk? Not all press is good press, and in the age of social media, a “stunt gone bad” can spread and tarnish your reputation quickly. – Bernard May, National Positions

2. Make Sure It’s Relevant To Your Brand

A publicity stunt can be costly and would have to fit the company’s budget. One thing to consider before planning a stunt is to plan well and make the stunt relevant to your brand—it has to make sense in context and not be completely misunderstood. – Cagan Sean Yuksel, GRAFX CO.

3. Educate Your Client On What’s Involved

Stunts are live, so you have to prep even more. Most importantly, what’s the client’s appetite for risk? You have to factor in their brand tone and culture and look at all the possible outcomes. In addition to budget to pull off the event, they need proper funds to seed social and PR as well. An educated, vested client is the most important element for a successful publicity stunt or campaign. – Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding

4. Consider All Possible Interpretations

Before embarking on any type of publicity stunt, stop and consider what people might think about it. Could it possibly offend a segment of society? Could it be taken out of context by the public? Bring in a variety of demographics from your company, regardless of title, and ask them what they think about it. They may see something that you don’t. – Rebecca Kowalewicz, Clearbridge Branding Agency

5. Aim For A Solely Positive Outcome

If you want to be viral, it is quite possible. It is very important to ensure that your stunt, whatever it is, will trend and get the attention that you want without any negative connotations. You need to think about your industry and find what it is that you are going to be able to get attention with in a positive way. When you are working through this you will see there are all kinds of options. – Jon James, Ignited Results

6. Think About The Long-Term Impact On Your Reputation

Make sure your campaign is something that won’t live in perpetuity as your top Google search if things go wrong. Keep your head down and just do good work—don’t get caught up in the noise or whirlwind. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, HAWTHORNE LLC