Assignment editors want to know they are sending their cameras out for good, visual material.
Assignment editors want to know they are sending their cameras out for good, visual material.

Building Your Broadcast Brand Takes Time

Know the Factors

Sometimes clients, both commercial and nonprofit, think if they hire an established PR firm with lots of earned media depth and achievement that they’re guaranteed broadcast TV coverage exactly when and how they want it.

But in our experience at SPRYTE Communications, that’s not always the case.  It can take time to build up your broadcast brand with the powerful, gatekeeping TV news assignment desks in a major market.

There can even be a few strike outs before you win a placement, even if the story meets the following critical criteria:

  • Scheduled in mid to late morning on a week day
  • Abundant visuals for good TV
  • Close proximity to news stations
  • A nonprofit or charitable partnership is prominent
  • Easy accessibility to the action

This first struck me back in our corporate social responsibility (CSR) days with the Rohm and Haas Company, a global specialty chemical company once headquartered on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.

This was before SPRYTE decided to focus exclusively on supporting healthcare providers and social service agencies.

In any case, the client took an eight to 10-year hiatus from asking our agency to support its annual Fine Arts Awards program for students graduating from elite local college fine arts programs such as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Moore College of Art.

For the 10 years before the hiatus, our efforts always drew TV cameras and the program was featured on most newscasts in the market.  But, back then, our earned media outreach was part of a consistent, ongoing and deliberate external CSR program.

And during our consulting hiatus, in the spirit of shareholder value and readying the firm for the block, most CSR activities were de-emphasized and the appetite for external earned media exposure for any that remained was, minimal.

So, even though we were activating to support a global company with deep community roots delivering an incredible boost to budding graduates of elite art schools, the media had no familiarity with Rohm and Haas at the time and wasn’t even confused, in a positive way, about why a chemical company would be supporting artists.  There was no TV broadcast coverage of the program that year we came back.

It Takes Time to Be Prolific in Earned Media

This is why it’s hard to accept high-pressure, short-term earned media assignments.  With experience you learn that it can take time to be prolific in earned media on behalf of a client.

Prolific might be an overstatement, but SPRYTE is very proud of the broadcast brand it is building for our client Episcopal Community Services (ECS) and its RISE initiative.

In a recent SPRYTE Insights blog, we talked about the demands of writing a broadcast media advisory using our success with coverage of the December 11th RISE recognition ceremony as the example.

Now, SPRYTE is using coverage of the April 26th RISE initiative recognition ceremony as an example of how we are building the ECS RISE brand with TV assignment editors.

Not only did 6ABC come back to cover the next RISE recognition ceremony with two segments, including one on the 6 pm broadcast with voiceover by anchor Jim Gardner, but FOX 29 TV and NBC 10 also covered it.

This is the fourth ECS RISE graduation SPRYTE has supported.  When you help deliver good TV for their broadcast viewers the assignment desk remembers you.  That’s why SPRYTE likes to be engaged to build a client consistently and deliberately over time.

So, will the TV cameras show up for the next RISE graduation?  We can’t guarantee it but, based on recent experience, we will feel confident that it’s very likely, unless there’s breaking news, of course.

-Lisa Simon