Soft power is an ambition of most nations and organisations. It’s the ability to attract cooperation and collaboration, rather than to demand or coerce (that would be hard power). For any organization or brand, soft power is measured on its ability to draw people’s attention, interest, action, loyalty, and in some cases, diehard support.
This is exactly what PR is: investing in a brand’s below-the-line strategy to build reputation, trust and loyalty. PR is always stronger than a paid advertising approach when it comes to building soft power, due to its cooperative nature and narrative focus. In the PR world, we call this partnership.
At Sinclair, we believe that brands build stronger influence through a collaborative approach. We encourage partnerships, proactively looking for ways to initiate and build win-win partnership for our clients. As an agency that works across industry, it is both our strength and our edge to understand market trends within each industry sector and make rewarding connections between brands from diversified backgrounds.
Powerful PR partnerships
Two ways to build strong PR collaborations are through brand partnerships and content partnerships. Each has its own set of advantages. Here are some examples of how we have used collaboration strategy to build brands through partnerships:
To create meaningful content partnerships, the key is aligning likeminded brands that can share a common theme. By working together, brands from different industries can create a new narrative that maximizes their exposure by riding on each other’s audience and reputation.
A perfect example is a recent client, “Shoes: Pleasure and Pain”. Swire Properties and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London have partnered to bring this stunning exhibition to Greater China. The exhibition is curated by the V&A and will be hosted in Swire Properties’ shopping destinations in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Hong Kong. Both brands are well-established leaders in their industry and market, and through this crossover they are able to share their brand message to a wider audience than they could have garnered on their own. The collaboration attracts shoppers, art lovers, museum goers, culture seekers and fashion collectors, both locally and internationally.
As an agency particularly focused on driving organisational outcomes for our clients, the team at Sinclair is constantly looking for ways to initiate business partnership for our clients. Don’t confuse this with the concept of sponsorship, where a brand pays for alignment with another brand, such as a football club or music event. Collaborative brand partnerships are where brands work together to create something new.
An example of a successful brand partnership in the tourism industry is our recent campaign with Singapore Tourism Board. Here, we brought together brands from within the same industry to create a more comprehensive audience experience. The Little Journey to Singapore campaign was a creative idea we conceived to drive omni-channel exposure with a strong call-to-action. Working with a talented 10-year-old illustrator, we created a travel story book that tells the Singapore story from a child’s point of view. This was the seed that grew into media and social media storytelling activation. Knowing that creating buzz is not enough, we collaborated with travel agencies and airlines to design special offer packages for families that were built from the original creative idea. It was a huge success.
The focus on “relations” in Public Relations is changing; a decade ago PRs were tasked with building mostly media relations, and now the PRs role also incorporates building relations with online media and KOLs. At Sinclair, we interpret the concept of building “relations” in a broader context, to include our constant strive to enhance the influence of our clients through partnerships, and thus build their soft power.
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