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Behind the Headlines With Alex Myers

Brands today need to do more than sell a product. Without a cause, purpose or story, your audience won’t pay attention.

As founder and managing director of PR agency Manifest London, Alex Myers encourages his clients to focus on why their brand is significant. Here, he discusses the keys to successful content marketing, the importance of integration and what brands need to communicate to their customers.

What is the most important lesson about PR you’ve learned in your career?

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That the role of PR is not selling a product, but starting a revolution. Helping brands find and communicate purpose is where the true value of our work lies.

I understand Manifest London was recently chosen to help establish Burger & Lobster internationally. What do you have planned for them?

Yes – we’ve been appointed to help bring their brand story to life as they expand internationally – particularly in the US and Asia.

It’s such an idiosyncratic brand, with some real characters behind it, so expect the campaigns to follow suit. We’ve got some awesome ideas up our sleeve.

What do you think was the key factor in Manifest winning that account?

Definitely our focus on strategy. The guys at Burger & Lobster liked the fact we’d spent time getting under the skin of the brand and why it’s here in the first place before embarking on the creative process.

The fact we have offices in London and New York obviously made the logistics of running things much simpler, too.

Manifest has received praise for its content division. What do you see as the essential ingredients for successful content?

Content-Ingredients

Our content division is the fastest growing part of our business. The key with any great content marketing campaign is to connect the dots between paid, earned, shared and owned media – but without a strong idea it’s not going to fly.

You can’t push beige content through paid channels and pretend the campaign has worked simply because you have big reach numbers – you need to incite sharing through an engaging story.

What are some of the biggest PR challenges brands face?

I think the biggest challenge is achieving true integration across all of their agencies. We established The Beyond Collective – a group of like-minded agencies across myriad creative disciplines – because the element of integration frequently forgotten is the need for genuine collaboration between agencies.

It’s not an integrated campaign if you then farm our separate briefs to your different agencies and they disappear and develop a response without speaking to the others.

With so much competition in the marketplace, how can brands stand out?

It’s about understanding not just why your brand works, but why it is significant. What is the broader impact of what you’re doing? If you can identify that, then it’s much simpler to tap into the broader media agenda and rise above the noise with a true purpose.

If you don’t market what you do, but rather why you do it, you have an opportunity to unify your customers through a common movement. People don’t just buy products; they join a cause – we’re already seeing brands without a cause failing.

Do you have any advice for those looking to begin a career in PR?

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Be curious. When looking for talent I’m not interested in the people who think they have all the answers, but rather the ones that are asking the right questions.

We have an incredible team with a broad range of talents but the one unifying factor is the constant pursuit of better understanding. Curiosity is the foundation of creativity. And it’s what makes this job addictive.

Rapid Fire Round

1. My biggest pet peeve is…people messing with the template.

2. If I won the lottery, I’d…buy Bradford City Football Club. I’d probably have a decent amount of change.

3. My favorite social media platform is…I have recently found a new depth to Instagram – I love art and design so it’s turning into a great discovery platform.

4. Outside of work, I like to…spend time with my amazing kids, Vayla and Tate.

5. I always thought I’d be…an author, but it turns out I don’t have the patience (or talent).

6. The thing that gets me up in the morning is…my kids. Work-wise, it’s the fact I never know what the day holds.

7. My guiltiest pleasure is…Class A drugs, pole dancing, Icelandic cheeses and lying for dramatic effect.

Images via Pixabay: 1, 2, 3

About Maria Materise

Maria Materise is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Formerly a copywriter, she enjoys creating content that excites and inspires audiences. She is an avid reader, movie trivia geek, Harry Potter fanatic and makeup junkie..

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