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5 Ways PR Planning is Like Holiday Shopping

The holidays are coming. Make sure you have a plan in place.

It’s officially fall and many of us have turned our attention to the holidays. Aside from pumpkin spice lattes, tailgating parties and cooler weather, the autumn season also signals increased shopping. In fact, Statista reports that U.S. consumers are expected to spend roughly $796 billion during the 2017 holiday season. 

I bet you’re wondering what shopping has to do with public relations, right? Well the myriad of emotions felt throughout the holiday shopping process closely resembles those of PR pros during our planning season. Let’s breakdown the similarities:



When you realize the holidays are near, it evokes a sense of excitement that is unmatched any other time of the year (except maybe your birthday). There’s a similar feeling when you realize it’s time to strategize PR campaigns for the next year. This typically involves rallying your team to brainstorm innovative, fun and creative ways to engage with your client’s target audience. Just like you spend hours trying to find the perfect gift for someone, you want to channel that same energy into planning something even bigger and better for your client in the New Year.


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Ease your anxiety with a game plan before you begin your holiday shopping. After all, no one braves Black Friday without a plan of action. With long checkout lines, increased foot traffic, fewer size options and fluctuating sale prices, finding the perfect gift for someone is easiest with the right strategy in place. This also rings true with PR planning.

While many clients operate on a yearly campaign calendar, PR pros must strategize goals for the coming year in the fourth quarter. That way, we’re equipped to implement our great ideas at the start of the New Year. With changing client priorities and key learnings from the current year, putting a plan of action into place sets the stage for success.



Gather key intel to ensure your intended plan aligns with the recipient. No plan will be successful if you don’t understand who your target audience is. Just like picking out holiday gifts, PR planning requires a bit of research to understand each client’s needs. It wouldn’t make sense to buy an Xbox for a baby, so it’s our job to make sure messaging is tailored to the reach the right audience.



While shopping, it’s easy to get distracted by the abundance of options stores provide. Having a plan will help guide you in the shopping process, but you still have to make a decision on which gift works best for someone. With PR planning, a lot of good ideas will be tossed around, but ultimately a decision must be made to include those that will resonate most with the client and its target audience.



Mission complete. There’s nothing better than the feeling you get when you finally share the gift you purchased with the intended recipient. Seeing the joy on their face as they open their gift makes all the time and effort put in to selecting the gift worth it. The same thing occurs when your team presents the PR plan to the client.  When the client approves the plan, it’s the cherry on top and a testament to all of your team’s hard work.

Stay ahead of the curve and start your PR planning for next year now. Contact us to help you strategize!


Jami Sowers

Posted By Jami Sowers

Building a bracket for each season of The Bachelor, Jami regularly predicts the winner. With a love of fashion and makeup, she's greeted by name at her local Sephora. When she's not shopping, Jami enjoys trying new restaurants and partaking in Zumba, Pure Barre and Pilates.