Think Like a DJ and 'Borrow' Elements of Great PR Campaigns

You don't need a big budget to make a splash. Learn from successful brands and adapt them for your efforts.

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By Heather Whaling

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Remember the good ol' days when we'd pore over our favorite songs and attempt to create the ultimate mix? While most of us will never achieve Skrillex, David Guetta or Deadmou5 status, to some extent, we've been remixing and sampling for years.

In business, this remix-and-sample mentality can elevate PR/marketing/social-media campaigns. Most companies, particularly startups and emerging brands, don't have the resources of Nike or Apple. Instead of pining for big-brand budgets, keep tabs on what they're doing for creative inspiration.

Ask yourself: What do you like most about their campaigns? Then challenge yourself to incorporate some of those elements into initiatives that work within your budget and resources.

Related: 7 Favorite PR Wins to Inspire Your Startup to Score Serious Buzz

Sounds good in theory, but let's look at some examples of how this can be applied in real life.

Tap the right people. For an example of a brand sparking interest with a grand opening, check out this "social buzz" video created by DKNY to promote the opening of its London store.

You don't need to be a big brand with celebrity connections to pull off something like this. Instead, your brand could tap into industry influencers or local community leaders. It's about incorporating the right people, not just the big-name people.

Humanization leads to loyalty. Despite being the brand synonymous with tissues, Kleenex saw value in adding a human touch. In the winter of 2011, Kleenex searched Facebook to find 50 people posting about being sick. With a little help from the sick people's friends, Kleenex tracked down addresses and couriered "feel-good" packages to make each person feel a little better. As Kleenex shared in its campaign recap, every single person posted a photo of the surprise delivery.

Related: Managing and Organizing an Effective PR Strategy on a Budget

A little searching on Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram can uncover people talking about a challenge your brand can solve. Once you find those conversations, your creativity is the limit. Surprise-and-delight campaigns don't have to be expensive. Personalization is the key.

Visuals impress. Video can be a powerful medium to shift perceptions and educate audiences. Just check out Chipotle's The Scarecrow and Back to the Start videos.

Lacking an animator and high-end video editor on your staff? No problem. As the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) learned, a small budget shouldn't prevent you from making an effective video. In fact, COTA's interns created a one-minute video on alternate transportation.

Smaller companies can tap into interns, digital-media departments at local colleges or video freelancers to create amazing videos on small budgets.

The point is you can be innovative, creative and results-oriented without massive budgets. Follow people and brands you admire. You won't be able to copy or replicate their efforts -- nor should you want to. Every company is different and cookie-cutter PR and social media is doomed from the start.

Instead, study their ideas and campaigns. Remix, sample, infuse creativity, test, evaluate and do good work.

Related: What You Can Learn From These 5 Mega Brands On Creating Viral Videos

Heather Whaling

Founder/CEO of Geben Communication

Heather Whaling is founder and CEO of Geben Communication, a PR firm that helps emerging brands and forward-thinking, established companies excel in a social world. Known for taking a fresh approach to traditional and digital PR best practices, she has been quoted about technology’s impact on communication and business and is considered one of the most influential voices in PR 2.0. Named one of the top entrepreneurs in Columbus, Ohio, Whaling also serves on the board of directors for The Women's Fund of Central Ohio. Connect with her through her PR blogcommunication trends e-newsletter or Instagram

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