So listen. In the olden days…you know when we started our careers (think Y2Kish)…PR was Media Relations and Media Relations Was PR. This was before social media and maybe we had JUST gotten cell phones where you had to hit a number 3 times to get the letter you wanted to text.

You’d have your excel sheet of contacts and you would snail mail your yellow polka dotted got milk? stationary press release with Carson Daily’s picture (he’s the host of The Voice now, but he used to be on this show called TRL and the kids just loved him) and you’d “spray and pray” that someone picked it up. You’d also call every single solitary reporter on the list and say compelling things like, “I just wanted to make sure you saw my press release?” Reporters just love that. NOT.

Today, launching a new business is about relationships, with the media sure, but if that’s the only thing your PR Firm is doing to support a client launch, you’re going to have a very disappointed client. You may get a ton of immediate local coverage about the initial opening, but then what? You know that in today’s market, relationships are where it’s at: Do local influencers know about your client? Have they been incentivized to stop in? Do you have people on the ground ready to “spread the gospel” of your client to the community they serve?

Growing organically and community buy-in are key to sustainable and lasting brands, and you would be amazed at how beneficial having a local PR partner on the ground with real relationships with local media, influencers and living/working among the target demographic can be for your client.

Sure you’re saying, that all good, but, what does that look like in real time?

In Summer of 2016, Pizzeria Locale a Denver-based Fast Fine Pizza concept called SWPR for help generating brand awareness for their three locations in the Kansas City area. With a James Beard Foundation Award Winning Chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson and Master Sommelier Bobby Stucky as their founders, their take on fast casual was (and is) fresh, fine food with elevated customer service, and pizza that can be ready from order to plate in three minutes.

They had opened a Waldo location about 6 months prior and were launching two new locations one in Corbin Park and the other near Oak Park Mall. The good news for us (and for any PR pro) was that these guys “GET IT.”

What they knew inherently is what we do as a specialty. They understood that social relations and influencer outreach was key to growing their brand in a meaningful way and that if we could get people in the door, that their product and the experience was going to be good enough to keep them coming back.

Did we get them media coverage? You bet, but even more meaningful than that: we were able to connect them with 24 VIP influencers who now get free pizza for a year and continually post on their own social channels. We hosted a blogger “Dough from Scratch” class with local foodies and bloggers turning them into brand ambassadors, we social media’d them ourselves to the high heavens, passed out free pizzas to soccer coaches, did pizza drops to local businesses, and hustled them to and from every contact we could think of within a 10 mile radius of each one of their locations, we also brought our partners, clients and friends in to eat and try the pizza (we didn’t mind, it’s really, really good pizza.)

The result? The Waldo location has grown rapidly in revenue since August. The Oak Park and Corbin Park locations are both growing steadily month over month and are expected to continue in that direction through the end of the year.

It’s been an excellent case study for why social relations is a key tactic for any business or product launch While typically hard to quantify, those individual “touches” and the story telling was key to generating awareness and driving traffic for this high quality, fast-fresh concept.