I recently hosted a wonderful PR Power Hour with Sally Dear, Founder of Ducky Zebra. During our 60-minute chat, we delved into some of Sally’s current comms challenges and I was so impressed by her drive and enthusiasm. Doing PR for the first time can be, understandably, a bit nerve wracking. So, I was pleased to see Sally grinning by the end of the hour and excited to get going.
She was kind enough to allow me to share a sneak peek into our session with you. So, if you’re intrigued about what a PR Power Hour involves and whether it might be suitable for you, read on…
Meet Ducky Zebra
Ducky Zebra creates colourful, organic clothes for kind, confident kids between the ages of 0 – 6 years. The company’s mission is to inspire kindness and confidence in children, no matter what their gender, through colourful, sustainable clothing. You can find the company online at https://duckyzebra.com/ and on Instagram at @DuckyZebra.
Pink for girls and blue for boys? Forget it. Ducky Zebra’s designs are unisex and free from gender stereotypes. “Oh,” you might be thinking, “so they’re all in beiges and dull, muted tones?”. Nope – the clothing is fun and colourful with child-approved designs, showing characters displaying kindness, confidence and friendship.
For Ducky Zebra, sustainability is a key focus. Its timeless designs mean the clothing can be passed on regardless of gender or season. There are even roll-up cuffs to accommodate your child’s growth (because they always seem to be shooting up, don’t they?!). The items are made from GOTS certified organic cotton by Shine Organic Clothing Company. This a small GOTS-certified, family-run factory in India is passionate about sustainability. They harvest rainwater, recycle wastewater and half their energy comes from solar power (soon to be 85 percent!). Plus, the company donates £1 to charity for every item of clothing purchased. Lovely.
There’s so much more that could be said about this fabulous company but you’re here to hear about Sally’s Power Hour… so let’s dive right in!
Where Sally needed guidance with Ducky Zebra’s PR
Ducky Zebra will be launching soon (exact date TBC) and Sally has already made great strides with her comms planning. She’s got a clear brand purpose and messaging, fantastic images. She even has several ideas for different topics and hooks that could get Ducky Zebra featured in the press.
But it had all been feeling a bit overwhelming. What’s the best way to manage the comms launch? Which publications should I reach out to? How do I find the right journalists? These are common questions when for-purpose business owners are just starting out with PR. Even though we just had an hour, I was confident we could make leaps and bounds to smooth out these issues.
Being a team of one with an impending launch, I wanted to focus on how to make Ducky Zebra’s comms activity manageable. Mission-driven businesses often think carefully about how to make their products sustainable. But it’s important to make sure your comms efforts are sustainable too! People often, understandably, find a big comms launch overwhelming. Then, they realise after the ‘big bang’ has passed that they still need tactics and stories moving forward. For time-strapped eco-business owners, I find it’s often preferable to break things down into manageable chunks of activity to drip-feed over time.
I also wanted to give Sally a bit of a confidence boost. She’s already made great progress and is way ahead in lots of areas of her comms planning. Sally dreams of being featured by the likes of the Guardian and the BBC one day – and why not?! Ducky Zebra is a fantastic company changing lots of common problems with children’s clothing, which makes it a great company for journalists to write about.
What we love about Ducky Zebra
First of all, there’s the obvious fact that Ducky Zebra is an awesome AND sustainable brand working to address the common problem of gender norms in kids’ clothing. But, specifically when it comes to comms, Sally has a good grip on the basics of good comms and is already much more prepared than she feels. She has a great brand story, clear messaging and brilliant pictures. She’s undertaken some great research to better understand her audience and what makes them tick. This is key in communications. She’s even thought of lots of different story angles for guest posts or press articles.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I love Sally’s vision. She might be a little nervous about considering national coverage but I love that she’s aiming high. With such a fantastic brand, there’s no reason why she can’t get some brilliant press coverage when things are up and running.
A sneak peek into our chat about Ducky Zebra’s comms
You’d be amazed at how much Sally and I covered during just 60 minutes. I won’t share everything with you as we’ll be here all day! But here are a couple of key points to give you an exclusive sneak preview into our chat.
Where do I find the right publications and journalists to target?
Sally has a good grasp of Ducky Zebra’s audience. However, she’s been struggling to know exactly what media they engage with. We came up with a few simple strategies to help her develop her media targets – here are just a couple:
- Check out the competition to see where they’ve been featured. Understanding who has written about brands with a similar target audience and seeing how they’ve framed the articles is a good start. This help to give you a steer about relevant press titles to target too.
- Nip to the shops (yippee!). If you have a big WH Smiths or newsagent with a large magazine selection nearby, go and have a browse of what’s on offer. It’s a great way to get an idea of publications which might be suitable to pitch – and you might even be able to pick up some light reading for your coffee break!
Where do I start?
With an upcoming launch on the horizon, it’s totally understandable that comms can feel a little overwhelming (to say the least). Sally and I chatted through a few tactics to make this seem more manageable. This included:
- Focusing on a few key titles only. There are so many potential publications but Ducky Zebra will be around and thriving for years, I’m sure. So, there’s plenty of time to reach them! Focusing on a handful of tier one targets makes the workload more manageable. Plus, it means you can tailor your pitches more carefully. This gives you a better chance of success than the ‘spray and pray’ method of blasting information to as many contacts as you can think of.
- Save some for later. As Sally finds relevant titles, she wants to pop them in an Excel doc to have a record. Over time, as she spots more relevant targets, her list will build. Plus, she can revisit it when she wants to expand her outreach further.
- Think about milestones. The great thing about having a product-based business is that journalists are regularly doing gift guides and product roundups. Often, these are focused around set themes. Key dates such as Christmas, Easter, summer holidays, back to school etc. could give Ducky Zebra a good ‘hook’ to be featured in a timely roundup. This will be particularly handy once the launch has passed.
These are just a couple of the issues we discussed during our hour-long session. Thanks so much Sally for your energy and focus as we powered through so many points!
A word from Sally
After the session, Sally was kind enough to share some feedback about her experience:
“An hour doesn’t feel like very long, and yet I got so much value from spending one hour with Mel, as we discussed Ducky Zebra’s launch plan and PR possibilities. Mel came to the session really well prepared, which meant we were able to jump straight into the detail. She was fully armed with ideas, advice and recommendations. But also asked great questions, which helped to steer the conversation. What I really liked was that it felt concise (no waffle), actionable and supportive. I came away from the session with a clear idea of what I needed to do next, and I felt confident that I could do it. Thanks so much Mel! I would definitely recommend your Power Hour to others.”
Aww shucks, I’m blushing. Thank you Sally for your kind words and I’m so glad you found our session helpful.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Sally from Ducky Zebra. Not only was she open, enthusiastic and committed to our session but she very kindly let me share a glimpse of our chat with you here. Good luck with your launch Sally. I look forward to seeing Ducky Zebra all over the magazine stands very soon!