In addition to its impactful history of working with visionary entrepreneurs and tenured CEOs, Beverly Hills-based NRPR Group often works with celebrities who’ve either partnered with a brand or created a product—from ambassadors and celebrities to influencers behind some of the distinguished clients and products they represent.
In 2018, NRPR focused on bringing media and public attention for Heal, which provides timely and convenient medical care from caring and qualified doctors in the privacy of patients’ own homes, as theindustry leader and healthcare choice for America—and as part of the campaign, the team was tasked with working with singer-songwriter Lionel Richie and celebrity physician Dr. Drew, both investors and influencers with Heal.
“NRPR’s goal was to leverage the notoriety of Lionel Richie and Dr. Drew Pinsky in their respective fields, along with their relationship and interest in Heal; Richie, as a tech investor, and Dr. Drew as a physician,” says NRPR CEO and Founder Nicole Rodrigues. Team NRPR knows the criteria Tier 1 outlets require to write or broadcast a story, and they knew to which ones to offer a celebrity to provide a strong tie in for their audience and close the hit.
Read on to see how NRPR launched and managed this campaign, and why they firm was honored with a Silver Award in the “Best Use of Personality/Celebrity” category in Bulldog Reporter’s 2019 PR Awards.
NRPR begins campaigns by researching media targets based on topic relevance and audience interests, finding those with whom the message would resonate best. The team also monitors current trends and topics covered by media to latch onto these topics and create new conversations. Heal’s advisor, Dr. Drew Pinsky, and Heal investor, Lionel Richie, held weight both socially and within the eyes of media.
“NRPR tied Dr. Drew to stories on doctor burnout aided by talking points compiled by NRPR covering industry and Heal statistics, knowing he is a doctor who’s seen and experienced this firsthand. We also asked him to do a 10-part video tip series about house calls, and to become a vocal social media influencer for Heal, due to his knowledge of and commitment to the brand as well as experience as a doctor whom people trust,” Rodrigues offers.
“Lionel Richie, Heal investor better known for his career in music, had never been interviewed as a tech investor, and never had been interviewed by top financial and business publications, due to his influence previously being focused on entertainment and music industries,” she continues. “This creative entry into a new media avenue for him was interesting to him and his management team, and NRPR was able to capitalize on this and secured stories with CNBC and USA Today, MSNBC, CNBC’s Squawk Box, Forbes, USA Today, TechCrunch and other business outlets.”
Implementation and Execution
NRPR are experts at pitching and garnering thoughtful coverage, and the team has learned how to make it look easy, working closely with both Heal and all media outlets to meet the expectations of both sides. The campaign team conducted an initial messaging session with Heal executives to identify key points about the company, and uncover what set Heal apart from competitors in its space, in order for that to stand out in all interviews.
The team also discussed industry trends, Heal company and industry initiatives in order to position the company with media. For Dr. Pinsky, Heal and NRPR determined that having him discuss doctor burnout would be a good fit, and for Richie, to tap into his experience as an investor, through group strategy sessions, which included both parties, as they wanted everything they did to align with their respective brands as well.
NRPR coordinated media interviews for these celebrities on behalf of Heal. “Both Lionel Richie and Dr. Drew Pinsky have extremely full schedules and it can be difficult to coordinate media meetings for them, despite their willingness to participate,” Rodrigues explains. “By working closely with their management teams and schedulers, while keeping them apprised of opportunities that made the most sense for them, the media outlets, and Heal, NRPR made the meetings as convenient and seamless as possible. Relevant talking points were always shared 48 hours ahead of a meeting, prep calls at least 24 hours ahead of meetings, and proper staffing of all calls took place in order to assure that everything ran smoothly.”
Once a meeting occurred and the coverage hit, NRPR provided Lionel and Dr. Drew with links to the coverage and posts for Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms for them to leverage the coverage and share, so the media outlet would get well-deserved additional traffic and recognition.
“As a result of NRPR’s efforts, this ‘celebrity’ campaign created 14 hits, representing an ad value of the Lionel Richie coverage of over $8 million and for Dr. Drew, over $1 million,” Rodrigues reveals. “Dr. Drew had appearances on CNBC, KTLA, and Cheddar TV, and hosted five FocusTV segments with Heal doctors. We also worked closely with Lionel Richie and his team to leverage his celebrity and gain coverage in CNBC and USA Today, MSNBC, CNBC’s Squawk Box, Forbes, USA Today and other business outlets.”
After each campaign, NRPR uses several media monitoring services and found that approximately 53 percent of people who read articles, totaling 1.2K new customers, visited the “About” page on Heal’s website after seeing the coverage—and signed up with Heal as a direct result of interacting with the coverage in which Heal is mentioned.
“PR professionals must respect media, as we are dependent on them for success, and the NRPR will do everything that we can to assure that the outlets have necessary information to develop great stories,” Rodrigues says. “When reaching out to media, the NRPR team shared b-roll footage of Heal’s mobile app being used to demonstrate how to order a doctor, how the Heal process works, and also of over-crowded emergency rooms, which Heal patients can avoid to paint a picture of what Heal brings to the public. This visual helps reporters to truly understand how we work, and how to formulate questions prior to an interview that will help them [achieve] solid stories.”
NRPR also amplified coverage on social media with best follower engagement on Twitter and Facebook. Across all platforms, there were 4.8K shares in total for posts surrounding the celebrity coverage. More importantly, as a result of press coverage, Heal saw spikes in booking and registrations of 81 percent and 71 percent, respectively—proof positive that the PR effort is driving curiosity and registrations for Heal.
Creativity & Innovation
“NRPR sets itself apart from other agencies by being proactive all year long. We ‘made’ reasons for Lionel Richie and Dr. Drew Pinsky talk to media. We didn’t wait for announcements to do so,” Rodrigues shares. “No one at NRPR waits for ‘client news’ in order to pitch Heal to top media. While some agencies take what they assume to be the easy way out and only pitch when there is a press release, NRPR wants to maintain a high level of visibility for Heal and all clients, regardless of the distribution of press releases. This is an ongoing strategy for NRPR for Heal and all clients.”
Secrets of Success
Rodrigues shares some summarizing tips below that can help your firm succeed with its next celebrity or influence-focused campaign—reaffirming why the agency won a Silver in Bulldog’s 2019 PR Awards:
- Know the criteria Tier 1 outlets require to write or broadcast a story, and which would be interested in what you’re pitching
- Work closely with clients on messaging
- Respect media and their needs