[By Maria D’Alessandro]

Cameron Craig, the current head of Global Corporate Communications at Polycom, has extensive professional PR experience working for companies such as Yahoo!, PayPal, Visa, and Apple. Craig first started working for Apple in 1997 through PR agency Porter Novelli in Sydney, Australia.

During this time 1997-2007, Apple was experiencing bad publicity for their poor and underperforming products. With the development of new Apple products, the company was in desperate need of some innovative PR strategies to turn around the bleak view people had of Apple technology. Craig soon became part of the biggest corporate turnaround in history. He joined Apple’s product PR team in 2002 at Apple headquarters in California to assist in bolstering product communications. Two of Craig’s key strategies in managing this successful brand turnaround were, prioritizing media influencers and enabling media to be hands-on.

Prioritizing Media Influencers
When it came to prioritizing media influencers, Craig and the Apple team took a different approach to media outreach. Instead of compiling extensive media lists and reaching out to numerous individuals, they focused on a small number of reporters and influencers who they felt would set the proper tone for their products. Craig believes that you should “focus on cultivating close relationships with the top five to ten media influencers who cover your field.”

A Hands-On Approach
Changing the long perceived perception of Apple in the eye of the public was critical for Apple. Allowing reporters to actually play with the product and get a hands-on learning experience can be extremely helpful when they are telling a story about you. Craig says that one way a communications department can set themselves apart from other companies is “if media personnel are reviewing your product, offer to drop it off in person and do a quick demonstration.” This innovative strategy will give your company an edge and give the public a real insight into your organization.

Craig’s tips are useful and innovative PR strategies, not only for a company that is in need of a complete rebranding, but also for communications professionals looking to bring an innovative edge to their work. Read the rest of Cameron Craig’s lessons from working at Apple here.

(Photo by C_osett via Flickr)