A Q&A with Mallory Smith, Vice President of Consumer Brands

by | Apr 15, 2024 | Media Strategy, Public Relations, Strategy

If you’ve worked with Dittoe Public Relations in the past 10 years, there’s a good chance you’ve worked with Mallory Smith. Mallory is experienced in PR strategic ideation and planning and media relations. She thrives on elevating clients’ missions and brand awareness through earned media strategies that result in impactful media coverage, particularly for Dittoe PR’s national consumer clients. These clients have been nationally recognized in PR award programs like PR Daily and Ragan’s Media Relations Awards: Purpose-Driven Campaign Winner; Bulldog Reporter Gold Winner for Best Food & Beverages Campaign; and more.

PR for consumer brands has changed a great deal in the past decade, and Mallory has navigated those challenges like a PRo. We connected with her to learn more about her role as VP of Consumer Brands for Dittoe PR, what it means for clients, and what we should all know about B2C PR.

Q: How has PR changed for consumer brands over the years?

A: Consumer brands might be simpler to understand and relate to compared to tech, healthcare or insurance – we’re all consumers, after all. But PR strategy and securing wins for consumer brands is anything but simple. 

Product pitching

No longer are the days of distributing product samples to journalists and hoping for a story if they like the product. Now, many publishing houses require consumer products to be registered with affiliate networks in order to cover them. That’s why you’ll often find affiliate links in articles that feature product recommendations. If a product sells as a result of the feature, the publication earns a commission.

Social media trends and influencers

What’s newsworthy has evolved to include what’s trending on social media. If it has millions of TikTok views and everyone is talking about it, media will want to hear – if they haven’t already – so we’re always on the lookout for how we can authentically link our clients with trends.

Celebrity endorsements and ambassadors are certainly still valuable to consumer brands, but influencers are changing the game. Influencer partnerships drive brand interest, credibility and media coverage, and influencer relations are an important component of consumer PR.

Stories of purpose

A mission-driven consumer brand used to be innovative and interesting. Today, it is expected that companies stand for something more than earning a profit. Younger consumers are more likely to trust the brand, champion the brand, and purchase from the brand. It’s our job to tell stories about how our clients are making a difference – whether that’s through social causes, issue advocacy, climate solutions or more – that will resonate with consumers and inspire others to lead with purpose.

Q: How has your role at Dittoe PR changed alongside consumer PR?

A: As VP of Consumer Brands, I oversee strategy for Dittoe PR’s national consumer brand clients. I also identify and develop new client service offerings essential to the space, with affiliate marketing being the first new client service offering for interested and applicable clients.

Q: What is affiliate marketing? What role does it play in PR today?

A: An affiliate link is a trackable link to a product or service. It’s shared online to generate a lead or sale. In digital media outlets, you’ll find product placements with affiliate links. If readers click those links to buy the product, the outlet gets a commission. Affiliate links have been used by influencers for years, and now media have hopped on board.

Consumer brands are more likely to be included in stories if they are registered on an affiliate network and offer commissions to publishers. To earn more press and drive more sales for your clients, PR professionals should oversee the affiliate program and integrate affiliate pitching to e-commerce and shopping editors in their strategies. 

Examples of affiliate link disclaimers from Rolling Stone and Gear Patrol in client coverage.

Q: What have been some of your biggest successes or accomplishments working at Dittoe PR with your long-term clients?

A: Oh my gosh, so many proud moments with the Dittoe PR team and with longstanding clients. I am so lucky!

  • Leading the PR for Lonely Whale’s campaigns advocating for sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic straws and water bottles, in which we created real change. Our former client Aardvark Straws was acquired due to overwhelming consumer demand for their paper straws.
  • Experiencing Vita Coco’s Nasdaq IPO on site with the team. COCO is killing it!
  • Just about every campaign with WhistlePig Whiskey, but especially arranging and attending a press trip in Greece with the team.

Q: What’s next for B2C PR?

A: Affiliate marketing will become even more prevalent, as we’ve seen over the last year with the rising number of news outlets that have dedicated affiliate marketing sites. 

Influencer partnerships and ambassadors will continue to gain popularity as brands choose to invest in influencers as an effective approach to winning over consumers.

Ideating creative brand experiences will be expected of PR professionals – it already is! Traditionally, PR for B2C clients focuses on the media strategy, but goals, tactics and execution are no longer enough. We must work as an extension of our client’s team to come up with marketing and experiential campaigns that will pique press interest for coverage.

Effective communication isn’t just about making headlines; it’s about driving tangible results for your brand. That’s why Dittoe PR offers affiliate marketing services as the perfect synergy between coverage and conversion.

Want to learn more? Get in touch.

Dittoe PR

Dittoe PR is a nationally recognized public relations and social media management agency.

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