You need to tell the story of your business and a public relations strategy is the way to do it. Despite the rise and continuing influence of digital and social media, which is a critical part of many of today’s successful media campaigns, there is still a place and a need for good public relations. For new brands, public relations can be an important tool for building an industry presence and for established businesses, the practice can help to further their reach and reformulate the aims and targets of a new product or service.
When done successfully, good PR can help a company generate earned media placements that assist in constructing brand identity and industry equity. Importantly, this can and should increase industry presence and sales. Followers, customers and potential investors want to hear a good story, and the better the story, the better the chance it will be published. Public relations is an effective way to build a brand, communicate with a target market and attract further investment. When properly executed, PR can reap large dividends.
Whether done in-house or with an agency, great PR can help a brand achieve these five things.
Develop Brand Identity
People trust established brands and public relations can help to generate brand identity and customer recognition. The development of brand identity should focus on the key characteristics and unique selling points of your company. It should seek to identify these three important questions: What is the product or service you are providing? What is the difference it makes? Why should the customer be interested?
Responses to these questions should shape your public relations strategy, help define a profile of your target audience and determine the key media outlets you should contact as part of your plan. This approach will also help to develop the values of your brand and the positioning of your product or service in your industry.
Build Consumer Interest
Public relations can play a key role in a strategy that generates consumer interest. It raises awareness and, when executed correctly, the strategy can drive consumers to a sale. Particularly for new and emerging brands, a public relations campaign helps to set the narrative, creates brand buzz and assists with creating a brand following.
Brands can do this by sourcing and cultivating relationships with journalists to obtain earned media placements, while also using social media and digital marketing channels to contact customers directly. B2B and B2C brands should look at producing content that presents their leaders as respected thought leaders in their industry. Use a column on the company’s blog, executive bylines in industry trade journals or video blogging on social media to keep consumers up to date with the latest company news, products and trends.
Grow Consumer Trust
Good PR can help to create and develop valuable consumer relationships. Consumers typically do business with brands they trust, and personalized PR is just one technique to capture the attention of a potential customer. Seeing a brand mentioned in a positive story in the media or recommended by a respected reporter or expert can be a priceless piece of PR. This can help build brand recognition, credibility and trusted consumer relationships, resulting in repeat sales and brand equity.
B2B and B2C companies should commit to presenting excellence in everything they create as part of their communications strategy — spotlighting the difference they are making, how their work is transforming the lives of their current customers and how they can do the same for new customers.
Drive Greater Valuations
Public relations can help play a role in driving greater valuations with investors. Looking for a return on investment, investors want to place their money in brands that are credible and expansive and have a positive image. For brands, it is vital that they constantly engage with the interested party, demonstrating the core values of their company and projections for future performance.
Positive press mentions and exposure is a key factor in determining brand image. The ability to demonstrate a strong track record, industry interest, popular product placement and respect from consumers can play a vital role in determining valuation at both the investment and sale stages.
Generate Investor Interest
Many angel investors and capital firms look for organic media coverage as part of their commitment to give capital, making it an important tool for brands to have in their reputation bank. B2B and B2C companies can create this press by working with industry journalists to place stories in prominent and respected publications — providing investors with a portfolio of company-specific updates. This drive for PR demonstrates a brand’s capability to invest in its personal and professional image, an understanding of the market and a commitment to long-term growth. To investors, these are all clear indicators of a company that’s on the right track.
Is public relations the only way to achieve these important cornerstones of running a successful business? Absolutely not. Can it play a role? Yes. And the investment in an in-house team or the choice to partner with a great agency should help you on your path to reaching these brand achievements.
(Courtesy – Suki Mulberg Altamirano )