Ever wondered why small brands you have never heard of were making headlines, while several large companies don’t?
It is thanks to the power of Public Relations.
Social media has been saturated – by putting multiple brands against each other in their quest to engage the consumer. This lead to information overload, technoference, and decision fatigue. What matters is that people from all walks know your name – that’s brand visibility.
Brand visibility has allowed small brands to steal the limelight and attract significantly more business than bigger brands. As companies, you might be wondering how to increase your visibility and put yourself in the public eye. The easiest way to accomplish this is by engaging a PR specialist (data-driven ones work better!) and letting them work their magic for you.
Table of Contents
1. What is PR and how is it related to branding?
2. What does PR do for your branding?
3. How does PR differ from advertising?
4. Is PR worth your money?
What is PR and how is it related to branding?
PR or Public Relations has boomed in recent times because almost every brand worth its salt tries to engage PR professionals to help their brand reach the public. Yet, the concept of PR still remains very unclear to most people. It is a cog in the wheel of creating perception. It tries to build a mutually beneficial relationship between organizations and their audience, convincing them to align with their idea, avail their services or purchase their products.
For example, if your company launches a new product, PR professionals shape the narrative around your company in order to engage with your customers. They research about the things that interest your customers, the activities that they participate in and the social issues they can be rallied around.
Based on this research they project your company, through print and social media, in a manner that appeals to them. Like any wizard, PR professionals use many spells. Here are some of them.
What does PR do for your brand?
1. Liaises with media
Media houses are key stakeholders when it comes to creating the right buzz around your company. They have a large audience relying on them for topical information, at their disposal.
Engaging with journalists is no easy task. They are elusive, pressed for time and subjective about lending you their often-scarce attention. Wording press releases and organizing press conferences is an art that PR has perfected.
PR professionals have built relationships with journalists over time and have an easier line of access to their time. They can be entrusted with wording brochures, slogans, and speeches that need to be communicated to media persons.
Media houses aren’t always paid to write about your brand. The credibility of your brand determines if a media house will publish your brand’s name. This is why a PR professional becomes indispensable because they help establish credibility, especially if your company is relatively new.
2. Public Outreach
PR professionals help conduct public outreach i.e events at which customers are brought into contact with your brand. Your PR Company is responsible for coming up with creative events that are likely to attract public attendance. For example, they could plan a panel discussion on a topical issue and encourage your company to sponsor it. This will indirectly engage their consumer base and win the company good publicity.
They take the responsibility of getting the event its due attention by advertising it in print and social media, inviting the press, socialites, film and sports personalities, etc. The value of such events is enormous, especially for brands that do not sell at a physical store.
They ensure brand visibility at these events in many ways like making available photo props that have the brand name on it, giving away prizes sponsored by the brand, etc. Attendees will, in turn, amplify the brand’s visibility when they talk about the event on their social media profiles or with their friends and family.
3. Market analysis
Every company needs to evaluate where it stands or how it can better cater to the public. This information is collected through market research. Without feedback from the public, it would be difficult for a brand to stay abreast of contemporary needs.
The PR Company a brand hires is fully responsible for carrying out market research. They design multiple surveys and roll them out to the public. Through analysis of such surveys, the brand gets feedback and also learns about popular opinions customers have about their products. Analyzing these surveys could help your company formulate a brand strategy.
4. Reputation management
In the social media age, one faux pas could escalate into a crisis for your company. PR professionals are responsible for upholding your company’s reputation.
They help keep you in the good books of your consumer and attempt damage control if you fall out of favor, by controlling the information that is circulated about your company. They make amends by defending the company or mitigate the situation by shifting the consumer’s focus to some other big news. For example, they could roll out news of a new merger being undertaken or a new product that your company is launching.
5. Business expansion
When you hire a PR agency, it becomes part of their job to ensure that your business expands. Each PR agency has a wide inventory of important contacts that could help your brand grow through collaboration with others, finding more funding, etc. The PR agency will do all the necessary groundwork for you, bringing you the opportunities of expansion on a platter. From arranging business meetings to helping you communicate with other brands, PR professionals do it all.
6. Branding strategy
How your brand looks to other people is also very important. Without a proper branding strategy, your company would fail to capture the imagination of the public. This is an important function of Public Relations
With good branding, even the simplest of products or services can be shown in an attractive light. A public relations agency would highlight the most positive and attractive aspects of your brand in order to engage your target audience. For example, many brands tag themselves as sustainable or cruelty-free in order to attract more environmentally conscious customers.
How does PR differ from advertising?
Even though both PR and advertising help build brands and communicate with their target audiences, they’re very different. Associating with an established PR agency comes with the benefit of their network of contacts.
Advertising is always paid content whereas PR can earn its media coverage by sending journalists press releases and pitches. This is why PR messaging is more credible to the reading public, because they’re aware that advertisements are paid for.
They target a wider audience whereas advertisements influence smaller audiences. Advertisements, although they are a part of your brand image, have a short term approach. PR is a longer-term approach for building your brand.
Is PR worth your money?
As a small brand if you are wondering if investing so much money on a PR is the best decision, remember that it is through the efforts of your PR that you can make it big.
Good Social Media engagement is the way to success and good PR will know the proper ways to market your brand on social media. They reach out to influencers and write content for you that is catchy and grabs attention. The biggest brands today are where they are because of good PR that helps them manage their brand strategy and reputation. In a world where thousands of brands are competing to make it big, you would find yourself in uncertain waters without a good PR agency to guide you.