They say that credibility and awareness are what help make or break a brand. Many marketers would usually spend big amounts on advertising campaigns to build brand credibility and awareness. But one of the most influential methods often overlooked will not make that huge dent on the pocket, and that is public relations or PR.
There are a number of reasons why PR can easily go unnoticed.
Unlike advertising or marketing, PR may be considered as “soft sell” because it is more focused on building relationships rather than selling a brand outright.
Many businesses do not have the patience to experience the fruits of PR’s labor. They fail to appreciate the value of having good media relations or building a community network because they want to see results such as positive brand image, immediate increase in following and better ROI right away.
What they fail to realize is that PR can deliver the desired results, albeit not immediately, without them having to shell out tons of money. All it takes is some patience and an honest-to-goodness intention to explain to the public what one’s brand really is all about and how it hopes to improve their lives.
So, before you spend your entire bank savings on putting your brand to the test, why don’t you check out the following ideas on how you can use PR to build better credibility and awareness for your brand:
1. Use PR to create your own brand persona
Having a brand persona or reputation that people can easily relate to will allow others to easily identify (with) your brand.
For instance, if you are targeting homeowners who have a young family, you can load up your communication materials with family themes and discuss related topics, even have phrases such as “the family builder” or “valuing families throughout the year.”
You can also put together family-inspired activities to further harp on this brand persona. These can be easily incorporated in press releases or media events, and could eventually become your brand’s ultimate persona when you talk to your audience.
As a PR tactic, sending out press releases to the media requires only a fraction of the cost of, say, a full-page ad placement, which typically costs more than a hundred thousand pesos. Holding a one-on-one media briefing could also cost less than an ad placement as you will only be required to provide a venue (for the interview), a resource person and a good story to tell.
Regardless of the cost, the most important thing is that you were able to convey your message to the public. Who knows, these PR tactics could even help increase sales for your company!
2. Use PR to establish thought leadership
One of the most unique ways PR professionals can help build credibility for your brand is by coming up with byline articles (with you as author).
The story may also be developed further into an editorial piece, and may thus be used to anchor a brand’s image by establishing thought leaders.
Whether it is the company founder, CEO or another important figure, the person whose byline will be used in the story will become the face of the company, and their reputation will be built in relation to the brand in the same way that the brand’s reputation will be linked to them. Their ideas will also get associated with the brand, and this can help grow the brand’s reputation well.
Unlike ad placements, bylined articles can ensure that the company’s thought leaders are presented in the best light possible. Besides improving brand reputation, this helps communicate the more human side of a company. PR, after all, offers better credibility than paid ads.
As a PR tactic, bylined articles also serve as a more cost-effective way of gaining brand awareness. It is somewhat similar to sending out press releases, but it requires a little bit more media savvy, a relevant topic to discuss and perfect timing. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg, however.
3. Use PR to enhance social media engagement
Marketers would often go for social media strategies that aim to broaden reach. Their approach won’t be the best for your brand if your ultimate goal is to ensure actual engagement with your audience.
Social media platforms, after all, are meant to be used more for back-and-forth communication with a target audience. This is something of PR’s turf.
Instead of simply exposing a product to a large number of people, PR methods can help build an actual community where your audience or followers on social media can actually react or reply, thus ensuring a true back-and-forth engagement.
One good example of an online PR engagement entails asking a social media influencer to hold a giveaway with you or become an ambassador who’ll write about your brand.
The cost is definitely not much if you compare it with hiring an artist who’ll help unveil your product during a marketing event. After the event, the artist will be long gone. With a social media influencer, the write-up will remain posted on social media sites for everyone to see and react to.
This, in essence, is how PR can offer a much more impactful way of broadening your reach and engaging with more audience.
4. Use PR to supplement marketing activities
PR can usually demand — and win — more attention from the public since it offer value-added information. This is in start contrast to a marketing activity whose main purpose is to increase sales and promote a product or service.
PR communication materials are created with the objective of supporting holistic marketing activities, and this is usually done through a regular supply of inspirational, educational and compelling content.
Through the issuance of media alerts and post-event write-ups, a PR practitioner is usually able to provide additional information about a brand and how it relates to a particular product. This PR tactic will cost you only a fraction of the investment required to put up a sales and marketing rally, which could usually run up to a million pesos.
Instead of just letting the product float with no additional information during marketing events, PR can actually provide added value by providing a clearer context.
5. Use PR to understand your market
Perhaps one of the best lessons any communications professional can take away from the series “Mad Men” is that in order for PR to succeed, it is vital to approach each campaign with a thorough and intimate understanding of the people you are trying to communicate with.
Is the product you are offering what your target market needs? A company can only find out once they learn how to interact with their audiences in actual, real-life scenarios.
This interaction can actually be done through various PR platforms like employee volunteerism, media outreach and community relations programs. Unlike marketing and ad placements, these efforts will entail only minimal expenses on your part — not hundreds of thousands of pesos.
All these activities can also help build two elements essential to your brand’s success: trust and loyalty.
In addition, your followers will be able to establish trust in your brand on the back of consistent delivery of values, ideas and innovation. In turn, this trust will serve its purpose of strengthening the overall value of your product or service.
A community that trusts your brand and what it stands for will also trust what you have to offer.
Loyalty, meanwhile, is built as a result of the strong engagement methods that PR activities offer. Since it is a two-way communication strategy, your target audience would feel that they’ve been heard and that their needs have been considered. This, then, secures the notion that your brand is loyal to them and thus, loyalty will be given back to you.
This then is the reason why PR can be very important in building brand awareness and credibility — it can provide the difference between an ordinary company and a brand that connects with its audience.
A well-thought-out PR campaign can easily make this happen by establishing communication channels, providing and releasing positive content, ensuring that the content reaches its target audience, and reassuring the public of your brand’s values.
So, what will you be doing this 2022 to create better credibility and awareness for your brand?
PR is the key.