We’ll cover the following topics in the months to come:
- PR and your brand
- Competition is doing it
- Importance of specialized PR expertise (this came up in a PR webinar I listened to earlier this week)
- Support marketing/sales initiatives
So, without further ado...
PR and Your Brand
When thinking about your brand, it’s important to note that we consider brand building to be an ultra-marathon, not a series of sprint drills. A commitment must be made to the process of creating, building, sharing and refining your brand identity. It can take years for visibility programs to take hold and is done one day, one interview, one communications piece and one social media post at a time.
PR’s role in brand building is critical, especially because of the innate credibility that comes from elements of PR such as earned media (read: press coverage). Companies often fail to gain critical mass within target audiences because they consider only advertising along with other traditional marketing communications when building a brand. Again, PR is critical to your brand and generating awareness.
Questions to consider when defining your brand:
What do you stand for?
What do you offer?
What’s your expertise?
What makes you different and better than the competition?
What’s your story?
What do you stand for?
What are your values?
What are five words that describe your brand?
What is your visual identity?
What is your customers’ perception of your brand?
These questions must be answered comprehensively to define then build your brand. An important action is holding a brand and messaging workshop to delve into your company's beliefs, purpose, vision, values, and personality. Consider views from all angles - your CEO, head of marketing, client-facing employees, vendors, clients, and the media might all have differing views.
Review this exercise every year or two to evaluate and reconfirm your brand identity as changes occur in your business and the industry. This process should ensure that whatever brand standards and messaging that’s developed will be shared consistently throughout your marketing and PR strategies.
Once you know your brand then a plan to communicate it must be developed.
It’s clear that PR should align, support and sometimes drive your marketing strategy and layer upon layer work to build visibility in your key client groups. For example, if your firm specializes in investing in small cap companies, you’d want investors to associate your brand with subject matter expertise pertaining to small caps. Your experts should be the go-to resource on the category. Your brand, over time, should become associated with this area of expertise and when clients think of you, they should think of small caps.
Perception is reality
On some level, the most powerful way people connect with your brand is via PR. It’s a purer form of association, less filtered by paid marketing messages. Therefore, it’s essential for attention to be paid to how your brand is perceived. Remember, perception is reality. This is most important when your organization is facing crisis situations or a time of active change. Management of that process is key to the longevity and health of your brand. Once your brand is tainted, the road back is steep and difficult.
Obtaining visibility in the marketplace for your brand is a long-term commitment but don’t forget the role of creativity in propelling matters. Creative thinking can lead to momentous ideas.Think viral, and your organization can leapfrog years of slow brand building in a short time.
Overall, if you consider your brand with the same gravity and strategic overlay as you do with your overall business, you’re already headed in the right direction. Take the time to nurture and the brand equity built over time will be a power tool in your marketing arsenal.
Read more to find out why brand marketing is crucial to your success.