I have two friends, let’s call them M&M, who run a public relations agency that specializes in crisis management. They keep corporate and celebrity mishaps and misdeeds out of the news. Or, if they do hit the news, they work to get them out of the news as soon as possible. At the very least, they make sure their clients’ sides of the story get told. They mitigate any ill effects of the story – like businesses collapsing and innocent people losing their jobs. It’s a fascinating line of work and they have many colorful tales to tell – not that they’ve ever shared them with anyone. M&M are consummate professionals. Public relations is all about reputation management and that’s a big part of branding. Amazon chief, Jeff Bezos famously said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” That’s not the whole story on branding, of course, but there is a lot of truth to what he says. So you need to think about public relations, whether you handle those duties in-house or retain an agency to drive your brand. But, if you don’t have a brand strategy in place, your PR people are driving without a road map.
Public relations should be a part of any marketing communication campaign. But you often hear people grumbling that their PR firm is a huge money suck and they aren’t getting the ROI they expected out of it. There are plenty of reasons that might be the case. But a big one is failing to have a brand strategy that propels your storytelling and keeps your branding message consistent. Think of all the media channels engaged by marketing communications, inbound marketing, social media, advertising, and public relations. Without the strategy to guide them, all those crew members could be rowing in different directions. No wonder the ROI isn’t there.
On the flip side of that same coin, PR people often complain that they’re not included in brand strategy discussions. Imagine. You go through the trouble of developing a brand strategy and then don’t share it with the people who manage your relations with the press. It’s hard to think of a bigger waste of resources. Remember, the press is an important constituency in your market. Their perception of your brand is vitally important to its future.
Ask Boardwalk to develop a brand strategy
that will guide all your communication.
Obviously, it’s too late to implement a public relations campaign once you find yourself in a crisis. So, as soon as you can, put a proactive public relations campaign into action. You’ll find plenty of benefits.
Image – You can shape the opinion that the press, your market and the general public have of your brand. Build a cushion of goodwill that will protect you in times of crisis.
Connections – You can get introduced to people who can open doors for you. Get media exposure, speaking engagements, book offers, even develop new business.
Advocacy – You can lobby on issues that are important to you. Be seen supporting worthy causes.
Targeting – You can target the specific market segments that mean the most to you.
Positivity – You can prove your organization is, generally speaking, a worthwhile credit to society.
Communicating through an organized public relations campaign allows your business to stand in a good light. And, if you coordinate your PR campaign with the rest of your brand-building efforts, your organization will build up a positive reputation among all concerned. That way, when an accident happens or an employee makes a mess of things, you may not have to call in my friends, M&M. Although you may want to anyway.
Best Branding Reads – Week of July 29, 2019
New Research Uncovers Biggest Differentiator Of Effective Marketing: Bravery
Must-read for marketers with plenty of surprising, but valuable, insights. Most of us have been doing marketing all wrong.
How Brands Mirror Religion
Very thought-provoking article. Worthwhile read for marketers.
Branding Through Online Experience
You can’t project a corporate “voice” until you establish a corporate “personality”.
How Brands Can Compete On Efficiency
Plot your business and your competitors on this graph. Useful exercise.
This Just In: Michael Doret’s Disney and Pixar Title Treatments
A fascinating glimpse at the talent and hard work that goes into hand-lettered title treatments.
McDonald’s sets drivers’ eyes on the fries with minimalist billboards giving directions
Clever and memorable. I’m getting hungry.
The Chief Innovation Officer Job Description
Don’t get disrupted. Be the disruptor. Build innovation into your everyday business systems.