Part 2: How to build a brand with PR
In the previous part of my blog, I explained why I believe that PR is now the go-to method for building a brand, surpassing advertising and marketing to be the leader of the pack when it comes to brand development.
I also promised a practical guide to how PR professionals can go about building a brand, which is what I’d like to explore in this post in five clear steps.
- Understand the audience: PR helps brands to not only identify and prioritise their target audience, but also understand exactly what that audience wants to hear. With the online conversation growing every day, it is essential for PR professionals to listen to it. We must never underestimate the consumer because they know what they want and are happy to tell us what that is. To build brands that speak to them, we need to tune into their comments and proactively ask them to share their needs, thoughts and desires.
- Get to the heart of client goals: It is important to remember that a successful brand is measured not just by the audience response, but also by the business results that the audience response generates. When building a brand, PR professionals need to live the brand by getting to the fully aligning themselves with their client’s objectives. All brand development should come back to what clients want to achieve.
- Tell the story: PR is essentially storytelling, so we need to make sure that our brand stories are compelling, genuine and human. Content is still king because it demonstrates thought leadership, encourages engagement and is our primary tool for building authentic relationships between brands and consumers. It should contain values and key messages that connect your brand with your audience and go toward creating a valuable bond between the two, which is the essence of building a strong brand.
- Identify the correct communication method: Once you have developed a deep understanding of your target audience, you should also have a good idea of where to meet them. From blogs and social media to print media and TV, the PR professional has a wealth of choices when it comes to communication channels. In the social media sphere alone, Facebook stands out as a community creator, Instagram offers an excellent platform for promoting products, and Twitter is a place to share opinions — each channel has a distinct character that should be used to your brand’s advantage when sharing content.
- Go beyond PR: PR was once dedicated to securing print media coverage, but the scope of our profession has changed immeasurably. We are now involved with social media communication, digital activations, experiential outreach, on-ground events, business strategy and thought leadership, to name just a few areas. When building a brand, we must remember to use every method in our PR tool box, which grows year by year as our work becomes increasingly ambitious.
Today, PR plays a pivotal and leading role in building a brand, and we would do well to remember Richard Branson’s words: “The brands that will thrive in the coming years are those that have a purpose beyond profit.” Find that purpose for your client and you’ll be on to a winner.
Khaled Abu Hishme is Account Director at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA. |www.cbpr.me