When building brand, public relations (PR) is usually not the marketing discipline that jumps first to people’s lips. But it should trip off the tongue for marketers wanting to create word of mouth and generate that elusive thing called trust. Like traditional marketing, the early days of PR saw messages disseminated one-way from an organisation to the people they wanted to attract. Much of the time, this was achieved through media relations and customers had no way to respond.
Flash forward almost a hundred years and the power is all with the people. Never before has the public had so many ways to make their voice heard and elevate or relegate a brand (Apple versus BP, anyone?).
So how does PR fit in the brand building mix? Well, good PR is, in its simplest format, about relationships. It’s about knowing the customer and – with their buy in - reaching them in their own space the way they want to be reached, whether this is via the media, newsletters, events, social media platforms, personal correspondence or another medium. It’s about listening to the person’s wants and needs and ensuring that the product or service on offer fulfils these. Where organisations have a clear message and target this effectively, an individual knows what they are buying into and has faith in the brand, which makes marketing easier and cheaper in the long run.
Businesses that use PR to listen well, respond accordingly and deliver on promises, create brands that have a real emotional relevance for the audience. Companies live or die by their reputation and those with integrity not only generate repeat sales, but can rely on their customers to help them do so too.