As we look forward to this new year of 2021, what do companies need to do to move their brand forward and increase the bottom line?
As members of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), we are all given this challenge by our clients regularly. Of course, the world is in a different place globally than we were in years past.
Now more than ever, reaching your target market on a consistent basis and cutting through the clutter to get their attention becomes paramount. There is an increased reliance on the internet, for sure, since many people remain working from home, minus the interactions or distractions of their co-workers in an office setting. They are reading even more on their phones and tablets, and they are working more hours as work time and down time blur. How can companies capitalize on this audience shift?
Companies can thrive by using the more powerful tools you have — Public Relations and Digital.
Listen to the needs of your target audience. Tell them how you can help.
Telling your story through PR and Digital media directly to your target audience is the most powerful strategy companies have. When companies are consistently communicating their story through the press, combined with featuring their stories as content on social media, there is an explosion of viewers that see your news.
For example, we represented a trade and logistics company that imported and exported luxury goods. When the pandemic broke and they realized there was a shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields and gloves for both people and healthcare staff on this side of the Atlantic, they quickly pivoted to importing the equipment from Europe and Asia and exporting to Canada and Latin America, filling an urgent need. When their story was told in a trade publication, it was posted on their social media platforms and they received calls from all over North America. By both PR and social media working together, it amplified their story and increased their business.
Based on events of the past year, this public relations tactic becomes more important than ever to show your company cares about the community you serve through a CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility – campaign. This should have both a meaningful impact on the communities you reach and uphold the corporate mission. By aligning your brand with a cause or campaign, your company builds credibility and gets you into the headlines for the right reasons.
For example, a Foundation client recently wanted to ensure that the state of Florida could have as many of its population fill out the Census as possible. The Census provides federal funding for roads, education and healthcare, to name a few benefits, based on how many people live in the state. We created a CSR campaign with them, partnering with eight philanthropic and non-profit organizations around the state. We conducted an intensive Public Relations and Digital advertising campaign to reach the hard-to-reach population, securing Op Eds, Letters to the Editor, TV, radio and online interviews. The result was an increase of 200,000 more people who filled out the Census than in 2010; an increased awareness of the Foundations; and positioning of the leadership as thought leaders on this issue.
Get Creative and Try New Things
While you want to keep the communications techniques that you know work for your company, get creative and try new things as well. Have you tried interactive campaigns or is your company using as much video as you can to help tell your story? Are you using the best and latest social platforms? Have you started a podcast that is interesting and entertaining? Embrace creative communications solutions to keep your existing audience and reach a newer one.
For example, we were launching a new app – for people to have packages of any size delivered while communicating directly with the driver – and needed to recruit drivers. In addition to reaching them through geotargeting digital advertising, we also hosted a breakfast in one of the key cities in partnership with a chamber of commerce to which drivers were invited to come by and get coffee and pastries to go. We took photos and posted on their social media platforms that this breakfast was going on and invited media to cover this new app launch, which they did. The result was a spike in driver recruitment from the social, digital and PR program.
Why invest in PR and Digital in 2021 and beyond? Integrated campaigns using both PR and Digital are game changing for brands, especially looking forward to another challenging year. Companies that use an experienced PR firm will know how to maximize their budgets and create the most impact. Companies that market into challenging times are proven to be the ones that rebound the quickest. While many industries remain uncertain, find a way to expand your communications budget to give you the edge over your competition. Invest well in your PR and Digital strategy and implementation and your companies will see and feel the results of their marketing dollars.