It is sometimes said that public relations builds reputation, while marketing and advertising actually boost brands. But in reality, they all work in concert.
While many marketers spend big on paid advertising methods to build brand credibility and awareness, one of the most influential methods often overlooked and totally free is public relations.
Classic PR strategies can be deployed to add depth, color, and cohesion to the building blocks of brand identity. Here are some of the ways of using public relations to build a great brand:
10 brand building strategies using PR
Called the art of influencing, “public relations is about influencing, engaging and building a relationship with key stakeholders across numerous platforms in order to shape and frame the public perception of an organization.”
By this definition, public relations is at the core of building a great brand, by creating influence and spreading it.
Storytelling is another overused term, but at its core, it means packaging information into meaningful and entertaining narratives to forge stronger emotional bonds with customers.
Storytelling is not just about flattery press releases or excessively promotional marketing collateral.
The most persuasive might be closer to home; they can be customer testimonials, community happenings, or employee exploits.
Public relations consultants must get better at storytelling, as a way of building a great brand.
Communicate with authenticity
PR allows companies to express their stories more effectively and in a trustworthy way. Authentically telling your brand’s narrative will help you build client trust.
To make this even more successful, strive to connect with your target audience on an emotional level so that they can sense the importance of what you’re saying. This is a strategic method of of using PR for brand building
Create an exciting news hook for your brand
You could spend quite a bit of time producing press releases and sending them out to the media, but most releases are neither effective nor relevant because they aren’t newsworthy. Think about it — “new” is in the word itself… it has to be NEW to be newsworthy.
In other words, to create a great brand through public relations, you need to create “news hooks” or reasons to ask the media to write about something fresh about your brand.
Employees, in fact, can be both a rich source of stories and a powerful channel through which to tell the brand story.
To be strong, a brand promise must be credible. The essence of good PR is having someone else talk about your brand rather than the company itself.
The third-party endorsement – either implied or explicit – is often very effective, sometimes more so than paid media. It helps when the publicity results include “proof points” that reinforce a brand proposition or identity.
Executive and thought leadership
Staking out a position on a topical or important issue and offering insights or ideas can yield far-reaching brand benefits.
CEOs often underestimate the power of thought leadership in brand building, but it can be a potent public relations tool.
“Education” can mean campaigns that look to change behavior for reasons of public interest, like anti-smoking programs or safer driving, or basic hygiene principles.
The urge to promote and sell often prevents many brands from tapping into the field of education as one of the biggest ways of building a great brand.
Social media is often a big part of the PR conversation. For brands who want to build their reputation and maintain a strong community of followers, it’s important to have a social media strategy.
Social platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram can all be valuable, but most brands won’t have enough time to focus on every channel. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to choose one profile based on customer personas and focus on that specific area.
Celebrity PR and influencer strategy
Macro influencers can also be a powerful way to grow a company’s presence online and raise the brand profile
Companies who learn how to find relevant influencers and use celebrities strategically in their fields, can stay steps ahead in brand building and piggybacking on influencer shout-outs.