Updated: Jun 17, 2019
This is a guest post by Jheanelle A. Smith, a PR Practitioner and Enthusiast
In this day and age where information is so easily accessible and constantly being shared, it gets harder for brands to cut through the noise and stand out.
It’s a constant competition for the spotlight, or that news headline, or that viral post, or video in the digital space. The tried and true traditional PR methods will always be useful, but in today’s fast-paced market, you must be flexible and adaptable.
When you need a particular service or product, what is the first name, company or store that comes to mind?
Whatever your answer, whether it's a person or a business, they have successfully achieved top of mind awareness. The goal of PR is to educate and promote awareness so your business or brand can be parked in your customers' minds right next to the ‘need’ button.
I had a client once who would always say, “We need to be making some noise!”. But, how do you do that? How do you keep your business or brand at the tip of tongues and the front of brains?
Try employing these tips I put together based on what has worked for me and my clients over the years to create top of mind awareness.
1. Create & Maintain Visibility
What good is a business or brand if no-one knows about it?
How will persons get familiar, how will you gain clients or customers, how will you make money or effectively provide a service or add value?
The first step to keeping your business or brand top of mind is positioning yourself in people’s space. They need to know you exist, what you do, what you offer and how you can help them. This includes being active in all media spaces, TV, print, radio, social media, all of it! The more spaces in which you are visible, the greater your chances of reaching a wider audience.
The old school marketing law and according to (Pam Moore) states that on average, 5 to 7 brand impressions are necessary before someone will remember your brand. So a potential customer may need to see your content, offer, product or service at least 5-7 times before making a purchase or taking any action.
The world has since evolved and the speed and frequency at which content can be shared, that means the number of times people need to see you or your brand before taking action, has tripled. Take that into consideration next time you think about wanting to be top of mind.
2. Build Relationships
My current boss always says this, “Relationships are so important, relationships are key in business”. Sure enough there has never been truer words spoken.
Whether you are on the back end or front end of a business or brand, it is paramount that you cultivate meaningful and mutually beneficial connections with your partners, audiences, customers, clients and suppliers. My entire career is dependent and is a direct result of the relationships that have been fostered.
If you’re in the PR industry, then you definitely know what I’m talking about.
More specifically, as a business or brand, you should always aim to know your audience, their needs, wants and habits. Likewise, you should ensure they know who you are and that you are here and willing to provide them with whatever product or service you have to offer based on their needs.
Keep close to your audience, be visible and active in spaces where they are present. That connection creates clients and potential customers as there is now some form of trust established.
3. Drive Demand - Tell your brand story
Storytelling is an art! Capturing an audience’s attention and loyalty by sharing a compelling rendition of your brand story is a great way to build a relationship beyond a blanket media buy.
They say you’re only as strong as your story, and that’s facts. Even if you offer a solid product or service that is far unmatched by your competitors, you still need to convey the very essence and passion of your brand.
The thing is, you never know what will resonate with who, so you want to ensure your brand story encompasses an amalgam of your brand’s existence. Sharing your brand story can easily drive demand as it can create an instant connection between you and potential clients or customers.
Take for example Nike’s storytelling strategy to convey its brand values and authentic character. The brand’s iconic “Just Do It” campaign has lasted for the past 30 years and continues to be effective. (Read more about this here).
All in all, if you’re not telling your brand story and unique proposition, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to captivate potential clients and customers.
4. Be Proactive, Stay Relevant
Brands and business owners have to be enterprising in their approach to success. The aim is to be creative, inventive and germane.
Speaking from my experience as a PR Practitioner, one of my most reiterated pointers is to be mindful of your pitch. Your pitch is everything! How you formulate and position your product, service or story has a lot to do with its triumph or failure.
The key to this is to think inside and outside the box. Stay on top of seasons and market trends, keep abreast of what is news. This way you are informed and in the know which gives you a better vantage point for creating content that is situational and relevant.
A good example of this is retail businesses changing out their storefront to reflect the styles and seasons. In Summer, bikinis and shorts are rampant, but they wouldn’t dare advertise these in the cold months of winter or else they lose relevance to a competitor who is smart enough to display winter boots and coats.
Think of your business or brand as that, a storefront that needs to constantly evolve to meet market trends and seasons.
5. Consistency is Key!
The greatest negative impact of inconsistent brand usage is the creation of confusion in the market”. - (Lucidpress)
In all aspects of your life, consistency is important and will undoubtedly contribute to some success. This is rooted in the fact that consistency constitutes stability and orderliness. It promotes reliability and coherence and I can’t tell you how much an audience appreciates that from businesses and brands.
Customers can get behind a brand that has it together. If you are inconsistent in your story, your visibility or your brand look and feel, it will most likely create some doubt about the seriousness or professionalism with which you approach the business.
Your clients and suppliers will be thrown for a loop each time as they won’t know what to expect or when to expect it. You never want to leave your audience wondering or confused, even worse, you never want to give them the impression that you are confused yourself.
6. Be Useful, Offer Added Value
It doesn’t matter how many people know about you, your service or product, if there is no value being perceived, simply put, it makes no sense. Quality over quantity still stands.
Audiences can see right through material that is useless or not insightful. Persons should be able to feel value each time they interact or observe your brand. Providing engaging and informative content wins every time.
In fact, 45% of consumers will unfollow a brand on social media if their platform is dominated by self-promotion. This means that your content should not only be about selling to your audience but should be relatable and include sound knowledge or advice based your experiences.
The sole purpose of your practical value content should be to add value to your audience, not pitch your offer or attempt to push your brand. Doing so increases users’ friction toward the brand, as they will be doubtful of the content’s true purpose and your willingness to provide ‘help’.
7. Network! Network! Network!
Admittedly, this one has been the most challenging for me personally. The anxiety that comes with having to meaningfully interact with strangers is daunting to say the least.
However, overtime, I've learnt to think of networking as not just about putting yourself out there for others to know who you are, but as an excellent way to meet kindred spirits especially if you are targeted in your approach.
As a Publicist, it is nice to be in the company of those who are actively working in the same industry. There is so much to learn, so many doors to be open and so many opportunities waiting. If you’re missing out networking like I’ve done in the past, you are doing yourself and your brand an injustice.
Hack: try Purposeful networking instead of just winging it. Attend conferences or mingles or other networking events with a goal. Whether that goal is to hand out five business cards, meet three new people or set up meetings with at least two, if you go into a networking space with a goal, you’ll feel less pressured and more intentful.
So there you have it! Seven (7) useful tips of which I’m confident that you will see favor in at least one aspect of your brand or business. More PR related tips and articles can be found on my LinkedIn.