Measurable PR and Marketing


What is B2B PR?

What is B2B PR?

What is B2B PR?

In this article, Lorraine Emmett addresses the most commonly asked questions about B2B PR; what it is, what it’s for, how PR adds value and how to evaluate whether it’s doing a good job.

What is Public Relations (PR)?

PR is the pro-active management of your reputation.  It’s the management of your communication process, intended to create positive perceptions amongst your target audience and customers. This is so that people think and speak positively about your business. Familiarity is not enough – PR puts your brand front of mind.

PR delivers brands with independent validation; you cannot put a value on third party endorsement in terms of credibility.

Why does your company need PR?

Your reputation is the sum of everything you say and everything you do, added to everything that is said or written about you – by anyone. Your reputation exists but it’s up to you whether you choose to nurture it or not. PR Companies help you manage your company’s reputation and build a positive relationship with your internal and external stakeholders.

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What services does a PR firm provide?

What does a PR Company do?

Businesses can manage public relations in-house, but there are clear advantages to outsourcing your PR and many successful brands do.

PR consultancies use their media network and writing skills to build understanding and interest in your brand through storytelling and thought leadership.  Organisations that recognise their reputation has currency will proactively manage it.  They understand a positive perception will pay dividends in terms of goodwill, loyal customers, committed workforce etc.  Reputation management will be done through public relations initiatives designed to influence and persuade people on the merit of their brand. This is PR. This is what a PR company can do for you.

The Public Relations trade body, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations can provide you with further insight.

What can a PR company help you achieve?

Boy dressed as pilot with wings

A good B2B PR agency will deliver commercial outcomes enabling your business growth to take off.

There are three main ways a PR company can help your business all of which underpin

  1. Visibility – a strong content and editorial plan will ensure that your brand is visible in the right media and can be easily found with high digital currency
  2. Value – by serving the most compelling messaging to the appropriate audiences your PR consultancy will help you to build familiarity and trust amongst your target audience
  3. Understanding – your PR company will show you how to present your brand message in a relevant and compelling way to stimulate demand.

Where does B2B PR fit in? B2B PR versus B2C PR

B2B PR is a specialism within PR which helps organisations to sell their products and services to other organisations, not the general public. Practitioners of B2B PR work with B2B marketers to manage their reputations to make their organisations visible, valued and understood.

B2C PR is the practice of managing the reputations of brands which sell their products and services to the general public.

What other PR specialisms are there?

There are a number of different specialties within the PR profession including B2B PR (business-to-business); corporate communications, consumer PR, public affairs & lobbying, financial PR, tech PR, analyst relations, social media and internal communications, to name a few.

ec-pr specialises in technology B2B PR and corporate communications. We are experienced in delivering public affairs projects and internal communications programmes, with a deep market knowledge of the technology sectors: cybersecurity, defence, science, energy, maritime, and transport.

People who work in B2B PR consultancies need to be able to understand the prevailing issues, empathise with the impact of those issues and communicate clearly and with commitment with interested parties, both verbally and in writing.

What services are in the B2B PR Toolkit?

The tools PR companies use to manage their reputations are extensive and include:

  1. Analyst relations
  2. Blogging
  3. Crisis Comms
  4. Infographics
  5. News releases
  6. Media relations
  7. Media training
  8. Press interviews & events
  9. Social engagement
  10. Thought Leadership
  11. White papers

You can find more definitions of PR below.

What should you expect from your B2B Public Relations company?

  1. A clear plan: it’s important to know what your agency is doing to help you achieve your requirements. A clearly structured methodology which gets you from where you are now to where you want to go is essential to ensure time and money is not wasted.
  2. Proactive engagement: the success of the relationships will depend on your ability to flex together and respond promptly to opportunities.
  3. Ideation: your PR agency should have a proven approach for generating strategically aligned ideas for articles, campaigns and thought leadership. Creativity is at the heart of effective PR.
  4. Impeccable writing and communication skills: PR is all about managing perceptions to further your brand.
  5. Inquisitive and engaging attitude: your relationship will only succeed if there is mutual respect and enthusiasm for the personalities and tasks involved.
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READ: How to choose your B2B PR Agency

What should your B2B PR company deliver and how do you know if it’s doing a good job?

  1. Process: Your PR agency should be regularly reporting and updating you on their achievements against the agreed PR objectives.
  2. Goals: Meeting and or exceeding the objectives set and highlighting key learnings or how to improve the campaign activities should be an ongoing B2B PR activity.
  3. Ideation: Your PR team will be habitually developing new ideas, themes, and initiatives to progress the brand awareness and achievements of your B2B PR goals.
  4. Starstruck: Delivering outstanding pieces of coverage in a pinnacle target publication at regular intervals will be something your PR counsel does consistently.
  5. Impact: quantity of coverage is not an indicator of effort or activity, but your B2B PR agency should be securing press coverage in target press regularly.
  6. Thought leadership: quality of coverage is as important as quantity, authored articles in pinnacle press is invaluable and something your PR advisors will be expert at achieving.
  7. Expert engagement: Your PR delivery team should be experienced and engaged so that you benefit from their wisdom and experience, not the other way round.
  8. Media network: your B2B PR agency should have a strong network and in depth knowledge of the way the media work in your sector and how to secure press coverage to be able to regularly design, pitch and secure placement on your behalf.
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Establish whether your PR agency is doing a good job with our 9-point check list

How can you tell if your PR partnership is on a road of continuous improvement or on a path of terminal decline?

Press coverage issues can be resolved with an engaged and well-led team, however indicators of a relationship in decline will revolve around passion and professionalism: they don’t appear to love you anymore and their behaviour shows it:

  1. Reporting becomes haphazard and inconsistent
  2. Ideas are uninspired and uninspiring
  3. Communication is infrequent and rarely proactive.

How is PR different from Advertising?

The key difference between PR and advertising, whether B2B PR or B2C PR, is that advertising space is paid for while editorial space is not. While you pay for the PR Agency’s time, there is no guarantee that coverage will appear – it is down to the editor to decide whether the material is likely to add value to the media channel (magazine, programme or blog) or not.

On the flip side, readers will appreciate that editorial content may have a greater value having been vetted by a professional journalist, rather than a paid-for advertisement.

You can read about this in more detail in this blog,  7 ways PR differs from advertising

What are the benefits of outsourcing your PR?

To work out if your business would benefit from an outsourced PR partner we’ve listed several benefits below, and a useful blog: Nine Questions Every Marketing Manager Should Ask Before Hiring A PR Agency

No recruitment fees – the PR team is already in place

Speed to excellence – no interviewing, inducting, learning the ropes

Value for money – access to a team of senior PR people that you couldn’t afford to employ on a full-time basis

24/7 availability – no holiday down time

Perspective – PR firms can see the wood from the trees and can provide impartial, objective advice

All the writing expertise plus implementation and delivery skills readily accessible

PR Agencies have an established and powerful network of press contacts which they can open up to you, why start the process from scratch

What other definitions of PR are there?

PR or Public Relations means different things to different people. You might find it interesting to consider these definitions of PR, from respected organisations and institutions:

1. PRCA – The PRCA is the world’s largest PR professional body:
“Public Relations, or ‘PR’, is all about the way organisations communicate with the public, promote themselves, and build a positive reputation and public image. The way an organisation is represented in the media has a huge impact on how people perceive it. PR professionals try to influence the media to represent their organisation positively and communicate key messages.”
https://www.prca.org.uk/careers/what-is-pr

2. BBC – The British public service broadcaster:
“Public Relations (PR) is a promotional technique used to gain media coverage. It is free and is generated through:

● Events
● Activities
● news-worthy stories”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zj4c7nb/revision/4

3. Hubspot – the inbound marketing platform:
“Public Relations professionals help a business or individual cultivate a positive reputation with the public through various unpaid or earned communications, including traditional media, social media and in-person engagements. They also help clients defend their reputation during a crisis that threatens their credibility.”
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/public-relations-definition

4. Wikipedia – the online encyclopaedia:
“Public relations (PR) is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a non-profit organization) and the public.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_relations

5. CIPR – the Chartered Institute of Public Relations:
“Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”
https://cipr.co.uk/

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

DownloadDownload our 2021 ultimate guide: How to write a press release that editors want to publish

CASE STUDY Check out this awesome Tech PR case study: How we raised news uptake for InsurTech firm, Concirrus, by 400%

ARTICLE Essential reading for our B2B businesses: How to write a PR brief

PR Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Your complete Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Including example PR campaigns, content calendar templates, and audit checklists.

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The Definitive Media Lens Guide 2021 pdf

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GUARANTEED PERFORMANCE

Being in the right place at the right time… We will deliver feature length coverage to your target press… or your money back.

How Can A PR Campaign Help My Business?

How Can A PR Campaign Help My Business?

How Can A PR Campaign Help My Business?

From recruitment to raising brand awareness – a great PR campaign can help your business in many ways. In the B2B world, PR is a fundamental part of your overall marketing strategy and shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to allocating your budget.

Here are just some of the ways a PR campaign can be beneficial to your business.

Boosting Sales & Raising Brand Awareness With A PR Campaign

We get it; it can be hard deciding where to put your marketing spend when it comes to advertising your business, products, or services. Especially in the B2B sector where you are spoilt for choice when it comes to paid advertisement channels.

What method is going to be the most effective way to make your target audience aware of you and what you offer?

Well, a cost-effective way to achieve that is with a good PR campaign.

b2b pr campaign planning leads to business growth upwards arrow

A thoughtful PR campaign can attract new customers simply because your company is brought to their attention in a positive light. The fact that your brand is referenced in an editorial in a respected industry publication lends credibility to your company amongst your target audience. This is because subconsciously, the reader knows that editorial has been vetted and selected by an editor for inclusion in their publication.  Effectively, it has been given the Editor’s stamp of approval.  When your business is mentioned positively and catches people’s eye for the right reason, your credibility instantly rises.

Brand credibility can sometimes be the one deciding factor when customers choose who they want to buy from – this is especially true in niche sectors, where companies are providing similar products or services. When it comes down to making a final buying decision, the company with the most credible reputation is going to win hands down, every time.

After all – you wouldn’t be everywhere if you didn’t have a great company or service, right?

Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.

– Richard Branson.

So, in addition to boosting your reputation and attracting new clients, what else can a good PR campaign do for your business?

Other Ways PR Can Help Your Business

PR can positively affect areas of your business other than just your bottom line. Each PR campaign can be carefully tailored for a different outcome, but a general brand PR campaign can entice more than just customers.

For example, newish brands and start-ups can attract attention from potential investors by making their business appear larger than it is and the perception of uber relevance. You know what they say about faking it until you make it!  

More established businesses can also use PR strategically when they’re seeking new partnerships or considering selling.

b2b pr campaign planning leads to business growth upwards arrow

A PR campaign can also attract people to your business, not as customers but because they want to work for you. Although recruitment marketing is a separate area, general PR is also excellent for recruitment as more people are exposed to your brand, they get to know what you’re about and again, based on your credibility, will see you as a good employer.

This can be especially useful when you’re trying to recruit industry experts and specialists – being the most credible business in your sector will attract top-level talent.

Finally, another way a PR campaign can help your business is by helping repair your reputation.

Yes, we’re down to the topic not many businesses like to talk about or face but ignoring a reputational issue does not make it go away. Tackling a bad reputation can take time and you must be certain that the root issue has been resolved but a good PR campaign can go a long way towards making amends.

Getting Started With A PR Campaign

Now you’re familiar with some of the benefits a good PR campaign can have, are you ready to start? Your essential guide to executing a successful B2B PR campaign plan contains everything you need to get going.

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our comprehensive guide: B2B PR Campaign Planning for all the templates, examples and tools mentioned in this article.

READ this Tech PR case study: How 2i found its voice – 18 Benefits from a communication strategy

watch our video: how to identify your target audience”

PR Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Your complete Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Including valuable example PR campaigns, templates and tools.

Download

Subscribe to our updates

Stay up to date with the latest insights, case studies, and PR guides.

Your 8-Step Communication Strategy

8-Step Communication strategy guide

A comprehensive guide to delivering your business goals using intelligent and relevant messaging.

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Our insights

Can brand awareness generate measurable ROI?

Can brand awareness generate measurable ROI?

Can brand awareness generate measurable ROI?

“Can brand awareness generate measurable ROI?”, is a reasonable question for any sensible business owner or marketer to ask; no business can afford to invest money on activities that don’t have quantifiable results.

Branding and brand awareness can be notoriously tricky to measure, especially when you’re looking at it in a vacuum. Although brand awareness sits right at the top of your sales and marketing funnel, it isn’t a clear-cut acquisition channel, more of an assistant to other acquisition methods.

However, there are a few key indicators of brand awareness you can measure – let’s have a look.

Can brand awareness generate a measurable ROI?

Brand awareness is needed – how would you ever make any sales if nobody has heard of your company? But, viewing it as a direct way to boost sales is perhaps the wrong way to frame brand awareness and instead, brand awareness should be viewed as an assist to sales.

For example, if you were to exhibit your company at a trade show, it would be fairly easy to work out the ROI of that exhibition, helping you decide if you want to invest money in this channel again.

Brand awareness isn’t so simple as it infiltrates every area of sales. Going back to the trade show example – a potential customer may look for your stand because they were already aware of your brand, once meeting you they may decide to buy. This may be more difficult to measure but brand awareness certainly played a part in that sale.

This example shows how brand awareness helps at every part of your sales funnel; the same example can be applied to an inbound phone call or email.

In summary, brand awareness will not be a big direct win and is more difficult to measure but is certainly an important aspect of your overall sales and marketing strategy.

pink fishing nets

Why measure brand awareness?

Last week on our blog, we explained what brand awareness is and we have also put together the ultimate guide to increasing brand awareness – we think raising brand awareness is important – even for B2B companies who may not have traditionally given much thought to brand awareness. 

89% of B2B marketers say brand awareness is their most important goal, ahead of sales or lead generation – Content Marketing Institute

Brand awareness increases familiarity in your audience and with familiarity comes trust – an important factor for many B2B companies, especially those providing services.

Have we convinced you yet how important brand awareness is?

If increasing brand awareness is an important part of your sales and marketing strategy, then it needs to be measured just like any other marketing activity.

How can brand awareness be measured?

One of the easiest ways to measure brand awareness is to simply ask your customers more questions.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good survey.

Surveying customers and potential customers needn’t be a onetime activity or a big deal either – just ask new customers where they heard of your company or product when they get in touch. Keep a record of answers so that you can evaluate which of your brand awareness campaigns are taking effect.

This is one of the more ‘low tech’ options when it comes to measuring brand awareness but it’s highly effective as you’re getting the information you need straight from the source.

A broader survey could involve asking a random selection of people who aren’t customers if they are aware of your company or products. Information gathered can be used to inform future campaigns and maybe look at how you are trying to approach your target audience.

pink fishing nets

Your website and analytical tools can also be used to measure brand awareness – one super easy metric to check is the number of hits your website receives via searching for your company name or any unique brand terms. You can use Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Trends, and Search Console to track this.

If customers are searching your name, the name of company-specific products, or services then they’re already familiar with you. Capture this information to gauge how brand awareness campaigns are working.

Social media is also a powerful tool when it comes to measuring brand awareness. How much your brand is mentioned on social is a good indicator of levels of brand awareness and can be used to track any changes.

Key metrics to take note of are the number of brand mentions, engagement, and reach. Tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social are useful tools here.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our ultimate guide to B2B PR campaign planning

READ this blog: what is branding and why is it a key component of your PR strategy?

watch our video: how to identify your target audience”

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.
The Definitive Media Lens Guide 2021 pdf

The Definitive Media Lens Guide

Find your business's maximum sphere of influence and equip yourself with the tools to reach it.

Download

Subscribe to our updates

Stay up to date with the latest insights, case studies, and PR guides.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Press Release 2021 pdf

The ultimate guide to writing a B2B press release

Revised for 2021

Our expert B2B PR guide with 9 steps to creating a press release that editors want to publish.

Download

What is branding and why is it a key component of your PR strategy?

What is branding and why is it a key component of your PR strategy?

What is branding and why is it a key component of your PR strategy?

Branding plays a fundamental role in how your customers, and potential customers, perceive your company.

Branding and PR

This perception, and image, of your brand is shaped by how you look, how you act and what you say.   Which is exactly why PR and branding are closely connected; both are ultimately about image management.

This week, we’re taking an in-depth look at what branding means to different people within the marketing industry and we’ve asked three industry experts to give us their take on what branding is and how they define it.

First to comment is Sally Fisher, an independent marketing consultant, who runs Marketing, Done In A Day. Sally says that she’s often explaining the difference between marketing and branding.

You can read Sally’s blog on this matter here, but here’s her perspective…

One thing I’ve noticed recently is that there’s often much confusion around what ‘Marketing’ is versus what ‘Branding’ is…

Marketing and Branding are two different concepts; they’re intrinsically and unequivocally linked and each can, and does, impact the other, but they’re two different things.

Brand image

Branding is about creating a full and holistic personality for your business – your vision, your mission, your values and your value proposition.  These are the foundational aspects of your business which help create and project your personality, how you look, what you say, the way you do things, the service and experience you provide.

Your brand identity such as your colours, your logo and your tone of voice etc should represent your brand personality, and together they should all present a joined up, consistent and positive brand experience.

Marketing activity

Marketing is the act of growing your business and making you money – actively targeting the right customers in the right place, using the right channels to position your business on their consideration list and ideally, persuade them to buy from you. Your marketing efforts utilise your brand components to present a consistent, joined-up message.

Coca-Cola Brand

If we consider the ubiquitous brand Coca-Cola – the first thoughts that come to mind are: Red, white, global, refreshment, diet drink, consistent, reliable – these are the brand aspects of Coca-Cola and represent how they’ve chosen to position themselves in our minds.

But their marketing efforts are how they target us as customers, how they sell their drinks to us, their chosen advertising channels, the messages they communicate and their distribution choices – making Coca-Cola available to us all, globally!

In a nutshell, your brand is how you are perceived in the minds of your customers – your brand is what you ‘ARE‘!

Your marketing is the planning and action you take to acquire and retain your customer – marketing is what you ‘DO’

Sally Fisher – Marketing, Done in a Day.

Julie Frances, a Creative Director at Creative Fire says that questions around branding can often be tricky to answer. 

She explains the origins of the term and what her take on branding is here:

The term “brand” came from cattle ranchers over 50 years ago and in the late 80’s, companies like Coca-Cola started to brand their packaged goods in a way that differentiated them from the bland competition.

As time went on and marketeers got savvy, they realised that there was more to ‘a brand’ than just a company name and a pretty box!

Branding has evolved and with time, it has become more subjective. Branding has become more about a person’s feelings (or perception) for a product, service or business.

Let’s explain what branding is not.

Branding is not limited to a logo or a colour scheme. It is not simply to make people aware of your business or service. These are critical elements of the brand building process, but these only scratch the surface.

It’s also important to acknowledge the difference between branding and marketing.

Marketing is the activity designed to promote your business; it will complement branding, but it doesn’t replace it.

Here is our take on what branding is.

1 Brands mean different things to different people.

It can play a different role depending on who it interacts with and when. Some people will connect meaningfully with an aspect of a brand while others won’t. Quite often a person’s relationship with a brand can develop, increasing trust, loyalty and engagement. Smart and successful brands work hard to reach different audiences who matter to their business to cement the relationship with the brand.

2 Brands grow, develop, respond and shift with the times.

It helps to think of branding as an ever-evolving experience rather than a structured set of rules. A brand can be the sum of interactions with infinite possibilities and every touch point makes a difference.

3 Brands are about feelings.

When you ask people why they love certain brands, they might provide a list of logical reasons but in the end, it often comes down to a feeling. How does that brand really make them feel? Successful brands hold great emotional meaning for people and that’s what can make a brand loved and respected.

4 Discussing the impact of a brand is easier than defining what a brand is.

When we talk about defining a brand, we often talk about what makes a brand impactful for a business. It might be better ROI or an aligned leadership. Impact from a brand refresh or a new positioning, a great campaign or just more brand engagement is where you really see a brand doing its job well. For example, the impact of an engaged workplace can create increased innovation, productivity, creativity and loyalty amongst employees and new recruits.

Ultimately, your brand is what the marketplace says it is. 

– Brian Woyt, Founder of the branding agency Wolf & Missile.

Establishing an understanding about how you and your business define your brand and what it means can help guide your brand and business forward. But remember, it doesn’t matter if you think your brand has the potential to be the next Apple or Nike — what really matters is what your target audience thinks of your brand.

10 steps to help build a brand:

  1. Establish the purpose
  2. Identify the target audience
  3. Create a unique voice for your brand
  4. Tell your brand’s story
  5. Design the brand’s visual elements
  6. Establish a differentiation
  7. Build out your brand
  8. Promote, promote, promote
  9. Get advocates for your brand
  10. Evolve as you grow

-Julie Frances, Creative Director at Creative Fire

And finally, Amir Bazrafshan, Founder of Apricot Box says that If you want your business to stand out, be remembered and be valuable, then branding is a term you need to understand intimately.

If you don’t understand what branding is, you won’t be able to use it to your advantage. That’s what this blog post aims to clarify so that you know what branding is, what it entails and why it’s essential to the long-term growth of your business.

What branding isn’t

Branding is often used interchangeably with things such as a logo, identity, a product or a promise.

But branding is none of these.

For example, a logo is a very useful business tool that helps to add distinctiveness and recognition, but it’s not branding – it’s a symbol of the brand.

So this begs the obvious question…

…what is it?

Simply put, branding is the process of giving meaning to your business and its offering.

The power of branding means that you can take something, even if it’s a commodity and use branding to:

  1. Differentiate from similar products/services
  2. Be easily recognisable
  3. Be recalled at points of purchase more readily (i.e. be top of mind)
  4. Command premium prices (helping to increase your profits)
  5. Earn loyalty

Those that understand branding will understand that it’s one of the best and most important investments that a company can make.

The tools of branding

Branding is a long term and ongoing process and there are many tools and techniques that a business must draw upon to get it right.

Your brand will live in the minds of your audience so what and how you communicate plus the quality of service/products and follow up all matter – they all work together to build a brand.

Products are made in a factory, but brands are created in the mind. 

Walter Landor.

How do you ensure that all these separate parts are pulling in the same direction and stay coherent over the long term?

By developing a solid brand strategy.  

This document is your road map. It will guide operational and creative decisions. It helps to unite a business and all stakeholders.

Trying to brand your business without a brand strategy would be like trying to drive to a specific destination without a map. In the fog. Whilst blindfolded. Don’t do it!

Elements of your strategy should include details on objectives, market segments, mission, values and a strategic position.  All of this will help you to be deliberate in your choices around your brand identity.

Your brand identity is a collection of elements that you use to articulate your strategy to your target audience – so things such as:

  • Logo
  • Other distinctive visual assets
  • Colours
  • Tone of voice
  • Messaging
  • Font selection
  • Photo style
  • Etc.

These must all work together as a system, with a common through line – the through line being what you want people to know and understand about your brand – what you want to mean to them.

The thing is, people are so busy and are exposed to so many different stimuli on a moment by moment basis and so, you have to be very selective about what you want people to know about your brand.

Your strategy will help you to define this and be purposeful about it.

Once you have your brand strategy and identity defined, it’s time to execute.

branding and pr are about perception and reputation

The branding mindset

A brand isn’t grown overnight – branding is an ongoing and long-term process and commitment.

If you don’t embrace the long-term nature of branding, then you’ll be frustrated and not get the results that are possible.

Building brand reputation

The way that branding works is that you make impressions on your audience, day by day, message by message, experience by experience – all of which compound into a specific meaning that the audience has of your business and offering.

And all of this takes time!

If your strategy and execution is on point, then what your audience understands of you will be very close to what you want them to understand.

Meaning, those benefits – recognition, distinctiveness, premium prices, long term growth and stability, will be yours to enjoy.

Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business 

– Steve Forbes, Editor in chief, Forbes Magazine.

-Amir Bazrafshan, Founder of Apricot Box

Why is having a strong brand important for B2B PR?

Branding and PR may sit separately within your organisation, but they must work together seamlessly to build customer trust and create a positive brand perception. This can only be delivered through a cohesive, optimised, and effective communication strategy.

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As Ted Reubin said so articulately: “Your brand is what your business does, what you stand for, and how you approach your work. You have significant control over your brand because you are able to decide what you want to do and how you want to do it. You can’t completely control how others see your brand, but you can do everything within your power to leave them with a positive impression.

Your reputation is what people remember and share about you. Living up to the standards of your brand doesn’t guarantee a good reputation, but it’s an excellent place to start. Brands that are reliable, accountable, and customer-friendly will often have a positive reputation, but it’s no guarantee.”

Brand reputation and PR

Reputation stems from how you make people feel about your brand and how your stakeholders pass on that experience to others. You have to work hard at shaping that reputation through proactive and authentic marketing communication programmes i.e. public relations.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our complete guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

READ this Tech PR case study: How 2i found its voice: The 18 benefits of a communication strategy

watch our video: how to identify your target audience”

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.
PR Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Your complete Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Including example PR campaigns, content calendar templates, and audit checklists.

Download

Subscribe to our updates

Stay up to date with the latest insights, case studies, and PR guides.

Your 8-Step Communication Strategy

8-Step Communication strategy guide

A comprehensive guide to delivering your business goals using intelligent and relevant messaging.

Download

Setting your B2B PR campaign objectives

Setting your B2B PR campaign objectives

Setting your B2B PR campaign objectives

The decisions made at the outset of your PR campaigns are often those that echo the loudest down the line.

The first steps to planning your PR campaign should involve setting clear goals and objectives, tied in to specific business objectives, or at the very least, be the classic PR goals of shaping public perception of your brand and managing your reputation.

For example, your PR campaigns might have the aim of:

  • Promoting a new product
  • Raising brand awareness to attract more leads
  • Encouraging audience engagement
  • Demonstrating the value of your product or service

Setting these overarching goals gives your campaign long-term vision, and distilling these goals into clear objectives gives you a clear roadmap for how, where, and when you need to achieve these goals.

As Peter Drucker’s famous SMART mnemonic spells out, the strongest objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-specific.

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How to set SMART PR objectives

Be Specific

When defining your objectives, make sure they’re as specific as possible. If your goal is to raise brand awareness, for instance, your objectives should include specific steps towards reaching that goal, such as:

  • Strengthening your brand
  • Securing a set number of media coverage articles in target publications
  • Creating a set of buyer personas that clearly reflect your target market.

Each objective can then be distilled further into tactics used to pursue these objectives.

For example, strengthening a brand might mean conducting a brand asset audit, and securing media coverage is likely to require assessing the media landscape to identify the outlets most favoured by your target audience.

Ensure that your objectives are Measurable

Laying out measurable objectives means the results of your efforts can be quantified. This proves the value of the PR campaign and ultimately links efforts back to the bottom line.

Measurable objectives typically include specific numbers or key performance indicators (KPIs) that are used to benchmark progress at each stage of the campaign. Some of these KPIs might include:

  • Reach estimates the number of unique people who see and engage with your campaign. This helps you determine if your campaign is reaching enough people and whether this audience is your target market. This KPI can be accurately measured with distribution statistics in paper media, and analytics across the internet and social media.
  • Traditional media coverage can be measured by the number of press clippings, or the number of thought leadership articles secured in target publications.
  • Social media engagement can be measured in terms of comments, likes, and shares, that reflect how well your posts are doing on social media.
  • Web traffic, impressions, and time-on-page metrics reflect rising interest, suggesting that your target audience is keen to find out more about your company.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Although PR efforts are often thought to be qualitative with the results difficult to measure, PR campaigns that have achieved their goals can often be traced back to a boosted bottom line.
Setting PR campaign objectives with military precision and flair
Choose Achievable objectives

Sustaining momentum through a PR campaign often depends on how realistic your goals are.

To determine how achievable your objectives are and prevent yourself from getting stuck halfway, carefully weigh them against the following conditions:

  • Available resources: PR Campaigns require revenue and manpower to come to fruition. Outlays are likely to include analytical and media outreach tools, and the salaries of professionals. If you’re running a paid campaign on Google, for instance, you might need to pay for ad space, copywriting, and specialist help.
  • Time frame: Successful PR efforts are likely to extend over a series of months or years, with a succession of milestones marking key results. A realistic assessment of these milestones at the outset help you stay on track.
Make sure your objectives are Relevant

Your PR campaign objectives should be fully aligned with the specific business and marketing goals you’re trying to achieve. Otherwise, they might be successfully achieved from a PR perspective, but have no impact on the business— defeating the ultimate purpose.

5 Be Time Specific

Objectives should be fixed within a specific time frame and agreed with all stakeholders.

This is important to not only create a practical sense of urgency that will help push the campaign forward, but also to align with business objectives.

A product launch, for example, will have specific dates and deadlines for conducting market research, creating a positioning statement with clear messaging, and deploying the right media pieces in a promotional campaign.

Meanwhile, a lead generation campaign will require careful planning to sync-up with the plans of sales and marketing and effectively draw prospects in over a specified time period.

Setting PR Campaign Objectives overarching framework

Setting clear overarching goals and using the tried-and-tested SMART framework is one of the first steps in planning and executing a successful PR campaign.   After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, then how will you know when you get there?

For more guidance and tips on how to plan a successful PR campaign, see our post here.

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

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The vital role of PR in Sales

The vital role of PR in Sales

The vital role of PR in Sales

Let’s examine the role of PR in Sales

A well-executed PR campaign plays into all stages of your customer’s journey—putting more leads in your pipeline, nurturing your prospects as they move down through the funnel, and building enough trust to seal the deal.

In this way, PR campaigns can help your salespeople to convert more leads into prospects and more prospects into conversions, therefore boosting the bottom line – just like advertising, direct outreach, and other marketing campaigns that are often more directly linked to conversions.

PR broadens your reach

There’s no doubt about it; the brand awareness buzz that good PR creates can help you capture more leads.

Carefully selected placements and media mentions ignite conversations that help boost your presence in the real world. These help create high-value backlinks and referral traffic, to improve your rankings in the search results – putting your brand firmly on the map.

This boosted presence in the marketplace, ultimately translates to more leads entering the top of your sales funnel—and not just any leads, but leads that are well-acquainted with your brand, and already have a level of familiarity with your product or service.

celebrating the brand awareness buzz from good PR

PR helps position your brand

A well-executed PR campaign can attract more ideal prospects by perfectly positioning your brand in the marketplace.

Whatever the qualities that make up your brand identity—from the cool sophistication of Apple, to the visionary courage of Tesla—a good PR campaign can showcase those qualities, demonstrating to your target audience that your product or service has the characteristics needed to solve their specific problem.

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An 8-step communication strategy to help you win new business

PR shapes your brand story

Among other media strategies, placements in carefully selected publications can evoke these qualities by creating a strong narrative. The power of stories was illustrated in an experiment by Stanford professor Chip Heath, who asked students to give one minute speeches containing three statistics and one story. Afterwards, only five percent of listeners recalled the statistics, while more than sixty percent remembered the stories.

Whether your story is one celebrating your achievements—commercial or otherwise—or promoting your culture and purpose, narratives can hit emotions that resonate amidst endless noise. The strength of this emotional association is what helps you remain top of mind, on their consideration list, and build a reputation that keeps your customers coming back to your brand, instead of your competitors.

In this way, exposure in the right places doesn’t just draw more leads into the top of your funnel, but they trickle down through the sales process, ensuring prospects are receptive to your brand, and likely to trust you enough to feel good about working with you, as opposed to your competitor.

effective PR helps build trust

PR builds trust

Trust in institutions—including businesses, government, and the media—is at a low ebb, according to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer. This erosion of trust is particularly noticeable in the tech industry, where the pace of change has become so fast that many feel left behind—waiting for their jobs to be replaced by automated bots or AI.

PR can help overcome this lack of trust

by creating a strong relationship with customers through what infamous Psychology and Marketing professor Robert Cialdini calls pre-suasion:

“The process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it. Strategically guiding preliminary attention, to move prospects into an agreement with the marketing message before they ever experience it.”

While B2B PR blogs can help to establish authority, and paid placements in established publications can demonstrate your credibility, appearing in the editorial section of a magazine or newspaper is the gold standard for building trust. Because these articles have been independently endorsed by a trusted third party, their credibility runs deeper than blogs, paid placements or advertisements, helping you to build a great brand reputation and win real lasting trust with your audience.

PR helps overcome customer objections

At the end of a customer’s journey, unforeseen objections can suddenly arise that are guaranteed to make a new salesperson sweat. A robust, strategically planned PR campaign can anticipate and address these customer objections before they are presented—making the life of a salesman a little easier.

According to research from DemandGen, 41 percent of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before even engaging with a salesperson.

Content published on your owned channels, such as social media and website can help overcome common sales objections, including hesitancy over pricing and misunderstanding of benefits.

More effective however, is third-party content.

A study conducted by Nielsen in 2014 revealed that third-party “expert content ” was even more effective at lifting purchase considerations than user reviews, with PR boosting familiarity significantly more than branded content.

“On average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content and 50 percent more than user reviews; they lifted affinity 50 percent more than branded content and 20 percent more than user reviews.”

By tying this type of content into your sales process, through links in emails or social media, the strength of ‘expert content’ can be fully capitalised on, to help avoid last-minute complications, overcome objections, and reinforce the customer’s buying decision.

So, to summarise; from bringing more primed leads into the top of the funnel, to building trust and overcoming sales objections, a solid PR strategy and campaign plan can make life easier for your sales teams, directly boosting your bottom line and having a positive impact on your brand reputation.

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PR in Sales: We have won new business because of our communication strategy
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