Communication Strategy

Successful PR requires a well-formed, clear Communication Strategy.

We at ec-pr believe in an integrated approach to PR, which goes hand-in-hand with the full range of marketing activities. In order to make this a success, your organisation needs a communication strategy that provides clarity of approach.

Indeed your comms strategy will become the backbone to inform and guide all marketing communications moving forward, including the Public Relations activity.

If your organisation’s marketing is operating on a tactical level instead of a strategic one, ec-pr can help your marketing team regain control of your brand and marketing strategy.


How to write a value proposition for your technology brand

How to write a value proposition for your technology brand

How to write a value proposition for your technology brand

In this blog we provide insight, exercises and a value proposition template to help you write a game changing value proposition for your technology brand.

First, the insight. In our short video we explain where your value proposition comes from, why it’s important and how and why it sometimes goes wrong. [You can find a transcript below.]

Here’s a brief overview of how to develop a game changing value proposition.

Your value proposition is the cornerstone of your communication strategy upon which everything else is built, so it must be robust to support your brand and ensure its resilience.

When a business is established, it’s because someone somewhere thinks there a gap in the market which they can fill – faster, better, cheaper, or maybe even kinder than what’s currently available.

As a result of delivering that better option, the company grows.

But as it grows, it can lose sight of its original purpose, because new products or services are developed, new people join the company and gradually you lose touch with your ‘faster, better, cheaper’’ promise.

Does this matter? Yes. Because, the value proposition exists to keep you focussed and enables you to stand out from your competitors.

Your value proposition can be updated but to be effective it must remain specific, relevant, sustainable, and believable.

What is a value proposition?

A value proposition is a simple statement that summarises what benefit someone will receive as a result of buying from you, that they cannot get elsewhere.

The benefit will be rooted in something that really matters to the customer, not in what feature you happen to offer.

A great value proposition will clearly differentiate you from competitors and, as the cornerstone of your brand and communication strategy, it must be underpinned by compelling evidence.  A value proposition will clearly:

  1. Identify the most compelling benefit, your product/service offers.
  2. Describe what makes this benefit(s) valuable.
  3. Identify your target customer’s main problem.
  4. Connect this value to your target buyer’s problem.
  5. Differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value.

How do you define a value proposition?

To help you define your value proposition try these exercises:

Is your value proposition fit for purpose?

Ask random people from across your company:

“What problem do we solve for our customers?”

Are your answers consistent, compelling and  customer-orientated? If they’re not, and you need some help – give us a call and book some time in our messaging lab on +44 203 740 6080.

 

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Try our value proposition template

Do this exercise amongst your team, expect to do a couple of iterations to create a robust value proposition for your business:

[Your company name] is the only [competitive category – this is where your customers will look for you] that provides [your target audience – be specific ] with [an emotional benefit – in what way will customers lives be better as a result of buying/using your service] by/with/through [how you achieve this].

Now ask yourself: is your value proposition unique, specific, relevant, sustainable, and believable?  If you’re struggling to find the time to focus on this and you’d like some help – give us a call and book some time in our messaging lab on +44 203 740 6080.

 

Examples of value propositions that work:

Here are four examples of B2B tech brands who have got it right:

  1. Weebly – Building a website has never been easier. It gives entrepreneurs all the tools they need to create a unique site without the need for any technical expertise.
  2. Groovehq – Builds better customer experiences with Groove software – it delivers everything you need to convert, support, and delight your customers.
  3. Concirrus – The only digital analytics platform that provides the insurance ecosystem with greater control in decision-making to help grow your business and make it more profitable.
  4. 2itesting – We deliver certainty through our bespoke framework AssureRMF, this enables you to accelerate your digital journey.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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

WatchWhy your business needs a communication strategy – essential viewing!

Case study Discover how Lloyds Maritime Academy took control and leveraged their brand

Read How to build compelling B2B messaging for Technology Brands

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.

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How to do a great press interview

How to do a great press interview

How to do a great press interview

Every B2B technology brand’s PR programme will involve press interviews.  In order to deliver a great press interview you need to feel confident when you speak to the media and, as with most things, preparation is key; indeed the 80:20 rule applies here to preparation and execution.

Ideally, you should ensure your spokespeople have taken part in tailored media training which includes objective setting and role play of realistic scenarios.  A successful interview should follow if you’ve taken the appropriate preparation.

Your PR company should provide you with insights into your interviewer and the publication, or channel, they are writing for in detailed media briefing notes; they should also be called upon to facilitate the briefing itself, to take notes and follow up.

10 Media Training Tips

While you will of course need to know your facts, have an opinion and be able to articulate it in a compelling way, these 10 golden rules will help you to deliver a strong interview and get your point across, while appearing competent, confident and engaging.

Our top 10 media training tips for delivering great press interviews include:

1 . Be passionate – Focus on why your story matters. Be passionate in your delivery and authentic in your beliefs and you will engage your audience which will make your message memorable.

2. Know your media outlet – Watch the show or read the publication first and think about the types of questions the journalist may ask. It’s good manners and good prep.

3. Be current – Think about the breaking news and trends surrounding your subject matter.  You may be asked for your opinions on them or it may form part of your general discussion.

4. Be on message – be clear about what you want people to learn or understand from your interview; have suitable stories, examples, and opinions available at a moment’s notice. Remember you are talking to the end audience not just the reporter.  Think about the audience’s wants and needs.

5. Evidence – Always have a media kit at the ready including company backgrounder, spokesperson backgrounder, one or two current news stories and FAQs that demonstrate and support your key points of communication.

6. Be concise – three clear points is all you need because that’s all people will remember! Practice them aloud. This is for two reasons – you need to be familiar with the sound of your own voice and perhaps more importantly you need to know when to breath.  Breathing will calm any butterflies and provide pauses to let your point resonate.

7. Be approachable – You can hear a smile!  When you talk to the media, you are the only voice they are listening to, so be nice and treat the interviewer with respect. Ask the interviewer if they have everything they need, work with them not against them.

8. Tell the truth – stories that you present to the media should be factually accurate. Lying and deliberately misleading will come back to haunt you.

9. Be discreet – There’s no such thing as ‘off the record’ – never say anything to a reporter that you don’t want repeated, about anyone. It’s a small world. Thoughtless comments can also come back to haunt you.

10. Perception is reality – understand the impact of how you look and sound to the media. With more and more interactions taking place online, don’t wear anything that will distract viewers from what you are saying.  If in doubt look at how the BBC Breakfast presenters dress and emulate them.

The best media training involves role play and scenario planning so that nothing comes as a surprise.  If you still feel uncomfortable about putting spokespeople in front of the media, ask your PR company to source questions from the journalist and respond by email.  Bear in mind that you may be ruling yourselves out of broadcast and podcast opportunities until such a time as your spokespeople have built up confidence.

Always submit any written responses through your PR company who can act as an additional point of quality control, ensuring you are on message and strategically aligned. By doing so, you can guarantee to get the optimum outcome from your media interview.

Follow these 10 golden rules and you’ll always be prepared for any media interview!

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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Read Read this awesome Tech PR case study: Mason Advisory

Look Look at this infographic Why your business needs a communication strategy

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.

Your Ultimate Guide to Crisis PR Management

The Ultimate Guide to Crisis PR

Unforeseen circumstances have hit us all in 2020. Our guide shows you how to manage your PR in a crisis.

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No time to think about PR?

No time to think about PR?

No time to think about PR?

Time and money are in short supply. These are the two things marketers universally agree upon and, as a result, you need to be sure that anything you invest in is going to pay returns.  So, what can PR do for you that is worth investing your precious time and slender resources? In short, what’s the business case for B2B PR?

As you’re reading this, you no doubt agree that your reputation exists, so really, the decision you must make is whether you choose to nurture your reputation or not.  Shaping what people say about you and influencing their perceptions of your brand in order to build awareness, fill the top of the funnel and provide thought leadership – this is B2B PR.

8 reasons to find time for B2B PR

The fact is that effective PR makes you visible, valued and understood amongst the people who matter to your brand – both the decision makers and the influencers – it builds trust by harnessing third party media recognition and endorsement.

BE VISIBLE:

You know that having a visible brand is essential and commanding share of voice is powerful but being independently endorsed is invaluable.

  • Brand Awareness: It’s impossible to buy something you haven’t heard of.  Press coverage puts your brand in front of potential customers so that when they enter the market, they can consider your offering. Seeing your brand regularly in the media creates familiarity and trust – the critical components of an enduring relationship. 
  • Share of Voice: You operate in a highly competitive and potentially complex market. PR will ensure your offering stands out from the ‘noise’ your competitors are making.  Using tools like C3 from Cision enables you to track how your share of voice is performing against key competitors to ensure that you are dominant on the core messages that matter to you.
  • Reputation: PR enables you to deliberately shape your reputation rather than leave it to chance.  How you’re perceived by your target audience will directly impact your ability to generate leads, close sales, and secure customer loyalty. Within your business, your reputation determines your ability to recruit the right people, keep your best staff and motivate your teams.

BE VALUED:

You want to build enduring relationships with your target audience and to do this you need to be trusted and respected. PR underpins and accelerates this process.

  • Credibility: Credibility influences people’s behaviours and thoughts.  If your brand is not credible, your target audience is less likely to believe what you are saying. By working with specialist editors and reporters to secure press coverage for your achievements and opinions, your messages are invested with greater credibility and authority.
  • Clarity of message: PR enables you to put your customer at the heart of everything you say, do and develop by creating compelling messaging to inspire and engage.  By putting the customers’ wants, needs, aspirations and fears front and centre, you engage their hearts and minds with compelling and engaging PR – presented through authoritative third parties.

“You cannot put a value on third party endorsement in terms of credibility”.

  • Crisis mitigation: A strong brand; one with clear values, with which your target audience is familiar, and which enjoys high trust, can weather storms more easily in times of crises. A business which relies solely on commercial transactions will, by default, be less robust and enduring – because it relies entirely on its ability to close the next sale rather than building relationships.
Valued caption

BE UNDERSTOOD:

To stand out from the crowd and tell your brand story in a way that excites and inspires a sophisticated audience, you need a specific set of communication and writing skills.

  • Differentiation: Brands that operate in highly competitive or complex markets may find it hard to differentiate themselves. PR can help you to develop, evidence and communicate a unique and compelling proposition which will engage and intrigue your target audience.
  • Unique & Complex: Companies rooted in engineering, science and technology often have remarkable knowledge and expertise which sits outside communication and marketing.  Specialist PR can be used to translate achievements into articles and news that their target audiences can both understand and embrace.

So, when you ask yourself: ‘Should I be doing PR’?  Know this, B2B PR is not a vanity exercise. Not taking the time to invest in your PR now will mean that your brand will find it unnecessarily difficult to achieve its potential and it will be more expensive in the long run.

And, when colleagues ask you: Is PR important?  The answer is obvious: there’s a compelling business case for finding the time to think about PR at every stage of your company’s development.  Failure to manage your PR could cost you a great deal more than just a few missed column inches; it can leave you invisible, vulnerable, and misunderstood.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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

DownloadHow to become a Thought Leader 

Read Check out this awesome Tech PR case study: Concirrus

Watch Watch this short video Why your business needs a communication strategy

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.

Your Ultimate Guide to Crisis PR Management

The Ultimate Guide to Crisis PR

Unforeseen circumstances have hit us all in 2020. Our guide shows you how to manage your PR in a crisis.

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Why your business needs a communication strategy

Why your business needs a communication strategy

Why your business needs a communication strategy

Here’s a quick overview of why your business needs a communication strategy.

You can find a full transcript below.

A communication strategy saves you time and money whilst accelerating brand awareness and lead generation.

It is a blueprint for how sales and marketing are going to deliver the business plan and has four main attributes:

1. It defines your value proposition – stipulating why your brand is more desirable than an alternative

2. It determines which sectors present the lowest hanging fruit; so that you can prioritise them

3. It describes your target personas in detail, so that you can understand them and engage with them, in a more meaningful way

4. And finally, it provides you with messaging for every stage of the buying cycle – indicating where objectivity is required and when more focused selling is appropriate.

The comms strategy will inform you as to what brand assets you need to develop, finetune or create.
Its specific nature will help you to decide where to invest your limited resources for greatest impact.

A comms strategy delivers cohesion – it ensures strategic goals are met quicker; your brand awareness is increased, and your competitive advantage – fortified.

Your questions about Communication Strategy answered

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. Please get in contact. You can email me at [email protected] or using the contact details below.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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

Download Insight 2020 and discover the issues and challenges facing marketers

Read Check out this awesome Tech PR case study: Predatar

Read how to adjust your comms to stay connected to your customers: Opportunity is not a dirty word

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.

Your Ultimate Guide to Crisis PR Management

The Ultimate Guide to Crisis PR

Unforeseen circumstances have hit us all in 2020. Our guide shows you how to manage your PR in a crisis.

Download

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7 Steps of Crisis PR management

7 Steps of Crisis PR management

7 Steps of Crisis PR management

Crisis PR management, sometimes called crisis comms, refers to events over which you have little or no control, where there is an external agent at work such as a cyber attack, environmental disaster or a global pandemic but which has a direct impact on the stakeholders involved in your brand’s reputation and company’s performance .

Despite the lack of control, can you still proactively manage your reputation?  The short answer – yes. Managing a PR crisis effectively requires you to be disciplined, agile and focused.  Here is how you can manage your business reputation in a crisis:

1. Create your crisis PR plan:

Be prepared. If you have the luxury of time, the most effective way to approach this is to conduct scenario planning within your leadership team before any crisis occurs; alternatively, you will need to execute the following at pace: Brainstorm the worst crises you might have to deal with; sketch out the best and worst-case for each scenario and preferred outcomes; develop a working timeline of how events might develop and then prepare your holding statements for each given scenario. This should be a statement of fact – what has happened and your planned response over the next 24 hours.

2. Designate your crisis team: 

Allocate responsibilities for each scenario, and make sure that those responsible have authority, subject matter expertise and is media savvy. They need authority because the more senior, the more credible you will appear and ideally your spokesperson should have established media relationships.  In addition to the CEO, the team must include relevant experts including a crisis PR chief – all of whom must have appropriate Media skills – it is essential that all members of the team are articulate, credible, and empathetic.

3. Crisis notification: 

Your team needs to be kept abreast of events as they occur – this is key in effective PR crisis management.  A secure system of sharing information is essential e.g. a WhatsApp group is an ideal way of keeping people informed.  Remember to keep the channel exclusive and focussed on crisis comms only – no jokes or pictures of kittens and it must always be on – a crisis is no respecter of time.  Someone always needs to be on duty; make sure it’s the same person or group of people.

4. Crisis intelligence:

Facts and fiction can quickly gain traction in the media.  Unfortunately, the more sensational interpretation can spread the fastest.  Stories which are not managed can grow their own tentacles and be highly damaging causing panic and ridicule, adding unnecessary distress while harming your reputation.  Consider who will be responsible for capturing live intelligence and from what sources; who will be responsible for sharing the information and how the intelligence will be prioritised – a traffic light system could work in this situation.  Using the incoming information you need to constantly reassess and update your comms so that you adapt your messaging and responses accordingly.

5. Business champions:

In addition to your crisis comms team comprising senior management, it’s wise to identify influential individuals inside and outside the organisation whose support you will need to secure your SMART goals. Your staff, customers and supply chain.  Make sure these people get accurate information and don’t forget that people under pressure won’t always get subtleties, but what ever happens you must keep all your champions abreast of any developments in the crisis PR plan.

6. Statements & Formats:

Your holding statements for each stage of the crisis will need to be updated daily to remain factually current and in tune with prevailing temperament amongst your target audiences.  Remember a briefing routine is invaluable and every statement needs to be adaptable to all media channels.

7. Analysis & Learning: 

In many ways we are back to point #1 above and planning for the next one.  Once you have returned to a post-crisis ‘new normal’, you need to sit down with your senior leaders and consider: What went well & why? What went badly & why? What will you do differently & how? When will you institute these changes?

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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

Download Your Ultimate Guide to Crisis PR Management

Watch our Insight 2020 videos and discover marketers’ top challenges and strategies

Read how to adjust your comms to stay connected to your customers: Opportunity is not a dirty word

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.

B2B PR – On being a thought leader

B2B PR – On being a thought leader

B2B PR – On being a thought leader

Insight 2020 identified that thought leadership is a key priority for marketers, it also appears to be a bit of a sweetheart subject in the marketing press right now so I thought it would be useful to provide some insight into the ‘how’ and ‘who’ of great thought leadership.

 

Over the years, we have written hundreds of pieces of ‘thought leadership’ on behalf of clients. Every article we craft is written from interview with a subject matter expert and we follow a process to ensure it’s interesting, relevant and strategically aligned.

The angle for each article is developed with one eye on the communication strategy, with a target persona in mind. If you speak clearly and concisely to a single persona, you are infinitely more interesting than if you speak more generically in the hope of catching the attention of everyone.The angle will often be refined and promised to an editor on an exclusive basis before the full article is written. Our client’s time is valuable and, we don’t want to be producing a piece of thought leadership which only appears on our client’s website or LinkedIn feed.

A focussed, recorded interview with the subject matter expert provides us with the source material which we then craft into an article which meets the requirements of the business, the editor and the reader. [Occasionally, the editor chooses to take the source material and draft the article themselves].

The success of the article will depend on the subject matter expert; the best articles will invariably be from engaged leaders – business leaders or field leaders – who display the following attributes:
  1. They don’t care about being a thought leader, but they care deeply about their subject, vision or mission.
  2. Their knowledge is profound. They take every opportunity to learn about every evolution or development which may impact their passion. Their capacity for assimilating new information is enormous. They are great thinkers.
  3. They can clearly articulate why any aspect of their topic is important – building out its commercial, social, political or environmental relevance where appropriate. Never boring or boorish, they are always interesting and engaging when talking about their subject.
  4. Great thought leaders are willing and able to pitch their communication at the right level for their audience. They are passionate and persuasive to the point of evangelism. They are constantly engaged in their topic.
  5. As with all successful story tellers, great thought leaders have logical, yet creative minds and they enjoy sharing their opinion and ideas. As a result, they are prolific writers, speakers and communicators.

EC-PR How To Become A Thought Leader

Next step

To find out more download our White Paper ‘How to be a thought Leader’.

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