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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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