Align These 2 Communications Keys to Fast Track Your Business’s Success

Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

Branding and Public Relations (PR) are more than buzzwords when it comes to building a successful business. They are essential parts of a solid communication strategy and are most effective when their messages are designed to convey a coherent impression of your company.

Before exploring the relationship between branding and PR, it’s worth clarifying the difference between the two. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) defines a brand as “the set of physical characteristics of a product or service along with the beliefs and expectations that surround them”. When your branding is strong, just hearing a brand name or seeing a company logo will evoke that combination of attributes.

Nike is a good example of strong branding. The company’s Swoosh logo is simple, unique, and so recognizable that almost any consumer—sports enthusiast or not—will recognize it without further explanation.

PR has a different function. the CIM definition states that public relations “aims to establish and protect the reputation of a company or brand”. PR also promotes mutual understanding between the company or organization and the various audiences it communicates with.

The definition begins by outlining the connection between branding and PR. The Nike example helps further illustrate the relationship. Simply put, Nike uses public relations to communicate its brand values.

The company’s 2018 campaign featured NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a message of commitment and belief. Although no clothing or sports gear is shown, the campaign increased Nike’s brand equity by around 6 million US dollars.

See Also: 4 Branding Lessons From Nike’s Colin Kaepernick Ad

Making branding and PR work for your business

Few entrepreneurs and startup founders will have Nike’s budget and resources. However, you can still benefit from creating synergy between branding and PR as long as these two elements complement each other.

Increase in brand awareness

For any new or fledgling business, one of the most important PR tasks is to increase brand awareness. The goal is to create a recognizable image in the minds of potential customers and build positive associations with your brand values. To do this job effectively, your PR team needs strong brand values ​​to communicate with.

This may sound obvious, but successful PR needs more than statements from company leaders. Powerful public relations establishes your brand values ​​by telling your story and showing those values ​​to your audience.

Take the longevity of products, for example. An established business can share stories from longtime consumers and products. UK-based scuba equipment manufacturer AP Diving did this in 2019 as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations. The company went in search of the oldest, still working devices that customers had bought from the brand. They launched a contest that inspired customers to rummage through their garages and find long-forgotten gear.

But new companies need to take a different approach. When it’s too soon to prove the longevity of your product or service, consider offering a unique warranty and replacement service. This is also an excellent way to build trust. Assuming your offering is truly unique, your PR team can use it to generate media coverage for the brand.

build up trust

Besides increasing brand awareness, another key function of PR is to build a brand’s credibility and foster consumer confidence in the brand.

in 2004, Cosmetics company Dove resolved to make a difference in a crowded consumer goods market. Everyone needs basics like shampoo, body lotion and deodorant, but very few think long and hard before buying their favorite brand.

To stand out in a crowded market, Dove launched its “Real Beauty” campaign, which uses regular women as opposed to professional models in ads. The campaign made it easy for customers to connect with the brand and recognize themselves in the ads.

Additionally, the advertising campaign became a news story, which subsequently generated public relations coverage for the brand. Suddenly Dove was on the supermarket shelves. The campaign and associated PR activity bolstered consumer confidence and Dove’s credibility by talking about the company’s values ​​rather than product attributes.

The examples above show that PR and branding are most effective when they work hand in hand. To facilitate this, your company needs to start establishing brand values. What is your vision? Why are you doing what you are doing other than making a profit? Public relations can then develop powerful stories to bring your values ​​to life and help your audience connect with your company.

See also: 7 confidence building tips for your business

challenges and opportunities

The success of public relations is based on authenticity. When consumers notice a discrepancy between what a brand is doing and the stories the company’s PR team is telling, there are almost always negative consequences.

Dove faced backlash when the company took the campaign one step further and Limited edition bottles launched represent different body shapes. Returning to the Nike example, Colin Kaepernick’s campaign also generated negative reactions, with some customers burning their sneakers. However, the campaign helped the brand connect with a young, urban audience, and the positive results outweighed the negative reactions.

To help your business, your branding and PR must be aligned. PR develops its messages from the values ​​of the brand. Unique brand values ​​and campaigns can themselves become the subject of PR. Well thought out and cleverly worked out PR measures are among the most cost-effective marketing measures. Their cost efficiency makes them ideal for smaller companies and start-ups.

See also: The Impact of PR on Small Businesses

By putting brand values ​​at the heart of PR messages, any business can strengthen its credibility and sales performance.

Leave a Comment