Launching a PR campaign, in any capacity, is a very exciting time for a business. Throughout all the planning and brainstorming, it can be incredibly easy to get caught up in the big ideas for creating perception. Subsequently, the plan you come up with may not match the look and feel of your brand personality. In turn, the core focus of your PR efforts can get muddled.
That being said, it’s imperative that you create a distinct personality to guide your planning and ideation stage. As a brand looking to make in impact in the increasingly crowded digital space, there a number of approaches you can take in this regard. Let’s discuss.
1. Define the brand with human characteristics
PR is all about storytelling and relating to people on a personal level. It’s no secret that humans today are subjected to near-insanity levels of brand messaging. According to a 2017 study conducted by the American Marketing Association, the average consumer is exposed to around 10,000 brand messages every day. As the number of online channels and communities continues to expand, this number will likely expand even further in the future.
In order to make meaningful connections with a target audience, step one is knowing how to speak to them in a way they can relate to. In other words, for your messaging to resonate with humans, your brand needs to exhibit human qualities. Start by imagining your brand as a living, breathing person. Create archetypes for him or her.
- What type of lingo does this person use in everyday speech?
- What kinds of hobbies are they into?
- What does he/she look like?
- What does he/she do for a living?
- What social class does he/she fall into?
These are just some jumping off points. The human characteristics you give your brand are what everyday consumers can empathize with, and ideally, come to trust. Take Patagonia for example. There are several human characteristics that come to mind when mentioning the name; outdoorsy, adventurous, and environmentally conscious. Much of their PR efforts are based around these traits. For instance, they are well-known for their sustainability projects and promoting ethical sourcing practices for their outdoor products.
Throughout all your PR efforts, the human characteristics you give your brand should form the basis of your ideas and strategies.
2. Experiment with guerilla tactics
Guerilla marketing is a fascinating concept, especially when used for PR. In many ways, it exemplifies the very idea of establishing brand personality with creativity and outside-the-box thinking, rather than a huge budget. The focus of guerilla marketing tactics is to get unique exposure in the offline world and leave a lasting impression on people. In regards to PR, many businesses create what are called “buzz campaigns.” These function by sending messages to the public in a way that is intended to get people talking about the brand.
One of the best parts of guerrilla marketing is it is much more accessible than many traditional forms. You don’t have to do things like reach out to publications for coverage or spend a huge chunk of money on intrusive advertising. The key is positioning your messaging in a way that lets your one-of-a-kind brand personality shine through. Most importantly, your guerilla elements need to seamlessly blend into the surroundings and use them to your advantage.
Coming up with the perfect guerilla marketing strategy is not nearly as easy as it might look, because the shelf life for a campaign of this nature is not very long. If your tactic overstays its welcome, it can quickly turn current and potential customers off.
If done correctly, people can get a good idea of what your brand is all about in just a few clever words—sometimes, none at all.
3. Become known for challenging convention
Making waves in today’s PR world is no simple task. As previously stated, the digital space is extremely crowded. If you want your brand to actually get noticed, you need to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while and make some bold claims.
You’d be surprised at how well this works at generating interest.
Keep in mind, there is a huge difference between challenging convention and just being loud. If you are going to make a bold industry claim that stands up to the status quo, it should be inspired by media monitoring and backed up with data-driven reasoning. Over time, if your messaging makes legitimate arguments and offers solutions that actually improve the norm, people will start to see your brand personality as an innovator.
On the other hand, if you become known for making ill-advised claims with little support, you will develop a negative stigma that will be very, very hard to break.
When you look at some of the biggest and most influential companies in the world today, the most common thread between them is the masterminds are not afraid to push convention.
Think Jeff Bezos and Amazon. Bezos’ brand personality is practically synonymous with the idea of pushing convention. Whether it’s making claims that delivery drones will be “as common as seeing a mail truck,” or the concept of a 10,000-year clock enabling long term thinking for tackling humanity’s biggest problems, Bezos (and Amazon) have developed a brand personality known for colossal advancement.
Now, chances are, you don’t have the resources to make Bezos-style claims. However, a great place to start is by looking into your own niche and pinpointing inefficiencies. From here, you can offer your own expert advice and make adventurous statements that disrupt the industry.
There is no better way to get lost in the PR shuffle than staying in your comfort zone. If you want to develop a brand personality that captivates people, you need to put yourself out there and prove that you aren’t afraid to make waves.
Over to you
A PR strategy is nothing without a strong brand personality. As one of the major goals of PR is to expose the world to this unique personality, it needs to be the driving force behind your approach.
The key is being relatable on a personal level. Once you can do this, you need to find interesting ways to put your messaging in front of people’s eyes. Lastly, if you want to create a brand personality that sticks with people, the messaging should be created in a way that challenges the current status quo and makes people think differently about a certain topic.
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