PR: Creating Conversation

Businesses have long been guilty of relying on the somewhat antiquated product PR model to attract consumers.  It’s time to step-up the game! 

PR is more than simply pitching product news; it’s about generating communication that influences brand perception and awareness.

To be a successful business, it’s necessary to review your PR stance; you can no longer place all the emphasis on product to attain consumer loyalty, it’s about creating an emotional connection with your consumer.

We live in an age dominated by sophisticated consumers that seek more than mere product.  To succeed in this marketplace, the need exists for a business to act as a conduit through which ideas flow.  It’s about creating conversation.

While products still remain at the heart of the ‘conversation’, they do not and most certainly should not, form the basis of the PR effort.

It’s about leveraging the power of integrated media to conduct the conversation.  Such communication initiatives should not be seen as a side effect of the PR effort, but should be assumed the very point of them.

Public Relations provides the means to encourage dialogue, form opinion, and spur change.  Used well it should also act to defy the oft’ faceless company doing random deeds just to ‘look good’.  It’s all about forming genuine emotional connections, on a human level, to create a more authentic brand with a high level of consumer loyalty and commitment.

By becoming a conduit for communication about bigger messages, businesses can heighten the aspirations of their consumers.  When a business acts in its customers’ emotional interests, it builds a far stronger and more resilient business.

The key is honesty.  The conversation must relate specifically to your company and come from within.  A manufactured cause won’t work.  If you’re able to identify ideas and issues that are true to the business and its founders, they’ll be real to your consumers too; you’ll find common ground and the interactions that follow will become powerful tools to secure your brand’s market position and longevity.

Brands such as Dove successfully tapped into a core section of their market, with a message not about deodorant or soap, but a drive on positive body image, the 'Self Esteem Project'.  It’s something their target market could associate with and discuss.   It was the conversation starter; the conduit. The campaign has since driven much interaction between consumer and brand, and thus generated an alliance that is far stronger than a product alone could ever achieve.

PR done well can’t be measured purely on the number of press clippings, but are best represented by the opportunities provided to converse with your consumer.

It can be all too easy to become reliant on new products to aid the PR initiative but it’s becoming increasingly necessary to develop this, and ensure that the product is the secondary focus.

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