Forget corporate and consumer PR; be more ‘corpsumer’

26 February 2023 | 4 min read | PR
James Gwinnett
James Gwinnett

Corporate (B2B) PR and consumer PR; they’re the same thing.
There, I said it.

Many moons ago, I did the PR for a dash cam company – you know, those little cameras you put on the inside of your windscreen that film the road so you’ve got proof of fault in the event of an incident. Target audience? Anyone who drives. I’ll say that again: ‘Anyone who drives.’

Think about the breadth of that audience. Learner drivers in clapped out Fiat Puntos and millionaires in Chelsea tractors, through to sole trader handymen in white vans and haulage companies with fleets of articulated lorries.

To sell these dash cams – and boy did we sell them; from 100s of units of month to 100,000s of units a month and the company taking 80% share of the European market – the PR strategy needed to be all-encompassing. We couldn’t alienate any of these sub-demographics, nor could we focus on purely consumer or corporate PR. Yes, Doris is driving back and forth to the supermarket for her weekly shop, but the entirety of BT Openreach’s fleet also needs protecting against the £400 million worth of fraudulent claims that go to insurers each year.

And here’s the dirty little secret. Selling different products to different people requires exactly the same set of skills.

Who remembers the ‘Sell me this pen* scene, in the iconic 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street? Leonardo di Caprio (playing American entrepreneur and financial criminal Jordan Belfort) challenges a colleague to ‘Sell me this pen’, after the colleague boasts about being able to ‘sell anything’. A dialogue ensues about ‘creating urgency, getting them to want to buy’.

Whether it’s dash cams or pens, products or services, whether it’s selling to individuals or to businesses, the foundation of all sales is getting your buyer to want, or even need, whatever it is you’re selling – PR operates by the same principles. The key to successful PR is finding the exciting stories that make your product or service sing, no matter the audience.

Creating that sense of urgency, particularly identifying hot news topics, even setting the news agenda yourself, is a skill that the best and most creative PRs pride themselves on.

In the example of the dash cams, Which? Magazine was a key target outlet, but so was Fleet World; T3 but also Intelligent Instructor; Good Housekeeping and What Van?; Mail Online, … you get a sense of the range.

Each of these outlets required a slightly different approach to secure coverage. From releasing shocking videos of incidents out on the roads, to arranging simple product reviews, from driving statistics, to news of technological innovations, from collaborations, to campaigns with influencers, the skill didn’t lie in being consumer or corporate experts, it lay in identifying demand – why does the buyer want or need this product? – and being creative with the story angles in order to diversify, and therefore maximise, coverage.

That should always be the focus for any PR; maximising coverage.

Of course, many other businesses are laser focused in their audience targeting, requiring similar focus in their media outreach. But the trouble with being too consumer- OR corporate-focused is that the field of focus is significantly narrowed. By discounting one or the other, you lose the ability to be flexible in your creative-thinking.

In summary, I don’t think it’s too bold a notion to suggest that we should retain a flexibility of thought, rather than limiting ourselves to a certain discipline. PRs should be more ‘corpsumer’; the jacks of both trades.

Whether you’re an individual or a business, get in touch with us today to discuss your ‘corpsumer PR’ needs.

*The line is actually, ‘Sell me this f*****g pen’, but let’s not be pedantic.