Is your PR contextual, or on repeat?

2 November 2020 | 4 min read | News
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
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If your current PR and marketing efforts are focusing on number of leads generated, enquiries received, conversions and what return on investment you are getting, you really haven’t got a clue about people, your customers, your market, are feeling right and the damage to your brand may already be done.

Your focus has to be on the context of the here and now – how are consumer/buyer behaviours changing and what does this mean for the way in which you market what it is you do?

Let’s imagine you have a database of lapsed, current and future customers. You send them an emailer in the form of a newsletter each week or once a month with details of the latest products or services you have to offer, and maybe even some of the discounts currently available. In ‘normal’ times I’d be saying “Grand, keep up the good work.” Not today. Nor next week. Maybe not even next month or year.

Right now, your customers and prospects are immune to such communications in the same way that they’re rejecting the mindless fare of social media influencers in their droves. And it’s because they’re spent – financially and emotionally. Instead, what they want – what they need – is to hear from and congregate around those who are both authentic and can give them something of value to ease them through this crisis.

This is where the true purpose of why your business exists in the first place really comes into question. Is it just to make money and fill the pockets of investors and the Board? Or does the business have a goal that goes beyond boosting the bottom line, such as to make quality healthcare available to everyone (Babylon Health) or make the planet a better place to live (Patagonia). This isn’t twaddle, it’s stuff that consumers are focused on now more than ever.

You have a vantage point that you might have failed to recognise. By reaching inside your network to listen and observe the conversations that are taking place, you can gauge the mood of your market and share those learnings. Businesses, brands, organisations need to approach their promotional strategy in an agile way – to react and respond in the here and now and park those brilliantly crafted campaign plans for a later date. And there are two key elements to this.

First, you need to abandon static messages that ask you to “Think different,” “Go further” or “Just do it” and remember to say “I’m lovin’ it.”

And second, you need to accept that while there certainly remains the need to keep your brand front and centre and continue to influence consumers, the manner with which this now needs to be done will be different. You already know the context within which your audience finds itself in right now, so figure out how what you have to offer can help them to achieve their immediate goals, and then craft your messaging accordingly.

Remember, your brand extends way beyond the aesthetic of a cool logo, funky website and great advertising. It is manifested by the experiences that engage your customers which in turn influence their perception of you and your organisation. If you recognise and accept this, then you are half-way there. Now all you need to do is get on with the getting on of demonstrating that value.