8 December 2021
Using PR to shape people’s perception of the brand or organisation is a powerful way for B2B brands to influence existing customers, reaching new target audiences, shareholders and stakeholders.
by Annie Wang, Sandpiper Account Manager, Hong Kong. Anna specialises in content development, media relations, digital and social communications, strategic planning and coordinating day-to-day activities for clients. With expertise in corporate communications, B2B communications, content development, media relations, technology and entertainment.
Growing brand recognition through B2B PR
When business leaders think of public relations, aka PR, it’s often during a crisis when they need to manage possible reputational damage. Whereas for marketing teams, PR is part of the strategy toolkit for promoting new products and launches. In fact, PR can achieve so much more than just getting your brand out of hot water or promoting your latest offering.
At its core, PR is about shaping people’s perception of the brand or organisation. Existing customers, a new target audience, shareholders and stakeholders can all be influenced by carefully planned PR campaigns.
The broad reach of PR activities
PR activities extend beyond events and risk management. The broad range of PR activities means there are many opportunities to boost a company’s reputation and grow brand awareness.
They can include:
While many businesses allow a large portion of their marketing budget for content creation, they tend to allocate far less to PR. But PR blogs get double the amount of traffic than educational blogs.
Combine that with the rising cost of digital advertising and many PR activities become not only more appealing but also more cost effective.
Leveraging trends to gain media attention
Generating interest from the media can be as simple as sharing a company's operational insights in areas such as finance, HR, customer service and digital. These areas may not be specific to the business’s core offering. But giving journalists prime access to how the business operates can help to position the company as a dynamic, forward-thinking organisation.
This is especially true for larger companies that naturally attract plenty of media interest because of their size. Bigger brands are seen as leaders in their industry and people want to understand the operating model, the HR policies and how it makes important strategic and business decisions.
Here at Sandpiper, we recently leveraged this opportunity for a leading global brand. Understanding the current media interest in hybrid working models, we showcased our client’s innovations in this space. By conducting a media tour of its office and arranging one-to-one briefings with HR leaders, it was able to boost its reputation for innovation and secure valuable media coverage.
The focus was not on its products or solutions but instead on how they were leading the way with their hybrid working model. They capitalised on the interest in remote and hybrid working models which helped to position the brand as a champion of change and innovation.
Using company data to become industry leaders
Journalists are always on the lookout for statistics to share. If a business has access to data that reflects consumer trends, the media will be keen to see it. By packaging the data and presenting it to the media, brands are able to start a conversation. They can showcase themselves as barometers of trends within their niche, as well as on a broader scale.
By sharing data that appeals to the media, companies can pitch their story in relation to emerging trends and use their data as proof to back up their claims. Company data is ideal for turning into a white papers, which have a high level of interest to the media.
The key is to think about how to showcase the brand by covering a broader topic rather than trying to sell particular products or services.
Establishing company spokespeople as thought leaders
Spokesperson is often a role given to the CEO. But only allowing the CEO to be the face of the company may limit the amount of media exposure a business can obtain.
If a company has a larger c-suite beyond the CEO, it’s worth investigating who else could represent the brand. Looking within the leadership circle, businesses can find untapped potential for other spokespeople to talk about more technical subjects.
Using subject matter experts from inside the business helps to bring additional expertise to media relations. Subject matter experts are able to create opinion-led PR through commentary, sharing their opinion and conducting analysis.
For any spokesperson, media training is important because they need to feel confident and able to handle whatever questions they may be asked. Succeeding in media interviews is a skill like any other, so providing training to spokespeople is a worthwhile investment to ensure spokespersons are well prepared for media interviews.
With more spokespeople available, there are more chances to leverage fast-moving news stories. Having a number of varied experts, available, experienced and media trained means that your organisation will be able to nab the lion’s share of media opportunities as they arise, potentially gaining a considerable competitive advantage.
Press releases as a conversation starters
Many organisations wonder if the press release is still part of a modern PR campaign. The answer is yes, they are still useful and serve a purpose. As long as journalists continue to ask for press releases, businesses need to keep writing them.
A press release is not like a mass-delivered brochure. Press releases must be positioned strategically using a targeted approach. It’s vital to connect with the media based on an understanding of their niche, interest areas and previous articles on similar topics.
Taking a planned approach means the press release is far more likely to be picked up and published than a generalised statement sent to every media outlet. Sending custom suggestions and following up are the best ways to harness media outreach.
By taking a holistic approach to PR, companies can generate media coverage beyond launch and crisis mode. Using PR on a regular basis opens up opportunities to think outside of the box and embrace a more consistent flow of news generation. Both of which help to raise brand awareness and positive goodwill for brands in competitive spaces.