This originally appeared in CEOWorld on April 10, 2019.
Public relations professionals are constantly tasked with staying on top of changing consumer landscapes, which means their strategies are always evolving to meet new audiences in new ways. When it comes to learning how to navigate industry advancements and innovations — while also building valuable audience relationships — C-suite leaders can take a cue from PR. Apply these three PR strategies to your company’s branding endeavors to trigger serious growth.
- Say it in a video. In Brightcove’s “2018 Video Marketing Survey,” more than half of Millennials reported that video is more engaging than other forms of content, 29% of Millennials said it’s also more memorable, and 76% of adult consumers said they’d purchased a product or service after viewing a company video. In comparison, only about a fifth of site visitors stick aroundto read a full article these days. The popularity of plain text is flattening out, and video is critical to breaking through.
The challenge, however, lies in making videos seem personal, even when they’re advertising a product. So add relatable, humanizing elements. Take Hewlett-Packard, for example. Its viral tearjerker ad highlighted feelings over features. The video tells a highly relatable father-daughter story in a way that tugs on viewers’ heartstrings while still selling a product — only the selling aspect is so subtle that the video plays more like a short film with an HP product placement.
In general, companies that opt for video creation must think beyond selling. Using video to communicate any aspect of your brand’s messaging will likely be more effective than writing it out. Video content supporting product launches, company culture, and even client communication is a more effective way to spread your message. Just make sure you’re not relying only on the technology — the video’s content needs to work to make a solid connection to create a relationship between your brand and the viewer.
- Pierce through the noise by aligning your values.Audiences are no longer captive, especially when they have the ability to opt out. Mobile devices give consumers the ability to remove themselves from any piece of information they encounter online, so it’s important to make sure that what they do see strikes a chord right off the bat. This is true for any large audience you may try to reach in your business.
PR professionals know that valuable consumer messages tie into values. In fact, Sprout Social’s “Championing Change in the Age of Social Media” study discovered that 66% of consumers expect brands to speak out on political and social issues. It’s no longer a question of whether to say something; it’s about authentically representing your brand’s values as well as those of your target audience.
Ben & Jerry’s is an iconic example of a brand that does this well. From the company’s opposition to the use of growth hormones in dairy cows to its thriving corporate social responsibility foundation, the brand’s message is aligned with its actions at all levels, and that speaks volumes.
Take a page from that playbook and determine which values are most integral to your company. Consider posting them within your workplace to remind employees what your company stands for on a daily basis. And make sure to reference them in the creation of every brand message and action to ensure that it all aligns.
- Concentrate on the right analytics. It can be tough to determine which numbers matter and which don’t when it comes to branded content. Plus, metrics are constantly changing. Fortunately, new analytic tools and devices have improved the PR industry’s ability to use raw figures more effectively in order to quickly determine which strategies work and which don’t.
Publicity experts are already studying how to better measure the impact of content. No longer are metrics such as likes, follows, comments, and shares enough to prove viability. Today, data investigations must go deeper, tracking conversion rates to see who follows through. High numbers of views may sound impressive in the boardroom, but they don’t usually convert to profitability unless they’re accompanied by drilled-down analysis.
Remember that all measurements are not the same. Google Analytics or a similar system can help you get more effective in this arena and avoid telling the wrong story to the wrong people at the wrong time. Big data and artificial intelligence can help generate customized app notifications, texts, and emails that hit at the right moments without causing oversaturation.
Every PR expert’s daily grind includes calculated risks, seemingly impossible deadlines, and a spirit of ingenuity — all while having to communicate efficiently with audiences at large. In other words, their responsibilities mirror those of C-suite executives struggling to stay ahead of trends. You can glean plenty from the world of PR, especially if you want your brand to stay top of mind by rolling with the natural ebb and flow of industry advancements.