How PR helps inform brand identity
In the age of going viral, it’s no surprise that headlines can mean everything. Trends emerge, headlines adapt, perceptions shift and businesses and brands react – ‘how’ to react you might ask? Being equipped with the right team to talk to the right people at the right time is a great place to start.
News cycles and peoples’ minds change about as fast as the new gluten-free probiotic dairy extract of the month – one day you’re in and the next you’re a meme. Businesses should be able to react just as quickly.
It’s always been the job of PR to build awareness, control the message, change attitude and behaviour, and ultimately build trust amongst the intended audiences. It’s also the job of PR to collect the data needed to paint a holistic image of how a brand's identity is perceived… and to position that your extract (for example) is the right one to help them solve whatever gut-health deficiencies people might be facing.
When a brand surveys its target demo on what they love about a brand, participants are likely to respond differently than if they were speaking to one another.
We’ve all been to a restaurant that forgot to bring you a side of fries with your meal, and never acknowledged it. You had a long day and just wanted to have your fries, but didn’t want to make a “scene.” The waiter drops the bill off, you smile and he asks how your experience was… you say, “fine,” smile, pay and leave. Then you get home, warm up the twitter fingers and BOOM, your friends get to hear what you really think. This leads me to why social listening – PR professionals’ back-pocket tool - is the best way to inform your brand strategy.
With a bank of experience in facilitating, nurturing and expanding communities through trans-media storytelling and 2-way communication with the end-user, PR can get the real scoop on how your product or service is doing in the market. This way you discover whether it’s the messaging that needs to change or if it’s the business. One purpose of PR is to help demonstrate a brands ability to listen and evolve.
Is it a passing phase? Is it a solid idea? Are your consumers engaging with your product ironically to mimic the latest gif or meme? These are things that PR professionals pick up on during their daily media monitoring. This information is then fed back to the brand and used as leverage, or to tweak, repurpose or reposition offerings to reflect audience sentiment.
Discourse can’t be completely controlled, and you shouldn’t want to have full control of it... but a business should want to be present and self-aware of their identity and where they are winning and what areas need changing.
We should all understand change is inevitable and PR is there to communicate change back and forth from business to audience using the correct and most effective key messages.
Don’t let PR be the side of fries that is often forgotten, making your meal (brand) incomplete.
-Cianan Liburd, Senior Account Coordinator