A brand is not merely a company’s logo, image, tagline, positioning statement, or a perception in the customer’s mind. Seth Godin of Marketing Genius said that a brand is “the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for the consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. So, according to Godin’s definition, public relations has a very important role in branding. See how below.
1. Understand that public relations essentially means sharing multiple messages across many platforms.
All traditional communications scholars have heard it defined by PRSA as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” While fundamentally still true, this old definition has taken on a life of its own. At The Cirlot Agency we like to think of PR as transmedia storytelling – sharing multiple messages across many platforms.
2. Define what makes your company different.
Compare a brand to a recipe. Any cook knows, there are some ingredients that are absolutely essential. To take them out of the recipe would quite literally change the product altogether. And in the BEST recipes, there is a secret ingredient. It’s what makes your recipe better than anyone else’s.
Likewise, in a brand, there are multiple ingredients, or stories that make your company what is, and there is the special ingredient, the main story that makes your company unique. Call it what you may – areas of differentiation, unique value proposition, etc. – your special ingredient is the most important story you can tell.
3. Tell the story of your brand.
How do you become the voice behind the brand? There are so many messages and so many outlets in which to share your company’s story. Here are a few:
- Traditional earned media efforts – press releases, feature stories, press conferences, media alerts, media tours, blogger outreach, etc.
- Blog – both original content and newsjack, or recycle information with your company’s commentary/analysis
- Be the Story by creating a public relations-centric event such as hosting a community event or another cause-oriented special event
- Social Media
Public relations plays a pivotal role in branding. A company must first develop and understand its brand. Public relations will be the means through which the company tells its story, thus becoming the voice behind the brand. Check out Part II: 8 Ways PR Helps Brand a Company, coming soon.