While 2015 may not exactly resemble the world of flying cars, remote-control dog walking and hover board parks that premiered in Back to the Future, there is no argument that wide advances in technology have dramatically shifted how we think, act and communicate. Whether you’re an early adopter of digital or an aficionado of tradition, here are four shifts in public relations and marketing your company will want to embrace now or in the future.
1. Collaborate with influencers.
Word of mouth, press coverage and endorsements, have long relied on one effective marketing tactic: third-party credibility. No matter who your target market is, the best way to earn credibility is to have people of influence tell others why they appreciate your product or service.
With the rise of self-publishing platforms and social-media networks, brands can collaborate with connected individuals whose published content carries great clout amongst niche audiences. Forget press releases and prized interview slots, influencers are usually prided content creators who want to collaborate with impactful images on Instagram, well thought-out prose on Twitter or a series of compelling videos on YouTube. When an influencer’s content style, audience and aesthetic is well aligned and respected by a brand, content collaborations can become a very powerful PR and marketing tool for your company.
2. Communicate your 'why.'
In today’s world of watchdog technologies, brands are scrutinized with every consumer touch point. From YouTube videos that expose poor customer service to Twitter comments that belittle brands for not living up to their promise, companies can no longer mask inefficiencies. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for brands to establish and implement core values that humanize them and make them more relatable to the public. The Millenial Consumer study published in January of 2015, showed 58 percent of Gen Y consumers expect brands to publish content online before they make a purchase and 43 percent rank authenticity as more important than the content itself. Take the time to establish the “why behind” your company and imbed it into your culture. If your purpose goes beyond profit, you are more likely to appeal to the public.
3. Create content, not ads.
Ad buying has adjusted to the digital world. Tools like sponsored posts and native advertising, allow brands to create rich user-specific content that tells a relevant story rather than a repetitive promotion or sales pitch. The days of guaranteeing mass viewership of catchy slogans are dwindling. Consumers now have choice over what content they engage with and brands need to understand what drives them. From responsive video series to interactive social media campaigns, brands need to become clever and more customized than ever with their online content.
4. Give traditional press exclusivity.Commuter papers, trade journals, dailies and broadcast shows still carry third-party credibility and weight in today’s digital world. Keep in mind these publications are dealing with more competition than ever. A mass press release, for that matter, is not likely going to gain you a coveted feature in your national newspaper or a slot on the local morning show. If you want to land earned editorial with traditional press, offer the outlet you are targeting an exclusive angle. Your brand has many layers. Find the right outlets to tell each aspect of your brand story to.
While the tools and landscape may have changed, the core of what motivates the public to appreciate a product, service or a brand has not. Brand loyalty still comes from the public relating to a brand’s culture and values and a belief that its offerings add great value.