Brand awareness is just the beginning of what good PR can do for your company. By incorporating PR into your communication program, a business can quickly move beyond awareness straight toward customer loyalty and advocacy. When you take the time to build relationships, you can create the trust and transparency with your customers that will lead to long-lasting bonds. But, where do you begin in a constantly changing media landscape with the highly digitized consumer?
Consumers Drive Their News and Information
With the rise of social media came democratized content and the opportunity for consumers to drive their own news, information, and entertainment. Your buyers decide what information they like, where they want to receive it and with whom they’re going to share their favorite stories and experiences. For example, Millennials are especially difficult for businesses to engage. According to a Refuel study in 2015, they’re increasingly connected and glued to their smartphones for more than six hours a day. If you add in other devices, such as computers and tablets, then you’re up more than 12 hours of online connectedness in a 24-hour period.
Let PR Deliver Trust & Credibility
With more access to social and mobile technologies, the highly digitized consumer, at some point, will only recognize the highly digitized company. Modern communicators realize that delivering a mix of media from paid and earned to shared and owned media is the best way to be seen and recognized, always taking into consideration where your consumers congregate. However, without the trust and credibility factor that good PR delivers, the brand will not obtain the advocacy it seeks. PR is what makes the difference by moving the needle from brand awareness to meaningful engagement because there’s a relationship in place. Simply connecting and sharing information or receiving coverage through various channels is not enough. PR develops the relationships, which lead to great experiences that should always live up to your customer’s expectations.
Build Your Base of Loyal Advocates
What makes a consumer want to engage, form a relationship and become a loyal advocate? Just look at the younger generations for your answer. Millennials have incredible passion and a strong desire to make the world a better place. Connecting with Millennials requires a much greater value, depth, and understanding. They want to engage with brands that care about the planet and create meaningful experiences with them. Younger generations will acknowledge and invest in brands they trust and have “credibility status” based on their own interactions or the recommendations of their peers. Brands such as Toms, Starbucks, and Chipotle to name a few, attract and retain the loyal attention of younger audiences. No longer is the brand just sharing what it thinks is unique, exciting and / or interesting. They’re not speaking to people. Instead, they’re speaking with and involving their own audience’s drive and passion.
So, yes, businesses will continue to rely on PR for brand awareness. But, the companies that realize the full potential of PR know it’s only the beginning. They will use PR strategically as they travel down the path to trusted relationships with their loyal advocates.