By Alexandra Shevchenko and Nic Conner
Establishing a reputation and authority can be hard for a business, but is a vital part of brand identity. How others perceive what you do and how you do it is crucial for any organisation. At PRO we believe one of the best ways to build a brand’s identity is by telling its story to the right audiences, in the right places, at the right time.
Audiences may vary and can be cross sector, from a finance team trying to tell its story to investors, to the HR team telling its story to prospective employees, a legal team looking to better communicate with regulators, to a commercial team, that wishes to tell the firm’s story to potential customers, to generate new business.
Using media for lead generation is a well-trodden path. Over the last 20 years, another tool in this story-telling armoury has been added: Digital PR. PR and media coverage can now help to build search engine optimisation (SEO), so customers can find the best results at the top of a Google search. Digital PR has become a necessity for many businesses.
PR can also be incorporated into wider integrated, hyper-targeted marketing campaigns. For example, if you spot a cluster of accountancy firms in Wolverhampton you would like to target as clients, you can market to them directly via email and telemarketing, as well as directing digital and social media adverts towards them. Then, you could use PR to generate news stories in the West Midlands local media and place thought leadership articles in the accountancy press. All to tell your story to that one, niche audience of local accountants.
Even if your campaign objective is to better explain what your business does or to demonstrate its credentials, you can still generate commercial interest. We have two recent client successes that shows how this works.
Charco Neurotech wanted to tell the story about how its wearable device is helping ease some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. PRO did this by amplifying the experience users have had with the Charco Neurotech device, including the former BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2019. PRO then identified other key media whose readership were within Charco Neurotech’s target audience including The Mail on Sunday who picked up the story and worked with PRO to build a feature. The piece was both in print and online – The Mail on Sunday – a website which reaches more than 200 million unique visitors every month. The coverage resulted in countless applications on Charco’s website asking to try out the device or have a consultation with somebody from the team. Proving how a targeted pitch can help tell a business tell its story on a tremendous scale.
iPronics, the first company to develop a programmable and reprogrammable photonic microchip, wanted to tell its story, about how in six months it had gone from completing its seed funding to shipping its first commercial orders. PRO did this by transforming its official announcement into a tech start-up story, real-life tale of on how the Valencia-based firm had moved swiftly from the R&D stage to commercial viability.
The campaign was targeted at the semiconductor and advanced electronics trade outlets, as well as top tier tech publications. The coverage resulted in a spike of web traffic onto the iPronics webpage as well as engagement with visitors downloading its whitepapers. The story was hitting the target audiences, and helping to create great results.
As good as landing media coverage is, it is as important on what you do with it next. As part of the ‘aftercare’ service PRO offers, we advise on how best to promote article on social media, on own webpages, and in mailouts/newsletters to ensure the story is told as widely as possible.
Ultimately corporate communications is the same as business reputation. It is vital that a business tells its story to the right people to build the brand identity. By the nature of having a press clipping or link it can be used to generate commercial interest, either directly from the article itself or as part of the wider marketing activity of the company. Also, it can be used indirectly by helping your brand become a name people recognise and trust.
It’s all about helping a company tell its story, do you think we told ours well?
Alexandra Shevchenko is a Senior Account Executive and Nic Conner is an Account Director at The PR Office.