A solid consumer PR strategy allows your business to enjoy a larger audience and increased exposure. Read on to learn more about consumer PR and its importance in the business world.

What Is Consumer PR?

Public relations refers to how a business maintains relations with its stakeholders, including investors, media, government, other businesses in the industry, and consumers. In this blog, we will specifically talk about consumer PR because every business stakeholder is ultimately a part of the consumer market, whether it’s employees, investors, or the media.

Consumer public relations defines how brands build connections with the public, or more precisely, their target audience. It is all about building positive impressions about your brands, products, and services by disseminating relevant and engaging information to the public with an emphasis on your unique selling points.

Consumer PR – Then & Now

Consumer PR is not a new concept. It has been around for a long time now, although it wasn’t something that businesses purposely considered in earlier times.

The lack of technology meant building and maintaining consumer relations wasn’t as complex or detailed back then. Most of it was just about nicely dealing with the customers face-to-face. Then came the surge of technology, opening up multiple channels for businesses to communicate with their target audience.

At first, business organizations raised brand awareness by placing ads in newspapers, television, and radio. The rapid technological advancement in recent years has further exposed consumers to more advanced and instant ways of consuming media, like social media platforms, websites, and more.

Although companies now have more opportunities to get their message out to the public, it also means the noise and competition in the business world has reached an all-time high. Every brand must have the proper consumer PR strategies to achieve mass exposure and publicity.

Characteristics of Modern Consumer PR

Here are a few prominent characteristics of modern consumer PR dynamics:

Emphasis on Omni-channel Marketing: More is needed for businesses to connect with their target audience through just one or two marketing channels. From interacting with the audience on Twitter to making videos on YouTube, brands must adopt many ways to receive more exposure and build a larger customer base.

Importance of Story-Telling: Earlier, businesses could get away with using only hard-sell strategies because the competition in most industries wasn’t that high. Since consumers now have more choices, they don’t like brands pushing their products on them. This is why brands should back their products with a compelling story and unique insights that make the audience emotionally connect to them.

More Focus on Audience Interactions: Regular interaction with current and potential customers has always been important, but it is more critical than ever. The competition has increased, and you must keep in touch with the audience to stay on their radar. The more you communicate with your audience, the more they trust your brand. But remember to keep the communication swift, transparent, and meaningful.

Consumer PR Agency

Building and sustaining positive relationships with consumers is an ongoing process. It not only takes up significant time, money, and effort but also requires strong interpersonal and communication skills. Therefore, most companies prefer hiring a consumer PR agency rather than handling consumer PR tasks themselves.

Consumer PR agencies help brands build and maintain a consistently positive public image through various activities. More precisely, they interact with a brand’s audience on different platforms, post content on the right platform at the right time, organize or sponsor events, and collect good reviews from third parties.

Another crucial function of these agencies is to filter messages to make sure nothing inappropriate or irrelevant is shared. They also track audience interactions to see how the current public strategies work and what needs improvement. 

The Difference Between Public Relations and Marketing

Consumer public relations sounds very similar to marketing. Although both approaches focus on conveying the brand message to consumers, the difference lies in their objectives.

While the outcome of consumer PR activities is to build and maintain a brand’s positive reputation amongst the public, marketing is more inclined towards increasing the revenue for a business.

Both marketing and consumer PR are equally crucial for businesses to generate a high return on investment in this modern era. Every business should use a blend of marketing and PR strategies to connect with its target audience.

An important point to remember here is that the message conveyed through both consumer PR and marketing should be consistent. Brand messages aligned across all channels strongly impact consumers, making them more inclined to try your products and services.

Why Is Consumer PR Important?

Let’s look at the benefits of consumer PR.

Increases Brand Awareness

The core function of consumer PR tactics is to inform people about a brand, ultimately widening its consumer base. It involves sharing innovative and thought-provoking brand messages over multiple channels to garner more attention.

Builds a Strong Brand Image

Consumer PR not only focuses on creating brand awareness but also helps you reinforce a positive image in the market. With a strong brand image, you can enjoy higher engagements, increased sales, and significant growth in market share.

Promotes Credibility

Consumers trust a brand better if they know how it operates. This is where consumer PR can help. Consumer PR professionals strive to create positive talk about a brand amongst the public in different ways: publishing leadership pieces, building influencer connections, and implementing networking strategies. Your credibility soars high once the positive messages about your brand become common to the public.

Helps Manage Reputation

Reputation refers to how people perceive your brand based on what they see and hear about it. It can be positive or negative and change. Reputation management is one of the main functions of consumer PR strategies.

Businesses may often find themselves in unfavorable situations, like negative reviews from a dissatisfied customer or legal problems arising from a misinterpreted advertisement. Consumer PR helps them avoid such problems and repair the damage through media connections and press releases.

Strengthens Your Online Presence

A robust online presence is key to success in today’s era. As a part of consumer PR strategy, a brand can use social media and other digital platforms to talk to its customers, resolve conflicts, and monitor their changing interests.

Consumer PR experts can build a plan to stay active on online platforms to grow relations with all groups of consumers.

Becomes a Source of Added Value 

Your consumer PR strategy can be a significant differentiating factor between you and your competitors, helping your brand shine as an industry leader. It can add value to your business in several ways: by helping you personalize your brand, increasing its visibility, and strengthening the company profile.

Generates Quality Leads

The functions of Consumer PR strategies are not just restricted to reputation management and raising brand awareness. They can also be targeted towards more advanced goals like lead generation and conversions. Posting content on the right platforms, using compelling CTAs, incorporating social proofs to your profiles (reviews and ratings) – all such efforts make more people interested and willing to try out your products and services.

How to Establish a Consumer PR Strategy?

Identify Goals

The first step is to identify the end goal of all your consumer PR activities. It will guide your efforts and help you decide on the appropriate measures for tracking progress. You can aim to achieve increased brand awareness, enhance customer loyalty, build investor confidence, etc.

Choosing a single goal isn’t necessary; you can select a mix of different goals and make separate plans to achieve them. Remember to keep referring to your objective list to ensure you are on the right track.

Focus on Target Audience

The next step is to focus on your target audience. Decide who you want to target at the moment and in the future. You can also target more than one or two groups if you have enough resources to cater to their needs. Research and list all relevant information about your audience groups, like preferences, qualities, demographics, and other activities. This will help you develop messages tailored to their specific requirements.

Analyze Competition

At this point, you should also analyze what other businesses in the industry are doing to grow and maintain their relationships with consumers. You can browse their websites as well as social media profiles and posts to see what works for them and what doesn’t.

Use the Right Consumer PR Content

List down the key messages you want to convey to the public, and later, think about which tactics you want to implement.

Remember that those tactics may not work effectively if you have nothing valuable to share. Nobody will be interested in what you say if it’s not appealing enough.

Some effective consumer PR tools and opportunities are corporate news, an upcoming event, an e-newsletter, or an in-depth article on thought-provoking topics. Don’t forget to add a unique angle to your content, explaining why the audience should care about your brand.

Learn to Pitch the Right Way

Once you have the content ready, pitch it to different platforms through appropriate communication methods. People don’t often have enough time to read or go through lengthy content, so make sure both your content and pitch are concise.

When you pitch other platforms to publish your brand story, introduce yourself briefly, give a short review of your message, and mention why it would interest their viewers.

Examples of Effective Consumer PR Strategies

  • You can support a social cause to build an emotional connection with your audience. Many people agree they are more likely to buy a brand that contributes to society in some way than one that doesn’t. It can be anything, from giving away coats to the needy in winter or donating to the education sector.

 

  • Personalize your brand by interacting with customers on different platforms. They will definitely be willing to buy from you more often if you interact positively with them. You can personalize emails, products, and services for specific audience groups to make them feel more valued.

 

  • Become a thought leader in your industry by leveling up your research and content creation game. Provide consumers with valuable insights on industry trends and events, offer informative courses and presentations on engaging topics, and publish thought-provoking articles backed by facts and figures. Becoming an expert within the industry will help you strengthen your credibility amongst the audience.

 

  • Contribution to the community matters a lot when it comes to setting a strong foothold in the industry. You can donate time, products, facilities, and money in different ways to help with the community development process. For example, you can serve on a community board, volunteer at a homeless shelter, take part in local festivals and parades, and other activities.

Methods and Performance Indicators of Consumer PR Campaigns

Consumer PR experts can use different methods to get their message out to the public, such as:

  • Videos
  • Events
  • Collaborations with Influencers
  • Seasonal News

Here are a few common factors that show the performance of your consumer PR campaigns:

  • Likes, Comments, and Shares on Social Media
  • The Number of Leads and Conversions on the Website
  • Mentions on Social Media

Final Words

To make your consumer PR strategy work best for you, you can combine different approaches and produce a PR calendar that includes all PR activities you plan to incorporate in the coming weeks or months.

Don’t want to go through the hassle? Hire a consumer PR agency specializing in multiple consumer PR tactics like event planning, social media management, content creation, and more.

Feel free to get in touch with us if you want to know more about consumer PR. 

With the abundance of information available online, consumers are more informed, and a single mistake can lead to a public relations disaster. Thus, to maintain a positive reputation, investing in a public relations agency may be helpful. These agencies can help manage the company’s image and prevent potential PR issues. So, if you’re considering hiring a PR agency for your business, here’s your chance to learn more about what they do. Continue reading as we discuss DTC PR and CPG PR.

What is a Consumer PR Agency?

A consumer PR agency is a public relations firm specializing in consumer products or services. These agencies work with various clients, including retail companies, consumer goods manufacturers, and service providers, even app developers, intending to create a positive image for and increase sales by building consumer awareness and interest.

Types of Consumer PR Agencies

There are several types of consumer PR agencies, each with its own unique focus and approach:

  • Full-Service Agencies: These agencies offer a wide range of PR services, including media relations, event planning, and social media management. They typically work with clients in various industries and can handle all aspects of a company’s public relations needs.
  • Specialty Agencies: These agencies focus on specific areas of PR, such as crisis management, purpose driven PR, product launches, or sustainability. They may work with a range of clients within their area of expertise or specialize in serving a specific industry, such as automobile, construction, etc.
  • In-House Agencies: These agencies are not considered to be external agencies since they are owned and run by the corporation/organization that they represent. At the very least, they take care of their parent company’s public relations and communication requirements.
  • Boutique Agencies: These smaller, more specialized agencies often concentrate on serving a particular economy sector or audience, such as the cannabis industry or hyper-growth companies. They may only provide a limited variety of services but are very knowledgeable in that particular area/field.
  • Digital PR Agencies: Online public relations methods, such as social media management and influencer outreach, are the primary emphasis of digital PR agencies. They assist companies in developing and maintaining an online presence on the internet.
  • Integrated Agencies: These agencies provide PR services and a more comprehensive range of marketing and advertising solutions. They may take a comprehensive market and public relations approach while working with a diverse range of customers in different sectors.

Now that you know different agencies, know that no matter the type of support your company needs, there is an agency that can help you effectively manage your public image and reputation.

DTC PR vs. CPG PR vs. Consumer Tech PR

Your search for DTC PR vs. CPG PR ends here. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) PR and consumer packaged goods (CPG) PR are two types of public relations that focus on specific industries. DTC PR requires a special combination of media relations and digital savvy, while CPG PR requires a deep understanding of storytelling and consumer trends to differentiate brands. Consumer tech PR requires the ability to tell sometimes complicated and technical stories in a consumer-friendly way

The Role of a Consumer PR Agency

Consumer PR agencies take on a variety of functions for their clients. As the future is shaped and molded by technology, the roles will continue to evolve and change along with it. It’s incumbent on consumer PR agencies to stay plugged into trends and technologies that will change the day-to-day lives of consumers in the future. More importantly, though, consumer PR agencies need to have a deep knowledge of Google’s latest changes and how PR agencies can improve client SEO with premium product reviews. Consumer tech PR requires a digital forward approach. 

Reputation Management

The primary role of a consumer PR agency in reputation management is to safeguard and improve its client’s public image. This can be achieved through various tactics, such as monitoring the media for negative stories, managing a crisis to minimize damage, and proactively promoting the client’s positive image. Nevertheless, it is important for consumer PR agencies to prioritize their client’s reputations, as the success or failure of the client’s image can also impact the agency’s reputation.

Crisis Management

In the event of a scandal or other negative online or in-person publicity, or a product recall,  a company needs a team of skilled professionals who can help reduce harm and rebuild its reputation. Similarly, crisis management involves not only managing the aftermath of a crisis but also preventing it from occurring in the first place. Thus, the role of a PR agency is to work with its clients to prevent crises and use all of its resources to safeguard the client’s interests and manage the situation effectively.

Social Media

In the digital age, having a strong social media presence is crucial for all businesses to succeed. A consumer PR agency can assist in developing and implementing a successful social media and digital marketing strategy. They can monitor online conversations about a brand and address negative feedback before it worsens. A PR agency can also help increase your brand’s reach on social media and establish relationships with potential customers through promotional efforts.

Press Releases

The main goal of consumer PR agencies is to generate media coverage that creates a favorable public image for their clients. One way they do this is through press releases. A press release is a written statement provided to the media to generate news coverage, usually containing information about an exciting event, product launch, or other newsworthy technologies. Simply put, they collaborate with the clients to develop effective press releases that attract the attention of reporters and editors.

Media Relations

An effective media relations strategy can create positive press coverage to increase awareness, credibility, and potential leads. Thus, every competent consumer PR agency specializes in specific industries and has established relationships with important media members, such as directors, writers, and editors of famous magazines. They are knowledgeable enough to recognize journalists who cover the clients’ industries and pitch story ideas that interest the targeted audience.

Internal Communications

In today’s digital age, where anything can be shared or “leaked” publicly, businesses need to have strong, well-crafted internal and external communications. Consumer PR agencies not only help clients write speeches and develop internal communications, but they also ensure that these materials are well-written and effective. This includes ensuring that the language is clear, concise, and free of grammar mistakes and that the message is persuasively conveyed through storytelling techniques.

Event Planning

When a client is hosting an event that media members will attend, PR agencies often take on the role of an event planner. The goal is to make sure the event goes smoothly and presents the client in a positive light. To accomplish this, PR agencies handle all aspects of event planning, including booking venues, organizing press conferences, and coordinating travel and lodging for attendees. The PR agency may also use its marketing team to create content for the event before launch.

Market Research

Conducting market research is an essential element of any successful PR campaign. By thoroughly understanding the target audience, PR agencies create messaging that resonates with them and reaches through channels where they are most likely to encounter it. However, to develop an effective strategy, agencies invest their time and resources into market research to understand the needs and preferences of the target audience, enabling them to create relevant content.

Content Writing

PR agencies typically have experienced writers who can create compelling messaging that accurately reflects the brand’s essence. These writers are skilled at crafting captivating headlines and writing persuasive body copy. In addition to developing written content, a PR agency and its marketing team help generate ideas for creative marketing materials such as infographics and white papers. These materials can be useful for telling the brand’s story and engaging with its target audience.

Outreach

PR agencies work to establish beneficial relationships with media outlets and influencers to promote their clients’ messages to the public. The first step in this process is identifying the target audience and creating messaging that will appeal to them. Once the message is developed, the agency aims to get it in front of as many individuals as possible through paid advertising, earned media placements, and social media. By getting the message out to a wide audience, the agency’s goal is nearly achieved.

Media Training

Interacting with the press can be a daunting and challenging experience, even for those accustomed to the spotlight. Therefore, consumer PR agencies work with their clients to ensure they are prepared to handle any questions from the media. This may involve conducting role-playing exercises to help the client practice responding effectively and positively to various scenarios. The agency also guides what to say and what to avoid saying to the press to prevent potential PR disasters.

Influencer Management

Influencer management can be a powerful tool for a brand, allowing it to tap into the influence and reach of key individuals to promote its message and reach its goals, and this can only be done effectively through a consumer PR agency. It involves identifying, engaging with, and working with individuals who can influence public opinion and drive action. An effective influencer management strategy can help a brand reach its target audience and create long-term customer relationships.

How to Create a Consumer PR Strategy?

Don’t have the budget to hire a consumer PR agency? Don’t worry; you can make a strategy by yourself. All you need to do is follow these steps to the very end, and you’re good to go.

  • Define Your Target Audience: Who are you trying to reach with your PR efforts? Clearly defining your target audience will help guide all other aspects of your strategy.
  • Determine Your Objectives: Ask yourself: what do you hope to achieve with your PR campaign? Your objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
  • Identify Key Messages: What do you want your target audience to know or think about your brand? Identify the key messages and ensure they are consistent with your brand’s image.
  • Choose Appropriate Tactics: Based on your target audience and objectives, determine the tactics that will be most effective for reaching and engaging them. These might include press releases, media relations, social media, events, influencer partnerships, or content marketing.
  • Create a Timeline: Develop a timeline for executing your tactics and consider how you will measure the success of your campaign (you can also invest in online tools to keep s track).
  • Implement and Monitor: Put your PR strategy into action and track its progress. Monitor the results and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that you meet your objectives.

Wrapping Up – What Does a Consumer PR Agency Do

One of the main tasks of a consumer PR agency is media relations. This involves building relationships with journalists, bloggers, and other media influencers and pitching story ideas to them to secure client coverage. At the very least, this can include distributing press releases, organizing media events and interviews, and providing background information and research to journalists.

Another important function of consumer electronics PR is social media management. This involves creating and managing the client’s social media accounts, developing strategies and campaigns, and engaging with followers and influencers. Moreover, PR agencies may also create and distribute content, such as blog posts, infographics, and videos, to promote the client’s products or services.

Overall, the role of a consumer PR agency is to help its clients build and maintain a positive image and increase sales by promoting their products or services to consumers through a variety of methods, including media relations, social media management, event planning, sponsorship, and market research. By effectively communicating the client’s message and building relationships with key influencers and media outlets, a consumer PR agency can help its clients achieve their goals.

Finally, this brings us to the end of this blog; now it’s time to hear from you. Questions or comments? Or maybe there’s something we missed? Either way, feel free to contact us. 

 

Consumer PR is something many ambitious brands use, particularly during hyper-growth or product launch phases. Consumer PR is the reputation and awareness building brands do to improve their image to the public. This is in contrast to B2B PR, which seeks to improve the reputation and awareness of a company within a particular business vertical. Brands know new customers buy faster and existing customers buy more often from brands they can feel good about. Consumer PR can take on many sub-forms of public relations, including:

  • Community Relations: building relationships with community stakeholders.
  • Product Public Relations: Product reviews and placements in consumer publications.
  • Purpose-Driven PR: Proactive values that incorporate social, cultural, and environmental issues.
  • Experiential PR: Opportunities for the public to engage directly with the brand in-person.
  • Integrated PR: PR campaigns that use paid avenues to create media coverage and word of mouth.

Why do companies engage in consumer product PR?

PR is the most trusted form of awareness building. Consumers trust reviews more than any other type of product awareness, like advertising. Reviews can come as online reviews, and even from influencers and bloggers or can come from media outlets. Media outlet coverage is particularly coveted because not only does it have powerful sway, it adds extra brand cache and it sticks around for a long time online. For DTC and e-commerce brands media coverage also improves SEO, a really important ingredient in online sales. Investors also like to see a brand in the media, it provides valuable social proof.

Why would companies engage in community relations? 

Anytime a company needs its local community’s support, community relations matters. Sometimes brands want to be good community partners because it makes recruiting for top talent easier. Or maybe they want to expand, and they need City Council approval on a piece of land they’re eyeing. Or perhaps the brand simply values being a good neighbor to the communities in which it operates. 

Why would a brand engage in Purpose-Driven PR? 

Brands engage in purpose-driven PR for a variety of reasons. One can certainly be to improve their brand image in the eyes of their customers. You will often see purpose-driven brands publish an annual report. Not only does this report track its own progress, but it also provides the public with the progress as well. We tell our clients that strategic purpose-driven PR should be systemic, and externally virtuous, but meaty and measurable.

Why would a brand engage in experiential PR? 

When you think of cutting-edge sports, what brand comes to mind? It’s probably RedBull. RedBull became a household name through events. That’s because RedBull’s brand is inextricably tied to cutting-edge sports. Their support and engagement of some of these sports basically gave legitimacy to the X Games because competitors could finally focus their efforts entirely on their sport. In fact, RedBull created the first international kiteboarding competition. RedBull’s commitment to extreme events and competitors keeps them at the forefront of beverage brand awareness. Experiential events can be expensive, but when you consider the ROI both in advertising dollars saved and PR and brand affinity, experiential events are powerful tools in the PR arsenal.

Why would a brand engage in integrated PR? 

The best integrated PR campaigns use many marketing PR levers to make an impact. An example of this would be Coinbase. In 2022, they purchased a Super Bowl ad that was nothing but a QR code. Millions of viewers stared at their screens in awe that a brand would purchase one of the most expensive ads in history and do nothing but float a QR code across the screen. But that was the entire point. In fact, for many consumer brands, the reason to purchase a Super Bowl is the added PR coverage around Super Bowl ads. Weeks before the Super Bowl, consumer brands release their ads, either to the press or the wider public on YouTube, to ensure their creative ad gets the free press it deserves.

 

Brands that build loyalty and love through PR grow faster and have higher customer retention and consumer PR improves other initiatives such as fundraising, that are vital to a thriving brand If you’re interested in consumer PR, contact us. We’re a top-rated consumer PR agency.

The unfair and highly politicized stigma that once surrounded the use of cannabis is quickly dissipating as more states embrace legalized cannabis and cannabis-related products. The earliest cannabis brands hired PR firms to reduce stigmatization. With a budding industry on the rise, more companies are jumping on the cannabis bandwagon. While this hyper-growth is great for consumers, it has created competition in the cannabis marketplace. How can cannabis companies set themselves apart to capture a chunk of the profit? No doubt, hyper-growth cannabis companies absolutely have distinct PR needs.

To keep up with industry growth, the time may be right to consider hiring a cannabis PR agency. PR isn’t just for high-profile celebrities. Public relations firms can help you market yourself, your unique products, and let the public know how you stand out from the crowd. However, before you hire a PR firm to represent your business, consider how a cannabis PR firm may benefit your company and how to choose the right firm for your needs.

What is a PR Agency?

Public relations agencies are multifaceted firms that specialize in promoting and growing other businesses through editorial coverage. Editorial coverage is sometimes known as “earned” or free” media because it isn’t a paid placement in an outlet. A PR agency generally doesn’t buy or place ads on social media or through billboards or podcasts. A PR agency knows how to leverage the media for the benefit of a company. Media can include local news, national news, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

The ultimate goal of a PR agency is to promote the best interests of its client by generating favorable media coverage. When potential customers view this coverage, it builds brand recognition and trust in the company. The positive public opinion can then help translate into sales for the business.

What Does a Cannabis PR Firm Do?

A top cannabis PR firm specializes in drumming up positive media coverage for growing cannabis businesses. They generally will use their resources to pitch story ideas to various media outlets. They will then follow up with these media outlets to convince them that the story will interest their viewers or readers. In the end, the media outlet gets a piece that entices its audience. The cannabis company then gets recognition. A good agency understands how to take a company message or campaign and translate that into a positive media piece.

On the flip side, a cannabis PR agency can also help a business mitigate the fallout from a less than ideal or unfortunate situation. A good firm is always strategically thinking about how to protect a client from potentially hurtful coverage. An agency can also help formulate a response that is both appropriate and has the potential to turn a situation around.

Overall, you want a cannabis PR agency to be well-versed in the following:

  • Writing and distributing press releases
  • Following up with appropriate media outlets after the release of a press statement
  • Crafting pitches
  • Product placement
  • Writing speeches
  • Crisis management
  • Copywriting
  • Blog writing
  • Market research
  • Event planning
  • Community engagement
  • Non-profit relationship management

Some of the most successful PR firms have former journalists and news people on their staff. These individuals generally have inside knowledge of the media industry and can leverage their former contacts and skills for the benefit of cannabis clients. These professionals know what stories media outlets generally select and can help convince them that coverage of your materials is beneficial to the outlets and the community.

Picking a Cannabis PR Firm

In many areas, cannabis is a relatively new business. When looking for a PR firm to manage the image and media coverage of a cannabis business, there is an important initial question. A company should ask if the agency has previous experience working with the cannabis industry. Why is this the most important question? There are limitations on the types of material and information that can be distributed about cannabis in some jurisdictions. A business will want to make sure that the PR firm they are working with understands the intricacies of working with the media and cannabis-related businesses. Knowledge of the industry helps ensure that your coverage is positive and accurate. It will also ensure that media outlets distribute coverage with the best chance of being picked up and not tossed in the press-release trash bin.

Beyond looking for an agency that understands the unique challenges of working with cannabis-related businesses, you will want to sit down and outline your marketing goals. What are you hoping to achieve? What is your budget? What are you expecting a firm to deliver? Establishing your objectives and goals early will help in selecting the best firm for your company. Once you determine these objectives, find a PR firm that aligns with your goals. Consider the following:

  • What is your budget?
  • Do they specialize in a specific industry?
  • How do they measure success?
  • What is their communication style?
  • How often will they be in contact?
  • Does their team have experience in PR and marketing?
  • How do they generate coverage?
  • Do they have experience handling crisis situations?

Hold meetings before you settle on a PR firm. In these meetings, you can ask plenty of predetermined questions pertaining to your concerns and goals. Consider these meetings an interview process. You want the best candidate for the job. Effective coverage doesn’t happen passively. It is a process that needs to be actively pursued and nurtured. The PR team you choose should be aggressive, responsive, and communicate with you throughout the PR process.

PR as an Investment

Making investments in your business is essential to growth. You know how to cultivate relationships with growers, suppliers, paraphernalia manufacturers, consumers, and sometimes even local artisans and craftsmen. Securing the help of a PR firm is another form of investment in your business. A solid relationship with a cannabis PR firm can help increase recognition, brand loyalty, and visibility in the community.

Eventually, these attributes can start translating into new customers, repeat business, and profit growth. The relationship between the cannabis industry and the media is always evolving. If you’re ready to experience growth and visibility for your business, hiring an experienced cannabis PR agency is the next step to developing your product’s brand.

What types of PR do you need, and when do you need then? The type of PR you choose, mostly has to do with your larger strategic initiatives and your desired PR outcomes. When hiring a top PR firm, prioritizing initiatives and timelines is usually incredibly important to companies in emerging industries or companies with big ambitions, but not huge PR budgets. So when SHOULD you use the most important types of PR for fast-growing and ambitious companies?

Strategic Public Relations

Research is the forgotten science behind PR. From surveys and studies that impact consumer or stakeholder opinion, to consumer, product, or media trends, strategic PR puts emotional intelligence in context.

Many startups skip this part because they perceive it as expensive. But that’s why Avaans Media offers a strategic analysis as part of its bespoke PR services. We think it’s important to inform strategies with data. Even startups without a reputational history can benefit from analysis of media trends. The strategic analysis can also save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted advertising or brand expenses because of bad timing or a lack of insight into a buyer’s state of mind.

Media Relations

Media relations is the most visible part of PR.  It’s so visible in fact, that many people think media relations IS PR. It’s usually media relations that secure proactive press and work directly with the media to improve their impression of your company. Most ambitious companies use media relations when the goal is to increase visibility and improve their reputation for stakeholders. Stakeholders could be current or potential investors, current or potential customers or clients, government decision-makers, and even the media itself. A solid media relations strategy keeps you in good graces with the media and improves your reputation with positive press. Media relations can be product PR, like with a new product launch, or during a particular product sales cycle, or it can be part of the thought leadership and strategic relations campaigns.

Media relations PR tactics for fast-growing companies include active outreach to journalists and maintaining an eye on news that impacts the brand, its competitors, or its customers. Media relations PR professionals never forget the “relations” part of their job and ensure that content such as press releases, pitches, and products are delivered in a media-centric way. Your media relations team has two important stakeholders: the media and you, and it’s often a delicate balance.

Community Relations

For emerging industries like cannabis and drones, community relations is a primary PR tent pole. Community relations are the proactive steps a company or brand takes within a particular community to improve its reputation or ease concerns about its product or operations. Community relations can be within a geographic area, a demographic group, or an industry. Tactically, this might include partnering with nonprofits, purpose-driven initiatives, or education campaigns.

Crisis Communications

No one likes to think about it, but from product recalls to cyber attacks to executive missteps, having a solid plan in place for a crisis is an important part of building, and maintaining a hard-earned reputation. Tactically, this should be a plan that’s in place for a variety of crises that could impact your business. You will consider your risks, your stakeholders, and key people who need to be involved, and how they need to be involved. Crisis communications can be one of the most expensive forms of PR if you wait until there is a crisis to engage a PR agency.

Digital/Online Communications

Most modern PR firms, especially those that serve companies with ambitious goals,  will incorporate some level of digital PR in a comprehensive PR strategy. This could incorporate content, social media, and at the very least, how the latest Google changes impact your PR. You simply can’t ignore that your reputation lives and breathes online. Make sure your digital PR collaborates with your SEO and your social media.

 

Thought Leadership

From public speaking opportunities to content contributions to commenting on important news and leading important conversations, thought leadership for executives improves brand reputations and community relations. What would Apple be without Steve Jobs? What would Spanx be without Sara Blakely? Both CEOs built an incredible brand and added value to it with their own personal branding. Entrepreneurs of fast-growing or ambitious companies with their eye on an IPO or fundraising should invest in thought leadership because it’s one of the most valuable forms of PR.

For startups and ambitious companies, PR is an investment in your company’s future. Knowing when to use important types of PR for ambitious companies will help you prioritize your PR investment.

As uncertainty rises, funding falls. At least that’s what the news would have you believe. But according to Inc. magazine, seed and angel deals are still trending upward, and early-stage companies with proven product are still getting most of the deals. In fact, 64% of venture funding is early stage, and seed deals through Q2 of 2022 were on par with the entirety of 2019 (Q2 NVCA/PitchBook). That means for hyper-growth or ambitious companies and challenger brands, there is still an opportunity for you. So what should you do when VC funding is down and inflation is still driving uncertainty? I’ve been through every recession since 9/11 and I’ve been working with ambitious brands and companies since then as well. So I’ve seen what successful businesses do during recessions to position themselves for competitive advantage, survival and growth, despite the economic hurdles. Over the years I’ve noticed, startups who focus on looking ahead while being laser-focused, and tend to survive tumultuous times.

Focus Your Energies and Budget

“Everything you do, do exceptionally well, and if you aren’t exceptional at it, then get rid of it or outsource it.”

Look at everything you’re doing and cut out the things you aren’t doing well. For example, let’s say your internal biz development team is excellent, but your event marketing isn’t producing the results you’d hoped for, take that event marketing budget and focus it on one thing your biz dev team says they need to get to the next level.

Everything you do, do exceptionally well, and if you aren’t exceptional at it, then get rid of it or outsource it. Outsourcing is just more nimble. What you outsource, be exceptionally clear about your goals, so you can maximize your reduced budget. Focusing your time and budget has the additional advantage of clearing out the cobwebs and giving you new insight into operational efficiencies too. Who knows? You might decide that outsourcing certain strategies, like PR, simply works better than doing it in-house, anyway.

Startups should also focus on the long term. Think about ways you can increase efficiencies with agency partners, and where you can maximize the partners you have on board.

 

Bullish on the Future

“Deals are still happening, but they’re more happening on industries and trends which are moving ahead full steam, no matter what happens to the economy,”

What should a startup focus on when thinking about funding? No matter what happens to the economy, innovation rolls forward, and VCs know this. The money isn’t on solving today’s problems, it’s on solving tomorrow’s problems. According to Pitchbook, in Q1 of 2022, VC’s raised more money than in the entirety of 2019. So are coming down? Oh, absolutely, but VC’s know – the future is now.

Even when funding is down, deals are still happening, but they’re more happening on industries and trends which are moving ahead full steam. So do your homework on where your product fits into the biggest challenges or opportunities in the next 5, 10, 15 years. Look at all the challenges the pandemic brought to light – those challenges are still top of mind, and the companies solving those problems will have a head start. Your corporate storytelling should also lean into the future and purpose driven initiatives. These two aspects will allow you to lead against your peers.

FinTech is another area where the gloom and doom may be over-reported – through Q2, FinTech funding was still more than in 2019, but it’s definitely not as frothy as 2021. FinTech founders may wish to focus on thought leadership and tie it into purpose-driven points of view in order to tap into future trends.

And although the cannabis industry has been experiencing its share of disruptions as of late, no one thinks that industry is disappearing, the growth is only projected to increase as more states move to legalize cannabis, and states create interstate sales as California has, and many expect the east coast to do. Experts predict the cannabis industry will be $100 billion by the end of the decade. You can learn a lot about the future of cannabis by reviewing the pitch decks from startups that recently secured funding.

Plan For Success

“Companies that survive this time focus… on problem-solving,”

Now is the time to think out loud and do your due diligence for tomorrow. Companies that survive this time focus their operations team on problem-solving. For example, if  VC funding doesn’t seem likely for you right now, turn your attention to policy initiatives at the federal and local levels. For example, the last infrastructure project had a lot of opportunities for climate-related startups. And the 2021 infrastructure package held lots of tidbits for infrastructure tech programs, that emerging industries like drones and UOV could take advantage of.

Consumer tech VC funding really has taken a sharp nose-dive. Storytelling PR campaigns may not be as attractive as they once were for consumer tech. Now is the time to look at product-based programs which increase awareness but not the budget.

Direct to Consumer (DTC) funding has radically pulled back, because simply having a DTC company isn’t in itself enough to attract investment – today, a DTC strategy is an expectation. But startups can take this time to develop something that can’t easily be replicated, like technology. Or, as investor Caitlin Strandberg said, don’t even ask for investment unless you have an Amazon strategy, because social media isn’t where they see buyers, “if you’re going to be where people buy—people are buying more and more on Amazon—you can expect they’ll search your brand name on Amazon, and you want to be on that search page,” so be looking your sales channels along with SEO and digital PR so your startup is poised for growth.

You should take this opportunity to do some scenario planning as well. Now is a great time to plan for a crisis, and create plans for things like cyber breaches ,which will help you secure your future.

 

Tomorrow’s greatest companies and emerging industries aren’t going to allow this uncertainty to derail them. This is where the rubber meets the road, and strategy makes a difference.