What is a Purpose-driven strategy? It’s the natural evolution of four converging cultural changes, the first is when social, cultural, and environmental issues became more visible and urgent, followed by consumers who expect brands to connect with nonprofits or social impact, driven by a lack of confidence in government to solve big problems, and finally, institutional investors evaluating environmental, social governance (ESG). Purpose puts a movement and impact first. Purpose-driven companies understand when society, the environment, and our collective well-being are doing well—businesses do better too.

Purpose-Driven Strategies have Three Key Pillars:

Employee and Systemic Engagement, Externally Virtuous, Meaty Measurable. 

These pillars of purpose require a company to be engaged in a systemic way, are independent of sales, and the impact should be both audacious and measurable. While purpose-driven strategies may give way to recruiting advantages, brand valuation, and competitive advantages, those are not the driving outcomes behind purpose. Purpose-driven PR is not the driving motivation behind purpose-driven implementations. The defining commitment of purpose is when it takes precedence over profitswhen internal culture is SO strong, so empowered, that decisions at all levels are made with a purpose in mind.

These Purpose Driven Strategy distinctions are important—because consumers—AND Investors are savvier than ever: They see through cause marketing campaigns with little authenticity. They’re alert to saying one thing, but doing another -greenwashing is so common it had a name.  Distrust in governments continued to decrease, while expectations of businesses continued to increase.

Purpose-driven strategies differ from the historical ways brands engaged with movements and nonprofits.

The Difference Between Purpose Driven Strategies and Philanthropy

The difference between purpose-driven strategies and philanthropy is based on the level of engagement the company commits to. Traditionally philanthropy was a broad term used to describe when a business contributed to a cause – anything from a social nonprofit to fundinga building or a program at a college. This type of giving required very little else from the company outside of the donation. Companies often used philanthropy to attract other monied investors or achive other strategic goals, but on the surface, having a philanthropic donation very often align with a marketing campaign or a PR campaign. Philanthropy also usually had very little to do with employees and customer activism or interests.

The Difference Between Purpose Driven Strategies and Corporate Giving

That gave way to CORPORATE GIVING –programs. The United Way is an outstanding example of corporate giving, this is when an organization encourages its employees to unite behind a single cause to create a greater donation scale. At this stage, companies get more involved as multiple departments such as PR, or HR to create systems and messaging around corporate giving. Companies whose employees give a lot receive recognition in the community. Corporate giving gave employees the opportunity to easily give to an organization; some corporate giving programs allow employees to choose a cause that was important to them, but in the most traditional sense, the executive team partnered with a nonprofit to create a corporate giving program.

The Difference Between Purpose Driven Strategies and Cause Marketing

CAUSE MARKETING are initiatives that tied sales to a corporate donation  – started in 1983 when Amex donated a penny to restoring the Statue of Liberty every time someone used their card—cardholders grew 45% and card usage increased by 28%. By 2013, 76% of consumers thought it was OK for brands to support good causes and make money at the same time. Before we knew it, there was a cause marketing campaign everywhere we looked, from pink ribbons to yogurt lids. Enterprises like Hersheys even had internal positions that combined marketing & corporate social responsibility.

If you’re interested in implementing purpose-driven strategies at your company, check out our free guide to implementing purpose. 

Sara Blakely didn’t become one of the most admired female CEOs without taking her public image seriously. Blakely credits her publicity-savvy approach to her grass-roots success that launched a billion-dollar exit.

Sara Blakely became notable for being one of three female founders to exit in 2021. In 2012, she made headlines as one of the first female billionaires when Spanx was valued at over $1 billion, because she retained 100% ownership, had zero debt, and to that point had never spent a dollar on advertising. Blakely wasn’t lucky. She is smart and from the start, dialed into earning trust and word of mouth. Blakely was so PR savvy she patented Spanx early because she saw it as a marketing lever. She knew actions can translate to media coverage. Consistently, Blakely refined and perfected three key strategies she credits to her success.

Tell Your Story Relentlessly



One thing Sara Blakely did immediately is take control of her own narrative. Sara knew: if you don’t tell your story, someone else will.

CEOs who take a personal interest in their brand’s success always generate better coverage. Blakely never took the “fake it before you make it” stance in the press. She took her failures and turned them into stories about resilience. Her career-focused and ambitious customers could relate to her humble fax-machine sales beginnings. Blakely famously said she’s “game for anything,” and it’s the company who has to reign her in.

Blakely celebrates her female strengths, recently claiming she ran the business from “intuition, vulnerability, and empathy,” which recently led to an acquisition by private equity firm Blackstone in November 2021.

From the start, Blakely refined her story, kept it authentic, and told it over and repeatedly. She never deviated from her why, and she never glossed over speed bumps or failures. That’s why, despite her elite success, women the world over related to Blakely. Her approachability gives her another lever to pull, she can celebrate her wins and women celebrate with her.

 

The Not-So-Overnight Success of Product Placement

“We always had PR and grassroots marketing at the forefront of what we did. It was getting the word out any way we could: speaking engagements, sampling,” said Spanx CEO Laurie Ann Goldman.

In the halls of famous breakthroughs, The Oprah Effect is perhaps one of the most celebrated. With Spanx, when Oprah included them on her list of favorite things, for many women, it was the first time they’d heard of the product. But Sara Blakely had been sending celebrities, stylists, and female icons Spanx samples from the very beginning, and she wasn’t cheap about it. Blakely sent full gift baskets, with enough product to make sure every celebrity had enough to get through the week, no matter how intense their appearance calendar was. By the time Gwyneth Paltrow said on the red carpet that Spanx was her post-baby-body secret in 2003, Spanx was already a well-known insider secret. “Word of mouth and the media are so much more powerful and believable, so that’s the route I went,” said Blakely.

Blakely knew: place your product consistently, earn the trust of celebrity influencers, and it pays off. It looks like an overnight success, but in fact, Blakely had been doing product gifting for years, and she did it with class.

 

Absolute Customer Clarity

Blakely knew: if you’re for everyone, you’re for no one. When she first started sending celebrity gift baskets, she targeted Oprah because she was open about her weight challenges, and Kim Kardashian because of her famous booty. Despite her success in famous retailers, direct-to-consumer sales are at the heart of the Spanx expansion, making up 70% of its sales, which means Spanx has to develop deep relationships with their target customers.

If you look at Spanx coverage over the years, Blakely was disciplined about keeping to her “why.” Customer clarity allows Blakely to stay focused on her “why,” which is a much more appealing story than a product story.

Blakely’s approachable voice is another key to the brand’s relatable success – she talks to her consumer the way they talk with their friends, from packaging to interviews, she just gives us enough to relate to her. Even her extravagances seemed relatable to her target market. You never hear about Blakely’s car or vacation homes. Instead, you hear about relatable splurges like when she bought Olivia Newton John’s Grease outfit; clothing her target market clearly remembers, and one that showcases a spectacular derriere.

Employing these three CEO publicity strategies doesn’t guarantee a billion-dollar business, but it does guarantee that you will get noticed. Everyone from consumers to venture capitalists and private equity firms like to know there’s a story there, and potential for brand affinity. The Spanx brand couldn’t have become so iconic without these three remarkable publicity strategies.

This contribution originally appeared on Entreprenuer.com

While there is no blueprint for creating a successful hyper-growth company, many of these businesses share some common qualities that help them stand out in the crowd of tech startups. But first, it’s essential to understand what a hypergrowth business is.

What Is A Hypergrowth Business?

Hypergrowth businesses are businesses that maintain a rapid rate of growth over time. The term “hyper-growth” was first coined in the Harvard Business Review. To be called a “hyper-growth” business, it must have a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 40% or more. Businesses with “rapid growth” have a CAGR between 20% and 40%. And businesses with “normal growth” maintain a CAGR below 20%. Hypergrowth usually occurs before a business has fully matured.

Many startup businesses are looking to be the next big hyper-growth company. Amazon, Uber, and Facebook are all excellent examples of hyper-growth companies. However, many hyper-growth companies eventually take a quick downturn and ultimately fail. Many hyper-growth companies fail because they get so focused on growth that they neglect to plan for challenges that the business will most certainly face during its rapid rise, including overworked employees, marketing costs, and a customer-focused culture, and more.

How Hypergrowth Companies Stand Out

Companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Uber all set themselves apart from other hypergrowth companies and continued to maintain a steady growth rate over time. You gain insight into how hypergrowth companies like these stand out from the competition by following these tips.

They Keep Track of Emerging Trends and Offer Customers Real Value

Because the market is constantly in flux and consumers are continuously rethinking their wants and needs, hypergrowth businesses understand that they must keep track of emerging trends. When they see an opportunity, they take it. When they see a gap in the marketplace, they fill it with a product or service that has value for customers. Hypergrowth businesses understand that perceived value is not enough; customers seek products and services that add real value to their lives. Being flexible and focused on the company’s target audience and their changing wants and needs enables hypergrowth businesses to scale rapidly when an opportunity becomes successful.

They Know How To Identify Areas for Growth

Most businesses grow by expanding their current customer base by regularly offering new products and services or by targeting new customers by diversifying the products and services they offer and testing opportunities in new markets. Hypergrowth companies are successful because they know how to identify the most significant opportunities for growth and then strategically pursue that opportunity while keeping an eye on product performance and marketplace trends.

They Hire Focused Leadership

Hypergrowth companies understand the value of competent, focused leadership. Hypergrowth businesses that fail often do so because company leadership got so focused on the company’s rapid growth that they were unable to focus on other challenges that would inevitably arise due to rapid expansion. Successful hypergrowth companies hire leadership that can focus on both scaling the business and scaling other business areas to match the company’s growth.

Successful business leaders do much more than share a vision for the company’s growth. They also move the business forward by spotting emerging trends and constantly adapting to the constantly changing market. While remaining focused on the overall vision, they also focus on executing a business strategy to achieve their business objectives.

They Value Their Employees

Hypergrowth companies value the people who work for them and strive to foster a healthy workplace culture. Overworking employees can quickly cause a business’s culture to become toxic. Hypergrowth businesses provide employees with rewards and benefits that have value. A good work-life balance is far more rewarding and important to the average worker than access to ping pong tables and craft beer on tap. Hypergrowth company leaders understand that their employees are the catalysts for rapid growth and that the company’s culture starts with its workers. Hypergrowth company leaders are intentional about developing a healthy and unique company culture from the outset.

They Turn Their Customers Into Brand Ambassadors

Successful hyper-growth companies turn their customers into ambassadors for their brand. There are few things more powerful for a company than its customers going out into the world and gushing about the company’s product or service. Hypergrowth businesses rely on word of mouth and constantly identify potential brand ambassadors to promote their products and services. In addition to customers, other brand ambassadors might be employees or industry influencers. No matter how they spread the word about your brand, word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools a business can leverage.

They Measure Their Success

Hypergrowth businesses understand that success doesn’t happen due to dumb luck. Successful hyper growth businesses are constantly tracking their successes and failures, gaining insights into what is working and what isn’t by harnessing as much data as they can — the more data, the better.

They Are Flexible and Innovative

Perhaps one of the most important qualities of successful hyper-growth businesses is their flexibility and ability to innovate constantly. In the digital age, the world is changing rapidly every day. Successful hyper-growth companies understand that to achieve success, they must be malleable, constantly reassessing consumers’ wants and needs and new marketplace opportunities. Because consumers today have more choice, successful hyper-growth companies must constantly innovate to stand out above other companies.

Marketing for Hypergrowth

How can you market your company for hyper-growth? Implementing a focused and strategic public relations campaign is one of the best methods for customer-driven companies that are on the brink of or are already experiencing hypergrowth. The keys to successful hyper-growth PR is to reach a broad audience, keep them engaged, and letting your service or product sell itself. Some ways to do this include:

  • Running giveaways and other promotions to attract new customers and keep them engaged
  • Keep your existing customers informed and engaged with your company
  • Show all of your customers that you care, not just through words but through your actions

PR for fast-growing companies can be challenging, and especially for those experiencing hypergrowth. With so many tasks to complete, outsourcing some of these efforts to a company with specific experience with hypergrowth PR is often recommended.

Contact Avaans Media

The foundation of any company is its vision, but a successful hyper-growth company grows due to a solid business strategy that meets its goals. If you have questions about hyper-growth business strategies, the PR team at Avaans Media is here to answer all your questions. Contact us today to discuss your business objectives.

3 Measurable Ways PR Increases Revenue For Fast-Growing Brands and Emerging Industries

If you’re considering investing in a PR agency for your emerging industry or fast-growing brand, you might wonder what ways does PR increase revenue outcomes and how can you track it?

Your revenue outcomes will vary depending on your strategy and your strategy will determine your timeline; but here are 3 ways PR will increase revenue.

  1. New Customers, Faster

    One way PR increases revenue is with new customers, faster. As a customer, when you come across a website with recent press coverage and you compare it to a competing brand with none, which do you trust more? This is a key differentiator between advertising and PR: PR is 3X more credible than advertising. Increased credibility and trust have real and measurable revenue implications. If you’re watching for increased revenue as a PR result, watch metrics like track time to close, number of visits before a purchase. You can expect to see consistent benefits in those areas if you’re getting regular, on-brand coverage.

  2. Increased Revenue from Brand Loyalty From Existing Customers

    Why does brand loyalty from PR contribute to increased revenue? Well, your customers like knowing they’re buying from a trusted company. A company others see positively. And your positive PR acts as positive reinforcement to their own values and self-image. This is even more important for younger target audiences (GenZ, Millennials). If this is your strategic PR outcome, then we recommend focusing on brand activations, partnerships, and experiences for existing customers. This can be as simple as a surprise gift in a recent order. Or something as extravagant as a collab with a value-aligned super brand.  As you increase your PR coverage,  Are your unsolicited recommendations on social increasing? Are positive reviews increasing? Does customer churn decrease? These are metrics which support increased brand loyalty.

  3. Increase Revenue by Stimulating Desire

    PR increases revenues with timeless and credible coverage. Because PR has is stickier than advertising, you can appeal to your target audience at just the right time. When customers are searching for products, publications frequently appear at the top of the search, and publications are also trusted guides for customers. So you’re right where you want to be in exactly the right buying moment. Priceless.

For more ideas on maximizing revenue by leveraging your PR, check out my interview with Kage Spatz, which originally appeared in Authority Magazine.

5 PR measurements for Fast-Growing Companies

Here’s a question we get asked a lot, in the quick, nimble world of hyper-growth companies how do we measure PR? One of the first questions a prospective PR should ask is “how will you measure success?” PR agencies ask this in a variety of ways. As a modern boutique PR firm, the A-Team at Avaans Media always ask about future goals.  This is critical to can tie results to meaningful business objectives. We also ask this question because results drive our PR pricing, which is built around your objectives, not ours. 

We know we measure PR a little differently than most of our competitors, but we think it’s incumbent on modern PR firms to stay ahead of the PR measurement. Every year since 2010, PR professionals meet in Barcelona and set the Barcelona Principles as a framework for measuring the effectiveness of PR and communication. We based our PR measurement philosophy on these modern PR measurement principles: Barcelona Principles 3.0. These 5 PR measurements for fast-growing companies provide insight into how we work and provide a roadmap for PR success, no matter what your objectives.

  1. DETERMINE THE “WHY” BEHIND PR

    The “why” driving purpose for PR is critically important to identify. There may be a 5-year goal in mind, or a sales goal for the next year. Goals for hyper-growth brands may be dynamic and far-reaching. It’s perfectly acceptable to have long-term and short-term goals as a fast-growing company. What’s most important is that you share those goals openly and regularly with your professional PR team. As goals change, so should the PR strategies and tactics. It’s important PR efforts reflect both positionings for today and tomorrow. The “Why” is where the communication strategy is built and it’s a critical piece to PR success.

  2. PR MEASUREMENT IS ABOUT QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY

    Huge massive PR dashboards with hundreds of KPIs might look impressive, but realistically, they aren’t helping anyone, especially fast-growing companies. Your PR KPIs should reflect 3-4 metrics that reflect the goals of the company. As a CMO, this is your chance to share your own goals with the PR agency so they can support your objectives in every way possible. If you need a huge win – tell us! Let us help you. If you’re unsure, why your PR firm is measuring a specific KPI, ask. You’d like to measure something different, say so. If you highlight a particular PR measurement in investor, board, or CEO presentations, we want to know that. A modern PR agency is going to build measurements around long-term goals, as they change, share them. PR measurement should include outputs, outcomes, and potential impacts for fast-growing companies.

  3. DATA and EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE TELL THE PR MEASUREMENT STORY BEST

    Your PR measurement should include data points, but it should also include context and insight. Data without insight is practically meaningless for hyper-growth brands. PR data and the importance of that PR measurement will have different meanings against, social, cultural, and corporate contexts. Splashing numbers across a page is the simple part. Modern PR measurement requires emotional intelligence to surface real insights and actionable strategies. When there are radical changes, your PR firm should dive deeper to provide meaningful insight and assure correct changes were made proactively and the KPIs reflect the insight and analysis.

  4. PR MEASUREMENT IS HOLISTIC

    Why silo PR, one of the most important strategies for fast-growing companies? Modern PR includes SEO considerations, social media, paid media, and earned media, online and offline. Insist that your modern PR firm collaborate with other agencies and departments or at the very least that they keep one another informed of campaigns and their goals. As a CMO, it’s also critical that you share the OTHER KPIs you measure in advertising, social media, and owned media so the communication measurement incorporates the entire picture. The insights other agencies have can inform the emotional intelligence and insight to your PR measurement.

  5. TRANSPARENCY & INTEGRITY MAKE FOR SMARTER GOALS

    Everyone understands SMART objectives (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound), but modern PR agencies are adding ETHICAL and REVOLUTIONIZING to make objectives SMARTER. PR professionals have professional ethics set forth by organizations like PRSA. Journalists also have a set of professional ethics. But those ethics are only the beginning because modern PR agencies should consider digital ethics (security, disclosure) as well as social and cultural ethics, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion. PR measurement should always be contextural and advance both the brand AND society. These modern-day ethics aren’t only for purpose-driven brands, they are for all stakeholders who care about the brand. It’s more critical than ever that modern PR firms incorporate SMARTER goals and outputs that enhance brand value over short-term bursts which may actually hurt a brand’s reputation. Never has emotional intelligence been more important to PR goals and measurement.

 

We know PR measurement will continue to be as dynamic as your fast-growing business, your customers, and the culture. These 5 goals for hyper-growth brands provide guidance and help you achieve real success with PR. At Avaans Media, we’re committed to being best-in-class for providing PR measurement with genuine insights that apply to your business. Contact us today to have a meaningful discussion about PR measurements for today’s business goals.

 

 

Do We Need PR?

Why do PR? These are the 5 reasons why PR is vital to growth.  Straight up: PR is the only way to differentiate yourself. While it might be tempting for businesses to focus on sales and marketing only and, it’s technically possible to operate a business without PR, it’s virtually impossible to become an industry leader or a household name without PR. Emerging industries, which need to establish credibility to investors and consumers, and hyper-growth companies with very ambitious growth plans need PR.

PR is a vital partner to business goals that have long-term effects on the success of a business. These 5 reasons why PR is vital for the success of growing companies. PR adds credibility and authority to emerging industries and hyper-growth brands.

5 Reasons Why PR is Vital for Emerging Industries and Hyper-Growth Brand Success

At Avaans Media, we specialize in emerging industries and hyper-growth brands, be they B2B or B2C. From raising awareness with consistent media placement to aligning social media with your most important key messaging, to crisis prevention and management, having a cohesive and active PR presence is the secret ingredient to building brand equity and awareness. We’re so committed to helping you get to the next level, we base our PR pricing on your strategic objectives.

 

  1. Increase Revenue: Public relations has very real and exciting implications for revenue growth. More credible than advertising PR contributes to increased sales conversion and deal flow improvement, as well as decreasing churn and increasing customer lifetime value (CLTV). Working with your PR firm to develop baselines and KPIs for your business goals not only allows you to see PR’s impact on your bottom line, but also enables your PR firm to develop a strategy that is effective and long-lasting.
  2. Attract Investors: For many emerging industry companies and hyper-growth brands, attracting investment is a key goal for scale. Investors like to see that your product has legs. There is no better endorsement of your product’s potential than media placement. It might be tempting to only use PR after you’ve secured investment, but PR can increase deal flow, give you more brand equity, and improve the quality of investment.
  3. Competitive Advantages: If you’re in an industry where there are a lot of competitors, then you absolutely need PR. PR will help you clarify your messaging and ensure you know where and when you can stand out. Further, in crowded fields, what do consumers do? They Google brands to find reviews and articles. If your brand has this critical 3rd party social proof, it’s a massive edge for your brand.
  4. Recruitment: The best candidates know their value and want to work for companies that are known entities in their industry, no matter whether the job market is tight. Great candidates are rarely interested in growing a business that hasn’t committed resources to growing the business. No one ever became an industry leader by focusing solely on cutting costs. PR shouts from the rooftops: “we’re serious about our future,” and that’s just the message to appeal to the best and brightest talent at all levels.
  5. Attract Acquisition or an IPO: Sometimes the next stage in a company’s growth is an acquisition or an IPO.  For both scenarios, completely integrated PR and marketing efforts are critical. For emerging industry companies and hyper-growth brands, if you’re serious about being acquired or an IPO, AND you want the best price for your company, now is the time to double down on brand equity investment. These strategic objectives require an aligned PR strategy that may differ from what you’ve done in the past. But since our company has done this many times, we can help you navigate the strategy and implement it flawlessly.

Why is PR your secret weapon? These are only the most critical to business goals, there are hundreds of smaller PR advantages that increase revenue and even save you money. At Avaans Media, we’re exceptionally proud of our A-team, a group of experienced and insightful communication experts who never stop working for our clients.  Get started being the most important brand you can be. Contact us today for a discussion about your business goals.