Messaging

In the fast-paced world of consumer products, standing out from the competition and capturing the attention of target audiences is paramount. Public relations (PR) plays a crucial role in creating brand awareness, establishing credibility, increasing revenue, and generating consumer excitement. When looking to hire a PR firm, you may be taking one of two strategies. The first would be to maximize the impact of PR strategies; consumer product companies often rely on the expertise of PR firms that offer tailored packages designed specifically for their needs. The second strategy, for consumer product startups could be to dip their feet into the PR agency relationship with a PR service bundle that is specific in scope. Hence, the fees are lower, and the brand can learn more about a particular PR firm.  This blog post will explore the differences between PR service bundles for consumer products and how they can help businesses thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace.

  1. Crafting a Compelling Brand Story

Consumer products are not just items on a shelf; they are part of people’s lives, offering solutions, experiences, and emotions. If you’re a consumer product startup, your PR firm offering may need to include branding initiatives and research to craft a compelling brand story that resonates with target audiences.

By understanding the product’s unique value proposition, PR professionals can develop narratives that captivate consumers, evoke emotions, and create a lasting connection. These packages often include

  • message development,
  • storytelling techniques
  • content creation
  • brand image: ensure a consistent and compelling brand image across various channels
  1. Influencer Partnerships and Product Placements

Influencer marketing has become a powerful tool for consumer product promotion. PR  packages for influencers or journalists leverage influencer partnerships to amplify brand reach and credibility. By identifying and collaborating with influential individuals in relevant niches, PR professionals can generate authentic product endorsements, unboxing videos, and positive reviews. Additionally, these PR service bundles often include earned media opportunities, product placement opportunities, and securing features in TV shows, movies, or popular media outlets, allowing for increased visibility and exposure.

  1. Media Relations and Product Launches

A successful product launch can significantly impact consumer perception and sales. PR firm packages for consumer products include strategic media relations to generate buzz and coverage surrounding new product releases. With these PR packages – Avaans calls these PR Sprints-, PR professionals work closely with media outlets, journalists, and bloggers to secure product reviews, and feature articles; sometimes with an eye on digital PR for premium SEO links. Through these efforts, businesses can build anticipation, create excitement, and gain valuable media exposure, ultimately driving consumer interest and sales.

  1. Social Media Engagement and Influencer Events

Social media has transformed the way consumers engage with brands. Social media targeted PR firm packages recognize the importance of a strong social media presence for consumer products. These packages include social media management, content creation, and community engagement strategies. PR professionals leverage social media platforms to share product updates, engage with consumers, and foster brand loyalty. They may also organize influencer events or collaborations, providing opportunities for influencers to experience the product firsthand and share their authentic experiences with their followers.

    1. Crisis Management and Reputation Protection

In the consumer product industry, maintaining a positive reputation is crucial. PR firm packages are designed to handle potential crises and protect brand reputation in the face of challenges. These packages include proactive crisis management strategies, such as preparing crisis communication plans and monitoring online conversations. In times of crisis, PR professionals act swiftly, ensuring transparent and timely communication to address concerns and mitigate any potential damage to the brand’s reputation.

    1. Content Packages in Digital PR World

As media continues to evolve, building content is vital to building awareness and consumer affinity. From contributed content to blog posts to videos content is still king. Moreover, content offers many ways to repurpose and reuse, from social media to email marketing to investor presentations.

Ensuring your content aligns with your overall goals and brand messaging is squarely in the capabilities of a full-service PR firm. But even if you choose not to use your PR firm to build the content, part of a full-service PR option should include collaboration with your content producers to ensure message consistency.

 

Conclusion

For consumer product companies, PR firm packages offer a powerful toolkit to elevate brand visibility, establish credibility, and drive consumer excitement. You may be able to reduce PR costs by sticking with a specific PR package with a limited scope, like some of the PR service bundles recommended above, or you may wish to have a more tailored PR strategy with a bespoke PR plan.

These packages are tailored to the unique needs of consumer product businesses, providing strategic guidance, media relations, social media engagement, crisis management, and more. By harnessing the expertise of executive level PR professionals, consumer product companies can create compelling brand stories, leverage influenced partnerships, execute successful product launches, and protect their brand reputation. Embracing the services provided by PR firm packages is a strategic investment that can fuel consumer interest, foster brand loyalty, and propel consumer product businesses to new heights of success.

Recently, Google polled 3,000 Americans to find out how they responded to sustainability messaging. As more brands make efforts to become more sustainable or even start any sort of purpose-driven communications,  these four tips will help you communicate purpose-driven messaging effectively. 

Today’s consumers are smarter about messaging. Millennials, the first digitally native generation, are grown-ups, and have their own kids. Gen X (now called Zoomers), see right through greenwashing. They can smell inauthenticity and they actively bristle at brands leveraging purpose-driven messaging to improve their own reputations. And they are right to be skeptical. According to a Google study global survey of top-level executives 59% admitted to overstating — or inaccurately representing — their sustainability activities. Whoa. That’s not a trust-first strategy at all.

So how can well-meaning brands celebrate purpose-driven messaging like sustainability, and awareness days like Earth Day, without alienating their customers?

Communicate Sustainable Efforts with Plain Language

Purpose-driven messaging is nuanced, but sustainability messaging is quite difficult because sometimes an effort to be sustainable has unintended, non-sustainable results. Yet, it’s important to be clear and honest when discussing your company’s efforts.

One way to do this is to share your sustainability goals and roadmap and be candid about your yearly progress. An annual purpose-driven progress report that is open and available on your website allows your customers to come on the journey with you. And explaining how to you took action and the implications helps consumers understand the complications.

Let me tell you a story. Many years ago, I had a client who created disposable compostable plates and utensils. Before we could even get into messaging, I had to take a mini science lesson because compostable can be problematic due to chemicals used to breakdown items like this, yet using products like this is still better than using plastic that ends up in the landfill, right?

Everyone agreed that anything misleading would destroy trust. We landed on a simple outcome everyone can understand: less plastic is better. And this was a fantastic choice because everyone can clearly understand that we have a plastic problem, and it creates an awareness of a bigger issue that the brand is trying to tackle.  Today if I had that client, we would dig deeper and be even more transparent, but this was 2009, and we were barely scratching the surface of how complicated “sustainable” really is to achieve.

Simple is better. Honest is better. Transparent is better. 

 

Celebrate The Accessible

What creates change? From a sustainable messaging standpoint, we’re past awareness. In 2009, Harvard Business Review study found cost is one key reason people don’t adopt sustainable practices. Things like EVs and solar panels are financially inaccessible, to say nothing of the fact that the nations 44 million renters can’t do either of these things.

But what is one thing everyone can do? Reuse. That’s something to celebrate, and it’s accessible to millions of people. Folgers recently did a commercial about reusing its glass jars; I like this because I think it’s on-point to their consumer. The ad incorporated a touch of nostalgia which was effective too. On the flip side, in a recent AdAge podcast, some creatives slightly skewered the video by asking, “What about the plastic lid?” which I think misses the point. The point is: when you remind your customers of the accessible ways they can make a difference, it empowers them.

Focus on small, actionable, concrete actions that you can celebrate alongside your customers. 

Dire Threats Aren’t Effective

“When asked to describe “actions or attitudes that could make people feel bad about their impact on the environment,” many U.S. survey respondents pointed to images of landscapes ruined by trash, fires, or pollution, while some pointed to images of animal suffering.”

Not only does messaging like this put the consumer in a terrible position, it’s disempowering. This kind of messaging is increasingly ineffective because consumers have had it with feeling bad about a gigantic problem that they, as an individual, can’t personally solve alone. And why is the burden even on the consumer all the time anyway? What is the business doing internally?

Instead, focus on positive outcomes. Before and after pictures of rooftop gardens, clean parks, these are all uplifting images that send a positive, impactful message. 

Use Educated Consumers to Your Advantage

Sustainability has become political. It’s that simple. For example, according to Harvard Business Review:

“Republicans were less likely to buy a compact fluorescent light bulb that they knew was more energy-efficient than an incandescent bulb when it was labeled “Protect the Environment” than when that label was missing.”

Most consumers who want a sustainable bulb know incandescent bulbs are more sustainable. But instead of pointing to the environmental benefits, labeling incandescent bulbs as more energy efficient is effective for a wider range of consumers. Everyone can see the benefits of saving energy, whether for sustainability or economic benefit.

Without a plan and consideration for the pitfalls, purpose-driven communication can do more damage than good. For more recommendations, download our Purpose-Driven Guide, which provides an internal roadmap to avoiding the typical challenges of communicating purpose-driven messages.

Can growth marketing and public relations work together. Growth marketing is about customer acquisition and retention, often through paid media, with relentless iterations and deeply engaged knowledge of the consumer. Public relations is reputation management of a company’s image, often through earned media and deep understanding of broader cultural and media trends. So what do they have in common? On the surface, not much, but when you dig deeper into the tactics and the metrics, we can see where together growth marketing and public relations can work together successfully.

Suppose the business objective for a consumer product launch is to increase sales through decreasing competitors’ market share. In that case, a digitally savvy PR agency knows how to do competitive research of the entire digital landscape and media landscape and use that data to determine the opportunities to overtake a competitor, while a growth marketer is reviewing how the company attracts customers and retains customers. But where do growth marketing and public relations work together?

Data Driven KPIs

Today’s modern PR firms and PR campaigns should be tied to business goals and identified public relations metrics that support and funnel up into that goal.  While growth marketers are developing ads, PR agencies are developing ways to capture the target audience’s imagination. PR agencies may present a word-of-mouth activation or a targeted quality over-quantity earned media campaign that overlaps targeted audiences. A PR agency might also recommend content which can boost SEO and support brand values that interest and retain customers.  Just like a growth marketer, a modern PR agency is tracking metrics. What metrics might a PR agency track in the above scenario?

  • Mention Quality
  • Article Reach
  • Brand Placement in Article
  • Share of Voice
  • Domain Authority

All of the above PR metrics are measures of awareness and credibility. These metrics support top-of-funnel AND bottom-of-funnel customer journeys and can support growth marketing efforts with a keen eye on target audiences and messaging which supports growth marketing.

The Digital PR Toolkit

For growth marketers, the digital tool kit is primarily paid (but not exclusively); for growth marketing PR, the digital tool kit is primarily owned (but not solely). But there are a few areas where growth marketing and growth PR connect. One of those is SEO. For the growth marketer, SEO provides opportunities for retargeting and organic acquisition, growth marketing PR adds value to both. With a savvy eye on keywords and quality inbound links, PR supports growth marketing objectives to funnel into business objectives.

That’s not all; PR agencies working with media outlets to build revenue opportunities can help growth marketing with a high domain authority on inbound links as well as excellent reviews from credible media outlets, which send potential new customers searching for the product. These reviews could be in gift guides or hero reviews where the consumer product receives an in-depth study that meets Google’s product review update recommendations. Meanwhile, growth marketers will typically focus on reviews from influencers or existing customers. And a brand with positive customer reviews gives a journalist further confidence in a brand and a product.

Today, PR and growth marketing can use some of the same tools, they use them slightly differently:

  • Inbound Links
  • Owned Media
  • Credible Review Acquisition

Credibility: Where PR Fills The Gap

I often tell our clients PR creates the awareness and solidifies reputation; ads are the conversion driver – that’s how they work together, and they both work better. Why? It’s simple: earned media from credible media outlets is more trusted than paid ads. But few journalists look at it as their job to write conversion-focused marketing copy. The journalist’s job is traditionally to create the content that keeps you on the pages. From a longer tail and more strategic point of view – PR also builds brand credibility on the corporate level, trusted brands have faster aquisition and they have longer customer retention, meaning growth marketing is even more influential.

So when someone sees a great review of a product, and THEN they see the ad, they get the trigger to purchase the product, or maybe they sign up for a newsletter, or maybe the look for more reviews and do a Google search that lands them on another referral site. The pathways are endless, but they all come back to one thing: supporting the brand’s business goal.

I’m a fan of understanding and maximizing the media environment for our clients. The Avaans Media client is ambitious and goal driven, so understanding how our jobs support overall marketing strategies and business goals is essential. When we evaluate the landscape for our clients, we find a distinct point of view, and because our tools are different than growth marketers, we can glean insights and data that drive new insights. To be honest, I’m not concerned with being a purist about owned, earned, and paid. It’s the job of a digitally savvy PR agency to know what levers to pull when and how to shape campaigns that create success. That’s our job – and that’s why growth marketers and public relations can be best buddies.

Why Purpose-Driven Public Relations Have an Edge 

It’s easy to see why some companies are skeptical of shifting to a “purpose-driven” business model. Doing so requires companies to take a position on important, potentially controversial issues like environmental protection, workers’ rights, racial and gender discrimination, income inequality, that have social impact.

Is Taking a Stand the New Social Media in Public Relations?

Taking a stand can generate a swift backlash from the community and consumers. For an example, look no further than the reaction from many fans of the National Football League when several players, most notably San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, knelt during the national anthem as a protest against police violence.

The NFL is one of the few monolithic institutions left in American life, and the response from its fans would seem to discourage other brands from getting involved in political and social issues. Even President Donald Trump got involved by putting pressure on team owners and league officials. And yet, the NFL’s handling of its players’ police violence protests offers an instructive example of why brands should lean into social causes instead of avoiding them.

After all, what was the ultimate outcome for Kaepernick? The NFL caved on player protests and is allowing social justice messages in the end zones this year. Kaepernick partnered with Nike on their “Dream Crazy” ad, which helped spread his message to a much wider audience. Though the ad was criticized in some quarters, most people responded positively to it. Younger audiences, one of Nike’s key demographics, responded especially well.

Making that ad was a risk for Nike, but it’s a risk that clearly paid off. By being aware of social trends — particularly among some of its core customers — and partnering with someone who had legitimate social justice credentials, Nike scored a public relations coup and rode the wave to increased sales.

Jumping into the realm of social activism is new for Nike, but other brands have engaged in social, political, and environmental causes for many years now. The clothing company Patagonia, for instance, supports many social causes, especially groups focused on the protection and preservation of public lands in the United States. They’ve also imposed a “1% for the Planet” tax on themselves, in which they spend 1 percent of their sales (not just their profits) on environmental activism while encouraging other companies to do the same.

Another brand that’s making headway in terms of changing the way business is done is King Arthur Baking Company. Unlike many larger bakeries, King Arthur is a private company that is owned by its employees and is a benefit corporation. This means that having a positive impact on the world is built into the company’s corporate structure. In an article for the New York Times, Ralph Carlton, one of King Arthur’s chief executives, said “Being accountable to our employee-owners means we have to take them into account. We don’t believe in growth for growth’s sake.” The company’s message is clearly resonating with consumers; according to the Times article, King Arthur’s sales tripled this past spring when many people went into quarantine and started baking their own bread and other goods.

Is a Purpose Driven Public Relations Strategy for Everyone?

These examples and additional research illustrate the gains to be had for brands that embrace social causes. For instance, the research firm Accenture found in 2018 that 63 percent of consumers prefer to support brands that share their values and beliefs. In that same study, Accenture also found that 62 percent of consumers want brands to take a position on social and political causes, and 65 of consumers said their buying decisions are influenced by the values, actions, and words of a company’s leaders.

As we saw with Nike, these trends are even more pronounced among younger audiences and consumers. Other researchers have found that 54 percent of teens age 16-19 boycotted or bought from a brand because of its ethics. Furthermore, 63 percent of teens say they are more likely to buy from brands that back charities or other causes they believe in.

These figures provide more evidence that consumers are eager to buy from brands they perceive as having strong morals and values. However, brand trust is a precious commodity that companies should not take for granted. About 37 percent of teens surveyed in the study mentioned above said they didn’t trust the claims brands make about the causes they support, and 69 percent of teens in the survey said brands overstate how much they support the causes they supposedly champion.

That last point is critical. It’s not enough for companies to say they want to make the world a better place, they have to back it up with their actions and policies. If you tell consumers you’re moving to a purpose-driven business philosophy, you need to give them proof.

Once again, we can look at Nike for an example of this theory in action. Regardless of other criticisms the company has faced in the past, making Kaepernick the centerpiece of a campaign took courage, as he was a pariah in many circles and hadn’t been a star player for several years. But because Kaepernick had sacrificed his career and his reputation for his beliefs, Nike benefitted from his social justice bona rides.

As more consumers push for brands to become more socially and politically engaged, companies that have already adopted a purpose-driven approach or are willing to make a good-faith effort have a tremendous advantage in the marketplace. If you can show consumers that your brand shares their values, they’ll flock to your business.

How to Celebrate a Purpose-Driven Public Relations

 

Of course, getting your message in front of consumers is easier said than done. You need a public relations firm that understands the challenges purpose-driven brands face and the benefits they can provide consumers. Fortunately, PR for purpose-driven brands is what we do at Avaans Media, and we can help show the world what makes your company special.

It’s important not to be too bold or too generic when it comes to PR for purpose-driven brands. You need to be specific about what you’re doing and how it’s generating the kind of positive change you’re striving for. We’ll create a campaign that’s tailored to your company’s specific strengths and goals, and we’ll show consumers that you’re serious about achieving those goals.

This kind of campaign is something we already have experience doing. One of our biggest successes came from helping a nonprofit create content to help parents who were non-native English speakers improve their children’s early education outcomes. We listened to what they wanted to achieve and created streamlined, easy-to-understand social media content for parents to share with each other and their children. Furthermore, we helped the nonprofit lobby the state legislature to fund early education programs for pre-kindergarten students.

Our campaign was a tremendous success, generating over 401,000 impressions over six months among our target audience, with an engagement rate of over 50 percent. The state legislature also saw the extensive community support for the program and funded more early education programs, providing an even greater benefit to the community.

Our organization has the tools and talent to bring this kind of success to your purpose-driven brand. To learn more, visit our contact page to schedule a call with one of our offices. You can also find us locally in New York, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Phoenix, Denver, and San Diego.