Tag Archive for: cpg PR

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. 

Marketing and PR during a recession? Who does that? Well, the answer may surprise you: brands that grow the fastest. Why? Studies who brands that market during recessions gain additional advantages because it’s less noisy and easier to be seen and heard. Make your marketing and PR budget go further by tapping into these consumer trends.

Consumer Brands: Remember the Lipstick Effect

Coined by Leonard Lauder in 2001, the term “lipstick effect” when he observed that lipstick sales are inversely correlated to economic health. Why? Because consumers still want to treat themselves and small indulgences fit the bill, even during economic downturns. Luxury lifestyle brands do this with their perfume and makeup offerings. Yes, $69 for Hermes lipstick is a lot for lipstick, but for the Hermes customer or aspirational customer, $69 is an easy purchase compared to a $6,000 purse. Consumer PR and marketing during a recession can help you gain market share and grow when you offer your customers a way to sport your brand without making a gigantic purchase.

What’s your brand’s “lipstick”? What is the product that makes customers feel like they’re treating themselves without large expenditure? 

Find the Fun with Your Customers

What did the post-pandemic consumer teach us? They want fun and frivolity in the pandemic’s wake – and they STILL want that, perhaps even more, with all the gloomy news about a recession. While you, as a CEO, or CMO, might feel doubly beat up, it’s really up to you to bring the fun. From marketing to PR, if you give consumers something fun to talk about or a sense of escapism, consumers will find a way to your party, because they really want to have fun. So while you may be cutting your marketing or PR budget, make sure the things you keep are fun-filled. Not only will this improve your bottom line, it will attach fun to your consumer’s experience of your brand, which means they’ll associate you with fun after the recession too.

What’s your customer’s ideal way to escape? Find them and play with them there. 

Make Lasting Memories with Nostalgia

When uncertainty strikes, consumers love to “remember when.” Whether it’s nostalgia-based packaging or scents to connections to movies and songs, yesterday always brings comfort to consumers. If you’re a legacy brand with long-time customers, then you should absolutely take this opportunity to remind your customers of the good ole days you had together. If you’re a new brand and you don’t have that depth, you can trigger fond memories through partnerships and advertising.

What era makes your customers nostalgic?

Avoid Deep Discounts that Train Customers

If you train your customers to wait until the next sale, they will never buy if there isn’t one, whether or not there is a recession. Resist the urge to devalue your own brand right now. Not only do price discounts squeeze your margins during a time when you can least afford them, constant discounting feels desperate. Desperation is never a great look, especially for luxury brands. To maintain brand and positioning, the beloved cupcake brand Sprinkles resisted the urge to discount during the pandemic:

“Customers had been taught by other bakeries to expect that the product at the end of the day was worth less than at the beginning. But with our just-in-time baking system, these cupcakes were as fresh as their morning relatives. Even then, as tempting as it was to sell off those last few cupcakes at a discount right before closing, I knew we had to stand firmly behind the price. I preferred to donate those cupcakes than to eat into the value of our brand.” -Candace Nelson, founder.

The better option is to carve out a single day (or two) that your brand will offer value pricing, and when you do, look for ways to add value to your current price rather than discounting the product itself. You could offer a gift with purchase or a VIP experience.

Budget planning for marketing and PR during a recession feels less fun than when budgets are flush, but the reality is, you can make major headway during a recession AND you can enjoy the process and the output just as much if not more.

If you’re a smaller consumer brand, it might feel impossible to compete with the big guys. But according to Nielsen, in the United States “manufacturers outside of the top 100 have contributed to 52% of their region’s annual fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) growth,” that’s an incredibly promising trend for any consumer product, from skincare to cannabis. But the challenges to increasing market share aren’t imagined. In some categories, especially consumables, over 50% of consumers have no brand preference. This underscores the importance of small, independent CPG brands to invest in branding with awareness and loyalty strategies. Neilsen IQ has done some fantastic research for small, independent DTC and CPG brands.

Nielsen Chart for Consumer Product Brand Loyalty

 

 

 

 

 

69% of consumers are actively looking for new and trendy CPG products. Tapping into current trends is a key way to appeal to this audience.  Whether the brand is launching, or already launched, there are always PR opportunities to increase sales by driving awareness and loyalty. The key takeaway on all the most recent Neilsen data: premiumization is absolutely key for small, independent CPG brands. 

Driving Awareness for Small Consumer Brands

When Snapple tea was a small independent brand, it relied on PR, including crazy stunts with two ambitions in mind: acquisition and sales. When they were acquired by Quaker Oats, the PR stunts stopped and sales decreased. In fact, PR is often responsible for trends that drive consumers. Before CBD, a wellness ingredient that almost everyone now knows was allowed to advertise, it relied on firms like Avaans Media to create PR campaigns that educated consumers and created awareness for their brands. PR is almost single-handedly responsible for launching CBD into the public’s general knowledge. Other wellness products have benefited from PR, including melatonin.

Independent brands often turn to PR because while PR is an investment, it’s still more affordable than many other branding initiatives such as advertising, especially when you include videography costs. Facebook is famous for launching thousands of new DTC brands, but of late, many independent CPG brands are finding Facebook’s advertising to be less effective. Ambitious consumer product brands are turning to PR in ever greater numbers to reach consumers, and stay in front of buyers. A PR campaign can reach hundreds of billions of annual impressions. Is it any wonder that everyone from new consumer products to old standbys is moving dollars to PR?

New CPG brands can use PR to validate the brand. An upfront burst of PR is a powerful trust indicator. Many consumer brand startups showcase PR wins on their website and in advertising as a way to increase consumer trust. Independent boutique products use PR to nail their launch because they need to appeal directly and immediately to their consumer. As Nielsen notes in small brand, “There is little room for error in small launches. Nailing your activation requires planning and strategic execution. Whatever your differentiation—hitting your target, justifying your premium or communicating a new usage occasion—it must land, and land well,”

 

Driving Loyalty for Independent CPG Brands

If your consumer brand isn’t exactly new, but also isn’t a household name, then using PR to increase loyalty and awareness is effective. 25% of consumers are mainstream followers who sometimes try new products, but don’t seek them. This is a critical audience to penetrate. If you’re broadening your audience to this important, but slightly elusive group, you want to make sure your customer product reviews are solid, and that your early PR had at least 1-2 tier 1 press hits so you can use the ever-so-important social proof to lure this audience in.  Good PR also allows existing customers to have their choice validated and is a great opportunity for them to sing your praises to their friends.

But that’s not the only way PR helps early and mid-stage CPG brands. PR helps your customers see you understand who they really are. Bob’s Red Mill used PR to improve its already stellar reputation through purpose-driven storytelling. Not only does PR help new consumers find your product, but it also reinforces the good choice your current customers have made. A good PR firm will help you identify ways to differentiate and to secure brand-improving earned media.

Not too long ago, DTC brands were on a tear. The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry grew at an incredible rate during the 2020 pandemic lockdown – to $933 billion up 10.4% from the previous year. And it wasn’t just the big brands who saw that growth, boutique CPG brands reported revenue growth up 18.3%, compared to 7.5% from large CPG brand manufacturers. But recent changes in digital marketing, along with supply chain issues, have made 2022 more challenging for startup DTC brands. So, given the squeeze they’re experiencing, what CPG marketing trends will give them the most bang for their buck?

 

 

CPG and DTC Brands with Purpose

This first one is a bit of a misnomer because, realistically, purpose-driven CPG brands are an inside-out job, not simply a marketing initiative. And yet, for those CPG startup brands who can find an authentic purpose, the activation opportunities are endless. This isn’t so much a CPG marketing trend as much as it is a brand proposition.

47% of consumers say they’d switched products or services after a company violated their personal values. 

Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable and natural products in everything from beauty to wellness to food. Searches for “cruelty-free” products increased by 400% between 2012-2022. And it isn’t just consumers. 86% of employees want to know they work for organizations with an environment, social, and ethical business practices (ESG). While we typically think about large brands doing most of the heavy lifting on ESG initiatives, startup CPG brands can create a bigger splash, reduce operational expenses, and increase customer loyalty by doing their part as well.

CPG PR & Influencer Marketing

TV ads are still the first choice for legacy CPG companies, and that’s because they know becoming a household name takes repeated exposure. But ambitious startup brands without the multi-million dollar ad budget are finding excellent success with CPG PR and even seasonal sprint PR programs. From wellness products to beauty products, CPG brands know the value of trusted recommendations, like magazines.

Trust isn’t a CPG marketing trend – it’s a requirement. 

And because of the importance of the trust factor, startup CPG brands are also turning to influencer marketing. But they’re doing it most often with micro-influencers (between 1,000-10,000 followers). While micro-influencer campaigns are considerably more effort to manage, the results can be impressive because micro-influencers typically have higher conversion rates and that’s because they are more relatable and trustworthy than celebrities.  And it isn’t only CPG brands finding success with micro-influencers, consumer tech brands are doubling down on influencer campaigns too.

 

Product Personalization

Consumers are opening their pocketbooks for DTC startups that offer personalized products; 71% of consumers expect personalization. In some cases, consumers are willing to give up product effectiveness to a more tailored product. From personalized product recommendations to celebrating milestones, today’s consumer expects even CPG startups to know them as customers.

Millennials, already spending more on self-care than any other generation before (2X more than baby boomers) are driving the demand for personalized CPG products. Already, 70% of the top DTC subscription brands use product quizzes to help personalize the customer experience. Not only does this increase consumer loyalty, but it provides a pleathora of data that can be used in future retargeting and PR campaigns.

Millennials are also driving another CPG trend: CBD. While 28% of consumers already use CBD, 56% of millennials do. They’re leading the charge that fuels the 4X growth in CBD products projected between 2020-2026. From pets to skincare, CBD is still a very in-demand product.

 

One thing is for certain, CPG startups aren’t going away. The internet has supercharged the consumer’s ability to find and purchase products – and it means CPG products in every category have more competitors than ever before. Brands that invest in savvy CPG marketing and PR will have the upper hand with customer acquisition and loyalty. And that means they’ll have more longevity than ever before.