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.
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.
If your product helps consumers with a health issue, or a with small children, or helps them navigate a particularly challenge phase of life – building trust with your customers couldn’t be more important.
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?
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.
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:
- 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
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.