Tag Archive for: storytelling

Purpose-driven public relations means the brand proactively builds incorporates values that impact social, cultural, and environmental issues. A true purpose-driven company makes corporate choices within its purpose framework, even when it means purpose over profits.

Truthfully, public relations aren’t purpose-driven, a brand is purpose-driven. Public relations is simply a lever a purpose-driven brand can use to improve the world around them. Building a purpose-driven brand is an inside-out job. They aren’t PR campaigns or PR ideas; they are a cultural way of thinking that’s internalized by everyone in the company.

[3 minute read]

The Importance of Internalizing Purpose

There are lots of ways a brand can support its customers, community, and the globe meaningfully. Cause partnerships, and donation campaigns, are all relevant PR campaigns, but they aren’t purpose-driven. Purpose-driven companies take the long view on purpose and impact.

Internalization distinguishes purpose-driven brands. When everyone from the Board, to the CEO to the janitor walks the talk of purpose, then a brand has authentically implemented a purpose-driven brand. This also means when employees face choices, they incorporate the purpose into their decision-making. This can include employee hiring, employee programs, purchasing, and product decisions. It also means employees feel safe in making a purpose-informed choice because they know they’re acting within the company’s ethos; their choice is supported and even celebrated.

 

Should Purpose-Driven Initiatives Even Have a PR Component?

The deciding factor on this issue is the “why,” behind the initiative. Every day, businesses from Fortune 500 all the way to emerging industries are making decisions that have a social impact, and most of the time, these decisions don’t get the credit they deserve. But it’s not one decision, or one campaign, or one person who makes purpose – it’s people moving in unison making decisions that impact millions.

For example, let’s take eggs. When you go to the grocery, you face a lot of buying choices. Cage-free eggs, organic eggs, local eggs, inexpensive eggs. Many of these egg producers are balancing product, purpose, and price. Even though the organic or cage-free eggs are more expensive, it’s likely the margins on those eggs are considerably less than the mass-produced eggs. It’s also very likely that the producers of the cage-free or organic eggs are making other choices that cost more – maybe they buy the more expensive food, maybe they supplement their electricity with solar power. These are all purpose-driven decisions that are really important, but they won’t make news. What may make the news is the impact or the multiple steps they take for their purpose might make news. The people behind these choices may have interesting stories to tell. There will be PR opportunities, but they require real storytelling. Therefore, it’s important to have experienced purpose-driven PR agencies who can tell ethos and purpose stories.

Brands should have PR at the table when incorporating purpose-driven ethos, but PR should be part of the purpose, not the purpose of the purpose.

 

Are Purpose-Driven Brands Born or Made?

Both and neither. Some brands are founded in purpose, we can all name a few. Other brands grow into purpose. Both are as legitimate as their ability to stick to their ethos. It’s important for both types of purpose-driven brands to be authentic. Just because a brand is founded in purpose doesn’t mean it won’t lose its way. And just because a brand develops purpose doesn’t entirely absolve them from past actions. All brands should be very careful with their initiatives because consumers are getting fantastic at sniffing out disingenuous missions. These disingenuous missions create consumer distrust and may even run afoul of today’s cancel culture. A brand is better off doing nothing than taking on duplicitous or insincere purpose-driven initiatives.

 

If your company is considering a purpose-driven plan, please download our guide and call us. We can help you and your team navigate the exciting opportunities – and avoid the pitfalls – for purpose-driven brands.

Today’s brands are looking for ways to differentiate. Brand storytelling trends for businesses and especially emerging industries or hyper-growth brands are an important strategy, especially those in competitive industries. Brand storytelling is an outstanding way to separate from the pack and it’s likely your competition hasn’t even tapped into this data.  Macro-trends for 2022 can provide insight into the brand stories you tell, what purpose to highlight, and even what platforms and channels you advertise on.

Fast-growing companies and industries in their infancy (drones and cannabis, for example) especially need to tap into these trends. Brand storytelling makes all the difference in public perception and brand superiority, especially for early movers who need to expand upon their advantages.

Whenever we’re looking to help our clients differentiate in PR, especially for fast-growing companies, one place we turn is Trend Hunter to see where brand values, initiatives, and ideals fit in with the trends of now. Regardless of pandemic status in 2022, the world is in flux. Where your customers and clients fall on these post-pandemic tensions may be a differentiator or a way to increase loyalty through your brand storytelling.

Now is really the time to think through your brand storytelling strategy for 2022, because effective storytelling is multi-faceted and requires commitment from the inside out.

The Big Box vs Local Trend in Brand Storytelling

One post-pandemic tension Trend Hunter touches on is the new push-pull between Big Box and Local shopping. Big Box includes huge online sites like Amazon, by the way, at least in the mind of the consumer. During the pandemic, many Americans woke up to realize the importance of supporting local restaurants and retail. Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of small businesses populate Amazon. If you’re in the retail space, be thinking about this tension and how you will incorporate this consumer choice into your brand storytelling. Emerging industries and fast-growing brands seeking VC funding should absolutely tap into this trend, as it’s likely to be a defining trend for some time.

Big Box vs. Local reflects another macro-trend, and that’s a distinct distrust of the 1%, and especially the .05%. The pandemic only highlighted the enormous differences between the haves and the have-nots. While one portion of the U.S. population worried about keeping the heat on and long-term unemployment, another portion of the population was buying second homes, and banking the savings staying at home afforded them, and got on a plane to a remote island vacation at the first opportunity. This has led to a deepening sense of distrust for the super-rich.

Where are your customers on this tension and how can your storytelling reflect their current frame of mind on this issue? If you’re in the travel industry, you probably want to appeal to the portion of the country that’s feeling flush, unless, of course, you’re a discount brand. In either case, a humble origin story could be a well-placed media and advertising strategy.

 

The Robots vs. People Storytelling Trend

This one has been brewing for a while, but it’s really coming to a head as AI becomes more integrated and the country confronts global supply chain issues. This is an interesting trend because there are so many stories to be told on both sides of the equation. Even technology companies can tell stories about people, so now is a great time to think about how the technology trend is affecting your customers and where your brand storytelling can tap into this trend.

A brand storytelling trend for businesses subtrend is  “Made in America” may take on higher importance from a branding perspective. The issue, with the “Made in America” storyline, is authenticity. Most products have at least a component or two imported from elsewhere. Ironically, if you’re a foreign company operating in the U.S. you can incorporate both these trends by highlighting your commitment to people. But if you’re a U.S. brand, this story, tread lightly about how you use this trend in your brand storytelling.

 

How Big Media vs. Creators will Affect Storytelling

This is a trend started by influencers, but today’s influencers, at least the big ones now have agents and are more closely associated with the elite than your neighbor. Naturally, for every rule there are exceptions, but today’s consumer looks at an Instagram influencer with 10 million followers and imagines they live very different lives; there is an aspirational value to that, so by all means, brand accordingly because luxury marketing is still incredibly relevant.

Meanwhile, influencers aren’t the only creators in today’s global marketplace. Illustrators, artists, and writers are all finding places to hone and monetize their craft. For example, Substack made a brilliant play by tapping into BOTH these trends. On one hand, Substack contracted with content creators and creatives who are well-known or famous because of their associations with major brands. For example, journalists who write for huge publishing companies, but have their own following, have found Substack can be a fruitful side hustle (in 2020, the top 12 subscriptions averaged over $160K). Meanwhile, all these famous names exposed readers to fresh voices as well.

You can think about this push-pull as you consider ad buys as well. Are your consumers more responsive on big platforms like Facebook or in the niche communities of TikTok?

 

Monitor these 3 trends and others as you think through your 2022 brand storytelling for businesses. Tapping into the macro trends helps you understand whether you should “zig” or “zag.” Brand storytelling trends for emerging industries or hyper-growth brands requires a particularly deft touch and emotional intelligence. Do your research to be sure you’re using these trends in ways your customers can relate to them.

Ever notice the best people always seem to go to the best companies? Why is that? Reputation matters and PR improves recruiting outcomes. The magical part is this: it doesn’t matter whether you’re recruiting for executives or recent graduates, a strategic PR plan makes attracting the right talent easier and even keeps your best employees.

  1. Strong Brand Values Attract The Right Candidates

    You want candidates to be a good fit for your company’s culture and values. This is one way PR improves recruiting, especially important for companies in emerging industries and hyper-growth companies who may not have the resources for fancy employment retention programs.  Your PR should underscore your company’s values and contributions to society, your industry, and yes, your employees. And candidates who care about culture are more valuable employees. Brand values are an inside-out job. But you should celebrate those values with purpose-driven activations with recruitment in mind. Not every activation is worthy of the Wall Street Journal, but if that’s a goal, then make it newsworthy. Otherwise, this is where social media can be an outstanding messenger of your PR initiatives. But make no doubt about it, the best candidates do a Google search and check out your social profiles before they accept your job offer.

  2. Give Employees an Opportunity to Brag

    Everyone wants to work in a place where their co-workers are happy to be there. Here, activate your earned media with your employees. Every time you receive coverage, be sure to tell your employees and let them brag about the company to their friends and community. You can encourage sharing with recruitment bonuses, and other internal spotlights on employees who share your good news far and wide. Employee advocacy is a really effective way that PR can improve recruiting. There’s another benefit to encouraging employees to share content:

  3. Reduce Employee Turnover with PR

    Everyone wants to feel proud of where they work, and the more they talk about how proud they are, the more committed they become to that feeling of loyalty and pride. That’s a Captivation Motivation fact, it’s akin to sunk costs. The more we sink into something, the harder it is to walk away. So PR improves recruiting through increased employee pride, and that pride reduces costly turnover. It’s a lot harder to complain about your job on social media if you’re regularly posting about how much you love your company and job.

  4. Reputation Management Matters

    You definitely want someone monitoring your overall reputation. That includes everything a potential candidate might see from Glass Door to news coverage and even reviews. You also want someone to identify how certain audiences perceive your overall communications, and what you can do to improve your communications. For example, if you’re emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in your recruitment, but no one on your website reflects DEI values, it feels very shallow and unwelcoming to those candidates. Do your job descriptions match the education levels and pay ranges you’re hiring for? If you’re hiring for people with college degrees, those job descriptions should look and feel differently than your job descriptions for roles that don’t require a college degree.

  5. Appeal To The Ego

    When high potential or high-level candidates see that news articles and media coverage of company executives, that’s a pretty compelling benefit for ambitious executives. It’s an outstanding way for your company to attract talent, even in the tightest recruitment markets. Plus, your that coverage adds benefits to your company’s brand values as well. Make sure your recruitment pages include executive coverage so potential employees can envision thier own name in the headlines too.

 

Using PR to improve recruiting outcomes is only one of the ways PR supports the most important business strategies, read more about the other 5 ways PR improves business outcomes.

Telling your company story is imperative and corporate storytelling is as much of an art form as writing a novel.

Yes, a PR company can help, but in order to be effective AS a story, it needs to be told and re-told, which means everyone has to be able and willing to tell the story. Additionally, your story will influence your company culture, the way your customers relate to you, everything. It’s important to get the story right.

You’ve probably heard that there are only 7 basic stories ever written. Every single story falls into one of these categories – each its own journey:

Overcoming the Monster
Rags to Riches
The Quest
Voyage and Return
Comedy
Tragedy
Rebirth

One of the great modern-day corporate stories is Steve Jobs returning to Apple after his humiliating exit. It’s a “Voyage and Return” story. Look closely at those stories. What’s missing? The motivation, the characters, the setting and/or place. This is where telling your story becomes individualized and authentic. Personally, I believe one of the most compelling story aspects is motivation, but setting/place can also set a compelling stage for the journey and the characters. What makes Steve Jobs return so compelling is the setting/the time. Apple was in trouble. Big trouble. It was his chance to return to his visionary roots and undoubtedly, his time away from Apple contributed to the turn-around.

So let’s look at a few of the OTHER elements that contribute to great corporate storytelling.

The Character

In corporate story-telling, the character can be a founder or the brand. The best brands have personalities all of their own. One of my absolute favorite brands is Coca-Cola. For over 30 years, their brand has been a happy one, spreading joy around the world. I envision Coca-Cola’s brand persona as a group of people from around the world smiling together and laughing together as the life of the party, the center of the action, the group everyone gathers around. Notice how my character is defined by the setting (the world, the party), we’ll get to the setting in a minute. The point is to envision your brand as a persona, who are they? Are they serious or comedic? Are they reserved or wild? Are they old or young? Your brand is as complex as a person, so you can enjoy the multiple aspects of your brand, but the important thing is to choose no more than 1-2 personality elements to focus on. Simplicity creates powerful brands, and multiple personalities muddle them.

Keep in mind, in our example of Steve Jobs,  Steve Jobs doesn’t make the story compelling, Steve Jobs is more compelling (as a character, an icon) because of the story. This is true of all stories – the character is made great by the other elements of the story, not the other way around. Without the other elements in the story, there are no compelling characters.

Motivation and/or Inspiration

Marketers will recognize this is “The Why.”   What’s the compelling motivation behind the main character’s actions? Is it service? Is it retribution? Is it righting a wrong? Is it glory?  Great motivations drive action. Sometimes, in novels or films, a truly compelling character will have conflicting motivations, this can be true in corporate storytelling as well. For example, perhaps the character is driven by both the need to serve and glory. Humans often have conflicting motivations, but for the purposes of corporate story-telling, it’s most effective to emphasis one motivation. In corporate story-telling, we rarely have 1,000 or more pages to develop our character’s motivation. Focus on a single motivation as the driver.

Interestingly, using the above example of Steve Jobs’ motivation, in the corporate story about Jobs’ return, the motivation is left absent. This is brilliant because it leaves us all to wonder and speculate what his motivation really was. Personally, I believe the reason its left out of this corporate story is it’s probably unflattering, but leaving it out makes the motivation as absent even more powerful than if it had been included.

The Setting/Time

In corporate story-telling, the setting and time are often represented as the “ah-ha” moment, which is made richer by what was happening to the character or in the world at that moment. Was the character liberated? Frustrated? Was there an event that triggered the action? Perhaps the setting/time impacted the motivation and most certainly impacted the action.

Take for example the Coca-Cola brand, they started spreading joy at a time when globalism was really first taking hold, also during a time of great cultural upheaval for the United States, 1971. The “I’d like to buy the world a Coke,” is considered the world’s most famous commercial and it’s joy and happiness is in direct contrast to what was happening in the United States at the time. Somehow, the brand of Coke delivered a much-needed smile to America. In fact, the story behind the creation has similar-it happened under frustrating circumstances.   Coca-Cola didn’t hold a mirror up to us, it provided us with an escape. Since then, Coca-Cola has always focused on creating moments of joyous respite, during the best of times and the worst of times.

 

Keep in mind, while you must have all these components in a story, one of these components will be the star in your corporate storytelling. In the Coca-Cola brand example, the star is the setting. In the Steve Jobs story, the star is the journey.

If it’s time to create or reinforce your story, begin with taking stock of these elements, determine where your strength is and be sure to simplify your story so it’s easy to tell. If you’re “stuck” with your story, contact us. We will help you create a story worth telling and even work with you to create content that tells your story.

Do you know why people respond (or don’t respond) to your brand storytelling?

The answer doesn’t lie in your typeface, your graphic design or even your social networks.
The answers lay in your strategy and customer.

Let me put it another way: do you know what motivations your customers respond to most powerfully?

Many years ago, I launched a marketing incubator designed to help marketers connect the dots between personality types and motivations. What I learned when I did that was few marketers understood how to trigger basic motivations and even those who did, didn’t really understand why they worked. These were great and successful marketers who were committed to becoming even better. These weren’t lazy marketers, these were great people, good at what they do.

Before I go on, let me explain something: I did not make up these motivations. I am not even the first to write about them. They are ancient and hard-wired into the human experience, in fact, these motivations reside in the largest part of our brain, what I call “the other 90%.” Simply put, these motivations are not some flash-in-the-pan-do-whats-trendy-now strategy, these are strategies which trigger reactions from the oldest part of our brain.  Over the last few years, more and more has been understood about these motivations. But one thing is clear: despite the fact that these motivations developed in the earliest days of humanity’s survival of the fittest experiences, these motivations are very much alive and well today. What triggers them in the modern world is just different than what triggered them in our earliest evolutionary days.

So over the next weeks, I’m going to write a series about the seven Captivation Motivations all marketers should know. But not just marketers, product development, developers and anyone else who’s trying to trigger an immediate and memorable reaction.

The first Captivation Motivation I’m going to cover is so over-discussed and yet misunderstood, I wanted to get it out of the way: Storytelling

It’s important to understand WHY storytelling works and as importantly, what stories trigger us to buy.

If you take nothing else away from this blog post, understand this:

People buy for two reasons: it either reinforces how they see themselves or it reinforces how they want to be seen. (Tweet This)

In essence, every purchase we make is part of our story and we know this, deep, deep down.

What stories do we like to listen to?
Stories about us.
Stories that make us feel smarter, better, part of something.
Stories that reinforce how we see ourselves or reinforce how we want to be seen.

Why is this? It’s because the biggest part of our brain is focused on, you guessed it, us.
This is why brand stories have to be very carefully crafted.
As communicators, we want to tell the brand story, but the reader wants to read a story about them.
This disconnect is HUGE.
And yet, we see excellent examples of great brand storytelling all the time. Simplistic and elegant and purely captivating.
One of my favorite examples is Coca-Cola. They kicked off their brand storytelling years ago with “I’d like to teach the world to sing…” So celebrated and so ingrained in our culture, that it was the final episode of Mad Men and suggested as the career pinnacle of outrageously creative Don Draper.
Coca-Cola continues to tell its story through its consumers. Think about the soda bottles wrapped in names and now adjectives like “VIP” “Latino” “Super Star.” Each of these taps into how we see ourselves or how we WANT to see ourselves. You can even buy your own personalized bottle. When this first released and still today, it created a ton of user-generated content on social. People loved taking pictures of themselves with bottles that told their stories. Reinforced their place in the world.
You never once see Coca-Cola telling some long drawn out boring-as-all-hell story about what goes INTO the bottle, or who works in marketing at Coca-Cola, no. The story is always about the consumer and the story or movement they want to create. There is connection, not disconnect. You are Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola is you.
The reason Coca-Cola’s brand value is somewhere in the neighborhood of 45% of the company’s value is because the brand “gets”  the consumer, not the other way around. (Tweet This)
Apple is another great brand, although I feel they’ve lost their brand-way a bit. Still, the company is one of the most valuable brands in the world, regularly commanding a premium for technology that has been commoditized. Why? Because the brand had complete and total clarity from the beginning. It didn’t make computers; it designed products to enhance our lives. The keyword was design. Elegance, simplicity, easy integration into our lives. If Apple hadn’t insisted on these brand traits, it would just be another computer and laptop company. But again, these brand traits, they were customer-focused. They weren’t about Apple, they were about the user. And Apple has some crazy brand advocates who feel like owning Apple helps define who they are. Owning Apple helps them tell the world who they are. That is the pinnacle of advocacy and brand storytelling.

So when you start to integrate brand storytelling into your communications strategy, ask yourself three questions:

Who is the story REALLY about? (hint: be honest with yourself here)
How does it reinforce my customer’s image of themselves or the way they want the world to see them?
What emotion will they feel after finishing the story?

 

 

I was reading an interesting article today about digital advertising. Essentially, the article supposes that the reason that TV and radio still get larger budgets than digital is the ability to tell a story.

Telling a story is the most important aspect of branding. Give people something to relate to. Its true, you can’t tell a story in a banner ad.

But you CAN tell a story in an engaging cross-platform way using social media. From Facebook to YouTube to even Twitter, stories are told every single day. Big stories. Mundane stories. Social media IS story telling. At its heart, that’s ALL it is.

A good story invites engagement. Engagement that TV doesn’t offer. Interconnectivity that radio can’t provide.

If you aren’t telling a story through social media, ask yourself why not? Better yet, let’s talk about here, together. What’s your story? How are you using social media to tell it?

Tag Archive for: storytelling

SELECTED CANNABIS EDIBLE PR MEDIA COVERAGE

Binske Cannabis Public Relations

PR WITH PURPOSE


Companies face an interesting challenge. Clients and customers are demanding that companies engage in social impact. Yet, in today’s cancel culture world, navigating purpose-driven initiatives or social impact programs takes a deft and emotionally intelligent touch.

That’s where we come in: we build brand value and communities from the inside out.

We’re a modern digitally forward agency that combines emotional intelligence with strategy and data to enhance reputations and credibility. We’re a team of big thinkers with an eye for detail. We dive straight into your purpose to find the connective tissue your clients or customers respond to. We’re fiercely protective of your reputation, tenacious in securing press coverage, and nimble enough to service brands in our dynamic times.

PURPOSE DRIVEN PR WITH SOCIAL IMPACT AND HEART

A SELECTION OF OUR PURPOSE DRIVEN PR CAMPAIGNS AND SOCIAL IMPACT RESULTS

OUR SOCIAL IMPACT, B-CORP AND PURPOSE-DRIVEN PR INSIGHTS

Purpose Driven Strategies

SELECTED CANNABIS EDIBLE PR MEDIA COVERAGE

Binske Cannabis Public Relations

Purpose-driven public relations means the brand proactively builds incorporates values that impact social, cultural, and environmental issues. A true purpose-driven company makes corporate choices within its purpose framework, even when it means purpose over profits.

Truthfully, public relations aren’t purpose-driven, a brand is purpose-driven. Public relations is simply a lever a purpose-driven brand can use to improve the world around them. Building a purpose-driven brand is an inside-out job. They aren’t PR campaigns or PR ideas; they are a cultural way of thinking that’s internalized by everyone in the company.

[3 minute read]

The Importance of Internalizing Purpose

There are lots of ways a brand can support its customers, community, and the globe meaningfully. Cause partnerships, and donation campaigns, are all relevant PR campaigns, but they aren’t purpose-driven. Purpose-driven companies take the long view on purpose and impact.

Internalization distinguishes purpose-driven brands. When everyone from the Board, to the CEO to the janitor walks the talk of purpose, then a brand has authentically implemented a purpose-driven brand. This also means when employees face choices, they incorporate the purpose into their decision-making. This can include employee hiring, employee programs, purchasing, and product decisions. It also means employees feel safe in making a purpose-informed choice because they know they’re acting within the company’s ethos; their choice is supported and even celebrated.

 

Should Purpose-Driven Initiatives Even Have a PR Component?

The deciding factor on this issue is the “why,” behind the initiative. Every day, businesses from Fortune 500 all the way to emerging industries are making decisions that have a social impact, and most of the time, these decisions don’t get the credit they deserve. But it’s not one decision, or one campaign, or one person who makes purpose – it’s people moving in unison making decisions that impact millions.

For example, let’s take eggs. When you go to the grocery, you face a lot of buying choices. Cage-free eggs, organic eggs, local eggs, inexpensive eggs. Many of these egg producers are balancing product, purpose, and price. Even though the organic or cage-free eggs are more expensive, it’s likely the margins on those eggs are considerably less than the mass-produced eggs. It’s also very likely that the producers of the cage-free or organic eggs are making other choices that cost more – maybe they buy the more expensive food, maybe they supplement their electricity with solar power. These are all purpose-driven decisions that are really important, but they won’t make news. What may make the news is the impact or the multiple steps they take for their purpose might make news. The people behind these choices may have interesting stories to tell. There will be PR opportunities, but they require real storytelling. Therefore, it’s important to have experienced purpose-driven PR agencies who can tell ethos and purpose stories.

Brands should have PR at the table when incorporating purpose-driven ethos, but PR should be part of the purpose, not the purpose of the purpose.

 

Are Purpose-Driven Brands Born or Made?

Both and neither. Some brands are founded in purpose, we can all name a few. Other brands grow into purpose. Both are as legitimate as their ability to stick to their ethos. It’s important for both types of purpose-driven brands to be authentic. Just because a brand is founded in purpose doesn’t mean it won’t lose its way. And just because a brand develops purpose doesn’t entirely absolve them from past actions. All brands should be very careful with their initiatives because consumers are getting fantastic at sniffing out disingenuous missions. These disingenuous missions create consumer distrust and may even run afoul of today’s cancel culture. A brand is better off doing nothing than taking on duplicitous or insincere purpose-driven initiatives.

 

If your company is considering a purpose-driven plan, please download our guide and call us. We can help you and your team navigate the exciting opportunities – and avoid the pitfalls – for purpose-driven brands.

Today’s brands are looking for ways to differentiate. Brand storytelling trends for businesses and especially emerging industries or hyper-growth brands are an important strategy, especially those in competitive industries. Brand storytelling is an outstanding way to separate from the pack and it’s likely your competition hasn’t even tapped into this data.  Macro-trends for 2022 can provide insight into the brand stories you tell, what purpose to highlight, and even what platforms and channels you advertise on.

Fast-growing companies and industries in their infancy (drones and cannabis, for example) especially need to tap into these trends. Brand storytelling makes all the difference in public perception and brand superiority, especially for early movers who need to expand upon their advantages.

Whenever we’re looking to help our clients differentiate in PR, especially for fast-growing companies, one place we turn is Trend Hunter to see where brand values, initiatives, and ideals fit in with the trends of now. Regardless of pandemic status in 2022, the world is in flux. Where your customers and clients fall on these post-pandemic tensions may be a differentiator or a way to increase loyalty through your brand storytelling.

Now is really the time to think through your brand storytelling strategy for 2022, because effective storytelling is multi-faceted and requires commitment from the inside out.

The Big Box vs Local Trend in Brand Storytelling

One post-pandemic tension Trend Hunter touches on is the new push-pull between Big Box and Local shopping. Big Box includes huge online sites like Amazon, by the way, at least in the mind of the consumer. During the pandemic, many Americans woke up to realize the importance of supporting local restaurants and retail. Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of small businesses populate Amazon. If you’re in the retail space, be thinking about this tension and how you will incorporate this consumer choice into your brand storytelling. Emerging industries and fast-growing brands seeking VC funding should absolutely tap into this trend, as it’s likely to be a defining trend for some time.

Big Box vs. Local reflects another macro-trend, and that’s a distinct distrust of the 1%, and especially the .05%. The pandemic only highlighted the enormous differences between the haves and the have-nots. While one portion of the U.S. population worried about keeping the heat on and long-term unemployment, another portion of the population was buying second homes, and banking the savings staying at home afforded them, and got on a plane to a remote island vacation at the first opportunity. This has led to a deepening sense of distrust for the super-rich.

Where are your customers on this tension and how can your storytelling reflect their current frame of mind on this issue? If you’re in the travel industry, you probably want to appeal to the portion of the country that’s feeling flush, unless, of course, you’re a discount brand. In either case, a humble origin story could be a well-placed media and advertising strategy.

 

The Robots vs. People Storytelling Trend

This one has been brewing for a while, but it’s really coming to a head as AI becomes more integrated and the country confronts global supply chain issues. This is an interesting trend because there are so many stories to be told on both sides of the equation. Even technology companies can tell stories about people, so now is a great time to think about how the technology trend is affecting your customers and where your brand storytelling can tap into this trend.

A brand storytelling trend for businesses subtrend is  “Made in America” may take on higher importance from a branding perspective. The issue, with the “Made in America” storyline, is authenticity. Most products have at least a component or two imported from elsewhere. Ironically, if you’re a foreign company operating in the U.S. you can incorporate both these trends by highlighting your commitment to people. But if you’re a U.S. brand, this story, tread lightly about how you use this trend in your brand storytelling.

 

How Big Media vs. Creators will Affect Storytelling

This is a trend started by influencers, but today’s influencers, at least the big ones now have agents and are more closely associated with the elite than your neighbor. Naturally, for every rule there are exceptions, but today’s consumer looks at an Instagram influencer with 10 million followers and imagines they live very different lives; there is an aspirational value to that, so by all means, brand accordingly because luxury marketing is still incredibly relevant.

Meanwhile, influencers aren’t the only creators in today’s global marketplace. Illustrators, artists, and writers are all finding places to hone and monetize their craft. For example, Substack made a brilliant play by tapping into BOTH these trends. On one hand, Substack contracted with content creators and creatives who are well-known or famous because of their associations with major brands. For example, journalists who write for huge publishing companies, but have their own following, have found Substack can be a fruitful side hustle (in 2020, the top 12 subscriptions averaged over $160K). Meanwhile, all these famous names exposed readers to fresh voices as well.

You can think about this push-pull as you consider ad buys as well. Are your consumers more responsive on big platforms like Facebook or in the niche communities of TikTok?

 

Monitor these 3 trends and others as you think through your 2022 brand storytelling for businesses. Tapping into the macro trends helps you understand whether you should “zig” or “zag.” Brand storytelling trends for emerging industries or hyper-growth brands requires a particularly deft touch and emotional intelligence. Do your research to be sure you’re using these trends in ways your customers can relate to them.

Ever notice the best people always seem to go to the best companies? Why is that? Reputation matters and PR improves recruiting outcomes. The magical part is this: it doesn’t matter whether you’re recruiting for executives or recent graduates, a strategic PR plan makes attracting the right talent easier and even keeps your best employees.

  1. Strong Brand Values Attract The Right Candidates

    You want candidates to be a good fit for your company’s culture and values. This is one way PR improves recruiting, especially important for companies in emerging industries and hyper-growth companies who may not have the resources for fancy employment retention programs.  Your PR should underscore your company’s values and contributions to society, your industry, and yes, your employees. And candidates who care about culture are more valuable employees. Brand values are an inside-out job. But you should celebrate those values with purpose-driven activations with recruitment in mind. Not every activation is worthy of the Wall Street Journal, but if that’s a goal, then make it newsworthy. Otherwise, this is where social media can be an outstanding messenger of your PR initiatives. But make no doubt about it, the best candidates do a Google search and check out your social profiles before they accept your job offer.

  2. Give Employees an Opportunity to Brag

    Everyone wants to work in a place where their co-workers are happy to be there. Here, activate your earned media with your employees. Every time you receive coverage, be sure to tell your employees and let them brag about the company to their friends and community. You can encourage sharing with recruitment bonuses, and other internal spotlights on employees who share your good news far and wide. Employee advocacy is a really effective way that PR can improve recruiting. There’s another benefit to encouraging employees to share content:

  3. Reduce Employee Turnover with PR

    Everyone wants to feel proud of where they work, and the more they talk about how proud they are, the more committed they become to that feeling of loyalty and pride. That’s a Captivation Motivation fact, it’s akin to sunk costs. The more we sink into something, the harder it is to walk away. So PR improves recruiting through increased employee pride, and that pride reduces costly turnover. It’s a lot harder to complain about your job on social media if you’re regularly posting about how much you love your company and job.

  4. Reputation Management Matters

    You definitely want someone monitoring your overall reputation. That includes everything a potential candidate might see from Glass Door to news coverage and even reviews. You also want someone to identify how certain audiences perceive your overall communications, and what you can do to improve your communications. For example, if you’re emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in your recruitment, but no one on your website reflects DEI values, it feels very shallow and unwelcoming to those candidates. Do your job descriptions match the education levels and pay ranges you’re hiring for? If you’re hiring for people with college degrees, those job descriptions should look and feel differently than your job descriptions for roles that don’t require a college degree.

  5. Appeal To The Ego

    When high potential or high-level candidates see that news articles and media coverage of company executives, that’s a pretty compelling benefit for ambitious executives. It’s an outstanding way for your company to attract talent, even in the tightest recruitment markets. Plus, your that coverage adds benefits to your company’s brand values as well. Make sure your recruitment pages include executive coverage so potential employees can envision thier own name in the headlines too.

 

Using PR to improve recruiting outcomes is only one of the ways PR supports the most important business strategies, read more about the other 5 ways PR improves business outcomes.

PR WITH PURPOSE


Companies face an interesting challenge. Clients and customers are demanding that companies engage in social impact. Yet, in today’s cancel culture world, navigating purpose-driven initiatives or social impact programs takes a deft and emotionally intelligent touch.

That’s where we come in: we build brand value and communities from the inside out.

We’re a modern digitally forward agency that combines emotional intelligence with strategy and data to enhance reputations and credibility. We’re a team of big thinkers with an eye for detail. We dive straight into your purpose to find the connective tissue your clients or customers respond to. We’re fiercely protective of your reputation, tenacious in securing press coverage, and nimble enough to service brands in our dynamic times.

PURPOSE DRIVEN PR WITH SOCIAL IMPACT AND HEART

A SELECTION OF OUR PURPOSE DRIVEN PR CAMPAIGNS AND SOCIAL IMPACT RESULTS

OUR SOCIAL IMPACT, B-CORP AND PURPOSE-DRIVEN PR INSIGHTS

purpose driven initiatives for hyper growth companies and emerging industries