Tag Archive for: thought leadership

The world is hyperconnected, and perception reigns supreme. How stakeholders like consumers, investors, and even employees view organizations can make or break their success. Enter public relations, where strategic communication and the power of perception are the keys to building brand authority with PR strategies.

The Evolution of Public Relations

 

Like every other industry, the 21st century has changed public relations. The concept of PR as “spin” is outdated and myopic. Today, PR touches almost every department of a growing company and encompasses reputation management, crisis communication, and stakeholder engagement. It touches almost every department of a growing company, from the C-Suite to HR to product development and, of course, marketing.

From ancient civilizations using symbols and rhetoric to monarchies employing courtiers for image management, managing perception has always been woven into the fabric of human societies. In the early 20th century, figures like Edward Bernays (often hailed as the father of PR) laid the groundwork for modern practices. Bernays, drawing insights from psychology and sociology, emphasized persuasion, image crafting, and media collaboration.

Fast forward to today—the global PR market is estimated at a staggering $114.1 billion. But what makes PR truly powerful? Let’s explore the power of perception as the keys to building brand authority with PR strategies.

Harnessing the Power of Storytelling

Storytelling has become indispensable for brand authority. It weaves narratives that resonate emotionally, and no doubt, PR is at this table. Whether it’s perception-changing narratives, thought leadership, or awards, navigating the land mines of purpose-driven initiatives, or providing data and insight into your most important audiences, the power of perception IS building brand authority with premium PR strategies.

Storytelling is the activity that humanizes entities and builds genuine, memorable connections with audiences.

 

Navigating the Media Landscape

The media world is dynamic and has its own set of rules and expectations; agility and fitness are paramount for navigating trends and opportunities and handling crisis communications. PR can weigh in on the perceptions of advertising platforms or choices, expand upon the impact of marketing initiatives, and help brands navigate the very important phase of pre-IPO.

Because much of PR has a long life span, the thought process behind it is very strategic. PR often considers five years down the road. For example, how will a CEO’s thought leadership contribution age after the company has gone public?

The CEO’s Role: A Balancing Act with PR Strategies

For CEOs and marketing directors of hypergrowth companies in the pre-IPO phase or with venture funding, PR is both art and science. For CEOs, PR isn’t just about the company’s branding, it’s about their own as well. PR impacts not only the IPO offering but it can affect CEO pay as well. Here’s how PR can build brand authority and wield its power:

  1. Authenticity: CEOs must embody authenticity. Transparent communication builds trust. Whether addressing challenges or celebrating victories, honesty resonates with stakeholders. PR supports these messages strategically, keeping their fingers on the media’s and other stakeholders’ pulse.
  2. Thought Leadership: CEOs should position themselves as thought leaders. By sharing insights, participating in industry discussions, and contributing to relevant publications, they elevate their personal brand and, by extension, the company’s authority. Emerging industry leaders are very often exceptionally smart and laser focused. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge for CEOs because it’s important that leaders know how to relate to a broader range of stakeholders, which is often a process that takes practice. PR can help leaders of emerging industry harness all the power of the technology they have championed for each stakeholder.
  3. Crisis Management: PR shines during crises. CEOs need a well-defined crisis communication strategy. Swift, transparent responses mitigate damage and maintain credibility.
  4. Media Relations: CEOs should cultivate strong media relationships. PR professionals ensure that CEOs remain accessible to journalists and provide valuable insights to improve positive coverage.
  5. Social Responsibility: Companies with purpose-driven initiatives garner respect. CEOs championing social causes create a ripple effect, enhancing brand perception.

Building Brand Authority with Industry Spotlight: Tech, Green Tech, and Beyond

For emerging industries like GreenTech, FinTech, cannabis, AI, and drone companies, building brand authority with PR strategies is pivotal.

  1. Tech Titans: Tech CEOs wield immense influence. Their vision shapes the future. PR helps them communicate breakthroughs, navigate regulatory landscapes, and foster investor confidence.
  2. Green Tech Innovators: Sustainability is no longer a buzzword—it’s a mandate. Green tech leaders use PR to showcase eco-friendly solutions, attract investors, and rally public support. And yet, sustainability comes with its own set of storytelling pitfalls, so PR can help shape a story that help prevent a crisis.
  3. Emerging Industries: Whether it’s space exploration, healthtech, fintech, or quantum computing, emerging sectors rely on PR to establish credibility. CEOs must articulate their vision and impact, and with emerging industries, there is often the balance of a regulatory environment alongside explaining difficult concepts to stakeholders in a way that is both understandable and exciting.
  4. Fintech Revolutionaries: Fintech CEOs disrupt traditional finance. PR helps them demystify complex concepts, build trust, and foster adoption.
  5. Cannabis Pioneers: Cannabis CEOs face unique challenges. PR destigmatizes the industry, educates the public, and advocates for sensible policies.
  6. AI Architects: AI CEOs bridge the power of tomorrow with today’s businesses. PR showcases AI’s potential, addresses ethical concerns, and fosters collaboration.
  7. Drone Visionaries: Drones are revolutionizing industries. CEOs must communicate safety, innovation, and societal benefits through PR.

 

Give yourself the space to have your brand grow and leverage PR as early as possible and to the extent your PR budget will allow. If you’re incorporating PR from the start, then leveraging the opportunities when its critical will

Startup founders often need to juggle more tasks, which can hinder growth. While understanding all aspects of their business is essential, savvy VC-backed founders know that hiring a reputable PR firm is a wise investment. These PR Strategies for VC-Backed Startups are the difference between surviving and thriving.

Why Hire a PR Company?

Venture capital is a whirlwind environment where the pace is breakneck, the pressure is unrelenting, and adaptability is paramount. It’s a magnet for spirited public relations and communication enthusiasts, but breaking into this exclusive arena is no cakewalk. PR strategies for VC-backed startups could not be higher stakes.

With few openings and rare opportunities, securing a coveted position is a Herculean feat. For those determined to thrive in this sector, a unique constellation of personality traits and skill sets is the key to success.

Founding a startup, while a remarkable feat, doesn’t automatically grant you expertise in your field. In the eyes of investors, you may remain an enigmatic outsider if your name isn’t ringing through the corridors of recognition. This is where investing in B2B tech PR becomes an invaluable asset, helping you craft a portfolio that showcases your public opinions, mentions, and influential columns in the pivotal outlets of the startup landscape.

Imagine yourself as a podcast guest, engaging in profound discussions about the future of your industry or wielding the quill to craft opinion pieces that resonate with your peers. Offering expert insights on product innovation through quotes is another way to bolster your credibility. Reputable publications do not feature articles by authors who bring nothing of substance to their readers, and journalists don’t solicit quotes from random individuals.

PR for the VC-Backed Startup

Public relations programs and public relations campaigns are frequently used interchangeably. However, they are two different sides of the same coin. A PR program is long-term and continuing, but a PR campaign is focused on a single piece of news over a specified duration and needs more organization and attention.

Many businesses want to employ a public relations firm for a single campaign when they should be seeking to hire them for a public relations program. Why? VC-backed startups wish for a firm that understands their industry and can communicate their “story” better. Since that cannot happen overnight, taking the time to develop a PR strategy is critical.

Every utterance in the media serves as your platform to catch the discerning eye of investors and customers. To be viewed as an expert is your opportunity, an explorer of audacious innovations, armed with the wisdom and audacity to sculpt a rapid-growth, triumphant enterprise. So, here are the top PR tips to manage the comms nuances of VC-backed startups.

Tip No #1: Pre-IPO

Regarding tech PR management for VC-backed startups, there are three main areas where PR firms focus. Pre-IPO, IPO, and post-IPO, it can be devastating for a VC-backed startup to drop the ball at any stage, so startups need to get it right the first time.

Buzz Building

In the pre-IPO phase, many startups operate in “stealth mode” to keep their innovations confidential. However, when you’re ready to step into the limelight, transition strategically by orchestrating a controlled information release. Use this moment to create buzz and anticipation around your upcoming IPO.

Engage PR experts to craft a compelling narrative about your journey, innovation, and market disruption. Leverage teaser campaigns, selective media interviews, and industry events to pique interest without revealing too much. The goal is to establish yourself as an industry game-changer before your IPO.

Thought Leadership

Elevate your startup’s credibility and visibility by positioning key executives as thought leaders in your industry. Encourage them to speak at industry conferences, contribute insightful articles to prominent publications, and participate in relevant panel discussions.

By sharing industry insights, you enhance your brand’s reputation and pave the way for your startup to be seen as a trusted authority in the field. This factor can significantly influence investor interest in the lead-up to an IPO.

Investor Relations

Develop a comprehensive investor relations strategy that communicates financial data and tells a compelling story about your startup’s journey, milestones, and vision.

Crafting a persuasive narrative helps potential investors connect with your company emotionally, making them more likely to invest. This narrative can be disseminated through press releases, webinars, and investor presentations. Moreover, engaging with financial media outlets can ensure your IPO story reaches a broader audience.

Tip No #2: IPO:

With the initial public offering all set up and ready to go, you need a rock-solid PR strategy to help get your VC-backed startup across the finish line.

Transparency

During the IPO PR process, transparency is paramount. Keep investors, stakeholders, and the public well-informed about your company’s performance, financial health, and prospects. Implement a rigorous and timely communication strategy that includes regular financial reporting, earnings calls, and press releases. Be prepared to address any challenges openly, demonstrating your commitment to maintaining trust in the public markets.

Media Roadshows

Launch a strategic media campaign to coincide with your IPO, including hosting roadshows to attract institutional investors, securing media coverage in respected financial publications, and leveraging social media platforms to amplify your IPO messaging. Engage a PR team experienced in handling IPOs to manage the media frenzy and ensure they tell your startup’s story accurately and positively.

Employee / Stakeholder Engagement

IPOs can create excitement and introduce uncertainty for employees and stakeholders. Maintain open lines of communication with your team and key stakeholders throughout the process. Ensure they understand the implications of the IPO on their equity and their role in the company’s future. Engage PR specialists to craft internal communications that inspire confidence and commitment from your team.

Tip No #3: Post-IPO

This stage involves the execution of whatever promises during the IPO are given, including commitments and business strategies that need to be met and exceeded to gain the favor of investors and loyal customers.

Sustained Visibility

Post-IPO, it’s crucial to maintain visibility and momentum. Continue to engage with financial media, participate in industry events, and share updates about your company’s achievements and strategic direction. A consistent PR presence reinforces your company’s stability and long-term growth potential, attracting and retaining investors.

Crisis Management

Anticipate potential crises and establish a crisis communication plan. PR is vital in managing and mitigating adverse events that may impact your stock price or reputation. Swift and transparent communication is critical to maintaining investor and public trust.

Long-Term Storytelling

Investor relations remain pivotal post-IPO. Cultivate ongoing relationships with your investor base through regular updates, annual reports, and investor meetings. Additionally, continue to tell your company’s long-term narrative, highlighting milestones, innovations, and your vision for the future to sustain investor interest and attract new investors as your company evolves beyond its IPO stage.

Hiring a PR Firm

In the high-stakes world of venture capital, the value of a sterling reputation isn’t just symbolic – it’s a potential goldmine, and I mean that quite literally. As the spotlight intensifies on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations, the heat is on for VCs to transcend the pursuit of profit and showcase their commitment to noble values like diversity and sustainability. PR strategies for VC-backed startups should come from a PR firm with experience in pre-IPO PR.

For those who convey this message, a desirable public image awaits. Who steps onto the stage to orchestrate this symphony of success? The PR company you hire. Now, let’s be clear – networking remains an indispensable cornerstone of fundraising, and no amount of PR wizardry can replace those face-to-face connections. Nevertheless, PR serves as the mighty amplifier of a VC’s reputation.

In a quest for information, investors scour the digital landscape, and if they stumble upon a VC shrouded in silence, a cataclysmic erosion of credibility and trust begins. It’s akin to standing on shaky ground. However, the plot thickens when they notice their rivals bask in the warm glow of media coverage from top-tier publications. In such a scenario, the silence is not just deafening – it’s also damning.

In the grand stage of venture capital, where fortunes are made and dreams are funded, PR is the conductor, orchestrating the symphony of reputation that can transform millions of dollars into a dazzling legacy.

How Much Does a PR Firm Cost for VC-Backed Startups?

In their quest for a sparkling public image, VC-backed startups call upon the knights of the realm known as PR agencies. These knights wield their trusty swords of communication to shape and guard the company’s brand in the eyes of the public. Now, we’re about to embark on an epic journey, a guide that will unravel the secrets of the best PR services, their price tags, and the mystical factors that influence these costs.

An alternative avenue emerges through specialized campaigns for organizations operating within constrained financial parameters. These project-based endeavors, characterized by a one-time financial outlay, typically range from $8,000 to $20,000 for B2B Tech PR. These targeted efforts are ideally suited for announcing funding rounds, product launches, acquisitions, major milestones, and other significant news stories that warrant prominence.

In the realm of PR for VC-backed startups, the fiscal landscape is as diverse as it is dynamic. An engagement with a monthly cost as modest as $5,000 for a freelancer or solo practitioner is attainable for those brands blessed with inherently compelling narratives akin to discovering a hidden gem.

However, should your strategic endeavors necessitate the creation of bespoke content tailored for access to premium media outlets, the PR expenditure may ascend to $15,000 per month or beyond, transforming your campaign into a substantial and high-impact initiative.

It is imperative to recognize that iterative efforts characterize the world of Digital PR. Pursuing newsworthy content can yield varied results akin to the capricious winds at sea. To ensure a robust understanding of your prospects, prudent allocation of resources necessitates a monthly commitment of no less than $10,000 over a span of at least four months. This approach affords the luxury of amassing a statistically significant sample of outcomes.

The cost spectrum for PR services in the United States exhibits considerable variance. Monthly retainer agreements with PR agencies span a broad range, commencing at a modest $2,500 and extending to a substantial $20,000 per month or more, even for top-rated boutique PR agencies, contingent upon the scale and complexity of the project.

Distinguished national and global PR agencies catering to the elite echelons of clientele commence, including VC-backed startups, their consultations at a premium minimum, tier of $15,000 per month, ascending significantly to reach the formidable range of $30,000 to $50,000 per month for PR agency fees.

But wait, there’s more! As you delve into PR costs, you’ll stumble upon the curious pricing structures these noble PR agencies propose. Brace yourself, for these pricing models are as diverse as the knights’ armor in the Round Table:

Retainer Fees

Imagine a monthly or quarterly feast where the company pays a fixed fee to secure the undivided attention of a team of PR professionals. It’s like having your own fellowship of knights dedicated to your cause, ensuring predictability in costs and unwavering support.

Hourly Rates

The hourly pricing model emerges when the need is sudden and the battle brief. Here, the company pays based on the actual time spent by the PR agency, much like hiring mercenaries for a specific quest.

Fixed Rates

Think of this as a quest with a predetermined reward. In the world of PR, it’s known as a project-based pricing model. For instance, if a dragon needs slaying, the PR agency charges a fixed rate for a certain number of press releases or media outreach, no more, no less.

Performance-Based

The performance-based model takes center stage in a land where results reign supreme. PR agencies here earn their keep based on the success of their endeavors – like slaying the dragon and showcasing its head as proof. If they hit the mark, they earn rewards, aligning their fate with the project’s goals.

Ending Note

There should be several preparations for your public relations campaign ahead of impending product releases and announcements, defined dates, etc. However, these strategies should be adaptable enough to accommodate for the unforeseen.

Consider COVID-19 and all the PR and advertising initiatives meant to go live during the first several months. If the plans for these had not been adaptable, they would have gone out as-is, utterly unaware of what was happening around the globe.

PR strategies for VC-backed startups must be adaptable, but teams and leadership must also be flexible. While you may want to hang on to a concept because you’ve already put so much effort into it, that doesn’t guarantee it’s appropriate in the present situation.

As a C-suite executive, you know the importance of connections. And there comes a time when you may need to connect or reconnect on behalf of your company, be it in the pre-IPO phase or as a solid industry leader. I’m not talking about traditional networking functions where many people shove their cards in your face before scurrying off to find the next victim. No, I’m talking about intimate dinners or events with an exclusive guest list and nowhere to hide; it might be an executive-only thought leadership round table, a fundraiser, or a dinner with journalists. For those times when you find yourself with peers or allies, but you aren’t already connected, it can be a bit nerve-wracking because it may have been a while since you were in a room you didn’t command. Lean into these five tips for executive networking for the C-suite.

 

 Be The Conversation Starter

Whether you’re a master at networking or trying to squash your introversion, this is a fun and easy way to put yourself and others at ease: wearing something notable and reflecting your personality. You’ll stand out, and it puts people at ease and makes it easier to approach you.  For men, this could be a tie or colorful socks. It could be a pin on your lapel or a handkerchief that takes your attire to the next level. For women, this could be a colorful scarf, a pin, or even a bright-colored outfit (it helps to stand out in photos when standing next to a bunch of men in dark suits). Having an immediately obvious conversation starter makes it easier for people to approach you, which might be a welcome break from your own room rotation.

Note to the wise: Comment on the item rather than their looks when you see someone using this tactic. “That’s a fantastic scarf-my wife would appreciate that; where did you get it?” is a great way to start the conversation, charming and disarming.

 

Plan Your Conversation

In advance of the event, read a book or several articles immediately of interest to others at the event; bonus points if it’s mutually relevant. But remember your strategy, what you are doing there – what will your target connections value, and what would make for a memorable conversation. This isn’t the time for conversations around politics or religion.

A quick Google search on the people or organizations you want to meet is also helpful. “I saw you in that Forbes article” is a great starter to any executive networking conversation.

 

Introduce Yourself to Organizers

When hosting professional networking events, I always appreciated people who told me it was their first time or asked me if I was the organizer. It gave me a moment to stop and have a conversation with someone, and I was always able to make a mutually beneficial introduction; after all, I knew almost everyone. Make this work for you as well – many people will forget to connect with the organizer because that’s not who they came to connect with, but you can rest assured, they’re the most connected to the people IN the room. Another small and easy way to stand out and lubricate introductions is to email the organizer in advance asking a question that puts the organizer in the “connected expert position;” something like “What’s the recommended attire?” is easy to ask and answer for the organizer, and yet allows you to stand out in advance.

Introduce Yourself As a Person, Not a Company

While this sounds like “networking 101” because C-suite execs are used to being introduced or used to commanding the room, many miss this essential step. When introducing yourself, start by introducing yourself with your first and last name, and do it every time someone joins the conversation so others hear your name repeatedly. When you introduce yourself, say your first and last name, wait a beat, then say your company name. Many of us rush through our introductions, and we don’t give others a chance to hear or understand, which puts them in an awkward position.  And when introducing others, remember to introduce them before anyone else, including the CEO. Clients should always feel embraced and cherished, which is an easy way to do so.

An easy way to connect with someone is by offering to send them something in the mail. Most people can’t resist getting something in the mail. It could be a sample of your latest, buzzworthy product, a book you recently read, or that excellent protein powder that you swear boosts your energy all day. Whatever it is, make it personal and relevant.

While we’re at it – keep your business cards in your pocket until you’ve established a mutual connection and reason to get in touch in the future; better yet, request a business card. Maybe you don’t have a business card; connect on LinkedIn or send an email before you leave the conversation. Steer clear of asking for someone’s phone number at an executive networking event; it’s inappropriate for a first business meeting and puts people on edge when asked in that venue.

Work the Room without Working the Room

Depending on the location, there are a couple of strategic places you can stand where you will inevitably meet people you might not have otherwise; this is executive networking that looks calm, cool and collected. The first is the bar. Almost everyone hits the bar right away, so being there earlier in the event gives you a chance to connect initially with a few people or at the very least, get a sense of who is at the dinner and who might wish to approach. It gives you that 3-second opportunity to review the situation before approaching.

Another location is kitty-corner from the door. If you stand there all evening, you will have the chance to see almost everyone who walks in – and if you’re there with a welcoming smile and willingness to strike up a conversation, people will be relieved to have someone to talk to in the immediately awkward moments of walking into a room.

Follow Up with Flair

Following up with a short, handwritten note after meeting someone is a masterclass in executive visability. The handwritten note is a lost art, so it’s incredibly memorable. But at the very least, send an email or a note on LinkedIn. You might also consider finding a recent article relevant to your conversation and passing that along as well. And don’t forget to send that item (the book, the product, etc.) too. People are always pleasantly surprised when people do as they said they would.

 

Executive-level visibility is high-stakes. Making the most of any in-person opportunity is good business. So when you’re networking in exclusive situations, make the most of your time, while also valuing the time of others and you’ll find executive networking more enjoyable and effective.

Perhaps one of the greatest PR stories in history is about lifestyle icon Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart’s PR playbook is vast, and it’s nimble. She knows how to stay modern and adjust her PR strategies to the cultural temperature. From her early days as a model turned stockbroker turned caterer, Stewart has shown an uncanny ability to tap into our culture and even our forgiveness. Martha Stewart’s PR lessons for any consumer brand work from product promotion to thought leadership; Martha Stewart has PR lessons for every consumer product entrepreneur.

She Owns It
Martha Stewart became a consumer and lifestyle scion because she boldly suggested ambitious ideas without apology. She knows who she is and she knows when she leans into it, it captures the imagination, creates conversation, and gives her brand character.

In the early days of the insider trading accusations, the press skewered Martha Stewart for conducting interviews on a kitchen set. One journalist called it comical and said it was a bad PR move because it connected the scandal to her lifestyle image. But looking back at it, that was a fantastic choice. Martha Stewart always maintained her innocence throughout her trial and sentence. By calmly and coolly talking about the situation on her home turf, doing things she was comfortable doing, she takes the air out of the accusations and speaks straight to her fans. Stewart’s famously coy aloofness also helped. When she smiles, there’s always been this subtext that she knows more than she’s telling. That’s her superpower, and it leaves everyone hanging on for the next great recipe or design idea. Martha’s clever use of mystery is PR wielded in an expert fashion, despite over-exposure to her consumer products.

Skewered as she was, Wall Street believed in her. While she was in prison, her Martha Stewart Living (MSLO) stock jumped 70%. When Stewart emerged from her five-month jail sentence, she didn’t hide as many people would have. She went straight to the daytime talk shows and showed everyone her ankle bracelet. By the time she launches her show, a mere six months after her release, she premiers the show as “free and unfettered,” now that her ankle bracelet is gone. Throughout the entire experience, Stewart refused to be shamed, even when she was found guilty. It takes courage to pull that off, but Stewart never wavered, and it worked for her.

She Says “Yes”

There are two strategies for building a brand. The first is cool aloofness, and the second is relentless exposure. Stewart is the second, she is a consumer brand PR maven. Being a caterer sounds like a sexy job but also incredible work. But Stewart kept saying yes. As a caterer, Steward contributed to The New York Times and served as the newspaper’s food and entertainment editor. Six years after launching her successful celebrity catering company, she published her first book and never stopped working. She publishes more books—99 at this writing, a monthly magazine, and pre-and post—jail time TV shows, not to mention thousands of media interviews and call-ins to everyone from Howard Stern to Sirius talk radio shows after launching her talk radio show, Martha Stewart is the hardest working woman in show business. Build success upon success; that’s this PR lesson for consumer brands.

But it’s more than that. She makes her brand work for her, instead of working for her brand. Stewart elevates accessible partners like Kmart and Walmart with affordable lifestyle merchandise without losing her aspirational panache. The Martha Stewart PR lesson for consumer brands is to create an aspirational brand and then make it accessible once the brand is established.

 

She’s In on The Joke

Another consumer product PR lesson is to partner wisely. At 80 years old, she partnered with Snoop Dog in ads for Bic lighters. Again, her coy presence gives it charm, while Snoop Dog gives it an edge. Their partnership created more press than the lighter itself, but I don’t think Bic minds sharing the real estate with two completely different lifestyle icons.

When Stewart was sentenced to jail, Saturday Night Live famously debuted a cold open of a topless Martha Stewart. Her response? Once she was released from prison, she was mad that her parole officer wouldn’t let her host the famously cheeky show. She’s said that one of her “big (career) regrets” is not hosting the show yet. Martha Stewart knows certain cultural touchstones resonate and lock in your place in lifestyle history – SNL is one of those, and she’s not done reaching.

Martha Stewart was always in on the joke, and that allowed her to have fun with her brand – another excellent consumer product PR lesson.

Still the “Guru of Good Taste,” Martha Stewart knows she’s not 42 anymore, but she also knows she can bust down boundaries with her timeless approach to humor.

Bazaar magazine called her the “original influencer,” the New York Times called her ageless for her “coquettish, goofy, rambunctious video ads” for Cle’ de Peau, a makeup brand, on TikTok.

Martha Stewart has been celebrated, vilified, laughed at, and skewered, but with a remarkable eye on PR, she’s turned all of that into an asset for herself. Today, Martha Stewart Living Omnicom is a publicly traded company worth billions, and she has a net worth of around $400 million. From thought leadership to consumer product scion, Martha Stewart has captured our imaginations with savvy consumer PR strategies.

What’s the difference between PR vs publicity? At first glance, they look the same. Publicity is a specific tactic to attract media coverage, it might be good or bad coverage. Public relations is a holistic brand-building, loyalty building and trust-building strategy that includes positive media coverage.

Should you choose publicity or PR?

Most brands do not subscribe to the “all media coverage is good media coverage” philosophy and want ONLY positive media coverage, which is why most brands choose PR. PR refers to the deliberate efforts that organizations make to build and maintain positive relationships with the public. Public relations will create a path toward media coverage including key messaging, brand positioning, making the news, jumping in on breaking news, and strategizing positive company announcements. A PR strategy may also include a crisis communication plan which is important for any consumer brand, but especially DTC or CPG brands. PR is an investment in your brand’s reputation. If your business goal is to be the #1 brand against your competitors or to secure investment that launches you into hypergrowth, then you’ll definitely want to choose PR.

Publicity is a narrowly focused goal, any form of media coverage or exposure for an organization or individual. And it might be OK for a brand that just wants to get into gift guides, for example. That would be an example of publicity without the added benefit of public relations. If your key messages are solid, and you don’t need any additional help building the brand’s trust or loyalty, or your long-term reputation isn’t important, then publicity may be an option for you.

Long Term or Short Term Media Coverage?

Publicity is great for a blast of short-term coverage. Something consistent with a calendar event, or a word-of-mouth campaign with a celebrity for a product launch. Publicity is also great if your brand is willing to do “anything” for media coverage. Stunts in Times Square or the Santa Monica pier often get coverage simply because of the location and the unexpected commotion. That’s publicity. Another example of publicity is an April Fools stunt.

If you’re looking for consistent press coverage regardless of whether you have a product launch or an activation, then you definitely want PR. PR will enable your brand to build trust with your audience, while also building loyalty with your existing customers.

Rinse & Repeat or Bespoke?

Publicity tactics are very similar to one another. Your publicity in gift guides, for example, will also share coverage with other products and possibly even competitors. Think of a publicity campaign as a short-term boost to secure coverage, regardless of quality. If you simply need additional exposure for a specific period of time in order to get noticed by potential customers or clients, then publicity may be a cost-effective solution.

In contrast, public relations will develop custom strategies to build and manage your reputation, reach key audiences and achieve your business objectives through strategic messaging and tailored PR campaigns. With the right PR firm on your side, you can effectively reach your target audiences, build positive relationships with key stakeholders, and stand out from the crowd in today’s competitive marketplace.

 

Many people think public relations (PR) and publicity are synonymous, but there is actually a clear distinction between the two terms. If you’re interested in discussing the difference with Avaans, please contact us, we will help you decide based on your business goals and budget, which type of media coverage is best for you.