Brand identity and public relations are two disciplines that can play a major role in the success of any business — especially when they are positioned to work together. Too often companies spend time and money reaching out to their audience through blogging and social media alone, while ignoring the powerful role brand identity and public relations can play in a robust marketing program.
Brand identity is about establishing the image of your company. Public relations is about projecting and maintaining that identity. When the two disciplines work together organizations maximize the impact of both their identity in the marketplace and the impact of their PR efforts.
Brand identity is a collection of elements that make your business different from your competitors. The elements include your logos, font choices, color selection, imagery, tagline, personality, story, key messages, and voice and tone. It’s the first thing people see or hear when they find your company.
Public relations is the discipline of seeking media attention through regular news releases and story pitches. Despite the rise and continuing influence of digital and social media, there is still a place for good public relations in today’s marketing programs. For new brands, public relations can be an important aspect of building an industry presence. A well-run public relations program can help set the narrative, create brand buzz and assist with creating a brand following. For established businesses, the practice can help further an organization’s reach in the marketplace and keep its name prominent within the industry.
The goal is to marry your brand identity with your public relations program to gain the optimum impact from both. The following steps can help bring these two powerful disciplines together into a harmonious relationship.
You need to really know your target audience to create a brand identity that resonates with them. This will strengthen your public relations communications because the industry media you target will be communicating with the same personas. Be sure to consider all of the various groups you communicate with and market to — such as industry analysts, partners, employees, customers, and prospects.
With clear brand personas in place for every target audience, you’ll be positioned to create stronger public relations campaigns.
What do you want to achieve through your public relations program? Understanding what you want to achieve helps focus your efforts, so you don’t take a scatter shotgun approach to public relations. Next, think about how your brand identity can help support your objectives.
Taking these steps before you launch will ensure that every critical point of your brand identity is in place before you start reaching out to the media. This helps set your public relations campaigns for success. Otherwise, you could waste resources and reduce the impact of your public relations program.
Before starting a public relations program, create your brand identity first. For example, make sure you have a compelling story in place about how your company came to be, what your mission and goals are, what your personality will be, and how you will present yourself visually to the world.
Branding plays an essential role in how, not just consumers, but also the media, will view your organization. So, having your brand identity nailed down will give your public relations efforts a solid foundation on which to stand.
When done successfully, good public relations can help a company generate earned media placements that assist in constructing brand identity and industry equity. However, getting the media’s attention can be the biggest hurdle. The media understands better than anyone the power of storytelling — and they love nothing better than a unique and compelling company story.
Documenting stories about your organization are compelling to the media. This includes telling your business’s origin story, its unique mission, its struggle and successes, and spotlighting the difference you’re making, how your work is transforming the lives of your current customers and how you can do the same for new customers.
The chances of getting media coverage are much higher when reporters can connect to your brand. This means having clear, consistent and compelling key messaging. Sharpening the key messaging points about your business will raise the chances of public relations success.
This requires creating messages that speak directly to your brand’s key customer personas, including their challenges, needs and goals. Make sure your message is strong and clear regarding the products and services you offer, the differences they make and why people should be interested.
Making the effort to build powerful and trustworthy brand messaging helps you build trust and transparency and maintain control of your narrative.
Once you place your message out there in the marketplace, you have to ensure that it’s consistent across all channels, because savvy reporters will look you up to see what you’re all about. If your message is inconsistent, you’ll quickly dilute your own hard work and lose opportunities to attract media attention.
Streamlined communications include ensuring that every part of your marketing strategy is working from the same brand image guidelines — this includes your website, social media platforms, customer success center and press releases.
You’ve done the hard work to create a unique and compelling visual image and brand messaging style that stands out from your competitors. Now it’s time for your public relations team to harness your image to gain media attention. The media will be as influenced by your brand identity as your customers and prospects will be. So, it’s essential that your public relations communications showcase the story behind your business, your tone of voice and your visual messaging. Keeping your brand identity out front and consistent will strengthen its power and impact.
A strong brand identity will help generate better media opportunities and position your public relations program for success. And positive press exposure will help strengthen your brand identity. Together, they have the potential to compound awareness of and trust in your organization, thereby, achieving your ultimate goal — providing valuable support for your overall marketing and sales mission.