Public Relations & Brand Building: The Role of PR

Have you ever wondered why most people ask for a Kleenex instead of a tissue? Why do you Google a term instead of searching for it? It’s highly unlikely that you have heard someone ask for a bandage and not a Band-Aid.

That’s the epitome of brand building. Your brand name becomes so popular that it eclipses competitors in the minds of consumers.

Public relations can help you build a brand to stay ahead of the competition, capture audience interest and generate more leads. Let’s look at brand building and public relations to understand the how.

What Is Brand Building

Brand building is the process of generating awareness about your business using strategies and campaigns. The goal of brand building is to create a unique and lasting image of your company.
Brand building is multi-dimensional and involves more than just advertising. Public relations, customer service and product development are all important elements of brand building.

There are four essential steps to building a successful brand:

  1. Define how you want your business to be perceived
  2. Organize your business based on this brand promise
  3. Communicate your brand promise
  4. Be consistent

Why Is Brand Building Important

Products have life cycles. Brands outlive products. That’s the simplest way to understand why brand building is important.

If your business doesn’t have a brand to set itself apart, the quality of your products or services or the amount you spend on advertising won’t matter. Your brand enables you to build stronger relationships with your customers and gives you a measure of strategic control in the marketplace. It packages your business into a uniform quality, credibility and experience that garners the trust of your audience.

However, simply having a brand is not enough. You need to consistently build that brand to strengthen its associations in the minds of your audience and build value for your company. The more familiar your target audience is with your brand, the more it will trust it and gravitate toward it. You will be able to cut through the noise in a fragmented marketplace and achieve top-of-mind awareness (TOMA).

Role of PR in Brand Building

The true power of PR lies in effective storytelling. PR firms and professionals create authentic stories around your brand to connect your brand with its audience. The stories ultimately stimulate the audience’s feelings and attitudes to align with your brand-building goals.

Some companies associate PR only with crisis management. However, a solid PR strategy is essential if you are looking to build your brand. A good PR plan can improve your company’s reputation, nurture leads and help grow the business.

Building brands using PR requires a long-term and cumulative effort. Craig Cincotta, a marketing communications professional, explained the value of PR in an article he wrote for the Entrepreneur, “It’s not something that can be hacked and requires tremendous patience to see the payoff, some companies tend to look at PR as an overhead expense. In reality, PR should be seen as a profit center.”

Public relations professionals use various tools and strategies that blend traditional and new-age approaches to building brands. From press releases and tradeshows to influencer outreach and social media, PR experts use every channel to build an impactful brand story and facilitate business growth.

Here are some ways public relations can help you build your brand:

Generate Audience Interest

Public relations plays a key role in raising awareness and generating your target audience’s interest. An effective PR strategy can drive your consumers to a sale. This is particularly true for a new business that needs to set a narrative and create a buzz around its products or services.

Build Consumer Trust

People buy from brands they trust. A successful business builds valuable relationships with its target audience. A positive mention of your brand by an influencer or an article on your services on a reputable website can capture the attention of a potential customer. PR can help you build credibility, which can result in sales, customer loyalty and brand equity.

Address Customer Concerns

PR can help your brand address challenges and issues that your customers may encounter. PR professionals are experts at creating conversations around your products or services that answer common customer questions. Public relations can help you do damage control on social media or in the comments section of your business website when you receive negative feedback.

Generate Investor Interest

Investors want to provide capital for brands that are credible and have a positive image. It is vital for you to engage potential investors through positive media mentions, press releases and thought leadership pieces. A PR firm can work with journalists to place your successes and story in respected publications.

How to Get Your Brand Noticed With PR

Think of your brand as an asset that needs to be managed by the company. Public relations is a great way to create, build and maintain your brand. There are several steps your PR firm or team can take to do this.

Publish, Publish, Publish

A PR plan without a content marketing strategy will fall flat on its face. You want to build your reputation as a brand authority in your niche by regularly publishing high-quality content. The content could be a weekly promotional video on YouTube, a compelling series of company blogs or an engaging biweekly podcast. Here is a mind-blowing stat for you. B2B companies that produce blogs generate 67% more leads than non-blogging companies, according to a Hubspot article.

The more innovative content you produce, the more reason for people to look at your brand. Just remember to add a personal approach to every content you produce to help your brand stand out.

Contribute Content

To build a brand, you need to do more than just create content for your channels. Start ideating topics related to your niche industry and expertise and outreach to other blogs and prominent publications in your space. A PR professional or firm can help you brainstorm a unique angle to help your content stand out from the clutter. Your brand’s credibility will begin to grow as you provide valuable information to your audience, customers, investors, journalists and industry experts.

Create Conversations on Social Media

According to Statista, over 3.6 billion people use social media, which is projected to increase to 4.41 billion in 2025. Brands can no longer choose to ignore social media if they want to succeed. Incorporate a social media strategy in your PR plan to build your brand. Choose a more relevant channel to your target audience and industry and direct all your social media efforts towards it. Remember that social shares can act as social proofs for your target audience.

Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn act as built-in PR tools that can help you announce product launches, new locations, acquisitions, new hires, etc. These platforms also allow you to talk to your customers and engage with them. Misinformation can spread like wildfire, but social media gives you a chance to clear misunderstandings and misconceptions in real-time.

Build Your Network

Building a quality network both online and offline is vital for brand building. Building positive relationships can create many opportunities for your business, from getting an investment to getting more exposure for your brand. A PR professional can help you create a network of media contacts and industry professionals.

You should also join relevant groups on social media and industry forums to build a digital network with your audience. In this digital age, 1:1 interactions are more valuable than traditional advertising tactics.

“The more we move to mass reach with one-to-one precision, the more valuable PR is because it’s actually directly linked to sales outcomes. We’re starting to see this as we get into more of the, for want of a better term, ‘performance brand building,” said Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer of Procter & Gamble, in his PRovoke Media interview on public relations and brand building.

Work With Influencers

A great way to build brand awareness is to add influencer marketing to your PR plan. U.S.C. Annenberg School of Communications reports that 60% of PR executives believe influencer marketing is becoming more vital to public relations efforts. While influencers may seem like ordinary people, they have developed a strong reputation of being experts in their field and have large and loyal social media followings. If you collaborate with the right influencers to get endorsements and product placements, you can drive brand recognition and sales.

In Conclusion

Public relations can help you build a brand and strengthen its associations in the minds of your target audience. You can use the above information to start devising a PR strategy that can build a lasting image of your company.

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