Fortune favours the brave: how leading PR firms stay in the game
It’s a brave new world out there – technology is reinventing industries overnight, everyone is a potential stakeholder, the web is a trusted sales advisor and anyone could bring your reputation into disrepute with a click of a button. The speed of change is constant and breathtaking all at the same time.
PR itself has become more complex, richer and broader. Campaigns based on pure media relations are firmly in the past, replaced by super rich content, proof-driven messaging and omni-channel strategies. We all know that the B2B buying process compared to B2C involves multiple parties but the personalised and targeted requirement of B2B comms has reached a whole new level.
An invaluable tool in the B2B marketers toolbox in dealing with this challenge is PR, driving engagement over time and addressing key touch points in the buying process. Brandon Stamschrar of MECLABS sums it up: “The buyer’s pipeline requires a series of micro-yesses before getting to that macro yes.” PR focuses on delivering the micro-yesses.
So how do you bravely embrace the opportunities afforded by the new world of PR that makes it thrilling not terrifying?
Know who you are
Some of the simplest questions are the hardest for a business to answer; what do you believe in? What do you want to be known for? From confidence in your beliefs comes bravery in action, innate clarity on where you need to be (channels and formats) and what you need to say (content) plus focus for your communications that will allow you to set KPIs that count. Measurability won’t be against column inches or web traffic but the impact of PR on the things that matter most to your business. After all you are investing in the results of a PR campaign not the campaign itself.
Break down the walls
Be brave and weave PR into the fabric of a business. The umbrella for PR needs to be bigger than just marketing to truly differentiate your content offering. Marketing, sales, HR, operations and IT should all be feeding into and in synergy with your PR campaigns for real impact to be achieved. Most importantly if your PR team is not engaged with your board, aware of the ebb and flow of their thinking, it is unlikely that anything they do will be deemed strategic or of long-term value.
Set your people free
In the agency side of B2B PR your client portfolio can be broad and diverse but in my experience it’s never the product, service or price that differentiates a business but its people. It is the knowledge, insight, and passion of a company’s people that forms its personality. Competitive differentiation is limited so use your ‘ace’ card and tap into the thinking and insight of your team. Be brave and trust that you have recruited the right individuals not just to do the job but to talk to the world about it across the channels that count.
Get inside insight
Innovation does not always manifest itself as something new but is an enviable ability to connect the dots across insight, offer and customer need to deliver something so valuable that buying is the only option.
Similarly insight is essential in B2B PR; it provides context, relevance and above all proof points that are needed to motivate purchasing. Our capacity to consume content is finite with 27 million plus pieces being shared every day; it is PR’s ability to use insight along with creative thinking to cut through the content clutter that makes it so powerful.
I believe B2B PR now and in the future is about bravery and courage – bravery in the face of change and new technology, bravery in standing firm on who you are and what you believe in, bravery in trusting in your people to lead and bravery to embrace insight and innovative channels and formats. I felt someone else summed this sentiment up much better than I ever could:
“The most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity, is daring to dare.” ~ Maya Angelou