Considerations to Take When Hiring a PR Firm
In today’s internet-driven world, creating a strong brand awareness goes beyond designing an attractive logo or a catchy theme song that will help potential customers remember who you are. With social media demanding our attention and time, consumers are defining their very identities around certain brands. Younger consumers who are “digital natives” tend to show an even stronger propensity to build their identities around the brands that command their loyalty. A recent study published in Harvard Business Review finds that “64% of consumers say that sharing the same values with a brand is the primary reason they have a relationship in the first place.”
The world of branding and marketing is constantly shifting, and in the ultra-competitive economy that defines our modern times, one miscue in your branding strategy can lead to long-term damages. A poll by Social Media Examiner found that over half of all consumers automatically “unfollow” a brand that does something or publishing something that they don’t like.
Hiring a public relations firm (PR) can help small businesses manage, protect, enhance and build your brand reputation through the media. If you are the type of business owner who spends far too much time trying to craft a catchy Facebook ad that subsequently fails on every analytical level, hiring a competent PR firm should certainly be a high priority. Below, we offer a brief overview of the benefits of hiring a PR firm, the types of brands that need a PR firm, and what to look for when hiring a PR firm to improve your brand reputation and levels of awareness.
Benefits of Hiring a PR Firm
A good PR firm will be able to analyze your brand, find the positive and attractive messages, stories, and values associated with who you are, and deliver compelling and positive media stories that will attract more loyal customers. As we mentioned in the introduction, consumers today are increasingly choosing brands that fit with their carefully constructed identities. The average American is exposed to anywhere between 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day. Given this constant bombardment of advertising material, many people are less influenced and moved by superficial and shallow marketing techniques. Rather, consumers are looking to build long-term loyalty with brands that share their values, beliefs, and style.
A quality PR agency will not only help your brand stand out from your competitors, but it will also actively craft media strategies that will allow your brand to communicate its story, build a solid reputation, share your values, and target an audience that is inclined to long-term loyalty.
When do you Need a PR Firm?
Obviously, hiring a PR firm is an extra expense that is added to your existing marketing and advertising budget. While many startup brands might grimace at the idea of yet another budget expense, a solid PR strategy can help you rapidly acquire customers that might otherwise be lured in by more agile competitors. A good PR strategy can help your brand get its products or services in front of the eyes of customers who are looking to develop authentic, long-term loyal relationships.
While every company will be in different stages of growth, you might consider hiring a PR firm if you have a low retention rate for customers and clients. Positive public relations can help to build brand authenticity and loyalty. As any successful business owner knows, a strong base of loyal customers is essential for success. Also, a PR firm can also be a great investment for brands looking to expand into new markets or launch new products. The work of a PR firm can “prepare the field” before you invest in a new market or product.
What to look out for when Hiring
When choosing the best PR firm, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:
• Don’t Fall for Fake Guarantees: No PR firm can genuinely guarantee that they can generate positive press for you. If you are looking for media coverage, an honest PR firm should only tell you that it will do the necessary outreach to get your brand or product in front of the eyes of as many media outlets as possible. Whether the media covers your brand and how it is covered is simply beyond the scope of what a truthful PR firm can offer.
• Find PR Firms that Seek to Understand Your Story: A good PR firm will spend time investigating your past, your values, and the fundamental characteristics that make your brand unique. While some of the questions might seem to be a bit imposing, good PR firms will spend time and effort trying to “discover your story” in order to be able to craft compelling content that can be shared with the public.
• Ask to See their Contacts: It is also important to ensure that the PR agency you hire has positive, long-standing relationships with influential people in the media. Ideally, you should seek out a PR firm that has worked with other businesses and brands in your niche and can show a trajectory of success within your industry.
• Offers Training and Guidance: Most likely, your brand will only hire a PR firm temporarily. A good PR firm, then, should also provide media training to a member of your team and help to build great thought leaders within your organization who can continue with the PR strategy once the contract has ended.
A high-quality PR firm can help you develop a new level of brand awareness and attract a loyal customer base that can offer your business stability for years to come.