5 ways PR can drive sales beyond perception building, from Honey Singh

Today’s business world is fiercely competitive, and companies’ desire to have something that makes them distinct from the crowd. Companies use Public Relations (PR) to enhance their reputation and communicate information about themselves through various media and to represent themselves in the most enthusiastic way possible.

The core strategy of public relation is to influence, engage and build relationships with the major stakeholders across various platforms to form and shape the public perception of a firm. PR also targets an array of publics and objectives to bolster an organisation's image collectively. Though PR is primarily a job to spread the message about a company, there are many things that a PR expert can leverage, not just build the perception of the company, but also sales.

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From various experiments, campaigns & mapping results, following are few ways which can help you in achieving business results via PR:
Raise Brand Awareness – Apart from name recognition, a successful brand awareness strategy is effective in driving sales. Public relation is the most trusted source to raise brand awareness when compared to influencers or employee advocates because press coverage and editorial have more power to convince new customers to check your brand and consider a call to action.
Here are some tips to raise brand awareness successfully:

  1. If innovation is what you want to sell, focus on design and simplicity. People love creative designs and products that make their life simpler.
  2. Focus on the value proposition and raise conversation if your brand has discounted products or helps users to increase their productivity. Assist them to realize that your product can be valuable to them. 
  3. Most successful PR campaigns are based on inspiring brand stories so always try to develop a great story that resonates with your customers.

Example: #TeaForTrump integrated content marketing & PR case study is another example where overall campaign resulted in 810+ PR Stories, 9900% increase in website organic traffic  & 1100% increase in international business enquiries for brand (TE-A-ME). The campaign also won the Most Creative PR Stunt South East Asia - PR Awards 2017 by marketing interactive in Singapore.

Builds Your Brand – There is an old saying “Advertising is what you pay for; publicity is what you pray for.” Today, brands require public relation to gain publicity and advertisements to maintain that publicity. Public Relation communicates with the audience through trusted sources only. In simple terms, a strong public relation strategy lays the groundwork for marketing, which later cultivates prospective buyers for sales messages passed through paid media, promotions and email marketing.
Here are some PR Writing and press release tips

  1. By telling stories (reviews, influencer posts, and featured articles)
  2. Identifying target audiences and key messages
  3. Locate right channels for communication
  4. Establishes thought leadership (sharing innovative content and ideas)
  5. Expanding contacts (personal networking, at events, etc.)

Establish Your Product – Launching a new product isn’t what it used to be; today you need innovative tactics to get noticed. Some launches might by nature be newsworthy. Still, the media marketplace is competitive, and building “share of voice” can be quite a task. Further, it is also important to establish your product as x-times faster, cleaner, practical and better than your competitors. When a PR professional writes a positive story about your product launch, it is considered as “independently verified by trusted source”. The story appears in the editorial column of the newspaper, website, or magazine, which are the powerful medium where sales jumpstarts.
Some of the tactics PR agencies follows are:

  1. Blogging and content marketing for websites (internal and external)
  2. Reviews and testimonials
  3. Online/offline events
  4. Follow-up and response
  5. You also start using these 50+ content marketing tools to map PR & Digital directly with the business.

Example: Recently Bajaj finserv executed their Digital PR campaign, #ThankYouDoc which results in the sale of 3.5Cr in a single day. Riding on the mantras of topical marketing and use of Digital PR coupled with real-time marketing, the concept of the campaign was to invite, capture and reflect the emotions of people on digital platforms keeping doctor’s day as the key talk point.

#InstaDiwali is another integrated content marketing and digital PR case study. It is one of the best examples of driving engagement for the launch of India’s first EMI Finance App by Bajaj Finserv during Diwali. The campaign helped the brand in getting .17Million app downloads & 95000+ leads.

Boosts Credibility – In today’s cynical atmosphere, trust and credibility are at most important for any business to grow. Over the past decade, third-party media placement agents and brand evangelists are helping brands to earn trust and boosts credibility. In other words, consumers today use online reviews and form an opinion about a brand before buying a product or service. Such statistics make earned media and social sharing resulting from a strategic PR campaign an incredibly valuable sales-driving tool.
Few  ways PR can boost credibility:

  1. Generate interests by covering editorial news
  2. Speaking engagements at events other locations
  3. Posting blogs and white papers that demonstrate expertise.
  4. Link building via various sources

In a recent press unveiling during CES for a wearable startup (boltt), we (at #ARM Worldwide) did the 3 min prime-time live broadcast on CNN International. The startup has got a lot of credibilities when compared in a league of global competitors like under armour and Fitbit. After this the campaign, there were more than 12000 people who were ready to purchase & by the products (backers).

Makes Real Connections – Over year’s public relation experts have been polishing their outreach strategies, finding press opportunities and making real connections for their clients. PR is a great resource for organisations that are looking humanise their brand/service. While, making connections can be a time consuming and expensive task, PR agency can make real and valuable connections with customers using various methods at a lower cost.
Here are ways how PR makes real connections:

  1. Blogging
  2. Live Events
  3. Social Content Sharing
  4. Email Subscriptions
  5. Promote New Launches
  6. Webinars

There are many other ways how PR drives sales apart from perception building. A PR consulting firm, in fact, can handle various aspects of business such as recommending platforms and tools required to run a campaign, develop creative angles, monitor responses and manage critical situations to strengthen your organisation from within.

While PR may not always generate direct sales, yet follow the marketing tactics of lead-to-sales ratio through above-given benefits. If an individual shows interest in your product/service, they want to know if you are a credible and reputable brand and this is where PR builds a perception in ways that marketing strategy will not.

Honey Singh is co-founder and CEO, PR and Content Marketing at ARM worldwide

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