I’ve had people ask me more than once if PR was really a just a big waste of time. They’re often shocked when my immediate response is not simply an outraged “of course not!” Because the truth is, for some people, at certain times PR can be a waste of their time (and money). These are people who, as my mom used to say, don’t have their ducks in a row.
As the title of this post says, PR will be a waste of your time if you have not yet established an identity for your brand. How can you push something to the public when you aren’t even sure what that something is? The dangers are obvious—you risk sending a mixed message which could do permanent, irreversible damage to your company.
Of course, figuring out exactly who you are isn’t always easy. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you try to find your brand’s identity:
1. Figure out what makes you different. Very rarely does a business pop up that is the only one in its niche. That said, there is likely at least one competitor out there. And much of your brand’s identity is lies in whatever makes you different from them. Is it your commitment to lower prices? Highest quality products? Better customer service? Figure out what it is and latch on.
2. What is your company culture like? Your company’s culture comprises two things: the values of your group and the practices of your organization. Figuring out exactly what your culture is forces you to take a hard look at both you and your employees. Begin by looking at company practices. What do you do? Your actions will then give you a window in what you value.
Don’t like what you see? It’s never too late to change your practices. But you need to be honest with yourself and make sure the practices line up with what you say you value. For example, don’t try to kid yourself and say you value family if you bicker with your employees about sick days and guilt them into not taking them. The practice says the opposite of what you claim your values to be in this scenario.
3. Ask your employees to contribute. Like I said earlier, it’s not always easy to figure out who you are. You have a narrow view of who you are and quite frankly the average person isn’t self-aware. Knowing that, it’s important to get other viewpoints. Ask people in different departments what they think. You might be surprised to hear the different answers. You might consider asking your existing customer base as well.
Be careful not to discount any answers. Instead, record and sort all of them in Excel. Look for trends to get a real idea of what you’re all about.
Remember, launching a PR campaign before you know who you are can result in wasted time, loss of investment, and damage to your brand. Decide who you are first, then invest in PR.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/7cheaptactics.html