Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Is Your PR Plan Helping Grow Your Brand?

Every element of your business elevates or devalues your brand. This was the message from Ed Howie, President of Brand True, who spoke last week at the PRSA San Antonio chapter monthly luncheon. He had a refreshing viewpoint with great relevance for public relations practitioners, based on his work with many consumer brands.

His hypothesis is worth considering. Are we elevating or devaluing our brand? In the heat of the moment, do you consider how a particular tactic in your plan may elevate brand perception or detract from it? It’s natural that proactive plans should elevate brand perception, but what about when we manage issues or a crisis? These are also chances to elevate brand perception, but more often than not, we are trying to neutralize or eliminate misconceptions. Missed opportunity?

The second thesis by Howie made me reconsider traditional marketing thinking. He suggests that, while developing methods to deliver your message, you should start with Who as the first question. Who do you want to reach? Most of us start with What and then figure out Who the What is intended for, right? Howie’s words are very germane because What implies traditional product marketing strategies, while Who implies the conversational nature of social media marketing.

The takeaway from Howie’s presentation? The importance of creating and maintaining emotional connections. Here’s what he had to say:

“Emotional connection is often times an underleveraged element in the equation of building a powerful connection. This truth applies to public relations, customer relations, and employee relations. Often times we get so caught up in the facts or the tasks that we forget to identify ways to connect emotionally. However, emotional connections and cues are often the things that break through the clutter of bombarding messages and information. Genuine passion and emotion can be a game-changer…and a clutter-breaker. Just remember, you have to manage it as earnestly as you do the facts. Because if not real, contrived emotional connections can do more harm than good.”

How have you created an emotional connection with your last project? With whom did you create the connection? Maybe it’s time to get out your plan, and start thinking about Who you want to make emotional connections with today.