You want to make news, take market share, and make your competitors feel uncomfortable. You want your competitors wondering, “What happened to all our customers?” You want them researching your brand, trying to figure out what makes you so special.
The question is, how do you do that?
One way to do it is to become the kind of company that the media and the public love to talk about. Most successful brands have a PR strategy that rolls up into their larger marketing strategy. They know that to accomplish the kind of growth and market leadership they aspire to, or to keep whatever advantage they already have, it takes others (read: outsiders) talking about you.
But what if you’re not a big brand? What if you can afford the kind of multi-million dollar a year PR strategy that the big brands deploy?
Don’t worry. There are ways that even the smallest, and newest brands can do to make news. Consider the following ideas a starting point, a way to get your creative juices flowing:
Brands that get talked about are often the ones that stand for something that resonates with people. Whether it’s TOMS Shoes giving away thousands of pairs of shoes to people in the developing world, or Starbucks working in support of fair trade coffee, or Apple building a new headquarters that relies on 100% renewable energy, brands that find a way to serve the greater good find a way to get press coverage.
What does your company stand for? How do you plan to make the world a better place? The impact doesn’t need to be massive to make it important. Connect your mission with something larger than just your company, and you’ll turn heads.
Events are a great way to generate excitement around a brand or product. Despite the digitalization of everything these days, live events are having a moment. From music festivals to TED Talks to developer conferences, live events bring a group of people together around a mutual passion.
Your company can develop an event on their own, or they could partner with an event that already exists. By offering a real-life experience to people, you are giving them a chance to connect with your brand in a new way.
We can rattle off a hundred or so celebrity spokespeople. The trouble is, most often they’re being paid large sums of money to promote products on radio, television, and Instagram.
But that’s not always the case. Consider what Vitamin Water did in the early days, before they sold to Coke. They recruited celebrities to promote their products, but instead of paying them, they offered stock in the company.
Not every company can afford to do it, but there are creative ways to tap into the celebrity marketplace. And if you can find a brand name willing to get into business with you, you just found a surefire ticket to the media.
Tap an Existing Network
Communities – both online and off – abound. Who says you have to go build one yourself?
You already know who your target audience is, so go and find them. Chances are, there are groups of people out there coalescing around a shared passion that you can be a part of.
A new video game title might tap into a gaming community. A new learning tool might tap into teachers. A ride sharing startup might find a Facebook group for angry commuters.
Whatever it is, by leveraging the power of an existing network, you can associate your brand with an established movement. And that gives your message a better chance of getting out there.
Too many of us assume that since we don’t have the biggest budgets, the PR game is hopeless. The truth is, the only reason you’re not making news is you.
Get creative. Try something new. Make headlines.