Posted: September 17, 2014, 5:08 p.m.
by Michelle Sue Agee.
Natural public relations occurs when brands implement public relations strategies and marketing tactics to almost seamlessly captivate their following and expand their reach within the target audience. Strategies must be in real time to connect, build and maintain B2C or B2B relationships, as well as brand image. Online strategies direct potential consumers to the company’s website, and the brand must feel accessible and deliver a consistent message across all platforms.
Foster the relationship
“Natural public relations is possible,” said Ty Mays, a senior public relations and social media strategist at Pitch Perfect PR in Atlanta, Georgia. “It requires a foundation where the brand has committed to having a relationship with their consumers or target audience.”
The commitment involves target discovery to deliver the best content that generates brand power, where the audience starts to follow closely and begins to engage on various levels. In the long run, public relations strategy can be applied less rigorously when the brand has strong relationships in place.
Customer experience, follow through
The power of any marketing strategy is tamped down if a customer has a foul experience with the brand. “Customers are gone in a flash,” said Douglas Eymer of EYMER BRAND Laboratories + Think Tank in Cohasset, Massachusetts.
Customer experience is important in all industries. Eymer noted even industries such as education and law firms are rebranding to be seen as more accessible to their customers than the brick and mortar personality they were delivering before.
Poor customer experience with no follow-through from the business disrupts an environment for natural public relations. People are fickle and will find a comparable service quickly based on online reviews after sharing their two-star story.
Operate in the now urges David Meerman Scott, a marketing and sales strategist, in his e-books “Agile, Real-Time Customer Service” and “The New Rules of PR.” Scott writes that businesses must understand their buyers; they must know what buzzwords to optimize and what timely content will resonate with followers the most. Operating in real time keeps customers happy and drives more to the sales process.
Scott posits that “real-time engagement keeps customers happy:
• In our always-on world, buyers expect instant, 24/7 service.
• Because of independent product reviews, there is now a huge incentive to fix problems and make customers
happy so they don’t complain publicly.
• Customers expect employees of the companies they do business with to support them via social networks.
Startups, integrate PR early – please
Public relations should be integrated during early business conception to strategically define and build an audience. And to build an audience and commit to B2B/B2C relationships, captivating public relations messaging is needed first. Including a public relations component early on will give startups “more of a compelling story to sell to investors,” said Mays. Once invested, startups will know who their market is and what their messaging is. In addition, the leadership knows how to tell part one of the brand’s story in a compelling way in an environment suitable for natural public relations to occur.
Natural public relations is more likely to occur when a brand has committed to its audience. The brand knows its story and captivates followers when telling it. The brand’s actual service is consistently great, and customer service keeps customers on board. Natural public relations will rely less on strategy to fill voids and implement strategies to further expand their reach within the market.