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Planning to be the new kid on the block in an unlikely market?

By Jason Mudd

Public relations helps establish your brand unabashedly with your audience

whole-foods-marketDo you have your sights set on where your brand hasn’t gone before? If your company is breaking into unconventional markets, you’re likely pondering how to best position yourself and what your key message points to your new audience should be. Taking a look at how other companies have ventured into uncharted or unexpected markets – and how they communicated with their audiences – can be good food for thought. Read on for an example and some PR strategies to consider if you’re taking your brand to new ground.

Recently, Whole Foods took a leap into an unexpected market and is now successfully managing the story of its brand’s presence in – of all places – Detroit. What’s a high-end, all-natural grocery store doing in a market where more than 40 percent of the residents live below the poverty line? Plenty.

Whole Foods Market, which now has hundreds of locations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., built a 21,000-square-foot store in Detroit in 2013. While the décor has taken on a Motown motif befitting the city that spawned the record label, Whole Foods didn’t scale back its prices or its products to suit the community. Instead, executives counted on the uniqueness of the brand to win residents over.

Takeaway 1: Moving into a new market doesn’t mean you have to (or should) alter the message you share about your brand with your audiences. In fact, the message Whole Foods is sending Detroit shoppers is the same as the one it sends in California: A trip to one of its stores is something closer to an expedition – a journey through a place that allows shoppers to smell and taste its products and visually stuns them with the many different varieties of cheeses, olives, honey and artisan breads on display. Sticking to what you’ve done in other markets, in terms of your reputation and your brand promises, may be more effective than the initial skeptics would give you credit for.

Takeaway 2: Let your uncompromising nature or individuality as a brand do the talking from a PR standpoint. This might mean that if you’re trying to make a name for yourself in an unconventional market, consider some unconventional approaches to public relations. What makes you stand out from the rest of the field? Bring that attribute to the forefront and push it. Try some old-school tactics mixed with the new, like innovative print posters tied into social media campaigns in your new market, for example. Look for earned news opportunities that revolve around the fact that you’re bold enough to take on an unexpected audience. Make your presence known by showing up to community events and business meetings and perhaps sponsor some parties. Find a spokesperson who lives and breathes your new market demographic.

Takeaway 3: Never forget one of the most standard public relations tactics: Get to know your local media. Nothing makes an editorial meeting buzz like bringing up a story about something unconventional. When you pitch your ideas to editors and reporters, let it be known that you fully understand how some might feel that your brand is a bit out of place in the market you’re entering, but make a case for why you belong there.

Want to introduce yourself as “the new kid on the block” in some unconventional markets and rock it with a tailored public relations strategy? Contact Axia Public Relations today and we’ll get to work announcing your latest and greatest creations to an unsuspecting but receptive crowd.

jason-mudd-axia-pr-1– Jason Mudd, APR, is CEO of Axia Public Relations. He is an Emmy Award-winning accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur. His public relations portfolio includes work for established national and emerging brands such as American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, Brightway Insurance, Florida Blue, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, It Works!, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Ray Charles, Southern Comfort, Verizon and more. Connect with Jason on Twitter at @jasonmudd9 and Axia Public Relations at @axiapr. Be sure to tweet and share your thoughts below. We’ll read and respond to each of them.

photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

Topics: public relations, PR tips

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