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Use PR to open heartstrings and purse strings

By Lisa Goldsberry

PR communicationMixing conventional and adventurous communication tactics may be the key

When was the last time you were convinced to change your mind? Chances are, it probably wasnt done through some long, boring research paper or someone just talking to you for hours on end.

In business, changing hearts and minds is something we strive for every day. You must convince customers to choose your company over a competitor, to trust you enough for repeat business and believe so strongly in your product that they eventually become brand ambassadors.

The challenge

Not too many years ago, all it took was a few well-placed ads and catchy jingles to capture attention and achieve brand superiority or name recognition. Advertisers counted on various techniques (everyone else is doing it, try us for a week and see why we’re better, etc) to attract their target audiences and get them to switch loyalties. It was also very expensive.

Companies now face the challenge of finding new and unique methods to reach an ever more scattered and distracted audience. Many are using previously untried and unconventional message delivery options in order to be heard above the noise from the competition. Others have decided to go in the other direction, employing decidedly old-school tactics mixed with advanced technology to speak to a new generation. See if any of them could work for your company.

Telling stories

Of course, this is not new, as storytelling dates back to our earliest ancestors, but some have discovered unusual ways to do it. For example, the company Angies List effectively tells the story of its beginnings while demonstrating how it can help the customer solve the problem of finding reliable service people. This serves the dual purpose of making a personal connection with customers and demonstrating value. Are you telling your company’s story?

Pictures and graphics

If a picture is worth a thousand words, just think what you could say in a video, QR code or augmented reality display. One example is the campaign introducing pop star Taylor Swifts new perfume. The millennial generation which makes up its targeted audience merely has to download an app for exclusive offers, which the company can also change periodically to appeal to this constantly evolving demographic. These kinds of message delivery methods make the most of time-tested techniques used in conjunction with the latest technology and lots of creativity. Anyone can capture the publics attention when the messages literally jump out at you. Are you using pictures and graphics effectively?

Grassroots efforts

Health organizations and literacy groups have been working on the ground for years to reach out to hard-to-capture audiences. Going to disadvantaged neighborhoods in a bus full of books or with medical staff in tow to provide health screenings is an example of this type of campaign. In impoverished countries where illiteracy runs high, workers have been known to conduct puppet shows to explain basic health concepts like frequent hand washing. Are you making every effort to reach your customers?

Trust PR for the right combination

It takes finesse to go from sharing stories and pictures to making a deliberate sales pitch. However, if done correctly, it can be a seamless process that does not confuse or alienate your audience. Additionally, with social media, you can achieve your communication goals for very little money, if you know how to do it correctly.

At Axia we use both tried-and-true methods and new technology to help get your companys message to your targeted audiences at every stage of the sales cycle. Are you using other unconventional methods to speak to your customers? Tell us about it.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.

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Topics: public relations

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