It’s possible to have a perfectly passable PR campaign that does nothing more than talk a good game. It is how many businesses operate in the beginning and for others talk may be the entirety of their plan. But for those who truly want to build lasting customer relationships, great PR will be all about concrete action.
Consumers are far more advertising savvy than they once were. They know that companies are more than willing to promise everything under the sun. They are also conscious of the fact that actions speak far more effectively to the true motivations and values of a company that platitudes.
Going green is a buzz phrase in the PR industry. Many companies are trying to find a way to appeal to an increasingly more environmentally conscious population. Depending on the industry this can include things like supporting sustainable and organic farming to choosing power sources that are environmentally friendly.
It is important for any company claiming to make choices based on the environmental effect the choice will have to back up their claims with verifiable proof for their customers. There are an increasing number of ways to promote an environmentally conscious mindset within a corporate setting and additional resources are being created to facilitate this type of change, especially in the energy industry.
Another popular PR move for businesses is to promote themselves as community partners. This means that the company is promising to interact and support the community through its actions and financial donations. It’s easy to advertise one’s intent to do so, but far harder to implement.
Depending on the type of outreach the company is most interested in, there are several organization with which they can partner to effectively help their community and garner the type of media exposure which will benefit them and the organization or charity they choose to partner with.
To help children, a company can contact the local school district or social services organization to discover what the most pressing needs are for children in the area. To support community growth, the local Chamber of Commerce or Tourist Development Center will likely be the most valuable points of initial contact.
While the type of interaction and community support is important to some degree, what is more important is the act of becoming an active participant in the well-being of the community. As the individuals involved in the initial efforts begin working with a business, they will become authentic ambassadors for the brand going forward.
Promoting a charitable mindset is similar to becoming community partners in that it involves helping others with a portion of a company’s earnings. The primary difference is in where the charity is distributed. With a more general charitable mindset, a company is not restricted to local donations.
There are two ways for large corporations to take action to support their charitable mindset, direct monetary contributions or product donations to charities or individuals. Some of the largest corporations in the country are actively doing this on a regular basis. Some of the most generous companies include Verizon, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Target, ExxonMobil, and Microsoft.
It isn’t necessary to donate multiple millions of dollars to make an impression. What is necessary is to clearly document the donation or the effect of the donation if one wants to promote that aspect of the corporate culture as one of the reasons consumers should interact with a company.
The Little Details
When attempting to create a truly powerful impression, it is important to look at every detail of the business and ask how to bring it more into line with the company’s professed mission statement. Everything from packaging to email signatures should be examined and refined to reflect the actions the business is taking towards embodying their ideals.
When a company is really clear on what is important to them, it will begin to show throughout the entire organization. If it does not, it is likely not a true core value and should not be promoted as such. On the other hand, if it hasn’t begun to be revealed in all aspects of the business it may simply be due to a disconnect that can be resolved.
It is no longer sufficient to simply talk a good game. It is more important than ever to back up claims with substantial proof for an increasingly connected and skeptical consumer market.