The public profile or ‘face’ of your organisation is probably something you like to see flourish. As we have daily proof the power of the media means organisations rise and fall on the strength of their reputation (after the BP oil spill in April 2012, share prices almost halved in six weeks).
B2B PR is an essential tool to help build and sustain brand reputation. At a strategic level, B2B PR means defining the unique selling points (USPs) of your company and ascertaining how to reach the decision-makers and influencers with whom you need to communicate and engage. In practice, this means getting on the right radars by speaking at industry events, attending business functions, getting involved in interest groups, sponsoring events and projects that reflect you company values and creating your own great initiatives. Then promote your activities.
It also means networking. If you imagine your company and the wider market as a busy playground, you want to be the child interacting well with others, having fun and getting involved! You might prefer to see your role as the parent watching your child in the playground – which do you think will achieve the best result?
If one of the basic ingredients of B2B PR is knowing your company’s USPs, you should make a habit of examining them periodically. Do they tell your company’s story, do they feel right, sound right, look right? When someone enquires about what you do, your USPs should tumble out of you as naturally as a mountain spring. If your company’s USPs feel stagnant, they may need a revamp to reflect changes in the business.
May be all that’s needed is a simple tweak, adjustment of re-emphasis. Ditch the anecdote you’ve been toting for years and find fresh material with which to illustrate your business. Tell the story – but keep it short. As with long voicemail messages and holding music; less is more. A strong, sincere, benefits-led ‘elevator pitch’ will create a positive lasting impression….and take 30 seconds to deliver.
Can you imagine Richard Branson, Karren Brady or Deborah Meaden giving a boring description of what they do? Of course not. These giantrepreneurs are masters of B2B PR. Even 30 seconds in an elevator with any of them would probably do the trick; you would be in no doubt about what they do. They have clear reasons, philosophies and opinions that underline their enterprises. They believe in what they do and boy don’t we know it.
It is no coincidence that all three are well-known heavyweights – they work at it. They all have media profiles which make them household names. They lead innovative projects, take part in big promotions, give speeches, sponsor events, network with people who matter to their business and ventures and comment in the media.
Crown Paints, one of the UK’s largest paint manufacturers, is a good case in point. Last year, having sponsored skills competitions for over three decades, the company took its investment to the next step by becoming the ‘presenting sponsor’ for Painting & Decorating competition at WorldSkills 2011, the largest skills competition and careers event the world has ever seen.
“The value of being part of something like WorldSkills is enormous” says Helen Woodward of HJW PR, a consultant who has worked with the manufacturer for the past ten years. “It speaks volumes about Crown’s commitment to investing in the future of the painting and decorating industry, and clearly demonstrates that skills development, training, and support for apprenticeships are very real priorities for the company.”
“Whilst Crown undoubtedly benefitted as a sponsor from the national PR coverage generated by the WorldSkills team, we saw lots of additional opportunities to raise the profile of the company and its professional paint brands in the trade press – before, during and after the event.” The economy, the rise in tuition fees conspired to make it the right time and place for the company to show the sector who was the crowning glory.
To read more on this subject, you could do worse than pick up a copy of Build a Brand in 30 Days. It’s an approachable, easy read with plenty of practical exercise to guide to you brand-heaven.