Jimmy Alder, PR & comms specialist at The Playbook, discusses how a brand or business can find relevant opportunities to tell engaging and authentic stories related to its products and services.
From net zero and the employment skills gap to cost of living crises; news agenda and trends directly impact the audiences that we talk to from both a trade and consumer perspective. The biggest challenge is navigating which subject matter to focus on, what brand stories are relevant to tell and where there is a genuinely fresh or interesting point of view that adds value to the conversation.
The past five years have seen a significant shift in the energy space, with the appetite and expectation for richer, less technical-focused product stories growing significantly. Home and business owners are seeing direct impact from decisions on macro issues from policymakers and legislators and understandably, there is an increasing focus on harnessing change to make informed and impactful business decisions.
This change brings opportunities to reach a national audience and take up leadership positions around key issues.
So, how can organisations increase profile, shift perception and reach wider audiences?
- Understand your audience
The starting point is getting to grips with which areas interest them most, as well as the priority channels that drive that content and conversation with them.
Research and insights can help recognise current issues that they are experiencing and concerns that they have. It enables the identification of problems that you can help solve.
Channel mapping is essential in cutting through the seemingly endless comms ecosystem of media titles, social platforms and events. This strategy is essential in an making your comms plan efficient and targeted, successfully disseminating your key messages to the right people in the right place, at the right time.
- Build bespoke stories to tell
Once identified, the job is to connect with the audience and add value.
There is no template for an effective comms campaign but a good starting point is to consider:
- Areas of focus: Based on expertise and specialism, which conversations do the products and services naturally give access to?
- Brand: What does the organisation stand for? Its authentic strengths or USPs and existing collateral that could be built into external stories
- Spokespeople: Can experts within the business be positioned for thought leadership? Has media training been considered across the organisation?
- Assets: What might need to be built to meet the needs of the audience, whether media, VIPs, partners, customers or consumers? Does the story need to be reinforced by research and elevated with visual tools such as infographics or video? Is there an opportunity for round table discussions or long-reads to capture the point of view and key messages being communicated?
When you’re next exploring ways to raise your brand profile, shift perception and reach further than just your core audience, storytelling might just help you cut through.