In this guest post, Dora Nikols, founder of Social Mission, talks to why your PR and content strategy needs to have a social purpose.
Is your PR strategy relevant for today’s market? Today to stay competitive, your PR strategy needs to be adapted to cater to the 88 per cent of people who want to know how you are making the world a better place.
If today you fail to use your values and your social purpose to engage consumers, then you miss the chance to capture their hearts, minds and emotions.
According to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand report, two in three people choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stance on social issues. This means that your PR needs to evolve to include a bold social purpose – the one key issue you want to own and change in the world.
For Airbnb its belonging, for Dove its women’s empowerment, for Ben & Jerry’s its climate change, for Qantas its equality and for The Body Shop its animal welfare.
The most successful brands are using their values to lead their PR and content strategies and the ones that are genuine with a long-term focus are turning into media superstars and capturing our loyalty and trust. The 2019 Havas Meaningful Brands Global Study, which had 350,000 respondents from 31 countries found consumers have a higher intent to purchase brands that make the world a better place. They also outperform the stock market by 134 per cent.
While a massive 77 per cent of consumers prefer to buy from companies who share their values PR and marketing is still focused on promoting a brand’s products and services. When what consumers are crying out to discover is how they are making the world a better place. The Havas study found 60 per cent of content is considered to have no meaning, is failing to engage and deliver.
This means your PR and content strategy needs to evolve to also promote a brand’s values and share stories of the impact they are making in the world beyond money. When it comes to creating engaging content consumers are looking for these three benefits:
- Personal benefit – how brands improve people’s lives
- Collective benefit – their role in society, social and environmental benefits?
- Functional benefit – does the product or service deliver what it promises?
So before you develop your PR and content strategy first identify what your social purpose is and how you want to make the world a better place. This social purpose then needs to drive PR strategy and media material so you can really stand out, get noticed by the media and create a deep emotional connection with your audience.
Your media material needs to stand apart from the competition and it’s hard to do this if you just focus on your products and services, especially when everyone else has a simular offering. What you need is a social purpose to bring your storytelling to life and capture the hearts, minds and emotions of your audience.
A great example of a brand that integrates a strong social purpose into its PR and business model is TOMS shoes. They launched in 2006 and today are worth $625million. When they launched as a shoe brand there was nothing that set them apart from other brands except for their social purpose of ‘wanting to put shoes on the feet of impoverished children’s feet’.
Because this social purpose led their PR and content strategy they got instant and widespread attention from the media, retailers and consumers who were flocking to write about them, stock them and buy from them. Your social purpose, not your products and services can be your biggest competitive advantage and the best way to stand out in the media. But first you need to find and share your story that brings your values to life.
The benefits of integrating your social purpose into your PR strategy include:
- Your PR activity isn’t fleeting, here one minute and forgotten the next. Instead it has more of an opportunity to linger, inspire and be shared
- You attract a broader and new audience especially millennials and conscious consumers who want to know how you’re making the world a better place
- You have the opportunity to target more publications and share more meaningful stories especially ones that focus on corporate social responsibility. But be sure to be transparent and share the social impact you have made
- You have the opportunity to create more authority and trust with the media and have the opportunity to be considered for more stories as you stand out and capture their radar
- You will create a reputation with the media and consumers that you are a leader in innovation that’s driving purpose
My top tips for starting your social purpose journey:
- Select an issue that is extremely engaging and a concern for your customers and relevant to your industry and products and interesting to media (which means it needs to be an issue that impacts alot of people)
- Choose a social purpose that aligns with their company mission and values
- Once a cause is selected, you need to commit wholeheartedly and long-term. Otherwise your partnership will be viewed as just a PR exercise
- Also demonstrate your commitment to your cause through your corporate behaviour, policies and practices to ensure they align with your social purpose
- Use your social purpose journey to stay in touch with the media and share the impact you are having – How many hours you volunteered? How much you raised? How many products or services you have given away? What difference have you made?
Remember today’s consumers have changed, PR has changed and the way you do business and communicate needs to change as today 88 per cent of consumers want to know how you’re making the world a better place.