Just in the same way we consume information and where we go to get it, PR is fast evolving, always. That said however, information, hard facts plus story, goodwill and connection has been at the heart of each era.
Here is a little snapshot of the evolution of how to PR something well over the decades.
Circa 1940s: PR the features against price.
Circa 1960s: PR the feature benefits to someone’s life.
Circa 1980s: PR the experience and emotion it will bring about.
Circa 2000s: PR all of the above plus values front and centre.
Circa NOW: PR all of the above plus the brand’s values front and centre and a cause beyond the business.
We as consumers choose one brand over another now because of what it says about us and our personal values. But also because it has a cause we feel we’re contributing to that is beyond ‘give me that thing’ or ‘let’s make the CEO more profitable.’ No one was ever compelled to spend with the business for the latter. Strangely though; it’s the most common cause for a business. Sure a business needs to be profitable to survive but it’s not how to do business in 2021. It’s certainly not how to PR a business anyway.
As consumers we are spoilt for choice, savvy and cynical; so what we look for now more than ever before and accelerated and amplified by the issues we faced in 2020 are aligned values and a cause.
“If I buy this t-shirt what does it say about me? If I buy coffee from this café what does that say about me?” “And what am I contributing to if I buy it.”
As consumers we want to look good and do good. So businesses need to make it more possible for consumers to do good by choosing them and communicating how by choosing them; good is made more possible.
Now that ‘good’ and just cause beyond the business doesn’t have to be environmental or a social issue, or save the planet messaging; but it needs to be centred in a purpose that is on-brand and beyond selling. It needs to be centred in what your business gives back to its community and to the world simply by existing.
You can buy t-shirts and coffee from a gazillion suppliers. But you’ll probably choose the organic cotton one over the mass produced one. And you’ll buy the coffee from the kind, vegan café who supports local artists over the suburban one with bad, mass-produced, dime a dozen service.
The values of a business must be clearly identifiable to the ideal customer (to anyone!) so that the audience can make a choice if they want to join that brand or not. Remember; the customer owns and drives brand loyalty for you because of your values and shopping with your business says about them.
Is what your business stands for clear to your audience?
PRing differentiation is also key. But values are no longer back-of-house or on tired walls of corporate buildings. They must take centre stage in your content to PR anything well and they must be connected to a greater cause beyond commercial gains.
Words by Jade Roberts
raraPR Founder and Creative Director
raraPR is above all the sum of people who together help build brands and share stories. We are present in our determination to make a positive difference to the world by representing individuals and businesses that are doing good. We are an extension of the personal stories within us, those that we exist for and those within you that need to be heard.