PR is a marketing practice that’s helped brands achieve great brand awareness and strong reputations. Public relations is all about managing your reputation. You control what you say and what you do to ensure your audience and the wider public perceive your brand in an intended way. Opinions about your brand exist whether you choose to manage them or not.
B2C brands have historically been the main market to utilise PR to its full advantage. While B2B businesses haven’t widely adopted public relations into their marketing strategies, the tides appear to be turning. Although the lines between B2B and B2C PR are blurred, there are clear differences in the target audiences and how they’re reached effectively.
PR for B2C companies
The general public has the power to be your biggest advocates and greatest critics. With products and services for consumers, you have to appeal to their emotional side. Messaging and communication are all about making consumers feel happy, motivated, emotional or shocked into making a buying decision. B2C companies invest largely in advertising and marketing to ensure they gain as much exposure and awareness as possible. With this visibility comes the responsibility to your consumers. PR ensures that customers are satisfied with their experience and you maintain strong relationships with the media and influencers.
Word of mouth in the B2C market is critical. Just a simple positive review or tweet from a friend can persuade you to purchase from a brand. As consumers have full control over how they spend their money, ensuring your brand communicates positively and does great things for your audience will guarantee effective PR. Due to consumer motivations of style, status and reputation, PR for B2Cs is often seen as more exciting than B2Bs. But as the way businesses buy and sell is changing, B2B PR is becoming just as personable.
PR for B2B companies
Typically, PR has been neglected by B2B companies. As it’s used most often by companies selling directly to consumers, PR for B2B companies has taken a back seat on the list of priorities. It’s traditionally more difficult to sell to businesses than consumers. The motivations behind businesses and consumers are wildly different; with businesses focussed on what’s going to be profitable, drive success and be competitive. While B2Cs appeal to emotions, B2Bs must focus on information. Decision-makers consider what is the cost, function and purpose of this product or service and how will it benefit my business? These are the key messaging and communication angles your public relations must take.
B2B PR seems to be taking a leaf out of B2C PR’s book. Word of mouth is just as important in this industry. Go to any business’ website that cares about their brand reputation and you’ll find client testimonials and case studies. Testimonials are like reviews but tend to be much more in-depth and show how your product or service truly helped a business. Case studies show the product or service in practice; detailing images, statistics and quotes that show just how successful the offering is.
How PR benefits B2B companies
PR has the ability to elevate your marketing strategy and add new dimensions to your product offering. With a strong understanding of how your market and target audience operates, you’ll be able to appeal to more suppliers, partners and clients on a deeper level.
It’s often difficult to truly stand out in the B2B marketplace. It’s commonly a faceless sector that lacks personality – but it doesn’t have to be. Using effective public relations to explore how your target audience behaves and what they’re motivated by can help you find that unique angle. With informative and educational messaging everywhere, showing your personality via social channels, website and events will largely increase your brand awareness.
Build strong relationships
With deep insights into your clients’ motivations, you can build stronger relationships that last. As you take the time to listen to your clients’ feedback on your product or service, they’ll value your attention and build trust with your brand. Credibility and authority are critical for B2B companies. You must be professional and personable to make sure the client puts their trust in you to deliver a quality product or service.
The time and money invested into your public relations will help you generate quality leads. With brand awareness, authority and strong relationships, you’re more likely to establish a reputation that brings you greater deals. With more conversions due to your effective marketing strategy, you’ll increase your return on investment and revenue.
When to use PR in the B2B context
PR doesn’t have to be used in all contexts, it’s most relevant in the scenarios where you have something new and valuable to share with your audience, the media and industry influencers.
Product or service launches
Where your business is launching a new product or service, this is a great opportunity to bring PR into your marketing strategy. You’re likely to have landing pages, campaign materials and creative graphics that can be shared to your targeted sector. You can inform the media, industry and existing customers about what your product is, how it works and its benefits to generate new leads.
Forming new partnerships
When your business forms new partnerships, it’s another great time for public relations. If both organisations inform the sector and your existing customer bases about the collaboration, you can reach an even wider audience. With maximum exposure, you’re likely to receive leads and expand your network for future deals.
Entering new markets
When your business enters a new market, it’s a great time to share the movement with the relevant parties in your existing market and the new one. You can generate brand awareness and a real sense of excitement with PR. Inform your clients and potential clients of why you’re making the move, what it means for your business and what it means for the customer.
PR is a valuable tool that should be used in any B2B companies’ marketing strategy. Outreaching to other businesses, the media, industry influencers and existing clients help you reach a wide yet targeted audience. You’ll gain brand awareness, strong relationships and increased return on investment leading to quality leads and conversions for your business.