Spring cleaning your brand
It‘s that time of year again: spring has finally sprung. I for one am glad to leave behind the cold of winter and embrace the warmth. This time of year is also synonymous with spring cleaning – shaking off the remnants of winter and reenergizing for the year ahead before the lazy days of summer kick in. So, in the spirit of spring cleaning, I thought this might be a good time to create a spring PR checklist for businesses emerging from the darkness of winter.
Check in on your vision statement: Just as we debate whether to throw out that long-forgotten piece of furniture cluttering the basement, brands should cast a critical eye on their vision statement. Much thought is put into defining a company’s “North Star” in the early days of growth, but all too often vision statements are then relegated to the archives as day-to-day priorities dominate the agenda. A company’s vision for itself is not a fixed concept and must constantly evolve to reflect the current realities of the business and the market. Spring is the perfect time to take a second look. Does your vision statement still ring true, or is it time to be more aggressive or conservative in your outlook?
Reconsider the story you are telling: Take stock of your media coverage and interviews from the past year. Did your story resonate in the way you hoped it would? Which messages landed and which fell flat? At the time, it may have been a top company priority to land a specific story or soundbite, but if audiences didn’t respond then it is probably time for something new. Effective storytelling is a two-way process – it takes a great story told by a strong spokesperson, but it also requires a receptive audience that’s primed to listen. If key messages don’t penetrate, then it may be time to refocus on media-relationship building or informational interviews to help fill the knowledge gaps and strengthen understanding.
Reassess how you are telling your story: As businesses grow and the ways of communicating with different audiences evolve, brands must take the time to reassess whether they are using the right channels to reach the right audiences. Most solid businesses understand they need to have metrics in place to evaluate ROI on marketing tactics. Are you applying the same scrutiny to PR? Have you seen an uptick in blog viewership? Are your social media feeds generating new customers? If the answers to either or both of these questions is no, take a step back and consider whether you need to rethink your strategy. Perhaps LinkedIn is a better fit for your intended audience than Twitter? Is your Instagram account just sitting idle? It might be time to delete it if it is no longer relevant to your goals.
Re-evaluate your competitors: Your brand isn’t the only one evolving. Spring is a good time to take a fresh look at your competitors. Are they dialing up their PR efforts or scaling back? How has their messaging evolved? How have the perceptions of media and customers shifted in recent months? Depending on the answers, it may be time to readjust the company compete strategy and the role PR plays in it.