Today, consumers are more powerful than ever. As digitalisation ramped up in recent years, people demand more from the brands they support and only want to patronise brands that share their values. In fact, according to a study by Bain, about 95% of Southeast Asian consumers are willing to pay more for brands that practise ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance).

To stay relevant with their consumers, brands need to rethink their public relations (PR) strategy and messaging.

At the heart of this strategy is consumer-centred messaging. You must be able to identify your consumers’ underlying needs and sentiments associated with your brand, and speak to those emotions through PR.

That said, it’s important to understand that consumer-centred messaging must be integrated throughout your brand’s PR efforts, and not just through a few social media posts.

Highlighting the value of your brand’s products or services is not enough. You must be able to identify the core values and principles to which your consumers align themselves the most, and speak to those sentiments. Here are six ways you can make consumers the centre of your brand:

Integrate empathy and compassion in your messages

Brands must acknowledge and understand the events that impact the community, or risk being tone-deaf. In a period where brand values matter to consumers more than ever, it is essential for brands to take on a humanised persona. Your key messages must not only be able to address your users’ concerns – they must also be able to demonstrate your ability to speak out on other issues or topics that are aligned with your brand’s values.

Focus on creating content that provides value

As we shift from short-term gains and move towards creating long-lasting relationships with audiences, creating content that provides added value for your consumers will help your brand gain trust and credibility. Striking strategic partnerships with the right media and influencer partners can even help you go the extra mile. For digital PR, influencer marketing and branded storytelling, creating collaborative content, or thought leadership pieces with reliable media sources, will help you earn that leverage.

Provide value in your content marketing strategy

One other way to communicate your shared values with consumers is through a content marketing strategy. Aside from keeping your brand top-of-mind for audiences, consistent and authentic messaging establishes what is important to your brand and the values that you stand for, creating genuine relationships and building trust.

Deliver memorable and engaging consumer experiences

Brands turn to PR and content to provide stronger and richer consumer experiences. Consider how your brand can offer more engaging touchpoints for audiences and provide real value to them.

One example of this is our work with Yahoo Mail –– through Yahoo Forever Memories, we reimagined their unique features of 1TB storage space and file organisation into a complete repository solution parents can use for children’s keepsakes. Targeting older digital natives who grew up with Yahoo in the ‘00s, many of whom are now parents, we launched a holistic, mostly organic strategy that included an influencer-led campaign, working with a select group of micro- and nano-influencer parents to inspire the target audience to explore this trend.

Open your social channels to consumers

People are stepping out more, but they continue to be highly digitally connected. Brands must capitalise on social media and other digital PR efforts. Shape your social media strategy to become more inclusive and open to consumers, with initiatives that shine the spotlight on them. Highlighting user-generated content shows that you listen to your audiences; re-sharing their images, or creating an “Ask us anything” campaign, brings the things consumers are more passionate about to the forefront. It also helps nurture your consumers into a community that believes in your brand and can vouch for it to others.

Build user communities that offer connection

Social media offers the widespread ability to connect –– and brands provide that touchpoint for shared interests. Seize the opportunity to create and build an online community that goes beyond blatant product promotion, but allows users from all over the country or region to connect with each other over shared qualities. Allowing authentic relationships to foster, even online, as well as providing an avenue for users to express their ideas openly can help grow customer loyalty and affinity.

Brands who shift the focus towards the consumer are poised to win. And as consumers continue to pick up digital-first habits, now is the time to leverage a PR strategy that can help spark these conversations and foster audience connections. The right PR agency can help you strategise your messages, partner with established media sources, and create authentic connections with the community.

Blue Totem Communications’ team of specialists proudly combines experience and a wide network of high-value partners across Singapore, Malaysia, and the SEA region, that can help you create a powerful and cohesive digital PR strategy that strikes rich and lasting relationships with your consumers. Get in touch with us at today.

New product or service along the way? One of the ways to create awareness for your latest campaign and ensure wide reach is through staging a media event. With the easing of restrictions in most of the world and the long-awaited return of in-person events, a media event is one of the quickest ways to meet and greet media contacts, strengthen media relations and spread the word about your campaign.

On top of that, as hybrid affairs continue to become the norm, public relations (PR) professionals and event planners have stretched their creativity beyond physical press conferences to include virtual media junkets and online launches.

Read more: How PR and Media Events Will Look Like in the New Normal

Why a Media Event is Important For Your Brand

A media event helps to achieve brand awareness and build trusted relationships with consumers, whether you are a newly founded start-up or an established company launching a new product. With events a dime a dozen each week, your event will need to stand out, create news value, and provide real opportunities for your target audience to connect with your offering.

But planning a press event goes beyond simply booking a venue (or setting up a Zoom link), and deciding on the date and time. Brands must be on the lookout for two things: the media turnout and post-event content.

Needless to say, every brand manager or PR executive wants a good turnout from the press. Yet, gauging your event’s success is not just about ticking off every name on the guest list. You want powerful, impactful post-event stories that effectively shape the conversation around your brand and its latest offering. And with the right PR agency, your brand can leverage the most high-value media partners that resonate with your audience.

While it’s one thing to worry about whether journalists will show up to your event, it’s another to think about whether they can sense an interesting story. If you have reserved a calendar date, booked your guest speakers, and prepared your media database, here are five other ways to ensure that your media event is a success.

Read more: How PR can help brands become a force for good in the new normal

5 Tips to Create a Successful Media Event

Come up with a story hook.

Put yourself in a journalist’s shoes. Your event must be able to answer the question, “How does this event coverage provide value to readers?” This can help you better plan the event’s theme and activities. You can also pitch irresistible story angles to reporters in advance when you send them a pre-event press release – either by assuring them of a scoop, or by promising more details during the actual event.

Send invites to the right outlets.

This goes without saying– not every media outfit is the right fit for your press event. It can be tempting to blast invites to as many media partners as possible to cast the widest net, but ultimately curating a media list provides the best payoff for your brand in terms of reach and impact. It is important to keep your audience as well as your brand’s relevance in mind. Curate your invite list based on how apt each outlet is for your target audience.

Make sure all logistical details are in place.

Once you have locked in your guest list, go over your event details and logistics a few more times. Better to be safe than sorry and avoid things going awry at the last minute. It is essential to secure a smooth experience for your media guests.

A checklist will always be helpful, and so is a detailed agenda for the event to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Plan a memorable press kit.

While a press release allows a journalist to easily file their article, a press kit is crucial in providing media partners with all the important information they need to know about your brand. It helps to have a creative press kit that enriches your guest’s experience and better shapes their story. For instance, you can go the extra mile by sending media members interactive press kits for online media events.

Offer creative story opportunities.

Following up with post-event releases is part and parcel of staging a media event. One way to make sure a newsworthy piece is featured is by providing creative opportunities for journalists for storytelling. These range from one-on-one interviews to exclusive sneak peeks, and interactive activities that capture press attention on the day itself.

Media events are an effective way to boost your PR campaign and maximise media exposure. Gain confidence in your event’s ability to spark meaningful conversations and impactful reach with the right PR partners. A PR firm with a trusted network of media partners and insightful experiences in communication strategy can help you craft compelling and relevant messages that capture your intended audience and strengthen your brand’s media relations.

Blue Totem Communications works with the most trusted media partners across Singapore, Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Our team of specialists can help your brand power its communication strategy and mount successful events that meet your brand’s goals. Get in touch with us at today!

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Two years after COVID-19 hit the world, we are witnessing the various efforts geared towards recovery – from the successful rollout of vaccination programmes to the gradual return to schools and workplaces.

But while we have come further today, there is one thing to bear in mind: this is hardly a return to “business as usual” as it is easing into the new normal. This is especially true for brands with a regional presence: elsewhere in Southeast Asia, countries are dealing with varying stages of recovery from COVID.

The lessons from the disruptions of previous years will continue in 2022, and possibly further, as public relations helps brands navigate a post-COVID landscape. How? Through genuine support and authentic connections. During 2020’s region-wide lockdowns and restrictions, brands did a tremendous job rerouting their offerings to continue serving consumers forced to stay indoors.

Today calls for sustained empathy and understanding as the region recovers from COVID. Here are ways PR can help brands avoid tone-deaf messaging and create richer connections with their community.

Genuinely engage with the community

The past two years brought the realisation that consumers look to brands to care about what is happening around them. Consumers want to know that brands understand what they are going through – and with real ramifications. Studies show that brands who demonstrate “authentic purpose” will be rewarded, as Gen Z filters brands based on purpose – and will pay more premiums for a purpose-driven brand.

The isolating effects of 2020’s circuit breaker and the constantly changing restrictions throughout 2021 made audiences yearn for human connections. Humanising brands – being able to evoke sincerity and authenticity – will continue to drive strong engagement, create community connections, and build brand trust.

Check in with your community on how they are doing, foster relationships, and advocate for their causes – emotional connections can hook your audience and get them to come back for more. Engaging and building strong ties with your community is the most organic way to turn them into brand advocates – sharing the content you create.

Help win hearts and minds

These days, it’s essential to strike a balance between respecting sensitivities and upholding brand interests. Rather than hard-selling, public relations must help brands earn a place in people’s lives by providing value.

One of the best ways to communicate your client’s brand value to audiences is by building its brand reputation and credibility through organic means and earned media. Tapping micro-influencers and key opinion leaders can serve people’s desire for authentic experiences and trustworthy recommendations that answer their needs.

Help adapt to new tech

With various restrictions in place, brands and PR practitioners needed to adapt to virtual events. This year, continued social distancing measures and reallocated budgets may push the creative limits on community engagements and brand activations through next-gen technology such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), alongside other digital tools. Becoming familiar with these tools can help enrich interactions and sustain community ties.

A PR agency attuned to adapting to new and innovative platforms can help brands navigate the idea of applying these new technologies for storytelling, so you and your team can focus on the big picture for your brand.

PR can help brands show support for consumer interests instead of their own

The pandemic and lockdowns disrupted daily living as people feared for their health and economic safety. With jobs on the line and the possibility of contracting the virus on people’s minds, consumers expect brands to acknowledge and understand the events that impact the community. For brands, this means their communication efforts and messaging must address these consumer insights more precisely. By framing your key messages in a way that specifically addresses your audiences’ concerns, this demonstrates an acute understanding of consumers’ plights during these times and makes your brand more relatable and relevant to your target audience.

In the new normal, brands need to be seen as a force for good as they tell their stories and connect with their audience. PR teams can help brands wade through the post-COVID landscape by creating genuine connections, working with the right partners and thought leaders, and helping brands tell their authentic narratives.

Blue Totem Communications’ team of specialists proudly combines experience and know-how in empathetic and effective messaging that resonates with audiences. Our agency has also formed relationships with the most respected media partners across Singapore and Malaysia, helping brands foster trust and authenticity with their audiences. Get in touch with us at today.