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 bluetotem.co/contact-us today.