The case for local PR in your communications strategy
As the new fiscal year approaches for many of my PR clients, it got me reflecting on what little companies and big brands have in common when it comes to PR – and it’s certainly not size of budget! What are the PR angles and stories that smaller businesses use that the largest companies continue to focus on? And what can those new to PR learn from this?
Over the years, my PR agency has been fortunate enough to work with a wide range of national and international household names, and though the PR focus for the larger brands is always very much on reaching the widest audience possible though various targeted communications, I have noticed that the most successful of these never forget their roots in their comms.
Why is that? Well, whether you are a small regional brand or operating internationally, the reasons for investing time in local PR remain the same. That is, reaching and rewarding those literally closest to your brand — neighbouring customers and existing and potential employees. These are the people who provide support locally, through buying products or services, and working for a brand.
The business case for this approach is strong. Brands that celebrate their locale and ‘know who they are’ can communicate a sense of purpose and demonstrate their investment in people and community. This in turn communicates and personalises a sense of social responsibility, principles and value, and so differentiates a brand from its competitors.
As we progress into 2023, the economic environment remains hugely challenging. Brands will increasingly find it difficult to recruit from a decreasing pool of talent without the visibility that distinctive PR and marketing offers. And as costs for products and services rise with inflation, customers are also becoming much more discerning about how and where they spend their money. They increasingly want better value and meaning for their money, which can all be communicated through PR.
My advice this spring then, is that whatever the size of your brand, don’t forget localised PR. As your company grows, continue to communicate with the people who got you where you are, and those you wish to attract to get you where you want to be. Tell the media and your potential customers and employees via PR and your website about your investments in people and place. And shine an external light on those doing excellent work within your team or for your local community. The brands that do this well really stand out from the brands that don’t, and making a good impression to your key stakeholders is ultimately the difference between stagnating and thriving in business.