PR (when done correctly) should serve a dual purpose:
#1 Making you more visible
Therefore exposing you to your ideal customers and brands for collaboration
#2 Attracting your ideal clients and brands
meaning PR should turn potential customers into leads and compatible brands into partners once they’ve been exposed to you
If you’re finding that your PR pitches are consistently being rejected or that the PR features that you do get are not helping you attract your ideal client, convert them to customers and, ultimately make more money- you may be falling short in one or more areas of the 3 C’s of branding (Clarity, Consistency and Congruence). Here’s how:
How lack of brand clarity sabotages your PR efforts
One of the most common ways to undermine your PR efforts is having more than one area of expertise on your website. If you send an editor a pitch claiming to be an expert in one thing and, doing their due diligence, they see no evidence of that expertise on your website or very little of it (because you talk about so many other things)- they are not very likely to accept your pitch.
Likewise, if a potential client sees or hears about you on a particular media platform and decides to check you out, they will be very confused and/or put off if you don’t talk about their topic of interest as much as they would have liked or thought you would.
When it’s not clear what your expertise is and what problem you solve because one day you’re talking about entrepreneurship and the next you’re talking about dog grooming, for example, it dilutes your brand. To counter this, pick a niche and stick with it, only using your other interests/areas of expertise to underpin that particular topic. You could also consider separating your businesses, if you have more than one brand, rather than housing them all on one platform for the sake of clarity.
How lack of brand consistency sabotages your PR efforts
As mentioned above, PR (when done correctly) should serve a dual purpose: making you more visible and attracting your ideal clients and brands. This is why it’s important to make sure that the platforms that you pitch to are relevant in terms of topics covered and demographics served.
Unfortunately, another common mistake that entrepreneurs make when it comes to branding is not niching down to a specific demographic because they are afraid of alienating people. They think that if they cater to everybody, they can help more people. What they fail to understand is that this, not only makes their branding unclear in terms of who they serve, it creates inconsistency in their messaging.
When it comes to PR especially, speaking to everyone is really speaking to no-one because editors and influencers typically work for a platform that serves a certain demographic. That being the case, not only do they want to know that you are an expert in your field, they want to know that your expertise will actually suit the demographic(s) that they cater to and/or represent.
Although you may not serve the exact same demographic it should be clear, from looking on your website, where your brands cross over making accepting your pitch a no-brainer. Likewise, having consistency in your messaging will help you attract leads through PR and convert them to paying customers once they check out your personal platform and also see it demonstrated there too.
Failing to niche down has the complete opposite effect, however, because as the saying goes: “a confused mind will always say ‘no'”.
How lack of brand congruency sabotages your PR efforts
One of the other purposes of PR (Public Relations), according to it’s the definition, is to “create goodwill between itself [the brand] and the public…”. Lack of brand congruency, however, has the opposite effect.
Brand congruency is essentially the act of ensuring that who you brand yourself as and who you actually are as a person are one and the same (congruent). You can literally have the kind of brand that is so:
- Clear it’s like a siren song to your ideal audience
- Consistent that it becomes the most recognisable and therefore trusted in your industry
But if you’re ever found to not be the person that you branded yourself as, it will completely undermine and even destroy everything you’ve built (since people only do business with people that they know, like, and trust). Recent examples of this have been Ellen, Lizzo, Kirk Franklin, and Derrick Jaxn.
With the rise of holding influencers accountable, otherwise known as “cancel culture,” there has also been a rise in brands and outlets becoming more conscious of who they choose to work with. The term “guilt by association” has never been more true than in the world of PR right now; so, when it comes to collaborations brands are now much more discerning about who they give a platform.
Brand congruency, then, is not just to do with not being duplicitous- it is also to do with whether two brands have similar beliefs, values, and so on. Hence why Nike sued Lil Nas X and Kevin Hart infamously stepped down as the 2019 Academy Awards host.
The biggest take-away here?
Brand congruency is more important than brand clarity and consistency when it comes to building know, like and trust; so make sure that your brand, and everyone that is associated with it, is a true reflection of you. You must also know that what you say and do can either create goodwill between yourself and the public or create bad blood.
When it comes to PR and brand collaborations, choose wisely because editors and your ideal audience will.