Growing a company into a global brand is all about building reputation and doing it over and over until potentially millions of people know and love what you do. The process for this success is relatively simple.
Visibility + Credibility = Reputation + Profitability.
Please note, this is a process, and not a formula.
First your brand must be visible in the community (ideally your target market). That is when people know who you are and what you do.
Over time, you establish credibility. Credibility is when people know who you are, what you do, and they know that you are good at it.
And then and only then do you get to reputation.
You know when you have reached reputation, because that will result in sales, which in turn should lead you to profitability.
So, what does that mean in the word of marketing?
Step 1 - Visibility
The best way to get visibility to a mass audience is to go straight for that TV commercial in the Super Bowl. That spot ran at $5 million for just 30 seconds of air time this year. So, maybe, just maybe, that’s not going to be the best use of your marketing budget.
Luckily, you are probably not targeting the 110+ million people that tune into this sporting event. You can probably target a little better than that. Nope, you can target a lot better than that.
Targeting takes skill and research, but it is time well spent. Once you know your target and what media they consume, you can build a plan to speak to (not reach) them.
Most media contain two elements – the free section and the paid for section – the media relations section and the advertising section.
Placing ads is just great, if you have a large budget and a short amount of time. The trouble with advertising is well documented and can best be summed up by the pioneer in marketing, John Wanamaker, who famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half”.
For those with slimmer budgets, the world of media relations is the way to go. PR is wonderful for creating visibility, because it is amazing at educating an audience. With PR you can get into how and why of your product / service. You can get deep.
It is going to take time - effective frequency is a controversial topic. Some say you need to see a message seven times for it to be effective. Some say it’s twenty. Whatever the mathematical accuracy is for your brand, sooner or later there will be visibility.
Step 2 – Credibility
Too many people and brands don’t recognize the need to move to step two – credibility - the quality of being trusted and believed in.
Advertising is not great for gaining credibility. Your customers – irrespective of whether you are in a B2C or B2B business – see through the ads pretty quickly. Be honest, so do you when you are a consumer.
Media relations, on the other hand, passes the smell test. There are all kinds of articles that can be placed for build credibility such as getting testimonials from clients/experts and sharing business insights / information with customers without selling to them directly.
In fact, we would suggest to you that media relations is the best marketing tactic for building credibility (and if you don’t believe us, speak to one of our customers or read some more of our great articles).
When will you know when your credibility campaign is working? Your reputation grows through word of mouth and profits will follow.
Just don’t forget – credibility is where the magic happens.