Five steps to communicating your brand story

 

 

“Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.”

That’s the inspirational quote we chose for May on our 2021 calendar, words from Oprah Winfrey.

We chose the quote back in November 2020 when we were putting together a desk calendar to celebrate Twelve PR’s 25th anniversary this year.

Each quote was chosen to illustrate a PR skill, to highlight how we could employ that technique to support your business needs.  This month’s quote is about the power of communication through employing key message and stories.

In her interview with Oprah, Meghan Markle got her story and her truth across to millions or maybe billions of people.  It’s a case study in communicating skills that most people will be familiar with.

However for those without access to Oprah, it can sometime be a little more difficult to get your message across.

Here’s a summary of the five step process to identify and communicate your story in PR.

  • Explore the key messages and statements you want people to know.
  • Identify the evidence to accompany each statement or message
  • Identify your key stakeholders or customers and understand their communication channels and customer journey.
  • Agree your spokespeople or champions. Who you pick to tell your story and how they tell it says a huge amount your product or brand.

And the fifth and final step – develop a communication strategy which will help you convey your messages in the channels where your target audience (stakeholders and customers) – will be able to discover it.

To be in the news it has to be well, news, or interesting.

That’s where a PR agency earns its stripes. In bringing your story to life.

So, if you would like to bring your story or your business to the attention of more people, do get in touch.  It would make our 25th anniversary year even more special if we could celebrate by creating an amazing campaign to tell your story.

Creativity is part of our everyday practice

“Let’s build companies where creativity becomes part of our everyday practice.”

Jo Malone

PR is an industry built around ideas.  

It is an industry that takes news and makes it newsworthy. We manage the delivery and circulation of information from a client to the public in a way that best conveys their message – and to achieve that, creativity is essential. 

It’s no surprise that almost all PR job roles are advertised as needing a creative candidate. A creative PR professional takes a key message and presents it such a way that it reaches the people it needs to reach, in a way the audience wants to hear. 

Creative PR - Includes Jo Malone quote that says 'Let's build companies where creativity becomes part of our everyday practice'

Whilst a brand will decide what they want to say, a PR agency will decide how to say it, to stand out and achieve cut through. We are advocates for our clients – we are their public voice  so although creativity is essential to engage with our target audience, insight and consistency is also crucial as the custodians of the clients voice. 

So how should PRs approach creative campaign ideas whilst maintaining brand insight and tone? 

Campaigns anchored in messaging 

Our primary goal is to engage with target audiences and demographics while achieving communications objectives. This means that whatever exciting or unusual ideas we come up with, they must also have purpose. Ideas need to be tailored to the target audience and should be able to capture their attention; otherwise, it is just noise for the sake of it. 

Last year, for example, Twelve helped design a press pack to send to fashion journalists and social media influencers made from recycled denim. It contained a set of Instagram polaroid postcards alongside a press release to mark the collaboration of second-hand fashion website Re-Fashion with High Street store, VERY.  

Whilst the arrival of a press release wrapped in a piece of recycled fashion was certainly memorable, it was firmly anchored in Re-Fashion’s core message The partnership aims to to reduce the amount of good quality, wearable clothes going to landfill by encouraging Very’s customers give up their unwanted clothes for a second life. With the key messaging in mind, we wanted to use fabric that had come through Re-Fashion’s donation process and include key phrases from the brand’s social media campaign to strengthen their voice in communication to the fashion press. 

Storytelling and emotional response 

Storytelling has always been a major component of creative PR and bringing a brand to life with compelling narrative is key when generating both interest and long-term reach with target audiences. One of the most challenging areas to achieve this is in a B2B setting, where the subject matter can be very specialised and often, quite technical. 

At Twelve, we look for opportunities to bring colour and human interest to technical subjects – one recent example was Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association (MPMA) whose key message is that metal is a permanently available material and can be recycled infinite times, whilst also having a long first life. We launched a competition ‘Hunt for Treasured Tins’ across several platforms to ask people to find their most treasured tin. 

Creative tins - hunt for treasured tins

It was a popular campaign, with entries up to 103 years old entered and many accompanied with fond family memories and meaningful uses for those tins today. Participants delighted in uncovering lost treasures and sharing their stories with MPMANot to mention the flood of images that arrived, of beautifully decorated and delicately embossed vintage tins and historic artefacts.  

It really served to bring the subject of metal packaging to life and generated a positive emotional response. It is the human stories behind metal packaging which helps secure thunderstanding and long-term reach that Twelve strives to create for MPMA. 

Provide opportunities for creative PR 

PR agencies should be looking to bring new ideas and angles to their clients’ brands continually and consistently. Getting into the habit of creative brainstorming is a good way to regularly achieve and evaluate this element of coverage. Twelve worked with ACS International Schools for 14 years and pledged to present a fresh new idea every month. That’s 12 ‘Twelve Ideas’ a year – or 168 new ideas in the duration our contract with ACS! 

To remain focused on the agreed brand messaging, we would assess our results against targets on a monthly basis, identify any potential gaps and then brainstorm ideas to cover any underrepresented message, target audience or platform the following month.  

The combination of creative group brainstorming, often informed by current affairs, calendar events and social media trends with a focus on core messages resulted in successful campaigns which enjoyed great pick up in target media titles or delivered against challenging objectives 

Highlights included ‘Beyond the Classroom’, an idea to reach out to local families and introduce nonexpats to the school for a range of open events featuring interesting speakers on parenting or education. 

Nine working days after Boris Johnson announced the closure of schools last MarchWild Days was launched by international environmental charity, Earthwatch Europe; a digital service serving up a daily package of nature-based content backed by scientific and outdoor learning expertise 

The communications challenge was to sustain interest and keep raising Earthwatch’s profile, at a time when new online resources were coming out every day, within a short turn around.  

Limited time does not necessarily have to hamper creative thinking. Twelve helped Earthwatch develop a hero campaign, ‘How to Watch Well’, for which we worked alongside the charity and a child development expert, commissioned an omnibus survey, issued press releases and top tips from the Wild Days ambassadors.  

We also created taster articles based on weekly Wild Days themes, which were widely shared with media titles and platforms to maintain interest and showcase a range of fresh angles on the campaign. Wildlife guides were negotiated from Princeton University Press, for use as poetry competition prizes and social media influencer incentives, and these additional outreach ideas ran alongside more traditional methods such as focused blogs on the Earthwatch website.  

 

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A post shared by Earthwatch Europe (@earthwatcheurope)

In a tight timeframe, Wild Days secured a combined estimated press reach of over 79 million, with a total of 49 earned media cuttings. By the end of the 12-week campaign, 4,570 families signed up and as a direct result of the campaign, Earthwatch’s social media following grew by 37.2%, with over 50,000 visitors to the Wild Days website.  

So, if you are looking for a fresh, creative thinking ideas to ensure that your customers are aware of your key messages, then get in touch with Twelve PR team – info@twelvepr.co.uk 

 

Your voice is a powerful tool  

If you’ve one of our 2021 calendars sat on your desk, you’ll know that this month’s visionary quote comes from former first lady, Michelle Obama: If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice. 

Michelle Obama

As Good Housekeeping says of our March visionary, Michelle has provided us with so many valuable life lessons on fighting for justice and equality through her speeches, interviews and [her autobiography] Becoming.’  As a leader, Ms Obama is well-versed in using her voice to effect positive change and has been a powerful advocate for many causes, including female education worldwide 

Quote from Michelle Obama - it reads 'If there's one thing I've learned in life, it's the power of using your voice'

On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, she shared a compelling Instagram post about Nimon, a young Kenyan female student who discovered a love for physics through the Girls Opportunity Alliance and is now training to be a teacher herself – the video garnered nearly half a million views.  What both Nimon and Michelle show is that our individual voices can be a potent tool – people will sit up and take notice.  

Harnessing the power of an individuals or even a collective’s voice and the story they wish to tell is an incredibly important part of the PR mix.   

Strong voices, strong arguments  

These stories can manifest themselves in many different ways, and can be valuable in business as well as consumer campaigns, as the following B2B example for our client Altelium shows. 

Altelium uses electric battery data to facilitate investment in renewable energy systems, through warranties and operational data analytics.  The logistics sector, with its vast warehouses and corresponding energy needs is a key target market for them.  But how do we interest the logistics sector in what Altelium has to offer Warranties for energy storage systems or battery data aren’t exactly front of mind with a busy warehouse manager and we needed to bring the Altelium offer to life for them.   

Alex John’s is Altelium’s business development manager and is an expert on electric vehicles and autonomous ones in particular.  He sits on the BSI committee for Steering Group of PAS 1884 “Safety drivers in automated vehicle testing and trailing.  We used Alex’s genuine passion for autonomous electric vehicleto create a thought leadership piece about the exciting new role of electric vehicles in the logistics industryleading to a piece in the sector’s core title, Logistics Voices.   

Show, don’t tell – the power of the case study  

But perhaps the strongest use of ‘the voice’ is in the case study. The story of Nimon shared by Michelle Obama is a perfect example of a firsthand account or case study which strikes a chord with the intended audience. You can see this from the many comments left by viewers – ‘Amazing story!’, ‘Salute!’, ‘You are such an inspiration for young women all over the world, thank you. 

 

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A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama)

Sometime ago I undertook some training from CIPR trainer and writing guru, Lorraine Forrest TurnerHer mantra ‘show, don’t tell’ runs in the back of my head every time I put my fingers to the keyboard. The idea is that rather than simply ‘saying’ you belong to an innovative company in the first paragraph of your press release, you have to ‘show it or explain how you are innovative.  Every man and his dog would say they were innovative – what makes you different? 

 

Case studies do a marvellous job at the ‘showing’.  

 

Qube Learning really is an innovative training and learning provider. Their marketing materials are filled with case studies of real students who have been able to unlock and fulfil their potential, thanks to training with themA shining example of this is Daniel Hasan who won the Outstanding Achiever of the Year award after his traineeship with Cars2 Hyundai in Bradford  

Daniel’s case study and his award win caught the attention of the Telegraph & Argus newspaper which covered his story;

 

“Receiving the Outstanding Achiever of the Year award is truly one of my greatest achievements,” commented Daniel to the paper. 

 

So, if you’re looking for inspirational content, think about your voice and what story you want to tell – it’s a powerful tool. And if you need help, we’ll be on hand to make sure the intended audience sits up and listens.  

Get in touch via jessica@twelvepr.co.uk