A PR Renaissance Is Upon Us: How Is Your Business Handling the Shift?

by Michelle Salater on March 12, 2010

Want to know a main reason why business owners have been increasingly frustrated? They don’t understand or realize that the way they are speaking to prospective customers is turning people away instead of attracting them. The PR strategies that worked one or two years ago are slowly crippling companies that continue to use them.

So what happened?

After years of mass marketing, prospects have become sick of being treated as a commodity and not as a human being. They are sick and tired of being sold to the same way. They’ve been there and done that. And they can see through the smoke and mirrors, see past the flashy images and catchy phrases, and see through an inauthentic marketing message.

So what’s a company to do now?

My challenge to you is to embrace the change, step back, and look at the grand picture of it all. The attitude and way you’re speaking to prospects should be much more conversational and less rigid and overly formal. This means no more textbook selling strategies, no more intellectual industry jargon, and no more hard sales. Sorry, but someone had to tell you.

Prospects are sensitive. And they have feelings. Companies that can tap into these feelings and needs and can connect on a deeper level are the ones who will come out on top.

Here are some steps you can take now to enhance the way you connect with prospects and clients:

1. Embrace the change: Live it, learn it, and love it.

2. Enhance your brand with essential traits: Authenticity and transparency are now the primary characteristics you want your business to portray. People on new media platforms are looking for relationships and for people to trust. They want to trust businesses that they’re buying from. They want to connect to the personality behind the business.

You can pretend to be authentic, but if you don’t have a solid connection to your target audience and a trustworthy and transparent business model, you will be exposed soon enough.

Here is an example of a company that lacked transparency and authenticity, ultimately resulting in distrust among many of their consumers:

According to an article written by Kevin J. Allen on Ragan.com, “Mattel crisis teaches lesson in humanity,” Mattel had difficulty gaining trust back from parents after 19 million toys were recalled from 43 countries—their 28th  toy recall in the last seven years.

Screen grab of Mattel website

In response to the recall, as stated in the article, “(Mattel CEO Robert) Eckert and the entire corporate communications department at Mattel took the ‘We’re mothers and fathers too’ approach to getting angry parents back on their side . . .

By attempting to humanize themselves and come off as sincere, concerned parents, the team gave the public a window to its cold, dystopian corporate culture. Every syllable and mechanical gesticulation in Eckert’s video is scripted, presumably by the automatons in the company’s legal department” (Kevin J. Allen, Ragan.com).

Mattel’s apology lacked a sincere and human approach. There was no personal communication or relationship nurturing with consumers, only mass apologies as seen in Mattel’s response to 300 media inquiries in the U.S. According to the above article, these 300 responses were the only responses to media and concerned consumers.

Imagine what an untrustworthy reputation could do for your business.

3. Release your personality. Conversational tone is shifting from a formal, business tone to more of a casual tone. Speaking to prospects as if they are in a meeting room isn’t going to cut it. They’re on your level and they’re looking for someone to connect with—a personality to relate to, share feelings with, and learn from. They key being someone and not a corporation.

4. Join the conversation. With the average amount of minutes U.S. citizens spend on social networking sites and blogs increasing by 143% year-over-year (Nielson Company), it’s apparent that more and more people find social networking sites and blogs to be an important part of their everyday lives.

Graph owned by Nielsen Global

Our desire for relationships and socializing is quite clear from the increase in time spent on new media outlets and the rapid progression of social media sites, blogs, video sharing, and discussion forums. Listen and interact.

When companies begin to listen to what people want and need, they can connect with them, gain their trust, and share their brand story. And that’s the exact order. No mixing and matching here.

If you like this post, you might also like:

  1. Don’t Let Your Business Fall through the Cracks of a Market Shift
  2. The Time Is Now To Get Your Business on the Right Track
  3. Emerging Travel Company Sees Huge Success through Social Media Efforts
  4. Create an Online Promotion Plan That Delivers Results

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