Friday, June 4, 2010

Integrating Brand Messages Into Your Public and Media Relations

How much more effective would your marketing campaigns be if you made a conscious effort to frame your messaging in your Media Relations (MR) and Public Relations (PR) campaigns around the main brand messages you use in your marketing campaigns?

More often than not, brand messages in healthcare PR-MR rely on the "about us" statement to carry that weight. Little if any attention is given to using public and media relations as a strategic and integrative vehicle in the overall marketing effort.

And that is a missed opportunity.

As healthcare organizations, we are expected by our audiences to advertise, write white papers, create case studies, write impactful sales materials, partner with leading market research organizations to present "groundbreaking" topical surveys and results, as well as other materials. That is a given. People see and read, they (hopefully) advance the brand, maybe generate some sales leads or in some cases bring a sense of accomplishment to internal audiences because in the end, all of these materials are "about us". Activity measurement as opposed to outcomes measurement.

Now think. What is the value of these same messages being crafted in such a way through PR-MR to your organization? The more people say they don't believe what they read and see, the more that they believe what they read and see. A positive news story online, print or electronic carries with it a measure of credibility conferred by the publication, news organization or web content carrier that the story has some measure of truth and validity. Can't buy that in advertising, direct mail or contests.

PR-MR can be summed up by the following:

Presence Builds Preference

and

Perception- Leads to Opinion- Becomes Fact

PR-MR can provide you with a continuous brand presence in the market that you cannot afford through traditional or online paid efforts. It can successfully build positive impressions, solid opinions which after a while other companies and individuals will come to believe about your organization and, this is an important and... build relationships with the media and audiences that can be leveraged to your benefit in times of crisis.

In my experience, it is not uncommon to generate on an annual basis for small healthcare organizations $1 million plus in equivalent advertising through a PR-MR program. For larger companies, an aggressively planned and consistent PR-MR program generates $10s of millions of equivalent advertising dollars. Ask your Executive Suite for that kind of money for paid advertising in this or any economy and see what happens.

If you are not integrating your brand messaging into your PR-MR efforts, your losing the opportunity of a lifetime and potentially your markets.

PS. It's just not writing press releases.


If you need assistance or would like more information, you reach me directly at 815-293-1471.

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