Where marketing is about building your brand, public relations is about protecting it. More specifically, it’s about relationships and your brand’s reputation. So don’t neglect it in your branding efforts. One of the best ways you can use PR to boost your brand image among your stakeholders (your customers, local community, etc.) is by building public goodwill.
Here are five ways you can do that.
Tie Your Brand to Your Values
It’s not enough to sell something. Today, businesses are expected to stand for something. What does your business stand for? Choose an emphasis related to what you create or sell if possible. Make those values clear on your website and align it with your business’s brand messaging.
For example, the fashion company Everlane only works with factors with ethical labor practices. They know many textile-related companies may not do the same, even though many consumers want to avoid products from “sweatshop labor” conditions. Everlane not only employs ethical factories and practices, but they’re very transparent about them and the real costs and mark-ups of their products. Customers never have to wonder how their products are made.
Give Back to Your Community
Build goodwill by giving back to the community while strengthening your brand’s presence within the community. Sponsor local events or institutions. Offer scholarships through a local university. Donate to worthy causes that benefit the community as a whole.
Launch or Partner With a Nonprofit
As a broader way to give back, consider launching your own foundation or partnering with another nonprofit organization to do so on an ongoing basis. For example, take the entrepreneur Dr. Tarun Jolly. While he gives back to the New Orleans community by serving on local boards, he also founded a nonprofit—Emerging Healthcare Collaborative—that connects investors to medical innovators to help fund important medical advances.
Become an Active Advocate
If you want to go beyond expressing your shared values with your customers, become a more active advocate for those causes you care about. You can do this by publicly speaking out against injustices or advocating for certain issues and policies. For example, you might openly lobby officials who have the power to act in ways you don’t, putting your brand behind your favorite cause. Your executives might pen op-eds. You can also directly organize fundraisers or awareness-generating events to shine a light on the things that matter to you and your company.
Get Customers Involved
Generating goodwill isn’t just about what you do. It’s about how you connect with your customers or clients. To make the most of those relationships and shared ideals, get them involved in your social responsibility efforts.
Let customers participate in fundraising events and even offer to match their donations. Run surveys to let them offer feedback. Engage with them in your campaigns via social media. Don’t just talk about the things they care about. Initiate two-way conversations with the people your brand is meant to represent.
In the end, what matters is that you associate your brand with issues you can be proud of. Offer solutions to problems your customers and communities can’t tackle on their own and show them your brand is about more than the bottom line. That kind of connection is the key to customer loyalty.