Understanding the different PR strategies used for businesses starts with the identity of the business. The right PR agency will have a strong sense of the different business types and what each may need for a successful communications plan.
The term “One Size Fits All” can’t be said for PR. With the different types of businesses out there, and the varying goals each business has, PR must be tailored to the specifics of each client. The right PR approach will depend on several variables, an important one being who the target market is.
An obvious difference between businesses and their goals would be Business to business (B2B) vs. Business to consumer (B2C). Before diving into the differences in PR used for B2B vs. B2C, let’s quickly define the two types of companies. B2C companies sell products and services directly to the public, like Nike and Starbucks. B2B companies sell products and services to other businesses, like aircraft manufacturers or PR agencies. There’s a big difference in who these businesses are trying to target, and the PR needed for each will require different strategies.
A focus of B2B PR typically is educating clients about the company and why they are the best choice or why their product is right for them. B2B’s buyers are often more sophisticated, purchasing large quantities or high dollar products and services, so customers will conduct much more research when choosing a product than consumers of B2C’s will. Because of this, focusing PR efforts on educational content that portrays the business as knowledgeable and trustworthy is a major role of B2B PR. PR efforts might include framing the company as a thought leader in the related industry by hosting events or attending tradeshows.
Just look at Airbus, the aircraft manufacturer, which attends numerous aircraft shows like Farnborough International Airshow (which also does allow for the general public to attend but very few folks are looking to buy their own A350). An event like this gives businesses an opportunity to present themselves as experts by portraying knowledge of the specific industry landscape, what the business is doing to stay advanced, the latest and greatest products available or coming down the pipe, and the benefits they provide to customers. Not only does this tactic help connect businesses to potential customers, but it keeps the company on the industry media’s radar.
B2B transactions usually have a longer buying cycle than B2C companies. Throughout the buying process, PR efforts are needed to keep the customers engaged and confident in their choice. Tactics for this might look like an infographic to raise brand awareness, an eBook for the consideration stage, or a white paper at the decision stage in the purchasing lifecycle.
B2C PR efforts focus more on entertaining the customer to garner intrigue and brand retention. People want lifestyle brands to produce simple and relevant content, things they can share with friends and consume in seconds. B2C’s face more competition, with new brands popping up overnight in an already overly saturated market.
The beauty industry is a perfect example of how brands can lose the spotlight and drown in a market that sees celebrities releasing their own makeup and skincare lines every week; just to name a few we have Ariana Granda, Selena Gomez, Scarlett Johansson and Rihanna. Because of this, PR efforts want to focus on making the brand stronger and more memorable to customers.
Media engagement for B2C companies will focus more on national and regional outlets rather than trade publications. Social media will also play a more significant role in a communications plan since 58% of the world’s population is actively on social media, and social media plays a huge part in cultivating relationships with customers. Creating polls, asking for feedback or doing Instagram Lives are great ways to get people involved with a brand.
Remember: An Instagram post may be an effective way to generate buzz for a consumer product like makeup or shoes, but it’s not going to do much for a new software development specifically tailored to the construction or airline industry. Just like how the general public is not going to read a white paper on the fruit juice market.
It’s critical to make sure the strategies in a comms plan fits the needs of the business.
Whatever the business type is, PR agencies need to have a strong understanding of each target audience to help their clients reach their intended goals. Check out Xenophon’s blog on how to craft the perfect message for a target audience for next steps in PR campaign planning.