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September 14, 2023

The Role of Customer Communication in PR Campaigns

How Does Customer Communication Affect Your PR Strategy?

Your PR strategy isn't just about submitting press releases. It's about improving public perceptions of your brand in every capacity. This includes customer communication, but how should you think about customer communication as part of your overall PR strategy and how can you see better results from it?

The Big Picture of Your PR Strategy

Your PR strategy is all about building familiarity, awareness, and trust with your target audience (and sometimes with the public at large). With heightened visibility and a better reputation, your brand will be able to reach more people, land more sales, and ultimately achieve your other business goals.

This is the big picture of PR, and almost every decision your company makes plays a role in the manifestation of these visibility and reputation dynamics. In that way, almost everything can be counted as an extension of your PR strategy.

Obviously, we need to draw a boundary somewhere. Marketing and PR, while related, are distinct areas of strategic focus, and businesses tend to perform better when they appropriately compartmentalize these responsibilities.

Still, it pays to at least consider the role of customer communication in your PR strategy so you can appropriately fine-tune your approach, boost your visibility, and improve your brand reputation with the people who matter most.

The Role of Customer Communication in PR Campaigns

Focusing on your customer communication can improve your public relations in several different dynamic ways.

·       Controlling the narrative. Having a clear, focused strategy for how to interact with customers and how to respond to customers with questions, complaints, or concerns gives you the opportunity to control the narrative. You can mitigate the perception of bad news or issues within your company, while simultaneously playing up angles that make your company look better. Even when bad things happen, you can introduce a spin to minimize damage.

·       Connecting on an individual level. Customer communication is also the only way to truly connect with your customers on an individual level. Even if you're not sending emails out one by one, you can personalize or customize individual messages to be more relevant for the person receiving them.

·       Providing value. Each instance of customer interaction is an opportunity for you to provide value to someone interested in your brand. That could mean resolving a complicated problem, introducing knowledge that can save the customer thousands of dollars, or simply answering a question. In any case, if your customer communication provides value, that customer is going to walk away with a more positive perception of your brand.

·       Shaping impressions and dispositions. Every customer interaction can shape a person's impressions of your brand and disposition toward that brand. With appropriate, proactive strategizing, you can make sure those impressions and dispositions are as positive as possible.

You can unfold your customer communication strategy across several mediums, such as:

·       Press releases. The nature of press releases has changed considerably over the past 20 years, but they’re still valuable assets for any PR strategy. Whenever you have big news to break, make sure you issue a press release that's authentic to your brand and sufficiently informative.

·       Reports and disclosures. Routinely, your company is going to have to issue reports and disclosures, discussing progress your company has made, reporting progress on stated goals, and announcing new directives or strategic changes. These types of communications need to be informative, accurate, concise, and distributed to all the people who want to read them.

·       Onboarding. Onboarding customers is an excellent opportunity to build a strong first impression and secure customer loyalty from the very beginning. Make sure you have a consistent process in place to give new customers everything they need to be successful with your brand.

·       Customer service. Of course, you'll also need to think about customer service. If and when there are issues with your customers, you need to work diligently to resolve them. Better customer service almost always leads to a better reputation.

·       Updates, previews, and more. You also need to think about how you communicate with customers through updates, previews, and announcements.

How to Improve Customer Communication for Your PR Strategy

These are some of the most important ways that you can improve your customer communication as part of your PR strategy:

·       Know your customers. Better market research can instantly heighten the value of your customer communication strategy. After all, it's practically impossible to effectively communicate with an audience that you don't truly understand. It's on you to understand who your audience is, how they think, how they see the world, and how they make decisions. This way, you can position yourself to more strongly appeal to them.

·       Improve availability. Communication is a two-way street, so it's important to improve your availability as a communicative brand. That means offering multiple different methods to connect with your brand – and making your customers feel like they always have a lifeline to the business.

·       Be transparent (and fast). Transparency is one of the most important qualities for modern brands to display in their PR and communications strategies. Even if your brand makes mistakes or does something unethical, you can mitigate the damage as long as you're transparent about what's happening, why it's happening, and what you're going to do to resolve the issue. Additionally, it's important to be fast; proactive transparency is much better received than reactive transparency.

·       Take accountability. If and when issues arise, take accountability for them, on both a large and small scale. When your company makes a PR blunder, make a big announcement about it and apologize. When a customer encounters a low-level issue, like a lost item, apologize similarly and make up for the issue.

·       Personalize however you can. People respond much better to personalized communications, so personalize any elements of your strategy that you can. Talk to individuals instead of groups.

Better customer communication and better PR can make your brand more prominent, better respected, and eventually, competitively dominant. There are dozens of channels and contexts through which you can build better customer relationships – so you need to use these tools wisely.

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