The Role of PR in the Changing B2B Landscape
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Traditionally, the B2B space was one that had no place for emotions. It was all about information – features, benefits, prices and comparisons. The marketplace was tightly knit with most players in a specific industry knowing the other players. Advertising and visibility were directly proportional to the depth of a brand’s pockets.
The internet changed all that. Until then, information was the domain that solely belonged to the “experts”. Now it became freely available and customers became aware of their own needs. New players from parallel fields entered the market and competition grew.
Today the line between B2B and B2C marketing practices has blurred.This has made Public Relations (PR) as integral to former as the latter.
How PR Helps B2B Companies
A solid PR strategy can make a company scale new heights. It can enable companies to connect with partners, suppliers, customers and investors that help them grow
Effective PR helps a B2B firm step outside the echo chamber that limits it to players in the same domain. Such a firm replaces difficult jargon and boring self-promotional messages that the boardroom loves but the audience loathes with relevant messages for the target audience. This enables businesses to achieve their objectives.
By resorting to PR as a strategy, B2B companies can:
Build a Positive Image: It’s easy for a company to get lost in the noise of the crowd today. A PR strategy enables a company to build a memorable brand image.
Improve Relationships: Companies can connect with customers, vendors, and industry experts to strengthen relations with the right entities in their fields.
Build a Strong Reputation: Business leaders of companies that create an organic awareness become trustworthy enough for people to solicit their opinions before making purchase decisions.
Increase Revenue: Increased trust in a brand leads to bigger sized deals, shorter sales cycles, and higher Customer Lifetime Value in the long run.
When Do B2B Companies Use PR?
PR serves as a useful weapon in a B2B company’s marketing arsenal for many purposes. Some of them are:
Entering a Sector: For startups entering a new space or established players entering a previously unserved space, PR proves as an effective way to create buzz and excitement.
New Product Launches: This is a great time to use PR to inform stakeholders about what the product does, how it works, and how it addresses customer needs.
Success Stories: A B2B company can get a wider reach to highlight how it enables customers to achieve their business goals by using PR. This also enables it to showcase its strengths and capabilities without beating its own drum.
3 Potent Tools in PR
PR is a strategy that deploys many tools to execute it and help companies achieve their goals. As the world has evolved, so have PR and its tools. The most effective tools in the PR space today are:
1. Spokesperson Profiling
The spokesperson of a B2B company is one who engages with the media and shares insights and opinions. It’s important for this spokesperson to be keyed in on the latest media trends.
A PR agency helps such spokespersons to understand their strengths and counsels them according to their comfort areas. It explains dos and don’ts, ensures the individual is accurately positioned, and targets media features suitable for the industry and the audience.
2. Industry Story Quotes
When spokespersons identify with an image or message, it becomes important for them to share their opinions and insights on factors that impact the industry. Research states that 86% of B2B buyers would engage with a person who provides insights about their industry.
A PR agency keeps a track of trends and collects such insights from a spokesperson when a relevant story emerges. This means the spokesperson and the company constantly stay in the radar of the marketplace for the right reasons.
3. Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is about ideas that require attention, offer guidance, and inspire action. According to research, 82per cent of C-Suite executives stated that thought leadership increased their trust in an organization.
A PR agency can tap into the stories and knowledge of business leaders and spokespersons and turn them into educational and provocative insights on themes that intersect with their audience’s most pressing needs.
A B2B company can also leverage PR to showcase factors behind the scene that fuel its functioning, like HR practices, R&D capabilities, CSR initiatives and international collaborations to build a holistic brand image for itself.
As mentioned earlier, a stronger brand presence translates into a positive reputation, stronger relationships and more revenue for a B2B company.
Companies can no longer afford to hope for customers to discover them if they want to stand out in the competitive marketspace. PR has become an important tool for B2B businesses to share the right messages on the right platforms with the right people. In order to connect.