Public relations is an essential part of any marketing strategy and should be at the forefront of every campaign while complementing your branding and messaging.

So what is it?

In its simplest form, it's reputation management and centres around capturing the attention of your audience and encouraging them to support your messaging in a more subtle way than outright advertising.

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If you try to market without a clear PR strategy, it can go wrong. For example, Brewdog recently tried to show support for the feminist movement by creating Pink IPA which they've branded as "beer for girls" by giving it a stereotypically girly bottle.

They've then tried to market it by using sarcastic statements such as "because women only like pink and glitter, right?"

Apparently, Brewdog have made the beer to highlight the gender pay gap and are donating some of the profits to women's charities. Great PR! However, it has been marred by the wording which, in my opinion, is trying to be too clever.

Nothing on the bottle suggests that the beer has been produced as a political message.

Sexism is something that should be addressed and the brewing industry is in the perfect position to do it, but in this case the branding and the marketing are at complete odds with each other and the campaign doesn't work. With a campaign such as this, the PR should have led the whole branding process - from label design to social media messaging. 

In this case, people just don't get it.

The moral of the story? You don't have to be clever with your PR strategy to build your reputation (and if you want to be, make sure you work with a PR throughout the whole project).

Where to start...

As we say on our homepage, at the root of every business is a story and if you don't know where to start with your PR, go back to the beginning. Your story is your hook and introduces your brand to clients in ways that they can relate to, helping you to build and maintain a great reputation based on your unique set of values.

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Some of the biggest brands still use their "grassroots" stories to sell their products. J.D Wetherspoon and Virgin are two of the biggest brands with one story in common-they were built from nothing. Even celebrities who have become brands in their own right are well known for their stories. It's common knowledge that JK Rowling penned the concept for Harry Potter on a train from Edinburgh to London. That story is part of who she is.

How to use PR in your strategy...

In PR, content is king. You need to start and maintain conversations around your business in order to create the biggest impact.

It takes time and commitment.

By thinking about things creatively, there are a number of ways stories can be told; press, social media, video, photography and blogs can all be utilised to put your message across. You may wish to focus on one element, or mix and match your communications to reach different audiences.

If you have a good story to tell but don't know where to start, take a look at our mentoring programme or get in touch and we can discuss the best strategy for you.