MWWPR Account Director Devika Mistry explains why B2B PR professionals should on occasion market their content to a broader audience, and how to go about it…
It’s a common misconception that corporate, technically complex issues will only resonate with a B2B audience so a number of brands set themselves up to fail from the start. Of course, when it comes to an ultra-niche corporate tax issue or similar, targeting a mass consumer audience isn’t the right approach, however there are often wider industry issues that brands wish to address, but they hesitate to leverage the strength of consumer outreach - effectively the end-users that would be impacted.
This is particularly true of the technology industry. It is one of the fastest paced, innovative sectors that has great consumer appeal – poll your office and you’ll probably find that the majority own the latest smartphones or at least care about the speed of their internet connection, and if their phone breaks or connectivity is slow you’ll also probably find an emotional, expletive-filled conversation will ensue.
Take the slow internet connection as an example. Broadband providers could leverage consumers’ emotional attachment to fast connectivity to raise awareness of the capacity pressures that is the route to the problem and lobby Government for improved focus / investment.
Preparing for how brands target a consumer audience is the most important step to ensuring the messaging resonates and the outcome is successful. There are six steps to preparation that are key to successfully positioning the issues to this audience:
1) Relevance: First and foremost, understand what I call the ‘corporate bubble effect’ – the more you talk about an issue internally with colleagues, the bigger and more interesting it seems as it’s relevant to you. Take a step back and think about how you would make your friends as interested in the subject as you are by making it relevant to them. If you can’t, then the issue might be a non-starter.
It helps to try to tackle the issue from a different perspective. This doesn’t mean being controversial or offering a point of view which goes against the grain just for the sake of being disruptive. Be clear and concise in your points by offering a refreshing, new spin.
2) Timing: It should be no surprise that cutting through the noise at major industry events is difficult, regardless of how big or small your brand is. Messaging will be diluted and not as impactful when trying to speak directly to consumers so avoiding announcements during shows such as Mobile World Congress and the Consumer Electronic Show is a must. Even when targeting a consumer audience, the media have fatigue around tech stories during these times
3) Simplicity: Quite simply, if you can’t convey your message in a brief, easily digestible sentence (that means no jargon and acronyms) then you’re likely to switch off the audience.
4) Tone: Corporate voice, or tone, shouldn’t need to change because of your wider audience. The importance here is to bring in emotive language that compels the audience to read on and relate to the issue e.g. back to the slow broadband connection – industry investment can allow more flexible working and an easy transition for new mums returning to work.
5) Focus groups: If budget allows, testing the messaging lands well with the audience and provides an additional layer of scrutiny to avoid the ‘corporate bubble effect’.
6) Tactics: Once your comms team agrees that the messaging is appropriate, you can then think about the tactics that will work best to reach this audience. Huge budgets don't necessarily mean the best outcome – being specific and targeted is the best option here.
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by b2b pr specialist Heather Baker, founder TopLine Comms, an inbound marketing, B2B content marketing agency and proud HubSpot partner agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say. Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact her via email on [email protected].
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