CAN PR HELP YOU BUILD A STRONG BRAND?

The answer is a definite ‘Yes’. Watch my interview with PR expert Farzana Baduel to learn more about helping your brand to grow by using PR.

In 2004, Al and Laura Ries wrote a book called The Fall Of Advertising & The Rise Of PR. PR helps build a strong brandIn it, they stated that the major brands around today were born using public relations – PR – not advertising. The book cites an astonishing number of branding examples, including Starbucks, the Body Shop, Wal-Mart (owners of ASDA here in the UK), Red Bull and Zara as having been built with virtually no advertising.

In truth, they had it wrong about advertising losing ground. But they got it absolutely right about PR. And even more so in today’s business landscape.

Forty years ago when I first entered the sales, marketing and PR arena, public relations activity for a commercial business was usually a routine task of sending out press releases to journalists in the hope they’d get published. Things really have changed big time. Now, customers, employees and suppliers can have a much greater impact on how your brand is perceived. And the ever-expanding world of digital has introduced online social networks, bloggers and others to the mix who can either lend weight to your brand, or be its fiercest critic. PR has moved from the task of persuasion to one of influence.

There are three critical aspects that must be present in order to deliver the most powerful brand experience. I call these three vital elements the ‘KLT factor’. It stands for Know, Like and Trust.

This set of reputation criteria can only be built by promoting positive relations with those you wish to influence.

But how do you communicate just how wonderful your corporate social responsibility, financial transparency, employee communications, thought leadership and other major aspects of your brand truly is to your audiences? Well, that’s the role of PR. As the Chartered Institute of Public Relations states, ‘Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you’.

Neverthless, PR can still be confusing, especially for the smaller business where PR expertise may not be an in-house function. How does it fit with branding? What can it do when a crisis occurs? How do you use PR if you’re an up-coming entrepreneur?

Farzana BaduelTo answer these questions, I’m delighted to have been able to spend some time with public relations expert Farzana Baduel to help explain what PR is, and how it can help to grow a brand.

Farzana is the Founder and Managing Director of Curzon PR, a global strategic communications firm with offices in London, New York, Dubai and Delhi. She was formerly Vice Chairman of Business Relations for the Conservative party, and has won numerous awards for her media expertise, including Businesswoman of the Year at the British Muslim Awards 2016,‏ the Lloyds TSB AWA Achievement Awards 2015 and Media Professional of the Year Award Winner in 2014.

I hope you enjoy the interview. And if you have any questions, just send them in using the contact form and we’ll try to answer them.

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Brand Doctor: A brief bio.

I’ve spent nearly 40 years in advertising, marketing, design and branding. Starting life as a graphic designer and copywriter, I worked for Top-100 companies. I then progressed to heading up brand consultancies responsible for sales and marketing, branding, corporate identity and advertising for Yellow Pages, Virgin, AVIVA, EMI and British Telecom to name a few.

Throughout the years, I’ve also helped smaller businesses dramatically improve profits through building a powerful brand. (Not-for-profit organisations have seen their donor income increase using my brand approach too.)

I’m also a qualified psychotherapist. How people think and behave is crucial to knowing how to brand a business, and with 15 years of experience in the field of psychology, I'm better equipped than most to deliver brands that connect and engage with customers.

Psychology is a rare ingredient in marketing, but it should really lead the way. My psychotherapy work greatly influences the approach to branding I teach and formed the basis for my international best-selling book Branding Your Business.

‘James gave two consecutive keynotes for the past two years at our annual Indonesian Superbrands Conference. He is a breath of fresh air, bringing clarity and understanding to an audience of 400 senior marketing executives hungry for knowledge of ways to create leading-edge business and branding strategies.

James is now a Member of the Board of Advisors, Most Valued Business Indonesia, an exciting new initiative to recognise brands not just for their revenue, but for their social responsibility.

Whenever James comes to Indonesia, his fans eagerly await the latest from the Brand Doctor – and they are never disappointed. Thanks James – and good luck in all you do.’

– Alistair Speirs OBE
Chairman, Superbrands Indonesia
and Most Valued Brands

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