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Cutting Through Sponsored Noise with PR

  • by Career Moves PR, Marketing & Digital
  • 27 Nov 2018

When developing brand engagement between businesses and consumers, third-party endorsements add depth and reality to a brand’s messaging, whilst reaching a potentially untapped market. Yet inorganically integrating content into an audience’s newsfeed through paid placements, advertising, and PPC, lacks the trusted insights offered by PR communications.

On a day-to-day basis, those that interact in the online community are approached with potential buying opportunities cleverly designed to evoke a purchasing response. And consumers are aware of the transaction associated with content sponsorship. The content loses value and becomes noise to the consumer as they recognise that in a paid advertising model, it is not the merit that has earnt the company’s place and promotion.

Consumers are tuning out of paid advertisement. So how do we continue to raise brand awareness?

Forrester Research 2017 concluded that brand attitudes, both good and bad, are shaped by the following three principles:

· Emotion

According to the report, emotion accounts for
approximately 75% of brand connection with
prospective customers. This is “the variety of
emotions that consumers associate with the brand.”

· Salience

How prominent is the content for the consumer?

· Fit

This analyses whether a brand is “relevant to a
person’s lifestyle as well as how well it meets
tangible needs.”

When company promotion stems from successful PR campaigns, the endorsing company will only promote material if it ties into these three areas of their readership as they have their own engagement metrics and community to build resonance with. Building an amazing brand that is then externally invested plays into the consumer’s natural narrative of media consumption, can play in the emotional interaction of the consumer’s buying process and continues to cut through the noise of paid advertisement.

Quality PR communication rebuilds trust with the consumer as the brand holds enough strength to be positively represented  in the marketplace by an associated voice. When this content is organically placed within the realm of the consumer, the brand has earned their place to be represented through another media outlet.

Yet, since brands do not have direct control over the messaging issued by an external outlet, investment shifts to areas where they hold direct influence and can control the brand messaging. The strategic flaw? That marketers are missing content that holds higher resonance with target audiences through the invocation of trust external parties hold with their readership. Rather than building brand awareness from the bottom-up, promotion from an external source that already has a loyal readership can provide influence in the customer journey.

When endorsed through third-party insights, brand messaging is brought to life through relatable, and relevant, content that is placed to enrich a reader’s life. In these scenarios, the author will only receive a return on investment once there is increased readership, increased pageviews, and returning readers. These indicating consumer behaviours solidify the author’s trusted relationship through validating the quality of information that has been relayed.

This means that journalists will only witness the value of their investment following the release of the article, and the article will only be released if the journalist believes that the promoted company can bolster their market reputation. If the journalist breaks the trust of its readers through
divesting a service that does not live up to the expose
written, then this trust will be broken, and their investment will be lost.

As an organic approach to entering the consumer’s perspective, earned media adds to the emotional impact when influencing a consumer’s behaviours and buying decisions.  Consumers are engaged with a soft introduction to a brand on a relevant and trusted platform that is promoting a company which would fall into the remit of their media community. Press releases, and blogs, related to the consumers interest offers the reader a naturally targeted approach and the choice to be exposed to such media. This freedom is rare to find in the current advertising space and naturally adds credibility to brand exposure.

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