Public Relations (PR) has long been a powerful marketing tool for companies. Global giants like Nike, Amazon, Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonalds etc. all used PR to their advantage. In today’s digital environment, PR has a greater impact than ever. Let’s see how these companies used their investment in PR to their advantage.
Nike always seems to find itself on everyone’s lips. Depending on who you ask this can be a good or a bad thing. Successful PR requires you to understand these three important fundamentals: knowing your audience, creating controversy, and thinking strategically, but also to have the discipline to execute on them. Nike knows exactly who their audience is, which are professional athletes and female customers. Nike made a bold PR move because they knew it would resonate with their audience and infuriate people outside of their audience. Most brands try to please everyone, and that’s where they go wrong. Nike used passion as controversy, and it benefited them in the long run. Their target market stood by them and their sales increased.
Amazon is dominating the e-commerce space. Research shows that Americans trust Amazon more than the government and the press. PR is the science behind creating trust. Amazon started its growth simply by emails. Every time someone ordered something off their site, the Amazon system built up a profile of their tastes and sent them personalized e-mails telling them about new items. That built good one-on-on relationships. Relationship building and one-to-one PR remains the key to Amazon’s success.
Apple always creates a buzz on their new and upcoming products. They use speculation to their advantage. Every time there’s a new product, they go through lengths to preserve the confidentiality. They create teasers and cliff hangers to keep their audience on their toes. Another tactic of Apple is the illusion of scarcity. They only stock a limited amount of their products in stores during product launch days. This creates desirability with their customers. And lastly, Apple has created a community of followers who identify with their innovativeness, simplicity, and coolness. They maintain their brand values and brand culture which leads to many people standing in long lines for their products.
Coca-Cola has remained popular because of its branding and marketing as well as its PR activities. One of the main PR activities is supporting responsible corporate governance. Since it is a US company it plays a key role in political decisions. The company makes financial contributions to key political parties in the US, which help in influencing governance. They also invest their time in intensive environmental conservation efforts. One of its major policies is to promote sustainability by promoting the 3Rs of reduce, recover, and renew. The 3Rs encourage the reduction of the percentage of plastic bottling, recovering these bottles via recycling, and renewing old bottles. PR activities have helped popularize the company and its audience because it makes them look responsible.
McDonalds also used social responsibility to their advantage. Globally, everyone knows about McDonalds. They are a huge success, and they started it by telling a story. They started helping the community, this gave them an edge when branding the company. The creation of Ronald McDonald Houses was an entirely new concept. They were established so that the parents of seriously ill children that required treatment in distant hospitals would have a place to stay at minimal or no cost while the child was under treatment. They also have other initiatives to give back to the community.
It’s usually less expensive, more powerful, and longer lasting to create a vision about a company using PR than advertising. A company vision is typically something that is inspiring. It helps make customers, as well as their employees, feel good about a company.