Five communication tips to help build and maintain your brand

Over the years I’ve compiled an ongoing list of thoughts, questions and tips regarding public relations, communications strategy and messaging. Some may seem obvious while others dig a little deeper into the psyche.

Whatever the case, communications is happening all around us. People, customers, those we serve are talking about our products, our services and organizations whether we know it or not. Simply put, they’re talking about our brand.

They’re using all the tools available in today’s technology-rich world to connect, share, make an opinion or vent about a displeasure they experienced (or applaud a great experience).

Here are five of my PR and communication tips and thoughts to help ensure that when “they” are talking about you it’s an accurate and positive portrayal of your products, services and organization.

1) Clarify your story and consider several communication channels when communicating it.
Those who matter to our organizations consume information in many different ways, so let’s consider presenting it in many different ways such as through a press release that gets distributed through an online service, Facebook and/or Twitter, eBook, TV media interview that gets posted on your YouTube channel housed within your online media room, resource guide, monthly newsletter, webinar, byline article, etc.

Additionally, people must read, hear, and/or experience something multiple times (seven to nine) and in multiple ways before they take action. Would you purchase a $30,000 car based on one article you read in your local paper?

2) Media are real people.
Yes, I know, but hearing and speaking with numerous reporters throughout my career this doesn’t appear to be that obvious to some people who are responsible for presenting story ideas to the media. Keep it in mind when reaching out to them, respect their time and know something about them before sending an email or placing that call.

3) Not everything requires a press release.
Press releases are a useful way to get news and information out about your organization—when there is news. However, it’s not the only way.

If you determine that what you have isn’t press release worthy, but may still be of interest to your media contacts, then how about sending an e-mail, making a phone call or direct messaging them (if you have a strong enough relationship)?

A good example of this is following the news and knowing when an interesting trend is developing. You can insert yourself or your organization’s spokesperson into the news cycle by offering to be a resource. You’re an expert in your own space so offer up your knowledge and opinion.

4) Just because you think it’s news doesn’t mean they do.
One of the first questions that will be running through a reporter’s mind when they see or hear your pitch is, “How is this of interest to my readers?” If it’s not, it will fall flat. However, it doesn’t mean that it will fall flat among those who matter to your organization. See point one above and consider other ways to get your helpful information to your customers, supporters and fans.

5) Is it a communications issue or an organizational issue?
Earlier in my career I was contacted by an organization that built high-priced products for its industry (the entry-level price point was around $30,000) to develop a release to announce a new product at a lower price point. I began asking the typical questions, “Why is this product needed?” “What market research has been done?” “How did you determine the price point?” “Has it been tested?” “Who is really going to benefit from this?”

I received a lot of “my gut is telling me” type answers. The red flag went up and a release was never developed. Regardless, the product was developed, sent out into the marketplace and was discontinued within a year. A lot of time, energy and money wasted. Not to mention the reputation and brand equity that had been built up took a hit as a result.

My point is this: If there’s no plan or organizational strategy in place then there’s nothing to build an effective marketing communications plan around. And no single press release will solve the issues an organization is facing.

What challenges are your organization really dealing with and is an organizational strategy in order?

And because there are so many more, here are a few others to ponder:

  • What we do (as communicators) should support the mission and goals of our organization.
  • Keep it simple (in planning and communicating, i.e., eliminate jargon when talking to media or consumers who may not be as familiar with your product or service).
  • Saying “Because it’s the right thing to do” still doesn’t answer the question of “why” it’s the right thing to do.

What tips or advice do you have as it relates to building and maintaining your brand?

A version of this post originally appeared at