We begin today’s discussion with a well-known brand. Ladies, help me out here. When considering a luxury brand such as Tiffany’s, what comes to mind?
Forget diamonds – have you seen their new leather collection?
If we must speak about diamonds, did you know you could get an 18-carat white gold brooch with “Love” written in diamonds? All for today’s low price of $40,000!
Remember your “normal” watch? How about a Tiffany’s cocktail watch in 18-carat white gold lined with diamonds for a cool $75,000? Good news: it’s water-resistant up to 30 meters.
Have you ever worn something from Tiffany’s? Dare I say owned? What do you think about Tiffany’s? More importantly, why do you feel the way you do about this established brand?
Now, let’s move to your business’ brand. Real estate is close to home for me, so I’ll use this as an example. There’s a difference in a real estate agent and a REALTOR®. But, as a REALTOR®, how do you communicate this difference? What’s the advantage? There has to be something more than the trademarked symbol. For those in this industry, this is their brand…just like Tiffany’s.
Here’s where public relations comes in. [What – you didn’t expect this?] Public relations is like the elevator button. When you want to go upstairs, you go to the elevator and push the button, and when it dings, you turn and walk in it. Very Pavlov. Follow me? REALTORS® want to brand themselves so that when someone wants to buy or sell a home, they turn to a REALTOR® and not just any old real estate agent. Make sense? More specifically (and here’s where we get competitive), when someone wants to buy or sell a home, they call your agency or better yet…you! Public relations works to accomplish this.
Public relations is simply who’s talking about what you are doing. I’ve used the real estate industry as my primary example here, but this concept travels. Ideally, you want people to say: “I need to _____, so I’d better call ________.” Insert your law firm, photography studio or pre-manufactured metal building company, and you get the idea.
- Observation No. 1: Listen.
- Do you read The Commercial Appeal, Memphis Business Journalor Memphis Daily News on a regular basis? Your clients are hearing things about your business and industry, and you need to be able to talk about that and provide perspective.
- Observation No. 2: Find appropriate ways/areas to communicate your messages.
- Community Involvement – What a great arena in which to communicate in a grassroots manner about what it is you want to get across.
- Make it personal and credible – Advertising is not the way to do this. The praise of another takes on new meaning and legitimacy when it’s unpaid.
You, and your employees alike, serve as ambassadors for your business and industry, whether you like it or not. Who’s talking about what you are doing? And what are they saying?
Ding! Your elevator just arrived…