Every industry has their “experts.” None are more dominant than in the PR world, however. There are branding experts, social media experts, publicity experts, etc. The list goes on and on. They seem to be springing up at conventions, seminars and PRSA meetings across the country. As people continue looking for the “next big thing” in their industry, companies are noticing who’s stealing the spotlight and who’s shaping opinions.
Now, the big question is, can one or even a few of these “influencers” help a company connect with the correct target audience? Companies who hire PR firms want one thing: to tell their story, in a way that resonates, whether it’s to a niche community or global business leaders.
Traditional brand building creates attention through ads, publicity, appearances and articles. Working with key influencers can create buzz about your client in specific circles of interest.
Which method is worth the time and money? The best answer is a combination of both.
Traditional brand building is good for reaching the masses. This means that you spend your money sprinkling your message over a massive group of citizens. The good news is that this method can make a huge impact quickly. What is the downside? You must hope that the message gets to the one or two consumers who will buy or use your product/service, and then hopefully, they will spread the word further to their friends.
Today, it’s critical to take the next step. An influencer could be the new game changer your organization needs. The influencer, whether it is a small group of people or just one expert can hit your immediate target audience to penetrate any confusion created in a mass audience. This targeted approach can get the job done that traditional brand building can’t do alone.
A good influencer not only has credibility, but has a creative spark. They look for trends and spread the news to their wide bandwidth of followers. People rely on these influencers for things that will be hot the next couple of years. They are experts in building a brand and creating interest in a particular product or service.
For example, a popular social media influencer is Peter Shankman. He is the founder of HARO (Help a Reporter Out). His expertise is prominent through media interviews, as well as seminars across the country. And the tech world wouldn’t have made such fantastic strides over the past decade without Apple’s Steve Jobs or Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. These people see the next big thing and go after it. This in turn builds brand identity for their company, stimulates innovation and creates real value.
No matter how a company chooses its course of action, one thing is certain; influencers should be embraced along with traditional PR tactics. They could be the ultimate weapon in building and selling a concept, idea or even a brand.