Media Relations 101: Why authenticity is key to successful brand growth
By Media Relations 101: Why authenticity is key to successful brand growth
May 4, 2022
By Blakelee Land, Director of Strategic Communications
Hi! I’m Blakelee – Director of Strategic Communications at Switchboard. In my role, I oversee all media related to a brand or company’s marketing (or go-to-market strategy) and work together to create maximum impact by implementing holistic media campaigns supporting business goals and initiatives.
To kick off this series, I’ll touch on Media Relations but be sure to check back for upcoming guides on other communications topics and tactics.
As a media relations professional who has worked closely with brands ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, I know how crucial it is to leverage authentic stories and voices that resonate with the target audiences of local, national, and international media partners.
Pivoting, informing, and inspiring
One of my favorite examples of A+ authenticity took place when a tech-giant client was trying to appeal to local media in a new community market. This wasn’t the company’s first rodeo — they were experiencing rapid growth and still are to this day — but it was their first media push during the COVID-19 pandemic.
From a media relations perspective, this was uncharted territory. As well as taking an in-person media event off the table, the situation called for creative ways to accommodate ever-changing pandemic guidelines and general safety concerns. That’s why we connected company leadership with community stakeholders via virtual meet-and-greets that engaged local curiosity and leveraged company expertise. These interactions were then replicated with local media, with one widely-followed journalist given an exclusive “behind-the-curtain” virtual tour of the company’s new location and the many innovations on-site.
The real thing for the win
The campaign would have been a success had the virtual connections ended there. But we took them a step further by providing media with personal stories via interviews and provided quotes/testimonials from real employees and customers. This humanized the brand by connecting it with local people, faces, and businesses. People, after all, are what make a brand special, and even though single quotes or soundbites may seem like small media wins, they are crucial to building brand authenticity and inspiring customer loyalty.
Authenticity goes global
The same kind of approach can be taken when the stakes are higher. By using real customers in video teasers, sneak peeks, and other public-facing content prior to a brand entering a new international market, media relationships and interest can be in place pre-launch. Whether you’re pitching media in Vancouver or Venice, it’s crucial to have some form of expert boots-on-the-ground support. Think of it this way: When you get invited to a work party but don’t know anyone there, it’s always nice to be with a friend who can introduce you to guests who could be crucial to your success and growth. When a brand is entering a new international market, media relations professionals ARE that friend!
Whether your brand is new to media or well-established, having a nimble and authentic media relations strategy that covers you in local, national, and even international markets is essential.Curious about any other aspects of media relations? Please email any questions you have to the Switchboard Team at firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Media Relations 101” in the subject line.