From the desk of our founder, Shauna Nuckles
I’ve spent my entire professional life working within the media landscape — starting my career as a journalist at a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily newspaper to leading PR campaigns for multi-million and billion dollar brands to now, running my own boutique firm as well as a training company for PR teams.
One of our core client verticals is DTC & ecommerce brands, especially the products that make our lives healthier — like natural beauty, organic food & beverage products, supplements and home goods.
As we shared in a previous article, there are several unique PR opportunities for product-based brands to be featured by top tier media outlets right now.
There are also several PR mistakes that ecommerce brands are making that will not only let these opportunities fall by the wayside, but could potentially sabotage the long-term success of their brand.
Are you making any of these mistakes in your brand?
Mistake #1: Doing Nothing
Doing nothing when it comes to PR & marketing is the most common mistake I see many brands making right now. This is especially true for DTC brands who’ve had to deal with many COVID curveballs, like supply chain issues, overextended teams, navigating changing WFH policies and more. These compound on top of the personal struggles we’ve all had to face over the past year.
I get it — it’s an overwhelming time to run a business. Heck, it’s an overwhelming time to do anything. I also know that no brand is too big or too small to ignore the importance of staying relevant to their target customers, especially right now.
This is exactly what great PR does for ecommerce brands, making you visible and relevant to those who might buy or share your products.
At its core, PR is all about building trust — exactly what consumers crave from the companies they’re purchasing from today. According to a recent study, the pandemic has significantly increased not only consumer desire to buy brands that are ethical and align with their values, but their willingness to pay a premium for them.
PR is a powerful tool to share and amplify your brand values, connecting with the consumers you aim to reach and influence to buy your products.
Ecommerce & product companies not using PR to connect more deeply with their audience become the internet’s best kept secret, which doesn’t help their business or their customers.
They will also get left behind by brands that choose to get into the hearts and minds of consumers through aligned values, much like brands of yesteryear who thought selling on the internet was a passing trend for fringe society.
Mistake #2: Ignoring Influencer Opportunities
Throughout the pandemic, I’ve seen several articles claiming that the Coronavirus will bring on the end of Influencer Marketing.
As someone who started partnering with influencers on behalf of clients before Instagram even existed or they were ever called “influencers,” I can say with 100% certainty that the end isn’t anywhere in sight.
Influencers will always be a powerful way to raise the visibility of a company, especially for a product-based brand. The foundation of influencer marketing is based on a best practice strategy that will always work — create meaningful partnerships with individuals who are already known and trusted by the consumers you’re trying to reach.
Influencer marketing has become increasingly sophisticated, and how it’s successfully executed to help businesses build awareness and drive sales will evolve, just like every other aspect of the media landscape, but it’s not going anywhere.
I know many product brands are hesitant to partner with influencers for a variety of reasons. If you’ve tried to DIY an influencer program or hand it off to the college intern to oversee, it’s not uncommon to get burned by influencers who over-promised what they can deliver, to send out a ton of free samples and never see any ROI or get overwhelmed by all it takes to manage and track an influencer program.
However, brands that ignore influencers all together are missing an opportunity to quickly and consistently build brand awareness and reputation. Influencers are an especially strong and impactful strategy for products used and consumed on a daily basis like food, beverage, beauty, skincare or supplements.
Why? Influencers are constantly sharing a behind-the-scenes of their lives, and if they use and share a certain product consistently, it builds compounding familiarity, trust and credibility for your brand with the influencer’s community. When done right, influencer programs also yield increased sales, high-quality content that can be re-shared by your social media team, larger audiences for retargeting campaigns and more.
Are you passing up on these opportunities in your business?
Mistake #3: Not Positioning Your Brand and Products as Essential
Another consumer habit that’s changed with the pandemic is how the majority of people are making purchasing decisions.
Consumers are purchasing what they deem essential and necessary. Period.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re purchasing rice and beans, though.
At the beginning of the pandemic, consumers began taking stock in their purchase habits for a variety of reasons. For a short time, it became increasingly difficult to get basics like toilet paper, soap and eggs. Further, with the economic climate, many felt it necessary to start buying more carefully.
Luxury purchases went down, and instead, consumers began closely examining what they bought, purchasing items that provided direct value to their lives.
What does this mean for your products? Your brand messaging must showcase how your products are essential to your customers lives, right now.
Quality hair care and personal grooming products are essential to those who can’t make it to the salon or barber as often as they did before the pandemic and are therefore choosing to DIY at home.
Statement earrings become essential to the fashion-obsessed professional women who can no longer use their shoes and outfits to express their personality, and turn to earrings for Zoom meeting flair.
Affordable home decor becomes essential to the urban individuals who used to spend 99% of their time at the office, gym and out on the town, but now live, work, exercise and entertain at home.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Whatever product you’re selling, it must be positioned in a way that makes it essential to your customers’ lives in this moment.
This is actually a PR & marketing best practice all the time, but one that can’t be overlooked or ignored right now if you want to stay relevant and visible to your target audience.
Are you making any of these mistakes inside your company?
If yes, now is the time to remedy before they impact your brand’s long-term success.