Why Purpose Is Important To Your PR Strategy

In the last few years, it has become abundantly clear that brands leading their industries are the ones that are leading with purpose. In fact, Nielsen’s 2015 “Global Corporate Sustainability Report” found that 66% of consumers would actually be willing to pay more for sustainable brands. Today, that trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

This past year, Patagonia has done a brilliant job navigating the current presidency by standing up for public lands and the environment. Nike has taken a similar stand (subscription required) with its polarizing brand ambassador Colin Kaepernick, who has become a fighting force for equality and inclusion.

This year at Intrepid Group, we became the largest certified benefit corporation (B Corp) among adventure travel companies, joining U.S. brands like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s in binding our business goals to the environment and social equality, moving beyond a single bottom line.

While pursuing B Corp status aligned with our overarching goal of having a purpose beyond profit, it also became our most important and highest performing public relations (PR) story of the year. Many of the major travel outlets, and even business publications, were quick to take on this news, indicating just how receptive purpose-led messaging has become in today’s media landscape.

Here are three ways purpose can play an incredibly important role in your overall communications strategy.

Competitive Advantage
There are many industries simply saturated with competition. When developing press releases or media alerts, it can be incredibly difficult to form a concrete narrative around what sets your product or service apart from the competition.

Take, for example, the holiday season, where every editor becomes absolutely inundated with pitches from retailers for their annual gift guides. By having a goodwill element to your product, it gives you a clear edge over more generic products. This gift guide published in Women’s Day is an example of this in practice. You’ll see winter hats that donate profits to cancer research, jewelry that supports local artisans and fair trade, and backpacks that provide free bags to youth living in poverty.

An ethical business can be your strongest competitive advantage. When pitching, there are two things to keep in mind. One is that your message and impact are succinct and easy to describe, as you’re often only going to be given a few sentences in a round-up story. Second, be sure you can speak to the tangible impact of your organization, with measurable and actionable metrics. Tentree is a great example of this, as its organization plants 10 trees for every article of clothing sold — simple, succinct and impactful.

Expanded Media Coverage

Responsible business, shared value and corporate social responsibility are concepts that transcend all industries. Because of this, there are dedicated news distribution services and publications like CSRwire and TriplePundit that solely focus on sustainable business news — not to mention dedicated editorial under titles like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company that focus specifically on social impact.

When you lead with purpose, your stories have the potential to live well beyond your specific industry or area of focus. Expanding your pool of target publications is a surefire way of increasing your overall volume of coverage. Pitching publications that focus specifically on responsible business requires a deeper and more detailed level of transparency and reporting. Be prepared to provide supporting documentation that is data-driven, like integrated reports, emission reports and even donation records.

Greater Brand Equity With Editors

At the end of the day, not every editor or journalist is going to be able to run with your story. In fact, only a small number of pitches will ever become full features. However, constantly pitching and staying on editorial radars is massively important in maintaining and achieving brand relevance.

When we pitched our B Corp news at Intrepid Group, the feedback was tremendous. Editors praised us for our leadership in environmental stewardship, and while not all of them ran the story, it certainly has helped build our brand and create more authority and trust with leading media outlets. We’re seen as a company that continues to innovate and lead our industry with purpose, and that certainly will make future pitches and conversations much easier.

When approaching the topic of purpose and sustainability, consider sending a monthly impact report to your media contacts. A simple summary outlining anything from volunteer hours to dollars donated will ensure your purpose message always stays top of mind.

Today, newsrooms and consumers are increasingly motivated to support brands that take a stance on social issues, champion environmental stewardship and use their voice as a force for good. Purpose is no longer a marketing tactic, but rather core to a business’s bottom line. And the brands that truly practice what they preach are often the ones finding the greatest success in PR and beyond.

This article was taken from here.

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