With so much clutter in the market – from the time we wake up to the time we put down our devices before we go to bed – our lives are bombarded with messages, content and imagery. As content creators and storytellers, we need to create and expedite the path to purchase, focusing on constructing memorable campaigns through creative messaging. How do we then, as PR professionals, create ‘cut-through’ in a world where social media use is on the rise and consumers crave more content?
More often than not, successful campaigns invite users to engage on multiple social media platforms, with everything from exclusive offers to free behind-the-scenes footage delivered through Facebook, Snapchat, WeChat and others. And it’s through the use of these platforms that brand storytellers can create consistent, strong messaging to evoke both an emotional and a rational attachment to a product or service. Here’s how to walk the tightrope between reason and emotion in a content-driven campaign:
While many PR agencies work to sell products and services by simply stating features, creative messaging can dramatically influence purchasing behavior. A more creative and innovative approach sells products and services because they’re viewed as authentic or original, demonstrate unanticipated uses, amplify details and are often seen as converging traditional uses with new and independent ideas.
Creating cut-through takes more than creativity. The most successful brands combine creative messaging with strategy. Brands must provide high-quality content and segment customers to ensure the biggest possible impact. PR agencies and brands need to rapidly create engaging and compelling content targeted at every stage of the customer journey. Real-time analytics and reporting also will put brands ahead of their competitors by knowing what messages will resonate and create a connection with the audience.
Generate positive emotions
In a strategic, creative campaign, emotion is the most important factor – perhaps even more so than conversion or retention. The most successful campaigns stem from positive emotions generated as a result of feeling a sense of connection to the content and brand. The initial positive reaction from the first encounter with the brand, product or service needs to be followed by evoking other positive emotions, which can then lead to a longer attention span, viewership and engagement.
Tell a story
Every good story has a beginning, middle and end. Too much of one element of the storytelling can disengage an audience. As PR professionals, we are given the gift of creating a variety of emotional experiences to keep people intrigued and invested. Creative content has the power to take consumers on a journey, remove any anxiety or confusion they may have about your brand and, most importantly, continue to provide them with a sense of connection to your brand.
Identify who will share the mutually beneficial message
Creating content is one thing, but having that content shared across channels is another. The degree to which the reader is emotionally engaged – and believes that their network will also engage and share – is what makes truly sharable content. Looking at who shares what provides an insight into the sender’s personality and who the early adopters, and potentially endorsers or ambassadors, of your brand might be. Campaigns that go viral are ones where the majority of the audience identify with the message in some form.
To stand out from the crowd and create cut-through, PR is now taking the stage in helping brands re-invent how they sell products. Capturing attention is the first step. Encouraging action and creating a connection is a much greater challenge. With the right combination of storytelling and an integrated strategy, an effective PR campaign can assist not just with building a brand, but also creating long-term ambassadors for your brand.