MAM: PR mistakes are SMEs making?

Small PR catches up with Claudia Moselhi, director and founder of CLO PR.

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What sort of services do you primarily offer SMEs – marketing and PR, just marketing or just PR?

Mostly PR, but we also provide brand proposition and brand narrative services.

Do you primarily deal with SMEs? Yes, primarily SMEs as well as public organisations like the British Library and member organisations such as the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

What mistakes if any are SMEs making when it comes to marketing themselves?

One challenge I come up against regularly when working with clients is the lack of research and knowledge of their target audience.

If you appeal to everyone, you appeal to no-one. It’s important for the customer to tell you who they are and how you should target them, not you. It’s about testing your products/services, prices, packaging among different consumers and getting as much feedback as you can.

It’s no use building marketing and PR for the wrong audience. I think businesses need to work harder to understand who is going to buy their product or service now, and in the future.

Are there certain SMEs worse at marketing than others?

Based on my experience, it’s often the businesses operating in the B2B space that sell themselves short when it comes to marketing and creative thinking.

B2B doesn’t have to be B2Boring. If you’re a business selling to businesses, it’s vital to remember that you’re selling to people. The brand needs to act like a person.

What strategic tips would you give to improve SMEs PR of their business?

No matter how large or small, SMEs depend on their reputation for survival and success. Good reputation brings customers and their loyalty. If customers already know about you and trust you, they are more likely to buy from you or do business with you.

To improve your PR for positive impact, start by knowing who you are as a brand and stick to it. What is your brand identity and how do you compare to your competitors?

This will bring clarity when it comes to crafting a compelling PR story about your purpose. If you believe in your story, then so will others.

Also, knowing what your objectives are for PR is vital. Is it to increase sales? Increase awareness of the brand? Enter a new market? Or attract great employees? This thinking will help you determine what type of PR strategy and story you’re going to create.

Are there any common mistakes SMEs make?

SMEs often obsess about creating the ‘perfect’ product or service. But it’s useless if it can’t reach the customer’s hands. You need to think about how to generate traction, your marketing and PR strategy and how you’ll get your brand out there.

There can be a misconception that the brand, and all its whizzy marketing and PR, sit apart from the business but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The brand is the living, breathing mouthpiece of the business and they are both intrinsically connected. Customers now demand greater transparency from businesses they buy from and they will see inside the business if they want to. With every move the business makes, the brand will reflect this. So make sure that the business is built on strong values that inform every aspect within – from sales and marketing to staff recruitment and processes.

This will help to make your business worth shouting about to the media and customers alike.

Businesses will often switch PR off and on to save a few pennies but it’s damaging for brand awareness. You need to build in PR – whether that’s traditional, social or digital – to operate constantly, even if it’s a trickle of activity.

Media channels are constantly changing, customers are become ever more fickle, whilst new competitors will arise from anywhere, so you need to ensure that a constant stream of communication with your customers and potential new customers is in place.

Keeping them engaged with genuine content is key or they’ll quickly move on to someone new.

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