I've been meaning to sink my teeth in Michael Fineman's explanation of "brand PR", in two parts, which I think really gets at how those of us trained in traditional PR can apply what we know to advancing a company's strategic goals. What Fineman really gets at is bridging the divide between PR and marketing in a way that respects and stays true to the discipline of public relations:
So, in a nutshell, Brand PR as I originally defined it and continue to uphold today is about communicating meaning — what the brand stands for — with a focus on building emotional connections with shared values, creating a "persona," establishing a voice, and demonstrating clearly how the brand meets a demand, trend or issue. But the concept can only really be explained with an example.
The example he provides is a good one: A campaign on behalf of a California-based poultry company to educate local consumers about the habit of out-of-state competitors to use saltwater to keep their chicken fresh:
In the end, we earned 300 million media impressions, 50,000 signatures on petitions to the USDA to disallow the "fresh and natural" labeling on "plumped" chicken and these efforts were championed by a U.S. Senator from California (still under review by USDA.). The Los Angeles Times endorsed the Foster Farms campaign, possibly the first commercial campaign endorsed in a Times editorial. The campaign also earned Foster Farms, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and Fineman PR an Effie, one of the most prestigious ad and marketing industry awards. Foster Farms won solid consumer positioning as a trusted brand, providing consumers what they wanted: optimal value at a time when many food producers were shrinking packages to leverage profit.
Consumers got it. Market share was maintained during this period, and that was especially notable compared to most industry producers' loss of market share to private label during the same period.What more can I add? This is exactly the kind of public relations we should all be practicing.