"Strategy is a commodity. Execution is an art." - Peter Drucker
We live in a world perceived as commodities. From products like shoes, watches, cars and clothing, to services like banking and healthcare, brand managers strategize and re-invent to distinguish their brand's benefits and experiences for competitive advantage. It's difficult to do, because as Drucker points out, these kinds of strategies are commodities in themselves.
So, what does it take for a brand to break free from competitors to create a "commodity of one" niche in the customer's mind?
Back to Drucker-it's about the art of execution. In communication, skillful execution requires the public relations discipline and a commitment to three principles it uses to win hearts and minds for the long haul.
Inform. Communicate to educate, not sell. In his blog, Jim Doughterty describes the "new normal" in B2B public relations, and it means working to be the trusted information resource committed to informing - not the salesperson committed to promoting. In social media, this means invoking a content strategy such as FrazierHeiby's own 50/30/20 rule: 50% of your content should inform or serve, 30% should be participatory and responsive, and only 20% should be self-promotional in any way.
Inspire. Augere's Caroline Barson astutely points out that marketing must be inspired by PR to build sustainable relationships with customers. Be first to address changes in the marketplace. No brand operates in a static environment. Something is always changing that impacts your customers and stakeholders - new products, trends, practices and regulations/requirements. Maximize your brand's value by being the one that works hardest to inspire the marketplace first.
Engage. How? By demonstrating that you care about what your audiences care about. Deliver information your customers truly value by staying in tune with their interests. Solicit formal and informal feedback on issues and needs of importance to them. For every customer interface and in every medium, answer their question: why should I care?
Keeping these vital PR principles in mind will ensure you have the best possible relationships with stakeholders, and enable you to stake out a position that makes your brand the commodity of one that they choose to do business with.