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Brand purpose era is the time for PR agencies to shine

Brand purpose is 2019’s biggest buzz phrase. We’ve blogged about this so many times it’s any wonder we have much left to write, yet some people still don’t seem to grasp that now is the time to look for PR agencies as partners because of this emerging revolution.

The conscious consumer era is a boon to anyone in the public relations game. Establishing, cementing and furthering reputations is what this job is all about, and as competition grows for ‘green points’ so will demand for reputation experts. I.e. PR agencies.

Cast your mind back to Christmas, if you can, when Iceland emerged the unlikely victor of the seasonal advertising wars. Just look at the real impact of the store’s commercial, originally a Greenpeace animated film, featuring Rang-tan the Orangutan.

The yield was:

Consumer consideration of Iceland in supermarket sector— +5.9 points

Iceland talkability score— +7.9 points

Making mountains from molehills

The reason the advert worked so well wasn’t because of the advert itself, but the resulting ban preventing it from being shown on TV due to rules restricting political commercials. Someone, or perhaps some people, somewhere, understood that word-of-mouth now trumps an advert ten-fold, and there’s no better way to get mouths speaking words than with banned content.

Word-of-mouth being a cornerstone of PR agencies.

It was one of the shrewdest moves we have seen in some time, and over the last two months Iceland has built on that success. Palm oil is gone from its own-brand products, and plastic is following in the next five years. Individually, these would be relatively small success stories, but when you combine the three you start to see why the retailer is currently riding high in the reputation stakes.

Ready to reach higher

All this comes at a time when all major UK retailers are making some impressive steps towards reducing their impact on the environment, not least plastic, as this BBC article details

However, Iceland’s ‘palm oil pledge’ is a key differentiator. The store is already leading the way on rejecting a substance that decimates precious rainforests in Indonesia, ‘Rang-tan”s home. Out of the starting blocks well before the competition, then.

This places the retailer in a dual position. On the one hand, it has energy that results from a positive ongoing reinvention— from ‘simple frozens’ to ‘environmental champion’ brand. However, as our MD Rick Guttridge’s recent thought leadership piece explained, even the biggest household names can fall from grace without good guidance and clever moves.

This is where PR agencies really come into their own. While often called upon to douse the flames of reputation fires, plenty of public relations work involves leveraging what excellent credentials are already there. Like our client Silentnight and its Eco Comfort Breath Mattress by applying a megaphone that cuts across all aspects of the comms departments.

At a time when brand purpose and conscious consumption are the defining concepts of the business world, the power of PR is likely to be felt more than ever before.


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