Tips For Tackling Social Issues Using a Brand Purpose

According to a recent study, 69% of U.S. adults use at least one social media site. That’s a hefty portion of the population, making social media a powerful tool for marketing, sales, and advertising. It also makes it a powerful tool to advocate for social causes or bring attention to social issues. This can be tricky territory for a company profile, as brands often don’t want to offend or scare off consumers that may have different viewpoints. And this is a real risk. We’ve seen it often enough with calls to boycott Starbucks or boycott Nike that smaller companies may not be willing to exact that risk. However, with risk there is reward and today we’re going to dive into how exactly to approach integrating social issues into your social media marketing efforts.

Consumer Value Marketing
One point that we’ll keep coming back to today is the idea that the strongest connection you can make with an audience is over a shared value. When thinking about this in terms of your consumer, using social issues can be a way to build brand equity. By listening to your consumer, you can find out what causes they care about. This can be done through social listening, i.e., asking questions on your social media channels, hosting Q&As, creating focus groups, etc.

Once you know what your consumers are concerned about, ask yourself how you can emotionally connect with them. How can you align your brand with values that matter to your customer base? Once you’ve determined where to focus your attention, your consumers will follow along since they’re the ones that guided you on how to get there. By reaching your consumers where they already are, you’re making it one step easier for them to engage with your message and build a foundation of trust.

Company Value Marketing
The second method to issue-related marketing is one that is bolder and more aggressive. As previously mentioned, the strongest connection a company (or anyone) can make with their audience is over a shared value. Instead of asking your consumers for their input on what they value, companies can also decide for themselves what their values are and trust fans to meet them there.

The first step in this process is often to ask, “what do we, as a company, believe” and then go from there. This often looks like revisiting a mission statement or a company value list to see where internal beliefs reflect external issues. If your company is dedicated to accepting and embracing diversity in the workplace, then your company should speak out on issues related to diversity. But rather than arbitrarily speaking out, create campaigns and awareness around what types of changes you would like to see. Research bills or laws that are in development. Partner with organizations that also care about the same issues. By giving your audience action items they can take, it not only creates a bond over a shared value but also cultivates the chance for change.

Mitigating the Risk
In either of these approaches, brands run the risk of alienating consumers. It’s the name of the game and will often make higher-ups nervous. However, there are a couple ways that you can prep internally before speaking out to make sure that the roll out of these campaigns are successful and smooth.

  • No Response is a response.
    • Look, we all know what a troll looks like on social media. If community managers spent their days responding to every single person just looking to stir the pot, we’d never get any other work done. If you know that your platform is solid and the call to action is legitimate, there’s not always a need to respond. Letting your values speak for themselves allows you to continue to take the high road as opposed to responding to every unhappy Tweet.
  • Let your fans defend for you. 
    • In most cases, it’s not even necessary for you to defend yourself. If you are creating awareness around an issue that incites controversy, allow your audience that does stand with your core value to do the work for you. They’ll often times show up in better ways than you can.
  • If this, then this.
    • Plan ahead with your team. Create IFTTT statements from all those that might be needed (CEO, CFO, VP, etc.) ahead of time so that if a media outlet requests a comment you already have it ready to go. Set up internal communication plans for every possible situation. If there’s an overall positive reaction, go with Plan A. If there’s an overall negative reaction, go with Plan B. By thinking through all the possible outcomes before you launch, your team can rest easy knowing they’re ready to handle anything.


At the end of the day, getting involved with social issues on social media will not please everyone. However, a recent study shows that millennials are more receptive to cause marketing than previous generations and are more likely to buy items associated with a cause. They also expect companies to support the social issues and causes they care about and will reward them for doing so. And with millennials now eclipsing the size of the baby boomer generation and becoming the largest in America, they are not a demographic to ignore.

If you’re interested in assistance with social media strategy or management, contact Lauryn Gray to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation.

Four reasons why your company needs PR

“Thank You for Smoking.” “The West Wing.” “Wag the Dog.”

These are all movies and TV shows that revolve around public relations. Now, if you notice, most of these involve some sort of crisis or needed “spin.” Flashback to more than a decade ago, and there was a slight stigma surrounding public relations. Often times PR was viewed as just “putting out fires” and only used when there was an emergency.

While we still help with crisis communications, utilizing a PR agency can provide great value for your company in many other ways.  

It can increase your brand’s credibility.
One of the biggest things PR can do for your business is help improve your overall brand credibility. Not only can secured media coverage be used as sales collateral, but it also shows readers that you are considered an expert in your industry. Media coverage in top-tier outlets or even specific trade publications shows others that your brand is worthy of recognition. With the right messaging and strategy, PR can increase your credibility as an established and potentially profitable investment target.

It can help create new business leads.
When done correctly, public relations can help improve business outcomes by generating new leads. When your brand or product is strategically placed in targeted or niche media outlets, you are becoming more visible to your target audience(s). At Dittoe PR, we focus on pitching the right publications – while you might not get the fancy national media hit every month, we can guarantee correct placement in the best publications for you.   

It can save you a buck or two.
If you haven’t checked how much it costs to advertise in a publication…don’t. Kidding. But it can be extremely expensive. That’s why we focus on earned media coverage and creating relationships with reporters. When we send over an ad value for a piece of coverage, that’s how much it would have cost to purchase an advertisement. Yes, you’re still paying an agency for their services, but it’s at the fraction of the overall advertising cost.

It can let you focus on your business at hand. 
Media relations is a full-time job (believe us, or else we’d be jobless). That’s why hiring a PR agency can help alleviate the pressure of running a business while building brand awareness (this is especially true for startups). While you’re working on the mechanics of the company, an agency will focus on media outreach, drafting content, submitting awards and more on your behalf.

We love hearing from new businesses who want to add PR to their queue. Think your organization could benefit from our assistance? Be sure to check out our full list of services and reach out to Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com today!




Five Skills to Take PR Pros to the Next Level

There’s no doubt about it – PR is no longer just press releases. While media relations and communication skills cannot be understated, exceptional public relations pros will know how to utilize non-traditional skills to stand out and make an impact for their clients.

 

The way we communicate is constantly changing, which means PR professionals need to adapt quickly and creatively to share their message. If you want to get ahead and pick up a few tips and tricks to add to your toolbox, here are a few great places to start.

 

Invest in some design skills.

Being able to make an eye-catching infographic to wow your client no longer requires years of design school. Graphic design and public relations are often thought of as two separate disciplines, but a good campaign is strategic and cohesive. Being able to create a great design, whether it is for an infographic or a poster, can increase your impact. You can check out some video tutorials online (thanks, YouTube!) or even use free design software such as Canva.

 

Video is the future.

It’s hard not to notice video’s rapid rise in media. If this tactic isn’t part of your efforts this year, you are potentially missing out reaching a huge audience. 147 million Americans watch video on the internet, and that number continues to rise. To reach this audience, check out Instagram stories or IGTV, or plan a Facebook Live. For example, Dittoe PR used IGTV recently when sharing our favorite moments of 2018, and that video received more than 250 views. There are so many ways to engage with video – try some out!

 

Hone your photographic eye.

Whether you are taking photos at an event to send in a pinch or snapping a shot for social media, knowing how to take an eye-catching photo can give you a step up. Want to try it out? Try using different angles, light, and dimensions when taking photos. Practice your skills (even just on your iPhone!) and snap away.

 

Stay social media savvy.

Understanding two-way communication with your audience on social media platforms is key in today’s social media driven world. Social media is not only for sharing, it is also great for engaging and interacting with your followers. Create a social media plan, post consistently, and interact with your followers to build your community. And don’t forget to test out those new photos, videos and graphics you created!

 

Keep up to date.

In a rapidly changing industry, it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and tactics. Some easy ways to stay up-to-date include following PR blogs on Twitter, setting Google alerts and being involved in your local PRSA chapter. We also post more trends and tips on our blog.

 

At Dittoe PR, we are proud to provide results-focused campaigns and custom strategies for our clients. Interested in learning more? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation for your company today!

 

By: Keeley Miller (Dittoe PR intern)