You’ve landed on this blog post and you’re super confused. I don’t blame you. With no context, the title doesn’t make sense at all. But with a little explanation, it will become a simple concept you’ll begin to understand and undoubtedly adopt as a business. Especially if you’re a brand who wants to survive the next few years and welcome a new generation of customers.
This isn’t scaremongering. It’s the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. Not only that, it’s my truth, and do you know who I am? I am your customer. We are all customers, and as marketers, it’s crucial that we start to think like them.
Who is Greta and why do I need to be them?
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Greta Thunberg. A 16-year-old climate change activist who is on a mission to change the world. She is someone who is going the extra mile to make a difference. Literally.
As we speak, Greta is about to arrive in New York City for the UN Climate Action Summit after sailing on a carbon-neutral journey across the Atlantic ocean. She has mastered the trajectory of upholding her own personal brand while keeping the fire of her burning passions alive. Combined, these two elements can create a very effective PR strategy – without the intent.
Greta is as authentic as they come, and that’s how she has positioned herself as a global leader on climate change discussions. To me, brands need to do the same. But they need to put their money where their mouth is and show that they’re actioning their beliefs. A great example of this would be Zara, a retailer who has stated that 100% of their clothes will be made from sustainable fabrics by 2025. Other brands soon followed suit, projecting similar commitments to the public, which all gained authoritative coverage from both publications and shoppers on social.
Curiosity didn’t kill the cat
When I say ‘brands need to be Greta’, what I’m telling you is that you need to be better. It’s really that simple. If you’re not offering exceptional products and services to your customers, or don’t plan to, they will go elsewhere. ‘Conscious consumers’ is a growing market and will soon dominate the shopping experience we know today.
Right now, we’re seeing two types of brands. The first think everything they do is perfect and second knows that they could improve but avoid making the changes. Operating in this mindset today can equal severe consequences and later become extremely difficult to fix. Not even an Edward Bernays strategy could save you.
It all comes down to transparency. PR has shifted tremendously since the days of Bernays and you can no longer fool your customers – purely a direct result of intimate media. Marketers were once the most powerful type of influencer, but the introduction of social media has changed that as both people and brands can be more reactive in real-time.
We no longer work with just three TV channels and a handful of newspapers, which means we have less control over what messages audiences consume. So, when your brand is in a crisis or needs some positive coverage, it can become much more difficult to gain despite the increased media options.
But there is a fix. Your brand just needs to be Greta. Then, PR becomes natural and more reputable. Nobody is trying to fool anybody, and it works.
A message to PR firms
Don’t be afraid to be selective over the people you work with and represent. PR in the 21st century is all about providing access to your resources and generating ideas that can build a better reputation. However, it all starts with the brand – and you need to communicate this back to them.
If they’re doing cool stuff, such as using ethically friendly materials or addressing their gender pay gap, they need to be shouting about this and it’s your job to help them do it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the place PR holds in our society today, so make sure you leave a comment below and we can chat some more. Alternatively, contact me today!