As a gal in public relations, I have touched a wide range of industries that include everything from real estate, reproductive services, apps, family farms, education and much more. Each client brings something unique to the table and always teaches me something new about PR.
Some of the lessons I’ve learned in the past year are the differences between consumer PR—which is more focused on utilizing media to gain publicity around a product, service or place: and corporate PR—which tends to utilize media to establish or heighten a company’s brand. Here are a few of distinguishing factors:
- Language: When crafting messaging and documents for a consumer client, the language is often chock-full of adjectives. You want entice your target audience and interest them in using the service or product that you’re promoting. For a recent fitness club client, we incorporated a lot of adjectives into our messaging (like “luxurious” and “top-notch”) that created the image of a high-end gym for readers.
For corporations, language should be more straightforward and direct about what the company is, what it does, and why it’s important. It can still be exciting, but lot of times media messaging will incorporate industry terminology that may not make sense to the average person, but will make sense to industry professionals and will shed the company in a good light.
- Media Coverage: When promoting a consumer product or service, the motto is the more the merrier. The more placements that the product has in the press, the better. With corporate clients, you’ll often find that it’s not always so much about quantity as it is about quality. Some corporate clients don’t care so much that their press release was picked up in 10 different outlets, but are delighted if a story is placed in the Wall Street Journal because that publication is widely read within the client’s industry.
- Target Audience: For consumer PR clients, you’re trying to appeal to specific consumers. When I worked on an account for a local farm, we were looking to get into consumer outlets like WickedLocal newspapers and Boston magazine, which are likely read by mothers that might take their children to the farm. For corporate clients, you’ll likely also be looking to reach industry professionals, whether that be peers, competitors or target clients. So your target outlets will probably include trade publications.
Don’t be fooled, though—there’s always room for overlap! For example, though a real estate companies tend to be corporate clients, if a residential building is in lease-up and the company is trying to attract potential buyers, that’s where consumer pitching comes in handy. On the flip side, for a client called Breather, we pitched both consumer and real estate publications as we promoted the company’s Boston launch because the client wanted to be known in that sector. In public relations, it’s all about knowing your client and what they want to accomplish—then making it happen.