Trust Series | Build Authenticity and Accountability with PR

July 28, 2020  |  Sarah Schmidt, Lauren MurrayJulie Caan

Thinking Big

Here’s what you’ll learn:

In a rapidly evolving world, consumers, media and stakeholders expect consistent, authentic communications from brands. Whether through media outreach, crisis communications or issues management, public relations (PR) is at the core of a brand’s ability to not just survive disruptive events like the pandemic or demands for societal change, but set up the foundation to thrive beyond them.

The first post in our Trust Series established earned media as one of the most important factors in the gain or loss of consumer trust. In response, smart marketers need to adopt an “always on” approach to PR consisting of 24/7 media monitoring, timely storytelling and integrated, meaningful action. Yet, while demand and consumption for news is at an all-time high, one of the biggest challenges for brands remains sharing their point of view in a way that will resonate both with stakeholders and journalists.

So, how can your brand use PR to build a platform of empathy, positivity and reliability in an age of change? Following are our top strategies to effectively listen, speak and engage — during the heart of a disruptive event and well into brand recovery.

1) Listen: Know the News Before it Happens

As a society, we place so much emphasis on the action that we often forget what should come first: listening. Gone are the days of solely monitoring what is being said within your brand sphere. Effective listening involves monitoring, analyzing and interpreting trends and emerging issues both inside and outside your brand and industry and digging deep into what your consumers value, crave and demand. By taking a genuine interest in the multiple facets surrounding your brand, you can cultivate a multi-dimensional PR listening practice that drives an impactful, purposeful response. Here’s how:

2) Speak: Be Empathetic and Be Real

Especially during times of unrest, every communication — whether a media pitch, statement, or branded collateral — should begin with empathic communications. The more human the message, the better. But, when it comes to building trust related to the topics that matter most, it is not enough to simply craft a templated statement or social media post. This can come across as performative and quickly put your brand in jeopardy. Instead, follow the steps below:

3) Engage: Do Your Actions Speak Louder Than Your Words?

Your brand values, PR efforts and corporate social responsibility initiatives need to be interconnected. As such, the PR team should be engaged in frequent dialogue with members of your executive, corporate communications, community relations and HR teams to ensure communications are backed up by accountable actions. Here are few considerations for starting the conversation:

These are the steps creating a PR strategy that enables your brand to effectively listen, speak and engage. Is an engaged PR team essential during reputation management and brand recovery? Yes, but that does not mean you should only leverage PR during a crisis or disruptive event. Public relations, like all components of earned media, should be always on, always engaged and already ready to tell your brand story. That way, when you have something important to say, the right people are tuned in, listening and ready to join forces and help elevate your message.

Now is the time to take meaningful action. Are you interested in leveraging PR to elevate your brand’s efforts and build trust in an age of change? Let’s chat. Contact Sarah Schmidt at [email protected], Lauren Murray at [email protected] or Julie Caan at [email protected] to learn more.


is Vice President, Earned Media at BVK


Lauren Murray is a Director, Earned Media at BVK


Julie Caan is an Account Supervisor, Public Relations at BVK

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