Read PR Tips on Making Your Brand Rock from PR Expert and Author Rohit Bhargava

Rohit Bhargava leads the interactive marketing team at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and is a recognized blog author, industry speaker, and expert on integrating social media with marketing, advertising and public relations. He recently wrote Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their Authenticity-and How Great Brands Bring it Back. Rohit was kind enough to answer some questions and give PR tips about how small to medium businesses can establish and maintain their brands in a growing internet economy.

 

VOLUSION:
How have companies’ identities changed now that the internet has created a more global and culturally diverse economy?

ROHIT:
I think the biggest change is what I’ve called the “brand of perception.” The truth sometimes seems to matter less than what the general perception is about your brand. For a case in point, just look at the description of any brand in wikipedia and you will see immediately what I mean. The diversity of culture and country is causing a part of this, but the increasing difficulty that brands have in influencing perception is the greater cause. It means that defining what your brand stands for is more important now than ever. That’s what the book is meant to help companies to do.

VOLUSION:
Word of mouth is considered the most effective means for marketing, but today’s communities are no longer limited to geography. How can small to medium sized business owners most effectively use these communities to find and utilize customer “evangelists”?

ROHIT:
You’re right that the borders are shrinking and that certainly makes it tougher. The best thing that many small businesses can first learn how to do is listen more effectively. This is tough advice, because it doesn’t feel action oriented. For example, I’m not necessarily saying that the first thing to do is to start commenting on local blogs … but knowing the sources of influence in a particular region is a necessity. Once you know this, you can get deeper into a community to find evangelists, or even a smart way to try and build some if you don’t really have any to start with.

VOLUSION:
What proactive steps should a small to medium sized business owner take to ensure he or she is taking the right steps towards building and maintaining an established identity and credibility?

ROHIT:
The first thing is to understand the message that they are sending to the rest of their team. You don’t need a management guru to tell you that leadership starts at the top, and teams pick up on the messages that the owners are sending. The next step is to make sure and give your employees enough scope. The temptation in many small businesses is to keep a tight control of any major decisions. This doesn’t work for several reasons, but the main one is that employees cannot demonstrate the personality of your brand unless you give them some free reign to do it. The trick is to put the right guides in place so that becomes effective rather than a negative situation. I talk about some of those guides in Chapter 2 of PNI.

VOLUSION:
What “checks” can a company perform to make sure that every member is keeping true to the company’s brand and mission?

ROHIT:
The easiest “check” is just to ask customers because they will very quickly let you know how your employees are performing. The other method is to take an open approach to cataloging and recognizing what customers are doing. If they send emails to customers, create a group site where they are collected. If they are interacting directly with customers, encourage them to share techniques with one another. Your goal should be not to police them, but make them feel like you want to offer help to let them do their jobs better.

VOLUSION:
Have you found that this positive cultural change starts from the top down or from the bottom up?

ROHIT:
This is a really important question, because there is no single best way to do it. If you have a strong, dynamic leader who can actually command respect … the best way could be a top down approach. Generally, a bottom up approach tends to be more comprehensive, because it starts with belief instead of with power, and works up to power. Using power to instill belief is a much tougher thing to do.

To read more in depth advice from Rohit Bhargava and/or pick up his book, check out the official
Personality Not Included website
.

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Happy Selling!
Volusion

2 Responses to “Read PR Tips on Making Your Brand Rock from PR Expert and Author Rohit Bhargava”

  1. Interview With Rohit Bhargava, Author of ‘Personality Not Included’ | Gauravonomics Blog

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  2. Phil Ellis

    Michelle, very good interview and very good information. Branding is extremely difficult for an internet store, yet extremely important if you want return customers. Again, great information. Thank you.

    Phil Ellis
    http://www.divesports.com

    Reply

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