Business PR Strategy

PR the Person or PR the Brand?

Posted by Deborah | May 29th, 2014 | No responses

So we’ve all sifted through the newspapers and online conversation over the last few days and seen the barrage of UKIP / Farage-focused narrative.

Of course, the interesting thing about all this editorial and comment, is whether indeed the nation has really bought into the ethos of

A)  an entire Party

B)   one particular Policy, or indeed,

C)  One beer-drinking, slightly less politically polished, Person.

Now this is less a blog about politics (small OR big P), and far more about where PR blurs the lines of promoting a PERSON or a BRAND in the pursuit of significant exposure.

Doubtless, in the eyes of many, Farage has very much become UKIP and UKIP become Farage. Take one away from the other and do people really understand the messaging in the same way?

Do we need to see the smoking straight-talking Farage propping up the bar to get a sense of what the purple party is all about?
Certainly, you can’t imagine the gospel of UKIP getting across quite so effectively if the person behind this political brand was a suited booted ex city financier who was very careful over his P’s and Q’s.

He’s not alone in being a ‘figure’ intrinsic to a ‘brand’.

A couple of the more obvious are the likes of Virgin and Richard Branson (change the figurehead tomorrow and we’d still think of Branson when we conjured the red logo to mind); and, equally so, Apple and Steve Jobs.

In fact, even long after Steve’s death, we still very much think of him as the brand’s man – and thereby the name-association PR tag. (10 points for anyone who’s razor sharp enough to come up with the head name in less time than it takes to say AppleMac).

But does any of it really matter? When push comes to shove, in the world of branding and PR’ing a company, does it matter that we’re often pushing a key figure as much as we’re pushing the ‘business of the business’?

Not really. The only argument being, that your messaging about that particular individual has to be spot on. You need to be able to express that that ‘face’ is representative of the brand values, of the company’s journey, of the wider staff-force behind them.

A brand champion is a useful PR and marketing tool. And no…they don’t all need to stand at the bar with a fag and a pint on the go!

PS – yes, clever-clogs, it’s Tim Cook.

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