Tuesday, June 1, 2010
As part of my interview series with "Thought Leaders," PR guru and author, Drew Gerber from "Pitchrate.com" shares his wisdom with us. I've been following Drew online for some time, so I was pleased as punch that he agreed to this important interview.
Ed Roach: How much does personal branding matter in Public Relations?
Drew Gerber: Personal branding is as important in the world of business survival as food, shelter, and water are to personal survival. If you want to set yourself apart from the competition you have to make a name for your products and services. Chances are someone else is doing the same thing you are, so you really have to find what’s unique about you. The goal of branding is to make it so your target market remembers you. When you’re giving an interview you have to make sure you deliver your message in way that forces people to take notice of your brand. You have to make it like a song they can’t get out of their heads.
Ed Roach: Whenever I speak of corporate branding, I believe a company is smarter to lead than follow. Taking their PR efforts into consideration, how important is "being the leader"?
Drew Gerber: Being a leader is definitely important, but you also have to know what others are doing. I would never advocate following or “riding the coat tails”, but with the Internet and social networking, ideas and thoughts are being exchanged at a very rapid pace. It really comes down to progression these days. How far you can take an idea and how you can leverage it to really make a difference in you company.
Ed Roach: Drew, I've heard you say, "When it comes to small businesses, PR is in everything you do." Since your PR is a part of your brand would you agree that the tone of your brand should be reflected in your PR initiatives?
Drew Gerber: Definitely! The tone of your brand should be reflected in all your PR initiatives. Your brand is who you are. It’s counterproductive to deliver a message in an interview that doesn’t align with your branding. You have to be memorable, not confusing.
Ed Roach: Let's say a company is in crisis, how can PR play a role in re-establishing brand reputation?
Drew Gerber: PR can be a company's most effective tool-- as long as they are willing to take responsibility and be vulnerable. Crying on camera seldom hurts either. We all watched as Toyota launched a huge PR campaign after all the recalls. They had to reestablish trust with its current and potential customers. They went hard after their long history and track record, and even brought emotion into the campaign, which we don’t see too often from large corporations. When a company's relationship with the public is tarnished for whatever reason, PR is the most effective way to get the shine back on.
Ed Roach: As a Public Relations expert, how do you believe the Drew Gerber brand is perceived?
Drew Gerber: Well, I always think it's hard to be objective about yourself, even if you a branding expert. Ever try cutting your own hair? I hope I'm perceived as approachable, passionate, and, above all else, committed to making a difference.
L. Drew Gerber is CEO of Wasabi Publicity, Inc. (www.PublicityResults.com) and creator of www.PitchRate.com, a free media tool that connects journalists, publicists, and experts. Gerber's business practices and staffing innovations have been revered by PR Week, Good Morning America and the Christian Science Monitor. His companies handle international PR campaigns and his staff develops online press kits for authors, speakers and companies with Online PressKit 24/7, a technology he developed (www.PressKit247.com). Contact L. Drew Gerber at: AskDrew@PublicityResults.com or call him at 828-749-3548.