After the Gold Rush…

Where does Public Relations fit into the gold rush of our data-driven, customer experience marketing universe?

Not so long ago the Silicon Valley discovered that data, when stored, managed and crunched in real-time provides a wealth of information that can transform markets, scale businesses and solve complex problems that often improve our lives. The gold rush was on. But many companies have lost track of the need for a brand story to build relationships with users. Today we all have heard the stories about the California gold rush, those who left the east to chase the riches, the Jewish immigrant who built a clothing empire, and the intrigue of the Barbary Coast, but who actually knows how much gold was mined?

At its very best, data reveals truths and provides insights to create a wealth of knowledge. What data doesn’t do is connect with humans on an emotional level to create relationships based on positive experiences. It’s the sharing of those experiences via a story that allows a brand to grow. After all, if all that was required was more data, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.

If you are an automotive buff who likes to drive fast at some point you heard about the ultimate driving machine from a story. You learned that BMW’s can reach 130 miles an hour on the race track. The 130 mph is the data, the experience of driving with confidence, trust and thrill like a race car driver is what binds you to the BMW brand. Let’s say the data changes and the car can now speed to 150 mph, or worse, drops to a mere 120 mph, the BMW brand story will keep the user engaged with new models and attract new customers.

Customer experience is also dominating the marketing conversation, and so it should. Knowing and understanding your customer is tantamount to successful growth. Feedback from customer experience forms the product roadmap, which in the case of most Silicon Valley companies helps shape their growth, investor return, and ultimate success. But so often valuable customer experience story elements are left on the cutting room floor. Savvy PR pros will take these elements and create stories that support the brand narrative and amplify them across the media ecosystem.

Conversely, when negative stories occur, (and they do, just ask Oscar Munoz or Pepsi) PR works to mitigate the negative elements with positive counters strategically placed to support the brand narrative that mitigates unpleasant experiences and memories. Proactive use of this technique should be the keystone of any crisis communications plan.

Public Relations can and must use data and customer experience to amplify and mitigate story to enhance the brand narrative. The intersection of defining, supporting and telling brand stories with insights from data and customer experience is where public relations fits into today’s marketing communications universe. After all, the stories will remain after the gold rush.0 Likes