Observing consumer behaviour is vital for all brands, but as a PR pro, it is even more important to understand how you influence that behaviour. The reason for this is simply that it will allow you to help take your client's brand to the next level.

Influencing consumer behaviour should not just be left to marketers because PR pros truly have the upper hand here.

Want to learn more? Then let's jump right in:

It's all about a brand's reputation

As a PR pro, you are well aware of the importance of keeping a brand's reputation intact. The moment that a PR crisis hits, it is vital to do damage control as quickly as possible. This is because a brand's reputation influences its consumers directly.

For example, if a brand said something unethical or came out with a marketing campaign that people did not approve of, that brand can be cancelled with the snap of a finger.

So, how does a PR pro influence consumer behaviour when it comes to a brand's reputation?

Simple! If the public is not happy with a brand and it has a bad rep, consumers will no longer want to support them. This means that public relations play an essential role in consumers weighing up pros and cons when deciding whether or not to support a brand.

It is all about how a brand tries to be better

It is no secret that consumers have countless brand options at their disposal. This means that if a brand does not fall in line with a consumer's values or beliefs, they will simply search for one that does.

Now you might think that this responsibility would fall in the hands of marketers, yet as a PR pro, you can have a huge influence on a consumer here. Enter — corporate social responsibility (CSR).

As a public relations specialist, you are conscious of the many different types of PR pros there are. For example, an environmentally-conscious company might hire a Green PR that mainly focuses on CSR and ways to better communicate to the public how they are continuously focusing on going green.

According to Forbes, a whopping 88% of consumers will show more loyalty to a brand that supports social or environmental issues. If that is not enough evidence showing what a big influence PR pros have on consumer behaviour, 41% of Millenials say that they only support brands that are enthusiastic about the environment.

Therefore, as a PR pro, communicating with the public about how a brand is doing better is critical because it clearly shows how much it will affect a consumer's purchasing choices.

It is all about the perception of a brand

Now you might think that brand reputation and brand perception are the same things, but they are not. So, what makes them different?

A brand's reputation is what they are known for. Take Checkers as an example. If you think of them, you might think of all the good things that they do for different communities within the country.

Whereas if you look at brand perception, it would be how you perceive a brand. So if you think of Woolworths, you might perceive it as luxurious.

How a consumer perceives a brand is just as important as its reputation. This is because the way that a consumer sees a brand will influence their feelings towards it. This could determine a client's choice in paying that extra R100 for something from another brand.

Although marketers focus a lot on how a brand is perceived, PR pros also play an essential role in this area. This is because public relations can shape and build an image surrounding a brand through press releases, press conferences and events.

So, dear PR pro, if you ever doubted whether or not you influence a consumer's buying habits, this proves that you do.

What are other ways that PR pros influence consumer behaviour? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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Want to learn more about Corporate Social Investment (CSI) in public relations? Then be sure to check out CSI in PR: Three things you can learn from SA supermarkets.
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