Sarah Tourville, CEO
As an entrepreneur with over a decade of experience under my belt, I am often asked what motivates me to continue serving my clients — how I define my driving purpose. It’s a pretty loaded question, but my response is simple: I want to discover and shape each brand’s unique story and help them share it with the world.
Having a unique narrative allows a business or organization to tap into what they truly value and how they approach every aspect of their business. More than a slogan, a mantra is a simple, yet powerful saying, phrase or affirmative statement used to motivate or encourage our inner being. It’s an instrument of self-transformation — an affirmation that we repeat to express and grow the beliefs we hold most dear.
I define a PR mantra as a brand’s core positioning and stake-in-the-ground message. It is the foundation on which a brand grows, what a brand takes pride in and where a brand has a true interest in making a real impact.
While a personal mantra is useful, a business’ mantra is critical. And so should be, as a reflection, its PR mantra. Defining and broadcasting a business’s PR mantra drives how its employees, the world and, most importantly, its target audiences perceive its brand. As an example, our mantra is to reimagine how disruptive brand stories are told, to promote workplace diversity and inclusion across industries, and to support women in leadership roles. It’s built on our 12-year foundation of working with technologists and futurists to tell their stories, our approach to hiring a diverse workforce and our female leaders.
How do your company’s values, mission and vision shape your PR mantra?
State The Obvious
A brand’s PR mantra must be clear and simple, yet comprehensive; this is the time for wordsmithing! Each word included (and not included) matters. Your mantra should not be an extensively complex paragraph, but short and succinct statements that encapsulate your brand’s belief and purpose.
Avoid whimsical words and PR fluff, and use straightforward language that has depth and meaning. You want your employees to support your mantra, so they need to be able to embrace and fulfill it. It is a foundation for company stakeholders — from senior leadership delivering a keynote address to the most junior call center associate speaking with an irate customer — to understand and convey the brand’s inherent values and passions.
Chick-fil-A is an excellent example of a company that lives by its PR mantra. It’s a brand that lays its Christian values out front. Its corporate purpose is “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.” This belief is reflected in the company’s marketing, communications, reactions to PR events and even the “my pleasure” that employees respond with at the end of each transaction.
For a brand like Chick-fil-A, which thrives as a franchise of faith, echoing that PR mantra from within its company is just as important as extending the message externally — and it starts from the top. Company leaders must have constant and open communication about their mantras, and they must live by them. Using a brand’s PR mantra in the everyday language of a business helps keep those mantras top of mind. Also, publicly recognizing employees (by way of company awards) who stand by a brand’s PR mantra is a useful way for team members to stick to these values.
PR Mantras Evolve With A Brand
As a brand grows and transforms, so does its voice in its industry and the world. In turn, a brand’s PR mantra may shift in parallel to its core business messaging and positioning. It’s important to state that PR mantras are not elusive or shallow, and they do not casually come and go as industry trends change. Instead, they are designed to stand the test of time and be built on a foundation of beliefs and values that will last years — not months — and evolve as the business climate changes.
Nike’s recent move unleashing its renewed “Just Do It” campaign featuring ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick represents boldness, decisiveness, doing what you believe and showing no mercy. With Nike celebrating the campaign’s 30th anniversary, it was a great passage to get more eyeballs on Nike and also reinforces what the brand believes in. It’s emotive, and that’s what the best PR and marketing campaigns need to be. As Nike has just achieved, a PR mantra should stay fresh and relevant while respecting the company’s origins.
A great PR mantra defines a brand and makes it distinct, helping it stand out in a competitive marketplace. It evokes meaningful conversations and motivates employees, clients and partners. People want to align with companies that have solid, positive beliefs — your company’s PR mantra fills that desire.
Originally published on Forbes Agency Council.