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Why Are Big Brands Leaving Social Media and (Re)Investing In PR?

Oh my god… Finally the hype of social media is starting to tarnish in 2023.

Big brands are leaving social media, and the trend seems to be gaining momentum. Earlier this year, the luxury fashion house Bottega Veneta announced that it would no longer be posting on Instagram and Facebook. Shortly after, beauty brand Lush followed suit, dropping its presence on Zuckerberg-owned channels in 48 countries. 

With these prominent departures, one can’t help but wonder if this marks the beginning of a significant shift in the marketing landscape. Will your brand be the next to leave social media? Let’s dive into these questions thoroughly and know the absolute truth. 

Why Bottega Veneta and Lush brands left social media.

The decision to step away from social media is critical, while many big brands still depend on social media to generate revenue for their business. On the other hand, the luxury darling, Bottega Veneta, led by creative director Daniel Lee at the start of 2021, made a bold move, removing social media platforms from its marketing activities. 

In an interview with The Guardian, Lee explained the rationale behind this decision, stating, “there is a mood of playground bullying on social media which I don’t really like. I wanted to do something joyful instead… I don’t want to collude in an atmosphere that feels negative.” The desire to escape the negativity associated with social media played a significant role in Bottega Veneta’s departure.

Lush, the renowned beauty brand, echoed similar sentiments as they bid farewell to social media. Last month, Lush’s chief digital officer, Jack Constantine, revealed their decision to abandon various platforms, offering an intriguing perspective. 

Constantine explained, “It is counter-intuitive for us to use platforms that keep you hyper-tense, engaged, and anxious.” This departure from social media aligns with Lush’s commitment to promoting a positive and mindful approach to beauty.

But what does this mean for your brand? Is it time to recreate your social media presence and explore alternative avenues? While social media has undeniably played a critical role in modern marketing.

They are leaving social media, so does it mean they are not doing marketing? Do they need to find customers for their brands? 

The answer is NO. There’s no business that doesn’t need customers. Of Course, they abandoned social media, but they’ve invested heavily in PR to give them authority in front of their existing audience. 

Public Relations (PR) is a powerful alternative for businesses looking to build authority and shape their own stories. By focusing on PR strategies, your brands can create a more personalized and human touch and a legacy for yourself. 

A legacy which will not only help your brand to increase sales but help you build your personal brand as well. We are not saying to reject digital marketing; instead, create a legacy by using PR strategies in your business. Bottega Veneta and Lush are giving a wake-up call for brands to reevaluate their marketing strategies. They are making us question the impact of social media on our well-being and the authenticity of our brand messaging. It may be time to consider whether our marketing efforts are aligned with our values and whether alternative approaches, such as PR, can offer a more fulfilling and effective path to success.

The Limitations of Social Media 

Where we, all addicted to social media, tend to forget there are many limitations which stop us from growing and increasing business opportunities for our brands. The first limitation is:

Dependence on Algorithms for Organic Reach and Growth

In social media marketing, many big brands have increasingly relied on algorithms to achieve organic reach and growth. Algorithms act as gatekeepers, determining which content is shown to users based on various factors such as engagement, relevancy, and timeliness. While algorithms were initially seen as a means to enhance user experience, they have become crucial factors in a brand’s success on social media platforms.

Decreasing organic reach due to algorithm changes

One of the biggest challenges for businesses on social media is the constant algorithm changes, often decreasing organic reach. What used to work yesterday might not work today. Algorithm updates can drastically impact the visibility of a brand’s content, leading to reduced reach and engagement. Brands must constantly adapt strategies to keep up with these changes and maintain their presence in users’ feeds.

Challenges to stand out from competitors on crowded social platforms

With billions of users and countless brands vying for attention, standing out on social media has become increasingly challenging. The crowded nature of these platforms makes it difficult for brands to capture the attention of their target audience and differentiate themselves from competitors. Creating compelling content, fostering meaningful connections with followers, and employing creative strategies is crucial for brands to break through the noise and make an impact.

Lack of control over the platform’s policies and changes

Brands often need more control over the policies and changes implemented by social media platforms. Algorithm updates, content restrictions, and policy changes can directly impact a brand’s ability to reach its audience effectively. This Lack of control can be frustrating for businesses that invest time, effort, and resources into building their social media presence, only to have it impacted by sudden platform changes.

Negative impact of social media controversies on brand reputation

Social media controversies can have a profound impact on a brand’s reputation. In an era where information travels at lightning speed, a single misstep or negative interaction can quickly escalate, severely damaging a brand’s image. Controversies, negative comments, or viral backlash can tarnish a brand’s reputation, making it challenging to recover consumer trust and loyalty. Navigating social media’s potential pitfalls requires careful monitoring, prompt response, and a solid crisis management strategy to mitigate potential damage.

Businesses must be aware of their challenges in a digital world heavily influenced by algorithms and social media dynamics. Companies can effectively navigate the social media landscape and create meaningful connections with their audience by understanding the dependence on algorithms, adapting to changes, finding ways to stand out, navigating platform policies, and proactively managing brand reputation.

Brewing Success: Starbucks’ PR Strategies That Transformed the Brand

Starbucks, the global coffeehouse chain, has become a stellar example of how strategic PR initiatives can revitalize a brand and pave the path for long-term success. By effectively addressing challenges and controversies, Starbucks implemented a range of PR strategies that reshaped its image and strengthened stakeholder relationships.

Transformation Through PR: Facing criticism for impacting local coffee shops and concerns about ethical sourcing, Starbucks embarked on a comprehensive PR approach that yielded remarkable results:

  • Ethical Sourcing and Sustainability: Starbucks prioritized ethical sourcing and implemented sustainability initiatives. By forging direct trade relationships with farmers and emphasizing fair compensation and sustainable practices, Starbucks showcased its commitment to responsible sourcing. These efforts resonated positively with customers and industry stakeholders, enhancing the brand’s reputation.
  • Community Engagement and CSR: Community engagement and corporate social responsibility became integral to Starbucks’ PR strategy. The launch of the Starbucks Foundation and partnerships with local organizations demonstrated the company’s dedication to making a positive impact beyond its stores. These initiatives garnered positive media coverage, elevating the brand’s reputation.
  • Transparent Communication and Crisis Management: Starbucks embraced transparent communication and swift crisis management. When faced with controversies like the incident involving racial bias, the company promptly acknowledged the issue, took responsibility, and implemented comprehensive training programs. This transparent response showcased Starbucks’ commitment to rectifying mistakes and rebuilding trust.

Results and Impact: The implementation of these PR strategies had significant outcomes for Starbucks:

  • Improved Brand Perception and Customer Loyalty.
  • Strengthened Stakeholder Relationships
  • Long-Term Business Growth

The Starbucks success story exemplifies the transformative power of effective PR strategies. By prioritizing ethical sourcing, sustainability, community engagement, and transparent communication, Starbucks revitalized its brand image, cultivated customer loyalty, and achieved long-term business growth. This case study underscores the significant impact that strategic PR can have in reshaping a company’s perception and positioning it for success in a competitive market.

The long-term value of investing in PR for sustainable growth

Investing in PR brings long-term value to your business by building a solid foundation for sustainable growth. PR efforts focus on establishing a brand reputation, fostering positive relationships, and enhancing credibility. By consistently communicating your brand’s key messages and values, PR helps create a strong brand identity that resonates with your target audience, setting the stage for long-term success and stability. It also gives you many opportunities, which we’ll discuss below: 

1) Establishing a solid brand reputation for future business opportunities

PR plays a crucial role in shaping and maintaining a solid brand reputation. A positive reputation opens doors to future business opportunities, including partnerships, collaborations, and joint ventures. When your brand is known for its integrity, trustworthiness, and industry expertise, potential partners and stakeholders are more likely to engage with you, leading to enhanced business growth and expansion.

2) Generating positive media coverage and increasing brand exposure

One of the primary benefits of PR is its ability to generate positive media coverage, which significantly increases brand exposure. Through strategic media relations, press releases, and story pitching, PR professionals secure media placements that highlight your brand’s unique offerings, accomplishments, and thought leadership. This increased media exposure reaches a broader audience and builds brand credibility and visibility in the eyes of potential customers and industry influencers.

3) Attracting potential investors, partners, and customers

Effective PR strategies help attract potential investors, partners, and customers to your business. By showcasing your expertise, industry knowledge, and positive brand image, PR creates a favorable impression among stakeholders. Investors seek companies with solid reputations and growth potential, while partners and customers are more likely to align themselves with trusted and respected brands. PR is vital in establishing these crucial connections and driving meaningful business relationships.

4) Higher return on investment compared to social media advertising

PR often provides a higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional social media advertising. While social media advertising requires ongoing investments, PR efforts continue to yield benefits long after initial campaigns. Positive media coverage and brand reputation built through PR efforts can have a lasting impact, resulting in increased brand recognition, customer loyalty, and organic growth. This long-term ROI makes PR a cost-effective and impactful marketing strategy for businesses seeking sustainable results.

Do you want to discover the power of PR for your business! Reach out today to explore how PR strategies can transform your brand, drive growth, and enhance your reputation. Let’s embark on a journey together and unlock the potential of leveraging PR to achieve long-term success. Contact us now and start building authority and unlocking new possibilities for your business.

about Adrienne Greenwood:

Adrienne Greenwood is a seasoned executive publicist, and founder of a bespoke full-service agency, turning unseen experts into leading the authority in their niche.

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