WP Communications is one of the fastest growing challenger brands in the public relations industry with its flexible and agile approach to earned, owned and paid media serving an international client base of corporates and public sector organisations. To date the company has driven around 300% year on year growth, despite the global pandemic. Built on a heritage of big agency creative and strategic thinking, WP Communications is a global public relations consultancy headquartered in London Bridge. Its focus is to grow the brands that are changing our world by using external communications to drive business impact at scale. Will Painter, founder and CEO, WP Communications shares his top tips on how companies can drive business growth in uncertain times.

For businesses attempting to grow during the global pandemic, national lockdowns and government restrictions, especially within the SME community, it's been tough. There's no doubt about it.

However, I urge SME businesses to stay strong. As the backbone of not only the British economy but also the world - and one of the biggest job creators in society responsible for almost two-thirds of employment worldwide - now is the time for action, and the first step towards growth is to abandon a ‘wait and see approach.'

A ‘wait and see approach' is the biggest roadblock hindering your business from growing. No one knows what the future holds, but rather than seeing the ‘lockdown' environment as something that will eventually ‘return to normal,' there is a golden opportunity to rethink and re-model your business for the current reality we are now living. 

A motivational quote I heard many years ago sums up the importance of focusing on the opportunity when fostering a growth mindset: "There will never be a point in your life where it's the right time to do a great thing. If you're waiting on that perfect moment, that perfect timing is not going to happen. You have to create the perfect time, the perfect opportunity and the perfect situation."

The shift in societal behaviours has created a fork in the road for many businesses. Those that focus on what they need to do to survive, and those that focus on how they can change to thrive. A scarcity versus an abundance mindset. A challenge versus an opportunity. The decision on how you view the current situation is something that business leaders are in control of, and therefore I am optimistic that the companies that adopt a focus on where the opportunity lies will be the ones that continue to grow exponentially.

How to grow in uncertain times

Ever heard of the phrase: "What you think you will become"? It's a powerful statement that can either support or limit your business and personal growth goals.

Stating your intention and future direction to the world will be one of the best decisions you ever made for exponential growth and development. As an extended form of word-of-mouth, integrated communications - a combination of earned, owned and paid media - can be used to build brands to generate an abundance of leads and new customer wins.

So, how do you grow your business in this new environment? The answer for businesses aspiring for growth is to start with getting to know your customer better. Explore what your target customer is looking for beyond a solution or product provision and identify their motivations, goals and aspirations. Then look at your own company and find where the fit is.

Rather than exploring what your customer needs, find out what they want. I may need a coffee, but I want a Starbucks. I may need a computer, but I want a MacBook. I may need accounting software, but I want to use Xero. There's 100 other companies out there like yours that can do the same job. But there aren't 100 brands out there like yours. Spend time exploring what makes your company special as a brand that can fulfil your customer's wants. Needs are functional and wants are emotional. So to connect with what your customer wants, you need to drive an emotional connection in what you communicate.

Creating a brand that will stand the test of time

To establish a strong brand, work out what you stand for and identify a way of making it resonate with your audience via a brand immersion. A brand immersion will examine what matters to your brand while exploring what matters in culture. Is your brand local, global, or both? What are the cross-regional nuances that need to be taken into account, and how does it address societal issues?

If you want to truly grow your business exponentially, create a brand that is memorable and stands for something aspirational above and beyond features, benefits, and pricing. To do this you need a vision, a mission, a positioning and core messaging that resonates with your target audience, and you need to communicate it consistently and authentically.

Meanwhile, identify what the role of your brand is in the future not only for your customers but its role in society as a whole. Communicate this authentically.

Humanising your brand

It's not about what you say, it's how you say it. By creating relevant, timely and shareable stories you will be able to resonate with your target audiences, which in turn will grow your brand awareness as you are talked about more. For powerful storytelling, focus on your people to humanise your brand as this will lead to greater levels of interaction among your prospective customers, and a higher potential for sales conversions. 

Measuring communication success

To use integrated communications effectively you need to be able to measure it, and to measure it well you need to foster collaboration across your business development, sales and marketing teams combined with the latest brand tracking technology. Media perception, share of voice, total number of people who have engaged with media articles, social media data, and sentiment analysis i.e. whether the communication is positive, negative or neutral remain essential in conducting a robust measurement and evaluation. However, while these metrics demonstrate how well messages are being communicated to your audiences, to determine the true business impact of external communications we need to examine sales pipeline conversations and brand survey data.

Through creating and building strong brands, we have helped our clients generate tangible business impact across a variety of sectors and industries - from fintech, banking and finance, to sustainability, healthcare, retail and the supply chain. The businesses that will thrive are the ones that can communicate their vision of the future and their authentic place within it, today.


For more information please visit  WP Communications