For many entrepreneurs, we tend to forget about two of the most important elements of launching a business: branding and public relations! Both are crucial for any business, no matter what industry you are in. The way customer’s perceive you can make or break your business. It can be the difference between customers choosing your company over choosing others.

Recently, we were able to connect with 5 public relation mavens and they shared tips on branding and public relations that all entrepreneurs can benefit from.

Be patient – Sakita Holley

“One motto I have about PR and just growing your business in general is – ‘It Takes As Long As It Takes’. We live in an instant gratification society, where everyone expects to shoot to the top overnight. While it may happen that way for some, the reality is that you will have to work for it every single day. Because of that, it’s important to not get discouraged during the process.”

Fall in love with your work – Sakita Holley

“As an entrepreneur, it’s important to get comfortable with and fall in love with the process because being in business is truly a marathon and not a sprint. Learn to love the work more than the reward, because the reward period is just a moment in time and it passes really quickly.”

Know when to say no – Brittni “Bee” Brown

“Understand that every client, project or contract may not be for you and it’s ok to say no. We have the notion that we have to work with everyone who is looking to obtain our services, and when building our portfolio. It’s good to get our feet wet to build our name and clientele but once you’ve fully flushed out your lane and client niche, it’s ok to stand firm on your client expectations and target audience. It’s ok to admit when you have no expertise in a field or that the project doesn’t fit your brand overview, recommend a colleague that would knock the project out the park!”

Develop your brand – Aryel Bell

“You MUST have a solid brand before PR efforts should begin. This includes but is not limited to: Brand messaging, Mission statements, Logo, Brand colors, Professional photos, Social media, Website, etc. Secondly, I have notice more often than not that brands overlook their “why”. What problem have you sought out to create a solution for? And last but certainly not least, what is it that makes you stand out from the competition? A lot of new entrepreneurs overlook the importance of standing out and doing so in a way that connects with their audiences.”

Reinvent yourself – Aryel Bell

“Stay consistent and continuously reinvent your creative space. Consistency and creativity allow for your story, brand, and/or products to touch your target audience in a way that is relatable and unique.”

Know your why – Tequilla White

“You have to truly understand why you started your company. Practice pitching your business and concisely explaining why you started the business. If you decide to invest in any public relations or marketing campaign, it will only be successful if your brand relates to people.”

Bring your value to the table – Tequilla White

“Make sure you know what you have to offer and the benefit that other brands would get from partnering with you. Be able to articulate that in a clear and concise manner. Make a list of attributes of your brand that add value. Create a pitch deck that includes information about your demo, audience, engagement across social, past press, past events in order to give a full picture of what your brand has accomplished. Numbers are key. Show your worth don’t just talk about it.”

If you’re caught in a sticky situation, own up to your mistake and take action to move forward – Ronke Lawal

“Listen and pay attention to the reaction, response and feedback surrounding a crisis. Assess the common themes and response to the situation and monitor the dialogue so that you can improve, move forward and grow in a way that does not lose customers. Be honest about your failures/mistakes and be honest about the steps that you will take to move forward, including realistic timeframes and [solutions]. In order to overcome a crisis effective you have to act on an apology and really show that you are willing  to address the situation from the top down. Actions will always speak more loudly than words – so once you address the crisis and apologize, you must act on it.”

Address networking nerves by building up your confidence – Ronke Lawal

“Networking is simply meeting people with the potential of making new connections and building new relationships. If you feel as though the fear is blocking you take the time to work on your confidence. Write down a list of the worst [case scenarios] that could happen at the event and the best [case scenarios] that could happen from attending the event. Don’t just sit on the list though, use it and address your concerns. If it helps, take a friend with you but don’t get stuck to your friend. Networking is about meeting NEW people or building relationships with people outside of your usual circle. Think of it as a fun activity and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.”