Pawnbroking is a commonly misunderstood industry, and like many others, it has more than its fair share of negative stereotypes. While there’s a lot of talk about marketing in the pawn industry, there’s relatively little mention of public relations or media tactics. A well-developed marketing strategy must blend traditional, media, and digital tactics. Overlooking or shortchanging media or public relations strategy as part of your marketing can be a critical shortcoming.
Attorney Stephen Buschmann shared, during his keynote at the Midwest Convention, even one constituent’s viewpoint can lead to sweeping laws that affect your business and the industry as a whole. A negative press exposure can be ruinous for any business, but especially for pawnbrokers whose industry is subject to over a dozen federal statutes in addition to state and local requirements.
Media or public relations (PR) strategy is focused on building a mutually beneficial relationship between your business and the public. As a business owner, your relationship with the media matters because the public’s perception matters.
Here are four important considerations of using media tactics on behalf of your store to build brand awareness and credibility. :
START WITH WHY: Never mistake attention for accolades–before you post a message online or pitch your story to the media, be sure that you can trace it back to one of your strategic marketing goals by asking yourself the reason why you are sharing this information and what is the desired outcome. Remember, marketing only matters if it leads to revenue.
PROMOTE AND PROTECT: Marketing is not limited to promoting your products and services, it must also protect your reputation. You owe it to your business to think beyond building buzz and instead work towards building a brand.
THINK STRATEGICALLY: Because traditional advertising is familiar and technology can make digital so easy, media and PR tactics are the least commonly understood and most easily overlooked part of marketing strategy. Your relationship with the media and other influencers is something that you must foster continuously, building positive contacts with the people who can help you tell your story in the marketplace.
CONNECT PEOPLE AND SYSTEMS TO YOUR MARKETING: Media training should be a routine part of your employee onboarding, letting your staff know how to respond if they’re approached by the media. Beyond that, you must find ways to ensure that your people and day-to-day operational systems support and reflect your messaging and marketing, thus creating a seamless perception of your brand story from all viewpoints.
Pawnshops are interesting places with all sorts of intriguing transactions and customer interactions, but always think twice before posting and promoting, taking your overall strategy into account. You’ve worked hard to build a business, now you owe it to that business to consider all of your communications from the perspective of what is conveyed about your brand and the industry as a whole.