Creating new product categories: The power of PR in building brands

Picture a world where we never realised we needed smartphones or electric cars. It’s hard to believe that these products weren’t always part of our daily lives. The truth is, it took the tireless efforts of PR professionals to not only introduce these products to the market, but also to convince us that we needed them.

Creating a new product category from scratch is a challenging task, but it’s also an exciting one. This is where the power of PR comes in. PR is essential for establishing brand identity and shaping public perception. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in educating the public about the need for the product and positioning the brand as the solution to that need. By using PR effectively, a brand can create buzz and generate excitement around a new product, making it easier for it to gain traction in the market.

Let’s take a closer look at some examples of how PR helped build new categories and brands, starting with Zomato and Swiggy. When these apps were launched in India, the concept of ordering food online and getting it delivered to one’s doorstep was still new. People were not familiar with the idea, and many were skeptical about the quality and safety of the food. To address these concerns, Zomato and Swiggy invested heavily in campaigns that educated people about the benefits of online food delivery, including convenience, safety, and quality. They also leveraged social media platforms to reach a broader audience and build credibility. As a result, both brands gained significant market share, and online food delivery became a popular category.

Airbnb, another brand that successfully created a new category. The company revolutionised the travel industry by offering travelers a unique way to experience a new place by staying in a local’s home. The concept of homestays was not new, but Airbnb made it accessible to a broader audience by creating awareness about the benefits of this experience. The company launched a massive campaign that showcased the benefits of staying in a local’s home, including lower costs, authentic experiences, and comfort.  This campaign was a massive success, and today, Airbnb is a household name and a leader in the travel industry.

Uber and Ola also revolutionised the ride-hailing industry. Uber disrupted the traditional taxi industry by offering a more convenient and affordable alternative. Through integrated campaigns, Uber emphasised the benefits of ride-hailing, such as ease of use, transparency, and safety. They sustained the buzz around their brand through multiple PR led initiatives. These efforts paid off, and today Uber has millions of monthly active users worldwide.

Ola, Uber’s Indian competitor, has also been able to establish itself as a leader in the ride-hailing category. Through campaigns focused on affordability and convenience, Ola became the preferred mode of transportation for millions of Indians.

In conclusion, the success of companies like Zomato, Swiggy, Airbnb, Uber, and Ola can be attributed in large part to their effective use of PR. By creating awareness about the need for their product or service, building credibility around their brand, and leveraging technology to enhance the customer experience, they were able to disrupt traditional industries and establish themselves as leaders in new categories. These examples demonstrate the power of PR in building new categories and brands and highlight the importance of having a well-planned and executed PR strategy for any business looking to succeed in today’s market.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Arshya Harjani
Arshya Harjani is a Communications & PR professional with over 4 years of experience in the industry. Having worked for leading brands across sectors, Arshya has a diverse set of skills. She is a recipient of PR Moment and e4m's '30 under 30' award for the year 2022.

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