Press releases can help firms grow brand visibility

Communicating with consumers aids companies in selling products to consumers. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Communicating with consumers aids companies in selling products to consumers. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Press releases can increase brand awareness, establish credibility for Kenyan brands seeking to grow their visibility in the local and international market, and be significant drivers of share price movements, according to researchers.

“Issuing a press release is a way for a company to tell its story and an opportunity to sell its brand to a larger audience in a credible manner that will attract the attention of the media. In this, it will not be released to media outlets until it is satisfactory with what the brand is offering, plus information presented in it is considered trustworthy because it is from the source,” said Stella Kimani, a brand strategist.

Indeed, it is a strategy, although not a new one, that many Kenyan companies have used to gain attention for a new product launch or to make company announcements.

But research shows that regular press releases enhance media presence in local and international press and, by gaining such attention, place a brand into the market focus for a particular period of time, thus growing brand awareness.

The impact of press releases in garnering attention and increasing credibility was found to be significant in a study on health news reporting.

In a survey of 468 health and medical science journalists conducted in the US, it was established that press releases or press conferences were the initial source of ideas for 40 to 50 per cent of news stories and a review of 500 health news stories reported that 45 per cent did not go beyond a news release, indicating that press releases were the only source of information in many cases.

“News media coverage of health topics can frame and heighten the salience of health-related issues, thus influencing the public’s beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours.

Research papers associated with press releases received more media coverage and citations than other papers, and at least part of the difference in citations appears to be driven by the media coverage itself, independent of other characteristics of the publicized research.

The impact of press releases on media coverage and science communication highlights the need to ensure that releases are accurate, complete, and clear,” reported the Journal of Health Communication.

Besides earning a company media coverage, press releases can drive attention to a particular company from investors. In some cases, the information delivered can be valuable to investors and lead to a significant stock price change.

In a study conducted by the Chalmers University of Technology, a research focused institution in Sweden, it was found that press releases are frequently stock price drivers and that the significant movement in the price occurs on the day the press release is published and not thereafter.

“Press releases are found to be important events that represent a potential explanation for up to 24 per cent of the major stock price movements.

In the data collection phase it was discovered that press releases that cause large price movements are on average about twice as long as press releases that do not. An interesting observation as it indicates that classes can be distinguished; there are textual attributes which are more pronounced in the press releases of interest,” reported the researchers.

“It was also found that a press release frequently is a possible explanation for a large price movement. 13 per cent of the press releases are published on such days, and for 24 per cent of those days there is a press release published. Press releases appear to be important events on which automated analysis can be applied.”

Thus for Kenyan brands, conveying company information via a press release plays a significant role in establishing its brand awareness in the market and stock price.

- African Laughter