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The Power of Mental Availability in Public Relations

Public relations is all about managing perceptions and building strong, positive associations for a brand in the minds of key audiences. Two important concepts that PR professionals should understand are mental availability and distinctive assets.

What is Mental Availability?

Mental availability refers to how easily a brand comes to mind for consumers in a particular context. Brands that are highly available are the ones that pop into people’s heads immediately when thinking about a particular product category or need. For example, Kleenex is highly mentally available when someone thinks of tissues.

Mental availability is shaped by things like advertising, word-of-mouth, publicity, and overall brand exposure. The more exposure a brand gets, especially when linked to relevant associations, the higher its mental availability.

Why Mental Availability Matters in PR

Mental availability is important because people are most likely to choose brands that readily come to mind. If a brand is not top-of-mind, it may be overlooked.

Public relations activities like media relations, events, and community engagement all help increase a brand’s share of voice. The more a brand is talked about, featured, and shared in the news, online, and in person, the more available it will become mentally.

Distinctive Assets Set a Brand Apart

While mental availability gets a brand into the consideration set, distinctive assets set a brand apart from the competition. Distinctive assets are the unique, positive attributes that consumers associate with a brand. This includes things like product benefits, features, style, innovation, values, and personality.

For example, Volvo is known for safety. FedEx is associated with reliable overnight shipping. Apple is distinguished by sleek, innovative product design.

In PR, identifying and emphasising a brand’s distinctive assets in messaging and communications helps reinforce its differentiated image. This establishes the brand in consumers’ minds as superior on the dimensions that matter most.

Leveraging Distinctive Assets for Impactful PR

Here are some tips for leveraging distinctive assets in impactful PR campaigns:

  • Identify the brand’s single most important distinctive asset and make it central in communications. Stay focused on reinforcing this key strength.
  • Find creative ways to showcase the brand’s distinctive assets through press releases, media pitches, events, speaking engagements, and partnerships.
  • Use storytelling to bring distinctive assets to life. Share stories about how real customers have benefited from the brand’s unique strengths.
  • Train spokespeople to effectively communicate the brand’s distinctive value in interviews.
  • Develop key messages that focus on the brand’s differentiators rather than generic claims.

Mental availability and distinctive assets are two cornerstones of strong brand positioning. By focusing PR efforts on these areas, brands can stand out from the competition and effectively shape public perceptions over time.

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