7 Reasons Why Automotive Suppliers Don’t Need a PR Firm

For more than 30 years our firm has worked with many traditional automotive suppliers, as well as new suppliers for electric vehicle, connected car, V2X, ADAS and autonomous vehicle technologies of all sizes to help support them in the North American automotive industry.

 We’re now seeing more change and disruption in the automotive industry than ever before. Electrified, connected and autonomous vehicles are quickly changing the game, not only for automakers, but for the entire supply chain environment. 

The automotive industry isn’t the only space seeing change.

Traditional and digital media relations environments are seeing it, too.

Yet, in spite of all the changes and disruptions, there are still some things that have not changed when it comes to the relevance and impact of automotive PR. This includes these seven misconceptions we’ve heard from some well-intentioned but misinformed suppliers from around the industry.

They mistakenly believe that PR isn’t necessary because…

1. We see our customers at industry events. Having a presence at industry shows is a good way to get exposure to your customers and prospects, but that alone won’t cut it. Even with attendance at big shows like CES, it’s for your prospect to remember you from the hundreds of other suppliers they saw there. Your prospects need to be hit with your messaging multiple times if you want to break through the competitive clutter. And PR can help do just that through multiple avenues, over multiple months with increased reach, frequency and credibility.

2. All of the important information our current and potential customers need is on our website. Having a content-rich website is a helpful tool, but it won’t do your company any good if your prospects aren’t visiting your site. If your prospect conducts an online search, they’re looking for a credible solution to solving a problem. Will your company appear at the top of these search results?

Online success starts with SEO (search engine optimization). Earning media coverage in credible media outlets can be a powerful way to receive objective, third-party endorsement of your company, while also increasing your company’s rankings in search engines. A story in a trusted media outlet may get you on page 1 of the results, while your website maybe come pages later, if at all, in a search. This SEO prominence can lead to driving interested prospects to your company website, where they can find detailed information and where you can engage with them as you move them through the sales process.  

3. We can reach our customers via social media. Social media is a great way to extend the reach of your messaging, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all. When used strategically along with more traditional PR and marketing techniques in the unique B2B automotive OEM market, social media can help boost SEO, driving traffic to your online properties and amplify your company’s position as an expert. But it takes time to build a social media following, especially among your customers and prospects, and PR can help do that by driving them to your social channels.

4. Our technology speaks for itself. With so much competition and risk in the automotive industry, automakers are looking for stable, viable suppliers that will partner with them for the long term. And there are lots of companies that have great technologies that in your prospect’s eyes, are similar to yours. Today, automotive and vehicle technology suppliers need to be able to rise above all of the noise with clear and creditable communications about their products, services, technology, benefits and customer benefits. And PR can help through earned media in trusted, credible outlets.

5. Our salespeople already know all our automotive customers. Sure, your salespeople may have contacts at some of your key customers, but can they really know the hundreds of new vehicle manufacturers – especially EV makers – emerging around the world? Not to mention all of the many functional players with your prospective customers who have influence in the company’s purchasing process? On top of those numbers, with the constant migration and movement of executives among companies, the key connections with engineering, purchasing and manufacturing decision-makers your salespeople may have are always at risk.

It’s more important than ever to build trust with the new generation of executives of both current and new automaker partners moving into the market. PR can help you build your brand awareness and stay top-of-mind with all the right people.

6. It costs too much money. PR should be part of your strategy to help support your other activities, including social media marketing, advertising and trade shows and sales promotions. It’s actually the most cost-effective of them all. Considering the targeted audience PR brings, media coverage in the right media outlets is viewed to be up to 10 times more credible than advertising or sales messages.

7. Our automaker customers make purchases based on cost. Automakers are looking for suppliers who can help them differentiate their vehicles with customers. As a supplier or technology provider, demonstrating and differentiating the value of your product brings will help you rise beyond commodity providers to be seen as a valued (and valuable) partner.

The bottom line: In the automotive supplier environment, PR is necessary for success, especially for the new Silicon Valley tech firms who are working to break into the automotive sector.

To find an effective partner in achieving that success, you should look for a PR firm that:

  • Is in the know when it comes to key industry trends and issues;
  • Has experienced staff with automotive supplier experience and deep relationships with the right journalists and media outlets;
  • Is specialized in the automotive industry with extensive experience working with automotive and technology suppliers;
  • Has a strong knowledge of the industry’s top influences and thought leaders; and
  • Can be found attending key automotive industry events, shows and conferences.

To learn more about a that kind of PR partner, email Jim Bianchi at or call 248-269-1122.

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