Public Relations (PR) is often much-maligned as a way to manipulate the media but, when used positively and effectively, good PR can have a dramatic impact on the profile of your company.
However, before studying how PR can be used to benefit your business, it’s perhaps best to consider exactly what the term means and what it involves.
Public Relations – a definition
According to the Public Relations and Communications Association (the world’s largest professional PR body), PR is “all about the way organizations communicate with the public, promote themselves, and build a positive reputation and public image.”
While PR used to primarily focus mainly on the media image of a company, the role of the PR practitioner has evolved considerably over recent years to encompass many other duties ranging from organizing events to building a strong social media profile and finding new and innovative ways to promote companies. There is a constant blurring of lines between PR, marketing and advertising – despite the fact some dedicated PR specialists often argue very differently.
How can PR benefit your company?
The perception the public has of your company is vitally important for instilling trust and can have a huge bearing on the desirability of your products or brand. Moreover, having a good reputation tends to build brand loyalty – meaning repeat custom and word of mouth promotion.
Reputation is everything in business and a strong brand image is invaluable when it comes to generating sales and keeping the public on your side. As famed investor, Warren Buffet, once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
PR is concerned with managing image and effective PR can positively impact your company in several different ways, including:
Creating or building brand awareness: If planned and conducted correctly, a PR campaign can increase public consciousness of your brand and grow your exposure locally, nationally and even internationally. Putting your brand front and center can only be good for business while positive news coverage is always viewed as being more impartial than advertising.
Brand image: Issuing regular press releases gives the impression of a highly proactive and productive company and will, in turn, have a hugely beneficial impact on your overall company image. Moreover, being able to feature these news stories on your website or in corporate emails also helps demonstrate your expertise and will instill faith in your abilities. Note: PR can also be used to mitigate brand damage in times of trouble by taking control of the situation and voicing an alternative narrative to sway public opinion. Specialist PR companies like rcourihay.com are highly skilled in all sides of PR – everything from proactive promotion to damage limitation.
PR is cost-effective and will save you money: Advertising and marketing are commonly referred to as ‘paid media’ since they cost money (often significant money). On the other hand, PR is seen as ‘earned media’ and can frequently be performed at little or no extra cost. Consequently, the cost savings between PR and other forms of promotion can be substantial.
PR increases brand credibility and bolsters customer relations: If your clients are frequently exposed to your brand through editorials or news stories, they will be more likely to look on you favorably and consider you an expert in your field. Additionally, being featured in industry press is a great conversation-starter when talking with clients – in fact, it might even give you enough reason to make a friendly sales call.