Public Relations – Back To Basics
Great PR professionals can change opinions, affect decisions and connect people with the world around them.
Public Relations (PR) professionals are skilled publicists. They are able to present a company or individual in the best light possible – in essence, they are “reputation protectors.” Sadly though, the PR profession is sometimes misunderstood and perceived to be that of “bending” the truth, manipulating even, or just plain brown-nosing.
Unfortunately, none of the above aptly describes the PR profession!
Although PR pros are often associated with glamourous events – attended by the Who’s Who of high society, this comes with the territory. But it is only one component of the job. The reality? Long hours, managing clients’ expectations, and keeping editors happy – and it’s no easy feat. To become a PR pro requires a very high level of communication skills (written and verbal), as well as effective multitasking, management, organisational and planning skills, and a whole lot of confidence – and sometimes you have to be a little thick-skinned.
So what is PR and why do many businesses today find themselves in a lurch – especially when it comes to crisis management, or dealing with the media? Well, let me first state the obvious. PR is an extremely important business tool. Every organisation, no matter how large or small, ultimately depends on its reputation for survival and success. Customers, suppliers, employees, investors, journalists and regulators can all have a powerful impact. They have an opinion about the organisations they come into contact with – whether good or bad, right or wrong.
These perceptions drive their decisions – who they want to work with, shop with, and/or support. In today’s competitive marketplace, reputation can be a company’s biggest asset – one that makes you stand out from the crowd and gives you that competitive edge. Effective PR can help manage reputation by communicating and building good relationships with all the stakeholders involved.
So, we are all about reputation, reputation, reputation!
It is the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. You will find that our aim is always to earn understanding and support while influencing opinion and behavior. Sounds complicated? It isn’t, really. Simply put, PR is about planning and sustaining efforts to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics!
To illustrate the power of PR, here are a couple of points to note:
PR is a strategic tool – PR is only part of a marketing strategy, it is not marketing. When it is deployed correctly, public relations can build tremendous excitement anticipation and validation of an event or product. For instance, Apple mastered the art of strategic public relations in support of and in sync with marketing initiatives. This year, they rolled out the iPad as an example of a wildly successful, well-integrated campaign, where information and images of the product ‘leaked’ out to the media. People were talking about the iPad way before Steve Jobs unveiled it on stage.
PR seeds positive (and negative) ideas – It generates third party validation of what is being sold. Ideas can spread when we introduce them to influencers long before the public gets wind of trends, controversies and products. Public opinion can be altered and people can be positively predisposed to an idea or a desire for a product or service may be ignited. Who wouldn’t want people talking about their product way before it’s launch in the market?
PR keeps audiences involved and engaged – This is about creating opportunities for people to become emotionally vested in what you want to convey. It is difficult to capture the attention of consumers today – who live fast-paced lifestyles. While advertising is something we see all the time, PR ensures that the message is subtly caught by today’s busy-bees while advertising attempts to catch a consumer’s attention upfront.
The bottom line is to get the word out about you, your company, your products and services to those who could potentially buy from you. PR is just one part of marketing, as marketing is made up of many things. The good news about PR is the cost and the effectiveness when it’s in front of your target market.
By Danielle Rajaratnam, PR Associate at Corporate Media Services
This week’s PR News Highlights:
Brian Carter from PR Daily shares why content is more important than conversation.
The 20 essentials for every employee communicator are explained by Paul Barter.
In light of the recent Super Bowl, Andrew Worob shares 10 social media lessons from the New York Giants.