Building a positive reputation

Public Relations (PR)

According to the PRCA (the world’s largest PR professional body), public relations is

“all about the way organisations communicate with the public, promote themselves, and build a positive reputation and public image. The way an organisation is represented in the media has a huge impact on how people perceive it. PR professionals try to influence the media to represent their organisation positively and communicate key messages.”

We have found over the years that the best integrated marketing solutions almost invariably require a PR strategy within the overall marketing plan. And it is important to remember at this point that PR is a marketing medium – just as advertising, direct marketing and digital marketing are also marketing media. To be a little pedantic, ‘digital marketing’ is in fact a collective medium for specific media – digital advertising, social media, content marketing, email marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO).

There is often a little bit of confusion about what sits where. Should event marketing be delivered by the PR team or by the events team? Ditto internal comms, marcomms and social media. The answer is that all marketing activities – including PR – need to sit with an overall marketing plan that is informed by a robust framework, such as our strategic marketing planning process.

Furthermore, We recommend you always consider the role played by all stakeholders whenever we undertake any strategic activity, including PR – internally that can include employees, representatives, partners, suppliers, management, directors and shareholders, and externally it can include customers, prospects, suspects and the general public. Also, it is worth remembering that ‘customers’ can be further broken down to into subsets, such as how long they have been a client, the overall annual value of their business, the quantity and quality of the products they purchase, the level of advocacy they offer, their degree of brand loyalty, and so on. Even lapsed customers need to be considered, as they can provide important insights into what went wrong.

Where PR is essential is when it comes to media relations with ‘the press’. That could be national, regional or local newspapers, industry magazines, freelance journalists, celebrities, regulatory bodies, the general public, social media ‘influencers’, bloggers and vloggers.

PR strategy

It just depends upon what is the right strategy for your organisation. Remember, strategy is defined as being the best use of scarce resource – and that normally means money and time. Without these limitations, there would be no need for a strategy.

Influencer marketing

Here are some areas where PR can play an important role:

  • Media relations
  • Advertorials
  • Community relations
  • Corporate and social responsibility
  • Public affairs
  • Government lobbying
  • Crisis management
  • Sponsorship opportunities
  • Corporate partnerships
  • Thought leadership

These activities can be delivered via various forms of physical and digital activities, such as live events, social media, newswire outreach, market research, influencer marketing and so on.

The most important part of the equation to consider in creating a successful PR strategy is to build an overall communication plan to deliver the desired goals, and this always involves one or more storytelling activities. But – and here is the big ‘but’ – these stories can be tactical in nature, but they still need to be consistent with a company’s strategic brand proposition (SBP) and congruent with its strategic marketing proposition (SMP), of which the SBP is itself an important component part.

PR sometimes gets bad press, ironically enough when one thinks about it – especially in government, where public relations is often seen as being driven by ‘spin doctors’, whose primary aim seems to be to confuse, obfuscate and misdirect the spotlight away from their mistakes and errors. We also see time and time again the damage that is done to brands within the corporate who get their PR wrong – here are a few examples from 2019.

Now, more than at any time in the past, organisations need to be ethical and moral. That doesn’t mean that they need to be seen to be ethical and moral. It means they need to be ethical and moral. ‘Being’ means a philosophy that comes from the top floor down and which oozes its way through every pore of the organisation. If you want to employ the best people, you need to be ‘good’. And this is where a PR plan based on authentic brand principles and genuine organisational facts can be golden.

Telling the truth should not be seen as a last resort, but as a first one. That is the essence of a good PR strategy.

PR plan

The bottom line…

Public relations is a powerful medium that can positively raise the corporate profile in the eyes, minds and hearts of your target market, as long as it is congruent with the insights, conclusions and recommendations generated from your strategic marketing proposition. The most important thing to remember is that PR is not a separate entity to marketing. It is a specific marketing medium within the overall marketing mix, whose primary aim is normally associated with raising brand awareness rather than delivering lead generation.

PR agency in London

Looking for a PR agency in London? Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about who we are and how we can help. We offer a two-hour marketing consultation without cost or obligation at a venue of your choice to discuss any marketing-related challenges you are facing.

Please call us on 020 3858 7868

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