‘PR’ as a term is very much in the public vernacular but few people could actually describe what it is. (In truth, this may well be appreciated by Public Relations practitioners worldwide who enjoy an air of allusivity over their profession.)
To make matters worse, there is also a lot of confusion about what PR can actually achieve. The practice is most commonly described as an art rather than a science and its impact is famously difficult to measure. This lack of clarity can lead to poor PR practice or ‘PR and PR’s sake’ – i.e. doing a lot of stuff that doesn’t actually help your brand at all.
So what can PR actually help you achieve, if done well?
Here is a starter for ten:
Having a better reputation than the competition offers organisations an advantage. It is easier for customers to trust (and therefore choose) businesses with the highest reputation in the sector.
Successful PR creates a positive public image, which strengthens the relationship with the customer and can therefore lead to increased sales. Public Relations can also build public awareness and favour for a particular product or service, resulting in positive sales results.
Business lead generation.
PR can be used to increase the visibility of a company in order to attract prospects.
Improved business strategy.
The process of developing an effective PR strategy should involve interrogation of an organisation’s business strategy. This is to ensure PR plans are designed to meet key business objectives. In doing so key questions are raised, which help define business direction.
Building good favour in the eyes of your customers, prospect customers, shareholders and employees will buy you credit when something goes wrong. People are more likely to forgive a friend than an enemy.
PR that paints your organisation in a good light will increase the potential to attract the best talent.
Positive Public Relations can help instil a sense of pride in the people who work for you and therefore give them a reason to stay and feel motivated to succeed.
Shareholder satisfaction and value.
It can be challenging to constantly provide your shareholder with reasons to be satisfied with your performance. A regular flow of positive PR that demonstrates your business is thought of highly by independent commentators can work wonders.
PR can attract the attention of VCs and other investors. With the right messaging and strategy, PR increases your credibility as a stable and potentially lucrative investment target. The same can be said for potential acquirers.
And a little Brucey bonus:
It can be thankless at the top and, in the absence of praise and reward elsewhere, a shiny profile article on you and your business could be just what the doctor ordered.
You may not be able to directly attribute PR efforts to business successes, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a huge contributor. Keeping your business objectives front of mind is a powerful way to ensure your investment in PR is doing what it needs to. It will also help to hold Public Relations teams and agencies to account.
Targeting true business impact from the outset can be your secret weapon. Give it a go – the outcome may surprise you.