One fine Monday morning, Mr. A is hosting a virtual meet with his strategic team. One of the key discussion points is ‘securing funds’. Finding investment is the second most pressing challenge encountered by most entrepreneurs at the evolutionary stage of the company. Here is a crucial question every company asks – will a public relations campaign enable my business to attract the attention of potential investors?
A pervasive preconceived notion is that PR is all about press mentions and attractive news announcements. PR strategy, if crafted effectively, can work in congruence with your business plan – be it attracting investments, building a franchise network, or getting a stock listed. It fulfills business goals and can truly make you money.
What’s more, strategically planned media outreach is sure to accelerate growth, scaling the business to higher summits. This includes preparing for the long, complex, transformational process of taking a company through an IPO. Looking at growing your company franchises? PR is what will help generate brand awareness on a national and international level. All in all, the key function of PR is positioning a brand and building upon the brand equity at a local, regional and global scale by amplifying local market development, news announcements, and crisis management. All of these are vital to any and every business.
Back in the day, Public Relations or media communications as a strategy was predominantly deployed by government departments. As time progressed, we’ve witnessed the evolution of the public relations practice as being embraced by the multi-national corporations and today even small-medium businesses and individuals. Corporates today understand the need for a focused PR campaign to being pivotal to raise the brand profile, to attract investment, customers, and talent.
2020 was also the year when Personal Branding took center stage.
Diverse industries use Public Relations differently. Although, in theory, the goal, objectives, and action are similar, practically, the application of a PR strategy differs as per the industry requirements and is unique and customized to each company and campaign.
An important and relevant question to ask here will be – why do you buy, what you buy? What is driving those buying decisions? Yes, each purchase decision does have a functional, emotional, and social element attached to the purchase. Having said that, there is more to why people actually buy a product or a service, and how can PR then help facilitate or influence that buying decision?
Influencing a stakeholder’s decision plays a huge role in today’s times, and PR works well as a long-term strategy to create the right perception. Below is a checklist for companies to understand the ingredients of a successful PR campaign.
PR Is Story-Telling
Content creation is at the heart of any marketing campaign. A well-planned content strategy inspires your target audiences to take action that boosts your business. One way to look at a successful PR campaign is that at its foundation is creative story-telling. A gripping story helps slash through the clutter and engage the audience while conveying the brand message. It implies the perfect combination of setting goals, researching your audience, and mapping out how buyers will interact with your content.
PR Increases Brand Credibility
The ultimate goal of PR is to create engaging conversations with stakeholders, both internal and external. Clear and constant communication helps bridge the trust gap between a business and its prospective clientele. Often worked through press releases, interviews, feature stories, thought leadership articles, influencer connections, and networking strategies, PR helps a brand thrive and offers increased credibility within their given industry. It starts with visibility through the right press features, leading to credibility and eventually translating to business profitability.
PR Is Earned Media
With digitalization taking over business today, it has become supremely important for a business to ensure it generates “earned” media coverage equally as it garners “paid” media coverage through online advertising. To simplify, earned media coverage is the coverage published by a third party; this could be print media, online media, broadcast media, or influencers as well. The beauty of adopting an earned media strategy is that the business is able to influence a third party to advocate the business without exchange of any commercials. The perceived value of this coverage is far higher than coverage that has been paid for. As Richard Branson says, “Publicity is absolutely more critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.”
PR Is A Long-Term Strategy
What brands and companies need to understand is that PR is a long-term strategy. Repetition equals recall. Over a period of time, PR strategy, when executed right, changes the way people think about a business. PR works towards building a positive impression and creating a perception about a business. Perception, though intangible, dictates the brand value and the overall brand equity.
Digital rules the 2021 media landscape; this is the main reason why PR today has evolved from just writing a press release, planning an event, or dealing with the media and influencers. PR when integrated with other marketing vehicles gives more than just visibility. It helps connect the brand with influencers, analyze data, monitor feedback, and work around conversion. Digital PR plays a vital role in today’s marketing landscape.
Another emerging trend is that Entrepreneurs and CEOs today understand the power of personal branding. It is a unique combination of skills, experience, and personality. Personal brand building gives an individual the reputation of being an expert in his / her field while simultaneously amplifying brand ‘U’. Social Media, podcasts, videos, writing books are effective ways to complement the personal brand-building exercise. Once again, the strategy and tactics need to be engineered and worked upon in a consistent manner in order to get recognition.
The public relations industry enjoys a position of greater prominence in today’s competitive and fast-paced global environment. I would like to end with my favorite quote from Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, “if I were down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.”
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