We live in a world where globalization, technological forces, and the flow of information have become unstoppable. The business world is becoming more dynamic and ambiguous day by day. Firms are facing new dimensions of competition, trying to adapt and survive like never before; they have to operate in two worlds: a physical and a digital world. That is why public relations is one of the most critical, effective, and powerful ways that can drive a business towards success. Public relations is built upon establishing relationships and communicating with people.
A perfect marketing strategy will undoubtedly have a strong PR plan and will dedicate a tremendous amount of time and effort to ensure the PR strategy is being accomplished. All blooming and large businesses have public relations departments that try to arrange as much positive press and coverage of their business as possible. PR can enhance your business’ performance and image in so many ways, and there are a plethora of strategies to achieve good PR.
When a business establishes good relations with its customers, it will create customer loyalty. Customers will spread word of mouth about their great experience with the business, through recommendations to family and friends, or even through social media. Most people trust recommendations from their close friends, families, or even online reviews written by consumers, over any type of advertising. Word of mouth is one of the first, yet most important steps, to achieve brand recognition; especially when it comes to startups that haven’t yet been established in the market.
Those loyal customers and their circle will be willing to purchase your products or hire your services over and over, and will even try your new products despite the risks associated with the new product launch because your brand has been recognized and proven to deliver the value that people desire. Customer relationship management (CRM); maintaining strong long-term customer relationships and building a two-way relationship with customers instead of just giving information or persuading them is much more effective at raising brand awareness, in addition to establishing a strong image in the market. Promotion is manipulative, while communication is cooperative.
Good public relations attracts customers and boosts sales, thus if one of your goals is achieving higher sales and profits, public relations will help you reach this goal and help you compete and grow. An organization’s goodwill increases its value in ways you wouldn’t even begin to imagine, and most businesses nowadays strive to maintain their goodwill to attract investors, workers and encourage customers to choose their product instead of a competing brand, by indirectly convincing them that they are more socially involved.
You get to choose how you want people to position your brand when you share the right information about your business. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Luis Vuitton or Gucci? Yes, luxury!
Premium prices and high-quality services or products entail an image of exclusivity in people’s minds. Endowing the public with ideas about how your product can bring emotional value, for instance, by giving off a sense of confidence, you show that the wearer looks wealthy, which indirectly establishes the intangible attributes of your product. In short, public relations help distinguish your product and create a unique selling point (USP).
There’s no doubt that any business needs to mark its presence online and stay up to date. We live in a virtual world, where everyone is connected via social media; good public relations is not possible without well-established social media platforms, where you reach and communicate with customers, make important announcements, as well as organize events and live streams, thus maintaining a loyal customer base.
The internet guarantees that your product or service will reach a wide range of customers globally, with just a few clicks, increasing brand exposure and identity. Digital PR is the modernized and more evolved form of public relations. It focuses on social media and online publications instead of traditional print publications. It works with bloggers, content writing agencies, and online journalists, in addition to using product reviews, to maximize virtual exposure and online coverage.
Online presence and PR also promote website traffic, where more people will read about your company or brand and post about it on their social media platforms. Online articles will also direct potential customers to your website and will improve search engine optimization (SEO) results. How to achieve good PR?
Research the target demographic – people who need or care about your brand and the information you deliver. What are their age groups? What gender is more interested? When you do your research, this will help you choose the most effective means of communication and target it to the right audience. Further, knowing your audience will help you decide on how you’ll reach and appeal to them before your rivals. For example, nowadays, youngsters have become TikTok addicts, while most adults remain loyal to Facebook so a smart thing to do is to deliver the intended message through the medium that is most used by your targeted audience.
Celebrity endorsement and influence marketing are dominating marketing strategies nowadays; they associate the public figure with a brand or product. These influential people have a strong presence on many platforms and have the power to drastically affect the buying habits of people, especially their followers on social media. They become the face of the brand and can increase brand recognition and attract millions of customers in no time. For example, Justin Bieber has been the face of Calvin Klein for some time now, and since that campaign, their sales have been going through the roof.
Influencers will even deliver the right message for you, and people will be much more convinced by them than any advertisement. Their first impression will be that your product is credible and high-end. So, get your promotion game on, prepare your merchandise, gifts, and packages to send to public figures and influencers, and build good relations with them. Try to create distinctive packages, integrate words and graphics that tell your story. This PR technique has proven to really appeal to the public nowadays.
Press releases are disguised ads, in the form of news. They aim to reach out to the media and get their attention, and they are one of the most popular PR stunts. When writing a press release, remember these tips:
If you still feel lost and have no experience when it comes to press releases, the folks at eReleases advise business owners to find a PR company that can help you write and distribute high-quality press releases that will significantly enhance your visibility and credibility. You’ll get actual press inquiries and your business will appear in journals, TV shows, or newspapers in no time.
Public relations isn’t about the public and external stakeholders only. Your workers are your business’ core, involving them in every decision, empowering them, and motivating them improves the quality of work and helps you maintain a good image. Allow for feedback and ensure all their rights are protected, not only will this improve morale, but it will also reduce turnover rates, which is greatly in your favor.
Most employees ask for autonomy, trust, and development. Provide them with what they need and help them stay comfortable and happy with their job. Adopt workplace spirituality by making them feel that they have meaningful jobs and what they do matters. We all want a sense of purpose in our lives to get us going.
When you greatly care for your employees, you will be perceived as an ethical business, and this is quite important as the media, focus groups and the public eye can spot any unethical acts from miles away. Ethical businesses are easily awarded government grants, contracts, and attract well-qualified candidates, who are looking for companies with ethical, socially responsible policies. When businesses show unethical behavior, this can backfire; they lose people’s trust, forcing them to shift to competitors and resulting in lost market share.
Hold a press conference to announce the launch of a new product, invite well-known people in the industry. If you sell cosmetics or operate in the beauty-fashion industry, invite famous makeup artists, international fashion designers, beauty gurus, fashion bloggers, and the list goes on! You can also invite other businesses in similar industries, which increases your prospect of future partners. This will attract the media and allow them to interview you and ask questions, helping them publish a more authentic story about your business. Invite Tedtalk speakers, prepare a speech as the founder of your business, and you can even encourage your team members or workers to join. Seize the opportunity to build relations with journalists, customers, and don’t forget the people behind the scenes!
If you want to win your target demographic over, create a heartfelt story about your brand that people can relate to. Post your story on social media and engage with people. You should also post other people’s stories and launch campaigns about issues that matter. People remember events that triggered an emotion, so creating an emotional connection with people will make them think of your brand as something more than a mere product. Use the brand intimacy model, which is the extent to which a customer associates a brand with emotional attributes like nostalgia. Evoking memories, bliss, humor, or making your brand a part of people’s daily routine personalizes their experiences with your brand and breeds an attachment.
Demonstrate the commitment of a business to the well-being of society and others by taking responsibility for the impact of your business on the public. Incorporate the triple bottom line accounting framework by making profits without ignoring society’s interests. Of course, it also goes without saying that you should abide by governmental laws and regulations and pay taxes on time. Give customers reasonable prices without fixing prices with competitors.
In addition, keep your shareholders satisfied by giving them dividends on time and scheduling meetings with them to listen to their needs. Show how you’re keen on corporate sustainability, such as recycling and using environmentally friendly measures. Other CSR activities include providing and supporting local services, such as your local hospital, church, or even football team. Assert how much you care about your community by giving back to it. By actively engaging in CSR, you avoid a bad reputation and negative publicity. CSR can also bring goodwill to stakeholder groups and increase customer reassurance and loyalty.
You must have a competitive advantage and stay one step ahead of competitors. Watch out for any schemes that can indirectly ruin your reputation and steal your customers, workers, or the media’s attention. Study the market; do competitors have better resources that allow them to reach out to their audience more frequently? If you feel like the market is saturated, consider diversification by targeting new markets and broadening your demographic to be inclusive of all genders and ages.
Join associations like the Rotary Club, charity organizations, Association of Independent Professionals, and the self-employed. This helps people with failed payments and debts, and those who suffer from illnesses, jury services, and the like. Participating and networking with these organizations helps you build constructive, respectful relations with people who are known for serving the community. You also get to contribute to the public’s well-being through your donations. You can be seen as a spokesperson for your industry, further improving your brand image. When you are proactive, always volunteering and supporting local associations, the press will reach out to you and write articles about what you do.
Good public relations is all about positive relationships with internal and external stakeholders. A well-known, trustworthy, and credible brand image is achieved when PR is successful. Anyone can be your brand ambassador by engaging with your business, so remember to always renew the public’s interest by being creative, and pulling out eye-catching publicity stunts every once in a while to get coverage. Most importantly, maintain a good reputation.