With all the opportunities of new and traditional media at their fingertips, today’s business communicators have unprecedented ability to talk to their audiences – yet many companies don’t get full value from their words because their PR lacks strategy.
In far too many organisations, PR is an afterthought, its output sporadic and poorly crafted, and its cost seldom recouped. In such cases, PR gets a bad name because “it doesn’t work”. The fact is, it won’t work without a campaign based on a strategic direction, and packed with creative tactics programmed to produce real results.
Occasional or ad hoc forays into PR seldom produce satisfactory outcomes, which is why we and many other PR consultants recommend an ongoing campaign approach, with regular activity and output. True, this guarantees a steadier cash flow for consultants – but it’s also likely to produce a better return for the client.
An important part of PR is educating and informing the public about a company and its products – building image and enhancing reputation through high-integrity communication. It is preparing people to change their behaviour (buying the company’s product or service in preference to other suppliers’) – but this does not happen overnight, and certainly not with infrequent PR activity.
Consider a manufacturer who makes a strategic decision to grow his business by 10% through expanding into a new geographic area. Appropriate tactics to achieve this could include investing in new manufacturing capacity, hiring additional sales and distribution teams, and communicating with potential customers. The strategic challenge for the PR team is to raise awareness of the new option for customers; the tactics may involve media releases, local radio interviews, factory visits for key journalists and so on – with activity continuing long after the launch phase.
So, to power up your PR campaign, remember:
David Goddin was born in the UK and educated in South Africa. He began his career on daily newspapers and trade journals, before moving into public relations consulting. He produced award-winning writing and became an Accredited PR Practitioner, the highest qualification of the Public Relations Institute of South Africa. Since his return to the UK 17 years ago he has also contributed to a number of highly successful PR and marketing communications campaigns for major national and multinational clients. He is currently also President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.