All too often PR is viewed simply as product publicity and a support tactic of the marketing effort. This article is intended to broaden your perspective and outline ten ways that public relations contributes to bolstering revenues – either by adding directly to the coffers or helping avert major losses.
Public relations looks at all the target groups – often called “publics” – who influence the success of your company or organization. Here’s how PR can help you:
1. Cultivate Third-party Endorsement
It’s said that advertising is what you say about yourself or organization, but that PR is what others say about you. PR has the power to create positive “word of mouth” and influence referrals and recommendations. This “good buzz” can increase sales, encourage acceptance of change and attract investors.
2. Foster Awareness
PR tactics inform, educate and, in turn, increase awareness of your organization or products. Whether your focus is a new product rollout, fundraising effort or stock offering, public relations has the power to impart complex information and rapidly spur awareness, acceptance and increased sales.
3. Encourage Employee Enthusiasm
Employees, regardless of job function, can and should be the best PR ambassadors for your organization. Properly encouraged and informed, your people play a key role in molding your image and propelling your organization forward. Ignored, you’ve simply missed an important opportunity; cultivated, you can reap improved morale and increased productivity.
4. Provide a Heads Up!
Regardless of which target group you focus on, PR research tactics – including both competitive intelligence and Internet information gathering techniques – can help you anticipate important issues and concerns. The sooner you are aware of dissatisfaction or threat of any kind, the better you can respond strategically.
5. Improve Things Overall
Just as PR research tactics can effectively identify or anticipate problems, they can also identify targets of opportunity. Feedback provides insight into new markets, highlights trends regarding new products or features desired, and provides suggestions to improve existing products, services or methods.
6. Minimize Damage
PR offers an effective framework for responding to an unexpected event, such as a disaster or attack of any kind. By taking a proactive stance, you can protect your organization’s position, retain support of key publics and maintain “business as usual” with little or no downtime.
7. Provide Executive Perspective
Public relations helps senior management maintain a fresh, enlightened viewpoint about their organization. Objective research and counsel from outside the firm guards against tunnel vision and executive isolation. In turn, the CEO and other senior management can understand what’s really happening in the market.
8. Cause Positive Change
No one wants to change, despite the fact that change is the one constant in the world. PR tools provide ways to overcome natural resistance, promote a smooth transition and provide information and reassurance to affected publics. Cushioning change with positive PR tactics helps avert downtime and negative impact to your organization.
9. Do Good Deeds
When working closely in the public eye, your reputation often depends on your interest and involvement in key issues of social concern. PR can help identify these issues and create a successful strategy of response. This can include support of public interest projects through sponsorship, volunteerism and contributions.
10. Eliminate Political Barriers
PR can influence policy in the public sector or among special interest groups in the community. Through public involvement, coalition building, lobbying and grassroots campaigns, you can win approval to enhance your organization’s mission and continued success.
There you have them. Now it’s time to put PR to work for your organization. The only thing left to do is to apply measurement standards to your PR efforts, but that’s a topic for another article.