Public relations is the field of changing public perception of something. Previously referred to as spin doctors, public relations specialists now do more than blatantly lie and refute negative claims against their clients. There are countless strategies that businesses can employ to change the light under which their company is viewed, and public relations pays a huge role in the reception and retention of this resulting image.
Public relations, or PR, is invaluable to businesses for two main reasons; firstly, because it can be used to maintain a beneficial public image or to improve pubic perception after an accident or negative event has occurred. Secondly, with the help of PR you can generally reach a large audience without spending lots of money on traditional marketing and advertising strategies. If you’re looking for more information on the benefits of public relations on your business, read on: here are three reasons to utilize PR today.
Create a Positive Image
The most obvious and well understood benefit to utilizing public relations is creating a positive public image for your business.
PR is just as important for maintaining a positive image as it is when fixing a negative one. PR is commonly used to build awareness of a brand or business and its overall message to its audience.
A great example is Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, which was endorsed by such partners as Ogilvy & Mathew, Edelman Public Relations and Harbinger Communications. Aspects of the campaign included television ads, workshops, sleepover events and the publication of a book and production of a play. All of these initiatives helped Dove to gain a loyal customer base because they portrayed the brand as one that encompasses self love for all women, regardless of shape, size, age and ethnicity. The campaigns paint the picture of a company that values women’s self esteem and confidence in themselves, which is ironic when you consider the fact that the same company that owns Dove (Unilever) also owns Axe Body Spray. Axe’s campaigns, on the other hand, objectify women and portray them as an object of affection that men can ‘win’ by purchasing Axe’s products.
In essence, strategic public relations can be the difference between a campaign celebrating women and their self confidence and individuality, and showcasing women as material trophies to be won.
Reach Your Target Market
Public relations specialists can help you identify the target market for your company’s services and with the use of specialized marketing strategies, effectively reach that audience. This is done by using media outlets pertinent to that age group; for example targeting teenagers would have PR specialists saturating social media feeds and magazine ads rather than television commercials and newspapers.
Engaging on social media is one of the easiest ways to reach your target market because of the low barriers to entry; social media is instantly accessible, always-on, free to use, and quickly disseminated. Social media also gives customers the opportunity to engage with the company directly; the last few years in particular have seen viral posts on Twitter from customers to fast food chains looking for free food (or in one case, a lifetime supply of chicken nuggets) for a certain number of re-tweets. Businesses can engage their audience or customers in conversation and discussion, deal with complaints and concerns, and even use communication and humour to expand their client base.
Another effective way of reaching your target market is through search engine optimization. The age of the encyclopaedia is over: today’s generation uses search engines to answer their questions and teach them new things. Search engines like Google and Duck Duck Go can show hundreds of thousands of results in less than a second- but this doesn’t help your business if your results are at the end of this long list. Professionals suggest that most people looking for quick information do not read results past the second page, meaning that if you are not on the first page your website, webpage or article is not being accessed. Enter SEO: using the right keywords, continually publishing new and relevant content, and sharing your content and website on social media are all effective ways that public relations experts implement search engine optimization to benefit their business clients.
Network &Build Connections
In business, it’s all about who you know.
Throwing a corporate event is a great way to introduce a large audience to the company, especially once you’ve established your image or rebranded the company. Sometimes hosting an event for potential clients can feel pointless but there are huge benefits to promoting your company at an event whether it be a a laid-back open house or a formal cocktail hour. Hosting corporate events is used as a tool of growth for many reasons; for the rich ROI potential, to interest new clients, to attract new investors, and to gain a loyal following on social media and other outlets. These events are also beneficial in terms of networking opportunities. Depending on the reason, you can host a variety of audiences and inviting the right people in each of these scenarios can help you make important connections for your business. Social media influencers, upper-level management, potential clients, employees, shareholders, politicians, media outlets, real estate professionals and even other public relations experts are just some of the influential people that you can invite to corporate events to build connections with and call upon later to help grow your business.
In summation, public relations is an essential asset in the business world. PR is the best way to reach your target market with the proper advertising strategies as standard advertisements are regarded by the audience as an obvious attempt to gain business, but the reaction is different when the media itself endorses a product. In terms of expanding your client base, utilizing social media helps to both reach new markets and strengthen the loyalty of existing clients. Finally, corporate events are the most effective way to give your audience a taste of what the company’s goals and motivations are, as well as providing vital networking opportunities.If you aren’t already implementing these PR strategies, consider doing so today. Only the strongest businesses can survive in the current business landscape and PR will give your company a leg-up over the competition.