Often compared with simple advertising, Public Relations or PR is perhaps the least understood of all marketing tools. PR is all about building relationships to advance, promote, and benefit your reputation, your department, and institution. But it is not by direct advertisements — the basis of PR includes using intermediaries to communicate with your audience. Those intermediaries may be industry spokespersons, stock analysts, investors, trendsetters, industry analysts, customers, employees, and media. It is both labour-intensive and time-consuming to produce commentary that favours your business but at the same time remains refreshing enough for impartial observers to take notice. Public relations are about sending the right messages to the right places and people, to build your brand reputation and therefore influence the future of the business.
Here are a few reasons why PR is so important.
Increases brand credibility
Trust is key. Without trust, no business will succeed, and brands will fail. This is where PR is vital because public relations executives can work to increase brand credibility without selling out. They achieve this by working on thought leadership pieces, influencer connections, and networking strategies.
Promoting brand values
By aligning with the core messages and key objectives of an organisation, the PR team can send out positive messages to a target audience and engage them with the language and ideas of the business. Social media is an excellent way to promote brand values.
Increase business through profits, sales and leads
In effect, this is the most important result of a sustained and successful PR campaign. When the brand values and credibility of an organisation is boosted by public relations, then it will generate more business. Customers are more likely to feel brand loyalty and therefore return and recommend the organisation. Ultimately, this leads to more profits.
It is cost-effective
While some can say that a good PR campaign is expensive, the same can be said for placing an advertisement in leading media. The difference is that if your organisation is mentioned within the context of a newspaper article or magazine feature, it is considerably cheaper than the price of an advert and can be more effective.
It changes the way people think about your business
In today’s infiltrated world of communication, there is an open forum for people to say what they like about your business, no matter if it is true or not. This can adversely affect business. Equally, if you are not reaching the right audience then you might not be fostering the best reputation. PR campaigns are the best way to target a specific audience as well as creating the right online narrative.
Enhances online presence
A continuation of the last point, PR helps any organisation to maximise its presence online in a world where everyone is digitally connected. This is great when things are going well, but it is also important for troubleshooting. If there is a threat of damaging the company’s reputation, a counterbalance through online PR campaigns can work very well.
Strengthens real-life relationships
Whether the communication is done online or in-person and whether business is coming in the form of real-life customers or digital profiles, the importance of PR strengthens the brand’s place within the community. Being an active member of a community establishes your credibility with peers, consumers, and editorial contacts.
Tarek Zaidan is Account Manager at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me