Bill Gates, who needs no introduction, is ostensibly on record saying: “If I were down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR”.
Fortunately though for Microsoft, the company money boxes are nowhere near empty. I would like to think that this is partly thanks to PR. Granted, Microsoft has a good product to sell, but undeniably PR has had a major impact in establishing the company’s reputation. It also plays an invaluable role in influencing people to trust the company, its leadership, and it products.
Power of perception
The perceptions and opinions people develop about a company have a direct bearing on its profitability, and its ability to attract/retain investors, customers and even employees.
Public relations, in a nutshell, deals with the total communications of any organisation. Whether it’s a government, corporate or private enterprise, or even a public figure, PR can (through an array of communications tools) help shape and maintain a positive public image of excellence.
Many components make up PR, but media relations is its cornerstone. Media coverage within a public relations programme, whether planned or entirely unsolicited, has a major impact on a company’s reputation.
Editorial media coverage is perceived to be highly credible – chiefly because it’s viewed as an endorsement of a company or its product by an independent third party (either a reporter or an editor).
Why outsource PR?
Managers not aware of the importance and benefits of PR, often assign this responsibility as a secondary chore to an employee’s existing workload. Big mistake!
Employees who lack PR training, experience, and often the skill too – and who are trying to focus on meeting the requirements of their key result areas (PR not being one of them) – will find PR daunting.
If you fractured your leg, where would you go for treatment? You would no doubt engage the services of a medical specialist (in this case an orthopaedic surgeon).
The same applies to your PR and communications needs: let the specialists attend to them.
Effective PR specialists offer increased professionalism; they usually have a strong contact network across a wide range of sectors, in particular the media; they remain abreast of developments within their field of expertise – which may not be the case with an employee who holds another job function within a company.
While external PRs possibly provide higher productivity due to contractual obligations, outsourcing of PR further allows your employees to focus on their core duties.
So, if professional PR is important enough for Bill Gates, imagine its value for your business.