The power of PR

PR – public relations – means many things to many people.  But what does it really entail, and what is considered best practice to ensure the best results?

According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR): “PR is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.  PR is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour.”

In other words, every organisation depends on reputation for survival and success.  Reputation with everyone: customers, suppliers, employees, investors, journalists, regulators, etc.

Effective PR also gives a competitive edge and helps those organisations manage their reputation by communicating and building good relationships with their stakeholders.  Absent or ineffective PR does the exact opposite.

There are many rules for good PR.  Here are my top five:

  1. Define your aims and objectives from the start and make sure you have a PR plan aligned with your marcomms strategy which should mirror your business strategy: they all go hand-in-hand.
  2. Know your stakeholder audience and target them accordingly.
  3. Use all the tools at your disposal – including social media – but don’t go overboard: less is more.
  4. Be proactive and bold!  It’s good in PR to have opinions and thought-lead.
  5. Monitor and measure: return on investment (ROI) is key.

And don’t just take my word for it.  Some wise words from Microsoft’s Bill Gates: “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR.”

Now that’s the power of PR!

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The whole is greater than the sum

Just a quick blog this month as I’m up to my eyes in work and loving it!

In my capacity as Surrey Chambers of Commerce council member and co-chair of their Business Women in Surrey (BWIS) group, I recently wrote a column for the Surrey Advertiser business page.

Here’s the abridged version…

Earlier this month BWIS held its latest event – Ask the Marketing Panel – organised on the basis of feedback requesting marketing and communications (marcomms) help and advice.

Our impressive panel was made up of marcomms professionals from all walks of the business world, including charity (Rainbow Trust), corporate (Sony) and public sector (Surrey Police).

Interestingly, while the experiences of each where quite different, the overall issues remained much the same: tight budgets; overstretched resources; new versus traditional media.

As a communications professional of 20 years standing, I remember the pre-online world.  Including the days when photos were collected in their hardcopy form from the photographer’s studio and biked to the printers/press room to meet urgent deadlines.  Thank goodness we now have email and JPEG!

However, as wonderful as modern day technology is in all its various guises, it’s important to ensure it adds to and complements other more traditional tools rather than replacing them entirely.  From the traditional (newspaper) to the new-born (Twitter), each plays its own role in the communication chain and each complements rather than replaces the other.

Just as they should in the marcomms world.

By all means embrace Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with gusto, but don’t underestimate the power and effectiveness of magazine and newspaper advertising and editorial or organising face to face meetings and events.

I regularly email, text, tweet and call my clients.  But nothing works better than simply getting together in a room from time to time for a catch up meeting.

Modern day technology provides several slices of the marcomms pie but is not the pie itself. Remember, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.