PR – How It can Benefit Your Business

Every company has its own individual style…its own unique ‘face’…its own distinct culture, character and personality – the opinion-forming influences that PR people would concentrate upon when considering the image that a company should project.

For instance, if quality is an important aspect, it might be recommended that PR people would place focus on everything that contributes positively towards projecting a message of quality when designing a communications plan.

If out-of-the-box thinking and future technology are the distinctive features a company might wish to promote…then its relationships with universities…its recruitment, training and working environment…the encouragement its gives to creativity and invention…and its commitment to fostering a culture of thought and invention are the aspects on which a PR campaign might focus.

Considerations of this kind are amongst the elements that contribute to making PR so distinctly different from other image-building pursuits.

PR is an ever-present element in the life and character of every organisation, a feature that cannot be switched on and off at will. For that reason, those charged with making a PR appointment – whether through a staff member or a consultancy engagement – are advised to take a serious and long-term view.

Know that the person assigned to the task should be one who knows what PR is, and what it can and cannot do. Know that he/she will have the knowledge and experience to be a truly effective representative – possessed of the skills to plan programmes, to be authoritative in their management and in the execution of their tasks, with the ability to handle issues that arise.

As in life and love, some client/consultancy relationships can be short-lived while others can endure and blossom into a long-term partnership. Those who achieve such status will become known as your go-to contact person…maybe even the go-to contact for the entire sector in which you operate. Theirs will be the name entered in media contact books, and left there.

Choosing a PR Consultancy – know exactly what you want

Be painstaking when choosing a public relations consultancy. Know exactly what it is you want, remembering that whomever you engage to represent you, will be the face and voice of your organisation. Their standards, and the standards they apply to their work – things like personality, punctuality, promise-keeping, reliability, confidentiality and trustworthiness – will be seen as your standards also. Despite the claims that they might make, a consultancy’s true story will be told in the calibre and status of those it represents, the length of their relationships, and in the work it does on their behalf. Therefore, in the selection of consultants, be guided, not by the question: ‘what can this firm do for me?’ but by the more telling questions: ‘what do they do for others, who are those others, and could they work for me as well as they work for them?

Intentions must be honourable

Consultants submitting themselves for appointment must have honourable intentions in all respects. First and foremost, they must have a love for the business in which a client is engaged, and revel in handling the PR challenges that it presents. He/ she must have the capacity to love what it does and the people who do it, and be enthusiastic and interested in those who make up the world in which it operates.

You must delight in your clients’ success and resolve to help them overcome their failures. Their goals must become your goals. You must be prepared to immerse yourself in their affairs and be involved in their businesses, in the round and not just on the periphery. You must enjoy the ebb and flow of issues, and relish the chance to tackle the threats and opportunities they face. Metaphorically, and in reality too, you must be willing to get your hands dirty and your feet muddy in your clients’ service. Fall short, and no fee will ever reward you and no meeting will be the one you will rush to attend.

In PR terms, that’s what it takes to love your clients, to build long-term relationships and earn your fee with honour. Everything else would be mere infatuation.

Finally…PR does cost money. But it should not be too expensive! In terms of value-for-money delivery…whether through the positive and active process of building image and creating awareness and understanding, or in the passive process of defending reputation in instances of attack, or both…PR is an invaluable tool that no serious business should be without.