PR Can Help Keep Your Numbers Trending Upward
By Maggie Chamberlin
All too often public relations is viewed simply as product publicity and a support tactic of the marketing
effort. This article is intended to broaden your perspective and outline ten ways that public relations contributes to bolstering
your revenues - either by adding directly to the coffers or helping avert major losses.
PR 101, a quick review
As a primer, public relations looks at all the target groups - often called "publics" - who influence the
success of your company or organization. These include, but are not limited to, your customers and the media. Examples of
other publics are: employees, stockholders, neighbors in the communities nearby your facilities, legislators, people or organizations
who like/dislike you strongly, industry analysts, and bankers or venture capitalists who fund you.
Just as important
as a well-crafted news release is to a media publicity effort, so too is research necessary in understanding, and in turn
influencing, the thoughts and behavior of all your target publics. Research can run the gamut from a review of secondary data
to sophisticated opinion polling and baseline studies.
Now that we understand the PR playing field, here are ten
ways PR can help increase revenue or avoid loss:
1. Cultivating Third-party Endorsement
It's said that
advertising is what you say about yourself or organization, but that PR is what others say about you. How true indeed, because
PR has the power to create positive "word of mouth" and influence referrals and recommendations. This "good
buzz" can increase sales, encourage acceptance of change and attract investors.
2. Fostering Awareness
PR tactics inform, educate and, in turn, increase awareness of your organization or products. Whether your focus is
a new product rollout, fundraising effort or stock offering, public relations has the power to impart complex information
and rapidly spur awareness, acceptance and increase sales.
3. Encouraging Employee Enthusiasm
regardless of job function, can and should be the best PR ambassadors for your organization. Properly encouraged and informed,
your people play a key role in molding your image and propelling your organization forward. Ignored, you've simply missed
an important opportunity. The bonuses of cultivating your "internal" public include improved morale and increased
4. Providing a Heads Up!
Regardless of which target group you focus on, PR research tactics
- including both competitive intelligence and Internet information gathering techniques - can help you anticipate important
issues and concerns. The sooner you are aware of dissatisfaction or threat of any kind, the better you can respond and limit,
or alleviate, negative effects.
5. Improving Things Overall
Just as PR research tactics can effectively
identify or anticipate problems, they can also identify targets of opportunity. Feedback provides insight into new markets,
highlights trends regarding new products or features desired, and provides suggestions to improve existing products, services
6. Minimizing Damage
PR offers an effective framework for responding to an unexpected event,
such as a disaster or attack of any kind. By taking a proactive stance, you can protect your organization's position, retain
support of key publics and maintain "business as usual" with little or no downtime.
7. Providing Executive
Public relations helps senior management maintain a fresh, enlightened viewpoint about their organization.
Objective research and counsel from outside the firm guards against tunnel vision and executive isolation. In turn, the CEO
and other senior management can understand what's really happening in the market, be more realistic, competitive and able
to make more knowledgeable decisions.
8. Causing Positive Change
No one wants to change, despite the
fact that change is the one constant in the world. PR tools provide ways to overcome natural resistance, promote a smooth
transition and provide information and reassurance to affected publics. Cushioning change with positive PR tactics helps avert
downtime and negative impact to your organization.
9. Doing Good Deeds
When working closely in the public
eye, your reputation often depends on your interest and involvement in key issues of social concern. PR can help identify
these issues and create a successful strategy of response. This can include support of public interest projects through sponsorship,
volunteerism and contributions.
10. Eliminating Political Barriers
PR can influence policy in the public
sector or among special interest groups in the community. Through public involvement, coalition building, lobbying and grassroots
campaigns, you can win approval to enhance your organization's mission and continued success.
There you have them.
Now it's time to put PR to work for your organization. The only thing left to do is to apply measurement standards to your
PR efforts, but that's a topic for another article.
About the author:
Maggie Chamberlin Holben, owner of
Absolutely Public Relations and www.online-presskit.com, is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America and is a
member of the PRSA Counselors Academy. A Denver native, Holben relocated from Wichita, KS, in 1997 where she was vice president
of client services for The Lida Groups.