In the 1990s, Sears, Roebuck and Co. set out to transform consumers’ perception of the Sears brand from out-of-step with the times to contemporary, relevant and upbeat. By revealing the "Softer Side of Sears" to its public, Sears rejuvenated its once stodgy image into a fresh, new consumer brand that not only caught the attention of the press but also helped reenergize customer relationships and boost sales. Behind the scenes, it was Sears’ carefully crafted public relations (PR) strategy that made it happen.
Public relations is about creating a favorable image of your organization, product or service in the minds of the public. PR encompasses all of the activities and practices required to generate goodwill among those who can have the greatest impact on your business–consumers and the press. Like Sears, most companies will find that investing the time and effort into developing a sound, strategic PR program inevitably results in rich, tangible rewards.
Whether you’re marketing commodity products or highly specialized services, your success rides heavily on your ability to project the right company image–to create and sustain a positive "buzz" among consumers and business and trade press about who you are and what you have to offer. A strong PR program can provide the visibility and credibility needed to put you on the radar screens of the right people, while instilling a sense of confidence and goodwill in their minds about your company, products and services.
By sending clear, consistent messages to the world, PR programs can generate astonishing results including skyrocketing awareness of your company and products, a public perception of your company as a credible information source in your trade or area of expertise, and increasing revenues from rising sales of your products and services. But achieving these high returns requires hard work–simply sending out the occasional news release to editors and media producers for possible placement just doesn’t cut it.
Any PR program worth its salt should include some basic components–strategic communications objectives and planning, trade and consumer media relations, crisis intervention planning, print and online media production and placement and ongoing market research initiatives. However, creating and managing all of these program components requires significant time and resources of any company, large or small, in any industry.
As a result, choosing to outsource your public relations workload to a reputable PR agency not only is a viable option, it can be a wise decision for your business. Typically, agencies have talented art directors, copywriters, web and multimedia designers, photographers and other professionals who can create the high-impact PR program components you need. They already have strong ties with editors and producers in targeted areas of interest such as home products, financial services or technology, which can mean more frequent and more strategic publicity opportunities for your company.
PR agencies also have the expertise, time and resources to execute the high volume of strategic and production work required to sustain successful PR programs, enabling you to free up and apply internal resources to other key initiatives. For PR agencies, following up with editors, managing suppliers, planning events and heading off PR crises are all in a day’s work.
So, if you want to boost your company’s visibility and credibility in today’s highly competitive markets, consider hooking up with a seasoned PR agency. Outsourcing can make the process of building a new PR program or revamping an existing one, infinitely easier. With the right agency on your side, your company will get the good "buzz" it needs to get the business it deserves.
Setting Up a PR Program
Public relations (PR) is at the forefront of your business. PR serves as a wonderful tool for promoting your organization, company or specific product and services. It should clearly manage and portray the message your company wants to send out to the market. Whether the marketing is being done in-house or outsourced, the message should be consistent and clear. Here are some tips when setting up a good public relations program.
* Program should have a goal and purpose. Strategic objectives and planning are a must.
* It should utilize all media (i.e., magazines, newspapers, television, radio and wire services) and maintain good relations with editors, writers, etc. A complete target media list should be compiled. It should be focused and relevant to company’s product, services or events, as well as up-to-date. All editors names, addresses, etc., should be correct.
* Should always have on hand a copy of the publishing dates and editorial
calendars for various media. Program should offer timely press releases to media. It never should send an announcement of an event two days before the event.
* Only send out high quality press releases. A good press release should not be an advertisement. It simply informs the editor of the facts about a product, service or event.
* Have crisis intervention strategies.
* Set in place ongoing market research initiatives.
* All press releases should be posted on website.