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Monday, July 20, 2009

Why Public Relations is Important in Business

Peter King
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All of us would agree that investing in creating a strong, credible image for our business is a worthwhile endeavor. We also know that long-term, business-building advertising and marketing activities are absolutely necessary for sustaining the effective business sales.  
However, many of us are not aware that our secret weapon in this continuous game of attracting new and repeat customers is public relations. This is due to the fact that people’s attitudes about businesses and buying those products are more affected and prone to change by public relations than advertising. It is easier for the public to buy a message if it comes from an independent third party than simply shouting it in an advertisement.  
Today, we are forced to think of new unconventional ways of reaching our audiences such as with public relations. A skilled program can help to extend the reach of your message and deliver it effectively with a high level of credibility. Any business can benefit from a strategic program that builds stronger and closer ties with current customers as well as reaches out to potential new ones. History has shown that a well-known established business or product has incredible power with consumers and a much higher resale and share value.  
Establishing Your Business’ Position
The first step for you is to establish your company's position in the marketplace. Then create a specific image and immediate association for your business and products. Define a single hot button with the greatest relevance and importance to current and potential customers. For you it may be the pride a person feels when using your products that they buy, or the feeling that they are helping the community by doing business with a company that is committed to their neighborhood or town. Communicating these emotional dimensions of a company helps to distinguish it from the competition, develop a personal relationship with your public, and create a warm connection with your business.  
Not to be Used as a Quick Fix
Keep in mind that to truly benefit from public relations, you must utilize it as a long-term strategic tool. Businesses are too often surprised by a competitor's opening of a new location in their area or some unexpected crisis. Then and only then do they begin to think about public relations by putting together full-blown media campaigns at the last minute, but it's too late by that point. Do not use this for a quick fix for it’s a serious marketing tool. The time to plan a campaign would have been six months before the new bagel shop came to town, the environmental protection agency began its review of your manufacturing methods or construction was started on the street in front of your shop for instance.  
Planning has begun to play an important role in all facets of business, including public relations. It is not coincidental that it is happening at a time when public relations is being used more and more as the main tool to help to grow companies, reputations, and bottom lines.  
Public relations is there to keep you from floundering in a sea of adverse public opinion and to help reposition ailing companies, battered around by a demanding or disinterested public.


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