There are many successful firms that have grown to create very impressive revenues without the use of either in-house or external Public Relations support.
The exponential growth rate of some new technology firms, for example, has meant that PR has not been a commercial priority.
And why should it be? Surely if your sales pipeline is strong then PR is just an expensive nice to have?
Well, not quite. You see, done properly, PR offers the chance to really think about your business in a different way.
A common misconception with the industry limits PR activity to building brand visibility through the placement of content in the media, or, the preservation of reputation in times of crisis.
But, setting these tactical objectives aside for a moment, there are a number of elements to the PR process that offer a chance to think more widely about strategic business focus, future opportunities and the overall direction of the firm.
What’s your message?
The lifeblood of any B2B PR campaign is firstly to distil the messages and brand values that the business wishes to push to the wider market through the creation of media content.
What’s really quite surprising is that how few firms have devoted some time to refining these messages, or thinking about the real values that set them apart from their competitors and how to create their own special niches in the market place.
Hiring a PR agency will force the senior management team to really think about what these messages should entail, and which channel they should be communicated through.
The flip side of this activity of course is that it also forces firms to think about their audiences. Most businesses would say that they probably know exactly what their client or customer looks like. And this is probably true to an extent.
But having an opportunity to better define these audiences, think about what makes them tick, or just re-evaluate understanding of these audiences - which are often pretty dynamic – ensures that service offering continue to evolve and remain relevant.
The real value
Whilst this might seem a bit esoteric to firms that just want to get on with the business of winning work and driving revenues, it’s also worth bearing in mind that, properly done, PR should form an integral part of the business development process.
Part of this involves the re-assessment and understanding of the pressures that your client base may be facing. Which, in turn, drives the type of content that you wish to share with the market place.
The most successful brands are those that are seen to not only understand, but also empathise with, the challenges faced by their customers. This should be reflected in the way the business communicates.
Along with distilling corporate messages and values and re-evaluating audiences – examining the type of debates that the business wishes to be seen engaging with is also an important element to nail down before drafting the first press release.
PR activity and the content generated then takes on a role that enhances the activity of business development managers – ensuring that how, and what, they communicate with prospects is reflected by the business in its communications with the media.
Why it all matters?
If the business sees PR as merely a tactical delivery platform for increasing brand visibility, then the success of any campaign is likely to be short-lived – eventually audiences will move on to something else. But well-executed PR, whilst satisfying the demand for immediate profile, can, and will, demonstrate the continuing relevance of a business, showcasing its understanding of its audiences, its customers and their needs, the market, and its need. This kind of PR delivery requires a more strategic foundation, but, with longer term engagement, comes longer-term pay-out. Executives looking to harness the business development power of PR need to ensure it is undertaken for the right reasons, and with the right outcomes in mind.
Having the right kind of strategic PR advisory on board should encourage senior management to pause and evaluate what makes their business different and separate from the competition, think about what their customers and the markets want to hear and understand from the firm, and support the marketing and communications function to apply these ideas to create a commercial advantage for the business and its new business managers.
Ready for a chat?
If this has gotten you thinking – you have some questions – or you want to talk to us about what happens next, then please drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.Get in touch