Public relations (PR) is the way brands handle the dissemination of their information, so it’s something similar to branding. The main difference is that PR focus on communication and reputation, while branding relies on visuals, logos, websites and other marketing materials. Brands manage their PR (or communication and reputation) through various media channels, and Jorge Zuñiga Blanco, a successful entrepreneur and marketing expert from Costa Rica, discusses how businesses can improve their PR status.
Types of PR can be organized into three main categories: own, paid, and earned media. Each has the same goal, to build a positive brand reputation. Despite this, each medium uses different tactics to achieve a positive reputation. Asserts Zuñiga, “Your PR strategies should include all three media categories, each providing various forms of reach, involvement, and building trust with your audience.”
All of the media options offer ways to use PR to build brand awareness, generate leads, and turn those leads into paid customers, similar to how you do with your marketing strategies. However, there are differences between marketing and PR. PR and marketing are similar in their actions and tactics, but their goals are a little distanced. The main goal of PR is to boost your brand’s reputation. On the other hand, marketing is boosting sales.
Unlike marketing, PR doesn’t always have an impact on sales. It usually promotes your products or services indirectly through activities such as distributing newsletters or speaking at events related to your industry. Alternatively, instead of promoting your business perception, marketing campaigns focus on moving revenue and driving profits.
People don’t buy products; they buy brands. That’s the value of PR, create and publicize a brand by spreading and improving the reputation of your business. For this reason, using public relations and marketing together will lead to better results: someone connects to your brand as a result of your PR efforts and becomes a customer thanks to your marketing tactics. Adds Zuñiga, “Some studies show that the consistency of a brand can result in an income-generating boost of more than 20%. You might see similar figures when combining your PR strategies with marketing strategies.”
Just as marketing requires a plan and different strategies to achieve the goals that arise in a company, PR needs a plan that has specific tactics, strategies and tasks to achieve brand awareness objectives. Having marketing and PR work together will boost the results, and having a plan will make it much easier to align actions and strategies to lead to the same path of success.
Business events are a strategy that gives you opportunities to promote your products or services and help you achieve exposure for your brand. Events are also important opportunities to make sales, either as an organizer or assistant. They give you the opportunity to meet future clients and delight those you already have face to face. Focusing on PR, conferences and talks at events are an element that will help drive brand presence; it will also allow you to share unique reflections on leadership or data information that can elevate your brand.
Corporate and social responsibility is a similar tactic to community relations, but it places a greater emphasis on ethical business practices, environmental responsibility and philanthropy. In addition, it can be applied at the local, regional and global levels. This PR strategy is a crucial area because it directly affects the public perception of your brand.
Crisis management is the practice of PR that allows you to recognize, manage and work to reverse negative communication and perception around a brand crisis. Anything that could jeopardize or ruin your brand’s reputation should be handled through this type of public relations.
Crisis management is an important PR tactic and should be managed quickly, consistently and strategically. With some PR tools, crises can be prevented by monitoring online conversations and qualitative reviews of any promotional or marketing material that could be misinterpreted or lead to confusion that result in nonconformities or problems with customers.
Employee relationships are the strategy that seeks to communicate and cultivate a positive perception in your company’s employees. This process may include newsletters or communications dedicated to your workers addressing employee benefits and benefits, free training and skills boosting opportunities. You can also conduct recognition events for them and work together with groups or workers’ organizations to improve working conditions.
Media relations are a strategy that focuses on building positive links with journalists, publications and other news channels. This process usually includes writing press bulletins, organizing press conferences, and scheduling interviews. Not only do you gain exposure for your business and products with this, but you also encourage the media to advertise your brand for free and help you build or improve brand prestige.
Social media is considered an earned and paid PR tactic. “For many companies, social media can be a very useful PR (and marketing) tool. It’s an effective way to accumulate followers, convert customers, share your content, and solve crises,” asserts Zuñiga. Your social media activity is exposed to the public, whether you’re sharing a post with your audience or interacting with a single consumer. That’s why it’s crucial to have a social media strategy that keeps your communications consistent, positive, and accurate.