The value of PR

02/27/2019 - Lori Bertelli

On occasion people will ask us the benefits of PR and whether it’s a necessity today. Our answer is an emphatic “yes” and we’ve taken the time here to share more of our perspective.

Public relations is more than managing the flow of information between your company and the public. It is a communications discipline that engages and informs key audiences, builds important relationships, and brings vital information back into your organization. It has real, measurable impact on the achievement of strategic organizational goals. PR is successful when viewed as a strategic business function and not an afterthought or box that needs to be checked because someone needs a press release.

Organizations that reduce or eliminate their communicative activities, particularly their public relations programs, are in danger of being overlooked and eventually disregarded. If you don’t tell your story, someone will tell it for you. Your competitors will out “noise” you – you won’t reach customers, potential investors—the marketplace. You will put your company in the position of being reactive which will have a negative impact on your company’s reputation resulting in the loss of customer loyalty as well as negative news coverage. Proactive public relations increases customer loyalty and creates a positive company reputation.

PR is built on facts, storytelling, and helps keep your stakeholders informed
As a strategic partner, we tell you what is percolating in the marketplace and what your competitors are doing – their messaging, their amplification, and how stakeholders are reacting to their storytelling. Then, we advise you on how to tell your story, when you should say x, y and z, and why you should say it. We layout a strategic plan that aligns with your business goals and integrates all the tools in our arsenal – traditional PR tactics that include the earned media components, paid campaigns, and social strategy. We work with you to develop your story, which evolves over time and tell the story to your stakeholders. Your CEO likely believes in the benefit of identifying media patterns and assessing attitudes related to your industry while telling everyone about your products, how you do good in the world, and why you are a successful organization, while promoting your company’s vision and protecting your reputation.

The 280blue team has worked in and with large, medium, and small organizations. We have found in practice, and this has also been proven through research, that the larger the company, the stronger top management’s perception of public relations’ contribution to organizational success. Startups need to adopt this outlook. Communications programs can be tied into business objectives such as making the public aware of products or services offered and by providing a context for news that alters the tone of discourse. Failing to communicate by not having public relations programs in place has consequences of value as well.

Just look at Rubrik, Netskope, or Cohesity today. These juggernauts or unicorns continue to rise above the noise. We can attest—because we’ve helped some of them do it—that they believe in and continue to use the power of PR as a strategic business function.

To build something of value, a company has to demonstrate to the marketplace that they are hitting milestones and their customers are continuing to buy product. It is still about perception and telling your company story. B2B tech buyers still look in industry publications, blogs, and on social media to make their purchasing decisions. Tools like Owler and Crunchbase, to name a few, pull information from Google Search – it is hard not to see the value of having, as one example of content we share on your behalf, your regular news distributed on the wire and searchable. Add to that thought leadership articles we develop on your behalf and post online and other methods of sharing your company content and you can see how not having your company name in the ether can be damaging.

VC Tina Cheng told CNBC, “If a company is doing well, it will be in the press. And the next thing you know, there will be a lot of copycats. One skill set that successful startups have is how do they always stay ahead of their competition?”

The PR team should work with you to define objectives and then decide on budget. The most frequently used method to evaluate public relations’ contribution to an organization’s success is its “influence on corporate reputation.” Public relations works. Even better, public relations consistently outperforms other forms of marketing and at a fraction of the cost. The link between public relations and sales has been quantified and having achieved that objective, it’s time now to go beyond return on investment.

PR’s Impact on reputation / brand equity:

  • Increases likelihood to purchase / consider your brand(s)
  • Minimizes the effects of a crisis and rebuilds trust
  • Reinforces communication of organizational values
  • Establishes credibility of new products / companies; eases market entry
  • Commands higher prices, lowers costs, generates premium on stock price
  • Enhances recommendations / word-of-mouth, accelerating adoption
  • Increases customer loyalty / renewals / satisfaction
  • Improves talent acquisition and retention
  • The right market perception impacts the success of your company
  • Build brands and rise above market noise with meaningful stories that resonate
  • Develops employees, partners, developers, analysts and enthusiasts as influencers
  • Helps attract and retain top talent