If you ran a shop you wouldn’t dream of not having the lights on, nor the front door closed. Yet is that a reality for many businesses when it comes to marketing themselves and selling who they are to the world at large?
There’s a legendary ad from 1958 from McGraw-Hill Magazines. (It was later named the “Best Business-to-Business Ad of the 20th Century” by Advertising Age.)
The ad features a rather grumpy business man, hands folded in his lap, with a defiant expression which read:
“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know your company. I don’t know your company’s products. I don’t know what your company stands for. I don’t know your company’s customers. I don’t know your company’s record. I don’t know your company’s reputation. Now what was it you wanted to sell me?”
More than 50 years on the fundamental challenge remains the same – but how you tell your story about your business, its services and what makes it special has changed.
Critically, you need to take advantage of the new opportunities presented by technology – the internet, digital communications, and greater connectivity, yet in an age of diminished trust, greater resistance to being sold to, and curiously just getting through to people can be more challenging than ever.
Here are 7 pain points a good public relations team can remove for you.
If your business were a shop you don’t just need to sell to the people in your high street, but beyond. For Northern Ireland businesses the need to be seen by potential customers or clients across the UK and Ireland can be critical. A good PR agency, with good media contacts and understanding of your media sectors can make the difference between being known, or unknown to valuable prospects – across the UK and Ireland and beyond.
One of the biggest questions that keeps business managers awake at night is the vexed question of how can they retain their best talent, and also recruit the cream of new talent to join their business. That managerial nightmare is now being known as your ‘Talent Brand’ – making sure your business brand works its hardest to keep the best with you, and attract the best of the new talent to you. Nowadays, PR works to manage this issue.
Your ears are your best friend for business success – both on a personal level and for your company. Your brand reputation can be defined as ‘What people say about you when you’re not in the room’. Listening to what is being said about you, or not said can be critical to your future success. A good PR partner should be your eyes, ears and nose to the outside world, picking up on any negative undercurrents before they become a tide of bad publicity or ill-will, as well as the positives that can be your next killer idea.
Think of story-telling and it conjures images of sitting on the classroom carpet listening to teacher. Yet everyone in business is a story-teller and every aspect of business is about getting a story known, understood and bought-into.
By understanding how great compelling, authentic and distinctive stories can be crafted – even from the most seemingly mundane of subjects is a sign of an outstanding PR communicator. It can be the difference between realizing yourself as a great brand – or being bland.
You and your people are experts. Day-in, day-out you solve problems. You bring solutions, new ways of doing or thinking. Isn’t it time you made your smartness work harder. We now live in an age of what is called ‘content marketing’: you knowledge, insights, anecdotes, views, perspectives are all assets that may have value to someone.
By harvesting your content through advice columns, thought leadership articles and even humorous pictures can all create ammunition for you to connect, engage and build a relationship with your key prospects.
Your people are your #1 asset. Yet how seriously are you addressing the task of ensuring they can deliver at optimum performance by being informed as much as possible.
Good PR is central to effective internal communications.
Your next crisis is not a case of if, but when. The great financier Warren Buffet said “It can take 20 years to build a reputation, and 5 minutes to destroy it.” Nowadays, he would say “It can take 20 years to build a reputation, and 1 click to destroy it.”
Good PR can be as much as keeping you out of the media spotlight as being in it. Intelligent, experienced advice can counsel for the best crisis management – avoiding the problem in the first place. Capable crisis PR management can also put in place the best responses should a crisis occur, where it often is the speed of your response as much as what you actually say. Good public relations can ensure the equivalent of your shop not only has its lights on and front door open but is connecting with all your important people.
Now what is it you are trying to sell?