The Power of Why
So you know what your business does – what you sell, what you manufacture …but why do you do it? We’re not talking about just profit margins or market growth here (although they are both impacted by it) but what motivates you to do what you do.
In the highly competitive B2B arena just selling your products isn’t enough – you have to be active in and clear about the why. Why is your product important? What need does your service address? Why are you the best out there?
Don’t just tell – show. Demonstrate your credibility and illustrate your expertise.
Communication, conversation and maintaining your profile is key. That’s PR’s ‘why’; it starts conversations with customers, it keeps communication going, and it makes sure that you don’t just stand out – but that you stand front and centre consistently and for the right reasons.
|Why bother with PR?|
There are many reasons businesses – particularly SMEs or B2B facing companies – overlook the power of PR:
“We’d don’t need PR – we’ve got our sales and marketing department”
“We’re a new company – we don’t need PR yet”
“We don’t do press releases”
“We’ve got social media – we don’t need the press”
So often PR is seen to be a bolt on or something to pay attention to at specific times and events – often in a crisis.
PR is more than a press release. More than a response in a crisis. More than the odd article in the media. If sales and marketing is about what you sell. PR is about what you are.
It underpins and drives your reputation, revenue, resilience and potential growth.
It’s the context around your business strategy and can shape and drive your company’s key metrics.
So while your marketing activity is focused on supporting your sales and operations strategy, PR is about your business and performance strategy. It’s about the relationship and interaction your business has with your customer base, your industry and the wider public audience.
|Putting PR into action…|
Developing a comprehensive Public Relations plan and building it into your operations enables you not only to create content and exploit targeted media opportunities, it also gives you an opportunity to truly earn and build the trust of your customer-base, reinforcing your credibility and position and actively demonstrating your industry expertise.
More than a press release….
Sure, sending press releases and writing press articles should be part of your communications but they’re only one part. Developments in digital platforms, social media, rolling news agendas and media on-demand means there are more channels and formats for getting your brand identity out there.
Free publicity is great publicity but it won’t just come to you (well the positive sort doesn’t – you can bet bad publicity will find the quickest route), you have to work for it. That means developing different routes, different content and different activities to get your messages out.
Some may require upfront investment (paid for) but as you develop your reputation and media links you will be able to increasingly maximise other channels – such as press and broadcast media coming to you for content and publishing your activities on their own [news agenda] merits. All this activity should be underpinned with consistent and varied content for your own media channels including social media, websites and intranets.
This is embodied in the PESO model (paid, earned, owned, shared media) developed by Gini Dietrich, CEO of Integrated Marketing Communication firm Arment Dietrich, in her book Spin Sucks.
Audiences are bombarded by information and as a result they are increasingly discerning and time conscious. That applies to both the customers you want to speak to and the media channels you’re pitching to. If you’re not speaking directly to them, addressing their needs, their situations – you’re not going to hold their attention. They can see a speculative sales pitch for what it is; an advert. SO your story /message has to resonate. Make it not just about you but your wider industry and give them a reason WHY they should engage.
The cliché is wrong – any publicity is NOT good publicity. There will be times when bad ‘news’ happens and either you’ll have to deliver it, or you will be the focus of it. It’s crucial that you anticipate, prepare and plan for the worst because at a time of crisis you have to act quickly and decisively.
More crucially, by actively preparing, building in contingencies and setting up response processes you will identify and potentially prevent negative situations before they have the opportunity to harm your business.
If you would like an open conversation about how PR can help your business, get in touch with the team here at FIG by calling 01457 857 111.
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