PR Insider: Preventive Public Relations
Public relations is defined as: “…a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” [The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)] Positive proactive public relations build trust and confidence in the minds of prospective customers. Your company’s public relations (PR) efforts and outreach shouldn’t start with a crisis. If the first time the term “public relations” in connection with your company is related to a crisis story, you’ve waited too long.
How Strategic PR Deflects Crises
Positive public image
The point of PR is to build and maintain a strong, positive public image so that a crisis cannot destroy your company in an instant. Regardless of your company’s name or the industry you are part of, you should be building up its good reputation, image, and credibility – both in the community and among your professional colleagues. This way, in the event a crisis should occur, you’re less impacted and won’t be knocked out by one bad story.
Reputation management: the 5:1 ratio
Reputation management has never been more critical in the age of the Internet and social media, when information becomes available in an instant. Public relations serve as the best hedge against a crisis. Yes, PR is a critical part of business reputation-building strategy; so much so, that if you already have positive stories and an equally positive press image circulating, crises are easier to handle and not as devastating. It’s a “five-to-one” ratio: If you have five good stories out there but only one negative story, that negative story doesn’t have as much impact against those five that are positive.
Brand insurance: an investment
Your first thought might be that public relations aren’t worth the investment. Budget dollars should go into increasing your company’s social media reach or website. But think about how much you’d lose – financially and in terms of reputation – in the event a negative comment about your company leaks out. Even if you think your company isn’t big enough to have a PR budget, or believe public relations would not make sense with your business model, it can make a huge difference. Many companies have been able to weather bad press or economic setbacks because of their strong record of public community involvement and active approach of getting their message out. In short, they survived negative press on the basis of their positive PR image.
Maintaining a strong public relations image also involves spreading awareness of the positive community involvement your company performs, which complements its impressive business credentials. For example, taking up donations or sponsoring events for worthy causes, active participation in community charity efforts, and any other effort to help the community looks good for your company. This positivity is then spread to the channels of the press and social media. Studies show that 70 percent or more of customers have more favorable views and are willing to spend more money with companies that engage in community charity involvement in some form. It is therefore a smart investment to grow and show your company’s efforts through public relations.
The EGC Group is well-versed in handling public relations services, as well as influencer marketing, for a wide range of businesses. And this expertise has been enhanced by the launch of Raydeus Local, a digital support platform that monitors the online performance of our clients. Among the many features offered by Raydeus is reputation management through consistent monitoring of customer reviews. Can your business benefit from strong PR help? Give us a call.