Can Public Relations help in driving sales?

Today’s business world is fiercely competitive, and companies’ desire to have something that makes them distinct from the crowd. Companies use Public Relations (PR) to enhance their reputation and communicate information about themselves through various media and to represent themselves in the most enthusiastic way possible.

The core strategy of public relation is to influence, engage and build relationships with the major stakeholders across various platforms to form and shape the public perception of a firm. PR also targets an array of publics and objectives to bolster an organisation’s perception collectively. Though the primary job of public relations to spread the message about a company, there are many things that a PR expert can leverage -not just build the perception of the company, but also sales.

From various experiments, campaigns & mapping results, following are few ways which can help you in achieving business results via PR:

Raise Brand Awareness

Apart from name recognition, a successful brand awareness strategy is effective in driving sales. Public relation is the most trusted source to raise brand awareness when compared to influencers or employee advocates because press coverage and editorial have more power to convince new customers to check your brand and consider a call to action.

Here are some tips to raise brand awareness successfully:

  • If innovation is what you want to sell, focus on design and simplicity. People love creative designs and products that make their life simpler.
  • Focus on the value proposition and raise conversation if your brand has discounted products or helps users to increase their productivity. Assist them to realise that your product can be valuable to them.
  • Most successful PR campaigns are based on inspiring brand stories so always try to develop a great story that resonates with your customers.

Example: #TeaForTrump integrated content marketing & PR case study is another example where overall campaign resulted in 810+ PR Stories, 9900% increase in website organic traffic  & 1100% increase in international business enquiries for brand (TE-A-ME). The campaign also won the Most Creative PR Stunt South East Asia – PR Awards 2017 by marketing interactive in Singapore.

Build Your Brand

There is an old saying “Advertising is what you pay for; publicity is what you pray for.” Today, brands require public relations to gain publicity and advertisements to maintain that publicity. Public Relation communicates with the audience through trusted sources only. In simple terms, a strong public relation strategy lays the groundwork for marketing, which later cultivates prospective buyers for sales messages passed through paid media, promotions and email marketing.

Public relations can build your brand by:

  • Telling stories (reviews, influencer posts, and featured articles)
  • Identifying target audiences and key messages
  • Locating the right channels for communication
  • Establishing thought leadership (sharing innovative content and ideas)
  • Expanding contacts (personal networking, at events, etc.)

Establish Your Product

Launching a new product today isn’t what it used to be earlier. Today you need innovative tactics to get noticed. Some launches might by nature be newsworthy. Still, the media marketplace is competitive, and building “share of voice” can be quite a task. Further, it is also important to establish your product as x-times faster, cleaner, practical and better than your competitors. When a PR professional writes a positive story about your product launch, it is considered as “independently verified by trusted source”. The story appears in the editorial column of the newspaper, website, or magazine, which are the powerful medium where sales jumpstarts.

Some of the tactics PR firms follow are:

  • Blogging and content marketing for websites (internal and external)
  • Reviews and testimonials
  • Online/offline events
  • Follow-up and response
  • You also start using these 50+ content marketing tools to map PR & Digital directly with the business.

Example: Recently Bajaj finserv executed their Digital PR campaign, #ThankYouDoc which resulted in the sale of 3.5Cr in a single day. Riding on the mantras of topical marketing and use of Digital PR coupled with real-time marketing, the concept of the campaign was to invite, capture and reflect the emotions of people on digital platforms keeping doctor’s day as the key talk point.

#InstaDiwali is another integrated content marketing and digital PR case study. It is one of the best examples of driving engagement for the launch of India’s first EMI Finance App by Bajaj Finserv during Diwali. The campaign helped the brand in getting .17Million app downloads & 95000+ leads.

Boost Credibility

In today’s cynical atmosphere, trust and credibility are the most important for any business to grow. Over the past decade, third-party media placement agents and brand evangelists are helping brands to earn trust and boost credibility. In other words, consumers today use online reviews and form an opinion about a brand before buying a product or service. Such statistics make earned media and social sharing resulting from a strategic PR campaign an incredibly valuable sales-driving tool.

Pr can boost credibility by:

  • Generating interest by covering editorial news
  • Fixing speaking engagements at events
  • Posting blogs and white papers that demonstrate expertise
  • Building links via various sources

Example: In a recent press unveiling during CES for a wearable startup (boltt), we (at #ARM Worldwide) did the 3 min prime-time live broadcast on CNN International. The startup has got a lot of credibility when compared in a league of global competitors like under armour and Fitbit. After this the campaign, there were more than 12000 people who were ready to purchase & by the products (backers).

Make Real Connections

Over years public relation experts have been polishing their outreach strategies, finding press opportunities and making real connections for their clients. PR is a great resource for organisations that are looking to humanise their brand/service. While, making connections can be a time consuming and expensive task, a PR consultancy can make real and valuable connections with customers using various methods at a lower cost.

Here are ways how PR makes real connections:

  • Blogging
  • Live Events
  • Social Content Sharing
  • Email Subscriptions
  • Promote New Launches
  • Webinars

There are many other ways how PR drives sales apart from perception building. A PR consulting firm, in fact, can handle various aspects of business such as recommending platforms and tools required to run a campaign, develop creative angles, monitor responses and manage critical situations to strengthen your organisation from within.

While PR may not always generate direct sales, yet follow the marketing tactics of lead-to-sales ratio through above given benefits. If an individual shows interest in your product/service, they want to know if you are a credible and reputable brand and this is where PR builds a perception in ways that marketing strategy will not.

Honey Singh on LinkedinHoney Singh on Twitter
Honey Singh
Co-Founder & CEO - PR & Content Marketing at #ARM Worldwide
Honey Singh is presently the Chief Executive Officer, PR and Content Marketing at #ARM Worldwide. Mr Singh brings over a decade of rich and dynamic experience to the business. Honey has been a strategic counsellor and has delivered creative insight-driven consultancy for Fortune 500 companies & start-ups.As the CEO of #ARM Worldwide, Honey is at the helm of business with a clear focus on driving the company’s overall business & operational growth in India and abroad. Mr Singh started his professional journey as an entrepreneur back in 2004 from a technology start up before foraying into the industry as a consultant.Under his leadership, #ARM Worldwide has won multiple accolades, including "Most Creative PR Stunt - South East Asia" in PR Awards 2017 by Marketing Interactive.

7 Comments on "Can Public Relations help in driving sales?"

  1. Thanks for the insightful approach, I’m still trying to figure out can we measure the direct sales from the PR?
    While doing the evaluation of the ROI, if we are paying X amount as a retainer-ship to PR firm then can anyone claim to say that “we will deliver” a revenue of “Y” for you?

    May be it will take time, but as a startup, i would love to see that before investing the amount.

  2. Good article, thanks for sharing it on LinkedIn.

    Liked the Content Marketing piece & CNN gig for boosting credibility via events. PR agencies in India are rapidly trying to explore digital for driving business efficiency but the traditional approach will take time for adaptation. What do you think?

  3. @Aman
    Sharing my inline replies:
    -I’m still trying to figure out can we measure the direct sales from the PR?
    +Yes you can measure the sales, directly & indirectly both.
    Example: The story that you are doing in the different publication will help you in a) Website traffic b) search volume c) share of voice & brand mentions. The traffic can be easily measured via 1) google analytics (referral source) & 2) webmaster central. With proper URL attributes, you can measure wheater this traffic is converted into leads or not. Aside from this, you can use remarketing to track the user who is already influenced with your brand & forward it into the business funnel.

    -While doing the evaluation of the ROI, if we are paying X amount as a retainer-ship to PR firm then can anyone claim to say that “we will deliver” a revenue of “Y” for you?
    +See there is a difference between marketing & PR. Also, what you are talking about is performance PR. Companies have started thinking about it but it will take time. Indirectly, if you can measure the KPI’s which is ultimately helping you in funnelling business then you can calculate but NO PR Firm will go with this model.

  4. @Mayank
    Thanks that you liked the views. Sharing my inline response:

    -PR agencies in India are rapidly trying to explore digital for driving business efficiency but the traditional approach will take time for adaptation. What do you think?
    +It’s not rocket science. With adaptation & inclination towards upcoming trends, one can nurture the skills to be future ready. Every firm has their own challenges especially big one. There are many pr firms who are already open to this new world of digital.

  5. Thanks for sharing the insights. Could you please also tell us more about tools to measure it?
    Looking forward gor more updates from you.

  6. Thanks for the insights Honey. Been using blogging, Email Subscriptions to nurture the relations with the users & it works.

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