Public Relations is not meant to generate figures but create a strong and sustainable brand perception.
The PR and Communications business is the worst hit during the Covid-19 crisis and PR professionals are finding it tough to prove the relevance of their role to their organisations/ clients. Recently, Tesla’s move to reportedly dissolve their PR department created a lot of buzz in the PR community. Some experts fear the move may lead other organisation to take a similar stand on their PR and communications strategy. As the global economy has gone haywire due to lockdowns, every organisation is considering cost-cutting in every possible area. As part of this certain companies are considering to disband their PR arms and shift to Digital Marketing. Many companies have reduced their PR budgets and taken a conscious call not to indulge in media publicity. It is a tricky situation for PR professionals needs immediate attention from the community veterans. However, public relations as a community is strategic and even necessary in this crisis.
Here is why PR is strategic in brands marketing:
Digital Marketing can’t replace PR: No doubt, digital marketing is the most effective tool that offers a visible result in numbers real-time, however, it cannot replace PR. Digital marketing is an effective medium in influencing a large set of customers. However, at the same time, it is a double-edge sword. If digital marketing campaign goes wrong or taken out of context, the blunder it may create for a brand could be huge. In such situation, crisis communication is the only way for damage control and here experienced PR professionals come for rescue. Brands need a strong crisis communication, which PR pros can curate and implement in any unforeseen situation.
Media Management is Key: The most strategic part of the PR role is a media management and its strong journos contact base. Earned media is an asset, which is accumulated with consistent relationship-building efforts over the years. PR professionals directly influence journalists of various mediums. They know the inner workings of the media, they also keep a track on business trends and also keep an eye on competitors’ activities. All these are key-value additions, which is important for brands to acknowledge.
Print Media is still Relevant: There has been a long debate over the relevance of print media and the rise of digital mediums. However, in reality, brands still prefer print for their brand promotions and perception building as they know the value coverage in any leading newspaper/ magazine brings to them. PR pros are instrumental in pitching storylines in the newspapers and creating a space for their brands through earn media as much as possible. This is not possible without a strong connect in the journalists’ fraternity and PR pros experience in the field. Hence, shunning PR simply means losing a huge scope of visibility in the print medium.
Content is the King: The role of PR is not limited to only writing and disseminating press releases but creating quality content for brands in the form of case studies, white papers and more. The acumen and expertise required to organise and manage a press conference, get the proper messaging pass on to journalists and ensure desire news coverage cannot be replaced with any other substitutes. Hence, the role of PR pros cannot be evaluated in terms of statistics.
The objective of Public Relations is to create a strong and positive perception of any brand. The brands who have had dedicated focused and resources out into their PR campaigns today enjoy huge goodwill in the market. Hence, it is not the right approach to put PR into number game and then judge its relevance. In the end, Public Relations is not meant to generate figures but create a strong and sustainable brand reputation.
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.