Owning and operating a business is a lot of work. Unsurprisingly, the day to day operations of a business entail a number of different factors that must all be managed effectively in order to survive and thrive. Chief among these factors are more obvious things like the quality of the products and services offered and your company’s marketing strategy. However, another major component of a business’s success is public relations.
One might say that PR is a branch of marketing, or vice versa, because PR and marketing are both rooted in trying to make a company or brand more appealing to consumers. However, PR is performed within, and affected by, a greater number of factors, including marketing and advertisements. Here are some factors to keep in mind for your business’s public relations:
Data is your friend
Data is a core component not only of business, but also of virtually every aspect of modern life. Much like your business, itself, the success of your PR endeavors is measured in data. That means that, in order to evaluate the success or failure of a PR campaign, you’ll need to decipher this data. One obvious example of how this works is social media; social media platforms have distinct and obvious engagement metrics built into their UI.
However, there are myriad other metrics that aren’t being broadcast in such a forward manner. For the more esoteric data, it helps to have access to software like IPFIX that can collect all of the relevant data across an entire network for you and compile it into an easy to read and understand format. Without the feedback data provides, it can be difficult to gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns and, furthermore, how to alter your approach moving forward.
Observe PR trends
While data regarding your own PR projects is an invaluable tool, it’s also important to look into the trends pervading the rest of the business sector. Trends take root in commercial ventures solely because they have already proven successful. However, it’s important to note that blatantly mimicking proven strategies is easier to spot than you might think, so it could very well lead to the opposite result.
In other words, an obvious simulacrum of existing PR or advertising techniques can appear cynical and hurt your brand’s reputation, rather than improve it. Therefore, you need to walk a fine line of learning from other companies without blatantly copying their strategies in order to come out on top.
Avoid common pitfalls
In addition to trends regarding techniques a company can employ, looking to the failures of other companies can be just as crucial. Observing PR failures at the hands of other brands can be an opportunity to avoid similar mistakes moving forward, especially if those mistakes are rooted in social, political, or financial unrest, for example. These PR gaffes can highlight a changing public perception, and staying abreast of that kind of shift in public opinion can be a lifesaver.
Humility is crucial
“To err is human,” as the saying goes, and any given company is no more than a collective of fallible humans. Therefore, mistakes are going to happen. Any number of mistakes can potentially hurt a brand, but what will always hurt a brand significantly more is handling those mistakes poorly. One might say that the crux of public relations is the handling of such mistakes for this very reason.
When facing a public backlash over some clumsy advertising, for example, be prepared to humble yourself before the court of public opinion in order to repair your brand’s image, or at least to mitigate the damage. Most people realize that social progress, for instance, is slow and that well-meaning people make mistakes based on what used to be deemed acceptable, but asserting yourself in these situations is just not a good look, so to speak.
Public relations is a crucial area for any business, big or small. The way the public perceives your company and your brand can make or break your business, so you’ll need all the help you can get. With these tips in mind, you’re prepared to polish your brand’s image to a mirror shine.