Why PR Matters
Guest post by Jordan Wong
People always say, “You never get a second chance at a first impression”. That’s absolutely true—but there’s one thing people often get wrong. Your first impression is not the first time you shake hands with someone, nor is it your first conversation on the phone, or the first e-mail you send. Rather, the first impression of you that someone gets is the one you make to the public. From your public presence, someone forms their first ideas about who you are—your interests, your perspectives, your attitudes. This also applies to how a business can present themselves as an entity to the public. It’s important to know why PR matters as well as how to implement it in your business. Good public relations are key, and there are several facets that go along with them.
Presenting Your Business
This is where you first let the public know who you are and what you do, and it’s one of the most important parts of running a business—it’s that all-encompassing first impression; it’s how you communicate your business’s “why” statement. Firstly, promotion is key: people need to know what you’re doing, who it benefits, where you’re located, etc. Without this key feature, the public and business can’t capitalize on their mutual benefit. Once your brand is established, one of the main driving forces behind your business is goodwill, and good PR is the fuel behind it. But what good is advice without examples?
Pretend you own a hair salon in a small town, and you’ve decided it’s a smart move to give back to the community at large. To do this, you decide to start a program that donates hair clippings to make wigs for chemotherapy patients—a great cause that benefits everyone with very little cost. Congratulations! You’ve just come up with a great PR opportunity. Not only does this benefit the community, but it can benefit your public image as well. So, how do you get the word out? Making posts on social media, posting fliers, and getting an interview with the local newspaper are just a few examples of promoting your cause; there needs to be a way that the word gets heard. With the thoughtfulness and buzz that comes from this, you leave a positive mark on the community and a positive image in your customers’ minds. People are more inclined to do business with you if they associate positive traits with you or your business. Thus, the key is maintaining the momentum of your efforts.
Maintaining Your Momentum
Using the proper PR techniques, it becomes easier to expand the number of consumers that your business reaches. PR matters not only in maintaining the forward momentum of your business but also managing any potential roadblocks that could impede it. For instance, imagine if you owned a company that manufactures headphones and there was a manufacturing error causing a substantial amount of the headphones to have only one operational earphone. It’s not a life-threatening issue, but it is one that affects your public image. With good public relations, you can make sure that your customers don’t feel cheated through means such as free replacement and shipping and other complementary services. Just like that, you can put out fires before they get any larger.
In situations in which your public image might be slightly compromised, it is important to stay ahead of the curve and address the issue publicly rather than attempt to mask it. Remaining in constant contact with your customers using good PR is the best way to ensure that your company’s values are maintained in the public’s eye.
This means keeping yourself up to date—not just with your own enterprise and personal interests, but also with what’s going on with the rest of the world. Not only will this help in preventing any negative PR but it will also keep you open to potential opportunities to create positive PR (the best kind of PR).
Let’s Recap: Why PR Matters
Your customers are what the public is made of, so it’s important that your product or service isn’t the only point of contact that you have with them. You need lots of points of contact—and I know that seems like a lot of work (maybe a headache or two). But remember: PR can be fun! Keeping up with social media and community activity is a great way to stay active and remind people that you’re not just a business but a part of the community at large as well.
So, why does PR matter? Because without good PR, you’re out of contact with the most important part of business—the people!