The Importance Of Strategic Communications
THE POWER OF PR™ with Danae Jones
It is not uncommon to hear people say public relations is simply a publicity stunt. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is, the communication industry is growing daily and effective public relations is a series of actions and activities that form a comprehensive Strategic Communications Plan.
PR is fast becoming diverse and whether we like to accept it or not, the business community globally are dependent on its growth and diversity.
If you want your business to grow, you need an experienced and qualified PR professional to develop a Strategic Communications Plan for you that is integrated into your overall Marketing Plan, and in turn your Business Plan, to ensure you are achieving your desired results.
Well conceptualised, planned and timed communications in your business remains the backbone of business activity both internally and externally. It will ensure you achieve your growth targets with the path of least resistance.
Here’s just a handful of key benefits a Strategic Communications Plan provides:
1. A Sense Of Direction
Public Relations is not a task given to your Customer Service Officer to do. It is a specified role within a business just like that of your Accountant and Lawyer. In SME’s it is usually a subcontracted role as budgets don’t allow for a highly qualified internal person on salary. The who, what, when, where, why and how questions need to be considered in the initial process. The plan also has to be in line with the company vision, mission, goals and objectives. It also has to be a long-term plan, one that is reviewable every 12 months. The target audience, platforms, and daily routine have to be outlined with care being taken when considering the target audience receiving the comms. This will give everyone a sense of direction and ensure there is no confusion along the way.
2. Influence Your Target Audience
A Strategic Public Relations Plan is needed to influence people both internally and externally. Relationship building and reputation management is a core aspect of business and one that can be measured on your bottom line when not managed effectively. Your business has to be visible to your existing customers, prospective customers, and the community in which you wish to influence. These people have to be constantly updated with useful information that is on brand and on message. In simple terms it’s about bringing people along for the journey that you have created with your brand story. When you think about big global iconic brands and how they have influenced their followers to build their company net worth to date, how have they achieved this do you think? In almost every case it has come down to an effective Strategic PR & Marketing Plan.
3. Increase Revenue Opportunities
When Public Relations activity is strategically and effectively planned, your business will be able to meet its revenue targets with much more ease. By the very nature of executing the plan, you are imbedding the narrative of your business and your brand in people’s minds and taking your followers on the success journey with you. This also means that when things don’t go right in business and you end up in the media for all the wrong reasons for example, you are much more likely to bounce back as you have an established system of engagement with all of your audiences and you have built up trust and brand equity that is harder to erode even when things don’t go your way.
There is a reason that Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft once said “If I was down to my last dollar I’d spend it on Public Relations.”
Positive and proactive PR in your business will translate into increased revenue.
4. Satisfying People’s Thirst For Information
According to many pieces of research currently available in the marketplace, consumers are deviating from acting their age, sex, and even class in a lot of cases. They are highly influenced by what everyone around them is doing. You have to be ahead of the game and try and think like your customers and plan content specifically for them. Does your content need to be about informing, entertaining, educating or thought provoking your audience? These are questions you need to seriously ask yourself. Your content needs to not only be on brand and on message, it needs to engage your followers both internally in your business and also externally. The content will need to be different for your internal comms versus your external comms also as the audiences are different and what you are trying to achieve with your comms is unique to that audience. So what will get your audiences attention? Every consumer is different and knowing what makes them tick is imperative.
5. Measure Success Metrics
Public Relations and its effectiveness can be easily measured if you’re willing to put the systems in place to do so. Ideally you need to not only be able to measure the success of your PR and Comms Strategies, but see how your revenue has increased as a direct result while also connecting and understanding your audience on a deeper level.
6. Media Crisis Management
When a media crisis arises, a Media Crisis Management Plan, your Media Policy and utilising your existing Strategic Communications Plan will be the most valuable documents you have on hand to work with. But if you don’t have these plans in place, it will be a much bigger battle to get on top of the negative publicity.
7. Achieve Your Company Goals
Lastly, your business goals need to be incorporated into your Public Relations plan. This is simply because every activity being done will be in the best interest of your business and your desired outcomes achieved in the long term.