Name: Gaynor Simpson
Radiate is a marketing communications agency based in Glasgow.
The value of PR
Return on investment (ROI) is vital to the success of any business, which is why companies spend so much time developing their sales and marketing programmes. It’s one of the quickest ways to increase revenue and grow market share. What is often overlooked is the value of PR in the business development process, primarily because it’s often seen as a luxury which only large businesses can afford. Additionally, there is still alot of confusion about the role PR should play in achieving business goals.
Marketing and PR have very different but mutually beneficial objectives. Marketing is a sales tool, used to generate leads and influence purchasing decisions, whereas PR focuses on reputation management and building positive relationships. When customers value and trust your brand, they’re more likely to make a positive purchasing decision.
Savvy businesses ensure that their marketing, sales and PR functions all work in mutually supportive harmony to deliver the best possible return on investment.
At Radiate, we work very closely with our clients to identify their needs and develop a strategy that responds to them. For some businesses, their immediate focus is on promoting a product or service, so they will work primarily with our Brand, Digital and Broadcast teams. For other clients, their most pressing need is boosting reputation and developing brand loyalty, so this is when PR comes into play. Sometimes we work along the entire spectrum to deliver a completely integrated marketing communications strategy.
With the advent of social media, the lines between marketing and PR are becoming increasingly blurred. Companies now use platforms such as Twitter and Facebook not only to market themselves but also to build relationships and manage reputations. Social media reaches across marketing, sales and PR functions, so neglect it at your peril.
For PR practitioners, the traditional PR practices we used ten years ago simply don’t hold the same weight anymore. The flow of information – and its uptake – is now so rapid that our work has become far less about publicising big announcements and far more about creating compelling content for websites, blogs and social media accounts. This is the content which lives on long after that day’s coverage in the press or the news bulletin on national radio.
There is no doubt that the organisations which master PR have a huge competitive advantage. They secure exposure, year in year out, in the very media that will reach their customers, and because this is ‘free’ coverage, it carries more value and credibility than paid for advertising space. Behind the scenes, the PR practitioner has worked long and hard to develop a programme of newsworthy stories for their clients and to build relationships with journalists whom they engage with.
Any business which wants to grow, protect its market share, attract investors, engage with stakeholders or protect its brand reputation should be investing in PR. Small businesses with limited budgets are often the ones most in need of PR support as they need to engage with the media and with their customers to fuel their growth. The great news is that PR is extremely cost effective and can deliver a great return on investment. Now that’s something worth holding the front page for.