Last week we took a look at the weird and wonderful world of public relations, and set about dispelling some of the myths that surround the industry. We do not, for example, partake of three-hour liquid lunches with editors every day; nor do we waft around in heels and silk scarves kissing everyone on both cheeks, exclaiming ‘darling’.
This week we explore a few more of the strange notions people have, and look at when things go wrong – horribly wrong…
1. PR is all about sales
Actually, PR is about changing how people feel about a product or service. It’s about generating a good reputation and positive public image through editorial coverage, be that through newspapers and magazines or social media and blogs.
PR generates credibility, which makes it easier for your sales people when they are talking to people about your product – it won’t however replace your entire sales team.
Even the best press coverage can’t guarantee sales will soar overnight. But communicating your client’s message to the right audience will increase awareness over time, long after any advertising campaigns have stopped running.
2. All news is good news (or file under D is for disasters)
Cheesy stunts might grab the headlines in the short-term but will anyone remember your brand tomorrow, much less associate it with quality and reliability?
It’s imperative that people are talking about you for the right reasons and it’s only human nature for monumental gaffes to live on in the memory long after the brand has gone. More than 25 years on, people still remember the Gerald Ratner’s infamous comment that one of his jewellery chain’s products was “total cr*p”. More recently, one well known doughnut firm epically failed to win friends and influence people when it changed the spelling of ‘club’ and introduced the half-term Krispy Kremes Klub – or KKK for short. Cue digitally enhanced pictures of white supremacists tucking into glazed sweet treats appearing all over the internet.
3. PR is free
Yes, PR does differ from paid advertising. But putting together a carefully thought-out brand strategy takes time and effort and can incur other costs such as professional photography, printing and event planning.
It does, on the other hand, offer great value for money. People take more notice of editorial than ads, and trust stories more than paid-for adverts. PR is one of those services where you really do get what you pay for, and where a good investment is worth every penny. It will create visibility and credibility long after the advertising campaigns have stopped running.De-bunking the myths of PR part 2