…Leveraging the power of public relations for organisational success
Building and keeping a positive reputation has become more important than ever in today’s dynamic and highly competitive business environment. Businesses are under pressure to do more than merely execute an innovative marketing campaign. Customers are becoming more discerning, critical and outspoken; thus, there is a need to understand and strike a connection beyond an organisation’s business offering.
While many organisations may regard public relations as a secondary concern with no bearing on an organization’s bottom line, the reality is that an effective public relations function will have a substantial impact on a company’s performance. Public relations has evolved into an essential asset for businesses of all sizes. This is due to PR’s ability to help organisations safeguard their reputation, build trust, amplify their brand message and drive business success through relationship building.
In honour of World Public Relations Day, I share some insights on the strategic contribution of the Public Relations (PR) function to an organisation’s bottom line. I attempt to shift attention to Public Relations’ value. While the underlisted areas of impact may not be comprehensive, they provide highlights on some benefits a well-resourced and strategically positioned Public Relations role brings to businesses and organisations.
- Reputation Management: A company’s reputation is an intangible asset that holds immense value for the company. It takes years to build a credible reputation, but it can be quickly tarnished in a matter of moments. Public Relations provides best practices for managing and developing a credible reputation; ensuring that an organisation’s reputation is accurately represented and positively perceived by key stakeholders. Through proactive communication strategies, PR professionals help shape the narrative surrounding your brand; creating a favourable image and instilling trust in your target audience.
With a good reputation, your organisation enhances its brand image, improves customer trust and increases customer loyalty. This impacts other areas of the business. A positive reputation also attracts potential customers, investors and business partners. If you are not getting this value from your Public Relations function, you may want to review where Public Relations sits within your organisation.
- Strategic Communication: Public Relations practice goes beyond the reactive nature of crisis management. It is a proactive approach to communication. By integrating PR into your organisation’s overall strategy, you ensure consistent messaging and targetted communication to your key stakeholders. Because PR professionals understand how to craft compelling narratives that resonate with your target audience, they can help your organisation create awareness. They can also generate positive publicity and establish your organisation as a thought-leader in your industry. PR professionals also save you from avoidable crisis situations that may affect your business operations. PR’s strategic communication role enhances your brand recognition, drives customer engagement and, ultimately, contributes to increased revenue and market share.
- Stakeholder Engagement and Relationship Building: A well-positioned PR function fosters positive relationships with key stakeholders. Because PR practitioners serve as liaisons between an organisation and its stakeholders – i.e. customers, investors, employees, media, influencers and all others affected by the organisation’s operations – they are able to gain insights, identify emerging trends, and anticipate potential issues which might negatively affect the relationship building process. PR practitioners can help organisations categorise their stakeholders and identify which communication format, tool and channel to use for each category of stakeholders.
- Enhancing Employee Morale: One of the things that brings me personal fulfilment as a PR practitioner is the joy our employee team-building activities bring to our staff. Organisations often value their external relationships with customers more than their staff. Public Relations helps you extend PR benefits internally. A well-executed PR strategy positively influences employee morale and engagement. By effectively communicating organisational goals, values and successes, PR professionals can build a sense of pride and purpose among employees.
They help you create internal brand ambassadors who feel valued and appreciated for their contribution to the business. This sense of pride and belonging fosters motivated employees who are more likely to go the extra mile. This results in increased productivity and business success. Furthermore, a positive external image shaped by PR efforts enhances an organisation’s appeal to potential employees, attracting top talent and facilitating recruitment efforts.
- Crisis and Issues Management: In today’s digital world, crises can arise unexpectedly and spread rapidly – posing significant risks to an organisation’s reputation and bottom line. Public relations professionals help organisations manage crisis situations effectively. PR professionals ensure an organisation in crisis provides timely and transparent updates, addressing concerns and mitigating potential damage. They help safeguard an organisation’s reputation, instilling confidence in stakeholders and minimizing the long-term negative effects of crises.
- Thought Leadership and Industry Influence: It is obvious that every organisation wants to be a thought-leader in their industry. But becoming a ‘thought-leader’ must be carefully planned and properly executed. PR can help organisations achieve thought-leadership. The strategy can include positioning key executives and subject matter experts within the organisation as thought-leaders in their industry. By securing speaking engagements, contributing to industry publications and participating in relevant conferences, these thought leadership building processes help PR professionals establish credibility and expertise for the organisation. If you are perceived as a thought-leader in your industry, you enhance your brand’s reputation. You attract new customers, business partnerships and opportunities that positively impact the bottom line.
Trust is the foundation of any successful business. PR practitioners play a vital role in establishing and maintaining trust by fostering open and transparent communications. When stakeholders perceive an organisation as trustworthy, they are more likely to engage with the brand, make repeat purchases and recommend the organisation to others – directly impacting the bottom line. Any organisation can experience and measure Public Relations’ contribution to its bottom-line.
Beyond the points above, businesses can derive several other benefits from the Public Relations function. That is, if the PR function is well-positioned within the organisation. When PR is at the core of an organisation’s business strategy, the question of its relevance to the organisation becomes a thing of the past.
Invest in a dedicated PR function. Rather than substitute PR with other functions or even employ individuals with no PR training, embrace PR’s power and unlock its potential.
Eunice is an Experienced Corporate and Marketing Communications professional, a CIPR Accredited PR practitioner, and a Certified Digital Finance practitioner with over 12 years professional experience.
I can be reached by email at [email protected]. We can also connect on LinkedIn