Public Relations Public Relations Marketing
A public relations (PR) strategy may play a key role in an organization's promotional
strategy. A planned approach to leveraging public relations opportunities can be just as
important as advertising and sales promotions. Public relations is one of the most
effective methods to communicate and relate to the market. It is powerful and, once
things are in motion, it is the most cost effective of all promotional activities. In some
cases, it is free.
The success of well executed PR plans can be seen through several organizations that
have made it a central focus of their promotional strategy. Paul Newman's Salad
Dressing, The Body Shop, and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream have positioned their
organizations through effective PR strategies. Intel, Sprint and Microsoft have leveraged
public relations to introduce and promote new products and services.
Similar to the foundational goals of marketing, effective public relations seeks to
communicate information to:
• Launch new products and services.
• Reposition a product or service.
• Create or increase interest in a product, service, or brand.
• Influence specific target groups.
• Defend products or services that have suffered from negative press or perception.
• Enhance the firm's overall image.
The result of an effective public relations strategy is to generate additional revenue
through greater awareness and information for the products and services an organization
offers. Goals and Objectives
Good strategy begins with identifying your goals and stating your objectives. What are
the goals and objectives behind your public relations strategy and can they be measured
Each of these areas may reflect the goals your public relations campaign may seek to
accomplish. Press relations
Communicating news and information of interest about organizations in the most
positive light. Product and service promotion
Sponsoring various efforts to publicize specific products or services. Firm communications
Promoting a better and more attractive understanding of the organization with
internal and external communications. Lobbying
Communicating with key individuals to positively influence legislation and
regulation. Internal feedback
Advising decision makers within the organization regarding the public's
perception and advising actions to be taken to change negative opinions. Assessing Resources
Determine how the information resources that communicate with your market match with
these five areas. News
One of the major tasks of public relations is to create favorable news about the
company, its products, or its people. Don't expect the press to be as excited about
the event as you are. News generation requires skill in developing a story or
concept, researching it, and writing a press release. Each effort must be executed
in a way that makes it of interest to the media's audience. It must be "news" to
make the cut. Publications
Organizations can use a variety of promotional tools to reach and influence their
target markets. This includes annual reports, websites, brochures, articles,
company newsletters, magazines, audio tapes, videos, CDs, multi-media
presentations, and other communication tools. Events
Organizations can attract attention to new products or services and other
organizational activities by arranging special events. These include news
conferences, seminars, exhibits, contests, anniversaries, a variety of fund-raising
activities, sporting events, and cultural sponsorships that "connect" with the target
market in a positive and meaningful way. Presentations
Sharing expert or unique information is another tool of public relations. Seminars
and educational environments can enable a company spokesperson to
communicate with the media in a way that adds credibility and a personal and
interactive element to the organization and their products. Again, be cautious in
the "selling" process. It may not fit in this venue. Public Service Activities
"Cause marketing" is used by a growing number of companies to build public
goodwill and enhance the firm's image. Cause marketing is typically associated
with public service activities that have a wide-range public appeal. The best
"causes" are those that everyone in the target markets can embrace. These causes
enhance the condition of life or the environment that virtually everyone can
support. Causes that battle cancer, pollution, child abuse, and support Special
Olympics events are examples of winning causes worth considering. Associating
an organization, brand, or product with these efforts can be powerful and
In most cases you will attempt to generate coverage from all available resources and then
assess your response. Tailor your message to get the most attention possible from each
resource. The Role of the Champion
Who is going to be responsible for implementation? Is it incorporated into the marketing
milestones and on the marketing calendar? These are important questions that must be
addressed and the answers will play a key role in the success of the public relations
For most businesses, public relations marketing has to be planned, otherwise it may not
take place at the right time, or at all. The "champion" will develop relationships with
members of the press, editors, and others that determine what is, and what is not, going to
make the news. The "who you know" also enters into the complex equation of public
The responsible person will need to be diligent. This is a process that resembles more of a
"journey" than a "cause and effect" experience. Creativity, tenacity, and patience are
cornerstones of fruitful public relations work. The Control Factor
You can write the most impressive press release, offer great photos, provide visuals that
would excite any publication, and even give a great interview, and it may not be used.
Ever. You have virtually no control over what you are "given" by the press. You need to
do what you can to give them "news", and then sit back and see what happens.
Create different angles and perspectives on events or issues that didn't get press the first
time. Taking on this perspective can save you a tremendous amount of frustration. Do all
the right things to gain attention and then be prepared for anything, or possibly nothing.
Once your public relations programs are implemented, the fate of their exposure lies in
the hands of the reviewers, journalists, and Web masters. The trade-off for "free" public
relations is the lack of control regarding when, where, and how this information will be
shared with your targeted audience. Example of PR Strategy
Determine what areas may best serve your organization and incorporate them into your
public relations strategy. For example, the public relations goals for "Upper Crust," a
single location, retail gourmet food store, may take this approach to their publicity
1. Develop two stories about key products they carry that have establish cause-
2. Create one story about their community involvement that leverages the efforts of
their key suppliers.
3. Tailor these stories to connect with their key target markets, including "The
Country Clubbers," the "Under 30 Women" and the "Health Conscious Retired"
that account for the majority of the store's revenues.
4. If follow up coverage does occur, such as a television interview after a newspaper
or radio coverage, use this exposure to announce a promotion where 10% of all
sales for the next 10 days will be contributed to the cause cited in the press
Next, review your overall marketing strategy and objectives to make certain they
complement one or more of the areas you want to impact. This process is a challenging
one when you are working to change something that is intangible. Attempting to quantify
your objectives will add focus and will reinforce your investment in this area.
Let's return to our example. The measurable objectives for "Upper Crust" might include
1. Have at least one of the stories about their products or the store itself picked up by
the local newspaper or radio.
2. You may be able to leverage this exposure by co-sponsoring an event to a
community group comprised of one or more of the target markets. Presenting the
contribution to representatives of the cause may offer additional exposure.
3. Expect to receive comments from at least 10 customers regarding the exposure.
4. "Test" for a 10% increase in revenues within 14 days of the initial exposure.
The more specific you can be with your goals and objectives, the more targeted you will
be in designing your public relations campaign and the more objective you will be in
assessing your impact. Future action: Repeat successes and modify or discontinue the
failures based on your results.