How to align your PR strategy to business goals

You’ve cracked a cover story for your brand or client. You are probably celebrating the success, but what if the story is not directed to your customers and it does not deliver your core message. Does it still benefit your business? Guess no.  A very common challenge in our domain is to get PR goals aligned to business goals. Not every time a business story will be as fascinating that it may get you a cover story, but then there are ways to define the right medium and message to deliver that story? This is a question that one must try to answer when preparing a PR strategy. As you begin pulling together a comprehensive PR plan, one of the most important thoughts is to align your Business goals and PR strategies. Here are four tips that might be useful for you to get things going:

Identify business goals

PR is so much more than just a media relations job. It is a strategic function that requires involvement in planning, formulating and implementing strategies, for the success of an organisation. To start on the right note, it is important for communications team to spend good time with CXOs in understanding the business goals. If your business goal is to grow your market in the Middle East, then your PR strategy should also be in the same direction.  While, business goals are usually long-term over three, five or even ten years, but with breaking news cycles and the changing nature of social media, PR planning should be short-term and more realistic.

Align with business teams

A successful communications team is one which is consistently tracking business performance and reacting to developments in real time.  For example, if you are working in the auto ancillary industry, the usual spike in sales of cars during the festive period will have a positive impact on your business revenue. One could use such insights to pre-plan communication campaign for customers, trade partners and shareholders. To make lives easier, frequent face time with business heads helps in keeping communication teams up to date on business progress.  It is equally important for business teams to break the silos and ensure information flow to PR teams from time to time.

Choose the right medium

Every story does not deserve to be told the same way, one needs to experiment with the medium. Each story has its own set of audience, they consume content via different channels such as- Social media, blogs, TV, YouTube etc. Choosing the right medium so that the message hits them at the right place is crucial to get the best results for your PR efforts.

Make employees your brand custodians

For large sales led organisations, where employees on a day to day basis are interacting with customers, industry, competition and public in general. It is crucial to have an internal strategy that is focused on vertical information flow to ensure everyone is aligned with business priorities and core messages. For example, if you are handling an FMCG brand, and there is a manufacturing defect in a batch, your sales team who are on ground meeting the dealers/ shop owners and customers would naturally become the source of word of mouth news. Communication teams need to act fast in such scenario to activate internal communication channels and pass necessary facts that should be handy with the sales force on the ground. To ensure success, it would be ideal to have a metric or measurement tool to evaluate the impact.

Nikunj Kewalramani is a corporate communications professional with over 8 years of experience in PR. Currently, he is working as a corporate communications manager with OLX India. Prior to that, he was with 20:20 MSL, handling a wide spectrum of clients in consumer and enterprise technology. You can follow him @nikunj_ramani.

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