World PR Day (July 16) serves as a gentle reminder of the enduring importance and relevance that public relations (PR) holds as a vital tool in a communicator’s arsenal. Over the decades, the PR industry has undergone significant evolution, with one of the most notable shifts being a transition from a focus on quantity to an emphasis on quality. This transformation has been particularly pronounced in the wake of the pandemic, during which not only did the audience's mindset change, but entire industries underwent transformations.
In this dynamic environment, PR is constantly solidifying its contribution to business growth plans. This is solidified by findings of Study of Public Relations Insights, Nuggets and Trends [SPRINT 2022-23] by PRCAI which observes that 8 out of 10 corporate leaders work closely with communications teams to devise PR strategies.
The allocation of resources to public relations in annual marketing budgets has increased from 10% to 17% between 2019 and 2022.
Time and again, PR has demonstrated its value by playing a pivotal role in strategic communications and serving as a crucial component of a comprehensive marketing strategy. Here are 5 instances where PR continues to be instrumental for organizations and individuals, when used effectively
Educational and Awareness Campaigns:
Effective PR campaigns play a crucial role in informing and raising awareness among target audiences regarding products, services, or important issues. By skillfully disseminating key messages, PR endeavors contribute to consumer education, highlighting unique selling points, and emphasizing the significance of the offerings to the intended recipients. In situations where the objective is to educate the target audience and facilitate their transition from awareness to adoption, the inclusion of earned media coverage adds an extra layer of authenticity and credibility that surpasses what a marketing campaign alone can achieve.
Notably, in light of the current national focus on sustainable development and achieving net-zero carbon emissions, PR has assumed a pivotal role in advocating for sustainable practices across industries, particularly within the automobile sector through advancements in electric vehicles (EVs).
This highlights the instrumental contribution of PR in promoting and fostering sustainable initiatives.
In the realm of paid, shared, and owned media channels, organizations have the ability to exert control over their messaging. However, the utilization of earned media through strategic PR efforts adds an invaluable dimension of credibility. By incorporating third-party spokespersons or industry experts, an organization can enhance its reputation and lend credibility to its narrative. The coverage gained through earned media is perceived as more trustworthy by audiences, establishing the brand as reputable and reliable. Essentially, PR contributes to the development of brand equity by cultivating and nurturing relationships with crucial stakeholders such as customers and investors. This involves ensuring that the brand communicates effectively with all stakeholders while remaining responsive to their opinions and needs.
It is therefore not surprising that startups are embracing the power of PR as a means to cut through the noise, build trust and loyalty among customers, and instill greater investor confidence.
Public Relations is an art of persuasion and influencing target audiences to rally behind a brand. In this regard, media exposure serves as a powerful tool for reaching out to potential customers at different touch points along their customer journey. Through well-crafted narratives, these stories can create awareness among customers about the challenges they face, present effective solutions, and position the brand as the ideal partner to address their needs.
By implementing a robust PR strategy, organizations have the opportunity to forge connections with new audiences and captivate them through compelling storytelling. By strategically identifying the platforms and sources where the target audience congregates, organizations can cultivate consumer trust and nurture the growth of their audience base.
In recent years, the prominence of Digital PR has experienced substantial growth, with a widespread recognition of the value of "online" coverage. As a result, digital-first PR campaigns have become commonplace, presenting opportunities to enhance a brand's SEO efforts. By synergistically combining PR and SEO, organizations can create a powerful alliance that drives traffic through various means, including the generation of high-quality backlinks, content optimization, leveraging brand mentions and social signals, influencer engagement, and online reputation management. These collective endeavors contribute to heightened website visibility, improved organic search rankings, and ultimately, an elevated online presence for the brand.
Similarly, influencer and blogger collaborations play a pivotal role in augmenting brand messaging and securing increased exposure. When these KOLs mention and link to a brand's website, the impact on SEO can be significant. Consequently, such partnerships facilitate heightened brand visibility, generate referral traffic, and obtain valuable backlinks from authoritative websites. Similarly, by strategically optimizing press releases with relevant keywords and well-placed links, organizations increase the likelihood of their content appearing in search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for related topics or keywords.
PR plays a crucial role in crisis management by effectively managing communication during challenging times.
It helps organizations respond promptly, transparently, and empathetically, mitigating reputational damage. PR professionals provide strategic counsel, craft crisis messaging, handle media relations, and engage stakeholders to rebuild trust and maintain brand reputation amidst adversity.
SPRINT 2023 report also observed that crisis management, public affairs & advocacy and internal communications are the top 3 sought after services from PR professionals.
Businesses that allocate investments in PR can expect to see significant returns in terms of increased market confidence, investor interest, customer loyalty and reduced cost of customer acquisition.
With over 11 years of experience in PR and Communications, Akshita is leading PR and communications at a real-estate platform. All views are personal and does not reflect that of any organization