There is more than just a creative angle on a client, any PR professional worth their salt knows that their entire life’s work should be based on analytics and business acumen.
By Karla Jo Helms
Research is the single most important component to a successful PR campaign. Without the proper information, how can a PR professional possibly know what is going to bring you the most profitable images and the most bang for your buck? They don’t.
A knowledgeable PR professional will see it as part of their job and responsibility to conduct thorough research for your company, first and foremost, to ensure you get the most out of your PR campaign. Hence the reason a high percentage of people feel they never get the results they expect from PR because not all PR people see research as part of their responsibilities.
So, if the PR person you have been using has not asked a lot of questions about your company this is a sure sign they do not realize that the research is their duty. Most PR campaigns are not effective because either the company does not have the time to gather the data that is necessary or the PR person does not see it as part of their job to collect information before they design a public relations strategy.
PR Professionals Must Understand Business Management
The job of a company CEO and other executives is not to filter through all the data that is out there to come up with a strategy that will guarantee PR success. Instead, their job is to concentrate on the other aspects of the company which includes taking the business to the next level and overseeing the day-to-day operations. If you have the employees sift through the information, they may not be able to determine what the right thing to do for the company is in terms of return on investment since that is not their area of expertise either. Therefore, a PR professional with business management know-how and a proven track record can be a valuable asset to a PR campaign. Why?
An intelligent PR professional who understands how corporations work and how entrepreneurs think will also be able to identify with pressures and decisions that managers face on a regular basis. The PR professional is not looking to create glamor or fame that delivers no real improvement to the bottom line. Instead, a distinguished PR professional seeks satisfaction in terms of more production, more profits, more business, and so on, and actually should have business management expertise to accomplish these goals. If a PR professional does not understand this going in, then you are just going to get a lot of noise, and little effectiveness, from your PR campaign.
More Reasons Why Business Management Skills Are Important
To provide you with an example, I once had a close friend that was going on and on about having a great PR professional on board who was scheduling him to participate in multiple various events and six different speaking engagements, etc., etc. He had a lot of activity and he thought he was making an impression on me with everything his company was doing. But in the very same conversation, he was asking me for help – nothing was “working” and he did not know why.
What he did not realize was that there was one piece missing in the puzzle. When I asked him how all the efforts related to one another and how they contributed to the bottom line, he didn’t have the faintest idea and the PR team had no idea either. They simply replied that we are doing this “because.” None of it had any rhyme or reason. There was no return on investment nor any real profitable images for him nor the company; meanwhile, the statistics on the company were in rapid decline. It certainly was no coincidence.
It turns out that the PR person this client had on board had no business management skills and knew absolutely nothing about running a business. Although she was “PR trained,” she could not determine how to take the company from point A to point B and build a future that aligned with their purpose and their mission statement. So, the PR campaign never aligned.
This scenario is not unusual. Unfortunately, many PR people are not trained in business management, which usually means they are not trained in marketing. You cannot have a public relations campaign without knowing anything about marketing, and marketing is also less effective without PR. The two methodologies complement one another, but they are not the same. You use PR to boost your marketing campaign and marketing to fuel your sales.
This is why you should use a PR professional with training in business management. I have been around a lot of PR professionals in my career, and all the top PR professionals that I know have these skills. If you don’t have a PR professional that is savvy in business or marketing, you are going to be missing an entire tier of expertise that you need as a core foundation to your PR campaign.