#WhatisPR: Perception is Everything

publicity-and-prThere’s an old saying in public relations — in PR perception is EVERYTHING. But when it comes down to it, what exactly is PR? What is that elusive everything?

The term ‘public relations’ has become so common that you would think that folks really understood the meaning of the term. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is more to public relations than writing a press release. That is only one piece of the puzzle of public relations strategy.

Some folks have been led to believe that PR is about promoting and advertising their business, while others think that it is very expensive and you cannot verify the results. And yet some also state that they have never gotten good results from PR.

Truth is, it is none of the above and are the results of PR when it is not conducted properly.

PR Can Be Very Effective When Done Properly

While it is true that a public relations strategy is important to marketing and advertising, it is not actually marketing itself. Instead, it plays a most specific role in making marketing campaigns successful.

Bottom-line, marketing refers to promoting and packaging products or services so they sell. It is all about creating demand. Whereas a great public relations strategy creates the third-party credibility that businesses need to increase their return on investment for their marketing campaigns.

Let’s say a business has a great reputation, provides quality services, and gives back to the community, chances are it also has excellent third-party credibility. They would make this known via a successful PR campaign heralding their good works. Now, with which would you rather have a business relationship? The company that you know has goodwill as well as top of the line products and services or a company you know very little about? A good PR strategy sculpts the reputation of the company to the general public well in advance of promoting the product or service. It lays the groundwork for marketing success.

Interestingly, the company that has great public relations may not always be as good as the competing company that doesn’t have good PR, however most people by nature of what they are already familiar with will choose the company that has great PR. Why? Because people have a tendency to go by the word-of-mouth referral that a good PR campaign generates for a business.

PR = Goodwill = $$ in the Bank

The purpose of PR is to create a good reputation for an organization while presenting the various facets in a positive light based on solid facts and information. This creates a vast amount of third-party credibility, thus increasing the return on investment of the marketing dollars. It creates a virtual word-of-mouth aura around the marketing effort.

As the name implies, public relations is all about knowing how to reach out to the meaningful target markets and establishing credibility in their minds, showing genuine concern for them and how your organization can assist them. It is not about peddling your product or service. Most people fail to understand this including, unfortunately, most PR companies.

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