First Things First, What Is PR - Public Relations?
If you're a PR professional, you should know the answer to this question. And you better be able to answer it quickly and accurately. If you can't? Well now... It's time for you to reevaluate some things. But if you're a business owner or just curious, here's the gist of it:
PR is what people think of you once you've left the board room. What they say about you once you've left the party. It's perception. It's how a person feels after they leave your store or receive services from you or your staff. It's how people remember you. It's part reputation and part branding. Ask yourself, when people think of me, my company or image, what's the first thing that comes to mind?
How Is PR Helpful?
Your reputation impacts your market capitalization. In other words, people's actions (i.e, purchasing products, supporting an organization, person, event, etc.) are based on their perception. So, if people think a business/person is unprofessional, has poor customer service and offers services that aren't valuable and/or priced fairly...what do you think? You think they're going to support it financially? Probably not.
PR can help to change those negative perceptions. How? Many different ways. A PR strategy should always be custom tailored to the needs of a business (No one size fits all approach!) That strategy can include tactics that focus on social media, traditional media, community partnerships or brand awareness.
The great thing about PR is, it's one of the most cost effective, impactful commitments you'll ever make. Trust me. And if you don't believe me, listen to what Bill Gates, Co-founder and Chairman of Microsoft has to say: "If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on PR."
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Note: This info is applicable to your personal branding and PR also. Again, ask yourself when people think of me, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Is it good, bad, complicated or "other"? Be honest and be ready to make the necessary changes if you need to.