So you have decided you want to grow your brand, build a trusted reputation, and to make your brand and products known to the world. Public relations (PR) is one of the most strategic ways forward, through a PR agency partner. How then, should you work with a PR agency?
We recommend these 5 keys:
Lay out what you have.
1. Know yourself.
Before you engage a PR agency, you need to know who you are, what you represent, and who you intend to reach out to. Certainly a senior PR practitioner might be able to advise.
Are you the shiniest gadget waiting to shine in the world right now, akin to the Apple iPhone or Huawei Mate 60 Pro? Or are you a strictly B2B (business to business) product or solution that were created by scientists and engineers and sold to the same? Are you a brand selling to millions at prices anyone would afford? Or are you selling to niche audiences at small quantities? Are you a nascent startup with a vibrant team that needs mentoring? Or are you an established multinational business with diverse offices throughout Asia Pacific?
2. Lay out what you have.
Public relations (PR) is a program for committed entrepreneurs and leaders. It is not a once-off exercise for most businesses. Just like advertising, you get what you pay for. So, you need to know what kind of budget and resources you are willing to set. For most businesses, you should be setting aside between 7% to 10% of your annual revenue to marketing, of which PR is part of. Since advertising is always going to be tactical and expensive, enlightened business leaders and entrepreneurs tend to park most of their marketing budgets into PR, which can stretch their outreach much more for much less dollars compared to traditional advertising. Work with your PR agency to see how best your budget of say, 8% of your annual revenue, should be spent in a retained PR program with tactical events and other marketing activities. Resources also include human and other material resources, and you need to communicate to your employees the importance of PR for your business.
Just as you would listen to what a doctor or surgeon has to say when helping you with a condition to ensure the most optimal outcomes, it is the same with your PR agency relationship. You do what you do best, and your PR agency counselors do what they do best. It is all about multiplying the effort into greater outcomes, rather than contesting personal opinions. Your PR team will have your best interests at heart to get the best media and coverage outcomes, as well as building and sustaining your brand and reputation.
4. Work together.
Your PR agency will discern what is best for your brand, your products, and your team when it comes to communicating with the media and other stakeholders. For example, seasoned PR practitioners may ask for your team to spruce up your LinkedIn profiles and biographies, and to get decent photographs done, including at various locations and poses for future use. Your PR counselors may request for background materials, interviews and chats with your team from various functions and departments. They may also insist on media training for your key spokespersons and have mock interviews to discern how best to present your spokespersons. Your counselors will very likely communicate with you and many of your employees as often as needed, especially when media opportunities arise. So as a C-suite leader, work closely and collaboratively with your PR team.
Public relations (PR) will always be a strategic C-suite program that needs to be sustained, nurtured, and expanded, as long as you have a business, a brand, and products and solutions to communicate to the world. It is not a once-off exercise. Continue to refine your business and brand and know what you represent, continue to visit your available resources and budgets to expand your outreach and brand growth. As new people join your business, always engage them to work closely and listen to the counsel of your PR team, and treat your PR agency as an extant member of your C-suite to advise, to strategize, and to expand the brand together.
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Seamus Phan has 35 years of professional experience. Polymath Problem-Solver & Strategist – Leadership, Cybersecurity, Branding, Crisis, Scientist, Artist, Author, Aviation, and Theologian. Some articles are reproduced at McGallen & Bolden, where he is CTO and Head of Content. Connect on LinkedIn. ©1984-2023.