Sunday, March 05, 2006

PR Deliverables

Al PR professionals and agencies are under pressure for accountability (and a lot of hot air on the subject). The business benefits that public relations can deliver are wide and varied. The precise mix will depend on the environment in which the organisation operates and the corporate, marketing and communications objectives that it sets. They encompass

Awareness: the most common, maybe most effective, and certainly almost universal function of public relations activity is to make people aware in some way of an organisation’s products, services or views.

Education: the best consumer is an educated consumer since uninformed buyers cost time and money. Public relations is effective in communicating information in a meaningful and understandable manner.

Credibility: a key benefit of public relations as a communications medium is that it has a high degree of credibility in the mind of the receiver when compared with other marketing communications channels.

Third-Party endorsement: an important driver of this credibility is that the message originates from and is therefore endorsed by a third party: frequently journalists but also other commentators and other authorities. A good article in a good publication is not only read but it is believed and, the more credible the publication, the more credible the message.

Permission to buy: consumers are no longer content to rely purely on product performance; they also need to be reassured that they are happy to do business with the organisation providing the product or service.

Differentiation: once interest in a product category has been created and awareness of our brand established, public relations messages need to differentiate our brand from competitors’.

Positioning: differentiation is delivered through positioning, but positioning has nothing directly to do with the product or service on offer, rather it is about differentiating the product in the mind of the prospect and is therefore best achieved by high credibility communications.

Relationship marketing: modern marketing is more about relationships than transactions and public relations’ orientation is building relationships through communication that is two-way and informal in style.

Public relations is also effective in terms of costs and targeting. Although not ‘free advertising’ (the main costs associated with public relations are consultancy fees or in-house salaries), no media costs means that public relations can be relatively cost-effective. Also, public relations can be used to reach specific audiences in a way that paid media cannot, which is particularly important with increased media fragmentation and segmentation of markets

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