Why PR is a valuable component for any company

In pre-internet days, print and broadcast media tended to control the narrative with their reporting, and only the biggest businesses ever attracted the attention of the press. However, the swift proliferation of the internet now means that consumers are increasingly engaged with the businesses they deal with and they want to know more and more about where they are spending their money.

While there are still a few businesses that are not online, the vast majority of organisations of all sizes rely on their virtual presence to showcase so much more than the products or services they offer. Businesses not only have to ensure that they are providing enough information about themselves, they also need to put some effort into managing the public perception of what they do.

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This is where a public relations team comes in as they provide insight into how to ensure that companies maintain a positive public image. For many large organisations, this is an ongoing process and involves everything from large media campaigns to checking reviews and comments online and ensuring that only positive links are made when searching for relevant keywords.

The role of PR in a product launch

Companies that want to generate interest in a new product will often devise a public relations strategy to help increase the appeal of their latest offering. This can take the form of targeted editorial pieces about related themes that aim to show a particular sector or environment in a positive light.

This can be used to appeal to existing fans when showcasing a new format or evolution that has changed the market completely. This is the case when launching a new casino site for example. Many players will want to quickly find out about all the best game modes and features found within unique poker games platforms as well as educational articles about how to get the better of their friends in fun, friendly surroundings. Overall, they will be receptive to information about how to find new ways to play.

By creating an environment in which the public feels positive about a company, a public relations campaign can encourage local and national media to cover a launch favourably. They can also generate online buzz about a launch with targeted ads and by engaging with potential customers online.

This is ideal for new and unfamiliar products where customers may need additional information and evidence in order to inform their buying decisions.

How PR can turn a problem into a promotion

Some organisations will hire specialist teams of public relations experts to help them deal with a particular event or situation that has attracted negative media attention. There have been a few notable occasions when a potential disaster has been averted through the effective use of PR and the quick thinking of those involved to address the issue swiftly.

This was the case when a rogue tweet was posted by a social media employee on the American Red Cross Twitter feed. It was clearly posted by accident and was only up for an hour, but the tweet referred to the staff member drinking beer and was taken down as soon as the organisation’s social media director became aware of what had happened.

While this was undoubtedly an embarrassing oversight, a swift apology delivered with humour defused some of the potential negative consequences, and good fortune also played a part. The manufacturers of the beer that the staff member had mentioned in their tweet encouraged their customers to donate to the Red Cross, turning a potential PR disaster into a win for all concerned.

PR promoting the truth

Similarly, Taco Bell avoided a total PR disaster when they were sued over the quality of their beef in a lawsuit that alleged their seasoned beef only contained thirty-five per cent beef. Before the case could even get to court, the reputation of the fast food joint was potentially ruined as the headlines focussed on the figures alleged in the lawsuit.

Fortunately for Taco Bell, the day was saved with an astute PR campaign that simply presented the truth to their customers. They could prove that they were serving eighty-eight per cent beef with the other twelve per cent of the beef dish being made up of the chain’s proprietary blend of additional ingredients and seasonings.

Their PR strategy was to provide this information in clear and simple terms on a variety of platforms, from traditional print ads in local papers to an extensive online campaign covering YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms. It worked, with the majority of customers remaining loyal to the brand while the lawsuit was dropped a few months later.

From good news about new products or promotions to bad news that may affect the public perception of a brand, PR is an important tool in managing a company’s reputation. Any business that wants to grow and reach new markets will need to consider whether its brand is viewed positively by potential customers before they attempt to win them over with a new product, so PR should be an ongoing process.

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