When to Hire Your Public Relations Firm
“Brand-building has always been key to making impersonal industrial processes, technologies, and corporate organizations relevant and relatable to people–especially in cases where there’s little functional difference between one corporation’s products and services and its competition’s. Brands are the human face of an industry, and the primary mechanism businesses use to make unique, differentiated promises to their customers.”
Public relations is the most valuable marketing tool an executive can engage, and the moment it is placed on the back burner, the door opens for competitors to walk through. Public relations generates leads, supports sales, communicates the distinct competencies of a company and its products or services, tells the corporate growth story, and creates unique, brand-building programs that set a company apart.
Unfortunately, public relations is misrepresented as luxury services only to be enjoyed by the largest, wealthiest companies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Public relations is accessible, essential, and a highly valuable tool for increasing visibility and brand value for any size company.
The question so many executives ask is – when should I hire a PR firm. There are five signs a company is ready.
1. You know your market
Whether a company has been around for 20 minutes or 20 years, defining your target is one of an executive’s most important tasks. Once identified, the PR campaign communicates to those audiences and positions the company and its products or services using the most credible resources. It’s also good to have a thumb on the competitive landscape – even if it is ambiguity.
One of the nuances of PR is understanding exactly how much finesse – aka budget – is necessary to garner your communications, including articles, commentary, social engagement, speaking engagements, awards, etc. And should you hire in-house or outsource? Fixed cost employees require benefits and are more difficult to terminate. Outsourcing can fill a knowledge gap within your company, and great PR firms have flexible terms with easy exits.
3. You have information to convey
You should have original thoughts you’d like to convey about your sector. In addition to communicating words of wisdom about your company and its products or services, such as business relationships, newsworthy events, and milestones, be willing to share pertinent information on trends. Be prepared to maintain an open and continual flow of communication with your PR representatives who will capitalize on those opportunities for your benefit.
Time is valuable and often hard to come by, and engaging in PR requires time. But not as much as most executives think. In addition to providing information for success, the PR team will require regular calls or meetings, quick approval on written communications, and availability for media interviews. If the PR team is savvy, it can be as little as an hour or two a week.
5. Be prepared for business
In being where your customers are, and your competitors are not, be prepared for increased financial gain. Whether it is funding, revenues, memberships – or whatever you constitute as a success, be ready for it.
Open the door and enjoy your success
Brand building is not an easy process, nor does it happen overnight. Generating awareness and influencing audiences to the point of purchase is an art…an ongoing series of creative and bold tactics managed well through public relations and followed up by excellent customer experiences.
Engage now, and your competitors will wish they had hired PR first.