Are Your Customers Really Interested in Your PR?

Stone henage 2It’s been a busy few months for Barack Obama and it seems unlikely that he’s enjoyed much in the way of downtime. However, like all savvy politicians, he’s never one to look a PR gift horse in the mouth, which is why he took time out to visit Stone Henge and pose with locals last week.

Amongst the serious business of the terrorist threat and the global economy, visiting an ancient monument and smiling for snaps with a passing family might seem unduly frivolous…but let’s look at the Obama brand for a minute. He is the human face of the Western world; he may wield enormous power and be responsible for decisions that will have an impact around the globe but he also needs to be seen as an everyman…if he’s one of us then we’re all in it together.

Most companies considering their PR strategy don’t need to worry about the political repercussions of their every move …but they do need to think about what their PR is saying and who it needs to reach. Barack Obama’s relaxed photo shoot at Stone Henge is clear counter messaging for those that hope to put him under pressure and any company can do the same with the help of a PR specialist that understands their business and their market.

For example, companies that have suffered quality issues in the past may find that they still suffer from outdated negative perceptions long after those issues have been resolved. In that scenario, simply saying ‘our quality is great these days’ would be no more effective than Barack Obama making a press statement to say he’s on top of the situation. A much more effective approach is to demonstrate that there are no quality issues, through case studies, third party endorsement, discussions of quality management systems, etc, substantiating the core message with credible PR.

While I’d love to give you a guaranteed formula for effective PR here, the truth is that there is no such thing. The best approach will vary not only from sector to sector but also from company to company: it depends on your objectives, your USPs, your competitive environment and your customers’ needs and perceptions.

All too often companies think that PR is as simple as sending out a few press releases if and when there is news to tell but that is simply not enough. The news you want to tell may not be the information that excites your customers or shifts perceptions, so your priority should be assessing what will have the biggest impact on your customers and delivering it with a coherent strategy and sustained tactical approach.

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