Five Steps to Successful PR

snp-scottish-independence-referendum-debateAs the battle to convince Scottish voters to opt for or against independence reaches its crescendo, the masters of spin are masterfully using messaging and counter messaging to win hearts and minds.

We might call it spin, but it actually only uses the same PR tactics that companies like yours use to change perceptions of their brands and USPs as part of their marketing programme.

However, while the sole aim of the Scottish Referendum spin is to persuade people to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, the fundamental aim of PR is not to sell but to change perceptions. When done correctly this will involve sales messaging but using PR as a tool to simply generate sales leads is all a bit sledgehammer and nut: if your main aim is to increase sales in a market that already understands and values your USPs, a bigger sales team or investment in telesales will do the job.

The role of PR is much wider: it explains, convinces and substantiates sales claims so that your customer base not only acknowledges your sales messages but actually believes them.

For some companies, that process may be about changing perceptions; for others it may be about building perceptions where previously there were none – both scenarios require a complex approach to assessing your starting point, agreeing your aspirations and plotting a deliverable path along the way.

It’s important to be realistic, which means basing your starting point on actual customer perceptions, not simply what you think they believe. It’s also important to be creative: changing perceptions is not as simple as telling people what you want them to think and expecting them to get on with it – as the Better Together campaign has learned to its cost!

There are five basic steps to ensuring that a PR programme is effective, it must be:

  • Planned
  • Deliverable
  • Diverse
  • Meaningful
  • Measurable

Only by setting clear goals and definable outcomes can a PR programme be measured for success. But success cannot be measured by figures on a balance sheet, only by the much less tangible yardsticks of understanding, loyalty and advocacy.

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