Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations to be the “strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between and their publics”.
Public relations the act of managing communication between an individual or an and its key external or public stakeholders, with the objective of building and maintaining a positive image.
Public relation is a general strategy with multiple approaches. Public relations professionals execute different campaigns targeted at specific audiences to influence opinions and measure public perception.
4 Strategic Overview
Multinational companies (MNCs) entrust their public relations portion to a corporate communications department. Likewise, some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a similar department. Others choose to outsource public relations to public relations agencies.
For the most part, public relations remains one of the least focused business functions for many SMEs, as it can be challenging to formulate an integrated strategy to reap an immediate return on investment or produce quick, tangible results.
Public Relations Strategies
It is essential that you map a comprehensive, sustainable, and measurable public relations strategy before embarking on any public relations activities. Each strategy will entail different corporate activities with a specific target audience in mind and with specific desired measurable results. This book focuses on the following 12 approaches.
Awards and Accolades. Many companies receive certifications, obtain nominations, and eventually win business awards. Some industries hand out awards on a yearly basis to honor top industry producers. As a result, recipients of these awards gain peer recognition. They also frequently make news in the press.
Charity. Giving to the less unfortunate in society is becoming increasingly important in the brand-building process. The target audience can be the direct beneficiary or the charitable that the company works with. The activities can include fund-raising campaigns, direct donations, or free services offered by the company.
Corporate Event. These can be business-to-business (B2B) roundtables, incentives, conferences, special events, award ceremonies, and industry briefings. The target audience can be principals, distributors, resellers, or vendors. The objective is to create mindshare, as well as to show appreciation to business partners.
Corporate Social Responsibility. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is also called corporate conscience or corporate citizenship. Initiated in the 1960s, CSR was first mooted as a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into the business model of the company. It is about monitoring oneself to be compliant with the laws in the country, to be ethically correct in the eyes of the society, and to be by industry norms. Today, CSR has gone beyond the basic requirement to do social good for a specific group of people within the society. social good for a specific group of people within the society.
Internal Staff Engagement. This is also known as internal engagement. It is a holistic workplace approach to cultivate staff commitment to the to enhance recruitment efforts, increase retention rate, and boost ownership among employees. It is about ensuring that employees develop professionally, as the company expands.
Investor Relations. This is applicable to companies, stock exchanges, or financial institutions that have different stakeholders as investors. Keeping communication channels open with existing and potential investors through the annual general meeting (AGM) reports or special announcements is another critical dimension of public relations for any such company.
Media Relations. The press and media are key stakeholders in the overall public relations strategy. Common ways of engaging the press and media include issuing news releases, press conferences, and in extreme cases, conducting a media briefing to manage a crisis. It is about generating different reporting and news coverages from the press and media. This can also be achieved through media pitching, by presenting different stories and angles. different stories and angles.
Personal Branding of the Leader of the Company. The personality, actions, and words of the CEO of a company can create as much impact as a company’s news release in the press. of C-level executives as the authority within your industry is an effective way to build your credibility—every quote and keynote could potentially become movers and shakers in the marketplace. It is about creating a brand personification, vision, and leadership culture for the company. It will also motivate staff internally, as well as promote stiffer competition externally.
Publication. One of the best ways for a company to create publicity and mindshare is to own the press through publications. This can be in the form of magazines, books, and directories to serve a niche, or to be shared with a company’s B2B partners. Becoming a member of the press will ensure some degree of control in a company’s publicity drive.
Social Media Engagement. Today, every respectable company possesses social media presence on one or more platforms. Increasingly, brands have to connect with its fans through content creation, conversation management, as well as developing its own community of fans. While the mass media builds the authority of a brand, social media builds the authenticity of a brand. To increase social media engagement, many companies create Facebook and LinkedIn company pages.
Sponsorship. Sponsoring industry trade shows, community events, sports events, or charity fund-raising events showcases a company’s commitment to being an industry leader. Sponsorships may come in the form of cash contributions, in-kind through products and services, or even endorsements. The target audience usually comprises complementary brands and businesses. This is one aspect of public relations where many companies have underestimated its importance.
Strategic Alliance. Forging special work relationships with other companies through partnerships or collaborations is about creating co-branding opportunities. This approach is useful when two or more companies are after a similar customer profile and are looking to enlarge its audience. The result of strategic alliance is opening of new opportunities and consolidation of the marketplace.
Apart from the strategies discussed, public relations encompasses other sub-strategies, each with its specific set of activities to target different audiences to obtain both tangible and intangible results. While results often vary, all public relations strategies eventually lead to some form of media coverage and increased publicity for the company. Ultimately, publicity fosters goodwill, increases mindshare, and builds credibility for the company.
Public relations is a journey, where it can be hard work in the beginning, and goodwill is the destination. Start your journey today and publicity is sure to follow.
About the Author:
Andrew Chow is known to be pragmatic, visionary, competitive, intuitive and giving
He is a social media and public relations strategist, entrepreneur and speaker based in Singapore, he is also the best-selling author of a highly popular series of books: Social Media 247, Public Relations 247 and Personal Branding 247
Andrew has spoken in over 15 countries within 5 years and addressed more than 20,000 people on Digital Marketing, Personal Branding, Enneagram, Public Relations and Branding
Andrew’s career of 30 years; has seen him work with an array of clients including AXA Insurance, Abbot Medical Optics, Singtel and Sony Pictures, M1, Starhub, and Sennheiser
Andrew had more than 300 interviews and features about him or his business since 2005 from more than 40 local and regional media.
He is listed as the Top 10 Most Influential Speaker in Singapore in 2013 by the Singapore Business Review. He won the Spirit of Enterprise in 2008 and the Successful Entrepreneur in 2010. Before he served as the President of the Asia Professional Speakers – Singapore (APSS), he also won the coveted Spirit of Service Award from the Industry.