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What you should know about modern PR

Oksana Kononova

Chief Executive Officer

Today the term “Public Relations” has turned into a single word - "communication". "Public" part in this context is already of little importance. Most of the messages are public anyway. What we write on our social pages, what we find in the publications of partners and employees is public and it immediately impacts the business.

PR in business

What objectives does the business pursue? Without considering mission, vision and values, the goals will be the same for everyone:

  • Sales increase;
  • Market share increase;
  • Reducing personnel outflow;
  • Cost reduction.

In order to understand what place PR takes for these objectives, we will first define it.

PR is a planned and systematic activity for creating and maintaining a positive relationship between the organization and the audience.

Objective #1 – sales increase. They say that a good product sells itself, but it's not true. Only correct presentation of values and product benefits can lead to the growth of sales. 

Objective #2 – market share increase. The same approach. Communicate a lot. Andriy Fedorov, the founder and owner of the Fedoriv branding agency, often repeats: "People hear what you say to them, and they do not hear what you do not say." Customers should be aware of positioning, plans, etc. 

Objective #3 – reducing personnel outflow. This is about internal communication. How information is transmitted from management to staff, how it is discussed between colleagues and shared by employees outside the company. The way you work with it is reflected in the HR-brand.

Objective #4 – cost reduction. There is no direct dependence on PR, but you can find a link. For example, a brand with a positive reputation and weight on the market is actively communicating. Then it is profitable for suppliers to offer special conditions to obtain such a client.

It appears that PR is involved in every business objective.

PR at Customer Decision Journey

Now let's look at the standard scheme of making a purchase decision.

Customer Decision Journey

Previously, the consumer's path was determined only by the external circle. For example, you want to buy a phone. You have selected 5 models from advertising, then consulted with friends, read reviews and chose one option. You came to the store and bought it. At that point the scheme ended.

Today, the map is expanded by the inner circle. It's important how the company communicates with you after the purchase, what would you say next about the company. It's about loyalty. If after the purchase you are not satisfied with the product or you had a rude seller or the order was delivered untimely, you will tell about all of this to your milieu. As a result, a person who goes through the outside circle can immediately pass at the stage of choice. Basing solely on feedback. 

Accordingly, it is necessary to communicate properly with the client, to keep him informed of the news and to offer new benefits every time. Constantly raise the level of loyalty. So the customer will make a re-purchase or recommend the company to friends.

In this structure the outer circle works by means of advertising. It can be compared to a good makeup. After the purchase the PR begins. And here we see the inner circle - it's like a face with no makeup in the morning, something to work with. Communicate correctly, honestly and at great length. 

What has become of PR

1. Personal communication in a convenient way.

Communication became individual and personal. In order to communicate properly with your audiences you need to break them into groups taking their special features into account. A striking example is the Pope's Twitter, where messages are published in several languages. 

2. Fight for attention.

The number of notifications on the phone during an hour looks like this.

messages

Everyone wants to talk directly to the specific addressee. But you still need to be able to break through this mass of messages, which is difficult. In this case the PR task is to "catch" the consumer and tell all the necessary information.

3. Everybody can be heard.

Anyone can write a negative post about a company and it will be instantly shared. It would be a scandal. If this happens in the US or Europe it immediately affects the value of the company shares, if this happens here it affects reputation and sales. Therefore, timely reaction and competent communication solve a lot of problems nowadays.  

4. The era of post-truth.

It's all about a huge number of questionable resources, fakes and fake scandals. Even serious media may not check the information they publish. Unfortunately, we love scandals. The only way out is to create "white noise", to distribute enough information about yourself. If nothing can be found about the company and the negative information adds up, it's difficult to fix the situation. Be prepared to constantly monitor the information field and respond quickly. Silence is no longer possible. Silence is also a reaction, but often a negative one. In a critical situation one should remain silent only if this can bring more benefits. In addition, it is important not to be silent about the important events that happen in society. 200 CEOs in the United States have expressed their position on Trump's victory in the presidential election. Among them are Mark Zuckerberg, Sathya Nadella, Tom Cook. The companies that stayed silent faced a misunderstanding from the stakeholders. 

 

Conclusions

PR = Communications.
Communications are needed in all business objectives.
The goal of PR is to fight for attention.
Reputation matters.

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