When people hear about PR they think about a bunch of different things. This is because it encompasses so much, that people generally don’t have a consistent idea of what it really is.
What’s Public Relations?
In a nutshell, PR practices the promotion and maintenance of your company’s brand and reputation. This can vary from getting press exposure, to building relationships with key publics, to handling situations filled with public scrutiny and much more.
These are the main types of public relations practices as well as how they might apply to your brand.
Having a community presence is essential for any organization because it seizes many opportunities to build your reputation and network with potential business partners. Networking on a local level is valuable because neighboring organizations often face many of the same challenges. As a result, you’ll see tons of associations and groups focused on collaborating.
Community Relations can also include building a reputation within your community. Getting involved in community interests such as local government and education can positively impact the way your key public view your brand. For example, The New York Yankees host “Hope Week” every year, which sheds light on five inspiring stories. This generates awareness for various causes and encourages people to get involved with their own communities. As a result of the extensive media attention, Hope Week does worlds of good for many people and the positivity is reflected on the Yankees and their brand.
This is basically Community Relations on a larger scale. Rather than focusing on local public or specific events, Social Responsibility is usually focused more on big picture initiatives. McDonald’s demonstrated excellent Social Responsibility by founding the Ronald McDonald House Charities. This gave McDonald’s the opportunity to help thousands of children while positioning their brand in a positive light.
Other forms of Social Responsibility can include updating policies to meet popular opinion, such as recycling. Dawn used the infamous BP Oil Spill to promote their product in a positive way. The oil spill had constant media attention, including its effect on wildlife. Viewers were devastated as they saw birds covered with oil, so Dawn sent people to the Gulf Coast to clean the birds with their product. Their actions, of course, weren’t completely selfless as this served as a giant advertisement, though people couldn’t help but love Dawn after seeing those birds getting cleaned.
While social media is known more for its role in the world of marketing and advertising, it has a significant place in public relations. People turn to social media for updates on what matters to them, so as part of a Public Relations team, specialists will handle the social media channels for brands to serve as an aggregator for everything surrounding said brand.
Social media is unique because it allows for 2-way communication, allowing customers to engage with their brands. This provides an opportunity for brands to connect with their customers to enhance brand loyalty.
Social media is a powerful tool and in some cases can promote awareness for things better than anything. In 2014, Chris Kennedy and his sister Jeanette Senerchia started the #IceBucketChallenge, which involved participants dousing themselves with ice water on themselves on camera to raise awareness for ALS. Each person that participated had to donate and/or challenge 3 friends to participate. The ALS Association caught on and, as a result, the #IceBucketChallenge went viral and raised over $40 million dollars for the ALS Association.
The practice of Media Relations is based on the idea of getting free press for your brand. This involves writing press releases, seeking news coverage, and forming relationships with members of the media. This typically consists of working on the news side of public relations and can vary from working with journalists to collaboration projects with brands or celebrities that can represent your brand.
When many people hear Public Relations, they tend to think of Crisis Management. Crisis professionals specialize in managing public disasters. They often work off of proactive (preventing and preparing for a potential crisis) and reactive (managing an active crisis) strategies to manage the public perception of a brand during hectic situations.
Think of a crisis management team like a social legal team. Instead of defending you in court, they defend your brand in the eyes of the public. Success comes down to quick thinking, timely actions and effective messages with the goal of shaping public opinion in favor of your brand.
The Charlottesville protest of 2017 received a lot of media coverage, with little to none being positive at all. The gathering groups of white supremacists were holding Tiki Torches, which did not look good for the brand. Having no involvement in the protests, Tiki quickly and aggressively condemned the behavior of the protestors and publicly distanced themselves from their actions.
This tactic was effective because of how fast they were able to address the issue. Constant coverage of white supremacists wielding Tiki Torches could have caused viewers to associate them with each other, which was not good for Tiki. Publicly denouncing the actions of the protesters set the record straight and made it clear that they were not affiliated with them in any way. Delaying their statement or simply saying nothing would have been harmful to their brand. Instead, Tiki was praised for taking a stand. Good crisis management is about turning a negative into a positive!
Public Relations can have a HUGE impact on your business, regardless of size. With it so many practices, it can be difficult to keep up. Seeking guidance for your business’ brand? Contact the experts at Active Web Group and experience the true power of Public Relations at 1-800-978-3417!