The Devon Group

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PR Musings...

Doctor, Doctor, will I be able to play the violin after the operation?  “Yes, of course” goes the old joke.  “Great, because I never could before!” Will adding a public relations program to your marketing mix mean that you’ll have a totally different business because of it?  If you didn’t have a good business before, public relations isn’t going to make it better. To build a good business, you need to focus on the fundamentals, walking before you run. If you did have a good business before, then public relations is the right tool to significantly escalate its awareness, creating demand for your products and services and making you a “player” in the eyes of your served market.

Bear in mind that public relations is part of the marketing toolkit.  While many studies argue that PR is the most cost effective and credible of the marketing programs, we don’t recommend relying exclusively on PR or – for that matter - any one aspect of marketing to build your brand.  Integrating PR into the marketing mix is the more effective formula, as it will enable you to deliver consistent messaging to your constituents using a “surround-sound” approach that results in comments such as “I hear about you everywhere I go!”

Companies are sometimes frustrated by the length of time it takes to make media placements, especially if they enter into the PR relationship with a pent up news pipeline and already overdue business objectives. While we’re always excited to meet companies that have a steady stream of positive news to share with the market, we blanch at the thought that we’re expected to throw news over the transom to unsuspecting press that have no idea why it’s meaningful to them.  After all, the media tells us they receive an average of 500 – 600 emails, phone calls, Federal Express packages, fruit baskets and other communiqués per day. Yes, that’s per day!  That doesn’t even count the endless number of #10 business envelopes that languish in mailrooms because the respective journalist can’t possibly open and read all of them.  After all, journalists aren’t corporate types with administrative assistants who are opening and date stamping their mail!  They’re on tight deadlines and required to deliver brilliant and totally accurate copy, day in and day out.

In PR quality, not quantity counts. One placement – yes, even just one – can make a huge difference to your business.  In our 14 years, we’ve seen it evidenced over and over again.  The one placement in a relevant trade journal that resulted in the RFP that turned into a multi-million dollar deal.  The mere mention of a company’s name in a Wall Street Journal cover story that enabled it to break into the ranks of its highly competitive category’s inner sanctum.  The A-level job candidates and top executives that take your calls because they’ve already read about you.  The list is endless.

Is PR the same as spin doctoring?  No.  Spin doctoring suggests a breach of ethics, as in putting lipstick on a pig in hopes that no one will notice its muddy feet and mauvaise odeur.  But to make a good business great, PR is integral to your success.