New Campaign #PRPays champions the benefits of PR to the business community

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) recently launched the first in a series of interviews with Chief Executives for its #PRPays campaign, which aims to “spotlight the benefits of strategic public relations amongst senior business leaders. The campaign seeks to shift perceptions of PR from a tactical offering to a strategic discipline.”

Public relations is more than producing free publicity – it is about building reputation, through a consistent programme of communication, with numerous stakeholders. It plays a key role in raising company profile, and in setting out what you stand for and attracting and retaining customers. It can also take the form of internal communication, communicating important messages to help keep staff informed and motivated.

What price reputation?

PR is very effective in time of crisis or for issues management, when the image of an organisation is at risk of being tainted, to demonstrate the goodwill of the organisation concerned.

Every organisation should be prepared for the unexpected by monitoring emerging issues which are likely to impact on their business and which may affect their reputation. Examples include potential for new legislation, competitive developments, job cuts, striking workers, published research, changes in customer behaviour or environmental issues such as major flooding. The growth of the Internet, blogs and social media have made regular, accessible communication essential if today’s companies are to survive and thrive and makes responding quickly to issues that may affect your business even more important.

Businesses should have an organised response in place for how to manage emerging issues and assign roles and responsibilities. For example, your communications team may need to prepare statements for the media and ensure spokespeople are available, your sales team will need to be briefed and customers will need to be liaised with. Regulatory changes will need analysis and assessment of impact and the implications of breaking issues may necessitate changes to your business and communications strategy.

Measuring effectiveness

Measurement and goal setting are fundamental to any PR programme, to demonstrate the value of PR, return on investment and its contribution to strategic business decision making and organisation success. Measuring PR effectiveness cannot be conducted in isolation and should be linked to the strategic initiatives of the company. That is why it is key to set measurable objectives at the start of the campaign that are in line with the general goals of the company, as well as clearly specifying the target audience and key messages that need to be communicated.

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