Ah, the view in retrospect: It can reveal quite a bit about what gives organizations their staying power. For example, look how far the brand name of Apple has come. Twenty years ago, people barely recognized the reference to the company in the hit movie Forrest Gump. Today, even 3-year-olds are asking for iPads.
When it comes to smart public relations, the “before” and “after” shots are also worthy of some retrospective thinking. There was a time when PR firms could direct a message campaign and aim for solid earned news coverage to complement that campaign – with fewer surprises. Today, not only are more companies setting themselves up in the “expert chair” when it comes to directing messages, but so are their audiences. Through online forums, blogs and social media, online brand “champions” (or online brand critics) are influencing the process. This means smart PR firms must now drive a campaign for reputation management alongside savvy efforts to curate conversations about their clients that are constantly changing.
This poses the question: What are the characteristics of a public relations firm that has staying power?
Clever thinking (plenty of it):
Smart PR takes more courage and flexibility now, which is also part of the success recipe for top reputation management or brand management campaigns. Public relations experts will tell you that staying in your set of previously created parameters for message management could be your first mistake. Example: Where others are simply taking pictures of their cupcakes or pitching news stories about the owners’ rise to the top, a forward-thinking business is out in the crowd giving out samples in real time, generating reviews and hype online through social media. Then they’re using these events and comments to share videos, all in a few hours’ time.
Public relations firms should know that content these days is on the move. Where there is news in a magazine, there should also be a version available in a mobile format. Smartphones and tablets are preferred consumer tools, and PR experts know how to position these new platforms. Not only should businesses have content that is mobile, they must also give consumers a way to react to the content. Comments, likes, retweets and shares are an exchanged currency of today’s PR climate – and they’re not the only kind. Data mining and collection about what these really mean to a brand are also critical, now more than ever.
Asking many questions:
Don’t be wary of a public relations expert who is asking a lot of questions. Think of your public relations firm as a factory: You must feed it with the right pieces of information for the firm to create the product. Using information about the company’s mission and vision, products and services is only the start; today, smart PR firms need information about your leadership, your team members and why they love what they do, along with any facts and information about company challenges. They are all pieces of the puzzle needed to drive a PR strategy with the most impact.
Need some more staying power with your audience, or with a new audience? Contact Axia Public Relations today. We can’t guarantee you’ll be in the next Tom Hanks movie, but we can help you find your business’ perfect public relations strategy and voice.
– Jason Mudd, APR, is CEO of Axia Public Relations. He is an Emmy Award-winning accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur. His public relations portfolio includes work for established national and emerging brands such as American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, Brightway Insurance, Florida Blue, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, It Works!, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Ray Charles, Southern Comfort, Verizon and more. Connect with Jason on Twitter at @jasonmudd9 and Axia Public Relations at @axiapr. Be sure to tweet and share your thoughts below. We’ll read and respond to each of them.
photo credit: Cristiano Maia via photopin cc