A public relations specialist is an image shaper and works to improve the reputation of its clients, is what The Princeton Review tells us. And to carry out these actions, you must have the necessary personnel, tactics and tools.
This practice has been known for a long time, the only thing that has changed over time are the methods, the objectives remain relatively the same. With the passage of time, these actions are moving to the digital field and now there are virtual tools that facilitate all the work of the PR expert (1).
- PR strategies are essential to shaping the image of your brand in your favour, this is achieved with a good strategy and a good team behind it.
- The strategy you apply depends a lot on the context in which your company is and what you want to achieve, it is also important to consider the tools you have at your disposal.
- A strategy comes to an end once you receive feedback from the audience, and you manage to improve the important points, in case you do not achieve your goal.
What is the role of public relations?
Before starting to carry out any PR plan, we must define its meaning and the reason why it is so important and must be applied depending on your needs and those of the company in question.
1. Definition of public relations
It is the business of persuasion, influence and convincing. It is a professional practice and an arduous strategic work that allows to modify or intervene in the perception of a company or brand, and thus improve its relationship with people.
But in addition to this objective, it is also responsible for building, maintaining and restoring reputations and generating the appropriate content to communicate and solve a crisis, or simply to be in constant improvement (2).
Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their audiences.
2. Classification of public relations
Next, we are going to go into detail on the different functions that one has at the moment of being in charge of public relations either in an agency, for a specific company or in a personal way. We will go into detail about the models of public relations that exist today (10).
|Function||What does it consist of?||Importance|
|Press work||It consists of attracting the attention of the press with the objective of getting media attention.||It helps to get the full attention of the media in order to communicate your message.|
|Public information||It consists of delivering information to the public following journalistic standards, this can be spread in the media most used by the audience.||It helps to boost the propagation of favourable information and decrease the propagation of unfavourable information.|
|Two-way asymmetric||It consists mainly of persuasion where the interests of the audiences are previously investigated in order to provide them with persuasive solutions and help organizations to boost their will in people.||It is more effective and in favour of the organization.|
|Two-way symmetric||Research is used to resolve conflicts and facilitate negotiation.||It has a mutual benefit.|
3. Examples of PR actions
The following are a few campaigns that have had an impact not only at a national level, but also at an international level. These campaigns are of brands that do not have the same impact because they are not of the same category, but demonstrate the diversity of options (3).
- Ikea and its #StayAtHome campaign
This campaign took place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and the quarantines imposed by each country. It was also based on a series of communication pieces that demonstrate the nostalgia, comfort and union that staying at home inspires. And finally, it sought to unite consumers by showing their empathetic side, clearly taking into account that this tactic was going to give them good repercussions in the future.
2. Hostelworld improving the perception of hostels.
This campaign seeks to change the perception that people have about hostels. Because of that their communication pieces show Mariah Carey staying in hostels and highlighting luxuries that most people did not know or relate to hostels.
3. Collaboration of influencers and clothing brands
On several occasions, brands, such as in this case Primark, generate an alliance with influencers. That is, with people of high influence and knowledge about a specific topic. In this case, they are influencers related to fashion. This is because they have a high power of influence and conviction, their followers end up paying attention and copying their actions. In this case, in favour of the Primark brand.
4. Importance and objectives of PR strategies
Nowadays, public relations plays an extremely important role in building brand credibility. Likewise, when we talk about PR strategies, we are talking about crisis management, all about mitigating the damage and finding the right response, so that the brand image is damaged as little as possible. Therefore, it can be concluded that a PR strategy is indispensable for reputation management (7).
A few common PR objectives will be mentioned below.
- Attracting media attention. This way you communicate well what you want to say about the company.
- Generate awareness. This refers to brand recognition that helps to generate brand value.
- Inform the public about the company. In this way, people will get to know the brand and if it is achieved in the right way, it usually generates interest.
- To improve the reputation of the brand. To increase trust and highlight the positive aspects of the company.
- To build relationships with all stakeholders. They affect the entire life of the company, with their decisions and help to achieve success.
How to make a PR plan?
Once you are interested in making a PR plan there are some aspects to consider, it is important that you always keep in mind your goals and that way you can know where to go, you can make the right decisions about tactics and always choosing the best tools.
1. Who are you going to target?
Clearly identifying and defining the target audience for your tactics is an essential part of putting them into practice. This is because defining it well, makes it easier for you to understand their point of view, and you can define well what messages to send them and through what media. In this sense, it is also of utmost importance to know your audience well in order to communicate your message in the right way so that they understand the story you want to tell (3).
If you do not have a good definition of your target audience, there may be misunderstandings that not only do not help you achieve your goals but can also set you back, make you lose resources and give a bad impression of the brand, the opposite of what you want to achieve. Likewise, the importance of defining your audience has to do with the feedback they can give you in the future (8).
2. What a PR plan includes
There are certain steps that help the correct elaboration of this plan, from the analysis of the situation, study of the current context and even putting the plan into action and seeing the final results of your plan. It is important to mention that with today’s digitalization, there are new challenges and opportunities. One must adapt nimbly to the volatile change of the times. The steps to achieve a successful plan will be detailed below (4).
What does it consist of?
|1. Analyze the situation||You must observe the current state of the business, you must know where you are standing and from there you can see where you want to go.|
|2. Establish objectives and goals||The problem to be solved is clearly identified and this allows you to see what actions are going to be taken, set goals and designate roles to those involved.|
|3. Choosing the tools||Here you select the tools that best suit your needs and are within your reach. It is important to know when to enter the digital world and when to stay in the traditional one.|
|4. Create the content||All messages must be written in a clear, concise and direct way. Always consider your audience.|
|5. Consider resources||This is where all support is essential and it is very important that everyone in the company is involved.|
|6. Implement the actions and see the results.||Always consider your audience. As soon as the plan is carried out, the results should be observed and you should start to see which goals were achieved and which ones you have to keep on trying.|
3. Common tactics and their tools
The following are a few of the common tactics used by the PR planner. It is important to know which tools are available to take advantage of them and achieve the expected results. However, it is important to mention that these actions take place with the help of one or more areas of the company (6).
The following are the common tactics and the help that can be received from the different areas of an organization.
- Through media relations: These actions are given through the circulation of messages through the various media, either through press releases or by seeking the support of journalists to make positive notes. This is done with the help of the legal and marketing areas.
- Through advertorials: These are advertisements in the form of press releases or even reviews in newspapers. With the help of the advertising and marketing area, they can also use this tactic as a form of advertising with the help of product placement.
- Social Media: This medium allows the company to reach its customers directly. Using social networks you can be followed by journalists, boost web traffic, manage problems or respond directly to criticism or negative perceptions. It is fully supported by the marketing and systems area
- Business events: This method helps gain brand exposure and helps promote a new product or service. Here we also recommend being creative with the guest list because it can greatly influence the perception of the brand.
- Sponsorships or brand partnerships: It helps a lot to improve the image you have towards the community, especially if they are non-profit alliances.
How can I measure the success of my PR plan?
Once you have completed your marketing plan, it is important to know how it is performing and to be able to measure if it has achieved the impact you wanted it to have. For that reason, you should consider the following factors to be able to measure it and make the right decisions in the future.
1. What does the success of a PR action mean?
A successful campaign has a positive impact not only in the short term, but also in the long term. Strategic thinking, proactive plans and actions are key to success. Therefore, it is important to take the right approach that doesn’t offend anyone, and where everyone is satisfied. And the only way to know if you were successful or not, apart from relying on KPIs, is to verify that the objectives set at the beginning of this process have been achieved (7).
It is also essential to be in constant verification of brand mentions throughout the networks and during daily socialization situations.
2. Don’t forget these KPIs!
It is always important to consider certain metrics and KPIs that help measure the success of the tactics or campaign launched by the PR team and in favour of the company’s image. It is always important to start with the metrics that generate the greatest business impact. While in the past the most used metrics were the number of articles observed, the evaluated promotion of messages and the quality of strategic advice (5).
It is important to recognize that times have changed and the most important are those mentioned below.
Don’t forget that it is also important to simply listen to what is being said about you. It is also important to compare your growth with that of your competitors, that way you have a comparative and broader vision.
3. Consequences of a successful PR action
A good PR action, besides improving the brand image, the relationships it has and helping you achieve your goals, is the one that gives you positive repercussions in the future. It may generate a definitive change in the brand image or even change people’s perception for the better, mainly by providing value to the company. In addition, a good place for the whole company, this allows you to be prepared in case it is necessary to take action to overcome a crisis or an unexpected event. And all this is because you already have the resources and experience. Similarly, it is about maintaining beneficial relationships between an organization and its stakeholders. Therefore, it is important to adopt an appropriate approach that does not offend anyone and ends up satisfying everyone (3,9).
And to conclude, it is important to consider that there is not only the option to be successful in terms of your strategy, but also to make mistakes that can be corrected over time. Constant improvement is essential in a PR campaign
By way of conclusion, PR actions are very important, and the only way to specialize and achieve good results is to start implementing them. However, it is not good to rush and a series of steps should be followed in order to be more sure that we will achieve the expected results.
And finally, once it is implemented, it is important to review the results, in order to improve them. Finally, a successful PR action always leaves good repercussions for the future and impacts positively and forever on the brand image.