As humans, we’re always communicating – whether we’re writing, speaking or just going about our daily activities. Communication goes beyond what a person is saying and extends into body language and to a certain degree – what they’re not saying. The same applies to public relations. Every action a company takes whether it’s putting out a tweet, making a donation, handling a lawsuit – is sending out a message to the public. Every of these actions can generate publicity for your business, increase trust and likeability or take away from any of these factors. Whether they admit it or not, every business is on a full-on public relations campaign.
The mistake many brands make is believing that public relations is limited to just traditional mainstream media, but mainstream media is not enough to effectively manage your brand. In this age of social media where anything can be captured on a smartphone, it’s important that your brand is communicating the right message at the right time. Like Warren Buffet once said, “Reputation takes 20 years to build, 5 minutes to ruin”.
Another mistake people make is confusing PR and advertising. While advertising pays for attention and publicity, PR doesn’t. Instead, it strives to create a favourable image of the brand to its target audience and the general public at large. The dividends of PR are earned and not paid for.
When it comes to maintaining a positive public image, it is important to communicate as clearly and as honestly as possible to prevent words from being misinterpreted. You earn trust and loyalty by being honest. We live in an age where silence can not be taken as “not having an opinion”, and consumers are demanding a voice from brands when it comes to social issues. When you choose to remain silent over issues that affect your target audience, they might interpret your silence as acceptance or approval.
One key takeaway from all of this is, you’re always communicating, and so the least you can do is to communicate properly – and to your advantage.