When conducted in the correct way, I think that public relations can be one of the most effective yet inexpensive methods of promotion and marketing. Public relations is the creation of a public image which people associate with your brand whether good or bad.
The best way to utilize your campaign via pubic relations is through technology. Through the creation of social networking and the Internet, popularity among interfaces such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have given brands the opportunity to communicate with the public to create a better brand image. In my opinion this is a fantastic promotional method. It is extremely inexpensive in comparison to alternative above the line techniques such as television and billboard campaigns. And when used in the correct way, public relations through modern social media can exploit a vast network with a high coverage of different people. This cluster of people can consist of many different ages, different genders and different wants which gives you a great representation of your market.
According to Katy Daniells, (2013). 74% of marketers believe that Facebook is important for their lead generation strategy. By targeting Facebook, automatically public relations and viral campaigns become almost depended upon. And most often when conducted well, they are very successful. This explains why whenever you browse your Facebook or your Twitter you see a new company with a new campaign – usually with a catchy hashtag and a follow up hyperlink for you to engage as consumers. This works well, best of all it comes at a very low cost. This is the reason PR is becoming so desired for in business, it’s ability to save money and be extremely effective.
Further analyzing the use of public relations, professionals in the industry state that “Public Relations is concerned with building relationships and generating goodwill for the organization”, as well as the fact that “Marketing is concerned with customers and selling products and services” (Wilcox, Cameron, Reber & Sheen, 2013). With key concepts of business being to build relationships with consumers, many including myself would argue that Public Relations will overtake other divisions of business in terms of importance when running a campaign through the ability of building lasting reputable relationships with consumers.
In addition to the prior point regarding the importance of relationships, it is also vital for a company to focus on long-term success from sales revenue in comparison to short-term gains. A perfect example of this would be Tesco, the British supermarket giant. With their ‘club card’ campaign, they were able to target their customers and their buying habits to further build relationships with them and increase sales figures. According to Clive Humby, Terry Hunt & Tim Phillip, (2004) to offset the 16 million dollar launch cost of Clubcard and the cost of issuing membership cards and reward vouchers, it was calculated that a 1.6% uplift in sales was required. This was surpassed by a 4% increase in sales settling at around 2%,“An almost unheard of sales spikes from a single marketing initiative” and a “Public relations triumph by any standards” (Clive Humby, Terry Hunt & Tim Phillip, 2004). This was not an immediate short-term gain of Tesco’s; it was an expensive campaign whereby the main focus was capitalizing on their relationships with the consumer to increase sales. This is a fantastic example of how public relations are used to create relationships. With Tesco introducing the club card before the economic crisis, they were also able to maintain the link with their customers during their financial difficulties, creating and maintaining exposure to their low prices and coupon schemes.
To conclude, I completely agree with the use of public relations and it’s ability to enhance business. Public relations is a tool, which many different businesses and industries can use. A company’s success through PR comes down to the skill of the practitioner responsible. I believe that they should liaise with all departments within the company and the representative should be present in all major business endeavors.
Daniells, K. (n.d.). Social Media Stats 2013 . Infographic: Social Media Stats 2013 | Digital Buzz Blog. Retrieved September 6, 2014, fromhttp://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-social-media-stats-2013/
Wilcox, D. L., Cameron, G. T., Reber, B. H., & Shin, J. (2013). What is public relations.Think public relations (2nd ed., p. 15). Boston: Pearson.
Humby, C., Hunt, T., & Phillips, T. (2004). Because we can . Scoring points how Tesco is winning customer loyalty (p. 64). Sterling, VA: Kogan Page.