Today, a company’s public image has become paramount. When a company’s reputation takes a hit, it can affect the entire entity, from corporate and employees to investors and affiliates. And it can take years for a damaged reputation to recover, if ever.
In this business climate, good PR relations have never been a more significant investment.
What Is Public Relations?
Public relations, or PR, is a strategic communications process that helps an organization, company, or individual build a mutually beneficial relationship between themselves and the public. A public relations professional, also called a public relations specialist, focuses on building that positive brand image and maintaining it.
Public relations are quite different from advertising and marketing, although they are often bundled together with the other two. Public relations specialists do not buy advertisements, write stories, or do paid promotions. Their primary role is to positively promote the brand of their client by using editorial content.
Editorial content appears in a wide range of paper, digital, and film media. Magazines, blogs, websites, newspapers, and television platforms, including programs and news channels, are where editorial content may appear. Editorial content is not purchased; instead, it is unpaid or earned media gained through recognition from the target audience.
Responsibilities of a PR Professional
The responsibilities of a PR professional include a range of PR strategies, including:
- Writing and distributing press releases
- Writing and distributing content for websites
- Managing social media presence and responses to public reviews and blog posts
- Consulting and counseling employees on the course of action and how to maintain a positive brand image
- Dealing with government, legislative, and other public groups concerning social policies and other issues on behalf of the organization
- Developing crisis management strategies
In addition to public relations’ positive storytelling side, companies use PR campaigns to mitigate the negative side of public brand imaging. When an incident could weaken and damage a client’s reputation, a PR agency will take the reins and handle it.
The Tylenol poisonings in the early 1980s are a great example of how public relations professionals handled a crisis. When many bottles of Tylenol were poisoned with cyanide (and seven people died), there was widespread panic.
Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol, used aggressive public relations action to control the damage and save their product. They pulled all Tylenol products immediately and issued a national warning. Then, they created a tamper-resistant seal, reintroducing the product to the community once more in a safer bottle.
Their PR strategy saved the product and the company’s reputation. In this situation, advertising wouldn’t have been effective. Instead, a PR strategy was used to mitigate damage, protect the public, and promote the medicine’s safety.
Public relations builds up brand image, capitalizing on opportunities to promote brand values and strengthening the organization’s place in the community. By balancing positive storytelling and negative damage control, PR relations may be the most important investment an organization can make in its future.
Solomon/Turner Multimedia PR is a St. Louis Public Relations firm ready to create comprehensive PR campaigns that work for you. We design strategic messaging in line with your goals that generate measurable results for your organization. Whatever the size of your business, we’re ready to help you build your brand.
For more information or a consultation, call Solomon/Turner Multimedia PR at (314) 668-1950.