Articles

Choosing the Right Public Relations Partner

Strategic Approach
Public relations firms come in all different shapes and sizes. Finding the right firm that fits your company is the first step.

Your PR firm should have:

  • Knowledge about your business
  • Industry expertise across critical sectors
  • Experience and relationships with local media and industry trade publications
  • Proven success in the marketplace
  • Seasoned PR professionals as day-to-day contacts

 

Strategic Exploration
The strategic exploration process enables your chosen PR firm to attain a comprehensive understanding of your company’s business, brand, customers, markets and processes.

  • Material Review – Background information and materials help facilitate a broader understanding of the mission, goals and resources of the company
  • Exploratory Interviews and Research – Interviews with key executives within the company helps define brand philosophy, company visions for growth, company goals and overall brand perception and impact
  • Competitive Analysis – Competitor analysis allows for a comprehensive review of how your competitors stack up in the industry
  • Information Analysis and Development of Program Recommendations – Analysis of data and background information gathered help develop a brand and communications blueprint
  • Discussion and dialogue on recommendations – After the brand and communications blueprint has been submitted, decide on a set of goals and objectives prior to implementation

 

Implementation
During implementation, your PR firm should offer:

  • Proactive management of your PR objectives
  • Consistent Support for Mission & Vision from look & feel design standpoint to a comprehensive verbal support structure
  • Audience Positioning to frame a distinct, differentiated identity and create a foothold with key client groups and organizations
  • Strategic Outreach to create alliances with businesses, associations, organizations and groups to strengthen reach and resources
  • Thought Leadership on issues, trends and topics that extend brand relevance and reputation with key regional, national and international audiences
  • Executive Visibility including compelling ways to deliver identity and promote involvement through representative senior leadership
  • Audience Research & Analysis tools to support targeted messaging outreach and impact measurement of the identity process

 

Measure Results
Establishing a company’s thought leadership promotes brand awareness and expertise in a given area. Public relations, like any other marketing tool, must be strategically planned for, diligently implemented and measured on a regular basis. A public relations road map must be developed and then implemented effectively and efficiently, measuring results on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

At the end of the implementation stage, did your PR firm:

  • Establish industry leading visibility?
  • Drive trade media coverage?
  • Perform above expectations?
  • Deliver against measurable goals?
  • Provide creative, strategic solutions for your business?

Judy Sparks
SMPS Atlanta Executive Advisory Panel
Brand Resources Group, Inc.

Smarter Internal Marketing

I was reading an article in RainToday on 6 Steps for Creating a Marketing Plan that Works Best for You. (If you haven’t utilized RainToday as a resource, you should really subscribe.) The article talked about marketing to the path of least resistance and evaluating how you could make your efforts easier. This is one thing that I think too many marketers continue to overlook in their path of improving and changing things within their company.

As marketers we try to focus on getting buy-in from everyone all at once. However, logic tells us you will never get everyone to agree. So why do we struggle so much to get approval from those that disagree with us? As I’ve continued through my career I’ve realized that if you focus on what you CAN do versus what you CAN’T, success comes so much easier. So the next time you find yourself stressed because you can’t get an initiative through, focus on those individuals you can get buy-in from. It’s amazing how quickly those that opposed the initiative come around when they start to see the success it brings.

Another approach is called WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). Are you able to really listen, so you can demonstrate how it will benefit them? Not what you feel should be important to them, but what they feel is important. For example, I hear marketers talk about needing more staff all the time, but all they do is complain about how much work they have. Take a look from the President’s perspective. Can you demonstrate how it benefits the company? What is the ROI? What is the industry standard?

When you think about it, this is what we do as marketers. So use your skills. Our job is to convince someone to use our services -- this just happens to be internal marketing. If you anticipate what is important to the person you have approached and know the questions they will ask, have those answers ready. You will begin to see a dramatic improvement with the success of your internal marketing efforts.

Sarah Mackley
Innovative Solutions Group, Ltd. (ISG)
SMPS-GA Director of Communications