Why A Small PR Firm Can Make A Difference!
(Guest blog with permission by author. Article was originally published on Johnny Little's LinkedIn page on February 24, 2017)
In today’s economic climate, smaller firms that lack household name recognition and a devoted clientele can suffer. Word of mouth only gets a business so far. If word of mouth is your bread and butter, a few bad comments can undo years of progress. But even a small local enterprise can gain loyal support from its community of customers with the right branding and image control. It’s important, however, to understand the difference between marketing and public relations.
The difference between PR and marketing is the difference between telling a story and selling a product. In marketing a product is wrapped in appealing packaging designed to entice buyers into falling in love with the product. Clever campaigns add to the enticement by showering consumers with catchy tunes, famous faces or trendy slogans. Public relations is the business of words and contacts. A successful PR firm can not only deliver clever ads or appealing packaging but also structure the way the public perceives those images and then follow up to make sure the target was achieved.
So why do I need PR you say? Without it, who determines what your customer knows about your business? Relying solely on marketing fails to address how well marketing was received by your audience. A savvy PR firm will work in tandem with marketing to identify how your campaigns are being perceived by performing focus groups to elicit customer feedback. PR firms can re-brand your image to appeal to a new or wider client base. They can salvage your image after negative attention or comments. They will make sure that the story you want told is front-page news because public relations incorporates strong media relations.
Where marketing talks about your product, PR talks about you. Who are you and what do you do? What makes your business special and unique can be what separates the good from the great. Public relations make certain that the public sees the distinction that makes your business the one to support above all others. In addition, PR promotes your business’ ventures and events to the community you need in order to make your business successful.
Small businesses, in particular, can feel a significant impact in their business by using public relations. Big firms and companies have major marketing machines behind them to propel any venture into success. Smaller businesses often can’t compete with the advertising power of larger companies. Public relations can be the great equalizer. Press is free. Major networks do not charge to show up and give publicity to your projects or events. However, many business owners simply do not know media professionals and don’t have media contacts. Public relations firms have those contacts that will bring major news coverage to your business.