Understanding the PR Toolbox; A Beginners Guide

Public relations compared to other professions, is a relatively new concept. Holding foundations in journalism, the first PR professionals were commonly referred to as ‘in-house journalists’ which is perhaps why the role is so often misunderstood; PR isn’t just about media releases and crisis management (although it definitely includes those too).

Public relations is a field that is constantly adapting. This is because the job revolves around communicating with the publics (publics being both external and internal to the company). Once the internet revolution hit, those in the public relations sector saw not only drastic change, but opportunity in the way they could continue to effectively communicate with publics. And so new skills were added to the PR toolbox.

The PR toolbox, what is it?

If you’re sitting there thinking that the only toolbox you have is the one sitting unused under your kitchen sink, you are wrong. The PR toolbox is a metaphor for all the services that a PR professional or business owner has available to them. Yes, you’ve got a lot of options! We aren’t going to talk about them all, (you’d be reading all day) but we are going to talk about 5 PR tools that are essential to business success.

Tools hanging on the wall - green tool box

PR and digital presence

Having a positive digital presence is essential to the longevity and success of your business. We aren’t just talking about having a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page, these could disappear at any time…then where would people find you?. We’re also talking about your email list that gives you direct communications opportunities with your publics. We are talking about Google My Business, TripAdvisor reviews and other third-party sites that are talking about YOU. According to Invesp, 90% of consumers read reviews before visiting a business and almost as many view them to be as trustworthy as a personal recommendation. PR works to gain you earned media (ie not paid advertising within the media). This  has two major benefits. One, you don’t pay. (YAY) Two, when someone else talks about you their words are so much more powerful. What you say about your business matters, but what others say about your business matters more.

 

PR and brand identity

Having a strong brand identity from business infancy means that you will be attracting your people from day one. We suggest creating a brand guideline and style guide in place from day 1. This book AKA your business bible contains as much detail as possible about your brand. Areas which should be covered:

  • Logo
  • Typography (fronts and how they are used)
  • Colours
  • Graphics
  • Imagery
  • Values
  • Brand voice
  • Brand personality (yes this is different from your brand voice)
  • Mission

 

Why is this important?

Having a business bible is going to save you time. When you bring new people onto your team whether for a brief time or long term, they will need to learn your business inside and out. Having all the information in one place and noted down will maintain consistency and accuracy. Your publics will never be left confused if you always speak to them with solidarity.

This is also important visually, as humans we are very visual people ad your brand recognition will suffer if the visual cues you are delivering lack consistency because no one in your organisation knows exactly what colour green your logo uses. For example, if you google Hex Code #facf48 you will see Crowned PR’s exact yellow that we then re-use throughout our branding and marketing collateral over and over.

 

PR and events

Public relations is all about RELATIONSHIPS. And what better way to strengthen relationships than through events? It could be a Christmas party treating your staff and clients to a fantastic experience, a product launch or an event to raise money for a good cause (like Opera at Twilight). Depending on your marketing objectives and your target audience an event can be a big boost to the overall public opinion of your brand as well as creating brand advocates through brand experience.

Twilight at Opera Perth

 

PR and crisis management

Crisis management. Probably the task which is most commonly associated with PR. Public relations professionals are often called in to fix the unfixable. Wave a wand and the problem goes away (that’s what we do).  Last year KFC stores across Ireland and the United Kingdom ran out of chicken. We’re talking over 800 stores. It made news headlines and not for good reasons. The PR team got straight to work, crafting an apology. But what made their crisis management so successful was that they were able to deliver an apology creatively while maintaining their brand voice. All it took was a little letter rearrangement and their crisis earned them hundreds of thousands in free advertising and saw them named as a favourite campaign of 2018. Talk about turning a negative into a positive. Quick response time and communication is paramount in the event of a crisis so having a plan in place for if that ever happens should be in everybody’s toolbox.

 

KFC marketing campaign

 

PR and research and measurement

Observe and listen. What are people saying about you? Hearing criticism is never easy, but it can help you grow. Monitor and analyse what your publics care about. LGBT rights? Game of Thrones? the environment? Don’t be afraid to speak out about what your company believes in. It’s going to make them love you more, we promise. Listen to customer complaints. Do they have merit? Public relations is learning about how to have a conversation with someone, not give them a speech and then leaving the stage.

Your PR toolbox needs regular love and attention referring back to it as often as possible, building on your banked tools and ensuring you to continue to engage with the public, while maintaining consistency for brand messaging.

Crowned PR waved goodbye to average as we set up shop. We don’t do it. We don’t recommend you do either. We treat your customers and clients like the intelligent consumers they are. As exceptional. Anything that goes against your brand ethics – it simply doesn’t make the cut.

​We do large-scale event management projects in Perth – think Eat Drink Perth and the Hyde Park fair and also intimate affairs and NFP events. Think brand advocacy and corporate events and products. Think wish granting.

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