Oscar Wilde said that there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. While it seems fairly obvious, businesses still don’t seem to understand the need to communicate or how to do this effectively. The irony is that you can spend all you want on your corporate identity, but if nobody knows about you then what is the point. Being the best-kept secret has never served a business well and it certainly doesn’t create the awareness you need in an increasingly competitive business landscape.
You can succeed to a certain point without any strategic communication; build the business on the momentum that exists at the beginning, but at some point the cold call will get difficult and the market will demand a level of awareness and education from you. It is not about having an ego or blowing your own trumpet, it is about building credibility for your brand and products so that people feel more comfortable dealing with your company and you enjoy recognition for what you know and what you do.
This kind of credibility is only built by using public relations (PR), the most powerful marketing tool. And don’t think it is only for big business; PR is for any size business anywhere. It is the one tool that can assist in building profiles of people as thought leaders, educate customers about products, create awareness of a business and its services, and provide meaningful information that is critical to the brand experience.
But what exactly does PR entail? Having done this job for more than two decades, most people still don’t quite understand what it is that I do. It doesn’t involve party planning or anything overly glamorous.
In a nutshell, I communicate. That is what I do. I talk. I create awareness of a person and or a business, a product. I inform, I educate; I build relationships. I talk and talk and talk about my customer and his/her business.
Who do I talk to? Their customers, desired target audiences and circle of influencers. How do I talk to them? Through a variety of conduits, the most prolific being the media. Feared or revered, the media is a very effective way to achieve the important objectives of creating awareness, educating target audiences, building profiles and cultivating useful relationships.
All of which work towards creating much-needed awareness and importantly, credibility, which means you and your brand is perceived as honest, trustworthy, believable, reliable and of quality. All attributes any brand would live to be associated with, which is why credibility matters and why PR is vital.
Samantha Watt is the owner and manager of Watt Communications,
Image: Wikimedia Creative Commons