Keeping up the PR function in changing times

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Building and maintaining a good reputation for your organisation takes time, and there are moving pieces that need to be looked after all the time. There is therefore a need to ensure that your public relations strategy takes into account the opinions and expectations of those whose decisions can ultimately impact your business for better or for worse. The influences can range from customers to suppliers, from employees to shareholders and opinion-makers.

We suggested in a recent blog post that it is wise to revisit the fundamentals of PR from time to time to ensure your PR strategy is covering all the basics. We go a step further in this post to suggest a few more scenarios to take into account in your ongoing PR function:

Bringing in new audiences
You may have been operating in a very niche market for a while and now it is time extend into a more general market. Or the opposite may be the case: that you are trying to reach more specific segments of the market from a general base. In either case you have to craft key PR messages to take account of the demographics of the audience you are trying to reach. If your research has indicated that the target audience indeed need to hear your message, how will you get their attention and get noticed? From a PR point of view, it is essential that your messages be  perceived positively by existing as well as new audiences.

Promoting new dimensions
From time to time the PR function may have to focus on promoting new dimensions of your existing business. This can be an interesting area of work which requires stepping out of the box to influence the perception of people who are used to seeing your business or products in a particular way. Your PR strategy may include an educational perspective to expand how the organisation is perceived and at the same time retain the loyalty of existing customers. For example, a nursing home for the elderly which has extended its services to include caring for people in their own homes may have to craft their information and influencing work in their community in a way that is reassuring for current clients also.

Getting into new markets
A smart PR strategy can support your expansion into new markets, when attempting to extend the services and products you offer to customers. Sometimes you have to learn new ways of influencing opinion-makers and using new strategies to reach segments of the population that you have never dealt with before. Take the case of a training company that has previously focused on delivering services to local authorities and government organisations: if it decides to extend its services to small business owners or medium to large companies, it will have to develop a new business-speak to even begin to communicate with the new markets it has identified.

Keeping up with new media
These days almost all businesses have to engage with the new media and the rapid changes that happen in this arena. If you are involved with the big three social media platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – you already know that you have to keep up with their frequent tweakings of the services. Google Hangouts seem to be the rage these days. And Google’s recent decision to stop passing query data to website owners has suddenly re-written the rules on search engine optimisation which may mean that that SEO companies will have to switch to something else or die out. It’s that drastic! The cynical sort may throw up their hands in despair. We will say: face the current situation, monitor upcoming trends and keep up with the game or get ahead of the game wherever possible.

Obviously, the more intricate your business, the more your PR function will have to be multi-faceted to address various business requirements and tackle challenges as they arise. For those ready to play, the challenges of the changing times are just an invitation to draw on more resources of creativity and adaptability.

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