The Importance of PR BY Liesl Simpson

There is always one question on the lips of everyone that I talk to about PR and it is; just why is PR so important anyway? Does PR really have that much of an impact on a business's bottom line? The answer is yes, it does. It can have a serious influence on whether people choose to conduct business with you. Here are a few points to remember the next time you start to dismiss PR as simply an unnecessary additional cost.

PR adds credibility to your voice
When a potential customer browses through the marketplace searching for a product or a service, they are confronted with a cacophony of sounds, shouts of "I'm the best!" and "Pick us, we know what we're doing!". These are the time-weary battle cries of Advertising and do very much so have a place in the promotion of these products and services on offer. However, potential customers stand a far greater chance of hearing your voice through the clamour and trusting in what your business is saying if editorial is published that is objective and delivers value to the reader. Furthermore, case studies provide testimonial from customers as to how great you are rather than you simply tooting your own horn which can be perceived as boastful. Spreading the business's name in this way substantially bolsters marketing and advertising efforts.

Creates and sustains relationships
Ideally, a business should not just be aiming at securing once off customers. Rather, a business should be aiming at retaining customers. This is where PR truly shines as a powerful business tool. Relationships aren't formed by organisations, they are formed by people. The best way to form a connection with your customer is through humanising your business. In PR, the spokesperson becomes part of the face of your business, thereby creating a human point with which your customers connect with. The constant presence of the spokesperson through their engagement with the media makes potential customers more familiar with your business.

Additionally, PR professionals are more likely to have a deeper understanding of the media landscape than marketers and are therefore able to craft messages in such a way that numerous media companies would find newsworthy. This type of engagement with the media, and in turn customers, allows for a more personal, long term relationship to form and be maintained. In today's market this is important as according to PwC's Global Consumer Insights Survey for 2018 35% of consumers consider trust in a brand as one of their top three factors to consider when deciding to purchase.

Be seen as an industry leader
When a business is seen to keep up to date with the latest industry trends, it is regarded as an industry leader. If you have spotted, and more importantly commented, on the latest trends before they become cliché catch phrases, it shows that your business has a long-term understanding of the industry that you operate within. That is an attractive image to have as trust is often based on expertise and with trust comes brand loyalty.

Yes, it does affect your bottom line
Remember, PR is not advertising or marketing, it brings its own value to the business table. It adds credibility to anything directly communicated from the business itself and humanises it in the process. Although you may know that your business is ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest trends, PR makes sure that your customers know too. This highlights PR's use in facilitating how a business creates and sustains relationships with its markets and enhances its reputation, leading to healthy profit margins and long-term sustainability.