The Multiple Faces of Public Relations Within Branding
"If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations." ~ Bill Gates
Public Relations has multiple faces within branding a company. It includes risk management, awareness strategy, brand strategy, social media planning, event planing, press connection and much more. First things first, public relations isn't advertising (a total misconception). Public Relations is all about story telling and capturing a brand's purpose to its audience.
While in college, I took the Public Relations route because I wanted to help brands reach their full potential. I enrolled in PR writing courses, research, campaign, and study case courses. We did more than what is seen in a normal marketing class (which I did have to take within my major). Many people who receive a degree in PR end up in marketing (aka me) because finding a job just in PR is difficult. As time goes by though, PR is growing. Brands are realizing the benefit of what PR can actually do over regular advertisement. It's not just about writing a press release and sending it to the media. It's now risk management and the strategy behind each moving piece.
The Risk Management Face: Risk Management is huge within the PR industry. Publicists are making sure their clients are being seen in the best light. Obviously, that's not always the case. Publicists are working day in and day out to defuse the fire when it starts. When it comes to a publicist, they aren't just protecting people. It could also be a product that was recalled and a statement needed to be made by the brand. Brands need publicists to end a risky situation and that's something advertisers can't do. Now many universities offer Master degrees within risk management because it's an important role within the PR industry.
The Research Face: Focus groups, focus group and more focus groups. Within the realm of PR, you have to know exactly what the customers are thinking. You see the commercials with car companies and they bring a focus group together. It's a great PR stunt because the audience sees people's authentic response and reaction. We had to take a course dealing with research and how to work with a focus group. My team and I created questions that had to be unbiased and straight forward. Research just doesn't include focus groups, it also includes research on the client and the target audience. It's best to know what outlet the target audiences follow and values they care about to get the best message across for a brand.
The Strategy Face: My favorite part of the PR industry is strategy! How do you get a brand to becoming recognizable? Whether it's working with influencers to get the brand's name out to the world or planning major events. It it's never ending plan because when one strategy is complete, it's on to the next one. Strategy is key face in the world of Public Relations.
The Influencer Face: Influencers can bring a brand from the bottom to the top. Public Relation reps deal with influencers on a daily basis and even though the reps are influencers themselves. When it comes to influencers, they try find a specific topic that is meaningful to them and how they bring value to the audience. Becoming an influencer isn't simple and I'm not a pro at it either, but it plays a great impact on building a brand audience and get people involved in the content that is share with the world.
The future of Public Relations doesn't seem to be dying down anytime soon. It will continue to have an outstanding influence with brands because the rise of the demand for it. Like I said, PR isn't just about writing a press release anymore and sending it out to the media. It's about how you can think creatively with different media outlets and how do you get the client's message out. How can you help a brand thrive? That's why I fell in LOVE with Public Relations. It gives opportunities with an open and creative twist.