While executing PR programs on an ongoing basis will create the most benefit for organizations, many do not have the resources necessary to dedicate to continuous PR activities. As a result, a question we often receive is, “When is PR especially important?”
Based on our experience, PR activities are absolutely necessary in the following instances:
If you are just starting a company and have little or no name recognition, PR will be an important part of informing the public about your existence. If no one has heard of you, how are they going to find your website or know to call you? PR and marketing is necessary to establish name recognition and start building a positive reputation.
The same is true of an organization that is rebranding. If you are changing your name, you must communicate this clearly to every public your company interacts with – customers and prospects, employees, board members, partners and so on – to ensure that each audience is aware of the change and understands what this means for them.
When experiencing/anticipating a negative reaction
If your organization has recently experienced a backlash among any of your publics, PR is necessary to spearhead “damage control” efforts. This should include targeted communications with all publics detailing the events that occurred and your company’s stance on the issue.
However, if your organization’s PR counsel is adept enough to anticipate actions that may cause a backlash among your publics – such as raising prices or merging with another company – they will also be able to recommend appropriate actions to prevent or at least diminish negative reactions and preserve the company’s reputation.
For businesses that are susceptible to crises
If your organization is particularly susceptible to crises – for example, your company’s operations could potentially cause harm to people, animals or the environment, or involves a morally sensitive issue – allocating funds to a proactive PR program is critical.
An effective PR team will be able to identify issues that could develop into full-blown crises and make recommendations on how to mitigate these risks. In addition, PR professionals can work with an organization’s leadership to develop crisis communications plans to best manage the worst-case scenarios that may be unavoidable.