• Public Relations
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Public Relations refer to the management of your company’s reputation among stakeholders. It could be your investors or employees. Then there are also your customers and the public. Each of these groups’ opinions of your company matters. When their opinion is good, your brand will reflect favourably through word of mouth. When their opinion is bad it will also spread and it could be detrimental. Depending on how serious it is you could lose a few sales or your entire company.

How can PR help you?

PR exists to imprint a positive opinion of your brand, your company or a certain person in your company (e.g. the CEO) on stakeholders. In traditional PR this means providing some compelling information through a press release which journalists would then use in a newspaper article or radio broadcast.

Many media outlets are seen by the public as a reliable, independent and unbiased source. This is because the choice to name a company in an article or express a positive view about the company is not supported by payment but is based on the media outlet’s opinion of what is important. Based on this principle, the views and information about your company that appear in the media are trusted as the truth. A positive article in the business section of a newspaper that references a new product may be more influential than a full page advertisement of that product. This is because readers accept the news media as an impartial presenter of the product. The best part is that you don’t have to pay a newspaper in order for them to consider your press release, thus buying that kind of publicity truly is priceless.

Are there other advantages to PR?

Since media sources often provide more space and time for explanation of a product or service, you can give your target market more detailed information than other forms of promotion might allow. Secondly, a story that references a company may caught on to by a number of other media outlets. And so a single story can spread to many locations. Finally, when compared to the cost of other types of promotions, such as advertising, the return on investment can be quite high.

What is the scope of Public Relations?

PR traditionally meant working with the media to build a positive image by exposing the organisation or product to a relevant audience by way of stories in print and broadcast media. But over the years, especially due to the advances of technology, the role of public relations has grown much broader and now includes:

– Creating awareness and building a positive image of a company or client through articles distributed via various media outlets
– Closely scrutinising a large number of media channels to follow the public’s comments with regards to a company and its products
– Managing crises that jeopardise company or product image
– Building charity among a company’s target audience by way of community work and philanthropic initiatives

What can you do with PR?

PR is an extension of the marketing promotion discipline and as such can be utilised to target several broad objectives. Here are a few examples:

– Building Product Awareness – You could generate consumer attention and awareness of a new product.
– Providing Information – PR can be used to provide customers with more in depth information about products and services.
– Stimulating Demand – A product mentioned in a positive article in a newspaper, on a TV news show or on the Internet, often results in a discernable increase in product sales.
– Reinforcing the Brand – By building a strong, trusted brand over time your company will survive in good times and also when a crisis strikes.

Where do you start?

There are two ways of starting your PR campaign. First you can identify your target audience. Once you know who you’re talking to, you’ll be able to tailor a message that is based on their needs, fears, concerns or beliefs.

You can also start by determining your business objective and corporate goal. Perhaps you’d like to draw more investors, expand into a new market or increase the sales of a specific product. Once you know what you want to achieve you can determine who you need to talk to in order to reach your goal. The beauty of PR is that you can get very specific about your target audience. Instead of focussing on a demographic such as “white males 18-49″, you can pinpoint an audience such as “soccer mums”, “stay-at-home dads” or “adrenaline junkies”.

Choosing your PR tools

Avant Communication can help you to leverage the power of several PR tools. Here is a list of the key devices.

Media Relations
Avant Communication will work to publicise your product, company or management to members of the press – TV and Radio, newspaper, magazine, newsletter and Internet. We will pitch the most interesting and relevant story angles to the media to get you noticed.
Media Tour
Let us help you to send your company spokesperson around the country to introduce a new product on TV and radio talk shows. If you are looking for interviews with print and internet reporters we will gladly assist. A media tour can even include personal appearances at special events. This leads us to the next PR tool – “Speaking Engagements”
Speaking Engagements
Let one of your senior employees lead a discussion on a topic of interest at an industry convention, workshop or trade association meeting. You might not get an explicit opportunity to promote your company or product, but a good speaking engagement nevertheless puts your company in front of a good target audience and offers networking opportunities for generating customer leads.
Keep customers up to date with the latest company news. Do you have a list of names and addresses? Then we’ll help you to create a compelling informative newsletter which you can send out via post or e-mail. Perhaps you can include an online promotion or coupon. The opportunities are endless to entice your customers and win their loyalty.
Special Events
See our “Event Management” section.
By sponsoring an appropriate event you can reach out to your desired target audience and build the right image for you brand.
Employee relations
Keep your employees updated on new products. Also share the latest news about corporate programs, sales incentives and personnel issues. Whether it is through intranet, email, online or print newsletters, Avant Communication will help you to reach out to your employees to keep them motivated, interested and loyal.
Community relations and philanthropy

More and more companies are realising that in order to imprint positive associations of their brand on the minds of their consumers, they have to engage in relationships with their regional community. Many companies today are involved in programmes to uplift children or other groups like teachers. The positive publicity that is gained from such activities is often vital in helping companies to overcome crisis situations like faulty products or false rumours.

How is PR changing?

Due to advances in technology new ways of engaging in PR have appeared. Web Blogs are used my millions of people worldwide to air their views, and can be really useful PR tools. Major corporations like eBay, General Motors and McDonalds use Blogs to post updates about company developments.

On this note, it is also important to remember that the public can use Blogs and discussion forums to spread negative feedback about your brand. A PR service provider like Avant Communication can help you to track such activity and counteract it with positive feeds into the very system that is trying to hurt you.

Handle your PR professionally

Engaging in PR to build your brand and counter rumours and negative feedback is a fulltime task. Many companies do not have the capacity to handle their own PR. Avant Communication has both the time and the resources to research the market and engage in PR activities that will strengthen your public standing. Unearthing the right stories, news angles and PR strategies have never been easier. Simply give us a call.

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