According to market analysts, one of the key differentiators in today’s marketplace for corporations looking to retain and expand its client base is a value-added customer experience and the relationships that result. Companies actively offering advice that assist its customers and prospects to solve business issues have an edge over their competition. Companies can obtain this edge more quickly by adding public relations to the marketing mix. Public relations works hand-in-hand with traditional marketing to enhance the reach and impact of marketing efforts.

What is public relations anyway?
While public relations has similarities to marketing, there are distinct differences.  In its most basic terms, public relations refers to building a company or individual’s authority and brand within its community. This awareness of and perception about the company and its product offerings can increase lead generation and the response rate of direct-marketing efforts. Public relations is accomplished through either paid or earned communication and can include print media, in-person interviews, and television appearances. 

Why Is public relations Important?
Businesses in almost all industries can benefit from public relations for several reasons. Let’s take a new business that has recently opened or launching a new product and is looking for ways to spread brand awareness as well establish authority within their industry. 

To accomplish this, the business can offer informative articles about relevant topics within the industry to be published in applicable media outlets. Another common strategy is having a thought leader or subject matter expert from the business share their expertise on television or radio on a given topic within the industry. Strategies like these allow the business to be noticed for expert insight and establishes the reputation as a thought leader in their respective industry.  

Another major benefit of public relations comes in an instance where a business needs to engage in damage control. While the evolution of technology has allowed people to access more information about businesses than ever before, it has resulted in countless businesses and individuals experiencing the need for a crisis plan in the chance negative information is made public. In instances like this, it is vital for a business to know how best to respond to reduce as much damage to the brand as possible.

A well-known example of a strong public relations response came from Johnson & Johnson in the 1980s, after it was discovered that a number of Tylenol bottles had been tampered with, resulting in several deaths. The quick, proactive response from Johnson & Johnson included pulling all products, warning the public right away and implementing a new tamper seal that was introduced to medical professionals across the nation. This is a great example of how a strong public relations plan can help a business continue to move forward after experiencing a public backlash.

Public relations offer advantages not found with other marketing options. It helps establish credibility for a company, product or person with a targeted customer group by capitalizing on the influence of others. Independent sources are considered unbiased in their coverage and opinions. The decision to include the name of a company and the views expressed about the company is not based on payment, like an advertisement, but on the outlet’s judgment of what is important. Implementing a well-structured PR campaign can result in your target market being exposed to more detailed information than it would receive with other forms of promotion – and more interest in what your company has to offer.