Great PR versus Good PRPosted: February 2, 2010
There’s a temptation to view companies that get a lot of positive PR as doing great PR. That’s not always the case though. Volume alone should not be taken as a metric of success. Great PR is about building a sustainable and positive relationship with the various audiences that connect to your organization. To put this another way, I have a good relationship with my mother. We talk every week and she visits for about eight weeks a year. But in my world, that doesn’t mean we are constantly talking, emailing or texting. We have a regular conversation and beyond that we talk when we need to. It works for us that way. If I started calling her every day we’d probably upset that balance (I’d annoy her and vice versa). I believe the same applies to many relationships companies have with their customers and stakeholders. If they talk too little they can be forgotten or misunderstood. If they talk too much, the conversation gets, well… boring.
So how do company’s know what the right balance is? The amount and type of PR has to match several factors:
1. The long term business goals of the company – how much change is the business going through and therefore how much needs to be discussed? Does the company have a well laid out long term plan or ambition? Matching communications to both the short and long term commercial goals of the company isn’t easy but is vitally important. Most companies, in my experience, focus on the former and rarely keep an eye on the latter.
2. The personality of the company – is the brand defined as an intellectual, quiet type or a gregarious talkative type? Let’s be clear the personality of a company is often closely linked to the personality of its CEO. So don’t try and write a PR plan for a company without getting to know what the CEO is really like.
3. The competition – the mistake here is that people assume you have to do more PR than the rival. You don’t. Instead you need to do better PR and more authentic PR. People want a real conversation not a loud one.
4. What is expected – what a company has done in the past is what is expected in the future. Changing the style and volume will make people ask questions. Do you want that attention?
As PR people we can often forget that people will remember a truly great piece of PR (or a truly bad one). A focus on the quality and not the quantity should therefore be the starting place for any PR plan. Would a company’s objectives be better served by a great cover story every six months than ten short news stories? Not always I agree but in many cases it would.
So once again, “less is more.”