What is the value of PR? Well… what is the value of your reputation?

In the fickle world of business, your success or failure often hinges upon a somewhat unquantifiable metric: the relationships and reputation you have developed over time and now carry with you.

In today’s online marketplace, scorecards such as your net promoter level and the ratings achieved on sites such as TripAdvisor (or your industry equivalent) help prospects gain an insight into how trustworthy and expert you really are. But they do rely on an important element which is by no means guaranteed; the action of positive reviews and commentary by your clients.

Whilst many businesses are doing great things, in most cases, they will at some stage muck something up or be afflicted by factors beyond their control. The net result being that a client’s experience is less than perfect. It’s a sad fact that when anything like this happens, a far greater proportion of consumers will complain than those who offer praise or thanks when things are going swimmingly… and not to you!

In reality, you do hear about it when things go well. Clients contact you and say thanks or, if you are lucky, provide a pleasant missive via email or letter. If you are exceptionally lucky, they’ll talk about you on their social media or blogs. But more often than not, they’ll limit the audience for praise to the person who provided the service. After all, it’s nice to say thanks!

So, the balance of appreciation or damnation is decidedly private or public, in that order. But what if you wanted to change that?

That’s where PR comes in. The public showcasing of your brilliance and the ability to minimise coverage of your mistakes until there’s a solution to talk about, is becoming ever more important. Particularly as the channels for promotion and public flogging are that much more instant and effective than has ever been the case before.

The value? Well… what’s the value of a reputation? It might be more than you think…

Contact us to find out how we our PR services can help with reputation management.

Team Snap-on declares war on blood cancer!

Introducing Team Snap-on! The UK’s number one tool franchise are proud to announce their sponsorship of an elite cycling team in this year’s London to Paris charity bike ride.

The gallant training team is made up of 20 volunteers from across the UK. Team Snap-on’s official four riders will then take on the staggering 500km London to Paris ride in September!

Kicking off in the heart of London, the 4-day long bike ride will take Team Snap-on through the English countryside over to rural France and then on into the heart of Paris, where hundreds of cyclists will end their journey beneath the Eiffel Tower!

Team Snap-on Bloodwise have been fighting blood cancers since 1960. They fund world-class research and offer expert advice and support to anyone affected by leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancer related disorders.

Last year the Paris ride alone raised almost £500,000. This year, Team Snap-on are looking to help blow that figure out of the water! The fund-raising kicked off in May with a fabulous £250 being raised by team members attending the Eastbourne Lifeboat family fun day.

“We’re so proud to be able to sponsor the team help raise money for such an amazing cause. Many of our friends and loved ones here at Snap-on have been touched by one of the terrible diseases that Bloodwise is working tirelessly to eradicate. We’re one big family and the whole company, franchisees and head office alike, are going to be supporting our cyclists 100%, raising awareness and getting involved where we can… you might even catch us in some team shorts!” enthuses Lisa Law, Snap-on’s Franchise Manager

As well as the gruelling day-to-day training, the 20-strong training team will also be participating in numerous charity rides and organised sportives across the country. In total, the team expects to cover more than 20,000 miles during training. Anyone else’s legs aching at that thought?!

Watch out for the Team Snap-on jerseys on roads near you and please, lend your support to this amazing charity and team of inspirational riders.

Please give what you can to help this amazing charity bring an end to blood cancer.

https://www.justgiving.com/Mark-Forsyth2016

Twitter: @TeamSnapon

www.TeamSnapon.com

7 deadly PR sins series: Wrath

Sin

Not to be confused with slagging off the competition! The PR sin of wrath focuses on how you conduct yourself when faced with negativity in a public forum which, let’s be honest, these days means mainly online.

We all know (or at least most of us do!) how to behave when networking or at industry events but, weirdly, when it comes to online and print mediums, the safety of being behind that laptop screen or pen can lead some of us to let loose our inner wrath. This is almost always detrimental to your personal profile and, consequently, your business.

There are 3 main triggers:

  • A negative review from a customer
  • Misquotes and factually incorrect statements
  • And, less common but it still happens: a poor write-up/expose from a journalist.

Don’t wait for it to happen!

When faced with any of the above, frustrations run high and that fury-filled monster rattles the bars on his cage. The key is not to let your initial personal feelings (usually anger, indignation… wrath) form the basis for your reaction and, ultimately, your responses. What can you do? It’s simple really…

As part of your PR strategy, you should always have a crisis plan. This is a company-wide policy that dictates how any negative PR is responded to, by whom and in what format. It will outline, step-by-step, what actions should be taken in the event of a potentially damaging comment or story.

Here are the main elements to consider when putting your crisis plan together:

  • Speed of response: a timely response is crucial. BUT leave emotions at the door, especially on social media where things can get out of hand very quickly. Leave ‘wrath’ at the door.
  • Who responds: decide who is going to represent your company in these situations and don’t fall foul of throwing employees under the bus by making them do it if someone has made a genuine mistake. A senior figure within the company is best as this subtly reassures not just the individual in question but also the general public that you take things seriously.
  • Tone of voice: the customer is always right. Remember hearing that and rolling your eyes? When it comes to negative PR you need to be singing that to yourself in your head as you craft your public response. No matter what you are actually feeling, apologise for the negative experience, faulty product, poor service; whatever the issue might be. And do so genuinely.
  • Making it right – there’s often the opportunity to turn a negative experience into a PR triumph. What can you do for your customer or client that they will genuinely value and has enough thought behind it for them to share the gesture with others? This does NOT mean throw money at them! Actions can be as insulting as words.

You will get a bad review at some point. Fact. It’s irresponsible to assume it’s never going to happen to you. We’re all human and people make genuine mistakes. How you handle it publicly can be more important and have a longer-lasting impact on your brand than the initial negativity. So, make a plan, make sure everyone knows exactly how to follow it and then get on with your business safe in the knowledge your inner wrath will stay safely in its cage.

7 deadly PR sins series: Ignorance

Can you be ignorant without knowing it? Are you sometimes rude? Is it possible that your press releases earn you nothing more than an irritated eye-roll when read? I would put money on it. Want to know why?

You’re so caught up in your brand and getting your message out there you’ve forgotten about the most important people in the equation. I’ll give you a clue… It’s called PUBLIC relations.

PR is about communicating with the public. More specifically, with your target audience. Interacting with the right people is one of the things that turns good PR into great PR. So, do your research and work out what titles your customers are most likely to read. Make a hit list of the top online, print and social outlets in which you would like coverage.

Now you know where you would like to be featured, here are three ways to help make it happen and avoid being labelled as ignorant or lazy:

  1. Be a customer – buy, subscribe to and/or just get your hands on the publications you want to be in. Then… Shock! Horror! Actually read them. How can you possibly expect an editor to take you seriously if what you send to them is so far from their usual content that they would have to completely rewrite to make it work? Or if it’s totally off-piste and would alienate or worse, offend their readership? Seems ignorant of you doesn’t it?
  2. Write pitches and articles to suit the publication – pay attention to the tone and the language used. Watch out for the styles of the articles and any regular themes or features. Tailor your pitches and press releases to show that you understand their content and can provide value for readers. For example, avoid sending in lengthy opinion pieces when they clearly prefer to use Q&A style articles. It makes you look… yes, you guessed it.
  3. Get in touch – with just a little bit of effort you can have a lot of impact. Try actually speaking to a reporter or editor to find out exactly they kind of content they are looking for. Yes, they are busy people so won’t want a lengthy discussion but a quick chat to ask a few pre-prepared questions will serve you well for months to come.

The more you practice this the better at it you will become. What you build by repeating the process is a more efficient, more successful and, ultimately, more rewarding system for your PR efforts.

If you take anything away from this blog let it be this: being great at PR isn’t about sending out a blanket email to 200 contacts and hoping that one or more of them will pick up and run your piece. Go be an informed PR professional instead!