How PR can help your company grow

Rev PR are very pleased to be speaking at the British Franchise Association’s Women in Franchising conference on 16th November. We’ll be sharing the stage with Catriona Berry from Merry Maids to discuss using PR to raise your brand profile and how to deal with enquiries.

This blog is a quick intro to explain what PR is and why you should be using it in any business to support growth.

What is PR?

Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation and, in its most basic term, it is someone relating to their public. With PR, we aim to earn understanding, create discussions, and influence opinion and behaviour – whether focused on an individual or an organisation.

There are many activities a PR campaign can contain but they may include a pitch to a newspaper journalist, a celebrity-backed launch event, or an expert advice article like this one. One thing is for sure, PR works best when it is planned and a sustained effort is made to establish and maintain communication between an organisation and its public.

So, why do you need to think about including PR as a regular activity for your business? Every organisation, no matter how large or small, ultimately depends on its reputation for survival and success. Customers, suppliers, employees, investors, journalists and regulators can have a powerful impact. They all have an opinion about the organisations they come into contact with. These perceptions will drive their decisions about whether they want to work with, shop with and support these organisations.

Franchisors can use PR to build their brand, generate interest in their franchise opportunity with the right prospects and to support nation-wide sales. Franchisees and business owners can do exactly the same to generate interest in their product or service with consumers whether that be on a local, national or international basis.

In today’s competitive market, reputation can be a company’s biggest asset – the thing making you stand out from the crowd and giving you a competitive edge. Effective PR can help manage reputation by communicating and building good relationships with all of your stakeholders.

And woe betide you if what they think about you is negative, especially in these times of instant media gratification through social media – in a recent survey by Dimensional Research 54% of respondents who had shared a bad experience said they shared it more than 5 times! So, PR is also about reputation and crisis management which is another whole conversation – ask our resident crisis PR expert at #TeamRev, Sally if you want to be prepared with a crisis PR plan.

Want to know more?

For the ladies out there – I hope you can join us for the bfa event on 16th November. Our talk is suitable for anyone looking to grow their business and effectively deal with new business enquiries, not just franchisors. If you’re a woman in business who would like to become a supplier to the franchise industry or franchise your own business, you’ll get a great introduction to franchising from the whole event – more details here: https://www.thebfa.org/events/women-in-franchising-2017-2017-11-16

For the chaps – sorry you can’t come to this event but you can find more of our PR advice on our blog or you can contact us.

Why is giving a monetary value to press coverage (AVE) so unpopular with PR professionals?

In case you’ve never heard of it, AVE stands for Advertising Value Equivalency – how much it would have cost to buy the same space in the media where you gained any PR coverage.

Whilst it’s been around for decades, this way of valuing the results of PR campaigns has become more and more maligned by the PR industry because many feel it doesn’t show the true value of PR efforts and coverage.

So how should you measure your PR?

We still use AVE as one of the metrics in our client reports and here’s why… it makes for a great starting point to explain all the other ways to measure the value of PR coverage! It’s also the easiest metric to explain to someone who hasn’t worked in marketing and PR before. Think of it as a great appetiser before the main course.

Modern-day value

After measuring your AVE, it’s important to look at the relevance, reach, tone and tier of the media you’re being featured in. By setting metrics and measuring against things like impressions, a headline or early article mention, competitor mentions and the inclusion of quotes and images, you can really start to build a much more accurate value for today’s complex media landscape.

Sharing the love

Don’t forget to record social media shares where possible as this massively affects the reach of the coverage.

By utilising a tool such as our PR scorecard, you can combine AVE with these modern, media-appropriate measures to see a true value of your coverage.

To give you an example, one of our clients was recently featured on BBC Radio Northamptonshire – but the BBC don’t run advertising so an old-fashioned AVE would have been zero, which of course is quite silly when you think about it. Our advice; be sure that you’re measuring your PR through a value system outside of AVE.

Want to find out more about the value of PR? Follow us on Twitter @RevPRUK

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.

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.