Is your PR spend strategic? Four ways to focus on real value.Great public relations campaigns create tangible value for businesses that advertising or other marketing strategies often can’t match. That’s because the results are ‘earned’ rather than ‘paid.’  A message about your company that is repeated by a respected writer or analyst has far more value than one you insert into a paid banner ad, and your customers know it. But tangible value comes from strategic PR campaigns that give these earned results a strategic purpose.

But what does that mean, strategic?  As one of the leading DC and Seattle PR agencies for companies selling technology into enterprises, government, and healthcare, we emphasize communications plans that draw a clear road map to reaching long-term business objectives.  Usually those fall into four categories:

  1. Elevate my brand to be the recognized market leader. Brand-building means making a company more visible in the marketplace, enveloping the company in credibility and validation, and ensuring the company’s prospects feel confident in purchasing goods or services. But that’s not enough for emerging brands that are taking on established incumbents. We assemble creative strategies to define and position the brand, and make a move on the leadership position in the market.
  2. Make me a thought leader that can shape the future of my market. Thought leadership is about shaping a business’s future market. Thought leadership means placing key client executives in a position where their peers, and those in the media, look to them for guidance and insight around big industry trends or important news milestones. When that happens, a thought leader begins to represent the future of a particular industry. And the market begins to move in their direction, where their well-positioned brand is ready to deliver.
  3. Give my brand the buzz and excitement I need to attract good talent. We represent a lot of technology companies that recruit for talent against the behemoths of technology. So the competition is tough. We help our clients attract talents through PR strategies that position them as employers of choice – award winning, creative, best places to work that will propel careers.
  4. Equip me the tools to protect my brand in a crisis. Sometimes bad things happen to good companies. We understand that, and understand how to mitigate the effects of bad news before it takes permanent hold in the public conscious (or its online surrogate, search engine results). Or, we help businesses that work in risky areas (such as with private or sensitive consumer data) develop a ready-to-go action plan so that in a worst case scenario the brand is saved from damage, as opposed to what happened to BP.

While not an exhaustive list, these are four common strategic objectives that become the foundation for any good communication plan.  In a future Rhetoric blog post we’ll address measuring progress against these objectives – a critical part of any planning process. In the meantime, if you are considering engaging a public relations firm, make sure the investment goes beyond the tactical and plots a course to achieving results that truly impact your company’s high level business objectives.