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Small businesses do not need PR: here’s why you’re wrong

As a small or medium business owner, your priorities are:  finding new clients, recruiting new people in your team, boosting your sales, and overall, supporting your business’ growth.  How Public Relations, something that is rather the luxury of big companies, could help you do all of that? Does it have to be necessarily costly and complicated? 

New technologies and social media force us to stay connected 7/7 and to face day and night an impressive flood of information. To give you an example, each of us sees around 4 000 ads in a day.  
In this context, marketing is nowadays not enough for conquering the heart of customers. Producing valuable content or launching projects which promote your identity and your values as a brand, can, however, make a difference on the market. 

In this article, we share with you 3 main reasons why you should start to invest in public relations for making your business grow on solid and reliable ground.  


Let us first redefine what PR is today...

Public Relations (PR) is a communication process whose aim is to build and maintain the positive image of a company. Compared to marketing, PR does not only address customers but the whole ecosystem of the enterprise (i.e. employees, job candidates, partners, investors, media, local authorities, etc.). What matters here is to build trust and raise awareness towards your brand, and thus towards your products and services. To achieve this goal, public relations uses a wide set of communication tools: from media relations to content creation, public affairs, partnerships development, and even Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects. 

During the 1920s PR was mainly focused on press relations, but with the Internet revolution and the rise of social media as the main communication channel, Public Relations had to extend its scope. Nowadays, Public Relations covers any type of project or content, which in one way or another, contributes to raise brand awareness and help build notoriety in the long term as a trustworthy, reliable and committed company.  

There are a few reasons why you should consider PR activities as a Small or Medium Enterprise:

 

1. PR helps you build a strong company identity

Public Relations helps you define your company’s identity from the early stages of your business development. Thanks to some PR techniques, such as storytelling and the production of dedicated content, you can more easily position your company on the market. According to research by Headstream, 70%[1] of people who liked a brand story are likely to purchase immediately or in the future.

With the creation of a narrative context around your brand, you give full sense to your activities and legitimate the need for your product or service on the market.
Your audience will also relate more to your brand if you share personal experiences, challenges, and motivations, than just business-oriented goals. 

 

"People do not buy goods or services. They buy relations, stories, and magic."

_ Seth Godin

Building a strong and unique identity for your brand will help you better reach partners and potential investors. Many startup companies indeed fail to convince investors and partners, not because their product or service is not good enough, but because they did not have a story to share and a business and social context for their activities to present. 

Also, Millenials are more sensitive to positive values-driven companies. According to Consumer Technographics®[2] data, nearly seven in 10 Millennials actively consider company values when making a purchase. The young generation is in addition more faithful towards a brand with a strong identity. The reliability and trustworthiness of a brand usually condition their loyalty as customers [3] .


2. PR supports the overall development of your brand

Today, there are 3,2 billion active social media users in the world[4] and nearly 40%[4] of consumers declare that they prefer to spend money on companies engaged in social media. This shift to new communication channels also changes the relationship between companies and their audience. Anybody can now express an opinion online about your company, products or services, and a bad review or comment can rapidly ruin your reputation and damage your sales. According to an IFOP study, 88%[5] of customers do indeed verify comments before purchase. Monitoring what it is said about your company and maintaining a good reputation of your brand online is now a must if you want your business to grow.
 

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.
If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

_Warren Buffett

Apart from monitoring your reputation, PR has the advantage to address all the people, who have from close or from far, a link with your business. Clients, investors, partners, suppliers, future employees… They constitute strategic stakeholders who should be at the core of your PR strategy. In public relations, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects, for example, help companies strengthen their local position and develop ties with civil society and local authorities. In the future, those ties could turn out to be useful for developing your activities. CSR projects are also a good opportunity to create links with your audience around social, environmental and ethic values, which are considered a major added-value to your brand by young consumers. 

Producing PR content will also help you attract more attention to your products and services. Inspirational and educational brand content has indeed a more effective impact on people because they answer their need for information and new ideas, rather than pitching them directly with marketing materials and ads. From this perspective. customer-generated content (content published online by a satisfied customer who recommends your brand), is a very powerful tool. Honest testimonies published online by third parties will raise greatly your notoriety and will give more credibility to your company's image. PR activities for raising customer engagement and reusing customer-generated content in your communication activities are here key.

PR can also support the recruitment of new talents for your business. Together with HR, PR activities in the field of Employer branding aim to promote your company as a “good and reliable employer”. Producing content which highlights your investment in Human Capital, though, for example, the production of employee-generated content or employee testimonies will help you attract new generations, for which personal and professional development, in a good atmosphere, and for a company which follows a meaningful purpose, has much more value than wages and stability alone. 


3. PR prepares your company to meet tomorrow’s challenges

Public relations also helps your business adapt to change and mutations. Through active PR, you are always aware of what is said about your company on all communication channels, and you know well how your sector is evolving. Media monitoring is a strategic tool used in PR for following and analyzing the media environment of a brand. More than just listing the number of publications in which your company is mentioned, media monitoring also allows you to follow the competition, get inspiration from other brands and evaluate customer response. Monitoring forum, blogs, social media or review sites in addition to traditional media will indeed give you a first-hand opinion on client satisfaction. 

Listening to your audience is important, but understanding its behavior is even more critical. Social media management is now an important aspect of Public Relations activities as it helps collecting useful information about your audience (behaviors, profiles, and engagement) and anticipating the use of new types of content or communication medium. A better understanding of your customers’ expectations, behaviors, and environment, are crucial for developing an efficient PR strategy that will enable your company to anticipate new trends and concentrate its communication efforts
with the right tools. 

Public Relations helps you build a proper business environment for the development of your brand. First, it draws a guideline for your business growth at each development step. In addition, you progress with confidence because your company is built on strong values and identity, which find an echo among your customers and in your business sector. Also, you know which direction to follow, because you are constantly aware of your public's expectations and the changes in your business sector. And finally, it is easier to complete business projects because you already have strong ties with your stakeholders and have previously created a climate of trust. The whole mechanism increases notoriety and awareness towards your brand and consequently boosts your sales.
 


To sum up, Public Relations:

  • Creates an ideal ecosystem for business development;
  • Allows you to build up strong relationships with your audience, partners, stakeholders in the long term;
  • Helps you to foresee and adapt to future changes and mutations in your sector and on the market;
  • Has a bigger impact on young generations and helps you differentiate your brand from the competition;
  • Allows you to communicate easily on your values, plans, and activities.
 


If you want to know more about the benefits Public Relations can bring to your organization, or if you want to develop a PR strategy or project, do not hesitate to contact us and we gladly talk about it!

Find more about our services in Public Relations: HERE


[1] https://www.marketsmiths.com/2017/roi-brand-story/
[2]https://www.forbes.com/sites/forrester/2018/05/23/millennials-call-for-values-driven-companies-but-theyre-not-the-only-ones-interested/#1f868f2d5464
[3] Morning Consult, What Millenials expect from your brand?, 2018 report.
[4] https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2018/07/19/advertising-statistics
[5] https://www.emarketerz.fr/infographie-e-reputation-e-commerce/