Fragmentation of media and audiences has awakened most brand owners and organisations to the harsh realities of the effectiveness of their marketing communication activities. It is obvious that with the new changes taking place in the marketing communications sphere, advertising is losing its aura that it had a few years ago.
With the new tech habits, media savvy audiences can screen out marketing related messages with ease. The audience can switch channels and skip advertising completely. In the future, there are likely to be more technologies that enable audiences to make more choices which suit their individual and specific requirements. The power is now with the audience. In this scenario, the role of Public Relations or PR has evolved and taken a more significant role than it used to.
The net result of the shift of the balance of power to the audience is the increasing importance of public relations in marketing communications where genuine understanding and dialogue will favour those who need to win hearts, minds and market-share. Public Relations has moved centre-stage within marketing communications as the new marketing paradigm.
Public Relations is all about communicating a specific message to the targeted stakeholders. The main vehicle of PR is the media. Public Relations is the secret weapon of integrated marketing communications. It has multiple benefits. Let’s see how we can fit PR to the Marcom plan.
The Marcom plan
2. Target segmentation
3. SWOT analysis
4. Market research
5. Competitor analysis
6. Environmental analysis
7. Marketing objectives
8. Marketing strategy
Marketing strategy relates to how we achieve our marketing objectives. In this context, PR is an important tool which could be used.
Financial PR or financial communication plays a pivotal role in the success of a company. It makes shareholders buy more shares and make investment decisions. Customers are much more likely to be supportive of a company with a good reputation for integrity and honesty. Not only for financial success. Clarity and openness in communication is a must. A clear strategy and respected leadership also add to a company’s reputation. Greater transparency and understandable information on business activities coming from a credible source will be to the benefit of the company.
Currently, with the plethora of personal financing options being made available, people have taken a more in-depth interest in understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each with the help of independent financial reports and articles.
Relationship with government and influencing legislature is lobbying. You inform and influence in this context. Lobbying happens in mainly western countries such as the US and UK. Lobbying is a common PR practice in these countries. Ministers, civil servants will be reached and discussed on varied topics which affect the business community as well as other stakeholders.
It is important to communicate the correct message at the correct time. It is also important to understand the implications and apply the “silence is golden” rule in public relations.
Public relations will be used to engage in meaningful dialogue with stakeholders, as well as to influence changes in behaviour both externally and internally. The future of public relations practice is fast evolving to embrace these challenges and we will see more resources channelled towards public relations programs and away from hard-sell marketing techniques.
(The writer is Director of Premier PR.)