When I speak to organisations about their PR it’s without fail very one-sided. It’s always about their business and very little about their customers. This is more than a mistake, it can be disastrous for a business. Ignore your customers’ needs at your peril! If there is one thing you should take from this article it’s the knowledge that customers are selfish, they only ever think about their needs. It’s all about them and never about you.
So how can you use PR to ensure these needs are met? If you are selling a service, a product and company or brand you rely on customers; but buying is a very emotive decision and creating the right impression is essential.
Just last week I was speaking to a lady who was researching suitable care homes for an elderly relative. Her comment said it all: “We searched high and low, far and wide for a care home for a beloved relative. Proximity is important, but more so (and worth travelling for) is feeling that the staff are caring and competent and that the atmosphere and other residents are befitting. We walked into most of our closest homes and walked straight out.”
Ultimately it’s about how ‘at home’ that potential resident will be. Location and cost are secondary to that. Isn’t it the same with any purchase? You’d never buy the first car you saw, never mind drop it off at any old garage for a service. So how do you communicate through PR that you are a business or brand people can feel ‘at home’ with?
1. First rule of PR – harness what you have. Good customers and staff are hard to come by so ensure they are valued and do something unexpected – even if it’s saying thank you. Remember you never know where your next recommendation will come from, but you can bet it will come from the people that utilise you and work for you.
2. Second rule of PR – be bold and brag a little. If it’s a good service, product or team, let the local press and community know about it. There’s so much choice out there that you have to be in the picture if you want to be in the frame.
3. Third rule of PR – assess the opportunities. Have you won an award? Have you received praise from a customer? Are you working in partnership with a third party? Are you hiring new staff? Do you support a local charity? Are you innovative? These are opportunities for your local press to report on and can be used to make you visible to existing and new audiences.
4. Fourth rule of PR – be honest. We all have competition but what sets many apart is their credibility. Earn the respect you deserve and share your knowledge and credibility. You could do this by having an open day, writing a blog or updating your website news. But more importantly, share what your customers think about you too. The more knowledge and opinion you share, the more you educate potential audiences and instantly become not only an expert but credible too.
5. Fifth rule of PR – show some personality. The days of the corporate fluff have all but gone. It’s time to show people who you really are. Don’t share your holiday snaps but share your company personality. Show the lighter side of your business by sharing your team and their work. Use a more casual medium like Facebook to instantly lift your tone. Remember people are interested in people so keep the focus on people.
PR has many facets it doesn’t just mean good publicity. PR is how you treat your staff, how you interact in the community, how your product or service makes a difference and how you go above and beyond to do something that’s just a little bit unexpected.
Founder and owner of Chew PR, Colette has worked in PR for over 15 years. She has seen both sides and worked for consultancy and in-house teams providing her with an insight not many see. Colette will be contributing to the Public Relations section.
Top image: credit