Let’s begin with a real-life scenery:
“So, what is your job?”
“I work with PR.”
“Ah, so you make advertisements?”
“Naahhr – not quite, it’s more like I create the content journalists and influencers write about.”
Working at a Public Relations (PR) agency requires some explanations when meeting with others. Many don’t know what PR is. Whether we meet with the neighbours, Brand Managers, grandmothers or CEOs we most likely need to explain them.
For most people, it can be hard to say, “I’m really good at what I do.” Most people who hear such statements form others think it sounds shallow. They don’t really believe it. In these cases, PR agencies can really make a difference.
PR is about reputation, credibility, and dialogue. If your PR agency is good – and your business is as well – then the agency will likely suggest you tell others that: you are good, what you are good at, and when you are doing something good.
If you’re not doing anything special or particularly good, your PR agency will most likely suggest a classic ‘push campaign’ focusing on paid media to get your message about your own greatness across. Or like Jean Louis-Gassée (who used to work for Apple and Be Inc.), said:
“Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.”
At a PR agency, the truth must be told. Your worst and best sides must be discussed and assessed in order to find and highlight something you are so good at that others would want to tell you about it. It can be your employees, the media, business partners, or the consumers you want to get to buy your idea, your product, or your cause.
PR is not just about getting others to write something about you. Simon Spies said: “Bad publicity is better than no publicity”. Maybe he was inspired by Oscar Wilde, who said, “There is only one thing worse in the world than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
We don’t completely agree with the two gentlemen and neither do communication scholars. There are numerous examples of publicity you would like to avoid. Crises or shitstorms may occur. Every day, there are brands and businesses that are victims of bad publicity. Your reputation, and thus your relations with customers and stakeholders, is very valuable and needs to be maintained strong. Like Warren Buffet said:
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
Being in the media spotlight can therefore be good and bad. No matter what, you and your PR agency are responsible for ensuring that what is written about you is written on an informed basis, where sources and facts are double-checked. Even though it takes time and requires resources.
Bill Gates (who, in our opinion, is a very smart man) had no doubt about the crucial value of PR. He said:
“If I had one dollar left, I’d spend it on PR”
Bill Gates has been like a magnet for the press for years, and he knows that “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will do it” , as a famous PR saying tells us. PR agencies strive to create and tell your brand stories with a focus on what you find important and valuable for your business.
John D. Rockefeller said:
“Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.”
Today, it is very important to be aware of the image that consumers, media, and activists make of your company if it differs from what you wish – and PR can help you with that.
PR creates the narrative of your brand
We love doing PR that creates a preference for brands. As we say at Essencius, “We create stories, that others want to share”. It may be the journalist who writes the article, the influencer who gets inspired, or a mother who thinks our story is relevant to another mother. But it is crucial that your story is created through good PR, so it is communicated in the right way – with the result that there is alignment between your story and the target groups’ perception of your brand.