When Steve Jobs received his first big investment for Apple – $250,000 from angel investor Mark Markkula — it was meant for the development of the new Apple II product, the first major Apple product to hit the masses. However, before he started investing in new hardware, Jobs hired the best PR professional in Silicon Valley, Regis McKenna. Jobs knew before he could focus on building the products that would launch his company that he needed to have a PR plan in place.
Jobs embraced PR, and so do Richard Branson and Bill Gates. How about you? In fact, Gates once said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” And these business titans aren’t alone in their fervent faith in PR. Many executives from companies feel the same.
Here are 14 reasons why:
1. Master Your Message
If you don't tell your story, others will tell it for you. Avoid negative or misleading press by presenting the best version of yourself with public relations.
2. Differentiate Yourself
With so many products and services out there now, it is far too easy for customers to get overwhelmed. Good PR programs can make you stand out from the pack. As Seth Godin says, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”
3. Create Buzz (and Adoration)
Do you have a product coming out? Start building that fan and customer base by influencing the influencers. Stoke that excitement with social media, bloggers, journalists, grant interviews, offer reviews and you’ll see awareness evolve to adoration.
4. Generate Leads
Good PR builds awareness and credibility and supports a lead generation system that starts at the top of the sales funnel, contributing to generating leads crucial to any marketing campaign.
5. Empower Sales
PR gives your sales team extra ammunition to increase sales success. When a customer asks why they should buy your product, your sales team can point to the myriad voices in the media, blogosphere and social media proclaiming their love for you.
6. Establish a New Market or Industry
Blazing a trail? Let people know about it! PR opens doors, so you can let your audience know that a new idea is born. Since your business is creating something people have not heard of before, getting the word out, and building public acceptance, is crucial to success.
7. Build a Community
PR pros know that interacting with an audience and creating a space where people can come together (via social media, a conference, or even an excellent website) builds a support system for a company.
8. Win Over Critics
You can’t please everybody all the time, but an influential journalist opining their positive regard for your company in a respected outlet can convince those naysayers to take another look. PR turns skeptics into believers.
9. Attract Investors/Acquirers
With all this buzz, fan base, leads, and critics-turned-promoters, you are proving to potential investors and acquirers that your company deserves their attention, and builds the case for a great ROI. PR builds buzz and boosts your credibility as a coveted and lucrative investment or acquisition target.
10. Recruit Talent
Looking to expand your team? What better way to attract top talent then catching their eye with stories of your success and vision for the future? So cultivate a reputation as one of your industry’s most sought-after employers - and you’ll attract the best talents and accelerate your growth curve.
11. Boost Company Culture
Everybody deserves a pat on the back, and public acknowledgment of your hard work is worth ten pats at least! Sharing news of your company’s achievements, such as making it into the “Top 10” list of “Best Companies to Work For” boosts morale and retention.
12. Reduce Cost
As Virgin Group founder Richard Branson says, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” Third-party endorsements (PR) rather than you tooting your own horns (advertising) always win. Additionally, outsourcing PR can save even more money by lowering the cost of building an internal team yourself.
13. Plan for Crisis
“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” says billionaire Warren Buffett. A PR team can manage a crisis with a solid plan, protecting you from those terrible five minutes.
14. Build to Last
Making a positive impact on your industry – be it by breakthrough products or business models or visionary leaders – ensures that your company will endure. PR builds your legacy and helps maintain it for the future. Developing relationships with the media and establishing yourself as a thought leader are just a few methods of creating a system that will continue to benefit your business for years.
So why do companies embrace PR? In short, it's because they've learned that PR can reap large dividends. While catching and holding people’s attention may be difficult, all of the research shows that people will not buy from a brand that they do not know – Jobs, Branson and Gates knew that.
If you would like to find out how PR can help your business, click below to schedule a call with SKC.