The role of Public Relations has been so much underestimated and most times, relegated to the background in some companies and organisations. Some organisations even allocate very minimal or no budget at all to PR as it is regarded as a “cost centre” or a “secondary need”.
Microsoft founder and CEO, Bill Gates said; “If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget, I’d spend it on PR!”
Contrary to what most people think, PR is one of the most effective tools of building trust and confidence in all stakeholders. And becoming a successful business enterprise, in essence, requires raising your company’s voice, authority and building relationships with key stakeholders (internal and external).
A client of mine, after a successful PR campaign, invited me to dinner. He said to me: “I used to think the impact of PR to any business enterprise was exaggerated. Now, I know better!”
Being proactive in managing your company’s reputation is key to a successful business. PR is the act of creating a positive public image and building friendly relationships with all stakeholders. What is most important to an organisation is managing communication, perception and reputation. Can you imagine an organisation without a voice?
Some organisations wait until there is a critical crisis situation before engaging a PR consultant to manage and salvage the situation. This will, of course, yield very little result. A fire extinguisher can do little or nothing to quench a raging conflagration.
American business magnate and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet, said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Doing things differently here, presupposes becoming proactive through PR. Proactive PR helps an organisation to detect and identify a potential crisis and forestall the damage that may arise.
It is very pertinent to be proactive in mitigating potential crisis situations than reacting to it. The damage arising from a crisis could spell doom for a company.
So, whatever you call it, Public Relations, Perception Management or Reputation Management, every organisation needs it to stay ahead of its competitors. It’s therefore crucial to have a strong PR Consultant watching your back always.