You have heard that you only have one chance to make a good first impression (unless you’re a politician; apparently they have thousands of chances). Why is this? Well, it’s because people who don’t know you are going to start judging who you are immediately. And while it’s true that their judgment may be skewed or jaded, and while it’s also true that other people are only distorted mirrors of who we really are, what else can you ask of them? They don’t know you, and they expect that your first impression is conveying an accurate message about who you are.
This is all part of why public relations (PR) is so important. Whether you are a small business or a huge corporation, people only know about you what you show them. The idea is to get them to explore you more deeply and understand you better; but they won’t be doing any of that, and probably won’t be giving you their business, unless they feel they have good reason to do so in the first place.
Now, with PR, you also can make the best first impression to the greatest number of people at one time. And…you can even change a negative perception of your company.
PR is also more than building consumer awareness and influencing consumer opinion. It’s also very important that you create good relations with the new media. And, it’s highly beneficial as marketing, since you get to create positive editorials that get across the brand message for free. In fact, PR is sometimes also the tell-tale abbreviation for “press release”.
PR can also be used to fight against negative talk about your business, especially if this negative talk is being propagated by the news media. The media usually just want a juicy story first and foremost, and we all know that given human nature a juicy story is all too often a negative or even sordid one. If your business is supposed to be involved in a scandal or if you are alleged to not be paying your employees, or if you are supposedly throwing radioactive waste into the local bird sanctuary river, when you come forth with your own PR you can address any allegations and then tell the real story about what’s going on. This may sound opportunistic, but if you’re getting broadsided what choice do you have as a business but to turn a negative into a potential positive?
Now, when using PR, you should create a new product’s or even a new company’s credibility before you give it a higher profile through actions. Credibility almost always has to come before trust, and advertising, even as it creates awareness of your brand, does nothing for credibility; consumers frankly don’t trust advertising, and most only use it to learn that you exist and what types of products you offer. But PR is carefully, even artfully, written and costs a company but a tiny amount of money. PR is supposed to cite verifiable facts and quote knowledgeable people who would never risk their reputations to tell lies. Whether or not this is always true, it’s what consumers assume.