Public Relations Increases Brand Engagement and Sales

As business owners are struggling to find more effective ways to reach out to their target audiences and create brand engagement, there is a growing trend among consumers to tune messages out. Limited budgets, increased competition, faster speed to market compound the issues and reduce the margins for error.

Taking into account TV commercials, radio ads, billboards, newspaper ads, banner ads, PPC ads (search engine marketing) consumers are being bombarded by 5000 messages daily. Consumers are faced with the daunting task of deciphering all of these messages and choose the product that best fills their needs. So how can your message standout from the marketing clutter and build your brand’s credibility?

The answer could be in your company’s public relations strategy. Long considered marketing’s distant cousin, marketers don’t necessarily integrate PR into their marketing plans. The main reason is that unlike advertising, marketers can’t control the message; forcing them to rely on the opinion of an unbiased third party. Just to show you how powerful negative PR can impact your brand, we can just look at what happened when the American College of Chest Physicians published a report on the ineffectiveness of cough medicines. Sales in all segments of cough syrups dropped dramatically during January, 2006 when the editorials that major media outlets had published were at their highest point. As media interest subsided, sales rebounded. Studies have shown that consumers put more are more likely to make a purchasing decision based on an article than based on an ad. So why don’t marketers divert funds to public relations?

Not being able to control the message is not the only reason that they haven’t been all jumping on the public relations bandwagon. If you haven’t noticed newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations have been prospering in the Internet Age. Declining readership, mergers, reduced editorial staffs and sagging revenues are negatively impacting the industry.

Also, just because a company decides that it’s going to optimize public relations efforts, it doesn’t mean that a media outlet is going to write about your product or service. Relationships have to be forged; trust and credibility have to be developed, all which require time, effort and funds. With shorter time frames to deliver results, it’s hard to blame marketers for not investing time and resources in a strategic public relations strategy.

For those marketers that want to build credibility with their target audiences and increase brand awareness and sales, an investment (and not an expense) in public relations is an investment that companies have to make.