Putting the ‘Public’ back in PR

I said pubLIC….

So I’ve been reviewing a lot of articles about “why PR is important”, “what is PR”, etc.

Most offer a good understanding of this diverse area of expertise but often only touch on tactics like Media Releases, Press tours, Trade shows, Product shots (and sometimes) Social Networking … but what I found interestingly lacking was mention of the word PUBLIC when describing PR?

As per my website (soon to be refurbished btw) a crucial part of Public Relations for many SMBs is actually centred around your corporate image and relationship with your immediate public, neighbours and community.

In addition to reaching “as many eyeballs as possible to get the word out about how your product is the greatest” !!!…. PR may also be micro-tailored to include strategies that support an organization’s foundation and its roots.

Let’s say your company’s intention is to gain (or sway) support of a specific group or outlet upon which your success depends (investors, government, industry, community leaders) . A PUBLIC Relations campaign may include things like:

  • Developing a multi-level outreach strategy to specific persons or organizations.
  • Create a mini-campaign or separate event (socially, internally) to build following and likeability among similar groups to the one you are targeting.
  • Maintaining a consistent image and message in front of key audiences – speaking, media, other.
  • Fostering relationships / setting up meetings with influencers and change makers in local communities.

The word ‘public’ is also the number of different “audiences” on which your organization depends for its success, such as:

  • Thought leaders
  • Activists
  • Sponsors/Investors
  • Partners
  • Customers…

Each requires their own key messages to be driven home in order to gain their respect and support.

(… and we wonder why it is SO hard to answer when someone asks – “PR – so what does that involve.” … Got an hour?)

What do you think? Do you often consider these micro-publics in your PR strategy? Or are you focused on the big three – MEDIA, FACEBOOK and TWITTER?

Tweet-a-Coffee – PR in the customers hands

giving

I love this. Starbuck’s tweet-a-coffee/#!  I love it for so many reasons….first and foremost because it’s a great example of giving fuzz factor to the cold, hard internet AND because it bridges two worlds beautifully – PR and promotion.

I will admit that I am not a Starbucks groupie, and while I enjoy their brand, if I had my choice, I would probably select another cup a ‘joe first. However…

I love that they are trying this (in beta), and have found a way to “be” more giving and thoughtful “by way of” their customers. The friend gets the coffee, customer gets the thanks, but THEY get the residual perception and glory.

For a PR person, you can’t say more about ‘living a brand’ than using a coffee shop (a stand alone location) as the means of evoking; involuntary response, (surprise as they open the tweet), emotion (thank you!) and action (walking into shop to obtain gift and hopefully purchase more). It is the epitome of ‘giveaways’ AND they don’t have to give anything away. It’s more than marketing and promotion – this is Emotion in the palm of your customer’s hand…. am I being over zealous? …perhaps.

What does this mean for me as the PR person? It clearly puts social media strategy into a new light and gets PR people thinking outside of the 140 character box.

PR is about eliciting a response which inspires action – in the past we’ve relied on communications, media, events, media interviews – even the odd PR stunt in downtown rush hour. But let’s always be challenging ourselves on how we can make change and change perception using these ‘ego-centric’ and often self-satisfying social channels.

I love the possibilities – I will work to stretch beyond the walls of social media for my own clients also. Bottoms up!

Can you tell I love this sT@**?