As historian Daniel J. Boorstin once said: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” He wasn’t wrong.
A good PR strategy can be the difference between a credible brand and one that the public, stakeholders and potential partners actively avoid. Just look at some of these PR disasters to see how bad press can damage a brand — Pepsi, we’re looking at you especially.
PR is not just used as a shield though. Businesses can employ different tactics to achieve different goals, whether that’s increasing customer awareness, controlling the narrative about their brand, or generating interest in a particular product. Let’s unpack how different approaches to PR can benefit a business.
1. Consumer PR
Consumer spending is the lifeblood of a business, so ensuring the target audience has a positive opinion of the business is crucial to it surviving and thriving. Consumer PR is key to this — as public relations agency Pitch explains, the main benefits of consumer PR include helping brands boost their reputation and increase brand awareness, as well as reducing marketing costs. They go on to explain “this is because the organic press can effectively advertise your products and services for you”.
Among the most common consumer PR methods are creating content for social media and consumer-facing media platforms, and participating in local events attended by existing and prospective customers.
2. Corporate PR
In contrast, corporate PR is aimed primarily at a professional audience. It is used by businesses to appeal to both internal and external figures, such as line-of-business (LOB) decision-makers and the C-suite. Outreach strategies typically involve either internal business channels (like emails or intranets) or external corporate communications channels (like trade publications or professional platforms such as LinkedIn).
Benefits of corporate PR include building relationships with key audiences and boosting a business’s reputation in the eyes of staff, partners and competitors. This type of PR is also useful for improving internal relations, facilitating interdepartmental engagements and helping staff feel motivated.
3. Crisis management
As touched upon earlier, PR can be used as a shield, and this is exactly what crisis management involves. This kind of PR is used by businesses to mitigate the impacts of any public crises that occur, whether it’s something to do with fraud, employee conflicts, accidents or any other kind of scandal. Crisis management may involve fixing or at least acknowledging the issue, addressing the affected parties and presenting a united front.
Doing nothing in such a scenario can spell disaster for a business. As stakeholder solutions firm Penta puts it: “The fallout of a PR crisis can be devastating. If it’s not managed astutely, it can destroy customer trust, scare off potential clients, discomfit investors, crush a corporate reputation or halt an emerging brand in its tracks.”
Above are just three types of PR typically employed by businesses, with other kinds including public affairs PR, community PR and strategic communications. Check out this ultimate guide to PR by Hubspot for a more comprehensive overview of harnessing the power of public relations.