Bakers Journal

Features Business and Operations Marketing
4 practical PR parallels for small businesses


January 29, 2014
By Russell Trahan

Topics

Jan. 29, 2014 – Your company may be seeking ways to employ public relations principles in your business model, but as Russell Trahan writes most are unclear on how to properly implement them.

Jan. 29, 2014 – There are numerous preconceived notions about the field of public relations and the everyday life of a PR professional. 

Many Americans may envision a Hollywood landscape of exclusive events,
material excess and prestige, while others visualize an individual
furiously hammering phones and e-mail, determined to lock down an
interview with an elusive editor.

While the idealized pomp and circumstance of the publicity field may
have found its way into some people’s schemas, the fact of the matter is
that it’s closer to the latter, and shares many of the cornerstones
that define any customer-centric small business.

Your company may be seeking ways to employ public relations principles
in your business model, but are unclear on how to properly implement
them, or fail to see how the application of PR tactics can prove
beneficial.

The truth is the fundamental pillars of running an effective and
efficient publicity campaign are mutually inclusive with the methods
that carve out a lucrative niche in your community with your small
business.
The president of a publicity agency and the manager of a local brick and
mortar boutique have the same overriding goal in mind: client
retention.

On paper, the operational ways and means may appear vastly different –
connecting with reporters and editors vs. connecting with the community –
but the similarities that these brands of businesses share far outweigh
the differences.

You can adhere to a variety of principles when aiming to build and
maintain a rich customer base, but there are four that are absolutely
essential to ensuring long-term success and profitability.

1. No Matter What, You’re Always Marketing

Public relations executives recognize that their brand and its
associated image are the lifeblood of their professional identity, and
any blemishes incurred can derail the potential for lucrative returns.
In the same vein that a PR firm would continually promote their services
as results-driven and effectual, small businesses must utilize
‘round-the-clock marketing to promote their goods and services through a
scope of success and viability, and safeguard against any possible harm
to their reputations. Whether you’re a clerk at the point of sale or
the owner representing the company at the local chamber of commerce
meeting, your actions or inaction can throw a monkey wrench into the
gears of your vision and goals. There is never a moment, on or off the
clock, that you are not representing your company: maintain marketing
vigilance.

2. Timeliness is Next to Godliness, So Take to the Internet

Nowhere is the phrase ‘strike while the iron is hot’ more pertinent than
in the public relations industry, where reporters are on tight
deadlines and the window of opportunity to have your client featured may
be as minute as the time between your pitch hitting their inbox and the
next. Where print publications and broadcast agencies can be viewed as a
PR agent’s ‘customers’ as they require information in a concise,
time-sensitive manner, your physical customers demand and expect the
same level of timely service.
With the explosion of social media platforms and the newfound ability of
‘point-and-click’ problem solving, the area of customer service has
become acutely streamlined. Small businesses should unquestionably
appoint an online CSR to meet many of their clientele where they are –
on laptops in living rooms, classrooms and offices – to address their
issues and expedite their resolution. Long lines, brain-jarring jingles
while on hold and service-delays are ill-fated means of the past and
rapid roads to business-closure; accelerate your customer-service
practices by logging on and establishing a strictly monitored social
media presence.

3. Flexibility Creates Longevity

Obstinance has no place in the realm of small business. More often than
not, start-ups in their infancy transform into thriving companies on the
backs of minor ‘freebies’ or ‘throw-ins,’ as these are the kinds of
actions that are appreciated and remembered by customers. With a daily
influx of new businesses developing creative ways to entice your
business, maintaining a first-rate level of flexibility is priority one
to building brand loyalty in your community. The extra steps you take
will not go unnoticed by your clientele, and will do worlds to
preserving your long-term bottom line.

4. Begin with the End in Mind

Goal-setting is intrinsic to any functional publicity campaign, and
while every client would relish a weekly feature in a major news
publication, the actuality is that achieving that outcome is a distant
outlier to the likely results. Tempering expectations and working with
each individual client to zero-in on realistic, attainable goals should
be conducted at the outset of a PR endeavor, and it directly corresponds
to the process that should occur when setting your annual business
benchmarks.
Beginning with the end in mind means exactly that: go into any new
undertaking with an understanding of an array of possible outcomes, and
focus in on the most plausible. Your small business will not evolve into
a global conglomerate overnight, and you may endure a few unsteady
quarters before you finally perfect your formula for profitability.

There is a growth-curve with any small business, and you should let your
goals reflect that reality when you jot down your targets for the year.
Contrary to some unsubstantiated belief, public relations professionals
do not reside in some corporate Ivory Tower, conducting the bulk of
their business in swanky lounges and on the greens of golf courses. The
majority of publicity work is based on the same foundations of the small
business – a stout presence in the community, timely and flexible
customer service and a goal-setting strategy designed for realistic
achievement. By employing these four PR-to-small business parallels and
making them a hallmark of your operation, you establish a
customer-centric game plan that will build lifetime loyalty and
success. 


Russell Trahan is President of PR/PR, a boutique public relations agency
specializing in positioning clients in front of their target audience
in print and online. PR/PR represents experts of all kinds who are
seeking national exposure for their business or organization. Russell
and PR/PR will raise your business’ awareness in the eyes of your
clients and customers. For more information, please visit www.prpr.net
or email
mail@prpr.net for a free consultation.