Changing the face of public relations

Watch  Martin Asiedu-Dartey of TV3 interview Patrick Jephson, New York Times bestselling author and Former Chief of Staff for Princess Diana and Mary Jo Jacobi,  Former Presidential Advisor, Corporate Director, Strategist and former Communications Chief for HSBC, Lehman Brothers, Royal Dutch Shell and BP America.

Patrick Jephson and Mary Jo Jacobi were in Ghana for the Global PR Summit Accra, where they made presentations to Communications and PR professionals from Ghana and Nigeria.

Ways PR helps drive Sales (3)

…Continued from Ways PR helps drive Sales (2)

Recognition

Every company wants to ensure that they are the name, rather than the competition, which resonates in the mind of the customer when making purchase decisions.

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Public Relations builds brand awareness and helps drive results by working to keep your company name frequently in front of your target audience; by generating interest and recognition based on the medium used. For instance, news stories by their very nature are more credible than advertisements.

Planned PR efforts will ensure visibility, traction in the marketplace, and mental recall about the differentiators of either a service or product to the right audience; thereby enhancing business development and sales activities.

Brand awareness, recognition, and credibility brand is insured and ensured through activities such as the dissemination of information about the company or industry growth, awards and recognition, rankings, and even news of major hiring or recruitment of talents.

Do you have any thoughts on the ways PR helps drive Sales? Let’s have a conversation in my one corner.

 

Ways PR helps drive Sales (2)

…Continued from Ways PR helps drive Sales (1)

Relationship building

Successful companies have lots of customers who patronize their product or services. But before this relationship is converted into revenue streams, companies build a great product or service and also identify and develop meaningful relationships. E.g. A successful brand like Apple does not only build good products but has over the years developed and maintained a mutually beneficial relationship with its stakeholders and publics; who are loyal to the brand to a fault and always keep coming back for more.

The plain truth is that strong customer relationship keeps a customer and also drive sales. In today’s competitive market economy, together with factors such as sustainability and growth, companies which build and maintain excellent customer and client relationships always have a competitive advantage.

As legendary management guru, Peter F. Drucker, puts it succinctly, “the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”

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Relationship does matter

This is why companies invest in public relations (PR). What PR does is to identify and develop valuable and strategic relationships with key publics and stakeholders, including customers, investors, media, etc. PR targets the experts or influencers who shape customer opinion in the sector a business operates.

For instance, in almost every sector of business, there exists a group of people who influence the market. These “influencers” can be journalists, bloggers, key customers, industry analysts, investors or others. Their opinions shape what others think and do. the job of PR is to ensure that a working relationship is established and maintained with these influencers.

PR also to a large extent helps businesses to develop persuasive content to maintain the attention, engage with and, foster relationships with the influencers that matter to an organisation: the media, investors and shareholders, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.

In short,  it is not called PUBLIC RELATIONS for nothing.

Read more about the ways PR helps drive Sales tomorrow.

Ways PR helps drive Sales (1)

Ways PR helps drive sales (2)

A few weeks ago, I was asked to make a presentation on how PR drives sales. I must admit that it was a herculean task of researching around this and more so, I had the task of presenting to an audience; much of whose job revolved around sales and customer service.  I reckon that as I introduced the topic to them, the question which might have been going through their minds was “How does what you do drive sales?”

Well, the truth and fact are that public relations can be one of the most powerful tools to drive or increase sales. This is often contested because the results are often not immediately seen. Some businesses believe or will want to believe that Marketing and Advertising, are what brings in the money. Thus, every year huge amounts are voted into these areas. In such companies, often small, medium or startup in nature, PR becomes the Cinderella – kept in the background and when needed, called upon to serve a purpose or wash and clean a mess. This is where most people or companies get it wrong.

Al Ries, Laura Ries argue in The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PRthat public relations is more effective in building a new brand and recommend that any new marketing program must start by generating publicity and then shift to advertising after the public relations objectives have been achieved.

Don’t get it twisted. I believe in the efficacy and relevance of Marketing and Advertising to stimulate sales just as I also believe, PR does the same but in its case, does so gradually by building pathways and establishing leads which evolve into Sales and Return on Investment (ROI). No wonder it is called “earned media” in marketing circles because it takes a lot more effort.

So, the question is how does PR drive sales? In my quest to find out how it does,  I realised the following:

Reputation 

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Reputation, like trust, is earned. It is a priceless asset that adds to the strategic value of any company. It has a major effect on the sales performance of brands and products.

In today’s digital world, negative comments lives on forever: bad reviews, negative coverage, misinformed comments from a company representative affect not only a company’s image but sales too. Additionally, potential clients will always “google” a company or product before they buy.

In a 2011 global study by Weber Shandwick titled “The company behind the brand: In reputation we trust“, the survey report states, “As consumers around the world have greater online access to a brand’s lineage, the influence of the brand parent, or company behind the brand, matters even more.”….A full 70% of the consumers surveyed in this study reported that they avoid buying a product if they do not like the company behind the product.

Additionally, 56% said they hesitate to buy products if they cannot tell who makes them. On the other hand, a majority of consumers in each of the four markets surveyed (UK, USA, China and Brazil) agreed with the statement “more and more I try to buy products made by a company that does good things for the environment or community.

While a good corporate image will offer an assurance of product quality and service consistency, consumers in recent times also seeking assurance on whether products are ethically sourced, responsibly manufactured and are made by companies which treat their employees fairly.

More than ever, consumers demand that organizations should have social responsibility at the forefront of their actions. PR thus as the discipline which manages reputation can be a powerful tool which could be employed and deployed to enhance credibility in the eyes of your prospects and customers.

Read more about the ways PR helps drive Sales tomorrow.

Esther Cobbah named among Top Women in PR

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Ms. Esther Cobbah, CEO, Stratcomm Africa

The Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Communications Africa Limited (Stratcomm Africa), Ms. Esther A.N. Cobbah, has been recognized in the second annual list of Top Women in PR by PRnews a US based communications organization. The Awards Luncheon was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on the 26th of January 2016.

According to PR News, the Top Women in PR list is comprised of “The most influential women, driving the agenda for the industry and in their companies.” Judy Robinett, the author of “How to Be a Power Connector: the 5+50+150 Rule” was the keynote speaker at the event. In her remarks, she emphasized the importance of strategic networking to professional and personal success.

The C.E.O of Stratcomm Africa comments on her award, “Africa’s prospects represent some of the great and exciting opportunities for the Communication industry. Whether it is about positioning investors, promoting products and ideas, as well as technological innovations for accelerated development or establishing national harmony and international understanding, the communication profession has much to offer and we must rise to the challenge in the different countries of Africa. This is what I have been privileged to lead Stratcomm Africa to undertake in the past 21 years plus. I am grateful for the recognition and give God all the glory”.

Among others honored were communications professionals from companies such as Time Warner Cable, Ford Asia Pacific, Air China Limited, Tourism New Zealand, PwC, Microsoft, T-Mobile, ESPN, Hill+ Knowlton, Porter Novelli, Bank of America, Burson-Marsteller , Hilton Worldwide and others.

Source: Stratcomm Africa