As PR practitioners, we are often asked what the real value of PR is. Now, I don’t proclaim to be a mind-reader (probably far from it), but at this precise second, I bet I can guess exactly what you are thinking…
Surely the answer is an easy one, right?! Well if that was your first thought then I’m afraid you may want to reconsider.
Not only is this a challenging question to answer; the question itself is loaded with a hidden subtext that implies a monetary value should be attached to the success of every PR campaign and I’m afraid that (despite marketing teams regularly having to justify budgets by trying to link specific PR campaigns to an increase in sales or profit by their company); unfortunately, the answer to the original question is far more complex.
All good PR campaigns need to be based on a clear knowledge by the client of what exactly the outcomes are that they are hoping to achieve; not underplaying the role of a PR agency/practitioner in understanding the desired outcomes and creating a strategy to achieve these of course.
Whereas some outcomes are easy to measure; such as the link between a specific campaign and brand awareness; an increase in sales linked to an on-pack promotion or a flurry of followers on social media channels following a competition; others can be much trickier to determine.
One of your outcomes for example may be to position your company as an expert within their industry/marketplace, and although brand awareness can easily be measured through surveys following a campaign; it’s much harder to determine whether or not businesses or consumers will be more likely to buy your products and services in future, thanks to an individual campaign.
As the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and when it comes to gaining trust and respect for your company/brand, this is no small feat and certainly can’t be achieved simply through one effective PR campaign.
On the contrary, companies need to see each successful PR campaign which, (for the purpose of this blog), we will define as having achieved easily measurable outcomes; as being a building block and one step closer to achieving the virtually immeasurable and ultimate objective of every company.
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