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public relations

950 350 Emma Macharia

Why Every Business Needs PR While They Grow

Michelle Garrett

Whether or not you do it yourself, use a consultant, an agency, or have an in-house PR pro, every business stage needs public relations. Since businesses need to interact with the public, government, their competition, partners, and clients (whether that is other businesses or the public), managing relationships and perceived business value are essential.

While PR is experiencing a bit of a renaissance as the value of earned media and backlinks seems to be at the top of many brands’ list of digital marketing initiatives, there are still those companies who seem to feel they won’t benefit from public relations.

The truth is, companies at EVERY stage can benefit from PR.

Every business needs PR, even companies at the top of their game shouldn’t overlook the value of what public relations brings to their brands.

Why PR Is Beneficial to ANY Brand

As ways to get the word out about your product or service increase with the proliferation of social media and consumers’ access to information, public relations still leads the pack. Why?

“PR, unlike paid marketing, creates a different dynamic,” says Peter Himler, founding principal, Flatiron Communications and president of the Publicity Club of New York

Earned media coverage, as third-party validation, still has the greatest capacity to generate action.”

Why? “Positive news stories, amplified in social media, can serve as powerful endorsements and a boost to brand reputation,” Himler says. “Unfortunately, the reverse also holds true. Think of poor Papa John.”

And because the news cycle moves so quickly now, Himler says it’s vital that businesses persist—in good times or in bad—in engaging editorial decision-makers to maintain a positive branded footprint in the media.

Brands at Different Stages Benefit in Different Ways

Companies at various stages, such as those growing, struggling or succeeding, can all take advantage of what public relations helps them achieve.

Growing Brands

Early and mid-stage companies need visibility. They benefit from media exposure and brand recognition. Well-timed articles can help boost efforts to launch new products or roll out solutions.

“Early on, PR creates crucial awareness for your company. A new business is like that tree in the forest that falls down with no one around it. If no one is talking about your business, does it even exist?” Jesse Ghiorzi, director of brand strategy at Charge

Working with a PR firm can also help early-stage brands define messages that resonate with their target audiences. Public relations pros are skilled at helping clients position themselves for success.

Yet another benefit of PR can be drawing talent to a brand. If a company is growing, it needs to hire strong employees. If it appears in publications and on social media in a favorable light, it’s more likely to be compelling to potential new hires. Further, it can help retain employees who may take pride in seeing the name of the company they work for in lights.

Struggling Brands

For companies that are struggling, a PR pro can help uncover stories they can tell that will bring them more visibility.

“If your business is struggling, you might be cutting back on marketing and ad budgets. The right PR tactics can help you stretch that marketing budget by getting your business covered in key publications at a fraction of the cost compared to a paid placement,” says Ghiorzi.

And, if a brand has spent time in the past building a following, it can leverage that audience to help support it during tougher times.

Successful Brands

Brands with momentum may believe they have no need for PR. Quite the contrary, says Himler.

“Many esteemed brands with large followings on social media may have less of a need for traditional PR, i.e., media relations. They simply announce their news via their ‘owned’ channels and it propagates from there.”

Himler continues, “However, most companies—big and small—do not enjoy the same luxury as an Apple or Google or Amazon. They must engage the beat reporters who follow their industry, or company awareness and esteem can deteriorate. Then, they may just end up in the trash heap of brands that have lost their luster.”

“When the going is good, why not start telling your story to your audience? Because there will come a time when the economy is not so good, and you need customers to know who you are,” says Brad Marley, consultant, and owner of Yelram Media

“When that happens, it’s not as if a brand can snap its fingers and generate momentum. if you’re waiting until the bust to invest in PR to generate publicity, you’ve waited too long.”

Every business needs PR, no matter their size or age.


275 183 Emma Macharia

Building your brand through Public Relations

With the pace of the technological innovation, the needs and desires of consumers change faster than ever. Companies need to keep up with these changes, adapting their brands to the ways people are communicating.

PR professionals understand this more than anyone and are always on the lookout for new ways to shape the brand strategy around the latest trends.

An essential aspect of a modern comms strategy is timing; it’s now more vital than ever that a company knows when it’s time to shift their brand message, with buy in from the C-Suite and that companies agree to consider a PR communications-first approach.

How Brands Have Changed

Historically, the idea of branding was a static concept focused on the way a company looked—the logo, the style guide, etc.—and how it made people feel. Nowadays, brands are dynamic; they breathe, live, and grow with the market and consumer preferences.

A comms team can encourage a brand to evolve by using some of what Dan Hill calls “PR Superpowers,” which include:

  • Leveraging influencer relationships
  • Understanding the new industry trends
  • Gaining insights from listening to their audiences, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more

The job of a communications team has gone from telling stories, to crafting one based on real data from their customers and market.

How to Be a Brand Leader

If PR professionals want to lead their company’s brand strategy, they need to assume the role of a “brand leader,” and not just a “brand manager.

Here’s how Dan breaks down the differences between one and the other:

pr can lead

The key to becoming a brand leader is to be an active member of the communications team, think strategically, focus on the vision, and on the people that make the company.

Active Communication

In order to be able to listen to what the market and consumers are saying, a PR professional needs to implement an active communications strategy.

Active communication means that the PR professional needs to stop broadcasting messages and focus on creating an opportunity to listen to what their audience has to say, what they like, and how they behave. It means taking those insights and making actionable business decisions.

Brand Analytics

A communications team needs to be able to base its decisions and craft their brand’s story based on real data. To this extent, there is a suite of media intelligence tools that allow PR professionals to:

  • Find the right tone around a conversation, see the number of people having a given conversation, and their geo-location
  • Track key themes
  • Measure share of voice

This data allows a PR and marketing team to pinpoint and broadcast messages based on what an audience says they want to hear.

How to Build a Brand in Motion

If a brand wants to stay up to date with trends, it needs to stay competitive by:

  • Formulating clear and defined goals
  • Making data-driven decisions
  • Striving for continuous improvement
  • Focusing the mission on what it’s best at

You can see the differences between a brand in motion versus a static one:

pr can lead


Brands will continue to evolve. Instead of guessing what they need to do to create change, PR pros have a variety of media intelligence options that allow them to listen to their audience to evolve organically and market more actively. This opens up an opportunity for active audience engagement; find what your audience likes and with this information, improve the way you communicate messages.

PR can lead the way by implementing these tactics. Soon you’ll be on the road to cultivating a brand that is able to adapt, change, and grow exponentially.

By Ivan Kreimer


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