Reputation, the last thing on your mind? Think again.

Mistakenly leaders invest in PR when it is too late

“In your kind of business, you have to convince people that they need you.” – These words were spoken almost as a through-away comment in a business conversation. Yet, they are so true. Public Relations and reputation management far too often do not come into play until the crisis has hit. Then, naturally, people are convinced of their usefulness.

Business leaders are rightly focused on the next sale, the next hire, the next meeting and the way forward. Excellent business leaders, however, realise that tomorrow’s business relies on today’s reputation. Hiring PR professionals only as a way to ‘clean-up’ or to ‘prevent the worst’ rather than investing in your brand and good standing is a miscalculation.

Steady investment drives business

“Why?” The steady investment in a good reputation and strong relationships with stakeholders and media, while no insurance, provides the backdrop needed to call upon support and understanding when the chips are down. Furthermore, sales depend on reputation.

Trigger-happy finger pointing

The current Zeitgeist in countries such as the UK and USA is marked by purchase decision-making which is no longer based on products and prices. Rather, we are seeing a strong desire to see brands contribute to the community in one way or the other. Unfortunately, this is compounded by trigger-happy finger-pointing at brands which do not measure up. The result is brand damage and loss of sales.

Public Relations must be part and parcel of any marketing strategy in today’s business environment. It cannot be an add-on.

Excellent reputation management will include three core elements:

– a consistent stakeholder strategy,
– an engaged social media strategy,
– committed media relations with long-term focus.

It is only through ongoing relationship building and dialogue that brands will be able to ascertain where the market and customers are heading. A clear Public Relations strategy identifies where reputational issues might pose a threat. Strong relationship management can build the understanding businesses need to create sustainable success. It is here that brand loyalty is won.

In today’s climate, business owners and leaders who spend little time and money on brand reputation are likely to be making a very bad investment decision.

Return on investment is about finances. Reputation is its breading ground.

If you are not thinking about reputation as a key vehicle to drive your ROI, think again.

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