By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator Of PrPro And Owner Of Energy PR
Anyone who doubts the crucial role PR can play in a business’ financial success need only look at Greggs.
In May the high street baker had a tussle with George Osborne and the "pasty tax". Going on the PR offensive, it positioned the potential VAT on pasties as a tax on the working man and woman. The media got behind it and before you could say "carbohydrate" the government had done a u-turn and that staple of the British diet (and a sizeable chunk of Greggs' profits) were saved.
Greggs once again demonstrated its PR savvy last week when it announced that it has done a deal with the NAAFI to supply frozen savouries including sausage rolls, steak bakes and sausage and bean melts to a British base in Germany. This is apparently in response to strong demand from homesick troops who want a little taste of home. If successful, the trial will be followed by a roll out to military bases globally including Afghanistan and the Falklands.
This could open up useful new revenues to the retailer, but frankly even if the trial doesn't work out, the baker has once again struck PR gold. It has aligned its brand to something deeply patriotic; it has underscored the close relationship between Greggs and the great British public, suggesting the brand is a crucial part of our every day fabric, something we long for, miss, value - something which represents home. It's PR genius which will not only pay dividends today but also in the future. After all, how hard is it going to be for the health lobby to criticise Greggs or its ilk for producing calorie laden food, now that it has become the pastry equivalent of the force's sweetheart?
While you might think the Greggs example cannot relate to your business, there are some lessons for us all to take from its proactive approach...
- Use PR to protect your business' interests not just to promote your brand
- Trials and initiatives make great PR fodder and can be highly tactical
- Prioritise PR, use it as a business weapon ...not an add on
- Get to the hub of what your business stands for, and promote it at every turn
- Be audacious ...There's no proof that the soldiers are missing the bakery's fare, but that doesn't matter, it has said they are and in one fell swoop Greggs has turned its output into a national treasure!
Louise Findlay-Wilson has two businesses to help get your PR motoring:
If you are looking for a great PR agency visit www.EnergyPR.co.uk
For more PR training and tools so you can do your own PR visit www.prpro.co.uk