16/02/2012

By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator of PrPro and Owner of Energy PR

Contrary to what many may feel PR is not simply about ‘press releases.’ Getting into magazines or newspapers, onto TV or radio may be important, but it’s not the only form of communications deployed when you do PR.

PR is about any activity which communicates what you want to communicate to your audiences.

To explore what I mean let’s examine PR at an imaginary food retailer, called Bargain Food Stores. A prompt, friendly experience at Bargain Food Stores busy checkout is PR – because it’s communicating to shoppers (the audience that matters) that the supermarket may be busy but it still cares about the customer and is efficient and friendly.

A fantastic customer newsletter from that same retailer with recipe ideas, articles on fair trade products, news of the retailer’s environmental initiatives and so forth is also PR. It’s keeping me informed about what’s on offer at Bargain Food Stores, it’s telling me I matter, it’s showing me the business has a soul, it’s being helpful and inspiring me with fresh reasons to do my shop there.

Magazine articles raving about Bargain Food Stores new store layout, or outlining its success against its competitors, are also PR. They’re telling the audiences that matter (both shoppers and shareholders) that it’s a savvy operator. It knows how to create fantastic stores, secure great deals for customers and run a successful retail business. It is therefore worthy of my custom as a shopper, and my money as an investor.

A fun blog, written by Bargain Food Stores’ chief executive, outlining his regime getting fit for a charity marathon is also PR. It’s portraying the retailer as caring and open – so much so that even its busy CEO will find the time to do something for charity.

An internal event designed to get the entire firm’s staff primed ahead of the main Christmas sale season is PR – it’s getting that vital audience (staff) ready to deliver at the most crucial time in the retail calendar.


All of the elements above are PR because they are communicating an important message to an important audience.
That Bargain Food Stores twitter account asking me for recipe suggestions, and dealing with my questions, customer service queries and interacting with me in a friendly but professional way is PR because its showing that me, the customer, matters and the retailer is always on tap to deal with my questions.

I could go on, and give examples for accountancy firms, biotech businesses, packaging companies, software houses, telcos, restaurants and so forth but you get the gist. No matter what business you are thinking about, any activity which communicates what you want to communicate to your audiences can be classified as PR. Media activity may be the largest, most famous part of the PR mix, but it’s not everything.

Louise Findlay-Wilson will be speaking at The Online Business Makeover at Microsoft HQ, London on 12th March 2012. To find out the top 30 online tricks and techniques for Online PR book today! Plus, quote promotional code ONLY200 when you book and save 1/3 off the full ticket price of £299+VAT!

Louise has two businesses to help get your PR motoring:
For more training and tools so you can do your own PR visit www.prpro.co.uk. If you are looking for a PR agency visit www.EnergyPR.co.uk