Kieran Hall writes…
Public opinion can often be the difference between the success and failure of a business, particularly today where news and opinions can be spread online in the blink of an eye.
And it’s not only journalists and media outlets shaping public opinion these days. Anyone can now write a blog, comment on a website article, post a Facebook update or send a Twitter message, with the social nature of these online platforms meaning information is being shared faster and wider than ever before.
It’s therefore vital that companies – large and small – pay attention to what people are seeing, hearing and saying about them. More importantly, companies should be looking to help shape these communications, which can influence the decision-making of business leaders, governments, investors and the general public, and in turn influence the success or otherwise of your business.
So how well does your organisation communicate? Are you getting the right messages across to key influencers at the right time? And are they consistent messages delivered via the most appropriate format, whether it’s a media release to the nation’s newspapers, an e-newsletter to your database or a targeted proposal to clients, prospective business partners or governments?
Are you maximising ‘good news’ opportunities to ensure stakeholders are kept informed of key achievements, milestones or new capabilities, and conversely, are you adequately prepared to manage the not-so-good news opportunities should trouble strike?
Reputation is everything in business and communication plays a critical role in establishing, building and safeguarding it. And don’t think that reputation management is primarily the domain of massive corporations. Every business should recognise the value of their ‘brand’ and put measures in place to develop and preserve it.
There’s an old saying that ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ and that’s certainly the case for communication. Companies should have a dedicated communication plan in place to ensure managers and key staff are all on the same page in terms of what your organisation’s objectives really are, who your target audience is, what you’re trying to say and how you’re going to say it.
Crisis communication is very much a part of this too. If there was a crisis at your workplace, would your company be sufficiently prepared to handle a media scrum that arrives unannounced on your doorstep? Public relations can help guide you through the tough times as well as the good.
Furthermore, PR can assist in positioning your company to help attract and retain quality staff. In a highly competitive labour market, the companies who are most likely to draw the best people are those that have a strong public profile, whether that be at a local level for smaller businesses or at a national or international level for larger organisations competing for global talent.
Consistent, strategic communication should be an ongoing focus for every company to help ensure the overriding goals of the organisation are achieved.
Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.