PR is a crucial element in any business regardless of size or industry. It is through PR that a brand’s persona is developed and maintained. Naturally then, successful PR results in a favourable brand perception, and by extension, improved sales and profit margins. And because PR plays such a powerful role in business success it should be integrated into other business elements, especially those elements that focus on communication.
PR and Marketing
Experts have, at least within the last decade, acknowledged and emphasized the need for PR and marketing departments to collaborate or merge. This is because the functions of the two areas are so interconnected that the only way for both to truly succeed is for some integration to take place. Because PR establishes the brand’s persona, it also sets the tone for all communication that will come from the company, including the messages delivered by the marketing department.
PR and Communication
It is easy to see the link between PR and marketing, which is why many brands already have strategies in place to integrate the two. But PR should also be integrated into other elements of your business. One such element is communications. Your business’ communications should be en sync with its PR. Why? Because the image you want to establish and maintain is best created and developed through your communications with the public. This means that all written and spoken messages that you share with existing and potential customers and the general public should adhere to the concept you developed for your brand’s persona.
PR and Advertising
Like marketing and communication, advertising shares some similarities with PR that makes integration not only logical but also essential. The brand’s advertisements should reflect the personality created by the PR team. This means the tone, voice, images and message need to be in line with what the brand’s PR has been promoting. Clearly then the advertising department need to work closely with the public relations department.
Clearly, marketing, advertising, public relations and communications focus on similar business needs. This is one of the reasons many smaller companies find it convenient and logical to merge these functions. And even those companies that can afford multiple departments are fast adopting an approach known as the Integrated Marketing Communication (or IMC), which in a nutshell, combines the communication arms of the organization. Ultimately, the goal of IMC is to ensure that all the company’s communications reflect one voice, one standard or one persona regardless of the department of origin.
When it comes to integration with PR, this aspect of the business doesn’t really spring to mind immediately. But the truth is some amount of integration between PR and operations management is important. Here’s why. Operations management covers the daily activities that form the core of the business. In other words all those activities that must take place in order for the deliverables to reach the customer. At some point in the operations, the public is engaged and at this stage it is crucial that the ethos established by PR is maintained. This is especially critical in the sales and customer service departments.
Although the level and nature of the integration may vary by element, PR should, without a doubt, be blended into most if not all business elements. Naturally those departments with a heavy focus on communicating with the public should demonstrate the highest level of integration with PR than those that don’t. But, the experts all agree that when this approach is taken, the brand is more likely to successfully navigate what can be a noisy and competitive scene and establish itself in a dominant (and positive way) in the minds of the target audience.
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