PR and return on investment is a conversation that’s a little long in the tooth. Usually the clients who are dead-set on making you measure every conversion are the clients best avoided. It’s a far more enjoyable experience to work with business owners and marketers who get the power of PR and trust your ability to build brand with the resources they afford you.
PR is infinite; it’s happening with or without strategic efforts to wrangle it. What people think of you and your business, product, place or thing is the sum of all impressions. What PR professionals do is shape that impression so that it’s beneficial to you and your ideal clients and customers.
With this in mind it’s important to accept the PR is a long-term and sustainable investment. It’s best to avoid old Sex and the City, Samantha style PR thinking; the launch party era is over. .This is fluff and bubble PR that yields little impact beyond the clean-up of champagne glasses at the end of the event.
For the clients measuring your worth against digital marketers and forcing you into reporting sales figures; well that never has been PR and never will be.
These type of clients are best sent up the hall to advertising where they’ll feel more comfortable controlling the creative and perceived success. But as a consumer I know what I pay more attention to, and it’s not the ads!
An increase in click-throughs to a product or an up-tick in website enquiries is not the role or responsibility of public relations. That’s not how PR works. AT ALL. There are too many contributing factors to a sale outside PR control. A few listed here but not limited to:
- Quality of the product
- Quality of packaging
- Quality of brand design
- Product availability
- Price of the product
- Online experience
- Customer journey
- Customer experience
- Market interest and likeability
- The market environment
- Pre-PR campaign brand narrative efforts
- Supporting advertising
- Previous media strategy
- Event marketing
- Compelling copywriting
- Ambassador association
- Third-party endorsement
- Previous and current investment in PR
- Reasonable lead-time to execute tactics well
All of these factors will influence a sale. As well as this your previous PR investment will also contribute to compound your existing and current efforts.
Sure, PR professionals need to be accountable for delivering on the activations their clients have signed up for and agreed to. But PR is a fee-for-service industry. It’s not fee for result. Or fee for sales. PR is a communications function. It’s not and never has been and never should be held accountable for sales. It is not sales and performance marketing (measuring marketing efforts against sales patterns). PR is brand marketing (building brand narrative, brand awareness and attracting your right-fit community through multi-channel communications).
Reporting on ROI against PR efforts is like trying to put a dollar figure on a friend. You can’t. A friend likes you, knows you, trusts you, energises you, supports you, listens to you, contributes to meaningful conversation, is forever loyal and always has your back.
They say good things about you when you’re not in the room. They tell other people about how incredible you are and worthy to know. PR just like a good friend is all of these things to a business – your ultimate hype-guy. Friends, just like loyal fans of your business do not have a dollar figure on the value they bring to your world over a lifetime. PR is the effort to find friends for you and your business. The efforts and impact are evergreen. You can’t put a dollar figure on a friend.
Words by Jade Roberts
raraPR Founder and Creative Director
raraPR is above all the sum of people who together help build brands and share stories. We are present in our determination to make a positive difference to the world by representing individuals and businesses that are doing good. We are an extension of the personal stories within us, those that we exist for and those within you that need to be heard.
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