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Public Relations can't fix everything so find another way



Sometimes work in public relations doesn’t achieve the desired results for a company, despite a solid strategy and an appealing campaign. In this situation PR practitioners can find themselves wondering why their communications strategy didn’t get the legs it deserved, or why they couldn’t resolve the problem they intended too. If you are in this position, you might also find yourself constantly responding to small-scale PR crises – issues around escalating customer complaints and the like – that impose a reactive communications workload. So where’s it going wrong?

These symptoms indicate that your communications strategy and brand advocacy work is competing with an opposing force. Unless you investigate and address these barriers from other areas of the business, they will quickly undermine your public relations plan. Public relations can’t fix everything, so find another way.

Fundamental underlying problems with your company’s products, services, or the business systems in place that define the customer experience, will be a constant obstruction to the success of your public relations work. No matter how good the campaign or how big the budget, you will not achieve the results you want for your company if you are battling against operational obstacles. Sometimes we have to admit there are things that public relations simply cannot fix! But you can find solutions by other means.

As a PR practitioner you already know it’s vital to intimately understand your company’s products, services, and line of business. What better way to get a true understanding of the customer experience than by testing and using the products or services yourself, or perhaps company-wide? If you’ve got reservations about using those services yourself, then you know there’s a problem!

In the software industry this practice is known as “eating your own dog food” or “dogfooding”. The idea being that if the company expects customers to buy its products, it should also be willing to use those products. Anecdotal evidence suggests that pushing people who design products to actually use them, and rely on them, improves the quality and usability of products in the longer term.

Whether it’s a company-wide initiative or a solo research venture you undertake, Briggs Communications advocates this proactive and informative way for people in PR communications jobs to assess systems for potential issues, risks or problems. This approach is your opportunity to identify barriers that might detrimentally impact the brand, and hamper the effects of communications strategy.

It’s also a great opportunity for PR staff to put their environmental scanning and consultative skills to work, and make recommendations about how systems or customer service procedures might be improved to remove barriers to business development and progress.

So, although you might find your public relations campaign can’t solve the problem in this scenario, remember that as a PR professional it’s your job to help preserve the company brand. That encompasses the promises your brand makes to its customers in regard to product guarantees, quality, specialist service delivery and customer service. So it’s important to do the research and give strategic advice where necessary to other areas of business operations that can benefit from a subjective analytical eye.

Does your organisation have an effective communications strategy? We offer a range of services to help you plan, build, and execute relevant and powerful communications strategies; Click here to get in touch with our team today.

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