Marketing of Public Relations in India

A Public Relations service is fast becoming a growing component of the communication segment that attaches itself to advertising and marketing companies, and other business firms. Due to the growing popularity of public relations services, more and more public relations agencies have come forward with their quality service through effective marketing. Public relations agencies act as an outstanding example of a perfect intermediary between advertising and marketing companies, business houses, and media houses and the consumers. Public relations firms take care of the need for an effective communication exchange between these stakeholders in the most efficient manner. Moreover, these public relations firms manage to unfalteringly provide the information needs of prominent brand managers, advertising and marketing communication professionals, advertising decision-makers, and media planning professionals, and so on. Many of the media professionals today are of the opinion that public relations is effectively heading straight to become the most prevailing advertising and marketing services discipline. The Indian domestic scenario related to public relations services shows a positive growth in the recent times. In fact, several of the leading public relations agencies in the country are putting their intelligence together to reach a stage of development that benefits all. The most effective formula for the success of public relations services is the presence of a favorable marketing ground for their services.

In the event of an economic slump, there are still a lot of companies and firms that are willing to continue with their purpose, although the amount of business gets somewhat slackened. In such a case, when it is very important to boost business and elevate the status of any particular company, the need for effective public relations is felt. It is very important to observe here that it is only due to the planning and strategies of public relations firms that business revives its position. Public relations firms present their business intelligence, creative approach, and energetic sales strategies to achieve their goals. As a result of the efforts of public relations, when the economy makes a u-turn towards normalcy, major business players obtain immense support, while companies of lesser status achieve a new high in their status. It becomes very crucial for various business enterprises dealing in all sorts of business to gain from the continued support and guidance of public relations services. In fact, a public relations is that part of the business industry that exists majorly for the development of business and national economy.

Choosing the Right Public Relations (PR) Firm – 5 Helpful Tips

If there is one industry that has become overly saturated these days it is the field of Public Relations. It seems that PR Firms are cropping up faster than weeds, and the process of sorting through the slush to choose a public relations company of quality can be a daunting and overwhelming process, to say the least.

This article offers you 5 helpful tips that can hopefully make the journey of choosing a PR Firm or a publicist a little bit easier and more streamlined, so that you can get the most bang for your public relations buck, and actually see a return on your investment.

Five Tips For Choosing The Right PR Firm For You

1. Size – Are you seeking a large corporate PR Firm, a mid-size firm or a small or boutique firm?

The question I pose is not a black and white one. The answer to this question must be determined by several things. Your budget, how much hand holding and personal attention you require, how far you want your public relations outreach to be, and your desire for a team working on your account or for just one or two ambitious publicists working on your account. Large corporate public relations firms generally charge between $10,000 and $20,000 per month for their basic retainer services, so budget is a huge factor here. To a company like Microsoft or Johnson & Johnson this is a drop in the bucket. But to a small or medium sized company that type of fee is far out of reach. The benefits of a large national and sometimes international firm is the wide reach your brand can achieve, a large team working on your account, a large pool of other clients who are with that firm from that your company can possibly network with and benefit from. These large firms generally have a ton of experience on their side. Many of these large PR Firms are 20, 30 or 50 plus years old. The downside of these large firms aside from the hefty monthly fee is the amount of bureaucracy and red tape involved in the day to day functions of the company, and unfortunately this can often lead to smaller clients falling through the cracks. Another minus to working with large PR Firms is the lack of personal touch and attention, which is fine for established companies but not as good for start ups, small and medium sized companies who require more nurturing, more brand development and other complimentary services like writing and basic marketing assistance.

Smaller public relations firms tend to offer monthly retainers that can range anywhere from $7000.00 all the way down to about $2500.00 depending on how much overhead that firm has, their level of experience and expertise, their particular public relations niche, their contacts and how much time they plan to devote to your account. Most PR Firms out there tend to fall into the mid-size, boutique or small category and are also very effective at doing their job.

2. Ignore the Hype and Look at a Public Relations Firm’s Portfolio of Work!

I cannot stress this enough. In perusing some colleagues’ websites recently I was shocked to observe that some of these websites have flashy graphics, catchy promotional copy about their services, and glossy images but NO examples of their media placements, marketing case studies, writing samples… nada! Where is their work? Don’t fall for public relations firms that are all flash and no substance. Always, and I mean always look to see if their website is packed with examples of past projects, past examples of media placements and other examples of work created by the firm. Look over the work that is displayed on their website and when speaking with a representative from that public relations firms ask them to elaborate on their body of work. Some great questions:

What media placements are you most proud of? How was that media placement achieved by your firm? What is your firms biggest strength? Can you tell me some of your contacts in the media? Can you give me some marketing case studies? Some public relations case studies? What sets your firm apart?

3. Make sure you are a match: Assessing values, vision and creativitiy

The above sentence is pretty self-explanatory but I will elaborate. This publicist or pr team will be your brand ambassador. You want someone whose values reflect your own values. You also want to be sure that your publicist understands, appreciates and shares your vision for your company or organization. If a PR Firm wants to pitch your beauty brand as an elite, untouchable, prestige brand and you want your beauty product to speak to the every-woman, showing her how beauty can be accessible to all women, then that publicist may have a vision that is not in line with yours and things will likely go from perplexing to downright tense. A good trick is, when speaking to a potential publicist ask him or her how they see your product, who they think your audience/demo is and how they envision positioning the product to the media and to potentiial consumers. Don’t expect them to go into too much detail before really delving into the product line, but they should give you a basic pitch that falls in line with your own vision. If not, move on.

4. Are you in it for Website traffic, magazine placements, TV appearances? What is it you want? Be specific!

Don’t be shy about what it is you want. Why are you searching for public relations services in the first place? Really sit down and think about it. And don’t be shy about your needs. Is your main objective to build a strong targeted online following to drive quality traffic to your website and convert visitors into sales? Is your main objective someone who can write outstanding copy for your business like press releases, articles, pitch copy to send to media outlets, etc.? Is your main objective to become something of a personality and expert in your field and to build a resume as someone who makes appearances on television news programs giving advice to promote yourself as a brand and an expert? Figure out what your goals are and choose a PR Firm that is strong in your area of interest.

5. Location, location, location

In the age of email, fax machines, long distance phone plans and inexpenseive air travel the location of your public relations firm may not matter to you… or it might. Do you want lots of face time with your publicist or do you not care if your publicist is in Timbuck Tu as long as they can get the job done, and get your company press coverage? Everyone’s comfort level with location is different and there is no right or wrong. If you are looking for entertainment public relations you may set your sights on a PR Firm that is in Los Angeles or in New York. If you are an up and coming Internet company you may find value in a San Francisco based PR Firm. Fashion, New York may be the way to go for you, unless your fashion line is a range of swimsuits; in that case a Miami PR Firm could be the right fit. Looking to attract the Latin market, again, Miami could be the key for you.

Or, you may simply look for a public relations firm with a rolodex of contacts in a particular city or industry, regardless of their brick and mortar location.

Public Relations – Integral For Business

Public relations is an absolutely integral part of any businesses recipe for success, in fact, a well thought out and properly enacted public relations plan can be the single most important part of a company’s marketing – and aside from a good product and hard working employees, the most important part of running a business. Public relations will determine exactly how your company is viewed or perceived in the public eye.

Current and potential customers like to be ensured that they are, or will be patronizing a company that cares. A public relations department can organize a plan of attack to let the consumer know that your company cares about people and the environment, and about any other burgeoning social issues. A good PR department will also make the public aware that your company has a new product on the horizon and why they have to be first in line to purchase it, or that your company is branching out to offer new services and how that will make you stronger and more capable of handling their needs as consumers.

Yet another great facet and important role of a public relations department is damage control. If something, anything goes wrong and the public is made aware that the problem arose from one of your company’s employee’s actions or due to a particular policy – a good PR department will be the first one on the scene to correct it. Writing releases for apology or correction of error, along with releases stating the fact that new employees and procedures are in place to prevent any future problems can often save a companies reputation in the public eye.

Inside or Out?

Many companies have their very own public relations departments, made up of what could be any number of employees who are responsible for a wide variety of duties including: producing eye catching press kits, writing poignant press releases, organizing charitable events and contributions and some general damage control.

This is usually the best option for large companies with big budgets in place for advertising and payroll. A good full time PR department is great if ever there are cases of an emergency that needs to be dealt with immediately.

Companies that don’t have their own public relations department, but that realize just how important the proper approach to and implementation of public relations can be, will often enlist the help of a third party public relations firm to take care of that end of the business for them.

This second option can work quite well for a company that doesn’t want to keep several full time employees on staff (having to take care of employee salaries, vacation and health benefits), when they can temporarily employee a service to do the job for them. Many reputable and successful public relations firms can bring quite a cost for the service that they provide, but often the results that are yielded from a good public relations campaign can certainly outweigh the cost of enlisting a firm to provide the work.

A third option is for a company to employ regular employees to handle the basic issues of a public relations department – to generate the thoughts and ideas behind the advertisements and new product pushes, but then hire freelance professional to take care of the artistic side of things (the graphics, design and writing).

Regardless of whether a company employs their own full time public relations department, enlists a third party to do the work or uses a combination of in house people and freelancers to get the job done – public relations is an enormous part of whether or not a company will succeed.