Reputation matters when investing in public relations

In today’s fast paced world of competing for exposure for your product or service; in convincing stakeholders why your company is better than the competition, or to encourage a specific call to action, organisations are realising the importance of strategically managing their communication and the importance of effective brand management. The days of traditional ‘public relations’ with parties, promotions and the “Spray and Pray” approach for media exposure is long gone.

However, as more businesses realise the importance of communication management, so more and more ‘public relations’ companies are also popping up; they are a dime a dozen promising heaven and earth, but ultimately have little skill or a limited data base to maximise media liaison and opportunities for your hard earned investment, which in the long run negatively impacts on the reputation of the industry.

Regine le Roux, Managing Director at Reputation Matters (PRISA PRISM Award Winners and Number 1 Reputation Management Company in South Africa 2012 and January 2013*), provides the following advice for organisations to consider when they do decide to invest in a communication management company. There are many areas to consider, but ultimately it boils down to three ‘R’s – Roadmap, Resources and Results.

Firstly, the ROADMAP – does the communication agency make an effort to understand your organisation and do they ask about your business goals? If the agency does not have an integral understanding of your organisation they will not be able to put a comprehensive communication roadmap i.e. strategy and goals into place to help you achieve your business goals. It is also important to understand what services the agency offers; will they be able to provide you with a comprehensive communication solution that will help you to reach your business goals?

In order for the agency to implement the communication strategy, it is important that you know which RESOURCES will be assigned to work with you. You need to know whether it is a one-man-show or whether there is a team who will be assigned to you. There are pros and cons for both scenarios. The main concern to take into consideration with a one-person entity, is to know what the contingency plan is if something happens to the person managing your communication; when it comes to a team, very often senior members close the deal and then the communication plan gets assigned to a junior or intern. You need to make sure that you have a rapport with the person or team that you will be working with and that they resonate with your organisation’s core values.

Finally, ask about RESULTS – how will your return on investment be measured? How will you know whether your communication initiative was truly successful? Clear measurable goals are therefore key at the beginning of every campaign. It is also important to know how often there will be communication to discuss progress and issues to ensure that the results will be achieved or to put contingency plans in place. It is also recommended that you get references and feedback from current and previous clients about the public relations agency, so that you know what to expect.

For more information about managing your communication and ultimately investing in your reputation, visit www.reputationmatters.co.za or call 011 317 3861 (Jhb) or 021 790 0208 (Cpt). We are also on Facebook www.facebook.com/yourreputationmatters and Twitter @ReputationIsKey

* Rated by TopSEOs

About Reputation Matters

Reputation Mattes is not just another PR company, we are so much more! We measure five core dimensions of the organisation using our unique RepudometerTM research tool to understand what is building or breaking down the reputation. We have been looking after reputations for the past eight years, with at least a threefold return on investment for our clients. Reputation Matters joined ECCO International Communications Network in 2012 and represents the network in South Africa. For more information about reputation management visit www.reputationmatters.co.za. We are also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourreputationmatters and Twitter @ReputationIsKey

Let your New-Year’s resolution be to not have resolutions for your business

Now that the novelty of the New Year has worn off, how many of your New-Year resolutions have survived the first four weeks of 2013? According to a survey conducted by Franklin Covey, 35% of New Year’s resolutions are broken before the end of January. For this reason, Kathi Clarke, international award winning Industrial Psychologist and Business Growth Expert, advises business owners against setting New-Years’ resolutions for their businesses and suggests that business owners rather take the ‘smart’ option of setting very specific, measurable, achievable, result-orientated and time-bound goals for their businesses.

“Good business happens on purpose,” says Clarke. “The beginning of the year is a good time to establish priorities for the next twelve months. However, before business owners can set themselves goals, it is important that they ask and answer these three pertinent questions,” explains Clarke.

“Can you answer without any hesitation, ‘what is it that makes what we do/sell special, different and better to ensure that more wallet share gets spent with us than our competition;  in short what is our unique selling point (USP)?  When I ask business owners this, their response more often than not is, ‘delivering a high quality product or service’; ‘service excellence’ or ‘quality workmanship’  While this may be true, unfortunately it is not sufficiently compelling as it is what all other businesses are also saying. Unless you as a business owner can clearly articulate exactly what sets you apart from your competition research tells us that you will have a watered-down marketing message that will not compel prospects to buy from you.

“The second question is, ‘do you have a business or a job? Too often business owners make the mistake of assuming that because turnover and profitability are sound, they have a business.  The real test is to ask yourself whether the business would continue to run if you were not there.  If the answer is no, you have a job which is fine as long as you stay healthy and able.  However, if you find yourself needing to sell out, you’ll very quickly appreciate that you don’t have an asset but a liability that either now can’t function or isn’t worth a reasonable asking price without you.

“This brings us to the third question, ‘do I have a winning team in place?’  Investment in a team and resources to consistently deliver your service/product is key to reducing dependency on you as the owner.  It is also pivotal to helping you free up your time to work on as opposed to in the business and enjoy the lifestyle that you went into your own business for in the first place.

“Comprehensive, clear answers to these questions will contribute to the setting and ultimately achievement of your goals for a successful 2013;” explains Clarke

Kathi Clarke is an international award winning Industrial Psychologist, certified ActionCOACH Business Coach, business growth expert and owner of Building Best Business. With over 25 years’ experience, Kathi has been successfully helping clients to up their profitability whilst maintaining a healthy work life balance. She also finds the time to offer her services probono to NPOs.