“Many things that are small have only become great with the right advertising.” – Mark Twain once said. Advertising is manipulation, the art of influencing a customer’s quick purchase decision, and on top of that, it’s everywhere and loud. Public Relations is a boring background that hardly anyone pays attention to. Nothing could be further from the truth! In a world of information chaos and ubiquitous advertising, PR activities form the basis of effective and efficient sales. PR is increasingly effectively entering where advertising cannot.
Advertising STOP! – consumers shout
How is this possible? Asks the manufacturer of mayonnaise, which advertises twice a year. There is no shortage of brands and varieties of this side dish and salad additive on the market. For the holidays they will buy it anyway. Nevertheless, people must be reminded of the tastiest one, the only one before Christmas and Easter. Otherwise, people will go to the market and buy another one. Even more surprising will be the manufacturer of teddy bears, which usually decides to advertise once a year, launching a few weeks before June 1. More often needs to make more sense… Unless it airs an additional commercial before Christmas or February 14.
PR goes in where advertising can’t
Suppose a manufacturer or seller wants to continuously convince his customer of a product or service and wants the consumer to remember it more than advertising is needed. And with that, many small everyday items become necessary, but only occasionally, once, maybe twice a year. And what about the other days? Asks the trader who sells these products in his store all year round. Recipients are growing tired of its presence year after year and even feel compelled to watch or listen to them. This is confirmed, among other things, by CBOS surveys conducted from time to time in Poland or by the results of a report by media house Mindshare. An even bumpier road opens up for advertising in the case of B2B communication, where the purchase decision looks completely different than in B2C communication. In business-to-business communications, advertising is relegated to a much more distant role and gives way heavily to PR activities, for which this segment is also quite a challenge.
The power of information – a slayer of misinformation
The E-shopper Barometer 2021 study illustrates in detail the purchasing decisions of e-consumers around the world. The report results show that consumers are becoming more informed and want to learn as much as possible about the product they intend to buy. This is happening regardless of country or culture. This is a growing trend that will continue to strengthen in the coming years. Therefore, reliable information, adequately packaged and served to both the end consumer and the business consumer, is increasingly expected. And this is the moment when PR comes into action. This brings us to the answer to the question in the title. It reads: YES! PR can support sales. And in what way? Just three steps are enough.
PR’s main base: Contact and dialogue with the audience
Without beating around the bush, it is necessary to give PR activities credit for the power they offer through their extensive ability to maintain contact with and dialogue with the recipient. Thanks to the increasingly modern tools at PR’s disposal, activities can exert a rational and practical influence on customers’ purchasing decisions. These range from the ever-modern social media to podcasts and webinars, which are increasingly popular among Internet users, where experts and influencers inform, compare and advise. In addition, PR benefits from the invaluable support of journalists by building and maintaining valuable relationships with them. Thanks to the power of the media, PR has unlimited opportunities to create a reliable image of a product, manufacturer, or even an entire organization. PR professionals in the role of ghostwriters daily do a piece of tedious and hard work based on constant research, countless phone calls, and participation in meetings, conferences, or organization of events. A separate article could be written about each PR tool. However, like any item, it is useless or downright dangerous if used by the wrong person. Drinkers specialize in telling a story about a product or a particular organization clearly and interestingly. They can grab the audience’s attention with the information they have gained about a given topic. Thanks to the aforementioned PR tools, they can tell the same story to the audience according to their taste and thus reach a broad spectrum of audiences.
The primary purpose of PR: to support sales 365 days a year
Imagine a menu whose main ingredient is mayonnaise from Company X. We serve it for breakfast through inspiring social media posts. We list the main advantages of a particular company’s product and annotate the post with a photo or a short video as needed. In the links, we refer to the company’s store and to the company’s blog, where interested potential customers can read much more about the product. They learn about its natural ingredients. They find recipes for tasty salads and receive a link to the company’s or a friend’s store, where they can buy the product. In the evening, they again receive a dose of short information on social media, and this time there is a link to a podcast that can be listened to at any time. An expert from the manufacturer’s factory talks about the production process of the company’s mayonnaise and reveals a bit about the efforts the manufacturer makes to ensure that their product meets the expectations of the most demanding customers who practice a healthy lifestyle every day. They can confidently use mayonnaise X in their menus and not worry about calories. This is just one of the many variations of interest in an ordinary product for many consumers. The ability to capture the consumer’s attention and conduct a dialogue with him is an important part of the daily work of PR specialists. Therefore, the agency and its people are the backbone of practical PR activities to support sales.
PR headquarters: the agency and its team
A good PR agency designs effective communications and often creates or at least modifies PR tools. That’s why it’s a good idea to use companies in this industry, experienced and specialized in the given projects, which can effectively promote sales and increase the interest of various audiences using the eternal power of information. All those manufacturers and their products, as well as all companies and the services they offer, which are willing to communicate with the recipient, are more likely to be chosen by the consumer, as confirmed by the E-shopper Barometer 2021 study cited earlier. Thanks to PR activities, product information is more reliable. The content created and distributed by the leechers are not empty slogans and meaningless sentences but valuable content backed up by concrete sources. In addition, PR activities are constantly open to contact with the public, who can get answers to their questions. The brand is active thanks to PR agencies’ numerous contacts with journalists, influencers, and opinion leaders. Agencies update the information provided to journalists, so a given product or company is present in the media all year round, not just occasionally. Using various forms of media, they constantly communicate the qualities of a given brand and thus influence consumers’ purchasing decisions.
PR supports sales
PR activities do not sell directly, but they support sales using various tools and methods. They accompany the entire process hand in hand and are constantly, albeit unobtrusively, present in the recipient’s daily life. Starting from drawing his attention, through constant contact with him, up to the purchase decision. However, even then, they do not abandon him. It is very important to make the customer stay for a longer period and come back again and again. The whole process, from getting the recipient’s attention through the purchase decision to their brand loyalty, is the famous marketing funnel and the AIDA model, which is also increasingly used by drinkers. Remember that PR activities are only as crucial as the specialists who deal with their implementation daily. Therefore, when choosing the right PR agency, please pay attention to its experience, not necessarily counted in years. Also significant is the number of completed projects and current clients. Pay attention to the team where young and novice specialists work together with experienced PR Specialists. And finally – on the projects themselves. Specialization of the agency is as important as the precise definition of our target audience.
Survey – Barometr E-shopper 2021 – https://www.dpd.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/260/2022/03/Barometr-e-shopper_2021.pdf
Content marketing & social media. How to attract customers, Stawarz-Garcia Barbara