Reputation, whether it is good or bad, needs to be managed. Companies and organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of brand management and corporate reputation to achieve business goals and stay one step ahead of the competition.
For companies, a good corporate reputation is built on trust, be that through the provision of good products, the delivery of services and customer relations, or just communicating effectively about what you do with the people who matter the most. This includes customers, employees and the wider community in which you operate.
These groups will build a perception of your company based on what they see, hear and experience, either through direct communication from you or from other sources, such as word-of-mouth, the media and online.
To ensure the right messages are getting through you need a carefully thought through PR strategy, which will help you to engage with the people and companies you need to talk to in order to influence what they think and win their loyalty.
Your PR strategy should support your business goals and objectives, and should identify target audiences, the key messages you want to convey and the tactics to be employed.
There are a number of different PR tactics that can be used, depending on who you want to target, from media relations and corporate affairs to stakeholder engagement and social media.
A media relations programme, for example, will help build awareness and understanding of what you do through regular and favourable news coverage in the press, be it print, broadcast or online. This is a key element of any effective PR strategy.
A PR company will be able to assist in establishing and developing relationships with your target media and journalists, as well as identify the types of news angles and opportunities that will give you the exposure you desire.
Social media should be an integrated part of your strategy, rather than treated separately, as it will be able to support the dissemination of your news and key messages or work on a more sophisticated level to engage and interact with online audiences and influencers.
A good PR company will be able to advise you on the best strategy for your business.
Remember, it can take years to build a reputation but just days to destroy it.