When a company communicates about its products or its objectives, it alters its image. Hence the importance of a good public relations strategy.
Public relations correspond to conscious communication between companies and the public. PR should create, in the long term, a positive image of the company and establish a climate of trust.
For an effective communication policy, public relations should already be taken into consideration in the business plan.
Groups to reach
The public includes:
- interested parties
- media representatives
- along with representatives from the world of politics, culture, the economy, the administration and sports
A brochure presenting the company image is the foundation of all good public relations. This should simply and credibly present the objectives the company is pursuing and the advantages it offers its customers. It is useful to include a list of reference customers.
A PowerPoint presentation of the company’s image can also be provided by the SME itself. This may be enough to start with, but should later be replaced by products created by professionals, for which a minimum of CHF 2,000 should be budgeted.
Operations aimed directly at the public fall into three categories:
- Media work (newspapers, magazines, specialist publications, radio and TV)
- PR instruments (company website, open-door days, conferences, workshops, etc.)
- Support for activities/sponsoring (culture, sports, social)
An advantageous way of establishing and maintaining a positive image with the public is to regularly feature in the editorial section of mass media. For this, entrepreneurs should always maintain good personal contact with the local press.
But contact alone is not enough. It is also essential to tell an interesting story about the company. In fact, content should be interesting enough for the public and media to actually read. Rather than sales figures, then, it is more worthwhile to mention that the company’s history dates back one hundred years, that it is raising money for a good cause or that it is taking voluntary measures to protect the environment.
There are other methods, such as press releases and press conferences, as well as specialist articles.
For direct communication with customers, companies should publish customer magazines, sales brochures and flyers. These materials should be adapted to the needs of product development, marketing and sales.