The ways of PR are mysterious to most. Rightly so. The more complex a project is, the harder it is to grasp what actually is going on. That’s why we are so prone to put things in boxes and categories and smother them with labels and precise terminology – to make sense of an increasingly complex society and its processes. I’m talking about the world at large, but this is especially true in the face of a digital wave that has upended many of the processes we have grown used and familiar to. 📲📲📲
PR is one such phenomenon. Because PR work operates on so many different levels and involves a number of different techniques, plans, and mechanisms, it seems diffuse and hardly transparent. In this article, I will walk you through a couple of paragraphs on how PR can be used to build you reputation to shed some light into the mysterious cave of PR.
Naturally, there are many more goals that can be reached through successful PR strategies, but let’s start with reputation management in this one. If you want a heads-up on why PR in general is worth investing your time (and money, as per usual in business), head over here and take a look at my colleague Kate’s article. 👈
Why Reputation Matters
No more general things, let’s dive into some more specifics, as I promised. First of all, why is there an interest into building, nurturing, and maintaining a reputation? As an article on Forbes suggests, there are two main factors: “1. Proactive: seeking to project a positive image of a person, brand or enterprise” 👏 and “2. Reactive: fearing a sudden crisis or media disaster which will rock the company boat severely.” 😱
While the focus here is to address how PR can build and maintain a brand’s reputation, it is of utmost importance not to underestimate the value of the reactive approach to repair damaged reputation -- especially in times of the quick-witted social media and cancel culture, the age of fake news, and the resulting blurry switch between belief and disbelief in public opinion. To find out more how PR can help with this, check out this Forbes article on this matter here. 👈
Back to the more positive approach: building the reputation that hopefully won’t need saving. What makes for a good brand reputation? The answer, as often, is not only one or the other, but a balance and combination of factors: authenticity, the alignment of your personal passion with your brand’s values, morals, and investment in projects. All of this is determined by the way your employees are treated, the way you engage with your audience, the way you produce your products, etc. Is your brand diverse? 🙌🏿🙌🏾🙌🏽🙌🏼🙌🏻 Sustainable? 🌱🌱🌱 Does it offer equal pay? 💃💸
We would take these things for granted in 2020, yet they still seem to come out shockingly in the media once the real state of affairs in a company is revealed. Whether it’s a sustainable business using chemical components and causing pollution, or a brand with a family-focused reputation using child labour – here, even PR won’t save your reputation, but here, you need to change your company values. 🌪
In any case, following simple rules aligning with shared societal values of sustainability, equality, and diversity seem so obvious as not to point them out, but they are at the root of a good reputation. One example of such a reputation as discussed and analysed in this Harvard Business Review article here is Volvo.
Communication, Visibility, and Credibility
One of the methods PR uses to help your reputation is through the communication channels. “PR has always nurtured and protected reputations by helping organisations to communicate with their various audiences”, as Absolutely PR and Marketing point out in this article here.
Apart from communication, or rather as part of and in addition to communication, PR can also help increase your brand’s visibility, which is a key part of reputation management. If no one has heard about you, then there’s no reputation to be managed. If you want to know more about how PR can increase your visibility through blogging, among other things, check out Evie’s article here. 👩💻
If you’re visible, it doesn’t automatically lead to a good reputation. But what makes a good reputation, anyway? I mentioned authenticity and the alignment of values – these eventually boil down and intertwine with your credibility.
You guessed it: PR can also help with this. For more on that matter, head over here to read Courtney’s take on how PR can help to increase your credibility.
As you can see, the ways through which PR operates to manage your reputation are numerous and worth your time. However, if you’re not yet fully convinced by this brief overview, let me refer you to some more arguments. Read up on 5 further steps through which PR can help build your reputation here, or head over to From Unknown to Expert if have read enough for one day and rather fancy listening to a podcast on that matter here. ✨✨✨
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About the Author
Sarah is a PR assistant at GuidedPR. She holds a BA hons in English and Comparative Literature and has just moved to London to start her MA in Modern Literature and Culture at King's College London. She's usually busy writing and consuming caffeine. ☕☕☕
Find her on Linkedin here.