Public Relations


The power of PR

June 2020

Reading time: 3 minute(s).

Even if you prefer Apple to Microsoft, you can’t deny that Mr Gates is a pretty smart cookie when it comes to business.

In fact, with his staggering $110bn fortune, he is the third richest person in the world.

“If I only had two dollars left, I’d spend one dollar on PR.”

– Bill Gates

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It seems most unlikely he’d ever be down to his last two bucks, but his comment on PR should be taken seriously.

Let’s talk about a long-sleeved houndstooth dress high street retailer Zara was selling for £89.99. A perfectly lovely dress and an absolute bargain when it was reduced to £15.99 in a sale. It was advertised on their website and possibly featured in other advertising online and in print. No doubt a few women were persuaded to part with their cash.

But then something happened that meant it sold out within hours and was even listed for sale for £125 on eBay.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore it on a Royal visit.

Obviously, not everyone can have the seal of approval from Kate Middleton for their products, but it shows that third party endorsement is priceless.

And that’s the big difference between paid-for advertising and PR. When you place an advert, you are trying to tell potential customers how great you are; a well-placed newspaper or magazine story can do that for you without having to spell it out.

An advert can highlight a product or an offer; content in the media can give your business some context, and it builds trust with the public.

I’m sure we all have our moments of scepticism when looking at an advert, whereas a news story is offering a level of third-party validation.

Ask yourself honestly, which scenario is most likely to have you reaching for your bank card:
Reading a newspaper advert; or
Reading an article telling you about the product and the people behind it?

Would the Cambridge Satchel Company have become so successful if consumers didn’t know the story about Julie Deane making the bags at home with an initial spend of £600 to be able to fund her children’s private school fees?

Clearly the quality and the range were important, but customers also bought in to the story of a mum working hard to be able to provide for her family. And the exposure she received through the many column inches in the press would have counted for more than any advert could have achieved.

Fashion writers have for years influenced what we will buy and wear way more than any advert could do, because if the experts tell us we should be wearing mustard this season, then that is what we will wear.

In spite of all the shouts of ‘fake news’, consumers will still take note of what they read in the press and be influenced by it. So, for you as a business owner, you need to partner with someone who can make that happen.

But, don’t take our word for it, read our case studies here.

June 2020 | Adam Mclaughlan