Tag: pr

REDIRECTING BUDGETS TO PR FOR SUSTAINABLE RESULTS

For many of us, it is human nature to invest in those areas that reap immediate rewards. Depending upon a business’ objectives and the tactics being used, PR isn’t always one of those things. This can lead companies to allocate their budgets elsewhere. However, with a little time, patience and expertise, the benefits achieved through a sustained programme of activity, can elevate an organisation to levels which far outweigh financial spend.

That’s not to say that PR isn’t a specialism with the potential to provide results quickly. Campaigns are a great example of how tangible outcomes can be achieved within a relatively short period of time. However, to deliver sustainable results which benefit the long-term success of a business, PR should be considered an investment for the long-haul.

The true power of PR

Some consider it to be a ‘dark art’, but this is based on outdated perceptions. Actually, put quite simply, public relations does what it says on the tin. It helps a company relate to the public, forming an important interface between an organisation and its customers, employees and stakeholders.

It allows a business to share whatever it needs to say, in a way which is authentic to the organisation. These communications are managed, from start to finish, by specialists who know how to craft a message in a way which will appeal to each unique audience.

The best channels through which to share news are carefully considered, and timed, so that developments are received positively – both by the media, and by the intended audience. Ultimately, PR professionals increase awareness while managing the reputation of a business. This allows brands to reach new levels of love and a position where they can be considered ‘well-known’.

A team that can be relied upon

A good PR agency will become an extension of their client’s teams. A service that can be relied upon during times of uncertainty, and a sounding board for trusted advice and guidance.

Most businesses will endure a crisis at some point during their journey. Depending on the nature of the industry, some will weather a number. However, having a reliable PR team on board, who already know the company and its systems and processes, really can be the difference between a make or break scenario.

The truth is that when a crisis hits, it can often be the first time that a company has considered PR. If you do not have a team in place, it is most certainly a wise move. However, getting to know a brand-new agency, sharing the ins and outs of your business, its culture and the crisis itself can be a time-consuming process. All at a time when moving cautiously but quickly would be the best plan of action. Food for thought which comes that little bit too late for some.

A wise investment

If PR is something that you’ve been considering, chatting this through could be a great way to determine whether it is the right route for your business.

As an agency, we would never take on a client if we didn’t genuinely believe that we were right for you. Our passion and enjoyment comes from securing results, so we firmly believe in being honest and upfront about what we can offer.

For most organisations, PR is a wise investment. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it could, quite possibly, be the best investment your business will ever make.

If you’re interested to learn more, have a glance at our ‘what we do’ page. Read a little more about our team.  Or hear about a few of our clients, past and present, on the ‘work’ page. Or simply give us a call on 01924 862477 – we love to chat!

THE VALUE OF PR AMID OUR ‘NEW NORMAL’

As the country is cautiously moving out of lockdown, the familiar sounds and sights of life before Covid-19 are beginning to return. But as the economy starts to reopen and recover, we must all be vigilant and willing to accept how our ‘new normal’ will reshape society.

The biggest changes will arguably be felt within the business community as many people are now transitioning back to the workplace, albeit a modified version. I suspect, however, that our ‘new normal’ won’t just see alterations in where we work but also in the way we work as well.

Working differently

Fortunately, the Open Comms team quickly adapted a remote working policy in the early stages of the Coronavirus outbreak. In a lot of ways, it has been business as usual.

But managing public relations for a diverse client mix amid a global pandemic doesn’t come without its challenges!

With that being said, I believe that PR will be among the industries that will experience the most adjustments as we move towards our ‘new normal’. Communicating in the relevant and right way must now be put at the top of the agenda.

We are all navigating through a tense time and the margin for error has never been as small. Businesses must adapt and evolve, as must society.

Positive messaging

The Covid-19 crisis has brought the economy to its knees. Unemployment rates are continuing to rise, and the looming threat of a nationwide recession shows no signs of easing. We cannot escape the negativity that has stifled our lives, but once we are out the other side, the lessons we have learned must be remembered as we move forward.

As a PR professional, my experience through this crisis has reaffirmed just how powerful and engaging positive messaging can be. As our client base operates in a range of different sectors, we implemented a bespoke communications plan to navigate each client through the challenges and obstacles they were faced with.

Whether it was implemented through social media, press releases, blog posts or feature-led pieces, we understood that the most efficient way to support each client’s own objectives was through strategic messaging and tone. Our role was to ensure their key stakeholders, employees, customers and partners were frequently updated and were never left with notions of doubt or concern.

Proactive PR

Marketing and PR strategies had to be completely changed when Covid-19 hit our shores. In a very short space of time, a lot had disrupted the marketplace. As the magnitude of the situation become clearer, we all had to react. But the rate of change often proved too difficult for businesses to respond to accordingly.

Upon recognising this, we at Open Comms realised that the most effective PR and marketing campaigns we could provide for our clients had to be proactive. We put our clients in control. Rather than waiting for a story, we set out to create one, which not only helped showcase the services our clients offer but how they can best be utilised during this current climate.

Whether this be regarding specialist funding support, critical communications services or digital and technological innovations, we identified topical trends, tailored specific copy and targeted appropriate media contacts. Again, through this bespoke and strategic approach we were able to maximise the output of content we created.

As we begin to learn what our ‘new normal’ is within the PR industry, the Open Comms team will ensure that taking a proactive approach remains a core element of our services.

As we have throughout this pandemic, we will continue to make certain our clients and the services we offer remain uncompromised during this transitional period. PR has never been such a valuable asset for businesses to use, and the benefits can be transformational.

If you would like to know more about Open Comms and the services we offer, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

MAKING BRAND MESSAGING ACCESSIBLE

Making brand messaging accessible

Open Communications is a PR agency based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Working with a range of businesses across a variety of sectors, it is our job to make their brand messaging accessible. This in turn ensures that we secure the results they deserve.

Every brief is different and therefore every approach requires our undivided attention.

The basic principles of PR are to increase the profile of a business and manage its reputation. Easier said than done. We work with a toolkit of tactics to deliver against the objectives that we are set.

Fundamentally, we make sure that our clients’ messaging is accessible to their audiences so they can secure sales and growth.

Where and when

When we receive a brief, we breakdown the objectives so that we can see where we need to communicate and when. This requires us to look at all of the different options that are available to us. This means we can make brand messaging as accessible as possible.

As mentioned, one-size-does-not-fit-all. That is why we handle each client exclusively. We don’t work with brands in competing sectors, so it isn’t as if we have models that can be rolled out. That being said, we do have nearly twelve years of proven results to call upon.

If we are to get the best return on investment for our clients, we need to think about where their audiences are accessing information. This could be a combination of outlets and news sources.

Online or in print

In a world where we are bombarded with content, it would no longer make sense to assume that any audience relies on one medium. Most people find that they have preferred sources and then those that are supplementary.

Some people like to read a newspaper while others rely on radio, TV or social media. This gives them the updates on what is going on in the world where it suits them best.

It is up to us to create a PR strategy that will allow our clients to share their messages across a range of outlets.

Achieving reach

The reason that we consider multiple communications channels is that this gives us the chance to reach the largest audience possible. This doesn’t mean that we expect every client to be mass market. It just means that we can share content and repurpose it so that it can be seen numerous times.

This gives as many people as possible the chance to read it . It also means those that see it have more opportunity to digest it. Furthermore, when a message is shared consistently, it allows a brand to educate an audience about their products and services.

Being specific

Although the purpose is to reach the largest audience, they still have to be relevant and right. In some cases, choosing a niche outlet with thousands of readers, visitors or followers will be far more useful than an outlet with millions.

The rationale behind this is that to communicate with those that resonate will have a stronger impact. So, the likelihood of a piece of content leading to an action is far more likely.

PR is used to share stories about a brand or business that give consumers the information they need to make informed decisions. Choosing the right combination of relevant outlets will enhance results and return on investment.

Complementary channels

Being specific about the audience, message and channel may be the perfect combination but ensuring these are complementary is also a factor. There is no point in targeting consumer media but then sharing the same messaging on business to business or trade channels.

The point is to make sure that the messages shared are done so in the right way. This requires thought about language and tone of voice. Although you may be sharing the same message, it will be done so differently across consumer and business to business mediums.

PR is like a complicated jigsaw or puzzle. Getting all of the elements right can be a struggle but once you get there the results will follow.

Frequency and consistency

Making messaging accessible isn’t as simple as people may first think. There are a number of elements to take into account. In addition to those shared above, the frequency and consistency of the communications needs to be agreed.

There is a fine balance between providing opportunity for the audience to see and share a message and creating brand fatigue. A PR strategy should take this into account; providing a clear timeline for when and where to communicate in order to reach the relevant audience is a good starting point.

For further help with how you can ensure your brand messages are accessible, call Open Communications on tel. 01924 862477 or email info@opencomms.co.uk

MAKING EXCITING PLANS THAT GIVE US ALL SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO

Over the past few months, I’m sure I’m not alone in having ALL my plans cancelled. Holiday’s, birthday parties, festivals, all cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has left me feeling low and lacking motivation. Usually, I like to have things booked in advance and love to see everything written down in my diary; I simply like to have things to look forward to and see my month planned out on paper.

Having something to look forward to, be it a coffee with a friend, a holiday or simply starting a new series on Netflix can brighten up the gloomiest of days.

Planning in PR

Planning ahead is also important at work, particularly in a PR role when being organised is crucial. We often plan campaigns months in advance, not only does this help us manage client accounts effectively, it helps us to see if we have the capacity to take on new projects. While this process can feel tedious at the time there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a campaign executed effortlessly after months of organisation.

Planning for a sense of purpose

I like to plan ahead as I find it makes me work much more efficiently and I’m more purposeful with my actions if I know exactly what I’m hoping to achieve. Having a solid plan in place provides a timeline of where I should be and when. It allows me to tick off things I have completed and provides a sense of fulfilment.

Plans Change

When you begin to execute a plan, it can quickly change and develop into something very different. When this happens, which it will, all the hard work shouldn’t be seen as a waste, its part of the process and overcoming obstacles helps us learn so we can plan better in the future.

Planning for an Objective

Without a solid plan in place the objective of a campaign or project can become skewed. Having a carefully considered schedule to refer back to provides a constant reminder of the end goal and prevents the objective getting lost in the development stage. In PR, the importance of meeting the objective is of great significance and why a detailed client brief is so important. Read more on this here.

For me, having plans in place in all aspects of my life helps provide a sense of purpose and gives me something to look forward to. I feel more satisfied and purposeful in my actions and find my mental health suffers when nothing is in my diary.

The benefits of planning are not to be underestimated!

For further information on how we can help you make plans for your business, please contact Open Communications on tel. 01924 862477.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING IN PR

What I love most about working in PR

Since earlier this year, I have had a lot of time to think about what I love most about working in PR. I’m not entering a mid-life crisis, although I am quickly approaching 40. My husband and I have adopted a baby.

This life-changing moment in our lives has given us both the chance to look back, as well as forward. During these last few months, I’ve been reassessing my priorities. Although family have always come first, I really appreciate the importance of work to me now too.

I thought it might be useful to share more about what I love most after more than two decades in the industry.

 

Variety

The first thing I love about PR is that no two days are ever the same. I’m not the kind of person that manages well with monotony or jobs that come with rigorous and defined process. What I enjoy is the variety of clients, objectives and tactics that we get to work with every day.

It could be a campaign to launch a new snack or a crisis that has the potential to bring a business to its knees. PR is a specialism with many benefits and that means we need to be on our toes. It’s not a job that you can plan for and know what’s going to happen each day.

There is always a list of things that you know will need completing, but there’s also the unexpected tasks that invariably impact on our working week too.

We have the pleasure of managing accounts for a huge array of clients and that supports variety. They all need something different and that makes PR really exciting.

 

Challenge

I wouldn’t say that PR is for the faint-hearted. It never stops. Never sleeps. Cannot be ignored. Putting you head in the sand when you work in PR is not an option.

Managing the press office for a number of clients is a challenge in itself. After all, how many people can say they are trusted with a brands reputation? It is arguably the biggest asset an organisation has.

Add campaigns, crisis, marketing materials and social media posts to the mix and you have a complex balance to manage every week. An old director of mine once said PR is like spinning plates, and I agree. Making sure they don’t fall certainly keeps the blood pumping.

 

Meeting people

It helps to be sociable when you work in PR. It isn’t a prerequisite; however, it does make life easier.

With colleagues, clients and journalists to work with, you need to be able to get on with others. That’s even before you consider influencers, partners, suppliers and brand buddies.

The positive to this is that you get to meet some really interesting people. As well as famous celebrities, I’ve met individuals that have had a profound impact on my life. Those that have taught me life lessons I will never forget. In addition, I’ve made some life-long friends.

I don’t think that is something that you should discard or take for granted. A career in PR will create experiences like few others and that’s another reason I love it.

 

A sense of achievement

In my opinion, it’s time to look for a new job when you stop getting excited by the results you can achieve in PR. Securing coverage, attracting an audience, featuring on broadcast, creating campaigns that get people talking. It’s all part of the mix.

I love that feeling of butterflies when you know something has gone well and you get the chance to share your achievements with clients and colleagues.

It’s not about showing off. It is about being proud of what you have achieved and knowing that you’ve done a good job. There are few better feelings.

 

Shared success

At Open Comms we have clients that have trusted us for years. As such, we have shared in their success. The reward that comes from this can be quite overwhelming. Whether it’s a charity that has changed beyond recognition or a brand that launched and is now a multi-million-pound business. Each client we work with gets our full attention.

Knowing that your efforts and hard graft has delivered for a business is genuinely fulfilling. PR is a specialism that can change opinion. It can influence decision. Grab attention. Provide a brand with purpose.

All of these things make it an incredibly powerful tool and that is a further example of what I love most about working in PR.

HOW THE ROLE OF RELATIONSHIPS CAN ‘MAKE OR BREAK’ PR PROGRESS

Success in PR is largely dependent on the ability to forge and maintain lasting relationships. But as an industry that is constantly evolving, so too is the way we communicate. With that in mind, putting in place the tactics needed to deliver consistent and reliable communications with those that matter most has never been more important.

Understanding the way we communicate with our clients, the press and our fellow employees can often be a challenging prospect. But as the working day for any PR professional can be incredibly varied, we must be able to meet the differing expectations of our many audiences.

Here at Open Comms’, our diverse client base requires that each member of the team must continually develop an efficient understanding of multiple sectors and specific fields. We are able to obtain this knowledge through the close relationships we have forged and the effective way we communicate with our clients, but also each other as well.

Clients

Whether it’s digital or charitable, public sector or professional services, the Open Comms team have developed the ability to seamlessly transfer from one to the other without any disruption to our work or comprising our services.

This is only achievable by working as an extension of our clients’ teams so that we have access to all of the information and detail we require.

Using this as a foundation, the Open Comms team takes a collaborative approach when executing a PR and marketing strategy. From conceptualisation to delivery, we offer transparency and openness throughout the entire process.

By cultivating this trust and respect, we retain relationships that span many years and often result in us being recommended by those we work with.

Media

Relationships with clients may be considered as the most important, but they are by no means the only ones we must nurture on a daily basis. A vital aspect of any PR professional’s role is media relations.

As journalists are inundated with dozens upon dozens of requests on a daily basis, their capacity to answer each one is almost impossible. So, establishing lasting relationships with members of the press is critical to the success of our press coverage. It is important that we, as PR professionals, contact journalists with something that will ultimately benefit them and their publication.

To understand the widespread benefits of having trusted contacts in the media, I’ve listed some top tips about what you must consider prior to approaching them.

  • Research what the journalists have historically covered in the past
  • Understand who their readers are and what is topical to them
  • Identify why you have ‘newsworthy’ content for them
  • Highlight why their readers will be interested
  • Be bespoke in your interactions, and try to avoid sending generic communications

We would like to think that through our relationships we have become an asset to the journalists we work with. We are often told that we are a trusted source of news and information.

Colleagues

Last but not least, the relationship between colleagues is paramount in the continuity of services a PR agency offers its clients. We at Open Comms pride ourselves on being an agile and receptive workforce who are able to trust one another when it comes to delivering for the brands we support.

Each employee at Open Comms brings their own individual skillset to the table. Not only does this ensure we are able to deliver on all client briefs, no matter how complex, but our collaborative way of working enables each of us to learn and develop new skills.

We are able to work as cohesive unit because of the trust we have developed through the relationships we have established. Much like we are with clients, the Open Comms team operate through regular communications and ensure that the team, no matter what position, has a clear understanding of each employee’s specific workload.

If you’d like to find out about the service we offer, then please contact the team here or simply give us a call on 01924 862477.

WHAT KIND OF BUSINESSES BENEFIT FROM PR?

What businesses benefit from PR

When we ask the question ‘what kind of businesses benefit from PR?’, we are making certain assumptions that organisations fit neatly into boxes.

It is presumed that those most likely to benefit will sell products direct to consumers or have huge budgets to invest. The good news is that neither of these are strictly true.

Companies or all sizes and sectors can benefit from PR. They could be business to consumer, business to business or third sector. The trick is to make sure that the strategy behind the schedule of activity and tactics chosen will deliver against objectives.

Setting objectives

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again; businesses must set clear objectives if they are to secure the return on investment they expect from PR. Without targets in place, agencies have nothing to compare results against. There is no benchmark of good or bad, success or failure.

Any organisation that is going to spend the time and money required to implement an effective PR strategy should start with what they want to achieve. Irrelevant of sector or target audience, there needs to be some clarity when it comes to what constitutes an outcome to be celebrated.

Sector specific

It is true that some sectors have embraced PR with open arms, seeing the benefits that it delivers. Take FMCG (fast moving consumer goods). Many brands within this marketplace will implement a PR strategy from launch. They will also benefit from the results that this delivers long beyond.

The argument is that these businesses have a captive audience and often a mass market to communicate with. Perhaps this is the case, however they have also recognised the benefits that can be achieved through PR. This is the first step to setting strong foundations for any brand.

In contrast, consider manufacturing. This is huge and varied industry. Whatever the company is making, in my experience too many businesses are missing out by believing that PR will add no value.

Far too frequently, I hear people say that their audience wouldn’t be interested or that their products are too niche.

This is where PR is underestimated. As a specialism that is used to communicate, it can also be used to target many different audiences. This may be internal colleagues, stakeholders, investors, board members or future talent.

Remembering to communicate effectively with those that matter to a business most should never be over-looked.

When it doesn’t work

We work across a range of sectors from retail to print, confectionery to third sector. We have always said that if we couldn’t deliver for a business, we would let them know. There is no point in taking on a brief that isn’t going to work. Worst still, taking someone’s money knowing you will deliver no results.

In eleven years, I can count on one hand the number of times we have had to have this conversation. It isn’t because PR wouldn’t work, but because the approach or tactics the client wanted to use didn’t fit with our recommendations.

There are so many different tactics you can choose when you work in PR. As well as being a blessing this can be a challenge. It is our job to use those that will deliver a consistent return but there are occasions when a brand will want to do things their way.

All we can do is offer honest advice and that’s what we do.

Getting the tactics right

With a toolkit of tactics, we are in a very fortunate position to be able to curate a campaign that is specific to each client. There is no one-size-fits-all in PR. We have to think long and hard about what we can do to make the brands we work with stand out from the crowd.

Thanks to experience, we are able to do this. We work with our clients to make sure they get the very best value – and consistent results – from the campaigns and year-round programmes we deliver.

It may be a press office, which ensures these brands are featured regularly in the news. It could be shared content that reiterates expertise and builds trust. It might be social media posts that engage with a specific audience and build a community. Or, all of the above and more!

Relying on experts will make life easier and results quicker. There is always an element of test and measure with PR. Knowing you can change approach at any time limits risk, which is a further benefit to PR.

Making the most of what you have

PR is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools there is. That isn’t to say it is ‘cheap’ or easy. The truth is that it takes time, and time is money. However, when you get it right the results will have a positive impact on your business and its bottom line.

Building profile, securing coverage, increasing online presence, managing a crisis, preparing for a product launch, consistently communicating with customers – these all fit under the umbrella of PR.

As a business, when I look at where we will invest, I consider the impact that product or service will deliver. Should other companies do the same when it comes to PR, I am sure that many more brands would be benefitting. Whatever sector, I am confident that most organisations would benefit from PR.

It is a specialism that should be taken as seriously as finance. PR is still about managing the reputation of a brand and business. Arguably, the most valuable asset of any organisation. If ever there was a more significant reason to consider PR, this has to be it.

For further information about how we work with businesses of all sizes to deliver against their objectives please contact Open Communications on tel. 01924 862477.

RECOGNISING THE IMPORTANCE OF FACE TO FACE COMMUNICATION

One lesson I’ve learnt from lockdown is the importance of face to face communication. Not only has this been something I’ve missed from my personal life, it’s something I’ve missed from a professional perspective too.

With ever increasing opportunities for virtual engagement it’s easy to see how we could move away from face to face meetings for good. As we move towards our new normal, it’s got me thinking if there really is a need to travel long distances for meetings and spend every day in the office.

While many have suggested the traditional office formalities are near extinct, I’ve begun to appreciate the need for personal interactions and believe they are invaluable in the PR world.

Colleague relationships

In the first few weeks of lockdown, I found myself missing the office banter and the endless rounds of tea delivered to my desk. Now, I find myself longing for a team meeting where we can get together in person and discuss our actions without a sound delay or speaking over others.

In PR our working relationships are important and there is nothing like getting together to brainstorm ideas for a campaign. We work best when we can bounce off each other and share our creativity. It also means we can suggest the wildest stunts and feed our imaginations.

We can see the excitement in our colleagues faces and make our intentions are clear. People have to be in a room together to really get the best ideas flowing. This is something that simply can’t be recreated on Microsoft Teams. It’s getting us through lockdown, but I miss the sense of community the weekly office meeting brings.

Client Relationships

At Open Comms we have continued to maintain regular contact with our clients and have been very much business as usual throughout the pandemic, but meeting with our clients face to face has been missed.

We believe taking the time to get to know our clients means we understand their values and allows us to develop stronger business relationships and deliver the desired results. It isn’t always about work; it is about chatting and learning more about the personalities behind the brands we work for.

Seeing someone in person allows you to get to know them quicker and better. It is a way to find out about shared interests and to become more than just a third-party supplier. We always say that we are an extension of our clients’ teams and that is very true. It remains the case in the virtual world, but it isn’t the same.

Emotion

When communicating virtually, the ability to read body language and facial expressions are lost and any emotion is removed. Without these cues we raise the risk of misinterpreting the tone of an email or call.

While other businesses may thrive from a move to virtual communication, I think the value of face to face communication in the PR sector will last for many more years to come.

And as we finally start to see the lockdown restrictions eased, I absolutely can’t wait to reconnect with family, friends, colleagues and clients alike.

If you would like to know more about Open Comms and the services we offer, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

WHAT A BRAND CAN EXPECT FROM PR

What a brand can expect from PR

The most common question we get asked, is what a brand can expect from PR? It isn’t quite that simple to answer, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some obvious returns. As long as the brief is specific, the objective clear and the budgets available, then you should expect results.

PR isn’t simply about drafting copy and getting it in the paper. It is one tactic, yet not the sum of the whole. When you invest in a PR practitioner or an agency you should set specific objectives. You need to be absolutely clear about what you want to achieve.

Far too often, a company will say that they need PR with no explanation as to why? Knowing what you want as an outcome gives those working on a project or year-round strategy some focus and direction.

Consistent message

PR allows you to share a consistent message, with multiple audiences, across a range of platforms. Depending on how your targets are most likely to find information, a PR will ensure your products feature in that space.

It may be drafting regular press releases that are shared with the media. It may be uploading content to a blog. Sharing engaging updates across social media channels. Providing access to a monthly podcast. Whatever the tactic that is chosen, the focus should always be on sharing a consistent message.

As well as becoming synonymous with a brand, it will mean that this information can be used to educate your audience. They will better understand your products and over time, your business too.

Tone of voice

Deciding on a tone of voice can be a challenge for brands. It can be difficult for someone to think about their business as they would a person. What would it sound like? If you met your product in the pub, what language would it use? How would it choose to interact with others?

Some will think this is a silly ‘game’ and not worth the effort. The reality is that when you see the results from brands that have got it right, it suddenly becomes very worthwhile.

Thinking about the words that you would and would not use. The technical terms and jargon. The approach of being friendly or factual. Considering how a business will come across should not be underestimated.

The best part about getting the tone right, is that once it is there, it will become second nature. It will also appeal to an audience that can resonate with your message. This is incredibly powerful.

Recognition

Again, this is just one tactic, however awards can bring great credibility. They are also an opportunity to celebrate and to claim the recognition you deserve. Too often, companies think of awards as ‘blowing their own trumpet.

In contrast, they are an opportunity for team building and extending thanks to colleagues. I have never in my career had a client be disappointed at winning an award. Not winning, of course. The truth being that if you don’t enter the outcome is only going one way!

The trick is to find the awards that will raise your profile in the right places. They should be delivered by reputable organisations and come with some credibility. Many of these awards have been running for years and are hosted by media companies. They have a phased process of entry, shortlist and event. These are the types of awards we consider for our clients.

If you get a call from an organisation to say you have won something, yet you didn’t enter, think long and hard before you accept. Chances are you will have to pay, and I would question whether the outcome is worth the investment.

Personality

PR gives a business the chance to add some personality. Again, this can be overlooked. People don’t want to buy from faceless brands. They want to better understand those behind the business and what makes them tick.

Adding a back story is always a good idea. It allows an audience to feel that they are more than a purchaser. Overtime, the objective should be to build a community of like-minded followers. Once this is the case, you then have a captive audience to engage with.

It isn’t about sell, sell, sell. Adding some personality to an organisation is a great way to detract from this. We were responsible for some personal posts for Myers Group and they really got to the heart of the business.

The stories that each individual had to share – including the MD’s – were honest and funny! A great combination when this content was shared on the website and across social posts. Not only did they attract attention, but also encouraged engagement.

An audience

Without an audience there will be no sales. Without sales, there is no business!

Identifying targets can be tricky. It isn’t always as simple as to suggest one size that fits all. This is why a mapping exercise will help.

Once you do have your audiences, you can start to communicate with them using PR in a way that will be most receptive.

This is where the beauty of PR really does come out in all its glory. Like many marketing disciplines, PR uses an element of trial and error. This is why we have a toolkit of tactics to choose from. It’s a blessing rather than a curse.

The way we work is to put in place a strategy that will evolve over time. What we ask of our clients is that they are willing to be flexible and to attempt new things. Even those that may make them feel a little uncomfortable. We wouldn’t make recommendations if we didn’t feel they would work.

Results

If you are working with the right practitioner or agency, then you will start to see results. The profile of your business will increase. People will start to chat to you about the latest news they have read. Business associates will comment, like and share your content. Associates will start to follow your social media channels. You will have the chance to celebrate awards with colleagues.

What a brand can expect from PR, depends entirely on its objectives. The greatest benefit being that PR can be so many different things, to so many different people. There is however one thing for certain, a return on investment should be a given!

SPECIALISING IN CLIENTS RATHER THAN SECTORS

You’ll often find that PR agencies specialise in a particular sector. At Open Comms we take a slightly different approach. We believe that there’s a bigger picture. So, rather than viewing PR requirements as dictated by industry, we take a more client-focused view. We create bespoke packages that deliver against each brand’s objectives.

But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have the experience to deliver. Sometimes we find the assumption is that agencies that specialise could do a better job but that is not always the case.

When receiving a brief, we treat every client the same; we are honest about whether we can do the very best job or not. After all, delivering fantastic results is what we pride ourselves on, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The bigger picture

When working with clients from a single sector, it would be quite easy to ‘roll out’ a PR package which works, time and time again. We would deliver excellent results. Our client would be happy. And the objectives would be achieved. All with minimal effort.

…So, what’s not to like about that?

Well, by diversifying our offering and working with clients across multiple sectors, we have to put in some extra ‘elbow grease’ and that keeps our job exciting. Since our launch we’ve made this our mission. We’ve gathered a huge amount of experience over the years along with contacts and extra creative ideas too.

Rather than taking a narrow view of what ‘should be done’, we can help companies to stand out from the crowd. After all, there aren’t many brands with a grand ambition to be exactly the same as their competitors. They want to be unique and make a name for themselves in their own right – and rightly so too!

Keeping one eye on the competition

For those agencies which operate solely within one sector, it stands to reason that they are likely to be representing competing brands. Now, it might just be us, but that’s not something that we’d want to see from a team who is handling everything from our top-secret new products, to reputational crises!

Here at Open Comms we have a strict policy of never working with competing businesses – offering that extra, much needed peace of mind and the assurance that we always have our client’s best interests at heart. No conflicts of interest here!

Putting clients front and centre

Each of our client’s PR packages are tailored to suit them, prioritising the elements which are of particular importance.

For some, we deliver a basic press office function. For others quirky and creative consumer campaigns. In some instances, corporate comms will be top priority. While, for others, trade PR is a particular area of focus. Most commonly, however, our clients choose a mix of tactics, which work together to achieve each brand’s unique objectives.

With a mix of skilled PR professionals, all with a varied range of experiences, we’re lucky enough to be able to match our team members with the clients that they work with. This ensures that we have all of the attributes to take your business to the next level.

Drop us an email at info@opencomms.co.uk or give us a call on 01924 862477. We’d love to have a chat and see how we can help you take your business to the next level.