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What PR can’t do for you or your business

Amber Daines | 20 March, 2024

With clarity, strategy, and timeliness, PR can achieve many extraordinary things – raising awareness of your services and products or people, refining key ideas or messages, or reassuring your stakeholders what is fact and fiction in a crisis.

While public relations (PR) can be an effective tool for enhancing a company’s reputation and visibility, there are certain limitations to what it can achieve for a business:

  1. Guaranteed Sales: PR efforts can generate awareness and interest in a product or service but can’t guarantee sales. Ultimately, purchasing decisions depend on various factors, including product quality, pricing, competition, and consumer preferences. Sales are not the same as exposure.
  2. Immediate Results: PR is often a long-term strategy that requires consistent effort and patience. It may take time to see tangible results in terms of increased brand recognition or improved reputation. Peaks and lows are expected in any campaign activity.
  3. Solve Fundamental Business Issues: PR can help manage and mitigate the impact of adverse events or crises, but it can’t fix underlying issues within a business, such as poor product quality, mismanagement, or financial instability. These problems need to be addressed internally and fostered by the leadership team.
  4. Micro-Manage Media Coverage: PR professionals can influence media coverage through strategic pitching and relationship-building, but they can’t control how journalists or media outlets portray a story. Negative coverage or criticism may still occur despite PR efforts.
  5. Replace Marketing or Advertising: PR complements marketing and advertising efforts but doesn’t replace them. While PR focuses on building relationships and generating positive publicity through earned media, marketing, and advertising involve direct promotion and persuasion through paid channels.
  6. Overcome Lack of Relevance or Interest: PR efforts may struggle to gain traction if a company’s products or services are irrelevant to its target audience or have little interest in the industry. PR is most effective when there is genuine interest and relevance to the audience.
  7. Instant Reputation Repair: While PR can help repair a damaged reputation over time, it can’t instantly erase negative perceptions or undo the consequences of past mistakes. Rebuilding trust and credibility requires consistent effort and transparency.
  8. Substitute for Authenticity: PR efforts should be aligned with the values and actions of the company. Simply crafting a positive image through PR without backing it up with authentic actions or values may lead to scepticism and distrust from the public.
  9. Control Over External Factors: External factors such as economic conditions, market trends, regulatory changes, or unforeseen events can impact a business regardless of its PR efforts. PR can help navigate these challenges but can’t wholly shield a business from their effects.
  10. Sustain a Business Plan Forever: PR efforts must be adapted over time to maintain effectiveness. A one-time PR campaign or a burst of media coverage may generate initial attention, but ongoing effort is required to sustain positive momentum and relevance in the public eye.

Does this article give you some mojo to boost your PR plans? For a free PR template, download it here.