It’s that time of year again. The Christmas festivities are over. And the end-of-quarter results are in (almost). You’ve returned refreshed from the holiday break and spent the last two days clearing your Inbox down to a manageable size.
As prepare your ‘to do’ list for the coming weeks, perhaps now is a good time to take stock and reflect as you prepare to embrace whatever 2016 has to throw at you.
To help get your critical thinking along the right lines, here are five resolutions we hope will help better position you to tackle the PR task that lies ahead.
1 Focus and celebrate what has gone well
Christmas and the New Year is a good time to step back, reflect and review. Celebrate what has gone well over the last year – what worked and was valued by the business, and why? But don’t shy away from also taking a good, hard look at what didn’t go quite so well. Identify the key learning points you can – and then move on, having made a plan to change things accordingly.
2 Take time to tackle the nuts and bolts
Build in some time to step back from the day-to-day routine and review the ‘mechanics’ that underpin your PR machine. Are you getting all the information you need by monitoring key performance indicators, communicating regularly, gaining feedback and holding regular meeting with key stakeholders? And while you’re at it, are you confident all that the processes in place are working for you? Or are these inhibiting your ability to review progress, measure outcomes and re-prioritise fast when things change?
3 Ask hard questions
Not every PR plan needs social media. If your PR agency’s strategy involves a forced social media element, then perhaps it’s time to ask if this is money well spent. Because while social media is an important element of the overall campaign mix, it may not be the most effective way to reach out and influence the audiences you need to talk to.
No one would deny that social PR is great for consumer-facing businesses. But you’re in corporate PR – and you know that it’s unlikely that someone looking to invest in a big ticket item like a new technology platform is going to feel compelled to approach a vendor based on a tweet. With budgets under pressure, perhaps it’s time to ask hard questions and think about redirecting funds back to ‘old-school’ corporate PR activities – like media and analyst out-reach, and reputation/market building activities – that work.
4 Take a ‘corporate selfie’?
If your PR isn’t delivering anticipated results, then perhaps it’s time to go back to the source and ask if you have a truly accurate perception of your business. If you don’t, you risk making the wrong judgements when it comes to messaging or positioning who your company is, and what it really offers customers.
Companies spend a lot of time and money finding out what people think; customer surveys, investor audits, net promoter scores and so forth. But do you holistically apply the same approach to your communications and PR strategy? Any disconnect between perception and reality could cost you dear – and ultimately undermine the corporate PR strategy, no matter how carefully crafted.
5 Do a reality check on your USP
It’s no bad thing to take time out each year to assess the company’s USP – involving senior people from across the organisation to determine how unique this is, or whether you need to reset perceptions of what your USP really is. This type of reality check can, ironically, help identify your company’s unique strengths and market expertise – and that will help fine tune your corporate PR strategy. Ultimately, seeing things honestly – and from the perspective of your customers – will help to define where you can leverage PR to get heard above the noise.