This article first appeared as Anthony Bullick‘s column in the Daily Post on 12 December. 

A common theme at the CBI annual conference in London was trust and the importance of having a good brand.

Sky News’ Ian King talked about how consumers can identify an organisation simply paying lip service to corporate social responsibility and Channel 4’s Siobhan Kennedy discussed the impact of how the brand is perceived. Attendees, which included businesses of all sizes, were left with no illusion that PR will be crucial for success in 2019 and beyond.

Make PR part of the board and leadership discussions for all strategic decisions because communication of key messages could be the difference between success and failure.

If your brand is not perceived in the correct way, it will make achieving your goals even more challenging.

Is it to win new clients and encourage repeat business? Understand the purchasing process and key decision-making points. Build trust by showcasing your expertise with engaging case studies. Write them in a journalistic style to earn media coverage as editorial. Trusted third parties covering your work significantly enhances credibility.

Film and edit video case study interviews in a media style to cater for people who prefer visual information.

Maximise the chances of your stakeholders seeing the content. Consider your social media channels, email marketing, print newsletters, positioning on your website, and usage in client meetings and at trade shows and exhibitions.

Is your work in the community a key requirement? Is it ingrained in your culture and mission? As flagged up by Ian King, people will see through a company that just pays lip service to it. Create a page on your website and in any company literature dedicated to your partnerships and activity in society.

Is your goal to recruit in an increasingly tough market? Make your company attractive to work for by understanding what’s important to potential applicants. Is it having a clear purpose and vision? Is it opportunities to constantly learn and develop new skills? It is the chance to work on exciting projects?

And who do they want to hear the information from? The chairman? A director? Someone currently in the role that is being advertised?

Interview the relevant person and share the content with the potential applicants on the website, on social media, and at career events.

Do your plans involve ensuring local residents are happy with an expansion or increase in activity? What’s the best way to have an open dialogue with them? What information is important to them?

Speak to your PR team or PR agency about the best steps to take.