This article first appeared as Anthony Bullick’s column in the Daily Post business section on 28 June.
Having a trusted PR person at the leadership table will significantly support your organisation’s overall goals.
PR is often described as the conscience of an organisation. It has the skillset to build strong, meaningful relationships between the brand and its stakeholders, as well as maintain those relationships when the waters get rocky.
The board discusses important items including business strategy, issues and concerns within the firm, proposed changes, and plans for future growth.
Giving PR and comms people access helps them make impactful decisions.
First let’s be clear: PR goes beyond that department or agency that can ‘get a bit of media coverage’. PR was, is, and always will be, about communication. In today’s digital world, that communication can take place any time on a number of channels off- and online.
A PR person who truly understands the organisation will align the comms plan to support achieving the overall business objectives.
For example, if a company is planning to expand its operations, PR shouldn’t just be used to share the “we’re growing” good news story.
Having them involved at the outset will ensure all bases are covered from a communication perspective as early as possible to avoid unnecessary disruption.
Will employees be affected eg will there be parking issues, or will the increase in staff numbers upset morale? Internal comms will help.
Will local residents be affected eg by the construction work, or will there be an increase in traffic after the work is completed? PRs will take time to understand all concerns and communicate effectively with those affected throughout.
Are the range of products or services expanding? The comms team will ensure target customers are not only aware of the new offering, but, more importantly, you are a trusted supplier.
Also, in today’s digital world, questions require responses in near real-time. For instance, if a broadcaster seeks an interview with an expert on a particular topic, a PR person who has a place on the board will be in a far better position to reply instantly to secure that opportunity.
And if there’s an issue, eg a growing number of complaints made about the sales team, or a full-blown crisis eg mass redundancies, a PR and comms expert who has a seat at the leadership table will be able to immediately put their crisis plan into place rather than play catch up.