Positive brand perception is everything in today’s ultra-competitive business landscape. Not only can this give businesses the edge over their competitors, but it can also help to bring in new customers via referrals. In fact, 60% of people recommend their favourite brands to friends and family. On the flip side, a negative brand perception can cause consumers to abandon or avoid a business altogether.
PR is an essential way of maintaining a good brand perception and dedicated PR agencies specialise in this field. But what does a PR agency do exactly? From the difference between PR agencies and advertising agencies, to the benefits of working with an agency, we’ve got it all covered here.
What is PR?
PR stands for public relations, which refers to the techniques and strategies used to cultivate or maintain a public image and respond to public discourse. We’ll look at some of these techniques and strategies in more detail later, but some classic types include news articles, stunts, and launch events. All of these are carried out with the aim of either painting a brand in a positive light generally, disseminating important company news or events, or putting a positive spin on unfavourable headlines to reduce their impact.
What is a PR agency?
Most companies lack the required expertise and experience to effectively run PR campaigns themselves, which is where a dedicated PR agency comes into play. This type of agency helps businesses to optimise their PR strategies by anticipating, analysing and interpreting public opinion around the brand. It will then work closely with key stakeholders at all levels to work out the best courses of action when it comes to maintaining the brand’s image, taking into account its aims and social and corporate responsibilities.
Take Pitch, for example. We are a PR agency that uses cultural currency and unbridled creativity to help brands tell their stories, maintain or improve their reputation, and reach a wider audience. Key to this is our bespoke, “Four P’s” methodology, which involves understanding people’s biggest passions, the purpose that motivates them, their demographic profile, and their online IRL presence. This allows us to get under the skin of our clients’ audience, ensuring our campaigns strike a chord each and every time.
What is the difference between a PR agency and a marketing or advertising agency?
Many people get PR and marketing or advertising agencies confused. However, they’re not quite the same. Marketing agencies are involved with the entire process of increasing public awareness of a company and its products or its services, whereas advertising and PR are two different types of promotion methods that come under the wider marketing umbrella.
As described above, PR is about maintaining a brand image, whereas advertising is more about persuading the public to buy particular products or services. Advertising agencies are therefore distinct from PR agencies.
What work do PR agencies do for clients?
Some of the most common methods employed by PR agencies like Pitch include:
Media relations – This involves a calculated deployment of media to tell a brand’s story, from guest blog posts to newspaper articles. PR agencies will have close relationships with the relevant publications, enabling them to easily get their clients’ stories told.
Launch events – Launch events are a great opportunity to increase awareness, media coverage and demand around a new service or product. For instance, Pitch helped to build a buzz around Cancer Research UK’s Stand Up To Cancer live shows with our highly creative ‘Give Cancer a Kicking’ football-themed event.
Stunts – A publicity stunt is a fantastic way of generating hype around a brand generally. A good example is when Pitch transformed the UK town of Retford into a movement-inspired gym called “Upliftford” for the sports brand ASICS.
Influencer marketing – The power of influencers grows, and they can be a potent tool for shaping a brand’s perception. Pitch has significant experience working with renowned figures, like when we teamed up with famous ex-footballers including Andrea Pirlo, Peter Crouch and Cafu for an Uber Eats PR campaign.
Reactive press office – Successful PR isn’t all about proactive efforts to boost a brand’s image. Sometimes it has to be reactive, particularly in the face of unwanted media coverage. These include press releases used to comment on a certain story about a brand, and newsjacking, where campaigns are created around breaking news stories.
What are the benefits of using a PR agency?
PR itself has numerous benefits, from boosting brand image and bolstering brand awareness, to attracting new customers and enhancing credibility. But working with a PR agency specifically has a number of advantages in its own right, including:
Harness PR expertise – Just like a business would go to a lawyer for legal advice or a security company to provide security, hiring a PR agency puts a brand’s public relations efforts in the hands of people who know the tricks of the trade inside-out. They understand exactly what to do to bolster a brand’s image because they’ve done it all before.
Make use of industry contacts – Not only do PR agencies have the know-how, but they also have the right contacts to help a brand’s PR campaigns thrive. These are connections that most businesses simply don’t possess, again demonstrating the value of relying on a dedicated PR agency.
Save time and money – Good PR isn’t easy, nor is it cheap. Although hiring a PR agency obviously involves a significant outlay in itself, this pales in comparison to the value a company will get by receiving such exceptional expertise. What’s more, this saves them wasting time and money on running subpar campaigns themselves.
Bring an outside perspective – Bringing in an objective voice that doesn’t have the emotional commitment to a brand can do wonders for its PR efforts. A PR agency can approach a client’s campaigns with a completely fresh perspective, something that can result in markedly more creative and effective ideas.
Pitch is one of the UK’s leading PR agencies, having been in business for over 20 years, and we bring passion, creativity and ambition to everything we do. Check out some more of our previous PR campaigns here, and don’t hesitate to get in contact with us for information about our services.