by: Chick Housam
RT&E President and CEO
Brand schmand. We've all been tempted to say it. Whenever someone approaches us with their take on how to improve the brand we politely inform them that what they are talking about is identity, or positioning, or core competency, or any one of a hundred different items that can all be mistaken for 'branding'.
And truth be told, branding is sometimes over used. Especially when the issue is sales, product volume, work force training and motivation or my favorite, a hell of a good, old fashioned advertising campaign.
Public relations in today's environment is a discipline of communications that creates awareness of a company or organization and its expertise which will lead to more business opportunities. It is also a method of reaching targeted audiences with a strategic message to positively encourage a specific action or perception. The media relations component of an overall PR strategy is only one of several "tools" to be employed to communicate a targeted message to a precisely defined audience. In the case of working with the media—either business-to-business or consumer; print, broadcast or on-line—the goal is to reach the audience of that outlet who view that publication, show or website as a source of credible, valuable information.
But in case you're stuck with a persistent boss, supervisor or mother-in-law who's convinced they know branding I direct you to the link below. Its Business Week's precis on branding, a real good synopsis of what most of us know but which can be very useful when dealing with the unenlightened. Good reading.
So, should you hire a consultant or agency to handle your public relations activities? Consider the advice offered by Dick Placzek, who heads up an agency in Lincoln, Nebraska that specializes in outdoor recreation markets. Placzek says to look at the relationship you have with your accountant or attorney. He says if you don't try to manage your own books or make legal decisions, why would you conduct your own marketing or public relations?