A compelling and informative piece by guest writer: Abiola Bonuola – CEO of Abiola Bonuola Communications.
I started my Tech Public Relations Agency; Abiola Bonuola Communications in January 2021 after serving as a PR & Communications Consultant at ID Africa for three years. My agency is a start-up and public relations (PR) has pushed our brand reputation far and beyond our wildest dreams. From a one-client agency, to a company that now caters to tech brands all over the African continent. This is my perspective on how Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can accelerate growth after spending six months working on my brand using PR.
Public relations is a cost-effective strategy for SMEs to increase brand visibility and awareness when they first start out.
A friend and CEO of Bora Communications, Ms. Kemi Olawoye once stated in a Business Day article in 2020 that, “To stand out, it is essential that SMEs distinguish themselves through brand positioning and reputation management.”
Now, what is public relations?
According to the Public Relations Society of America, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” I believe it is simply the art of telling a story about yourself and your brand to a defined publics.
Publics refers to stakeholders like your customers, community members, friends, social media followers, journalists, policymakers in government and corporate organizations, civil society members, decision-makers, and anyone who can have an impact on your business.
Public relations is a long-term investment and some of the biggest brands in the world invested in this strategy very early to become what they are today. Very few brands like to admit that they need the strategies and tactics of public relations, but they need to invest in PR. Why? Public relations is the Holy Grail of communications and its impact must not be underestimated.
Amazon became the world’s second-richest company because its founder, Jeff Bezos surrounded himself with public relations gurus who understood brand building. He invested in word-of-mouth communication, one-on-one PR, and relationship building, and this, among other brand activities changed a domain name to one of the biggest household names in the 21st century.
Why do brands and businesses need PR?
- CredibilityTactics like thought leadership and reputation management can help your brand stand out for qualities like integrity, culture, empathy, and so on. This will help you build trust with all your stakeholders and endear them to you. Your stakeholders will then automatically talk about you and make your brand more credible.
- Public relations leaves a lasting impression on your customersWhen your niche is saturated and you’re a small player in your industry, you can build a healthy relationship with different stakeholders that will ensure your brand remains relevant for many years. With PR, such a long-term relationship cannot easily be terminated and your brand will always be remembered by your customers because your stakeholders say good things about you.
- Public relations attracts brand advocates and media to youThe work of a PR professional is to relate with influencers, policymakers, employees, the media, and other brand advocates on your behalf and ensure they have a positive narrative about your products and services. This can be achieved through open and honest communication via newsletters on brand updates, opinion pieces by top media professionals, press events focused on the welfare of different stakeholders, news stories on CSR initiatives by the brand, and so on.
- Public relations enhances the online presence of your brandWhen brand advocates and the media continue to say positive things about your brand, automatically these narratives will be mentioned on different news blogs and websites as well as social media platforms. So even if you do not have a social media handle, different stakeholders will know about your brand online
- Public relations prevents and helps manage possible crisisBefore a crisis occurs, having a crisis management plan and crisis response team helps prevent many unplanned crisis situations. However, as soon as a crisis occurs, the job of a PR professional is to review the crisis, respond with an honest and positive approach and listen to all stakeholders.
You must be ready to tell your brand/business story and apply unique PR strategies foryour brand to stand the test of time.
Who is our guest writer?
Abiola Bonuola is a Tech PR Consultant running her agency in Lagos, Nigeria. She continues to help tech brands tell compelling stories that reach & engage their target audience using PR strategies proven to increase sales. Her Instagram handle is @abiolabonuola