A corporate image refers to the overall picture that the public has for a company. It can be defined as the reputation of an organization and all the impressions attached to it.
Known as a very critical aspect of a business, a corporate image is like a brand that represents the company and its line of activities and how the audience perceives this organization.
Based on this definition, a corporate image stands at a very crucial point in an organization as the business can only thrive, maximize sales and profits and survive in the society only if it’s able to attract customers.
Compared to a negative one, a positive image is more likely to attract foreign investors, leading to big mergers and acquisitions and eventually flourishing business growth.
Unbeknownst to many, media relations play a critical role in marketing and promoting the positive image of a company. It is an important tool used by public relations to connect to the press and use it in their favor to boost and improve the reputation of a company.
Let’s discover how exactly.
PR’s Use of Media Relations
Public relations practitioners often use media as influencers to endorse a company’s brand.
Media coverage of an organization is more valuable and credible to the public compared to conventional types of advertising techniques.
However, to ensure effectiveness, there are several steps to follow.
What Are These Stages?
Firstly, you should have a thorough and well-prepared plan. Main objectives should be identified, like what would be the main motto or message of the company/brand? Or what are some primary values that best define your company? Such information needs to be prepared before sending it out to journalists of publishing.
For example, the main message of the brand needs to be clear, straightforward and convey the message the company wants to send to the public such as, KFC’s finger-licking good, or Apple’s Think Different.
Once you have the brand message and promise, you can send this information to the media to create the brand campaign.
Make ample research. Log on to online social media platforms every day, read blogs and take a look at online newspaper platforms. See what’s defining today’s media content and try to adopt the same strategies and trends and base your information on these.
There is the PESO model which established the relationship between the different media platforms and the public relations to build the reputation of a company. The model includes first paid media which refers to media platforms that need money in exchange of the distribution and publishing of content like paid social media ads. There is also shared media which are platforms where audiences were created by the company itself like forums. Then, there is earned media which are platforms where media people bring audiences together. For example, when companies and their brands are featured in blogs, online websites and newspapers. Several studies reveal that most customers, approximately around 90 % trust earned media.
It is also important to build a relationship of trust with journalists. For that, it is important for public relations practitioners to understand journalists and put themselves in their place. They should show reporters that they understand the pressure they face from news organizations and from time to time offer them free gifts or socialize with them on a daily basis, like inviting them out to dinners.
Tools of media relations include press conferences, press releases, press tours and exhibitions.
- A press conference refers to an event where journalists are present and significant news is communicated. There is much interaction and journalists can also ask questions and establish interviews. It is a face-to-face communication.
- A press release is more a written communication consisting of information conveyed to the press. It is important to notify about an event and spreading that information quickly. For example, how a press release from Ebay, introducing a new worker, gives an insight into the company and how it functions related to its employees, which can boost its image.
- A press tour is like a golden opportunity where a company gets to invite journalists to take a look at their line of activities. After these visits, reporters will write reports, articles based on what they saw and witnessed. A press tour helps to build credible relationships with news platforms and can produce more news coverage on a company. Press tour is also used extensively for political campaigns where political candidates schedule tours with journalists to spread their political message and agenda. It is also a perfect strategy that can be used during a crisis.
- An exhibition is much like an art exhibition where the products are on sale in front of an audience. Similarly, a company’s main items and activities are put for display in front of customers. For example, to promote fresh, organic Welsh food, Fernleigh Design set up an exhibition specifically to raise the awareness and sales of the locally produced food.
Participating and engaging with the audience while participating in community events is a must. IT gives you a chance to connect with the public.
Using social media platforms is also recommended. For example, Orchard Pig used Twitter to establish the #AsHappyAsAPig campaign, which main aim was to create positivity and cheer people on Blue Monday, known as the most boring and stressful day of the year. This led to many people taking a picture of themselves, showing how happy they were and sharing the posts.
Now, it’s your turn. What would be your PR technique to improve a company’s corporate image?