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Sue Bradbury

It’s a noisy, cluttered world out there and for a company or organisation to get noticed, it needs to come to the attention of potential customers and clients – in the right way.

Raising awareness of a product or service amongst the consumer sectors it is aimed at is crucial. Careful thought needs to go into thinking about who those people are and how best to build a relationship and loyalty by communicating with them effectively. If we can reach them in a variety of ways, so much the better – online, offline and in person.

Public relations (PR) is all about using communication to enhance reputation. If we read and hear positive stories about a brand that, for whatever reason, is of interest to us, we are far more likely to buy into it. Someone looking for a job in a care home, for example, is probably going to be drawn to one that they’ve seen good things about in the press. Similarly, a restaurant owner looking for a food product might well be attracted by a report of one winning awards or achieving excellence in other ways.

Busy as we all are, you only have to look at a train carriage full of passengers all focused on their phones to know how much content is being absorbed these days. Whether we’re checking our social media platforms, reading a blog, watching a video, looking at an app or browsing a website, stories in whatever form they’re presented fascinate and engage us. Nor should print be discounted. Newspapers and magazines might have ceded some ground to the instant gratification of the internet, but they are still powerful tools in raising awareness and sparking conversation.

Every business needs to decide who it wants to communicate with (and that’s not just customers – staff, suppliers and other stakeholders are equally important too) and how best to reach them. Nor is it enough to make an impact once and then disappear. Most of us have a lot going on in our lives so, if you want to make an impression, stay visible (but not overly intrusive).

PR professionals are (or should be) expert communicators. With a well-thought-through plan, they can help an organisation reach the people it wants to reach, boost the bottom line and, in a crisis, protect reputation.

In short they can, and do, make a difference.