The Real Understanding of PR – and How Virgin Trumps Again

public relation
public relation

I speak to business owners and entrepreneurs who want PR (Public Relations) for their business and see it as a function, an entity, something that is a bolt on. Understanding of PR varies and there’s an obsession that it has to be all about media.

Stop it!

In truth, it’s something that you’re doing all the time, it’s all around you but you may not see it, or understand it. It’s how you communicate and how you’re communicated about. It’s about being seen, being heard and being talked about – hopefully, for the right reasons.

Let your business ethos shine through

You can spend many hours and put in a great deal of effort to plan out your PR but I think the true sense of your business and your ethos shines through in your actions and the stories that come about as a result. It’s those actions that can be your best PR – particularly when they’ve come from a place of genuinely wanting to help, to go beyond the call of duty. It’s examples like that that stay with you and can be far more powerful than staged stunts or organised press announcements.

Virgin Trumps on PR

For me, that really struck home with a story that appeared on the BBC news website today: Mirfield man’s tears of joy after lost voicemail of wife retrieved It’s a touching account of the experience of Stan Beaton, from Mirfield. He had kept a voicemail recording of his late wife’s voice (his wife, Ruby, died in 2003) but technical work by Virgin Media meant it was deleted. He’d had the recording for ten years and then it was gone. I can’t begin to imagine how he felt.

Thankfully, Virgin Media managed to recover the message. Apparently, a team of 11 engineers spent three days tracking down the recording which has now been saved permanently for Stan. That’s a mammoth piece of work by anyone’s standards – and a great story which brings together many ingredients journalists look for in a news piece.

Usually, when I write a blog I finish off with a summary ‘in a nutshell’ and a question. But, I think the power of this story is even greater by finishing this blog post differently. I’ve always been impressed by how Virgin has handled its PR and been creative in its approach but I’m even more impressed by their sense, and understanding, of what matters – the small things that make a big difference to the people that count.

Now, you might not have a team of 11 engineers on hand to drop everything but you can go and do something from a genuine desire to help. When was the last time you made your clients feel special? It may not make it onto the national news but that’s OK because if you’re doing it for the right reasons then those actions are by far your best PR whether they impact on one person or 10,000, don’t you think?

This article was written by Debbie Leven from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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