14 Dec POLITICS TEACHES PR LESSONS
By Jenny Fujita and Joy K. Miura, Fujita & Miura Public Relations
Even if your business is skyrocketing, ongoing public relations (PR) is critical to maintaining a high level of success. During this exciting political season, businesses can learn a lot about the benefits of ongoing PR by observing political campaigns.
Candidates who won spots in the upcoming General Election aren’t sitting back and waiting for November 5th to come. They’re working hard to earn their votes, just like we have to earn business from our customers. How? By maintaining alliances, communicating proactively, and managing budgets.
Politicians know that allies are their most important constituents. That sounds obvious, but many businesses take their allies for granted and assume that they’ll always be there. Or, they get distracted with trying to win over non-supporters. Nurturing relationships with current allies helps ensure that the foundation of support you’ve toiled for remains intact. Allies are your strongest supporters and promote your business to others by word-of-mouth. They are the most credible advocates any organization can have because people trust “real” people much more than they trust advertisements or the media.
Proactively communicating with your publics is another factor in sustaining your hard-earned business. Businesses can follow the example of political candidates by including their contact information on all collateral materials, reminding the public about promises made and kept, repeating key messages, and informing them about anything new. Businesses that practice proactive communication are more likely to be perceived as trustworthy, approachable, and friendly, partially because they enjoy name recognition.
Budget management is often overlooked as being essential to the PR process. Because political spending is such a hot topic on campaign trails these days, candidates know that it pays to closely monitor their budgets, and to spend appropriately.
Once a PR campaign ends, many businesses assume that PR-related expenditures can also stop. Depending on the size of your target audience and scope of your outreach efforts, you may need to set aside a standard budget for ongoing PR. Keeping accurate finances not only helps businesses stay out of trouble and within budget, but also provides a way to measure the effectiveness of their PR efforts.