The Value of Planning Effective PR Strategies in the Digital Age of Business

The Value of Planning Effective PR Strategies in the Digital Age of Business

Businesses in the Philippines today are entering a new age as the world relies on technology for many use cases. New products have come about in recent years, from the introduction of Filipino-made cellular phones like MyPhone, ride-hailing services such as Grab and Angkas, and e-commerce companies such as Shopee and Lazada. Marketing these businesses has also changed, with the rise of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies, social media platforms, videos and podcasts, and more. The digital age has brought an extreme pace to the world of business, and keeping up with the evolution of technology is integral to staying relevant.   

With this, the value of public relations grows more and more as time goes on. As accessible as digital marketing is compared to traditional methods, the competition is extremely crowded and competitive. Over 53% of the world’s population is on social media; On Facebook alone, over 50 million small businesses use the platform to reach their customers. This may seem like an insurmountable challenge, especially for companies that are just starting to break into the scene. Public relations is now more important than ever, because of how you can tap into the public’s trust in the media for your growth. And, when a crisis occurs, you will need to be prepared to keep your brand’s online presence intact.

Media Relations

Compared to going in blind into the world of digital marketing, it would be a lot easier for any business to get the help of established organizations. This does not just include marketing professionals and ad agencies, but also media outlets and journalists. Getting the help of the media with marketing means tapping into their audience. For instance, when Grab PH launched its GrabCar Bayanihan service, the company tapped mainstream media outlets to spread the word. 

Google search results for “GrabCar Bayanihan”

The Philippines’ leading companies make use of PR strategies to get ahead of their competition. Given how people would naturally look to established journalists for trustworthy news and content, getting the media to help you promote your business is a great way to speed up the process of building trust between you and your customers. And not only is it an effective digital marketing strategy, but it can also help you humanize your business through storytelling.

Crisis Management

Everyone is trying to start their own business online, most especially due to the recent pandemic. Entrepreneurs are creating wildly varying forms of content for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to reach their target audiences. But with this new volatile landscape comes a lot more risks. Because of the nature of the internet, companies now are almost always being watched by competitors, investors, and consumers alike. There are millions of people who will be able to see your company online and any of them can respond to your company. They can send messages, comment on posts, and share their own experiences with your product. 

While this is great for businesses as it allows companies to get input on their services, it is also a PR risk, given the prevalence of what some might call “cancel culture” and the spread of misinformation online. What if your company posts something that turns out to be insensitive? What if someone posted publicly about how one of your employees allegedly misbehaed? What if your products are getting negative reviews online? These crises can completely break a company’s online presence, and in turn, negatively impact its growth and performance in the long run. 

Thus, public relations includes crisis management strategies. This is all about keeping your business alive when the going gets tough, and establishing your company as firm and accountable when handling a crisis. No business is perfect, and these situations are bound to happen to any company, with the likelihood increasing as they continue to grow. 

From 2014 to 2019, 69% of leaders noted that they have had to deal with an average of three PR crises. For instance, Angkas once eleased statements on some of its features that went under fire on social media. 

Angkas’s Tweet in response to backlash regarding the Weight Safety Check

Every crisis will be different―some may require a lengthy press release, a statement, or a press conference. Some PR crises will be heavier, and some can even be handled in lighthearted ways, like how Angkas handled another issue on their social media posts being a bit too politically charged for some. 

Angkas’s Tweet in response to criticism on politically charged posts

Crisis management is on a case-to-case basis, which is why preparing a PR strategy for any and all situations is important for any business, given the political climate of the internet. And as with media relations, getting in touch with journalists can help you communicate your response to a crisis through the channels that will reach the most people. A sound crisis management strategy won’t be complete if you don’t reach the people you are trying to connect to.

The digital age has brought about a new era of business. It has allowed big-name companies to grow even further and small businesses to innovate and share their ideas with the world thanks to advancements on the internet such as social media and SEO. But given the high level of competition in various industries, along with the risky nature of operating a business online, having a sound PR strategy is vital to any company’s prolonged success. 

- Written by Jack Cordero

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