Public Relations Podcasts

Our public relations podcasts in “The Strategic Minute” series help business leaders improve communications strategies and functions by sharing insights on specific topics within our firm’s areas of expertise: Public Relations, Media Relations, Employee Communications and Community Relations.

You can also subscribe to the Strategic Minute in iTunes. Just search for “Strategic Communications” or “Strategic Minute” under Podcasts.


Strategic Minute: Always Begin With Research

Organizations spend a lot of money each year to develop their image, brand reputation and messaging for their key audiences.

But there comes a point when leadership wonders if what they are communicating is actually being received as intended by their audiences.

Achieving success by re-enforcing your brand begins with research.

We often conduct qualitative research to help our clients address their concerns about developing the right messages to convey their brand. This is typically done through focus groups and one-on-one interviews.

We then evaluate if their communications strategies are successfully getting across, and ultimately producing, a return on investment.

First, it’s critical to understand what the organization is known for now, and what they are trying to become, before it tries to move the needle.

During focus groups with a cross section of audience representatives, collect opinions and perspectives on the brand, which often result in discovering branding opportunities for the future.

What the target audiences perceive, need, or would like to see from the brand should then used to inform the strategy.

This is done by actually listening to the audiences… and not trying to convince them that your communications approach is the right one.

Comprehensive rebranding and reputation research can yield good results, but it’s what an organization does with that data that is critical. Remember: Data drives direction.

Effective branding means giving your services or products a profile in the minds of current and prospective customers that distinguishes it from others and encourages people to want to support it.

How do you do that?

Take time to understand what motivates your customers to choose your brand and how it matches their priorities in terms of relevance, credibility, and sustainability.

And take a look at how your competition performs against those needs, too. That will help you differentiate yourself from them with a unique brand.

It sounds like a lot of work, but once this research is complete, a more thorough communications strategy can be developed with specific messages, mediums and measurements to achieve greater success.

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The Impact of Media Coverage on Your Reputation

As public relations professionals, a lot of what we do involves managing an organization’s reputation.

For the most part, the more media attention your organization receives, the more your stakeholders will recognize you.

But visibility isn’t enough. It’s the content of news stories that determines whether your audiences will have a favorable impression of you.

So how do you know whether the content was good or bad? And what do you DO with that information?

We conduct in-depth analyses of our clients’ media coverage, including the positive, neutral or negative tone of the stories, on a regular basis.

This helps us not only measure the success of our public relations initiatives, but also provide well-informed advice for real-time decisions the organization can make.

Both the quantity and quality of media coverage for an organization are directly correlated to how much the public trusts, likes and supports you – and can even determine the characteristics that are associated with your organization as opinions are formed.

A large amount of media clips doesn’t mean a positive reputation. You should always ask if your messages are getting across.

If you’re going to go back and evaluate the existing news coverage about your organization, also pay attention which reporters lead the conversations in your industry – and then strengthen your relationship with these individuals.

You can also subscribe to the Strategic Minute in iTunes. Just search for “Strategic Communications” or “Strategic Minute” under Podcasts. We’d love your feedback, so please consider leaving a review on iTunes or contacting us through our website.

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Building Employee Confidence

Communicating with employees and building a culture with the right balance of employee satisfaction and strong work ethic isn’t easy. And there’s no single formula or trick for this. But there is one strategy that continues to be preached and implemented successfully: include your employees in conversations about your business.

This doesn’t mean telling your employees what’s happening with your business once decisions have been made. This only works if you engage them before, during and after decisions and news about your organization (and then repeat that cycle).

Include them in planning for new products or services. Every one of your employees has a different view of your business. Their perspectives and insights could mean the difference between a new product or service that succeeds, and one that fails. This is also why you should include them in evaluating what’s working and what’s not.

Remember, we must strike a balance here in order to achieve that culture of satisfaction + work ethic. So, there needs to be a formal structure for gathering insights from employees, clear expectations set for if/how the information they share will be used, and an understanding that they may not get to weigh in on every decision or aspect of the business.

To help keep the two-way dialogue flowing in between the times when you ask for their insights, be sure to constantly share good news and positive feedback with your team, as well as any recognition that your organization receives.

And probably one of the easiest things to do – which so many organizations overlook – is talk to employees first, before they hear news about your organization from anyone else.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes before a news story is published, an e-blast is sent to external audiences, or any other announcement is made. This accomplishes several things. First, it demonstrates your commitment to communicating with them. Second, it shows them that you are being transparent about what’s happening with the organization. And, it equips them with YOUR message, so that they can answer questions and provide accurate information if/when the subject comes up in conversations with them – either at work or in a social setting.

These are just a few tips to help build employee confidence. If implemented properly, you will quickly glean even more insights into how to build your employees’ confidence and their support for your organization.

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