5 Overlooked Business Outcomes of PR for Fast-Growing Companies
Every company, no matter the size, can learn from the globe's largest brands that view PR holistically.
From the bottom line to the executive floor, the most successful businesses see PR as an integrated business strategy. Very often, fast-growing businesses look at PR as a lever for awareness and branding. And while that is an outcome, there are other advantages to public relations. Every company, no matter the size, can learn from the globe's largest brands that view PR holistically.
These are five often-missed outcomes of PR.
1. Revenue: Overlooked metrics in PR
Modern and fast-growing companies track top-line metrics alongside PR KPIs to see the larger revenue impact of PR. From decreasing lead time to increased online conversions and improving brand loyalty, PR improves the bottom line. Savvy business-development executives will use media coverage of social proof to reduce deal friction. PR creates trust and leaves an impression, which reduces churn and increases metrics like lifetime value. Consumers exposed to a product from a trusted outlet are more likely to convert.
It's a mistake to rely on metrics that only provide direct attribution, and here's why: Say a customer comes across your brand on social media, but he or she has never heard of the company or brand. What will the customer do? Turn to Google. At this point, you want reviews, SEO and positive press mentions to work together to create a positive impression of your company. After all that, the consumer may just go directly to your website, making it very difficult to create an attribution, especially with increasing privacy considerations.
2. Attracting talent: PR's best kept secret
Employer branding has a significant impact on hiring; 72% of recruiters around the globe agree. The most talented recruits know their worth, and 75% of recruits review an employer's brand before they even apply, according to LinkedIn.
Top talent wants to work for a firm that makes them proud, and they may want to share the spotlight or seek a brand with a deeper purpose. A consistent presence in the media tells a potential recruit that the company is reinvesting in success and can offer growth potential.
PR helps attract talent, and it may also improve talent retention. If your company is struggling to attract the right talent, make sure your PR includes talent-acquisition strategies.
3. Investors: Bullish on PR
For emerging businesses and fast-growing brands, this is a vital metric. PR shows potential investors that there's a long-term investment perspective at the highest levels. Investors also need to see scale and potential.
Media attention also shows investors that your brand or company has legs and that they are likely to see a considerable ROI. Investors are so excited about how PR improves business outcomes that many investors immediately elevate PR initiatives after they invest in a company.
Astute CEOs seeking investment know to include PR as a vital part of their budget in pitch decks. VCs are so bullish on PR, many of the largest tech VCs integrate PR into their growth strategies either through agencies or their own PR-minded executives.
4. Pre-IPO or merger/acquisition: PR's ultimate metric
A solid pre-IPO or M/A communication and PR plan literally pays dividends. Preparing for an IPO or M/A event requires years of planning and strategy, and PR is an important ingredient. Giving PR a seat at the planning table saves time and money, plus as a company grows, so does the brand equity and brand value.
The median value of a U.S. company pre-IPO was $577 million in 2020; getting to that valuation without integrated PR and marketing is near impossible. This is especially true for companies with intangible assets (IP, services, etc.,); in 2015, over 84% of the S&P 500 were intangible assets. How does one leverage an intangible asset? One way is to secure that IP through branding and messaging.
If the business has an IPO on the horizon, then PR and Investor Relations (IR) are critical partners in success. Not only does PR ensure messaging and communication is consistent, trustworthy and on message, but it also collaborates with IR to ensure integrated campaigns and cohesive messaging.
5. Reputation insurance: Buy now or pay later
We live in a cancel culture. Fast-growing companies, emerging industries and purpose-driven brands are especially vulnerable to shifts in public perception or a misstep that lands them in hot water.
The time to bank trust is before a crisis; a concerted, consistently trust-driven PR strategy will reduce the intensity of disruption and make it easier to get your message out. Further, if the business is in an emerging and regulated industry (drones or cannabis for example), positive PR can be an advantage to both the company and the industry. When policy-makers consider regulations, they often look to current public perception as part of the decision-making. Positive PR showcases good corporate citizenship and advances the industry cause.
Related: The Impact of PR on Small Businesses
In a world where the average person receives over 12,000 media messages daily, PR is a critical partner to any business. Long gone are the days when influencing a small minority would be enough for a business to scale, flourish and grow. The world is media savvy, and emerging industries, fast-growing companies and purpose-driven brands all need PR more than ever, but they also need to be more clear than ever about the strategies and outcomes that will benefit them the most.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor