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Six Reasons Why Leveraging PR Is Good For Your Brand Whether a startup, an established MNC or a developing personal brand, harnessing the power of PR is at the top of every company's marketing to-do list.

By Anastasiya Golovatenko

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Whether a startup, an established MNC or a developing personal brand, harnessing the power of PR is at the top of every company's marketing to-do list. In the first half of 2015, Dubai Trade witnessed the registration of 9,317 companies, each with their own vision of positive PR schemes, opportunity creation and building brand image.

Bigger industry players are just as keen to develop PR plans to connect with customers, create relationships and foster loyalty, with a 2014 Nielson study concluding PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising. It's important to remember that the best success stories aren't about high costs– they're about managing the PR function with skill and experience. As Richard Branson once said, "Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad." But how exactly can effective communication support your business? Here are the top reasons why we believe in the power of positive PR:

Related: The Ties That Bind: Achieving Better PR-Media Relationships

1. It is a good investment

When compared to other more traditional marketing tools, the ROI generated off a fairly modest PR budget and campaign can be considerable, if managed well. Per dollar, content marketing produces roughly three times as many leads.

2. It allows brands to showcase their expertise

By promoting engaging content, your brand gets recognized as a market leader. Through the effective use of PR tools like opinion pieces and expert views, you position your spokespeople as experts in their fields, bringing attention to your brand and building trust in your offerings. Increased visibility through blog posts, radio spots, articles, interviews and editorials not only make your target market more aware through brand recognition, but also build trust at a nominal cost.

3. It drives market focus

From publications and events, to websites and social media channels, PR gets your brand as close to your audience as possible. With visibility mechanisms like sponsorships, tie-ups with influential bloggers and experts, and managing your own content creation, PR initiatives zone in on market preferences and join conversations that matter.

Related: It's Not Just About Collecting Business Cards: How To Properly Network

4. It could help you win big

Entering award shows specific to your line of industry gains brand exposure. It's a learning experience to watch other brands preen their PR feathers, and you stand to gain a substantial amount of respect if you win or are shortlisted.

5. It influences your target market

Bring in the big guys to do what they do best– influence your target market. Third party endorsements, through influencers, articles and editorials; all contribute towards gaining credibility, since 90% of consumers trust recommendations, while only 33% trust ads. You can reach your audience using voices they trust, with a careful selection of influencers based on your brand image. Whether they're bloggers, industry leaders or media personalities, brand ambassadors increase audience awareness and build brand advocacy.

6. It can create goodwill by association

70% of consumers would rather get to know a company via articles than advertisements. Take a leaf out of the books of PR giants like Nike, and look for positive ways to impact your industry, the society, or the world through charitable, feel-good initiatives. 84% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service of a socially responsible brand. People are always on the lookout for some good, and are more than willing to talk about, and support it. This aspect however, needs to be handled with expert hands, as if it goes awry, your audience also enjoys a bit of drama, which is just as easily shareable. PR is also crucial when it comes to effectively managing crisis situations.

Related: Seven Ways To Own Your Online Reputation

Anastasiya Golovatenko

PR Director, Sherpa Communications

Anastasiya Golovatenko is an accomplished PR professional and business advisor who leads a Dubai-based communications consultancy Sherpa Communications. With more than 12 years of expertise developing and executing all aspects of public relations and marketing campaigns, she provides senior counsel to brands of any size and structure, helping them achieve business objectives and meaningful results through the strategic use of communication.

She has experience across various sectors -from B2B to B2C industries, and has worked with MENA, international and CIS clients, diplomatic bodies, trade institutions, government institutions, and NGOs- supporting them both in-house and on the agency side. Anastasiya and her colleagues also actively support a rising number of startups and SMEs in the UAE and Middle East region providing advice on best practices and tactics for effective scaling up and business growth. She prides herself on establishing a personal connection with agency’s clients to best match their specific needs.

A passionate public relations practitioner, Anastasiya is actively involved in community groups in the UAE helping individuals and businesses master PR tools for their projects. She is also involved in mentorship programs by in5 in Dubai, UAE. She writes for the UAE and international media on important industry topics sharing tips and advice on effective communication, reputation management, savvy marketing planning amongst others. Anastasiya graduated with honors from Kiev Institute of International Relations, where she earned Master Degree in Public Relations & Analytics (Hons.). 

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