Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of a successful brand is its public relations tactics. In some instances, it may be hard to tell the difference between advertising and public relations, but they are different, and they can both be an asset to a business in their own way.

In the digital age, information spreads in the blink of an eye, and brands are competing for the public’s attention. It’s important to make the most of all resources available to help your brand become successful, stay successful and keep a competitive edge over brands seeking attention from the same audience.


1. Public relations is personal.

People are drawn to brands that value relationships with their audiences. When businesses produce compelling or relatable content that’s more than just one in the hundreds of advertisements they see every day, they’re more likely to remember and develop a sense of trust with the brand. These days, public relations tactics can be more powerful than ever. Brands are turning to social media, influencers, testimonials, podcasts and other third-party endorsements. These tactics provide positive exposure of the brand to the people who will get the most out of it. Personalized content through a PR strategy provides an opportunity to develop trust and earn credibility with the public as well as promote growth for the business.


2. Public relations tactics keep businesses competitive.

It’s plain and simple: If you don’t tell your brand’s story, someone else will. The internet and social media offer a constant flow of information to the consumer. Due to this, businesses are more susceptible to having misinformation spread about them. An audience’s perception can drastically affect a brand’s success. Actively investing in a strategy to control your brand’s narrative is worthwhile and effective. The most successful brands are held together by a foundation of PR pros. These professionals manage and protect the brand’s reputation and public awareness. Businesses that neglect the importance of public relations are likely to fall behind their competitors and, eventually, their bottom line will reflect that.


3. Public relations is a long-term solution.

A great public relations plan isn’t something that happens overnight or is a one-and-done deal. Yes, public relations can transform a brand, handle a crisis and build relationships with an audience. But those things take time and require constant management to make a positive impact. A great example is when businesses use PR as a recruitment tool. People always want to go to where the grass is greener, but if businesses don’t continue to use their sprinklers after drawing in the recruits, the grass will turn brown, and people will move on to a more well-cared-for lawn. Of course, this is just a figurative comparison, but you get the point.

PR is something a brand needs to commit to long term. A half-hearted PR strategy can end up being just as bad as no PR. Since public relations tactics and strategies are known to outlast the average advertisement, it’s important to invest in it and take it seriously. Brands don’t want to become textbook case studies for students to learn how NOT to handle a situation.


4. Public relations as earned media can make a difference.

Earned media can create just as much of an impact as paid or owned media. Although paid and owned media are much more controllable and predictable, earned media provides an opportunity for brands to work with what they’re given and think outside the box. The pure creativity that goes into PR is one of my favorite things about it. Most of the time, there’s no single right way to do something, which opens up many possibilities for brand growth. PR isn’t “free advertising” as one might assume. It’s all about strategic communication, deciding what’s newsworthy and creatively finding a way to make a mutually beneficial situation for the public and the brand.

Public relations tactics can help shape a brand’s image, promote its values, connect to its community and improve its influence. Being in control of your own brand’s narrative through public relations isn’t about deceiving the public as some may misunderstand it to be; it’s about owning your story and being transparent about who you are and what you do. At LF, we prefer the term “finesse,” and not just because of Bruno Mars (okay, maybe). But really, PR pros work to deliver the most honest and strategic messaging for their client to earn positive media attention with the ultimate goal of helping the business reach success. What business wouldn’t want that?

Editors note: This article was originally published on September 14, 2018. It has since been updated to reflect changing trends in public relations tactics.