For the uninitiated, the world of public relations is a foreign land rarely encountered, poorly explained and sorely misunderstood. Awkward conversations about PR abound in both social and professional settings – including (but not exclusive to):“Aren’t PR and marketing the same thing?”, “PR is out of my company’s budget”, and my personal favourite, “Really, what is PR good for?”.
Tough conversations are part and parcel of PR professionals’ lives. However, one interesting observation that many PR practitioners can attest to is that more often than not, the non-believers of PR tend to skew towards small medium businesses (SMBs).
To successfully sway the critics, one must first start by understanding them. SMBs are a unique bunch and are understandably different from their MNC counterparts – the big-ticket differentiator being their budget which shapes their beliefs and values about how a business should be run, and by extension, how big a role PR should play.
However, there is still light at the end of the tunnel – in true PR spirit, it is all about understanding the target audience, crafting the most convincing message and creating a strong (and hopefully lasting) relationship between SMBs and PR. In the same vein, we need to understand SMBs’ pain points before we can accurately target the source of their PR misconceptions and nip the source in the bud.
With that said, here are some common misconceptions SMBs have about public relations and how PR professionals can dig deep into the shoes of SMBs in order to tweak their perspectives in favour of PR:
1. PR can boost your offerings.
A common misconception is that the proof of the pudding is solely in the eating. This line of thinking is highly relevant to SMBs, especially since they usually emphasize local market strengths and connections with the community, which explains their upfront methods of gaining traction. It is therefore important to reassure SMBs that while good quality give their product a strong voice, PR serves to amplify and authenticate this voice, drawing more people to experience their product.