Promotion Time

posted on Friday, 18th November 2011 by David Slater

Corporate 

[#pageName]

PR is of paramount importance to any great success. It's a simple equation if you look at it: you need your customers to want it, they need to strive to have it, and they need to tell their friends how good it is once they do get it.

Take Apple, it uses its customer base to whip up excitement, encourage the odd sneak preview and then lets social networking take over. Apple spends time making its products sexy, I am sure it could cut its packaging budget in half by supplying your new iPhone in a basic box, but it would just not have the same impact or help generate the same buzz.

Public Relations in whatever field needs the client to understand that without spending money on marketing, you will very rarely meet your targets soon. True it has never been easier to promote your company; Twitter and Facebook allow for even the smallest company to have a global presence, but without professional help it is only the starting point.

With Custom Install predominately being perceived as a high end business, it's important to invest in your photography; to catch the interest of potential customers in an instant, you need creativity and you need good imagery - don't expect a glossy magazine to run with a snap taken on your phone.

For a better understanding of the complex world of public relations, Inside CI quizzed some high profile industry representatives on the subject. This is what they had to say…

Jeff Hayward, Director at Wildwood PR

"PR is crucial for those in the CI industry who want to reach new and existing customers, and propel themselves to the forefront of the industry ahead of their competitors. Good PR is incredibly important whether you are a distributor, manufacturer or Installer. For manufacturers and distributors it helps you communicate information through the trade magazines and increasingly online media, such as InsideCI, about new products, initiatives and promotions. For installers, if you are keen to showcase your installations then preparing press releases on your projects with great photos and generating editorials on the back of that work in consumer or specifier publications as well as using them on your own website will really help build your profile and demonstrate your skills in front of potential audiences; the industry's CEDIA award scheme also provides great PR opportunities for installers.

In a cost-conscious, competitive market, it's those who use PR to market themselves effectively who will be the ones getting the work."

Robert Follis, Principal and owner Robert Follis Associates limited

"Believe in PR. It's a much more powerful and cost effective tool than advertising. If you can afford to advertise as well, PR will add credibility and reinforce your ad campaign. PR is no good without a decent product and a story. If you have lousy product or the story is the MD's birthday, go back to the drawing board. Put your PR in professional hands, but avoid big PR agencies like the plague. Employ someone who knows the subject, the market and the competition. Otherwise you just end up paying to teach your agency.

Don't believe anyone who promises you instant good reviews and amazing coverage based on a few liquid lunches with journalists. Realistic expectations, good product and hard work brings results. The only measure of performance is column inches (and their web equivalent). Don't ask for lots of meetings and extensive reporting. Time spent this way is time not spent on your PR."

Keith Haddock MD of Haddock Communications

"Some folks, including friends in our industry, still view social media with great suspicion. They think it's for news of the budgie's breakfast or thoughts about an excellent pair of slacks. Well it is, but it can be much more than that. The hardnosed reality is that as a marketing tool the power of social media already knows no equal and continues to proliferate. This is because it's easy and largely free-of-charge to implement. For example the folks at Monitor Audio have invested huge leverage in their splendid new site, simply by allowing potential new customers the chance to share pages of pictures and specs with their network of friends and colleagues through Twitter, Facebook and every other social networking service available. And with so many services interconnected, the visibility of Monitor Audio's products is exponentially and more dynamically driven than through any expensive advertisement. Not only is social networking free to implement, there's inherent credibility as well, because the info comes via a trusted contact rather than 'evil big business'.

Now, especially, give the thumb's up to social media. After all what's not to 'Like'?

Wildwood PR

Robert Follis Associates limited

Keith Haddock Communications

 

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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Have your say...

Posted by James Middleton on 30th November 2011, 9:21 PM
As a small custom install company how do I promote myself, I have tried adverts in local magazines but don't think I gained much from them?
Posted by David Slater on 1st December 2011, 9:15 AM
Hi James, it is hard when you are a small company, but best way I found was to try and get exposure in magazines and web sites like INSIDE CI with a well taken photoshoot of your work. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, so try and look after your customer 100% if he loves your work he will act as an unpaid sales guy for you. GOOD LUCK

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