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  • Writer's pictureSuzi Christie

Make your New Year’s PR resolutions

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

2020 was very hard for most businesses and 2021 wasn’t much easier. Who knows what 2022 will be like but, if we look at past pandemics and the Herculean efforts of our scientists and medical staff, I think it is time to be positive.

So, what are your resolutions?

Alongside the usual promises to yourself that you’ll drink less, exercise more and maintain better contact with distant friends and relatives, you should also make some serious resolutions about promoting your business. In such a turbulent business environment, this should perhaps fall into two camps. Firstly, what you should do if the world continues to return to normality. Secondly, prepare for what to do when it doesn’t go to plan.

Network more – ‘people buy people’

There is a saying that people won’t buy from you until after they get to know you, like you and trust you. You might have the best product in the world, but if customers don’t think they can trust you they will go elsewhere.

Networking events are a great place to meet potential clients. At first it can be awkward, like a blind date, but it does get easier. Also, the benefits are cumulative. You may not meet your ideal partner at the first, second, or even third event, but eventually you will have the chance meeting that changes your business. You may not even know about it for several weeks or months but if a company sees you at several events, they will remember you. This was the case with long-standing and fantastic client Cleankill Pest Control, who I met at a business exhibition in Eastbourne around 10 years after I left Rentokil.

Address the elephant in the room

Most of us don’t have a timebomb waiting to go off but if you do – say, you’re a company in a sector that is increasingly coming under the spotlight of social media ‘commentators’ then make sure you have a strategy in place to address it and risks you may face as part of your crisis or risk management plan.

Take responsibility

Remember people won’t forget and forgive until your problem ceases to be a non-story.

Look at Jimmy Carr and his tax scandal. Yes, we are still talking about it, and so is he, but the sting was taken out of the story fairly quickly because he followed the basic rules – admit responsibility, apologise sincerely, and execute a satisfactory solution. The week it was announced, he said sorry, went onto the television and was attacked by his fellow comedians, took his public punishment and paid all the tax back. It hasn’t destroyed his career.

At the other end of the scale apologies that don’t really say you are sorry will just keep the story going. It is hard not to mention Christmas party scandals but whatever the right or wrongs of the story, it has caught the public’s imagination and caused many people to get really annoyed.

As a PR professional with considerable expertise in crisis management, what amazes me is the lack of strategy being adopted by the government. Once the story came out, the first thing to do would be to look at what other evidence may come to light – the Allegra video, other parties, etc. The idea that these wouldn’t come to light shows an approach based on hope and prayer, rather than a solid and robust PR strategy.

Listen to a pro

In our connected, social media driven world make sure you take the right approach. In many cases, the right approach is to listen to a PR professional. You might be a brilliant salesperson, an amazing CEO, the life and soul of every party, but you aren’t necessarily equipped to deal with the media in a way that gives you maximum advantage.

Find a PR professional who understands the situation you are in and who can give you the correct advice for getting yourself out of it. Don’t think you know best. Just look at Prince Andrew and his interview with Emily Maitlis. His PR advisor said don’t do it, but he knew best…

Be reactive

If a difficult situation does arrive, you need to be adaptable. Your crisis strategy should contain an element of adaptability so you can react quickly as the story develops.

But the ability to react isn’t just important in a crisis. None of us knows what the next year is going to bring. All we do know is that it will be different from last year. For example, we hope we will be able to go back to networking in person – old school, face-to-face – but we may need to find alternatives if that isn’t possible. Have a strategy in place for how you can gain exposure if a networking event is cancelled. Your PR professional will be able to help you make the right decisions.

Be mentally prepared

The one thing we do know about 2022 is that it is going to be interesting. At times it may be hard, but that can also be a time of opportunity.

Change is inevitable and continuous. If you are mentally prepared for change, truly accept that change is always happening then whatever happens be it the late cancelation of an event you were looking forward to or a major crisis, you will be ready to cope with the repercussions of the disruption.

Resolutions are about how you see yourself in the future and setting yourself goals to achieve them. Every person who vows to join a gym wants to see themselves thinner and fitter. Unfortunately, too often, the desire from New Year’s Eve quickly gives way to lethargy in a cold January. But when it comes to your PR strategy for 2022, make sure you try something new and different. A good PR consultant is worth their weight in gold and will help you to shine for all the right reasons.

Wishing you the happiest of New Years!

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