Building credibility with public relations

(Excerpt from Exaggerations And Lies Of A Sailor’s Life In Advertising)

PR 401:


In Public Relations 101, 201 and 301, you got a free sailing excursion along with a long wet discussion of public relations relative to objective …Now off we go deeper into building credibility with public relations….

The credibility factor of public relations is so important to have a handle on. Consider how important it is in some professions to build credibility: For example, investment advisors, accountants, business coaches, lawyers, and consultants. Buyers of professional services almost always base their decisions on credibility …no matter how long you’ve been friends.

Credibility enables trust –and without trust you’re not going anywhere. (And why would you want to?)

Variables that affect credibility can include continuity of presence (visibility/frequency), name recognition, thought leadership, and the implied third party endorsements of respected online and offline media and the endearment of trusted influencers …to name several.

Here’s the math:

Presence = awareness/name recognition = perceived thought leadership = credibility.

Presence can be achieved at many different levels of intensity across many different layers of constituents across many different mediums of marketing communications.

Considering public relations for financial services, a wealth management advisor may, for example, reach out to prospects and clients, the media (including business journals, consumer magazines, newspapers and special interest group newsletters), and referral sources such as accountants and tax attorneys.

The mediums used to communicate with these different groups could include:  sales call, sales letter, news release, web site, email, post card, newsletter, event, brochure, gift and so on.

It is important to also note an often overlooked medium for strategic communication with constituents, that being brand behavior. (We’ll spend some time with this one later on.)

But before doing anything  …think it through!

First, make certain you’ve carefully plotted your brand positioning strategy. Have you done all you can to identify and leverage opportunities relative to target, competitive set, value proposition, unique selling proposition, brand message and brand personality.

Second, have you taken into consideration any trends or circumstances that may influence your message and/or its delivery channels. Are you aware of your target’s interface preferences (periodicals, Internet, conferences, etc.).

Third, have you created a seamless process for conversion into sales?

Never stop hammering away at the possibilities:

Are you optimizing synchronicity among mediums? For instance, will your announcements in the media be timed to associate with a major trade show? Can the new graphics for your web site carry over also to your post card campaign?

And so on. And so on. And so on.

Think it through carefully and be very careful not to over commit. The last thing you want is to spend time and money building presence (credibility) only to evaporate into the unknown.

Suddenly going dark like that can raise questions.

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–Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill SC