7 Brutal Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Hiring A PR Manager

So, how do you obtain brilliant PR? You start with the right person, and by that I mean BOTH manager and client.

The pairing has to be perfect. Those who sit in their agencies thinking that all you need is a long list of press contacts and a gift of the gab are missing out on a big trick. The relationship between client and manager needs to be water tight. Yet, this plus a whole host of other issues usually fail to get any attention by businesses.

So, in this post, I will walk you through the 7 brutal questions you need to ask yourself before you hire a PR Manager (and it’s a frighteningly vast number of businesses who don’t.)

  1. Do they ‘get’ your business? Understanding your playing field is vital to the success of the relationship between your PR manager and you. They need to have either experience in your trading arena or have the desire to learn it thoroughly.
  2. Are they keen for the right reasons? Enthusiasm is the key here and if your newly acquired PR manager is willing to engage, then they are a better bet than someone who is simply willing to part you from your cash.
  3. Do they genuinely want to get to know you? A good PR manager will want to spend time with you and get to know you and your company. Allow them to do this as it will give them valuable insight into how you think, speak and currently project your company image. It might sound like a turn on the therapist couch, but if you want your PR to be transparent, on song and genuine then your PR manager is going to want to make sure the story you share is truthful and accurate.
  4. Do they love you? Don’t simply go for a PR Manager who kisses the ground you walk on. The papers will only take so much of yet another client wishing for their ego to be massaged.
  5. Are they the right PR Manager for you? This is a toughie as most businesses will hire someone that’s wrong. That doesn’t mean to say that there are bad PR Managers and you have to know how to pick a good one. Some will be a good fit. No everyone you meet will be.
  6. Have they identified opportunities yet? Every day is an opportunity. A good PR manager will not sit around waiting for those opportunities to drop into their lap – they need to see the world differently to everyone else and a good PR manager won’t hang about. They will want to take action and shout your corner as soon as possible.
  7. Are they swtiched on? You might have heard about the brain’s excellent ability to ‘distort, delete and generalise’ everything that comes into contact with its eyes, ears and senses each day? A PR Manager will be subconsciously switched on to picking up everything once of data which in turn, leads to a positive opportunity to create that all important persona for their client. They will have their finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the world and ready to snap up an opportunity as soon as it happens. 

 

Michelle has won awards for her contribution to Communications and PR for several high profile clients and projects, including the London 2012 Olympics.  She holds a total of 5 Diplomas in Marketing, PR and even Business Psychology. She currently works as a PR Manager and lives in Wiltshire with her 3 cats and son, Jon. 

Why Every Business Needs PR (And Not Just Because It’s Cheaper Than Ads)

In every city in every country, Media and PR agencies sprout out of the ground.

Sitting on every creative corner of every street, they can be found nestled amongst vegan coffee lounges and minimalistic art studios like modern day gods seemingly holding the keys to profitability and success.

what's PR?

 

In the meantime, companies sit dreaming. Wondering what it would be like to hit the big time and see their name in lights like their competitors and all that’s separates them is an advertising budget. Right? No. It’s much more than that.

Every business wishing to hit the top needs someone either in or out-house to at least, cultivate and review the image the company is portraying to the outside world. Banging out a dozen marketing ads in a few publications, even on a regular basis, is not going to make your business the next big thing. You need a sound PR strategy.

(And this is the point where most businesses roll their eyes and say it’s for bigger fish.) That’s not true either. It is for everyone and anyone. Big or small.

So, in this post today, I attempt to set the record straight on PR and why businesses can’t do without it.

But first, let’s look at the difference between marketing and PR. Why? Because although one is very important and integral to the success of a business, the other is vital.

Marketing vs PR – What’s the difference?

Marketing is the communication between you and your customers, investors and suppliers. It is the channel by which you inform them that you exist. It is the conversation you have with the outside world.

PR on the other hand is NOT what YOU say to your customers, investors and suppliers, it is the conversation THEY have amongst themselves.  Marketing is important because it’s your voice. PR is vital because it’s theirs.

why every business needs good PR

While marketing will help you discover what your customers want, their pain points, their values and demographic, it is PR that will create the image, the persona of your business and it is this, that sticks hard. Marketing can be changed instantly, but PR has a greater impact because it is the one thing that the business cannot control.

So, what is PR?

Every self-styled PR guru has an opinion what will be the next big phenomenon. Fashionable 20 somethings in glass high rises gossip over the next big concept that will change how the world thinks, and that the next British Gas advert will be the one that will save the planet.

That might be only a fraction of what PR is, but it certainly isn’t the whole story. So, what what’s the rest of it?

Is it the glossy images on the front cover? The stepping out of Harrods just as a TV camera shoots by? Scanning the airwaves for a topic which fits in with your client neatly and seamlessly? Well, no. It’s a combination of all of these things.

The idea that PR is simply the right look, the right word or the right angle on something is only half the battle. That said, if PR is a battle then you’re doing it wrong. Good PR is effortless.

why every business needs PR

PR in itself is essential to anyone or any business wishing to set out into the world their message. If you have an idea about any business, regardless of industry, one of the easiest things to do is shout about it, but make sure you are shouting at the right audience. There’s no point waving your arms up and down in the middle of a busy high street. If you’re not striking a cord, then you might as well be shouting at no one.

What’s your message?

Get clear on your message and even more so, ask yourself ‘why should anyone listen to what I have to say?’ We all buy with emotion and justify with logic later. Someone doesn’t buy a 63″ TV because they want a 63″ TV. They want the experience that goes with it. They want the clarity, the colour and sharpness of the picture. They want to feel as though they are IN the picture and away from their lives. They certainly don’t consider the price. They worry about that later.

Understand what it is you are selling and figure out the emotional pull you can lever behind it. Your customers won’t ever remember what it is you’ve said to them. They will even forget the discount or the offer that you gave them on purchase. What they WILL remember is how you made them FEEL.

The cheaper option

When someone buys something from you, you want them to go away and become a raving fan and gush to their friends how much they love your brand. That is PR. It is the shouting the public do about you to each other.

Every business, big or small needs an element of PR. It is the most over looked corner of marketing and advertising yet remarkably, the cheapest. PR when done properly won’t cost you a penny yet it is surprising the number of businesses who simply advertise without any form of PR strategy. It’s money down the drain for nothing.

The key to remember above anything else is that every business is human to human. It doesn’t matter if your client base are members of the public or other businesses. You are dealing with human beings on a daily basis.

Connect with them and they will become your marketing department.

Now that’s good PR.

 

Michelle has won awards for her contribution to Communications and PR for several high profile clients and projects, including the London 2012 Olympics.  She holds a total of 5 Diplomas in Marketing, PR and even Business Psychology. She currently works as a PR Manager and lives in Wiltshire with her 3 cats and son, Jon. 

The Secret Sauce To Having A Brilliant Career (In Fact, Brilliant In Every Corner Of Your Life)

Did you know that being any manager of any team or department, you need to be a brilliant marketing manager first?

You don’t see it?

Let me explain:

Marketing isn’t just for the department and it doesn’t just stop at what ever it is you are promoting to your target audience.

Marketing starts, believe it or not, with you and more importantly, how you feel about YOU.

This is what I mean…

Market yourself to yourself effectively and you can literally change your world. Regardless of your occupation, industry or niche. Whether you are an office cleaner, a builder, laying roads, tredding the boards or heading a board room. If you can market yourself to yourself, you can be anything or anyone you want to be.

So let’s go back for a second to the heading of this article today.

We’re talking about being a marketing manager but let’s turn that around for a second. Manage your marketing – managing yourself as your own marketing manager. It is all about the inside story. What you tell yourself inside is always what you get on the outside.

Ok, so now I have completely confused you, let’s take that last paragraph apart.

We already know that what’s going on, on the inside of yourself is always, always reflected on the outside. So, if your life is pretty rubbish, then I can guess that you don’t feel that great about yourself, right?

So, that gives us a chicken and egg scenario. What came first? The feeling of being inadequate and useless or are you just merely reacting to what’s going on in the outside world?

What you think about yourself is always reflected in your world

The values you have of yourself (or lack of it) comes first. Always.

Those values you have now, have been there since you were around 12 years old. That’s the age where we build our sense of self worth that sticks rigidly to for the rest of your life. It maps out your destiny.

You see, where we have been going wrong all these thousands of years is that we allow what’s going on in the outside world dictate to us how we feel, rather than the other way around. What we should be doing is rewriting the rule book in our minds on what we want the outside world to be.

Yet this is very difficult to do otherwise we would all be doing it. You see, we’re not beings that feel and then think, we are thinking beings that feel. We are led every day to act on how we feel, we should be scrapping how we feel and just doing what we KNOW we should be doing.

I will give you an example:

If you didn’t feel like doing something, you wouldn’t do it right? Yet, if you wanted to do it, you would do it, yes?

Changing the intention

What you need to do is change the intention. Your mind creates the feelings that puts your physical body into scenarios that reflect how you feel about yourself, others and the world around you.

You will always, on a subconscious level, look, no, in fact, seek out all the situations on the planet that are equal to your values. So if you have a bad job now, you will always have a bad job, because you are actively seeking out jobs that are equal to the poor image you have of yourself.

Great leaders don’t put themselves in that environment. Why? Because the conversation they are having inside sees them as the great leaders they are, or the great business owners, entrepreneurs, managers. To change it, you change the way you are marketing yourself to yourself.

And it can happen, and quicker than you think.

(Want to know what happened to me? Click here for the full article) 

Want to know how you can change your world into the one you want? Read the next article here…

 

Michelle is an award winning marketing, PR and leadership consultant. She is has CoE Diplomas in Marketing, PR, Business Management and Accountancy, and is a member of the Institute of Leadership and Management and The Association of Integrative Psychology.

She is a keen mountain biker and once won the 42km cross country race for ChildLine raising over £1000. She lives in Wiltshire with her family and three cats.

The 1 Trick Most Businesses Fail On When Researching Their Target Market

Thinking about your target audience, you need to first consider if there is a need for what you do. This will determine, not only your price but the place you have in the industry. Yet there is so much more to customer research than a lot of businesses admit to doing. In fact, it is believed that for every customer to obtain, you could be handing another 5 over to your nearest competitor simply because you haven’t done your customer homework thoroughly.

 

The key that separates your business from the biggest competitor is this: You MUST fully understand who your target market is, not the demographic of your ideal customers but their language, how they think, how they feel, their desires and wants, what their struggles are and their values.

Without a clearly defined specific understanding of your target audience, you will not be able to implement firm marketing strategies, objectives of your business or sales trajectory.

 

Clever target audience homework

You would have already acknowledged the opportunity of your business venture in the current market, if you had done your homework. The cleverest marketers will see opportunities and needs to a customer before they have understood there is a need themselves. Apple is an outstanding example of this. They foresaw a desire in the customer in terms of technology before the customer even realised they had one. All Apple had to do then was to create the product and present it to the world with the accompanying pitch.

Any successful business will have identified a clear gap in the market and the consistent necessity for their product or service. There’s no point creating a product that the consumer only wants for five minutes, on one single day in a year, if it’s your one and only product.

So, the first question you need to ask yourself (and it’s surprising how many businesses don’t do this) who is your ideal customer is, inside and out?

 

Where is the money being spent?

Any healthy business attitude seeks out competition automatically. Know who your competitors are in your industry and monitor their behaviour and that of their customers carefully.

Almost all businesses can be improved in one way or another. Therefore, take it upon yourself to find out the trick they’re missing and offer that to your customer base. – Michelle Hatcher

Many businesses believe that if they understand what gender, cultural background, demographic, age, social class and income their target market is, then that’s all they need to know. But clever customer research goes much deeper than that and it’s here, where the money truly is.

So, ask yourself about your competitor – what is bringing their customers to them and not to you? Who are your customers and what are the difference between yours and theirs? How much are the customers spending with you and your competitor?

Understand the differences clearly and you will be on your way to understanding consumer behaviour and how to win more custom.

 

‘Get’ your customer

Any good business, whether they are retail, a service provider, for customers or other businesses, who have done their homework on their target market will understand each customer inside out – how they feel, what their goals in life are, their values, what’s important to them, who they want to be, what they dream about, what they worry about, read and talk about to their friends. You must know as much as possible about their emotional pains and struggles and provide a solution for them.

 

 

Take for instance, Nike.

On the surface, they are just another big name in sportswear. You might argue that their target audience are people who like to keep fit, play sports and enjoy being healthy. Yet if this is all the customer research Nike ever did, they wouldn’t not be the multi-billion-pound retail outlet there are today.

Nike understands that their customers like to feel like world class athletes. They understand that the struggle of their target audience, their pains, what stands in their way from being brilliant at sports and keeping fit, who they admire, who they would like to be like and so on. They ‘get’ the desire, the hunger, if you like, of their target market. They understand the dreams their ideal customer has in being the best version of themselves as they possibly can.

 

Mirror marketing

What is very clever is that Nike’s brand and understanding of their market is that if you see someone wearing Nike gear, they are likely to be the type of person who we have described above. This is what I call mirror marketing. The customer becomes the marketing advocate reinforcing the brand through being a customer. One literally reflects the other, thus creating a mirror effect in psychological advertising for new custom (new customer thinks ‘I want to be like them…’) whilst making the wearer of the gear feel important and the best version of themselves.

 

Blanket marketing

Blanketing marketing will only ever get you so far if you want to build a successful marketing plan. This is when we simply market ‘at’ everyone in the hope that someone ‘bites’; the marketing bait. Even giants such as supermarket chains (and we all need food, don’t we?) Will have studied their target audience carefully, even though we all need food to survive so there is a definite desire for supermarkets! Notice how household products, clothes and non-consumable products in Sainsburys are very different to those in Asda. That’s because both companies understand their different target audience.

 

Customer research that is flexible keeps you in business

There are some things about your business that should never change – your branding is one of these aspects. The vision, mission and WHY factor of your business that makes up the company brand should remain clear and consistent. Your products and services, you will always update to match the demands of the customer, but what about your target market research? This should be reviewed frequently and monitored just as carefully just as regularly as your marketing and sales analytic reports.

Never assume because you know your market, you never have to review it ever again. The world and its inhabitants change almost daily, and your target market last year might not be the same this year. Always keep on top of your customer research. That way, your products and services will always stay fresh and you will stay on top of your game.

 

Michelle Hatcher is an award winning digital marketing and leadership consultant for 15 years with credits that include Surrey 2012 Team and the London Olympics. She is a member of the Association of Integrative Psychology in Seattle and lives in Wiltshire with her family and three cats.