“If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR” was the famous quote that Bill Gates made and one that many of us in the PR industry use when we are trying to draw attention to the importance of our services.
Ironically many of us are nearly down to our last dollars, or Euros and you might question does this piece of advice really hold water, how applicable is it and is this really what Bill Gates meant when he made the comment? Was he ever down to his last dollar? – I wonder..
Does he really suggest that when a business is really tight that it spends its income in such a way?
When the recession kicked in how did you react in your business? What overheads got the chop? I’m suspecting that Marketing & PR budgets were given the scissors treatment – was this the right thing to do? How did this affect your business and the attitude of those working there?
Positive Attitude, Positive Activity and Positive Spend
Not knowing Bill I can only guess but this is my interpretation of what he meant ..
PR is as much an attitude, a process, a set of beliefs, a way of behaving positively as much as it is about Press Releases and actually employing a PR resource.
PR or Public Relations is all about Managing your Reputation– protecting, maintaining, building and managing your reputation. Even if you are down to your last dollar you need to keep investing or doing this.
There is nothing more valuable as a good reputation and this is about a lot more than employing PR companies or about issuing press releases. Your reputation is every single aspect of how your business relates to the outside world, your customers, your prospects, the general public and the media. This applies equally to a self employed candlestick maker as it does to a large multinational.
Ok, how about 16 Tips for improving and managing your Reputation (PR) for €1
1. Answer the phones politely and helpfully
2. Return missed calls promptly
3. Return email enquiries quickly
4. Deliver a good service to customers
5. Handle complaints fairly and efficiently
6. Deliver products and services on time
7. Ensure your billing is correct
8. Be polite, fair and efficient with your suppliers and staff
9. Keep customers and prospects up to date with new products, features and services
10. Treat your suppliers fairly
11. Treat your customers with respect (even if they are experiencing difficulty and are under financial pressure)
12. Ensure that all correspondence is well laid out, with correct English, is easily understood, professional and properly reflects your business
13. Ensure your premises and vehicles are kept neat and tidy
14. Ensure the attire of your staff is in keeping with the standards of your business
15. Ensure your staff always talk up your company and do not air grievances outside of the four walls with external people – make a pact to sort things out internally
16. Talk up the achievements of your company and the staff working there – their talents, skills and achievements
This is not an exhaustive list – have a think about it and add another 5/10/20 points to improve your reputation even more. Even better get your team to help you with this task.
Ok, all of this is good for your business reputation, it didn’t require the intervention of third party consultants and oh yeah, it didn’t really cost a shilling – you still have your €1 left!
So far we have looked at some housekeeping reputation issues.
As we mentioned PR is in essence a positive attitude – first and foremost you need to declare war on this recession and ensure that you and everyone in your business understands the importance of your reputation and a Positive Attitude towards your business. You will thrive in this environment and if you are alert you will not only survive but you will be in a position to seize on unique opportunities that may arise.
Back to the job of spending our last €1..
Communicate that you are going to invest in positive activity for your business – You have been in Retreat mode and now you want to invest funds in forward mode – you want to “Storm” this recession. Your staff must understand that every €1 is vital, that you want maximum return from it and challenge them to achieve this. Show and positively display the faith that you have in the business and communicate that you and your team are adopting “attack” mode!
This positive mind shift is essential for the business.
Where do we spend our €1?
– Refresh your Website – review and refresh the text, besides being new and positive it helps your Search Engine ranking
– Optimise your Website (do a Google search on this and you will learn find how to do it for free)
– Update the News items on the website – announce new customers, products or services
– Set up a Facebook business page, it’s free – take the time and build a following for your business online. Ask customers to sign up, email them, ring them, tell them..
– Start using the other social media sites such as Twitter or LinkedIn to build your contacts and spread awareness for your business, products and service. If you’re not sure how to do this – Google it .. there are plenty of articles and tips available online
– Prepare Press Releases about your company or services . Do you have anything interesting or new happening in the business? – let the press know.
– Advertising: maybe you have an advertising campaign running with the local papers or a trade publication – negotiate that you get some free editorial to support these adverts (keep it interesting, they won’t print boring stuff!)
All of this is positive – have you ever noticed that you like being around positive people? In business we are no different and we like dealing with positive, successful businesses. Behave like one of them.
Build your reputation, shout it from the rooftops and make this a clearly understood activity in your business.
Big problem… we still haven’t spent that €1
Print a few posters and put them around your business “We are Storming the Recession”
If you have more than €1 to spend feel free to give Fuzion a call and we will help you achieve the maximum from your Marketing & PR budget.
Bill, thanks for the PR thumbs up ..