Public Relations and Rewards Program Offers - Case Study

When people think about public relations often they envision a large corporation with 10s of millions of customers, or perhaps a non-profit firm, political campaign, government agency, or utility. It is doubtful that a "truck wash" ever came to mind when thinking about public relations, but all businesses need good PR, and some sort of branding to stay in the minds of their clientele and customer. Okay so, let's talk about this as a case study for a moment, shall we?

Okay so, what can a truck wash do to increase positive PR? Well, why not create a truck driver rewards program?

Not all truck washes have rewards programs, but this is something that I recommend that all truck wash should do because it works. If an independent truck driver or a route driver knows that they can get free coffee at your wash, and they come down that same route all the time, they will more than likely stop your truck wash rather than a different one. Further, if you can justify the price as cheaper, their dispatchers will allow them to stop on the way, and approve your facility as a vendor, and perhaps even have their other driver stop there as well.

If you offer a rewards program to companies, and independent truck drivers, it works well for both. One example might be to give one free wash for every 10 washes. Another trick might be to give people free tire dressing if they put on two of your mud flaps, or if they mention on the CB while talking to fellow truckers on the road that they got a great truck cleaning from you. There are other benefits you can also give truck drivers after they've had so many washes. Perhaps free use of the shower, free coffee, free Internet access, and free tire dressing.

If you reward your best customers, those best customers will give you the best referrals. They will also become a happy army of salespeople for you if you treat them as superstars. It is amazing what you can do, and how simple it is to use these techniques to get excellent results. In your march to increase volume at your wash, while also building brand loyalists you should be*working on ways to show your customers that you value them more than anything else.

This type of Public Relations will go far into building a strong customer base, one which can outlast any recession. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it as you build your wash clientele.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on the Truck Washing Industry. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

Art of Public Relations and Reputation Management

Public Relations is a very generic term covering a whole area of marketing, communication, profile raising and management strategy. It is all about how an organisation is seen by the outside world, the message it sends and the public's perception of its service or product.

According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA): "Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics".

The means through which important information is conveyed are various, and often depend heavily upon the nature of the target audience. For instance a company communicating directly with its workforce would be unlikely to choose a public medium such as a newspaper advertisement through which to pass its information on, whilst news of a new product intending to achieve mass recognition would not be usefully served by its inclusion as a footnote in the corporate newsletter.

Edward Bernays, acknowledged by many to be the founder of modern PR, said it was "a management function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interests of an organisation...followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance".

The key to Bernays' analysis lies in a clear understanding of the role of management in identifying public attitudes and using them as a means through which to inform company policy, thereby responding to a need as opposed to having to create one.

Once one masters this principle and applies it as a benchmark around which a company's strategy is built, it is simply a question of taking advantage of the diverse range of media available for spreading the company message to the best effect.

Developing an organisation's PR portfolio requires an understanding of all that is effective in today's world for communicating with the intended audience. This takes us well beyond mundane, conventional advertising and into the realm of web development, search engine optimisation (SEO) and of course social media. It means establishing a presence in each and every area of activity and of developing that presence around a unitary corporate message that is short and punchy but which at the same time is able to offer a subliminal picture of the product itself.

In effect what we are describing is a complete marketing solution, an integrated PR strategy for information and reputation management.

PR then is about much more than sending out good news to as wide an audience as we are able. It is just as much about managing the message so that the public perception of a product or service is the perception you wish it to have.

Mark Richards is a professional writer working for The Middle Man, a business promotion service using its experience and expert knowledge of marketing strategy to generate important new business for its clients at a surprisingly low cost.

Role of PR

What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the words: "PR"? For some it's Press Release. For others it's Public Relations. But for all companies, PR is a Marketing necessity.

Consider what PR can deliver for you that advertising can't.

1. Credibility: That's right. I don't mean that you should go hog-wild and issue press releases every other day. What I mean is that, done properly, the relations you build with journalists, bloggers, editors and analysts can ultimately propel your brand/company/product to the front lines. Nothing says credibility like a good review, a headline in a newspaper, or a positive nod from a blogger

2. Messaging: PR people spend more time working with words than just about anyone. Well, I'm not counting the folks who write documentation, or legal contracts. I'm talking about the words that get into the public eye. Who better to help finesse your messaging than the folks whose livelihood it is to get the attention of the media?

3. Media and Analyst relations: PR folks are known for their Rolodex and for their ability to network, schmooze, and develop the right relationships with the right people. They can quickly ascertain who you need to be in front of, and how to make it happen.

4. Pitching: I'm not talking about baseballs. I'm talking about pitching tightly crafted article outlines (know as abstracts) to a target list of media, journalists, bloggers and analysts. The result is INK. That is what you want: ink on paper (or pixels on a screen). You want someone to write an article, comment on a press release, ask for an interview and basically put your name in front of the world.

5. Media Database: This ties into #3 & #4. Your PR team/person will develop a database of the publications and contacts relevant to your target market and product/service. This becomes your go-to resource for pitching media and analysts.

6. Editorial Calendar: Think of all the publications in which you would love to be published. Well, the majority publish an annual calendar of topics being covered. Your PR person will take all the calendars, decide which articles are relevant, which abstracts meet the criteria, marry that to the proper media contact and pitch away. If they're successful, you get ink, which enhances your credibility and increases brand awareness. You see, it all comes full circle.

So, before you dismiss PR as "just a press release", take a step back and look at the whole cycle.

About Joanne Gore
Joanne Gore has nearly twenty years of enterprise marketing and communications experience, including corporate and small office environments. She is a talented and creative marketing professional, always positive and able to see the big picture. She possesses the organization/prioritization skills which allow her to manage multiple projects from inception to implementation, meeting deadline demands and budgetary constraints. A true mentor, Joanne marries her passion for marketing with clear, creative feedback and inspiration. Joanne develops lead generation and conversion programs, re-brands product lines, implements social media strategies, manages PR and media relations campaigns, overhauls websites, develops highly targeted marketing campaigns, and delivers results.

Joanne is a marketing geekette by day, a fitness instructor by night, and a mom 24-7.


Search Engine Optimization Versus Public Relations Strategies

While Public Relations Management as a discipline has been around for a while now, the recent trends in Search Engine Optimization and the evident overlap between these two disciplines has given rise to a turf war that show no sign of ending anytime soon. While professionals belonging to both these disciplines focus on defending their roles to a great extent, a significant mistake that everybody is making at this point is, not taking the initiative to actually understand what optimization means and how it is relevant to PR management.

Core Functions

Optimization initiatives on search engines aim to ensure that the website of any business receives a good ranking as results for relevant search terms. Consequently, the primary objective of public relations management is to ensure that the brand has a positive reputation among its target audience and stakeholders.

Where do these Functions Overlap?

When described in simple terms, the two disciplines seem so very different. Yet, the main reason behind the friction between these two functions is that they tend to make use of very similar strategies to achieve their own respective core objectives.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to enhance your website's ranking is to have other websites link back to your own pages. If your links appear on authoritative and well reputed websites, especially on respected media sites such as the New York Times, BBC etc., it s deemed to be of great value and an interesting way to convince these brands to talk about your company in their content.

Evidently, there is a conflict on this exact point, where the PR teams of a business believe that maintaining relationships with the media is meant to be their job. At the same time, optimization experts also need to innovate and find ways to engage with internet based media in order to achieve those back-links and mentions on the World Wide Web.

In addition to interacting with high-profile media, Optimization experts are also working with a number of other reputed websites which may or may not belong to media to achieve more back-links on the internet. More often than not, PR teams tend to disapprove the content of the articles of the type of websites that optimization experts chose to associate with.

The Complexities of Social Media Integration

When social media platforms such as blogs and other networking websites come into play, there is an added opportunity for content and search engine experts to post a lot of keyword-rich content to attract further attention. At the same time, PR teams will want to make use of the same space to publish news announcements and other leadership related articles. There is a clear difference of opinion and objective between these two functions which tends to convert into a violent disagreement on the ownership of these social media platforms.

The practical thing to do is for businesses to draw lines between each department and design specific jurisdictions even on the internet space. For example, it would make more sense for the optimization projects to be executed on social channels such as Facebook and Twitter, since they also benefit the rankings and the PR could take over aspects which help in effectively managing the reputation of the business on the internet.

Whether or not a solution is arrived at with respect to these two disciplines, they both remain to play significant roles in the growth of the business in the long run.

Stella R Richard is the author of various articles and currently working with Ismoip. offers social media management, strategy consulting and SEO Vancouver for all types of business and brands.

Crafting Your Public Relations Strategy

Public relation is the process of developing a public image for any business or brand. It is the function of PR to ensure that the brand, service or company is positively positioned in the minds of the public.

In the view of many experts, branding and public relation go hand in hand. Brand managers and other brand development personnel are accustomed to the PR concepts because they are responsible for ensuring that the brand has a positive public identity.

The basic characteristic of a successful PR campaign is that it remains invisible. Unlike advertising or marketing, a campaign leaves no trace of its existence in any form. It is the most intangible form of brand development and customer loyalty.

Hence, we can confidently say that public relation works towards news generation. When a brand launches a marketing campaign and news channels air its happening, it is also categorized. The viewer of the channel is totally unaware that whatever he/she is viewing is part of the PR campaign.

Public relations tend to work from behind the scenes. It never leads from the front; instead, it supports the brand from the back-end. Yet, it is public relations that take the company and its brand forward. Only through proper PR campaign can a brand succeed in generating consumer interest. Once the interest is generated, customer ends up purchasing the product. Hence, public relation can translate into profit generation as well.

Another benefit of a successful public relation campaign is that it brings the brand to the notice of the target audience. It results in providing the brand such mobility that it can conveniently walk up to the customer and convince him/her that it is what he/she desires.

However, it must not be misunderstood that public relation is all about messages and their delivery. In relation to brands, public relation is the crucial function of giving the consumers a feeling that "this brand is for me". It creates an identity of the brand that the consumers can easily associate them to. It communicates to them the importance of a certain brand that can have in their lives. It gives them the confidence that no other product or brand can satisfy their particular need. And the best part lies in the fact that all this is done without the consumer even knowing about it.

Another objective that it achieves is that it creates feelings of familiarity and reliability in the consumer mind. Being marketers, we all know how critical building customer relationship is for the success of our brands. PR helps us in doing just that. Once a customer associates himself to a certain brand, he will always feel towards it as if it were his own. And this serves our purpose!

I am an internet marketer with many years experience, especially in social network marketing. I use my abilities to help business and individuals establish their presence on line in order to best fulfill their needs.

PR For Startups

The Challenge In 2012

As the economic situation shows no signs of improvement, many small companies and start-up businesses do face the problem of how to compete in 2012.

Big businesses are OK, they have established marketing campaigns, a reputation in the industry, large marketing budgets and are known in the industry.

Smaller businesses face the problem that they do not have the reputation, they need to compete with the big boys and (most importantly) they do not have the funds to throw into marketing.

For this rearon, smaller businesses and start-up companies are looking for marketing that offers guarantees or a low risk return on investment.

Public Relations In 2012

Public relations has been around a long time and is all about telling a story, communicating a message and boosting a businesses profile.

No matter what industry a start-up company is in, they can still make an impact in a highly competitive industry given the right marketing and PR approach. Consider Innocent Smoothies, a newcomer that offered a boring product that was in a highly competitive industry, and made it a brand over a short period of time. The online dating industry is highly competitive, however new dating sites are springing up all the time and getting good PR.

Bill Gates is renowned for saying 'if I was down to my last $50, I would spend it on PR' showing that as a highly successful person he recognises the power of PR and how a well positioned PR campaign can be worth it's weight in gold.

PR For Start-ups

The main difficulty that many start-up companies is the money factor, as banks are not lending getting funds is either done from personal resources, family loans and going into debt via credit card etc. Many businesses could vouch that by using PR agencies in the early days, they have been able to get a foothold in a market that would otherwise have been difficult.

PR is not just about the buzz, or the exposure that the media creates, but online element of doing press releases. The internet is one of the main marketing tools that small companies will use to create a media buzz and PR does have many SEO benefits that go alongside the main benefits.

TV advertising is popular with new companies, however the funding for an advertising campaign is very expensive and is only really possible for businesses that have had funds allocated via private investors, banks or private resources. As most start-ups do not have this available, the next best alternative is public relations.

By choosing a PR agency that is experienced in your area of PR (online dating, food, events, music, medical etc.) start-ups should get good advise and a well targeted campaign that can be built on and developed as the business grows and marketing funding increases.

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