What does a PR firm do anyway?

La Medición de la Comunicación y su Estandarización en la Ciudad Condal

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PR definition is constantly evolving and its purpose is to assist a business in all aspects of growth. Quality PR is the process of building relationships, creating conversations, influencing the news while shaping a company’s brand perception. It is how a company engages, discusses and fosters positive awareness with the right audience at the right time using the right Traditional – Printed and Online- and Social Media.

The job of the agency is to create brand awareness, that is still true today, but the way it is accomplished today has changed dramatically.  Now is a form of Content Creation – Content Marketing. Whether it is creating news via Press Releases, writing for the client´s Owned Media, Feature Articles, Success Stories, Visuals, Events, Transmedia (multiplatform storytelling) or Creating Communities via engagement across social channels. These efforts and the resulting content combines to raise awareness of the client´s brand promise.

Public Relations are a form of marketing where writing and communication skills are utilized to make the public understand the agency´s clients´ products, services or technology. It is the job of spreading the word in a positive way to keep customers coming back again and again.

The Role of the PR Agency

knowledgeable about the clients and understand what they do.

The role is ever-changing and hard to define – from Media Relations, Crisis Communications, Social Media, Event Coordination, C-level strategy sessions, Reputation Management, Videography, Client´s Service, Infographic creation, etc. But the one constant is the overarching common thread between them that stays the same – the value they add by earning people’s attention through a thorough understanding of the Key Constituencies, well-crafted stories, competitors and good old-fashioned communication skills.

“PR is not about guaranteed positioning but definitely there are measurable objectives.”

PR professionals working in an agency must know what is relevant in terms of media placement, so they must perform market research, to understand what topics will influence public opinion and whether they will reflect positively or negatively on the company and leverage these through Newsjacking - to amplify sales and marketing success. They must continuously analyze the public forums to gauge the response of publications regarding policy changes and their social impact.

The PR professional must work together with the client to ensure that - consistent with other Marketing Mix efforts - the public remains informed. Additionally, it should be ascertained that the communications are understood in a manner that is beneficial to the company’s interests. The constant placement of the publications is also relevant. Company news and related articles must be published in sources germane to the product or service in order to reach the intended Key Constituencies.

Regardless of how we define PR and the role an agency plays, there’s no doubt these play an important part in their clients’ success directly and indirectly.

About the author: Hector worked for IBM Mexico for more than 30 years, managing different functions and areas: Marketing and Commercial – Channel Sales, Manufacturing, External Relations, Human Resources, Legal, Education, IT, Foreign Trade and Security. During his career at IBM, he had two international assignments in charge of Marketing and Sales for Latin America. After his retirement as IBM's Executive Vice-President, he took the position as President and Corporate Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean for Motorola Mexico; he was also Vice-President for Motorola Corporation.

Hector has a college degree in Business Administration from Texas A&I University, and a Master's degree in Economics from Trinity University. He has also received intensive training in advanced business management, corporate strategies and international trade at IPADE; Pittsburgh University, IBM La Hulpe in Belgium, IBM Executive Institute in N.Y. and Motorola University.

Hector is also an Independent Consultant for Management, Strategic Planning, Human Resources and Marketing Communications and is a  columnist for Forbes Mexico, Alto Nivel  and Dialogo Ejecutivo. He may be contacted vía: Twitter: @HectorMezaC; Facebook: Héctor M. Meza; LinkedIn: Héctor M. Meza Curiel.