Rachel Irvine, managing director of Irvine Partners, shares some of her insights into Public Relations.
Rachel Irvine has more than 15 years’ experience in the public relations industry. She has worked for e-tv, Radio KFM and Sky Business Television. In London she set up and ran the broadcast division of the world’s largest business-to-business media company before moving to Moscow, where she was Director of a 300 person public relations office. Since returning to South Africa, Irvine has worked with clients including Google, Pick ‘n Pay and South African Breweries.
Drawing on her extensive experience, Irvine says that public relations has a lot in common with friendship. It is about building a relationship between a company and its customers. If consumers can come to know, trust and like a company, they will be more likely to utilize their service and purchase their products.
As everyone knows, friendships cannot be sustained without communication. If you do not see someone for a long time, there comes a point when you will no longer consider them a friend. Similarly, if a company disappears from view for long periods, its customers will no longer have reason to believe that it still has the same qualities which made them customers in the first place. By forming a relationship with its customers, a company can ensure that they remain familiar with them, even if they do not exclusively buy the products or services offered by that company.
Forming a relationship between your company and its customers is done by communicating clearly, consistently and efficiently as to what your company does and stands for. Despite its frequent depiction in film and fiction as ‘spin doctoring’, public relations is not about hiding things. As Irvine says, “More than anything else in the world, we know that the truth will out.” By telling the truth, a company can retain customers and maintain profitability.
This article was first published on Laduma Connect