In Times of Disaster, Use PR to Parade Your Company Values (Pt 2)
PR offers tried and tested tactics to get the word out on an organization’s values. One such way is partnering with organisations or influencers with similar values. We have advised clients going into the disaster area to look at both the holistic and long-term needs of the affected communities in Chipinge and Chimanimani for maximum impact.
One of the major mobile network operators has a phase approach to their relief efforts. They are leaning on their operational capacity to provide support services. Having established a foundation that delivers social impact initiatives shows how value driven strategies can work wonders.
PR consultants encourage thought leadership, particularly when it comes to speaking engagements. These are an effective way of positioning your company as one to go to on certain specific issues. Usually these are related to your company’s line of business,
If, for example, a company has developed a unique method for attracting millennials into its workforce, its spokesperson can earn speaking sessions at workplace culture, and HR industry conferences, Etchinson says.
By consistently educating others, the company is putting its values of inclusion on display while boosting brand visibility in a strategic way. Winning unpaid speaking engagements at industry events carries added prestige over sponsored ones, so they can be worth the extra effort. This includes writing articles for publications that reach specific audiences.
There is an area that is relatively new in Zimbabwe, that of corporate activism. It’s seen a bolder way to communicate a company’s values through reactive commentary on trending social or political issues. I know a lot of companies would prefer to keep well away from this, but the reality is that the customers you serve are immersed in political commentary.
PR professionals encourage their organisations to step up and take a stand. People like companies that support their causes. Taking the stage shows initiative and a degree of understanding. When an expert comes through and suggests something you should be doing, take it seriously because the competition will take it up while you are twiddling your fingers.
Corporates brave enough to wade in, outside of industry lobbying, would win a lot of support. Of course it has its downside, when government decides to stamp down on what it sees as dissent. But if it’s done well and backed up by authentic action, the executive can exert influence while the brand becomes synonymous with a distinct set of beliefs.
Unfortunately, not all companies focus on beliefs or have a point of view that goes beyond business. But if a business does have a unique philosophy, then PR comes in handy to get the word out.
Says Etchinson, by consistently communicating a coherent set of values through various PR tactics, an organization will gain reputational capital for something substantive that can separate itself from the herd. It’s a science that requires proper PR counsel and strategy, rather than be seen as some knee-keck reaction because everyone else is doing it.
Lenox Mhlanga is Lead Consultant at Magna Carta Reputation Management Consultants, a corporate communications agency. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 0772 400 656