It is a universal fact now that PR is a very important part of any company whose goal is to succeed and build a positive reputation. However, there are several mistakes that many companies make that adversely affect their PR efforts, and consequently, ruin their chances of having a strong PR team, and can put a damp on their reputation, which will in turn have a negative impact on their relationship with their stakeholders.
Zero Budget allocated for PR
The most dangerous misconception management has regarding PR is that unlike advertising and marketing, PR is for free! That’s why many senior managers and executives are baffled when their PR teams ask for a budget to be allocated specifically for the PR department, or if they find out that a certain PR activity requires financial support in order to come to life. Wake up senior executives hiding in your ivory towers: You all know the universal rule that in order to make money, you have to spend money. And guess what? That applies to PR as well!
Last Minute Events and Decisions
Since PR is unfortunately still not taken seriously by senior management, as well as other departments, the notion is still tattooed in their brains that anything related to PR can be easily done, and therefore, no planning ahead of time is done. That’s why the outcomes are dissatisfactory most of the time, and management end up blaming the PR team, and labeling PR as a useless discipline.
Not realizing that PR now is a Two-Way Communication
Case in point: Donald Trump and his press secretary Sean Spicer! They refuse and attack any kind of dialogue and conversation with the media. Companies that keep disseminating information, and not expect – nor accept- a reaction from the media that requires some sort of communication between the company and the different media outlets are doomed for failure. It is important to treat media as partners and stakeholders that help build your reputation and success, rather than enemies trying to pull you down and scrutinizing your company.
Not comprehending what PR really is
The saddest thing is the frustrating feeling you get when your peers as well as your senior management have no idea what PR is, how it works, and how it is an integral part of any organization. Therefore, PR professionals do not feel engaged, and consequently, do not have a sense of belonging to the organization they are working for.
Refusal to Integrate Modern PR with Traditional PR
Many companies still have rigid and outdated mentalities with regards to PR that prohibits them from adapting and adopting modern PR trends and tools. Companies with this mindset keep pushing their PR team to use traditional PR for the purpose of selling their products or services to the customers, instead of informing the customers and stakeholders, engaging in a dialogue with them, and ultimately creating relationships with them.
Anyone can do PR
The ultimate and deadliest mistake! And it applies to so many companies in the Arab World. Anyone who is a liability on the company and doesn’t perform well, anyone whom the company can’t get rid of, anyone who is hired purely for “wasta” reasons, you are sure to find at least one of those in any company’s PR department. This is a definitive sign that this company doesn’t understand nor appreciate PR. PR is just like finance, accounting, logistics, IT, etc. You as a manager should NOT hire someone as a PR professional unless they are knowledgeable and experienced in that field.