Short-term, sales-driven marketing has damaged the long-term reputation of a business. And once your reputation has been damaged, it is time consuming, difficult and costly to recover it — it may even be impossible.

PR teams are used to thinking about numerous audiences and messaging that will work for them all. Those audiences encompass everything from investors to shareholders, media to politicians and clients to suppliers. Marketing tends to take a much narrower view and concentrates mainly on existing and potential customers.

Some businesses have PR reporting through marketing, the CFO, HR and directly to the CEO. However, the direct reporting line to the CEO is by far the most effective. Perhaps this is because the CEO is the only other role that takes a holistic view of the business and its stakeholders.

The other parts of the business are measured by a narrower set of criteria — for marketing, it is usually sales performance, for HR it is often employee engagement scores and in the case of the CFO it is financial performance — but how can you monetise a well-written letter to a politician or a slick crisis communications plan? How do you directly compare a positive article in a key media outlet with achieving your sales targets? And finally, how do you prove that winning an award translates into more customers?

We all know that these things make a huge difference to a business, but if you only measure success by sales volumes, profitability or employee churn, then you are forgetting the value of your reputation. It is difficult to measure the impact of a good reputation, but it is easy to see the impact of a bad one.

PR is a tool that will help your business communicate the right messages to the right audiences. Ultimately, good PR should ensure your business is more profitable, but it will also ensure lasting and positive relationships with a whole host of stakeholders — and that could be the difference between real success or the failure of your business. So while Marketing is important, don’t forget the importance of PR!

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