Who are your biggest PR agents?

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Who are your biggest PR agents?

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I have always been amazed – stunned and gobsmacked are probably more descriptive words – at the obscene amounts of money channelled into PR campaigns. Go big or go home is the mind-set everyone seems to be operating from. And, of course, there’s no question about how effective well-funded campaigns are both in terms of brand awareness and ROI. However, it’s the “home” part that’s often neglected – with potential disastrous results.

It doesn’t matter how much money you throw into huge print, broadcast and digital campaigns, if you don’t take good care of your staff, you’re missing a really good PR trick!

Your members of staff are your biggest PR agents. They’re an extension of your brand. Think about it for a minute. How many times have you judged a business based on the sour individual on the other end of the phone line? How often have you inwardly raised your eyebrows at the negative person across the counter?  Haven’t you too smiled when greeted warmly and genuinely by an employee?

Yes, staff are your most powerful PR machines so it’s important – no, fundamentally integral – that you have them on your side. This doesn’t necessarily mean big pay cheques or eye-popping rewards programmes (though these certainly help improve staff sentiment); it means making sure your employees feel valued and cared for. Here are two ways you make this happen without busting your budget:


Keep them in the loop

While your employees don’t need to know what your diary looks like and who you’ve just got off the phone with, they do need to have line of sight of major decisions affecting the business. You don’t have to share nitty gritty details but let them in on big company news – a possible merger, a position that will soon be available and yes, why that mega deal wasn’t signed and sealed.

For one, this cuts out the “us and them” mentality and goes a long way to cement the “we are a team” sentiment but equally important, keeping staff in the loop stems gossip, speculation and heresy – three things that can destroy a business from the inside.

Send mailers or newsletters, call a quick 5 minute meeting to share the news or use a noticeboard to spread the news.


Reward and acknowledge

Let’s be honest. The divide and rule strategy has about as much relevance and use in modern business as a quill and inkpot in your office. There are hundreds of thousands of books, articles, journals, courses and experts who speak of the importance of a team mentality in the success of business.

It’s having buy-in from staff. It’s getting employees emotionally invested in the company. It’s about building and maintaining loyalty and trust. It’s about acknowledgement and reward.

Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries and achievements. Celebrate weddings, engagements, births and graduations. Make a fuss. Make a noise if you have to. But make your staff feel special, valued and belonged. Send little notes of appreciation. Draw attention to a high flier. Set aside time in staff meetings to acknowledge (and reward) those who’ve gone an extra mile. Tell someone how sorry you are for their loss or misfortune.

Take opportunities to connect with your staff in a human way and watch morale strengthen. Turn the tide of the office sentiment with honesty and sincerity.

Anisa Ussuph has more than two decades of experience in South African media and communications. She is the Managing Director of KZN Media and Communications. 

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  • Soitiems

    Thanks for your suggestions. One thing I’ve noticed is banks as well as financial institutions know the dimensions and spending behavior of consumers while also understand that many people max out their cards around the breaks. They smartly take advantage of this particular fact and then start flooding the inbox as well as snail-mail box along with hundreds of no-interest APR credit card offers shortly after the holiday season ends. Knowing that if you’re like 98% of all American open public, you’ll leap at the possible opportunity to consolidate card debt and shift balances for 0 apr interest rates credit cards.

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