Trust: The Foundation of PR


One of the key benefits of a PR story is that it is more relate-able to consumers than an advertising campaign, where people are aware they are being sold something.

The general public are more likely to believe editorial coverage, whether that be because their favourite magazine or journalist recommends a product or hearing discussions and interviews with their favourite radio and TV presenters. As a result, any PRO would tell you the most important part of our jobs is to build strong relationships: with our colleagues, with our clients, with the media but, most importantly, with the consumers reading, listening to or viewing your story.

A recent PR Week article exposed a PR agency for selling in a case study for one of their clients with false information. The Press Association picked up the story from said agency, endorsing it and so the story went national, with coverage across major newspapers such as the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Metro and Huffington Post.

However, it transpired that the ‘case study’ was actually an employee of the PR firm, using a pseudonym and subsequently PA have had to apologise and in some cases reimburse the media with credit for any words and images used.

To build strong relationships there needs to be a basis of trust and breaking this trust can be extremely detrimental to future opportunities – I think we can safely say PA won’t touch another story from this agency again and if this goes beyond trade media, the public won’t trust the brand anymore.

Sadly it only takes one such story for the public to lose their trust in these ‘real-life stories’, but for many brands, case studies are the ideal way to get key messages and benefits across to their target audiences.

Especially within broadcast PR, a case study is the perfect addition to a successful campaign. Within the radio sector a local case study offers regional commercial and BBC stations a home-grown element to a story – something radio presenters and producers are crying out for. Likewise a case study on television adds a more human element to a story and immediately de-commercialises stories, making them more believable and building that element of trust up between the brand and the consumer.

At 4mediarelations, our strong relationships with the media are based on the quality of stories we offer them. We are always trying to give them as much collateral to make the feature as interesting to their viewers or listeners as possible, whether that’s through local research, video content, b-roll or case studies.

As a result, one of the ways we build up a level of trust with our clients is that from these strong media relationships we can advise the best way to get a brand seen and heard.

By Phoebe Campbell

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