Why PR matters to entrepreneurs

Catherine Granger, Dubai-based entrepreneur and owner of Trajan Consulting, LKJ International (a luxury brands marketing agency) and the newly launched So Soulier shoe label, offers her thoughts on why PR is paramount to Entrepreneurs…

“I have started using a PR firm to market everything I do in business and this is translating into an increased bottom line”

Remember the time when you owned a company, found some paying customers, sold your product and then continued quietly on your way? Yes? Well those days are gone – long gone!

As someone who owns several businesses, I have watched over recent years as the importance of good public relations – whatever your brand – has soared. Not only does your name and logo have to be instantly recognisable, you have to be part of the zeitgeist, you need to be included in the conversation – and you need to be visible on a mind-boggling array of platforms.

I have started using a PR firm to market everything I do in business and this is translating into an increased bottom line. For example, I have designed and launched a shoe label, So Soulier, and it is not enough to find some nice shops willing to sell them – I know that people need to see them and talk about them on Twitter, on Facebook, in magazines and so on. Social media and savvier consumers have created a weird business world where commerce has merged with entertainment. And those who don’t embrace this fact will get left behind.

A common complaint I hear in Dubai is that PR companies charge the earth and often don’t deliver, and for a small enterprise that can be a real worry. My response to this is: do your research and shop around. You also have to understand what good PR actually feels like, looks like and sounds like. Business owners need to educate themselves about this brave new world and not just stick their heads in a spreadsheet and hope this horrible promotional stuff will go away, because it won’t. Besides, public relations can be fun if you do it right, and your audience will respond to that enjoyment.

One more thing I will say is that my appreciation of a well put-together press release has certainly grown. I am much more aware of a bore-you-to-death one too – in fact, I scrutinise what other companies are doing on this front and it’s quite revealing.

This is a 360-degree view, reality meets entertainment, everyone’s a media persona era – and there is no going back. Good old Oscar Wilde didn’t know how right he was going to be when he said: “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” In my opinion, this pretty much sums up today’s business landscape.

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