I’m a PR professional that has been profiling executives of different companies for 21 years – and because I was taught that my job is to be behind the scenes profiling other people, it was very difficult for me to be the one in the spotlight when I decided to go back to running and profiling my business.
You are all probably aware of the saying ‘a doctor can’t heal himself’. Well, this is the case for PR/Communication professionals – we are very bad at communicating or profiling ourselves. We’ve always believed that our work should speak for us and that there’s no need for proactive PR around our businesses or ourselves. This is unfortunately not the case if some of us want to either attract new clients or grow our businesses.
Over the years, my business associates and I have relied on word of mouth or referrals for any new business opportunities that came our way. However, Covid-19 showed us flames, and it became very difficult for all of us to attract business when we were not profiling our services; more importantly what we are capable of.
A lot of small business owners either do not see the need to publicise their companies and their offerings or think that it would be an expensive exercise to do so. As SMMEs, what we don’t seem to realise is that although big corporates such as Coca Cola, Absa, MTN, Standard Bank, Vodacom are well-known brands; they still invest in marketing and PR services for their businesses.
This is because they know the importance of talking about the developments in their businesses, which could include new product or service offerings; appointments of new executives in the company and even transformation-related issues. They don’t end there though – they also capitalise on their success stories and celebrate their achievements through testimonial stories from beneficiaries in their corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives.
Mind you, these are established brands that still feel the need to entrench their brand in the minds of both their existing and potential customers, their shareholders, employees and key stakeholders in the public (government) and private sector.