This issue, we interviewed Janet Ong, Marketing Director at CTS Cement Manufacturing Corp. Read on to learn more about her marketing viewpoints:

Q: Why do you think public relations is an effective marketing tool?
A: Public relations is an effective marketing tool because it provides more benefits than other promotional efforts. It generates awareness of one’s organization, brands and products, is a cost-effective way to get one’s message to a large audience, and is more credible than paid advertising. For instance, a product story in a magazine has a greater impact on readers than an advertisement for the same product. This is because readers perceive the media as presenting an unbiased view of the product. We have found public relations to be a more authentic way for us to build relationships and rapport with customers and the community.

Q: What advice do you have for someone just embarking on a PR program?
A: When starting a PR program, the focus should be on defining the target audiences, determining the key messages, and consistently reinforcing the key messages so that they support the organization’s (including their brands and products) positioning.

PR tools to consider include articles, news releases, newsletters, speaking engagements, industry events, sponsorships, philanthropy, etc. Articles and news releases published by the media are an essential component in all PR programs. Initially, it is better to focus on the most effective tools (i.e. articles and news releases). Once your PR program is established, then add other tools to build upon your PR program.

It may be helpful to map out a spreadsheet with the PR tools shown horizontally across the top and the target audience and key message shown vertically in the left column. Use this spreadsheet to match your target audience to the tool, and the key message to the target audience and tool. This may help you prioritize and determine the PR tools that you should implement.

Since PR is about building a connection with people, employees are an organization’s most valuable tool. Their actions, attitudes, communication, and reputation have a bearing on how customers and the community view your company, brand, and products or services. Ensuring that employees understand the importance of PR and the role they play is essential to a successful PR program.