Why PR is the real key to a top brand

According to the Telegraph‘s report on the annual Business Superbrands survey, the decline in respect for the BA and BBC brands is caused by poor crisis handling in the past year.

This fits well with the idea that a brand is a promise – normally made by marketing – and its reputation is how well it keeps that promise – which involves public relations, particularly if there is a gap between what is said and what is done, leading to issues and crisis management. 

Google topped the poll and the article quotes:

Matt Brittin, at Google UK, said: “We’re very pleased to be recognised for this award. Together with our partners, we have worked hard to make our advertising platform as effective as possible in helping businesses of all sizes to grow and prosper – benefiting their brand, not just our own.”

So the success of Google’s reputation among business people is apparently down to its advertising platform – which doesn’t quite tally with why the brand came top with the public in the same TCBA survey last Summer. 

Making promises is easy, delivering on them is much harder.  Marketing can definitely raise the profile of a brand and ensure it is top of mind among those participating in such surveys.  The rest of the organisation then needs to deliver on the promise that is made.  And, if marketing over-promises, or the organisation under-delivers, it is the public relations function that will need to ensure the reputation of the organisation is not impacted.

That’s why I believe that PR is the real key to a top brand.

Published by

Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

2 thoughts on “Why PR is the real key to a top brand”

  1. Publicity is the oxygen of business. If people don’t know about your business, it will not survive. Yet small companies consistently neglect a free way of promoting their businesses: using Public Relations (PR) to get free editorial coverage in newspapers, radio and TV. It’s a method that’s used by all well-known successful companies and once you know how, it’s relatively easy to get effective free publicity.

    Most businesses rely on word of mouth to bring in news business, cross-selling to expand existing business, while a few enterprising entrepreneurs will run seminars on hot topics to demonstrate their expertise and show off their products, or put up speakers at local business clubs, chambers of commerce and sector-specific gatherings. But just how long does it take an entrepreneur to talk to 1.3 million people? That’s the current morning audience for just one regional BBC regional radio station.


  2. Jose – thanks for the comment, but your view of PR as “free editorial coverage” and publicity is very narrow and not really what I was talking about in the post – which is strategic (and tactical) issues and crisis management.

    Indeed, seeing PR simply as talking to people is part of the issue of potentially over-promising – whatever you are communicating via word of mouth has to be both credible and deliverable.

    BA and BBC had powerful negative word of mouth in recent months and as the survey indicates, this is what has impacted on respect for their brands. No amount of publicity (“free” or otherwise – and I dispute the myth that PR is “free” since it takes time and people to do it well), overcomes the negative perceptions generated by poor crisis handling.

    BTW – in the spirit of transparency I removed the ad link from your comment – this blog is not open to “free publicity” or paid advertising in that way!!

Comments are closed.