Community Relations Are Important Part of Success

Article excerpt

Byline: Gary Ernst

One effective promotional element commonly overlooked or poorly managed by many businesses is public relations. How does PR differ from marketing?

While the primary objective of marketing and sales is selling product, the focus of PR is to sell the organization. Large companies often have in-house PR departments or retain agencies. For smaller companies, managing public relations becomes a part of the business owner's functions.

Great public relations programs involve much more than handling customer complaints. Good programs are offensive in nature rather than being defensive. A list of long-term PR objectives may include: increasing knowledge about your company, stimulating referrals or advocacy, generating a sense of community involvement or influencing opinion leaders.

Unlike traditional advertising programs, big promotional budgets aren't needed to get started. One successful Naperville business person, Ray Kinney, president of Minuteman Press, has made community involvement a cornerstone of his business.

In fact, when asked what one defining thing that has made his business successful, he didn't hesitate a second in saying it was community relations. Serving on five community organization boards and countless other activities, Ray said "there is more to running a business than making money."

"Giving back to the community with your time, talent, and treasure is a fundamental part of building a successful business," he said. …