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Is “P.R.” useless to manufacturers?


In the world of “metal bashing and sprogget making”, is there any room, need or demand for Public Relations?

I frequently meet managers of industrial and manufacturing companies who view Public Relations as some kind of fancy-shmancy, namby-pamby, smoke and mirrors, mystical and mysterious business inhabited by Nigels and Fionas at exhibitions and champagne receptions and certainly NOT the kind of thing that applies to overalled and oily handed manufacturing type businesses.

I tell them that some of my best friends (and clients) are manufacturing types …and my job, I point out, is to find the fascinating in their everyday and tell it to the outside world – to their customers and hoped for customers – via newspapers, magazines and local TV and radio.

It’s like advertising for free. Except that it’s a lot more effective and powerful than advertising because it’s presented as “news” and people read their newspaper/magazine NOT for the ads, but for the news.

The skill of the PR practitioner is to spot the marvelous in the mundane. To take the everyday of metal bashing and sprogget making and turn it into a good news story that’ll appear in their local, regional and trade press and that enhances reputation and generates sales enquiries.

I find the reluctance of a lot of manufacturers to engage with PR to be puzzling: Are you too shy to be successful?

Comments: Ryan Gartman Marketing and Advertising, Chicago: Interesting article, Philip. I agree with some of the points you make, but it is key to remembering that PR is not just media relations. – especially for manufacturers. Demonstrating impact by growing brand awareness through local business groups, chambers of commerce, trade associations, etc. will help clients jump on board if they seem too “shy.” A whole other aspect of PR is SEO. Thinking about how the client wants to be positioned and aligning the website content with strategic keywords all falls under the modern PR roles and responsibilities.

Reply: Thanks for the feedback, Ryan. You’re right, of course, but this wasn’t meant to be a definitive article, just an exemplar, which (one hopes) will encourage manufacturers to “think again” about how to lift their overall market presence


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