2015 was quite difficult for the Ukrainian business - accordingly, the market of marketing services was at difficult situation, too. Some companies reduced their marketing budgets, carried only the necessary activity. At the same time other, common sense, demonstrated a forward-looking stance, and continued public relations activity at the required level. There is no doubt that the reputation of such companies in crisis would be more protected. Account Director of Publicity Creating Company Ruslana Plis tells about results and trends of 2015 year.
How do You assess the overall activity in the PR-market during the past year?
Despite the difficult economic situation, many companies carried out some PR activities focused, understandably, on the most important audience - customers, consumers and partners in the marketing chain, and also tried to contact with the media in crisis situations. On my opinion, in 2015, the intensity of public relations activities in the commercial sector decreased slightly, in contrast to, for example, from the activities of non-governmental organizations in the same area. But it all depends on individual needs - if necessary, the company has been quite active. Our company has over 18 years of experience in the Ukrainian market has gone through four crisis (1998, 2004-2005, 2008-2010, and the current which began in late 2013) - so we have developed immunity, and quickly adapt to changes, taking the relevant decisions.
What PR services are most relevant to customers, and why?
Again, all individually. Depending on the goals and objectives were in demand and PR-event and media relations, and Internet activity. But in general, PR on the Internet and social networking came to the fore. Offline activity is usually only supplement it. You can cancel a further adaptation of existing services to the needs of customers and market changes. If a wide range of services (such as in our agency), it makes no sense "to invent" new, but always it is necessary to modernize and develop and adapt existing services to the specific situation.
Are there any changes the requirements of customers to the partner in the area of PR?
Globally, demand the same - it is professionalism, experience, flexibility, understanding of the client's objectives. But the growing importance of the selection criteria PR partner as reliable, positive reputation and previous experience in this business. This makes sense, because the number of companies that have a large portfolio of realized projects and work stably, now is not a lot of. Therefore, customers prefer not to take risks and to choose a company with a good reputation. It is significant that in 2015 a number of companies with which the agency is working 3-5 years ago, have applied to us. At the same time, we have kept 90% of our current customers - it is very nice, because it confirms our level and strong relationships with clientss.
What are the main components of communication mix today?
PR in the Internet and social networks in a variety of forms, public relations activities for partners and VIP clients, media relations and press events, actions to consumers - are all present in the marketing mix. But on the level of activity PR in the Internet and social networks in the first place.
What should be the company's budget for PR promotion? What would you advise to Ukrainian start-up?
I always advise potential customers to answer this question yourself. Meaning they need to determine how much money they are really ready to allocate for promotion. Especially since the promotion - it is not an expense but investment in their own company, in its future. And of course, we must decide how generally they imagine this promotion and its results. We do not need terms and formulas - describe the goal how do you see it, professionals from the other side always understand what you mean. At least before going to the agency need to find out "how much money is in the pocket." For example, when a person comes into the store, he knows how much money he has and never asks about this the seller. So only after analyzing of their desires and financial capacity, refer to the PR agency. Especially because low-budget projects for the period of 3-4 months are in trend now. And if both sides (agency and client) are constructive - you can always negotiate.
For start-up’s may be advisable to advance in the social networks and the Internet. The forms and methods depend on the field of activity, tasks, budget. I suggest to start with a professional consultation. This service has a price affordable to absolutely everyone, and helps avoid many mistakes, so quickly pays for itself.
What about the outsourcing of PR services?
For reasons of economy, companies are trying to perform a "routine" PR function independently, and in the case of larger or more complex and demanding projects apply to external structures. But I would advise critically evaluate not only the costs of public relations activities, but also its effectiveness. Perhaps much more profitable to attract the public relations agency for a specified period and solve the problem, than to pretend that this problem can be solved by inexperienced staff, and even in parallel to their basic duties. Also need to be careful with treated to the decision to involve freelancers and "friends" - they generally do not carry any legal responsibility for results.
Overall, how much important reputation and loyalty today?
There are important, but still not as much, as we would like to! Surprisingly, we can observe how organizations that are directly faced with serious challenges from the media, consumers, the public, sometimes almost do nothing in response.
Is it necessary to develop a PR strategy, and for how long it makes sense to do?
Yes, strategy is needed despite of the fact, that the situation frequently changes. It should at least have a common vision on the basis of which it would be possible to act tactically. It’s necessary to pay maximum attention to tactics, and here it is necessary to reduce the mistakes to zero - that's why it is important to involve qualified professionals. After all, every mistake is very expensive today.
There remains a need for training, consulting?
Yes, for the last year interest in the trainings is generally growing. It also became more in demand such services as an independent PR audit and consulting on strategic and tactical issues (including, for top management). This "eternal" services, the value of which every year is growing. And the fact that they are more demanded in times of crisis - is quite natural.
Tell us about the most interesting projects carried out by your company in 2015.
In numbers, the last year for Publicity Creating looks like this. The number of clients - 20 (the majority – loyal permanent customers) of the following areas - building materials, air conditioning equipment, real estate, food retail, banking software, logistics, mail order, public organizations. The number of communication projects, realized for clients - 25 during the year (a project we mean a press event, PR event, PR-support of events and marketing campaigns, large-scale activity in the Internet and social media, PR-campaign in the regional press for obtain reputation and marketing results to the client). In the area of Digital PR presence and extension of the target audience in social networks, answers to queries of the target audience through the creation, maintenance and development sites in the social networks Facebook, VKontakte, the microblogging on Twitter, video channels on YouTube, and services such as SlideShare, Instagram.