Now, more than ever, it’s all about relationships.
By Lucy Rosen
Lucy Rosen, chief solutions officer at Smart Marketing Communications, is a nationally renowned business strategist, entrepreneur and author who is known for her ability to help professionals grow and expand their businesses through effective marketing, public relations and networking activities.
If there’s anything that this past year has shown local businesses, it’s how resilient they can be – and how critical it is to have an effective communications plan in place. Communicating to the public took on a whole new meaning and level of importance during the pandemic – when all messaging had to be perfectly crafted in order to effectively reach audiences with the timely, pertinent information needed (and avoid any messaging that might make a business seem “tone deaf”). And when it comes to effectively communicating to the public, perhaps no industry has played a more important role over the past year – and continues to be a critical tool for a business – than public relations.
As defined by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), public relations is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” And according to Lucy Rosen, one of the Lowcountry’s leading public relations practitioners and the president of the Bluffton-based SmartMarketing Communications, the word “relationships” is not only critical – but is the word on which she has modeled her entire business, and is the key to her approach.
“I’ve always believed that the real power of PR, and how we work with each and every one of our clients, centers on creating, building and growing relationships,” says Rosen, who in addition to founding and running her full-service public relations/marketing/branding/social media agency is a nationally renowned business networking expert and the author of “Fast Track Networking: Turning Conversations Into Contacts (Career Press, 2010.) “PR today is about so much more than generating publicity for a business or creating an event. It’s about truly working ‘in’ your clients’ businesses rather than just ‘on’ your clients’ businesses, and engulfing yourself in what they do and the markets they both currently reach and can potentially reach.”
“Truly listening to clients and becoming part of their teams gives you the opportunity to foster strong relationships with them, which is of great value to clients in their overall marketing and has helped us to create some truly out-of-the-box thinking,” she stresses, further noting that building these strong client relationships and truly understanding their businesses has enabled her agency to be able to help their clients form other strategic relationships with businesses, customers – and the general public — that have tremendously helped their businesses grow.
Rosen points out that at no time has the “relationship” aspect of public relations been more important than over the past year, and now – when businesses are moving forward in seeking to enhance their exposure, increase their sales … and often, expand their business relationships.
“Our focus on building strong relationships with our clients, as well as our longstanding relationships with community leaders, not-for-profit organizations and professionals throughout all industries, have led to public relations programs with amazing results for local businesses,” says Rosen, who notes that a good PR plan can help businesses enhance their visibility and credibility, identify target markets, increase profitability and enhance a company’s online presence to reach key audiences. “Whether it’s helping to create a mutually beneficial partnership between two local businesses, or opening doors to help our clients seize new opportunities, we use what we know – and who we know – to help businesses not only communicate effectively but grow.”
All this is through the power of public relations – and the potential that comes from building, and growing strong relationships.