Keep your ear to the ground and your eye on the horizon. That’s the response of Teruca Rullán, Senior Vicepresident Corporate Communications Popular, Inc., when asked what qualities a person in her vocation should have. But there is more. In short, public relations protects and maximizes a company’s image.
If before it was just a strategy, a news release, a note in the press, a television commercial, that is no longer the case. With the Internet and the rise of social media, there are various ways a customer finds a product and, by extension, a business, whether it is small, medium or established.
Nobody knows for sure when it happened, but distances got shorter. And that is a good sign, according to the publicist. “If you don’t stay up to date, you will become a dinosaur,” Rullán predicted. It is now possible to have a direct conversation with customers and offer personalized treatment.
One step at a time. Rullán insists that in managing the public relations of any business, the classic means, such as calls, mailings, news releases, and meetings, must coexist with the emerging ones. The latter are centered around the Internet and include social media, apps, direct messages and others. Today, public relations is more like multitasking, said Rullán. “A public relations person should not be the focus of attention,” but is the bridge that preserves and strengthens the good image of his or her employer.
The budget is often small. “You have to do more with less,” she said. With the increase in the number of small and medium-size businesses taking a chance despite unfavorable economic conditions, we asked Rullán which aspects are most important when managing the public relations of a new company:
- Word of mouth
- Respond with a sense of urgency
- Identify what is news
- Constant and sustained use of social media
- Pay attention to customers’ opinions
- Maximize good service
At the same time, not everything is rose-colored, Rullán said. If a customer is unhappy with treatment or service and makes it public on TripAdvisor or Facebook, for example, what do you do? “You have to have enough candor to apologize,” said the publicist. Attention can help mitigate a negative experience.