This article first appeared in the Sheffield Star:

Q. What do a sixteen feet tall popcorn sculpture, Siri’s ‘voice’ and a European ban on the trade of cat and dog fur all have in common?

A. They were all very different types of campaigns I had the privilege of working on during the early years of my public relations career.

These three examples illustrate just how diverse the world of public relations can be. Each campaign had very different underlying aims: to return a struggling business back to profitability, to showcase some truly innovative technology and finally, to close a legal loophole, which was being exploited by fur farmers in the Far East.

The results of these campaigns included a Guinness World Record being set and a successful return back to black for the company.

The innovative technology I helped to showcase back in the early 2000s is today enjoyed by millions of people, whilst the legal loophole was successfully closed, ultimately changing EU law for the better.

But if you think public relations is solely for big business, think again.

One of those companies I mentioned above was a start-up, the other a longstanding independently owned company, and the person who changed the law? Well, he started his campaign as a lone voice.

Why do businesses need PR?

Businesses turn to public relations professionals for many reasons: for some it’s about building brand visibility and ultimately sales, for others it’s about overcoming a challenge their business faces, but in many cases, using third party help can provide critical distance. It can be incredibly hard to write about yourself, let alone doing it on a regular basis!

PR is both proactive and reactive. It is strategic in its approach and results-driven in its output, but above all else, PR offers a golden opportunity to build brand credibility, authority and ultimately, trust.

During my 20-year PR career, I’ve yet to meet a business, or indeed any organisation, that doesn’t have a great story to tell, but simply seeing your name in lights or attached to a single news article isn’t a PR strategy in itself; nor is it likely to bring about long-term benefits for your business.

When it comes to building a PR strategy, your communications objectives should always be closely aligned to your business goals. It’s the reason why others should choose your products or services over those offered by a competitor.

An experienced public relations professional will help you maximise those opportunities – always delivered with a clear goal in mind to ensure your business is seen in the right places, for the right reasons, at the right time.

As American business tycoon John  D. Rockefeller once famously said: ‘Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.’

2021 is quite a significant year for both me personally, and for Cannon PR. In June, I will celebrate my 20th Anniversary of working as a Public Relations professional, and in September Cannon PR will be ten years old.

Over the coming months, I’ll be stepping back in time to look at some of the campaigns I’ve had the privilege of working on during my career. Watch this space!