PR Divide: Why CEOs & PR Pros must speak the same language

  • PR & Media

Just under half (48%) of senior B2B marketers admitted they had given up on trying to educate their CEO on the value of PR. This was the headline of an article I recently read, which stopped me in my tracks.  I'm new to the world of PR so I was able to tackle this statistic with a fresh perspective, but I was shocked as the benefits of PR seem pretty obvious to me. So, I thought, isn’t the onus on marketing professionals to better educate their senior leaders on PR, its value and what it offers to a business? Otherwise, who will? Article in hand, I approached my Managing Director, who is an experienced construction PR professional, to gauge his expert opinion.


In simple terms, public relations can be described as  building and maintaining positive relationships and communication between a company and its stakeholders which can include customers, employees, investors and the public. But it is so much more than that. It plays a crucial role in achieving business goals, building reputations, managing crises and recruiting the best talent possible. 

Whilst the basic foundation of PR hasn't changed, how we communicate and tell our stories as individuals, groups and businesses certainly has.   PR is no longer about churning out column inches and printed articles for the sake of it, now, the profession is using digital marketing channels such as video, online-only press and social media to extend the reach and influence of a message. So, could it be that CEOs are simply approaching their PR and marketing strategies from the wrong angle? Are they failing to understand the broad strategic benefits it can provide, thinking of it as nothing more than a way to generate positive press coverage? 

Thankfully, our MD David Ing has always been forward-thinking in his approach:

“We see the issue that PR has moved on, its channels are constantly evolving and becoming increasingly broad. This means the results aren’t always easy to attribute with the monetary value that a business leader will of course be used to being presented with. PR is often a long-term strategy, focused on raising profiles and winning work, but the landscape is changing and I am seeing more organisations approaching us with alternative goals such as staff retention and recruiting the best talent possible. Unfortunately, because it is such a dynamic, and fast-changing industry, it's difficult to quantify the value, it cannot be seen as simply spending a pound and getting ten pounds back in value, which is why CEOs can often make the critical mistake of overlooking their PR departments."

The difficulty that comes with placing a quantifiable value on PR can make it tricky to shout about how great it can be for a business. If this is something you are struggling with, why not take a look at our E-Book ‘The Construction Marketers Guide to PR Measurement’?

Also, keep an eye out for our next blog in the series which will focus on measuring the value of PR. 


As a CEO you are the face behind the brand, and the story being told is in effect, your story, so why wouldn’t you want to prioritise that? Of course, there is no one size fits all, as a specialist construction PR agency, clients come to us with many different objectives, as David points out:

“I see a wide range of objectives when clients approach us with their marketing and PR needs. For example, we represent manufacturers whose aim is to sell more, so we work on raising profiles, generating sales leads and educating their audiences. But then we also work with trade bodies, whose focus is a lot more on having their share of the industry voice as thought leaders and championing their members. We also have contractor clients who want to drive credibility, understanding and scope. The successful outcomes of PR reach far and wide, so it can help with many different kinds of objectives.” 

One common theme that I see, particularly in my role as a copywriter, is that PR is all about telling stories to the people who should be hearing them. Through this work, it is the PR and marketing professionals who are opening doors and building the relationships that will allow a business to excel in its market, something which surely is at the core of every CEO's objectives. 

Luckily, I've not faced a CEO who doesn’t understand the critical importance of PR, but if you are having trouble educating your senior leaders on how vital marketing is then here are some tips:

  • Use case studies: Share examples of how other companies in your industry have successfully used PR to achieve their business goals. 
  • Highlight the impact of negative publicity: Share examples of companies that have suffered significant brand damage due to poor approaches and management of PR. 
  • Share industry data: If they are unable to get past the lack of tangible evidence then share statistics that are available that demonstrate the positive impact of PR on business outcomes. Use market research to make your case. 


Being involved in the behind-the-scenes of construction PR, I have been able to see the real opportunities that effective communications can bring. My day-to-day role is to bring the business’s objectives and goals to life through creative communication. We are all witnessing a challenging marketplace at the moment, but in times of difficulty, CEOs must know not to cut back on their marketing. David has the same sentiment: 

“I would argue that in times of challenging marketplaces, businesses should almost be thinking about increasing their marketing and PR opportunities, as this is the department that is winning work and clients by building your brand's story, reputation and partnerships. If you have clear goals in what you want your PR strategy to achieve, are agile and adaptive, and have a creative agency with great storytellers (such as us!) then you would not be questioning the value of PR, as you would be reaping the rewards.”

But if that isn’t enough to convince you, then let me break it down. Effective PR can offer your business:

  • Reputation Management: Reputation is incredibly important in the construction industry; PR can manage reputations and build trust which in turn leads to increased business opportunities.
  • Crisis Management: The nature of construction projects can be complex and unpredictable; PR manages crises and minimises the impact on your reputation.
  • Recruitment: Construction companies are witnessing a difficult time at the moment in recruiting and maintaining talent, but PR can position the company as an attractive employer and keep staff informed. 
  • Brand Awareness: Construction PR can help increase the visibility of a company’s brand through targeted media coverage, positioning the company as a leader in its field and increasing visibility to new clients and partners. 

So, what are you waiting for? Make contact with our construction PR and property PR specialists who can help you achieve your marketing and business goals.  Your CEO will never question the value of PR again!

Author: David Ing

Managing Director

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