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What to do as a start-up business to remain afloat

By Grace Kuria Ngina, Kakamega

The majority of businesses fail within the first three years, and research indicates that only 33 per cent of businesses maintain success over a ten-year period.

This led me to pursue understanding why these numbers are the way they are, in addition to my own passion. It made me realize that the most overlooked yet crucial aspect of a successful business is Public Relations.

Now, I understand what you may be thinking. Public Relations is often misunderstood; some see it as manipulation, others as mere advertisement.

In fact, even when we joke with one another and say, “you’re playing PR with me,” it implies someone is deceiving or playing games.

However, today, we will explore what Public Relations truly encompasses and how profound its influence can be.

Public Relations goes beyond creating a good logo, using the right words for advertisements, or conducting press briefings and releases.

There are several key elements within Public Relations that deserve attention. Communications, for instance, involves strategic, straightforward, and audience-oriented messaging. This includes tasks such as executive speech writing, employee handbooks, annual reports, house journals, trade journals, and more.

Effective and well-presented communication is vital in addressing an organization’s objectives, plans,

products, and services while enhancing relationships with both internal and external audiences.

Furthermore, communications extend to advertising. Public Relations offers a thorough thought process when crafting campaigns, focusing on storytelling and selecting the most effective delivery methods for each message.

This is why maintaining excellent media relations is advantageous and considered a bonus for any PR practitioner.

Strategic Advisory is another crucial aspect of Public Relations. It delves into the future of an organization, considering the ever-changing market trends and dynamics.

Organizations should be capable of planning ahead, implementing strategic plans, and reaching milestones. As PR practitioners, we are often asked to provide a strategic perspective, envisioning the bigger picture, and offering advice on important decisions.

This aligns with the target audience and client base of any given organization. Additionally, it involves understanding the company’s objectives for both internal and external stakeholders, while utilizing tools and resources to facilitate the achievement of these objectives.

Crisis management is a vital role of Public Relations, as organizations often face challenging situations.

A skilled PR professional ensures that an organization emerges from a crisis even stronger and more trusted, despite the costs incurred.

By conducting thorough research on the organization and identifying potential gaps and impending crises, a PR consultant/manager can help develop an effective Crisis Management Strategy.

Let’s take Johnson & Johnson as an example of exemplary crisis handling. In 1982, seven people in Chicago died after consuming cyanide-laced capsules of Tylenol, an over-the-counter medication manufactured by Johnson and Johnson.

Although the incident remains unsolved, the company’s response serves as a textbook example of crisis management. Immediately, Johnson & Johnson initiated a comprehensive response, suspending all product advertising and sending 450,000 messages to healthcare facilities and other stakeholder groups.

The company also issued safety warnings to consumers. Despite evidence indicating that the toxic substance was accidentally introduced through store shelves and not the company’s fault, Johnson  and Johnson did not hide the truth and eventually introduced tamper-proof packaging.

James Burke, the CEO at the time, even expressed regret for not immediately transitioning to more secure packaging following the incident.

The key takeaway from this case is that Tylenol’s handling of the crisis is widely regarded as one of the best crisis management strategies in history.

It has set the standard that corporations continue to follow today. The media praised Johnson and Johnson for its actions, which helped the Tylenol brand recover.

One of the most important lessons from this example is that transparency and integrity greatly contribute to successful crisis management.

I invite you to join me every week on a delightful journey of learning and understanding Public Relations.

Together, we will explore the latest trends in various industries and discover the tools that can help your organization achieve its goals while maintaining profitability.

If you have any inquiries or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me via email at

msgrakuriangina@gmail.com.

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