Public Relations is all about image – or is it? We chat to Virgin StartUp mentor, PR guru and Business Coach Irene Moore to shine a light on an ever-changing industry vitally important to start-up businesses.


Is all publicity good publicity?

"This possibly might have been the case back in the day, but brands have to think about their legacy these days. Transparency is everything - especially with social media - it’s more about content and being consistent with your messages now."

Has social media made a difference to PR?

"Social has amplified it. Fifteen years ago, it was very different. The media aren’t as reliant on breaking news now, as the first place people tend to go for breaking news is social media. PR and editorial can provide that deeper analysis of a narrative or storytelling. For brands with an important message that is crucial as social media is more transient.

"Going further, the internet has provided us with platforms where online media coverage can live for longer, and comments can keep rolling in, keeping it fresh - I think they fit really nicely together but they do different things."

How can PR be measured?

"The days of counting clippings and AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent) have probably passed for many, although there are still some companies that do it that way. Measurement all depends on your objectives, the type of business you run and what purpose you want the publicity to serve. For some it’s about brand awareness: reaching as many people as possible. For some it’s about owning an issue: being the one organisation that is known for and leads in a certain subject area. For some it’s about quality coverage that positions them as premium.

"For most, it probably falls down to a) is it about pure brand awareness or increasing your profile or b) is the objective more about driving sales?"

In-house versus agency. What’s best?

"I’ve done both, and both have their pros and cons. Again, it all depends on the type and size of your business. Agency life can be very varied, and you’d get the advantage of people coming at your brand from different perspectives which can be refreshing. It can also be useful if you are a small brand and the agency is working with bigger brands that compliment your own. The best thing to do is see which other brands the agency represents and see if they’re a good fit and getting results.

"If you go with an in-house team, make sure you take them along with you on the journey and understand the entire business (and not just bring them in at the last minute!) as they are likely to see PR and partnership opportunities where you may not."